Top 10 Restaurants in River Oaks
Leave it to Elouise Adams Jones to bring out the trendy and elegant best in old, homey favorites. Ouisie's Table's cream of mushroom soup, for example, in its thin, milky broth, is loaded with tons of mushrooms that fairly pop with freshness; fried oysters, for another, are so tender and juicy that they seem lighter than air. The chicken-fried steak -- once deemed the best in the state, and the winner of multiple Best of Houston® awards across many years -- used to only be available on Tuesdays, but proved so popular that Ouisie's was fairly forced to put it on the regular menu, complete with all the fixings: mashed potatoes with black pepper milk gravy, black eyed peas, mustard greens and Lucy's corn pudding.
6. Relish Fine Foods
Photo by Katharine Shilcutt
If you like Central Market but hate the parking, you'll love Relish Fine Foods -- especially since it's located right down the street from the grocery giant. The vibe at Relish is very similar: part grocery store with high-end goods and local products such as Slow Dough bread and Way Back When milk, part ready-made foods you can eat at Relish or on the go. An assortment of gourmet soups, salads and sandwiches are all made with local ingredients and change with the seasons, but not all is light here: Check out the Rice Krispies treats made with brown butter or the salted caramel brownies from Relish's in-house pastry chef.
Photo courtesy of Américas
Américas is the restaurant responsible -- along with its owners, the Cordúa family -- for first introducing Houston to South American cuisine. As with its sister restaurant, Churrascos, the menu has barely changed since Américas' inception on Post Oak Boulevard (which is now closed). The only real difference at the River Oaks buildout is the rather insane interior: a mishmash of Aeon Flux and The Lion King as staged on Broadway, as envisioned by Tim Burton's Beetlejuice. (Compare this with the old Post Oak location's aesthetic of "Dr. Seuss on acid," however, and the dining room seems right on track.) Stick with classics like the churrasco steak or the smoky crab claws and try not to stare -- at the enormous booths or the socialites packed into them.
4. Giacomo's Cibo e Vino
Photo by Katharine Shilcutt
We gave Giacomo's a Best of Houston® award for Best Date Night in 2011, and that sentiment still stands. You get a lot of bang for your buck at Lynette Hawkins' cozy, romantic bistro on a quiet stretch of Westheimer thanks to a clever menu that encourages sharing of small, smartly priced plates of Italian classics: eggplant involtini, spaghetti carbonara, swiss chard crepes and more. The wine list is just as affordable as the menu, and there's even a cute wine bar in which to enjoy it.