The Rest of the Best: Houston's Top 10 Tapas Restaurants

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7. Merche

Who knew a restaurant tucked into a suburban medical center could be so sophisticated? Merche is a cross between Spain and Italy when it comes to cuisines and has everything from a large al fresco dining area to a fireplace and a water wall. It's a popular date spot, with plenty of elegance to spare. Merche features a tapas menu, wood-fired pizzas, cigars, an extensive wine list, private dining option and plenty of classic dishes at surprisingly affordable prices.

6. Rioja

One of the city's best Spanish restaurants is outside the Loop -- way outside the Loop. But the trip to this oddly located Spanish paradise is entirely worth it. You'd never know once you're inside that Rioja is bordered by some rough apartments and a Fuddrucker's; it's a little slice of Alicante in Houston. And while the paella here is very good (not stupendous, but better than you'll get anywhere else in town), the real treat is the tapas menu. On weekdays, Rioja offers a phenomenal lunch deal: three tapas for $13.95. The patatas bravas and the jamon serrano will make you feel as if you're right back on the Costa Blanca.

5. Andalucia

Veteran restaurateur Youssef Nafaa has created an authentic taverna and tapas bar where guests can party late into the night. With lots of dark wood and wrought iron, it's the perfect place to watch flamenco dancing on weekends. The menu is extensive and features traditional hot and cold tapas like tortilla española, mushrooms sautéed in sherry, potato croquettes, sautéed shrimp in garlic sauce and grilled octopus, to name just a few. Andalucia also serves wonderful paella and the best and strongest sangria in the city.

4. Piqueo

Gerry Sarmiento owns the equally popular Mezzanotte Ristorante, right next door, and offers his fans an entirely different experience with Piqueo than at his longtime Italian restaurant. The menu here is fully Peruvian in tapas-sized portions, with an emphasis on more than just ceviches. You can get everything from gaucho steak to Peruvian-style mussels and homestyle Peruvian beef stew.


Location Info

Vinoteca Poscol

1609 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Giacomo's Cibo e Vino

3215 Westheimer, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

El Meson

2425 University Blvd., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Mi Luna

2441 University Blvd., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Merche

21208 Northwest, Cypress, TX

Category: Restaurant

Rioja

11920 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Andalucia Tapas Restaurant

1201 San Jacinto St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Piqueo Restaurante & Bar

13215 Grant Road, Cypress, TX

Category: Restaurant

Oporto Cafe

3833 Richmond, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

1252 Tapas - CLOSED

1101 Uptown Park Blvd., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

1252 Tapas - CLOSED

110 Vintage Park Blvd., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

1252 Tapas

9595 Six Pines Drive, Spring, TX

Category: Restaurant

Majorca

207 W. Gray, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant


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10 comments
Raven
Raven

Aren't Spain and Italy both on the Mediterranean? And Lebanon, with its amazing mezza dishes? I almost feel like anything served in small quantities could be called tapas? (and I might be called pedantic for mentioning this...)

1252TapasBar
1252TapasBar

Katharine, we are so happy to be included in your list of Top 10 Tapas Restaurant in Houston! Thank you for the great mention. See you soon for tapas & 'tinis!

H_e_x
H_e_x

For the life of me I can never understand why the apartments near Rioja are considered rough. The actual roads, sure, rough, but that's about it.

Tapastapastapas
Tapastapastapas

I love rioja.  My wife and I just ate there last weekend.  The baby lamb chops are ridic and the service is impeccable.  

kshilcutt
kshilcutt moderator editor

@H_e_x My ex-husband lived in the apartments directly next door to Rioja for a year before we were married. It was sort of a modern day slum. The apartments were falling apart. Break-ins (both of cars and homes) were rampant. I still have no idea why he chose to live there, other than the [appropriately] low rent. This was about seven years ago, and I can't imagine that it's improved much since then.

Schnabel
Schnabel

@Tapastapastapas  I like Luis' suckling pig cooked in the China Box...I forget the name in Spanish, but worth visiting for on the weekends.

Schnabel
Schnabel

@kshilcutt @H_e_x  I think that a large number of the Katrina evacuees were settled into that area, including the apartments nearby at Kirkwood/Briar Forest. That could explain it.

mag1124
mag1124

its called a caja china and I have only read about it but have wanted to try it because it sounds delish.  Please tell me - where is this?

mag1124
mag1124

no, lol - i was translating china box and inquiring where it is being served because I must try that too!

Mai Pham
Mai Pham topcommenter

@mag1124 did you say that Rioja does "Caja China?" Must try this.

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