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

3. Oporto Cafe

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Photo by Daniel Kramer
A spread of meat and cheese at Oporto.
Oporto Cafe offers unusual wines and great snacks in a hip, relaxed, cozy atmosphere -- an atmosphere that owners Richard Di Virgilio and Shiva Patel have also perfected at The Queen Vic, their other venture. Oporto's wine list features several selections from Italy and Portugal along with very shareable portions of interesting dishes such as linguiça, the Portuguese sausage, empanadas, meatballs in a saffron-tomato sauce and a bacalhau (salt cod) croquette. Lunch includes excellent pizzas and panini (try the Italiano, with lots of meats, provolone and arugula).


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Photo by Troy Fields
1252 Tapas even makes small, tapas-style boxes at lunch.
2. 1252 Tapas

The Uptown Park location of this suburban import (the other two 1252 Tapas locations are in Cypress and The Woodlands) features a sleek menu of traditional Spanish tapas and a much more urban vibe than its far-flung counterparts. Get the tabla alfonso x if you go with a large group so that you can taste 1252's array of Spanish cheeses and cured meats, or get experimental if you go on your own: morcilla (blood sausage) with apple and Dijon mustard sauce and pulpitos en su tinta (baby octopus sautéed in its own ink) are two favorites. Sangrias and other Spanish standards like empanadas and roasted asparagus are also good bets. And for dessert, 1252 Tapas offers some of the best churros around as well as clever dessert cocktails that you might normally pass up elsewhere.

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Photo by Troy Fields
Albondigas with a fried egg on top at Majorca.
1. Majorca

Named after an island in the Balearic Islands off the coast of Spain, Majorca in Midtown is creating food that was inspired by those islands: tapas. Chef Hicham Nafaa's extensive menu includes typical Spanish classics like paella, albóndigas (meatballs) and gambas con arroz (prawns with rice). In typical tapas fashion, most dishes are small and meant to be shared. On weekends, Majorca offers no-cover live flamenco music, which can be enjoyed while you're sipping a delicious, cinnamon-spiced, house-made sangria. Sunday brunch here is also one of the best values in town, an all-you-can eat Spanish/Mediterranean spread with bottomless mimosas for just $14.95, which can be enjoyed on the lovely patio with live music.



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Location Info

Venue

Map

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

My Voice Nation Help
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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