Show Houston Off: We Share Our Favorite Places to Bring Out-of-Towners for Food & Drinks

Categories: Local Spotlight

moontowerdogs.jpg
Photo by Brooke Viggiano
Beers and sausages at Moon Tower Inn or tacos on the patio at West Alabama Ice House perfectly showcase Houston's laid-back charm.
Nath Pizzolatto: West Alabama Ice House - I've been living in Houston for 15 years, and so I tend to bring visitors to town to the spots I've built the most affection for over that time, rather than the newest or trendiest places. This laid-back beer bar largely populated by regulars, including a significant biker population, is one of my favorite spots when I want to be somewhere welcoming and friendly. It's not a hip place, somewhere to go to see and be seen; it's just a neighborhood icehouse, one that always keeps the beer cold and the vibe warm, and will occasionally host crawfish boils, chili cook-offs, and the like. Plus, while you're there, you can try the barbacoa tacos at the Tierra Caliente truck permanently parked across the street-- only $1.50 each, and for my money, the best barbacoa in town.

The Hay Merchant -- This is where I take beer lovers. The selection and presentation can't be beat, the staff are friendly and knowledgeable, and you can always have some fun coaxing your friends into trying the more adventurous food items, like the pig ears. It's a great way to start (or end, or continue) a night out in Montrose.

Molly Dunn: When my friends and family visit me in Houston, we always seem to end up at Adair Kitchen. It's a casual place, and I know we can easily find a table. The wait staff is friendly and there's something for everyone on the menu. An order of the cheese plate with a bottle of wine to start, followed by a scrumptious plate of chicken enchiladas, or roast chicken and vegetables just like mom made, is how I like to catch up with out-of-town visitors.

Nicholas Hall: I try to take out-of-towners to places that I think make Houston what it is, from a food perspective. I can't see the point in taking visitors to a restaurant they could just as easily visit in any other city, and that goes beyond just chains. Most major cities have a good Italian restaurant, for example. That said, a few of my favorite places for showing off our fair burgh:

Himalaya: Top-notch Indo-Pak is quite a bit harder to come by, and Himalaya has firmly established itself as an essential and essentially Houston restaurant.

Spanish Village/Ninfa's on Navigation: OK, so we all cry about the Tex-Mex and BBQ pigeonholing that goes on, but there are worse reputations to have. We could be known for Five-Way Chili... Seriously, though. TexMex is part of who we are, God bless it, and we need to rep it well.

Gatlin's: See above. Also, I went to school with Greg (senior/freshman split, and we hardly knew each-other, but still). Also, also, people want BBQ in Texas, and I refuse to send them back with tales of mediocre meat.

Chinatown: Yeah, I know that's not a restaurant. That's many restaurants. That fact is it's one of our city's finer bounties, and while you may argue that certain coastal cities have their own versions fit to shame ours, I think it's worth the argument.

Brooke Viggiano: Max's Wine Dive is usually the first stop for long weekenders that want a Friday afternoon brunch. We get fried chicken wings, jalapeno-corn cakes, that stellar egg sandwich and a decently priced bottle of Champagne to kick the weekend off.

We'll usually bar hop around Market Square, then hit up BB's Cafe for late night po' boys and the gravy-queso-and-roast-beef-topped Tex Cajun Virgin fries. Everyone that's had them asks for them on subsequent visits.

Other usual suspects include brewery visits (Saint Arnold's or Karbach), Moon Tower Inn, El Rey for late night/early morning tacos, and the occasional barbecue at Gatlin's or Pizzitola's. We mostly stay in my neighborhood, but next guest that comes into town I'm taking them for pho, crab legs and crawfish at Crawfish & Noodles, whether they like it or not.

What are your go-to spots to bring out-of-towners?

Location Info

Danton's Gulf Coast Seafood Kitchen

4611 Montrose Blvd., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Goode Co. Seafood

10211 Katy Freeway, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

La Mexicana

1018 Fairview, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Goro & Gun - CLOSED

306 Main St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Coppa Osteria

5210 Morningside Drive, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Himalaya Restaurant & Catering

6652 Southwest Fwy, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Wild Cajun Crawfish

6533 Wilcrest Drive, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Saint Arnold Brewery

2000 Lyons Ave., Houston, TX

Category: General

Moon Tower Inn

3004 Canal, Houston, TX

Category: Music

Karbach Brewing Co.

2032 Karbach St., Houston, TX

Category: General

El Rey Taqueria

910 Shepherd, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Max's Wine Dive

4720 Washington Ave., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Spanish Village

4720 Almeda, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

BB's Cafe

2710 Montrose, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Pizzitola's Bar-B-Cue

1703 Shepherd Dr., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Gatlin's BBQ

1221 W. 19th St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

The Original Ninfa's On Navigation

2704 Navigation, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Tacos Tierra Caliente

1919 W. Alabama, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

The Hay Merchant

1100 Westheimer Road, Houston, TX

Category: Music

Adair Kitchen

5161 San Felipe St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

West Alabama Ice House

1919 W. Alabama, Houston, TX

Category: Music

Saigon Pagolac

9600 Bellaire, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Killen's Steakhouse

2804 S. Main, Pearland, TX

Category: Restaurant

Crawfish and Noodles

11360 Bellaire Blvd., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Hugo's

1600 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Kata Robata Sushi & Grill

3600 Kirby, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Tiny Boxwood's Cafe

3614 W. Alabama St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Pho Dien

10623 Bellaire Blvd., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Shanghai Chinese Restaurant

9116 Bellaire Blvd., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Hong Kong Food Street Restaurant

9750 Bellaire Blvd., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

My Voice Nation Help
17 comments
Melissa Powell
Melissa Powell

Miss my home where people cook real food instead of pulling it out of a freezer, half prepared from a factory and then fry it to death.

Jacob Bocanegra
Jacob Bocanegra

oh God at least were not defined by our oil and service jobs...

Closinhtown
Closinhtown

As a Houston native I always say 'nothing to do here but go out to eat and drink'. Amazing selection of restaurants in this town.

Ryan Landis
Ryan Landis

Why doesn't benjys on Washington or benjys in the village get any love!!!???

ManLovesFood
ManLovesFood

As a north sider, we tend to stick around here. It's a blast to take folks to Bluewater Seafood, Captain Tom's and Ma Bien, all on FM 1960. We also love Jimmy G's in Greenspoint for some of the best Gulf Coast/Louisiana seafood in town. Each place has amazing food that's unique to Houston or the Gulf Coast, and all feature a great cross-section of cultures, classes and colors, which is part of what makes Houston so special.

Houstess
Houstess

I wish Himalaya had a beer/wine license at least.  That delicious food cries out for a cool beer or cold wine.  I know it's byob, but I'm not big on schlepping over there myself and drinking it tepid.

wdellinger
wdellinger

Interesting stuff, and useful.

Note to Mai: Killen's cannot possibly 'personify' what a steakhouse should be. Probably couldn't 'embody' it either. Try 'exemplify' or 'typify' or 'epitomize' if you're going to go all word-fancy on us.


mauriciocastillo
mauriciocastillo

How about Cuchara? Their food is awesome and the place is really beautiful

Jp Williams
Jp Williams

The black walnut, Barnabys, chedders

Kathy Stabe
Kathy Stabe

The Hobbit Café for Sunday brunch. So cute, and those pancakes!

Barbara Muirhead
Barbara Muirhead

Perry's for their pork chop, Jus Mac, Captain Toms for Oysters, Hubcap Grill, Central TX BBQ (but might change to Killen's BBQ if I can ever get in to taste some!!!), Food Truck Park, Kelley's Country Cookin' for a breakfast the size of the heads - we tend to go for the 'different' things they can't get at home.

vicksburg
vicksburg

@Houstess  

Many would say Himalaya is overrated. Yes yes I know it's a hole in the the wall but it's rec'd an inordinate amount of press.  One indication of quality? Check the ingredients in their Biryani....not many goodies, and not that superb. 

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