When dining in Downtown Houston, it can become overwhelming to pick the right spots; as with any major city, there are some amazing and some not-so-amazing eateries.
So how can you sieve through the abundance of choice and narrow it down to the best? With my help, of course.
My knowledge is vast about things to do in Houston, especially when it’s hot spots for dining. Being the food lover I am, I make it my mission to visit as many restaurants as possible wherever I am.
That’s why I have put together this informative guide, using my knowledge and the reviews of others to tell you where to find the most excellent restaurants in Downtown Houston.
Best Restaurants in Downtown Houston – My Recommendations
I put together a list of my favorite establishments to dine at in Downtown Houston.
I’ve included a fabulous assortment of cuisines, some of which will introduce you to magnificent cultural dining and others that accentuate the famous Texan cooking style.
So, whether you enjoy a smokey BBQ or the spices of Asia, they’ll be something for every palate.
Lastly, I’ve looked at each place’s price, so you’ll have a good idea of what you’ll be spending on your meal. I have included something to suit every budget.
Right, let’s dive straight in.
1. Grotto Downtown
|Address||1001 Avenida De Las Americas|
|Food||Pizza, pasta, seafood, bruschetta, soup|
|My Recommendation||Chef’s Board|
I love everything about Italian food, which you’ll already know if you’ve read my other restaurant guides. This place has some of the best I’ve tasted.
As well as fantastic food, this place offers so much more, including a welcoming dining experience and a unique, vibrant atmosphere.
There’s something for everyone here, whether you have a refined palate that enjoys the finer things in life or enjoy the simplicity of a classic Italian pizza. They do everything right on point.
The prices here are slightly on the higher side. However, for the quality of food you receive, along with the service, it’s worth the cost. If you want a good deal, though, they have a happy hour Monday to Friday between 3:00 pm and 7:00, when you can pick up some excellent deals.
If this is your first time to the Grotto, I’d recommend the Chef’s Board so you can get a good sample of multiple foods. It comprises artisan meats, pickles, cheese, almonds, and a beautiful apricot mostarda.
However, if you fancy something a little more classical, the Short Rib Gnocchi comes highly recommended; it’s rich, flavorsome, and incredibly filling.
|Address||401 Franklin Street, Suite A, Houston, TX 77201|
|Food||West African, curry, jambalaya, rice dishes|
|My Recommendation||Motherland Curry|
ChopnBlok exhibits exceptional West African cuisine, done to an extremely high standard. Before visiting this place, this was the first time I had had this style of food in Houston, and I haven’t since. This place stands head and shoulder above others in terms of excellence.
The menu here is cool and quirky while boasting crisp and clean dishes. For example, my recommendation, the Motherland Curry, is beautifully light and creamy yet delectable and decadent. The sauce is slightly spiced, yet not overpowering, and the meat was cooked to perfection; this is the standard theme for everything on their menu.
On top of the outstanding food, the service is impeccable, the staff is attentive and friendly, and everyone is on hand to deliver an excellent experience from start to finish.
3. Theodore Rex
|Address||1302 Nance Street, Unit A, Houston, TX 77002|
|Food||Fine dining, French, dumplings, glazed chicken, gulf snapper|
|My Recommendation||Soured Pork Sausage|
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I think you can’t beat an elegant meal and a bit of fine dining. The problem is that sometimes these places can feel too fancy if you prefer a casual, relaxed atmosphere. If that’s the case for you, you’ll love Theodore Rex.
You’ll likely never have tasted flavor combinations like the ones you get here. My favorite is the soured pork sausage with chorizo, cucumber, and lime leaf. Another excellent choice is the roast chicken leg in French curry with crispy potatoes.
The restaurant is in the perfect location for enjoying some incredible Houston nightlife, with many live music venues, historic bars, and great entertainment.
Regarding the price, despite this being a fine-dining establishment, the cost is more than reasonable. The main courses are all under $28.00; you can enjoy a smaller plate for around $15.00.
Mexican food is a great, social way to dine; everything is sharing style, vibrant, appealing, and flavorful.
It’s a Mexican restaurant with a difference because instead of the Tex-Mex you might be thinking of, it’s focused on food from the city of Oaxaca, a cultural spectacle of a town in Mexico.
Not only is this restaurant diverse in its cuisine, but it strives to serve only the freshest, locally sourced ingredients for its dishes. The pasta is homemade, and their fish is caught daily.
The restaurant itself is ambient and theatrical, and so is the display of food that’s presented on the plate. The chef does an excellent job of inspiring and wowing their guests with their jaw-dropping dishes.
As you’ve probably guessed from how I’ve been describing this restaurant, the prices are a little high; this also comes from the fact it’s situated within the grand Marriott Marquis Hotel. However, if you’re treating it as a special occasion, then it will seem alright. The most expensive plates are the main courses, which can equate to around $35.00 to $45.00 for a main course.
However, it’s okay if you want to dine on a budget. There is a Happy Hour Tuesday to Friday between 4:00 pm and 6:00 pm, where you can get some great plates of food for under $10.00. Be sure to check out the cocktail menu, too; some great choices exist. I have to recommend the Xochi Rita.
5. The Rustic
|Address||1836 Polk Street, Houston, TX 77003|
|Food||Texan, tacos, sandwiches, meatballs, burgers, crab cakes|
|My Recommendation||The Drunk Chick|
The name of this place explains a lot about its style of cooking. Rustic, chic, stand out, and edgy while sticking to the classic Texas flavors we all know and love.
I could recommend many dishes on this menu; however, I’ve opted for the one that I know sells out almost every weekend, The Drunk Chick. It’s served with jalapeno spoon bread and delectable ancho-lime butter. This dish is spectacular, and the flavors are insane; you’ll also be surprised at how well a chicken can be cooked.
Aside from the succulent chicken, there’s plenty more to spoil you. The Mushroom Chop is an excellent choice for vegetarians, served with homemade chimichurri and roasted garlic, and the Pecan Crusted Striped Bass is out of this world.
Regarding the expense, it’s nothing out of reach. It’s pretty rational. In particular, the tacos are an outstanding deal at less than $16.00. These fillings include smoked brisket, slow-cooked pork, and oregano chicken.
6. Lyric Market
|Address||411 Smith Street, Houston, TX 77002|
|Food||Cocktails, Po-boy, Mexican, fried chicken, waffles, burgers, sushi|
|My Recommendation||Hamachi Wrapped Sushi Roll|
Well, where do I even begin with this place? Suppose you’re looking for variety or dining with a selection of people with different preferences. In that case, it’s the best place to be. It has something to suit every palate and partiality.
It’s the first time I’ve eaten at a place like this, but they serve dishes like sushi alongside fried chicken and burgers and do it successfully.
Lyric Market food hall is popular with food lovers from all over the U.S., some of whom travel far and wide to experience the culinary art of street food.
The market allows chefs and vendors to showcase their work by serving amazing-tasting food to the general public for a great, affordable price.
So, if you’re an enthusiastic food lover like myself, get down to Lyric Market at the next opportunity.
7. Huynh Restaurant
|Address||912 St Emanuel St, Houston, TX 77003|
|Food||Vietnamese, grilled meats, noodle bowls, rice plates, beef ribs|
|My Recommendation||Pho - Beef Noodle Soup|
Huynh Restaurant is an authentic Vietnamese eatery with some of the best, most classical, and traditional cuisine. I challenge you to find a better one in Downtown Houston.
The atmosphere and chilled-out vibe in this place make it welcoming, which explains why guests frequent the restaurant time and time again.
The food is next to none, it can’t be compared with anywhere else in the city, and if you want to get a proper understanding of the bona fide dining of Vietnam, this is the place to get it.
Alongside the atmosphere, fun vibes, and outstanding food, the prices are pretty unbeatable too, and they have some great deals. Each dish is also available in a regular or large portion. If I’m honest, the standard size is plentiful for most, certainly for me.
The beef pho is some of the best I’ve ever sampled, and this is my go-to dish whenever I’m eating Vietnamese, so I’ve eaten my fair share. You can do this with several meat cuts, but I’d recommend the skirt flank.
To Sum Up
So, the next time you’re in Downtown Houston, or if you’ve got an upcoming trip to this part of the city, hopefully now you’ve got a good enough selection for dining options. If you’ve enjoyed reading about the best restaurants in Downtown Houston, do look at some of my other informative guides, such as 8 Best Indian Restaurants in Houston and A Complete Guide to The 5 Best Museums in Houston.