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The Ultimate Guide to Eating & Drinking Outdoors

By Amber Ambrose
March 13, 2014

Spring has almost sprung, and when it finally kicks in the doors of winter, you can bet the farm we'll be enjoying a meal or a drink on one of Houston's many patios. Living in a mild climate means an endless amount of alfresco dining opportunities, and we intend to take full advantage. Here are 10 spots around town where enjoying the outdoors is part of the experience.

  • Batanga

    Neighborhood: Downtown
    The View: A brick-paved courtyard with views of the bustling Downtown scene, Market Square Park and the Clock Tower
    What to Drink and/or Eat: Duck confit arepas with a sour cherry mole, pickled chayote and queso fresco ($12), and a pineapple mojito ($8)

    908 Congress St.; 713-224-9500

  • Brenner’s on the Bayou

    Neighborhood: Memorial
    The View: A deck overlooking the lush and beautiful area just off Buffalo Bayou near Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens
    What to Drink and/or Eat: Try to hit up happy hour from 5 to 7 PM on weekdays for $5 cocktails like the St. Tropez with citrus vodka, elderflower liqueur, triple sec and tonic ($5 happy hour, $9 regular) and a small plate of veal and ricotta meatballs ($5).

    1 Birdsall St.; 713-868-4444

  • The Grove

    Neighborhood: Downtown
    The View: The beautiful landscape of Discovery Green park
    What to Drink and/or Eat: Skewered Texas quail served with bacon, queso fresco and red chiles ($11.50), and a glass of prosecco ($10)

    1611 Lamar St.; 713-337-7321

  • Grappino Di Nino

    Neighborhood: Montrose
    The View: A secluded courtyard with a European vibe
    What to Drink and/or Eat: Arancini (rice balls stuffed with cheese and fried) ($7), proscuitto flatbread with arugula and Parmesan ($11), and a glass of wine

    2817 W. Dallas St.; 713-522-5120

  • Niko Niko’s Market Square Park

    Neighborhood: Downtown
    The View: The scenic Market Square Park, with plenty of green space, fountains, mosaic artwork, passersby and even a dog park at the far end
    What to Drink and/or Eat: Gyro breakfast pita with potatoes, an egg sunny-side-up, tomatoes and grilled onions ($5.25) with a double espresso ($2.08)

    301 Milam St.; 713-224-4976

  • Rainbow Lodge

    Neighborhood: The Heights
    The View: A wooded area that feels like it’s right in the middle of the forest
    What to Drink an/ord Eat: Buffalo tartare with quail egg, crunchy capers and potato crisps ($14), and hibiscus margarita ($10)

    2011 Ella Blvd.; 713-861-8666

  • Onion Creek

    Neighborhood: The Heights
    The View: Cozy picnic tables, umbrellas for shade and a mostly insulated outdoor area great for groups and lazy Sunday drinking
    What to Drink and/or Eat: A Big Nasty burger with double Havarti cheese, grilled onions, mushrooms, applewood bacon, horseradish mayo and barbecue sauce ($12), and a pint of draft beer from a local brewery

    3106 White Oak Dr.; 713-880-0706

  • Brooklyn Athletic Club 

    Neighborhood: Museum District
    The View: Bocce ball courts, people out looking to mingle, a small putting green and a Ping-Pong setup
    What to Drink and/or Eat: A martini and PEI mussels and fries ($18)

    601 Richmond Ave.; 713-527-4440

  • Brasil

    Neighborhood: Montrose
    The View: A nicely enclosed space with tons of shade, trees and a smattering of trendily dressed hipsters
    What to Drink and/or Eat: Brasil Benedict with two poached eggs, grilled tomatoes and hollandaise on an English muffin with your choice of salmon, prosciutto or bacon and roasted potatoes ($9), plus a café au lait ($2.75)

    2604 Dunlavy St.; 713-528-1993

  • Backstreet Cafe

    Neighborhood: River Oaks
    The View: A sprawling courtyard with a peacefully flowing fountain and plenty of umbrellas for shade
    What to Drink and Eat: A seasonal cocktail and duck spring rolls ($9.50)

    1103 S. Shepherd Dr.; 713-521-2239

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Places Mentioned

Backstreet Cafe

American • River Oaks

Food26 Decor24 Service25 Cost$39
 
 
 
Nino's

Italian • Montrose

Food27 Decor22 Service25 Cost$39
 
 
 
Onion Creek

Bar • Heights

Atmo.24 Decor22 Service22 CostM
 
 
 
Food25 Decor14 Service18 Cost$18
 
 
 
Brooklyn Athletic Club

American • Montrose

Food- Decor- Service- CostM
 
 
 
Rainbow Lodge

American • Heights

Food26 Decor27 Service25 Cost$54
 
 
 
Batanga

Latin American • Downtown

Food- Decor- Service- CostM
 
 
 
Brenner's Steakhouse

Washington Corridor

Food27 Decor26 Service25 Cost$59
 
 
 
 
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