When you're hot, you're hot. And while it's great that the Houston dining scene is bustling, it's sad news when diners can't get a table. Lucky for you, we've got the insider tips on how to snag a seat at six of the busiest hot spots in town.
Why it's hot: The upscale, white-tablecloth bistro in River Oaks draws a trendy crowd, great for dining on French fare and people-watching. Scoring a table isn't always easy, especially since the restaurant was recently named one of the best places in the U.S. to meet a rich husband.
How to hack it: Call or book online on B-19's website a few days in advance. Also, patio seating is first-come, first-serve.
1962 W. Gray St.; 713-524-1919
Why it's hot: This Galleria kitchen is one of Zagat Houston's most-searched restaurants thanks to chef Hugo Ortega's excellent Mexican coastal cooking, plenty of raw seafood offerings and a drink list by standout sommelier Sean Beck.
How to hack it: It's no surprise that the dining room books up early (around two weeks in advance), since reservations are accepted up to two months ahead of time. For last-minute dining, grab a seat at the bar, where the full menu is also available.
2200 Post Oak Blvd.; 713-622-9996
Why it's hot: People flock to the Heights-area gem for a menu that shines with locally grown and raised vegetables and meats, plus stellar pizzas and pastas. The only downside? There's a no-reservations policy and the space seats a maximum of around 40.
How to hack it: Waits are shortest if you dine early or dine late. Leave your cell number with the host, who will send you a text when your table is ready.
3320 White Oak Dr.; 713-637-4095
Why it's hot: This Austin import at lower Westheimer — serving some of the finest Japanese food in town — has been in high demand since it opened in 2012.
How to hack it: Check out OpenTable to book three to four weeks out, or call the restaurant directly if you need something further in the future. If you're going to leave it to luck, show up Sunday through Wednesday when the wait time averages 30 to 45 minutes tops. The wait ramps up around 6:30 or 7 PM, so get there when doors open at 5 PM. Bonus: you'll be there in time for happy hour.
904 Westheimer Rd.; 713-522-4808
Why it's hot: It's nearly impossible to get a table at the cozy, industrial-chic restaurant in Downtown’s Warehouse District, but those who do get to take part in creative tasting menus (one veggie-friendly, one not) created by innovative chefs Justin Yu and Karen Man.
How to hack it: Lucky for us all, they take reservations up to a month in advance (get ready, June reservations start on May 1). You can also call between 2 and 5 PM on Thursday to Monday. So while it takes some pre-planning, the dream can be a reality in about 30 days.
1302 Nance St.; 832-830-8592
Why it's hot: You know it's a hot spot when you spot the likes of Houston Texan's defensive end JJ Watt noshing on sushi and other refined Japanese delicacies. Showing up two hours early is necessary as the waitlist goes up to an hour and a half.
How to hack it: Dining in between services at offbeat hours is your best bet for getting in (try a late lunch or early dinner). Otherwise, while you can just show up, you're in for a wait no matter what day of the week. Patience is mandatory.
3600 Kirby Dr.; 713-526-8858