The Ultimate Guide to Eating & Drinking Outdoors

When spring has sprung, these 10 alfresco spots will be some of the hottest real estate in town
March 13, 2014
by Amber Ambrose

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.


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


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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