Houston's Best Outdoor Dining

August 29, 2016
·
by Zagat Staff

Dine in the sunshine. 

Backstreet Cafe
Brunch · River Oaks · $$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.3 · Service 4.4

A "favorite" in River Oaks, this bistro draws a "casual yet well-heeled crowd" for a "broad and diverse menu" of American fare – including "Southern- and Mexican-inspired dishes that always shine" – and an "extensive" wine list that’s "among the best in the city" ; the setting, in a "secluded and warm" former residence, features a "quaint courtyard" that's long been a "perfect locale for a weekend brunch" and is "especially magical at night.
Brennan's of Houston
Cajun · Midtown · $$$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.8 · Service 4.8

An "way to visit New Orleans" without leaving town, this "peerless" Creole classic in Midtown combines "impeccable old-school service" , an "elegant setting" in a structure designed to evoke the Vieux Carré and "outstanding" food that includes – but goes well beyond – the "holy trinity of turtle soup, eggs Benedict and bananas Foster" (plus cocktails that'll "knock you off your barstool" ); the prices are "expense-account heaven" , but hey, "it’s more than just a meal, it’s an experience.
Brenner's on the Bayou
Brunch · Washington Corridor
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.5 · Service 4.5

Though they're "neither exciting nor new" , these "staple" chophouses from the Landry chain keeps fans returning for "excellent" steaks; the West Houston locale has been around since 1936, while the more dramatic Washington Corridor branch is perched above Buffalo Bayou with a "wonderful view of the green, luscious grounds" – and both offer "attentive" service.
Tiny Boxwoods
Greenway Plaza Area · $$
Food 4.1 · Decor 4.3 · Service 3.9

Filled with "mommies who lunch" and other well-heeled types, this "charming" outfit remains a "favorite" thanks to its "interesting" , "lovely" American-Eclectic menu that includes salads, pizzettes and proteins; sporting rustic-chic decor, the "peaceful, relaxing" setting "doesn’t try too hard to be cool, it just is.
Kata Robata
Japanese · Upper Kirby · $$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.1 · Service 4.4

Excellent sushi and other Japanese delicacies " from Manabu Horiuchi and his staff keep this Upper Kirby hot spot " deservedly always crowded "; the warm interior is sophisticated yet " feels very relaxing ", and there’s a tranquil patio too; P.S. during the daytime, the " lunch bento is a great value.
Tiny's No. 5
West U · $$
Food 4.1 · Decor 4.3 · Service 3.9

Filled with "mommies who lunch" and other well-heeled types, this "charming" outfit remains a "favorite" thanks to its "interesting" , "lovely" American-Eclectic menu that includes salads, pizzettes and proteins; the "peaceful, relaxing" setting, featuring rustic-chic decor, "doesn’t try too hard to be cool, it just is.
The Grove
American · Downtown · $$
Food 4.1 · Decor 4.4 · Service 4.1

Nestled among trees in the middle of Discovery Green " and across the street from the George R. Brown Convention Center, this sleek Downtown New American from chef Robert Del Grande (RDG + Bar Annie) offers a menu of " delicious food and crafty cocktails that are worth a splurge "; the contemporary digs may seem suited for " a corporate party ", but if you can snag a patio table " you’re in for a lovely experience", no matter the reason you’re there.