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.