The 12 Best Brunches in Houston

From a Creole food specialist to a Mexican seafood hot spot
April 26, 2016
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by Zagat Staff

A stellar brunch makes the weekend that much better. From a Creole food specialist to a Galleria hot spot serving coastal Mexican fare and a lavish hotel spread, here are top-notch choices for eggs, waffles, decadent desserts, cocktails and more.

Common Bond Café & Bakery
Breakfast · Montrose · $$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.3 · Service 4.0

“No baked goods are left behind” at this charming, modern Montrose cafe/bakery that turns out “excellent baguettes” , “amazing croissants” , “truly addictive sandwich offerings” and quite possibly “the best chocolate chip cookie of all time” ; “the lines get long” on weekend mornings, when locals flock for the “impressive brunch.”
Caracol Restaurant
Mexican · Galleria · $$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.5 · Service 4.3

Seafood gets an upscale spin at this “happening” Galleria Mexican that some say has “emerged as one of the best new restaurants” in town; housed on the ground floor of a sleek tower, the “vibrant” space boasts a “fun atmosphere” and several distinct areas, including an oyster bar, a private wine room and a traditional bar mixing “eclectic” drinks.
Hugo's
Mexican · Montrose · $$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.5 · Service 4.5

Definitely “not your typical Mexican restaurant” , this longtime, upscale Montrose hot spot showcases chef Hugo Ortega’s “imaginative” south-of-the-border cuisine that “consistently surprises you with interesting combinations and new flavors” ; the “excellent tequila, mezcal and wine lists” fuel the “fun, festive” atmosphere (hence the dining room can get “noisy” ); P.S. Sunday brunch is “fantastic” , so call ahead for reservations.
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.”
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.”
Benjy's
American · Rice Village · $$
Food 4.4 · Decor 4.3 · Service 4.3

“Innovative, modern” New American fare plus a “really fun” cocktail list and a “comfortable” yet “chic” setting combine at these popular standbys; the “young and hip” arrive for “first-date drinks, brunch with the family and dinner with friends” , and it’s a “favorite happy-hour spot” too.
Baba Yega Cafe
Breakfast · Montrose · $$
Food 4.1 · Decor 4.1 · Service 4.1

“Tucked away” in the heart of Montrose, this “wonderful neighborhood eatery” serves “casual, eclectic” American fare ( “excellent for both vegans and carnivores” ), including a bounteous, “amazing” Sunday brunch; the “comfy” interior is “filled with antiques” and there’s a “pretty backyard garden” too, both with a “relaxed, fun atmosphere.”
Tout Suite
East Houston · $$

Sister of the popular bakery Sweet, this Downtown cafe similarly offers French macarons, cupcakes and other desserts, as well as savory items like avocado toast and farm-fresh salads. The hip coffeehouse setting also provides WiFi and plentiful seating for the laptop set, including community tables with lots of outlets.
MAX's Wine Dive Houston - Washington Ave.
Brunch · Washington Corridor · $$
Food 4.0 · Decor 3.5 · Service 3.9

This "cool" mini-chain matches "unique" , "tasty" Eclectic small plates with "affordable wines" , yielding "fun" combos like fried chicken and champagne; all agree that prices are pleasing, but the "cramped" setting and downright "deafening" acoustics make it best for the "under-30" set.
BRC Gastropub
Gastropub · Washington Corridor · $$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.1 · Service 4.1

This “fun local pub” in the Washington Corridor offers “plentiful” portions of “mouthwatering” American bar fare (burgers, mac ’n’ cheese and “two words: bacon jam” ) plus a “huge” selection of “yummy craft beers” on tap; the “interior is functional” , but the atmosphere is lively, so much so that “noise levels can skyrocket” when it’s busy.
State of Grace
American · River Oaks · $$$

Atlanta chef Ford Fry brings an upscale taste of the Hill Country to tony River Oaks with a raw bar, iconic Texas grilled specialties (from quail to Gulf fish) and a nod to Tex-Mex traditions. The spacious European hunting lodge–meets-brasserie environs boast an inviting white marble bar, an oval oyster room and curtain-drawn dining areas with leather banquettes and brass tabletops.