Hottest Restaurants in Houston

From flying-off-the-shelf barbecue to specialty bagels and Filipino street food
February 16, 2018
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by Zagat Staff

Though new openings took a bit of a breather recently, things are heating back up with stellar selections from unique fusion burgers and fancy pub grub to snazzy brunches and sell-out 'cue. Here's a taste of where to eat now in H-town.

Harlem Road Texas BBQ
Barbecue · $$

Wood from retired French oak red wine barrels lends signature smoke to brisket, ribs, housemade sausage and other meats at this understated barbecue joint in Richmond where extras include standards of beans, potato salad, slaw and essential butterscotch chocolate chip cookies. Reclaimed materials and handmade fixtures highlight the intimate and homey counter-serve space that serves until sold out.
Golden Bagels & Coffee
Bagel · Heights · $

New York–style bagels in classic flavors are the focus of this Heights deli offering all the trimmings, including cream cheese, lox and eggs, along with coffee drinks, in a simple, modern setting with a colorful mural and table seating.
Holman Draft Hall
Bar · Midtown · $

Draft beers and wines fill the 100 taps at this stylish Midtown beer hall from The Kirby Group (Wooster's Garden, Heights Biergarten), which also serves modern shareable plates like Tandoori nachos, 12 flavors of wings and fusion sandwiches. Chic accents like steel and glass offset private and communal reclaimed wooden tables and colorful velvet seating.
Flip 'n Patties
Filipino · West Houston · $

Find flavorful spins on Filipino fare with fun names like flipanadas and Spamislog plus gourmet burgers on housemade steamed buns, garlic rice plates and loaded fries at this colorful Westside outpost of the popular food truck. Cheerful custom murals anchor the modern-rustic space where seating includes counter, booth and a large communal table.
Nancy's Hustle
New American · EaDo · $$$

New American and European cuisine comes in varying sizes of shareable plates (housemade pasta, roasted meats and seafood, raclette) at this modern EaDo bistro, which also offers house cocktails, all-natural wines, ciders and sherrys. The minimalist interior features lots of polished concrete and a bar made from a reclaimed bowling alley.
Emmaline
New American · Montrose · $$$

Modern European and American cuisine joins an extensive wine list, craft beers and small-batch spirits in this charming Midtown eatery set in a vintage neighborhood building. Wood, leather, green marble and live plants maintain a casually elegant vibe between the intimate bar, posh dining room, relaxed sunroom and dog-friendly patio.
Theodore Rex
New American · Downtown · $$$

A rotating daily menu of globally inspired comfort fare is the draw at this intimate kitchen, which offers a mixture of small and large shareable plates, plus an international wine selection. Brick walls and high ceilings give a rustic feel to the cozy space, headlined by pendant lights and a long, patterned banquette.
AQUI
Asian · Montrose · $$$

Austin-based chef Paul Aqui makes his Houston debut with this sophisticated Montrose spot serving upscale takes on Southeast Asian fare such as noodles, dumplings, seafood and vegetable dishes, alongside craft cocktails. The coolly modern dining room features a cathedral ceiling, floor-to-ceiling windows and lots of glass and blond wood throughout.
Kukuri
Japanese · Washington Corridor · $$$$

High-end sushi and sashimi headline this Washington Avenue venue that offers elevated omakase tasting menus of cold and hot Japanese dishes, plus à la carte meat and vegetable selections, alongside beer, wine and plum wine. High ceilings, rough walls and exposed ducts create an industrial vibe, while blond woods provide a sophisticated, minimalist edge.
Dish Society
American · Memorial · $
Food 4.2 · Decor 3.8 · Service 3.8

“Following the locavore trend” by “featuring whatever may be fresh and locally grown” , these “cool, casual” New American spots offer “creative plates and beverages” via counter service for breakfast and lunch and table service at dinnertime (they also host weekend brunch); the Briargrove original's industrial-chic space with high ceilings and an open kitchen is appealing, but when it fills up, it can get “loud.”