New & Hot Places

Hottest Restaurants in Houston

Head to the 10 hottest restaurants in Houston for upscale Oaxacan cuisine, stylish steak and a lobster tasting with Indian flair.

One Fifth Steak

NewSteakhouseMontrose
Chris Shepherd (Underbelly) expands his presence in Montrose with this swanky steakhouse serving a nose-to-tail menu of steaks and chops, sides, wood-fired seafood and raw bar items alongside wine and craft cocktails. A dark palette of mahogany, zinc, red and steel blue accentuates the circa-1927 former church, while 19 custom art pieces appear throughout the space, which also includes a choir loft for service and private events.

Must-order: Lamb Wellington ($42) offers a tasty spin on tradition with Creole mustard, crimini mushrooms and hard squash purée. 

Insider tip: Gather a group and order the Baller Board, which comes loaded with chef's choice of proteins and sides. The giant wooden board feeds six to eight people and requires two servers to bring it to the table. Cost varies per daily selection.

Xochi

NewMexicanDowntown
Modern twists on traditional Oaxacan cuisine anchor this luxe restaurant and bar from Hugo Ortega (Hugo's, Backstreet, Caracol) that serves tlayudas (large tortillas covered in toppings) plus elevated enchiladas, seafood, barbacoa and tamales alongside creative cocktails. Subdued tones of gray, black, cream and light wood are offset by colorful Mexican folk art, and an intimate patio offers views of nearby Discovery Park.

Must-order: Tlayudas, or oversized thin tortillas, are a popular street food in Oaxaca. Here they come topped with assorted items like skirt steak, roasted mushrooms or shredded chicken with mole negro (prices vary per topping selection). 

Insider tip: Create your own midday meal with the two for $22 lunch menu offering scallops in mole verde, a half-dozen wood-roasted oysters and corn soup.

Killen's STQ

NewNew AmericanBriargrove
Chef Ronnie Killen (Killen's Barbecue) branches out of Pearland with this polished Briargrove kitchen, serving up steaks and other elevated dishes making creative use of wood-fired meats – think smoked short-rib ravioli – plus smoke-kissed sides and desserts. Luxe linens and cutlery add sophistication to the intimately lit space, with an open kitchen and a bar offering a lengthy selection of beer, wine and cocktails.

Must-order: The meaty beef short-rib tamale ($12) was originally dreamed up during a cooking competition several years back. It comes topped with a rich brisket chili and cotija cheese.

Insider tip: Time it right and you can get your hands on three off-menu items including short-rib burnt ends caramelized with brown sugar and tossed in espresso habanero BBQ sauce, foie gras with celery-apple grits or miso-aged beef skewers. Availability is never guaranteed, but if the ingredients are in the house, the kitchen will prepare them upon request.

Kiran's Restaurant

NewIndianUpper Kirby
Relocated from its former Galleria home, Kiran Verma’s Upper Kirby kitchen reflects “upscale India at its best”, showcasing an “elegant fusion of traditional Indian cuisine with modern cooking techniques and presentations” including on tasting menus; factor in a “terrific wine list” and a stylish interior with an expanded bar and a private wine cellar dining room, and it’s perfect for a “romantic dinner” or afternoon high tea.

Must-order: The lobster tasting menu (MP) available at dinner offers five decadent courses highlighting the luxurious crustacean including a tandoori lobster tail with saag paneer ravioli plus dessert.

Insider tip: Lunch and dinner are bustling affairs, but opting for afternoon tea (now available Fridays and Saturdays) offers a quieter experience with a multicourse food and beverage pairing.

Eloise Nichols Grill & Liquors

NewGalleria
Named for the owners’ Texan grandmother, this roomy corner outpost near The Galleria serves menus inspired by her recipes, such as dumplings, pickled vegetables and a rotation of East, West and Gulf coast oysters. Three walls of windows anchor the airy space, which features golden wood, fresh flowers, a black soapstone bar and vintage 1940s design accents.

Must-order: The chicken and dumplings ($18) offer a creative twist on tradition with layers of whole wheat gnocchi, roasted baby carrots, three kinds of wild mushrooms and skinless chicken thighs served in a personal cast-iron skillet.

Insider tip: A large focal wall of picture frames currently showcases a repeating image of Eloise Nichols, the restaurant's namesake, but over time these will be replaced by photos of regular guests.

Night Market Curry & Grill

NewAsianChinatown
Curries including coconut brisket and pork belly are the signature at this Asiatown cafe that also serves grilled specialties like masala paneer and five-spice rib-eye with sides like keema fries smothered in brisket. Raw wood, metal and cement accent a cozy space modeled after night markets in Asia.

Must-order: Coconut brisket curry ($12) features flavors of onion, Thai chile pineapple and coconut cream. Sop up the curry with made-to-order naan in classic, garlic butter or chile bullet.

Insider tip: Regular hours are not posted, so consult the red neon business sign especially late at night — if it's on, the restaurant is open.

Hops Meet Barley

Upper Kirby
More than 40 rotating beers on tap plus bombers, hard cider, wine and cocktails set the tone at this casual Upper Kirby hideaway that also serves elevated pub grub such as panko-crusted cheese curds and burgers with creative toppings. Flat-screen TVs, a projection screen and foosball offer entertainment in the mellow interior while an enclosed dog-friendly patio welcomes four-legged friends.

Must-order: Drink your beer and eat it too with the IPA grilled onion burger ($12), topped with sautéed beer onions and housemade beer cheese sauce.

Insider tip: Find exclusive special allocation brews on a regular basis alongside more than 150 bottles including 40 craft beers on tap. 

The Pit Room

BarbecueMontrose
Smoked brisket, ribs and three kinds of housemade sausage headline the menu at this Montrose BBQ joint also offering tacos, chili, classic sides and a complimentary pickle bar, plus draft beer, wine, lemonade and cold-brew coffee. The rustic-casual space features iron and natural wood accents, bench or stool seating and a front patio overlooking busy Richmond Avenue.

Must-order: The two-meat BBQ plate ($14.95) with smoked brisket and homemade sausage offers a cross section of Central Texas–style 'cue.

Insider tip: Look for collaborations with local businesses like Buffalo Bayou Brewing Company's Smoke on the Bayou beer made with malt smoked at The Pit Room.

Pi Pizza

PizzaWashington Corridor
Signature pizzas made with exotic ingredients (think blackberries and fennel pollen) are the hook at this hip Washington Corridor hangout, where the playful menu also includes fried mac ’n’ cheese balls and liquor-infused ice cream. Spun off from a popular food truck, the cheerful, orange-and-turquoise space features custom skateboard artwork and a bar turning out frozen and bottled cocktails, craft beer and wine.

Must-order: Sweet meets savory in the Outdoorsman pie, which combines cheese, Broken Arrow Ranch venison sausage and cherries in a port wine syrup. It's as addictive as it is unusual. 

Insider tip: Pair fancy pizza with drinks to match, including four frozen cocktails and six bottled cocktails. Even dessert gets tipsy with four spiked ice creams from Lee's Creamery.

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