What's hot in Houston for foodies

Renate Ruge

Renate Ruge

Serving international vibes with a dollop of southern charm, Houston's historic neighbourhoods and up-and-coming hubs hold the key to this cosmopolitan city's diverse food scene.

Skyscrapers of Downtown Houston
Skyscrapers of Downtown Houston © F11photo - Adobe Stock Image

What's more, as there's no ethnic majority, you can order the world on a plate and delve into a melting pot of global flavours. Here's our breakdown of where to go and what to eat with a side of unmissable sights and museums in the heart of America's Space City.

Getting to Houston: don't miss the current savings on flights* and holidays to Houston* from London Heathrow with British Airways, which flies direct in around 10 hours.


The vibe

Houston's Downtown skyline (this city has three it's so big) is peppered with shiny skyscrapers jostling for space with smart hotels.

Below, a buzzy restaurant and bar scene and a cornucopia of food halls lie at its feet, and if the city streets seem quiet, it's because the worker bees go underground to beat the heat.

The bright lights of The Rustic
The bright lights of The Rustic © Houston First Corporation

Follow them to a warren of tunnels where Houstonians refuel on salads and sushi in subterranean cafés. Come rush hour, after-work margaritas and sizzling hanger steaks await at 'everything's bigger in Texas*' bar-be-cue joints like RUSTIC.

Then & now

It's hard to imagine the Downtown of yesteryear, a dusty rough and tumble place filled with saloons that now serves as the region's central business hub.

Houston* was briefly the state capital in 1837. Then the railroads came, cotton was king and in 1901 oil was discovered and the shipping canal, built in 1914, connected the city to the Gulf of Mexico.


Get about on Metrorail to take in performances at the Grand Opera, or ballet, while sports fans can cheer on the Rockets basketball team at Toyota Center or Astros baseball side at Minute Maid Park.

Discovery Green Park is Houston's answer to Central Park, outfitted with Wi-Fi and where you can stretch out at a yoga class, shop at the farmers' or vintage markets and skate around the ice rink in winter.


Sample Houston on a plate under one roof at Post HTX, a reimagined space in a converted mail room.

At its neon-lit Post Food Market, a collection of mini restaurants offers a smorgasbord of choice: burgers with the works and not-so-skinny fries at Johnny Good Burger or Gulf seafood bounty with a Nordic edge at Golfstrømmen.

For delicious West African coconut chicken curry make for ChòpnBlọk and retire to the rooftop garden to be rewarded with 360° city views.


The vibe

H-town's bohemia is quirky Montrose, an artsy, LGBTQ-friendly neighbourhood. Shop for trinkets in thrift and vintage stores as old as the preloved clothes they sell, like Leopard Lounge, before opting for one of the independent restaurants and bars, anchored by the main drag Westheimer Road.

Then & now

Often described as 'the Heart of the City', this four-square-mile area developed in 1911 as a residential suburb filled with beautiful old houses has blossomed into a leafy pocket of eccentricity and diversity.


Seek out dark secrets underground at Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern, once a municipal drinking water reservoir built in the 1920s.

This cavernous underground space with over 200 towering concrete columns was recently restored for art installations. Tours are captivating. Back outside, glistening skyscrapers tower over the skaters looping around the skate park.

A few blocks south of Westheimer is the exceptional Menil Collection a series of elegant art galleries, one designed by Renzo Piano. Wonder at the mega collection of some 16,000 pieces of modern art in a quiet space flooded with natural light by the likes of Andy Warhol and Cy Twombly.

At the nearby tranquil Rothko Chapel, religion, architecture and art by American artist Mark Rothko blend to create a spiritual spot for the community.


Pop into laidback vinyl lounge bar 93 Til for a 'Sugar Baby' cocktail with tunes. Japanese food fans will swoon at destination restaurant Uchi and the omakase experience at next-door Oheya.

Tasty dumplings at Xin Chào
Tasty dumplings at Xin Chào © Houston First Corporation

While nearby, at Xin Chào, US MasterChef champion and owner of The Blind Goat, Christine Ha's crispy duck salad is worth a detour. Her Nguyen-er Nguyen-er, fried chicken dinner with a Vietnamese twist is also a winner.

Not limited to bricks-and-mortar dining, Houston's food trucks provide tasty meals on wheels. Think crowd-pleasing casual eats like top-notch tacos and vegan bar-be-cue'd jackfruit or a refreshing shaved ice.


The vibe

Midtown is Houston's cultural heart, a colourful hub of arts and entertainment signposted by vibrant street art murals by local artists like the astronaut spray painting "I <3 HOU" by Donkeeboy.

The famous 'I <3 HOU' artwork by Donkeeboy
The famous 'I <3 HOU' artwork by Donkeeboy © Houston First Corporation

Then & now

As the city expanded during the 1970s Midtown became a multicultural hub, reflected in its diverse food scene with Vietnamese, African American and Latin influences ever present.

Since the '80s, the place 'not to go' reinvented itself as 'the place to be'. Head to the old grocery store, now Axelrad, a bar and concert venue, and a disused gas station transformed into Retrospect Coffee Bar. The area's retro record shops are a treasure trove of throwback tunes.


Drink in the place, its people and architecture on foot, and find visual and performing arts groups jive together at MATCH Midtown Art and Theater Center. This vibrant part of town's also home to the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum.


The best jazz-filled start to the day is to chow down with the locals at The Breakfast Klub. Come hungry to fill up on real soul food like tasty catfish and grits, 'wings and waffles', biscuits and gravy washed down with strong coffee, on tap. The atmosphere will fill your soul with joy but go early to beat the queue.

Sampling Lymbar's finest
Sampling Lymbar's finest © Renate Ruge

Midtown has some of the city's best nightlife, like the moodily-lit Lymbar, tucked into a corner of The Ion building, is swaggeringly cool with its classy cocktails, live jazz and perfect plates of Latin-Mediterranean fare.

We're talking dishes like churrasco of beef tenderloin and chimichurri cooked up by Nicaraguan-born chef Michael Cordúa. Delicious 'Twinkies', egg yolk custard-filled brioche batons with truffle are something else.

For late-night good vibes, rock out at The Alley Cat or The Continental Club on Main Street.

Museum District


Houston has a whopping 150 museums including NASA's out-of-this-world Space Center Houston in the Bay Area.

Inside the Space Center Houston
Inside the Space Center Houston © Houston First Corporation

Museum District is an inner-city hub, home to 19 other museums, spread over four walkable zones and exploring subjects from natural science and art history to the African American experience and there are plentiful places to eat outside the touristy spots if you know where to look.

Then & now

Since 1997, museums continue to open. Discover everything from dinosaurs and King Tut's tomb at the Museum of Natural Science to rhinos and cheetahs roaming around at Houston Zoo.


The vast collection at the Museum of Fine Arts is impressive, whirling through the ages with Egyptian antiquities, famous impressionist paintings and American sculpture.

Pedalling on McGovern Lake, Hermann Park
Pedalling on McGovern Lake, Hermann Park © St_matty - Adobe Stock Image

Nearby Hermann Park is popular for its pedal boats and miniature railway but don't miss the fragrant zen-like Japanese garden.


Built up an appetite for lunch? Nearby Pit Room is your best pit stop: a bustling bar-be-cue hut and bar, where crawfish (aka crayfish) and ribs sizzle over an open fire, served with tap beers. The brisket is a beaut but spicy tacos are equally a-mazing.

Fortune favours those who stop for sushi at chef Sherman Yeung's 'new Japanese' restaurant Money Cat in nearby Upper Kirby.

Diners are welcomed by a wall decorated with 270 small gold cat figurines to bring good luck. Order tuna cured in dill and shiso served with burnt honey and 'maitake karaage', or tempura mushrooms, in hot honey Buffalo sauce and you've hit the jackpot.

Weather in Houston

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Maximum daytime temperature °C
Hours of sunshine (daily)
Days with some rainfall

The above guide shows the weather in Houston. Find out more about conditions across the state in our guide to the weather in Texas and the wider USA.

Ready to eat your way around Houston? Check out the latest online savings on flights and holidays with British Airways.

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Renate Ruge

Renate Ruge

Renate is a food and travel journalist and a photographer with bylines for The Times, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph and Sainsbury's magazine among others. She has an international background having lived and worked in numerous world cities. Renate is the ex-editor of Food and Travel and Journey magazines and a member of the British Guild of Travel Writers.

Posted on Monday 24th July 2023 in: City Food & drink North America

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