Your Guide to the Best Fine Dining Restaurants in Houston
When it comes to great restaurants, we’re a little spoiled here in Houston. In fact, we have almost too many to choose from – a good problem to have! Around every corner, either a new spot is opening up or there’s one that’s been around forever, and is still just as good as it was when the doors first opened. Houston is certainly a foodie city, and we are most definitely foodies.
Since Houston is hosting the Super Bowl in less than two weeks, we wanted to share our very favorite fine dining restaurants in town for any that might be visiting for the big game. Of course, we hope our fellow Houstonians find this useful, too!
Our 17 Favorite Fine Dining Restaurants in Houston
Keep on reading for what we think are the 17 best fine dining restaurants in Houston, listed in alphabetical order.
Inspired by 1920s Mexico City, Armando’s isn’t only home to some of the most delicious Tex-Mex you’ll find in the city, but it is also a dark, romantic, sophisticated, warm atmosphere that turns into quite a fun scene late at night. Whether you’re going for enchiladas, ceviche, or quesadillas, you really can’t go wrong with anything on the menu.
2. B&B Butchers
A steakhouse (with an attached butcher shop) that encompasses classic favorites with a unique twist, B&B Butchers is a two story (plus outdoor patio overlooking the city) restaurant with a vibe as cool as the menu is vast. Of course, their steaks are some of the best, but don’t forget to try the sides; the B&B Mac & Cheese is worth every last calorie.
3. Brasserie 19
You saw us mention Brasserie 19 in our Brunch Guide, but it’s also a top choice for dinner. Like we said, we love the modern, stylish, crisp interior, and we adore their outdoor patio. There isn’t anything we don’t love on the menu, but a few favorites that come to mind include their Diver Scallops, Beef Filet Carpaccio, and the Trout Almandine.
Plus, one great aspect of B19, as it’s commonly known around here, is that they don’t mark up their wine list to absurd price levels. That’s right – they have a fabulous list at great, reasonable prices. So, order a bottle of wine or enjoy a cocktail (the Part & Parchel is my favorite!) with your meal.
The setting of Brenner’s on the Bayou is unbeatable; you truly feel like you’re worlds away from the hustle and bustle of the city. On the Buffalo Bayou, up high among the trees, it almost feels like you’re in a ski lodge. It’s warm, cozy, and completely elegant, with a superb wine list.
Situated next to a vegetable garden, Coltivare is a warm and cozy spot with wood fired pizzas and other mouth watering appetizers and entrees. While it can be a bit of a wait for a table, it’s more than worth it.
Steps from the heart of Rice Village, Coppa Osteria features rustic Italian cuisine, and we might be partial to their homemade pasta (it’s incredible). The atmosphere is open and airy, and their walk up pizza counter is a nice added touch.
7. Da Marco
An elegant atmosphere perfect for a nice dinner out, Da Marco is bar none our favorite special-occasion Italian spot. Indeed, I’ve spent many anniversaries there. With an old school romantic feel, the restaurant also offers some of the best service in town. The food is consistently remarkable, and we especially love their Sicilian Scampi, Butternut Squash Cappellaci, and the Maple Leaf Duck. Plus, in my estimation, you can never go wrong with their homemade pasta.
If you’re looking for authentic Mexican food in a contemporary environment filled with traditional elements of old Mexico, Hugo’s should be on your list. From their Carnita de Pato (duck carnitas) to the Taquitos de Pollo (rolled fried chicken tacos) and their fresh, delicious ceviche, it’s hard to go and not order everything on the menu, and this was also one mentioned in our Brunch Guide.
9. La Griglia
For years and years La Griglia has been a staple in the food scene here in Houston. An upscale Italian restaurant that is reminiscent of a neighborhood trattoria, you’ll find yourself wanting to run back time and time again. Located in River Oaks Shopping Center, it has an outdoor patio, a great bar, and a top tier wine list.
10. Le Colonial
Le Colonial opened not too long ago in River Oaks District and has since become one of the most popular spots in town. Its unique menu of 1920s French Colonial Southeast Asia is out of this world. And the upstairs lounge will make you feel like you’re a million miles away. Note: you’ll want to grab a reservation at this one fast, as it’s a current hotspot.
11. North Italia
If you’re looking for handmade pizza and pasta, North Italia might be just the spot for you. On the outskirts of the Galleria area you’ll find a bustling spot with food that’ll make you feel like you’re in Italy. This one is a favorite time and time again. It’s not overly formal – in fact, some might say understated with the rustic atmosphere. But trust us – the food does not disappoint! We recommend starting with the mouthwatering white truffle garlic bread!
A twist of modern beach vibes and stylish elegance, SaltAir is a seafood restaurant with some of the freshest food out there. Whether you’re in the mood for Lobster Bisque, Tuna Steak, or Grilled Shrimp, you’ll love every last bite.
13. State of Grace
This restaurant burst on to the Houston scene a couple years ago. And we are big fans. First, the decor is very chic. The space consists of an oyster bar in one room, a cozy, quieter dining room off to the side, the main area, which is always hopping, and a very cool bar scene.
Second, their drinks are divine, and their food is absolutely delicious. As for the food, you’ll find a delicious combination of southern, American, Latin, Gulf Coast, German, and Asian food at State of Grace. This sounds a bit random, but our favorite item is the Cheese Enchilada “a la Fenix”. As for the drinks, the wine list is one of the best in town. Plus, sommelier Matt Crawford is one of the most knowledgeable in town, always offering up the best recommendations.
14. Steak 48
Perhaps currently the hottest spot in town to see and be seen, Steak 48 has quickly become quite the scene since opening in River Oaks District. Steak 48 is a modern steak restaurant with the best quality meats and seafood. Indeed, we’ve already become big fans of this one, and we can’t recommend it enough. Don’t expect standard steak house food only. The menu will exceed your expectations with creative items like fried devil eggs and crispy shrimp.
Fine dining and Tony’s are synonymous, and this one is truly a destination here in Houston. At Tony’s, the service is the very best, and the food is equally as good. If you’re looking for an elegant dining experience at a true premier restaurant, this is where you should go. We can’t resist the gumbo or the pappardelle bolognese. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Truly, everything on the menu is delectable.
One important note on Tony’s: Most of Houston observes a relatively casual vibe, but Tony’s is in fact one restaurant that still adheres to a dress code. So, for your dining experience here, please avoid jeans. And guys are encouraged to wear a jacket.
If you’re a sushi lover, you absolutely must try Uchi. It is an upscale Japanese hot spot with the freshest fish you’ll find. It can be tricky getting a reservation, so call in advance, but you’ll be thrilled you did because it’s simply that good.
With James Beard award winning chef Chris Shepherd at the helm, this is a true Houston original. The restaurant’s website describes the Underbelly experience so well, that we will just quote them here:
Underbelly is the story of Chef Chris Shepherd’s journey through Houston. Beneath the city’s surface—its underbelly, the things not seen—lies an endless array of the ingredients and cultures that shape Chris’ perspectives on food. Through his food, Chris asks his customers to experience not just Houston’s flavor, but its culture as well.
You’ll only find the very best quality at Underbelly, all direct from farmers, and it’s fully inspired by the cultures of Houston. The menu is constantly changing based on what season it is and what is available at the time. All of the meats are processed in house in the fully equipped back-of-the-house butcher shop, and everything is beyond scrumptious.
The menu changes often, but one not-to-be-missed menu mainstay is the Korean Braised Goat & Dumplings – at once, one of the oddest sounding yet most delicious dishes we’ve ever eaten!
And there you have it! We hope you’ll take us up on some of these recommendations and let us know what you think. Which of these restaurants have you been to? Which is your favorite? Would love to hear in the comments below! As well, don’t forget to check out our other recent Houston guides : Brunch / Nail Salons / Dessert Spots / Coffee