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Restaurants / Lists

Houston’s Where to Eat Right Now

10 Restaurants That Are Sure Things Amidst the December Holiday Madness

BY // 12.07.18

Editor’s note: The Houston restaurant scene is constantly changing, with new hotspots, must-try places and major food events coming along on a daily basis. Even the most dedicated foodie can have trouble keeping up. Don’t worry, PaperCity has you covered.

With the Houston weather in a constant flux and the holidays throwing schedules into chaos, it’s definitely time to go for the sure thing, like these top restaurants for December.

Nancy’s Hustle

This spectacular EaDo spot continues to wow beyond the neighborhood and even the city itself. Esquire magazine heaped some huge praise on the cozy, comfy Nancy’s Hustle, rating it the No. 3 Best New Restaurant in America.

That’s no surprise to anyone lucky enough to have sunk their teeth into Nancy Cakes, the restaurant’s namesake, famed corn and trout roe flapjacks. And don’t forget about the surprising roasted duck l’orange served over good old-fashioned gold grits.

nancy's hustle chicken liver mousse
Nancy’s Hustle snagged Esquire’s No. 3 spot, thanks to its Nancy cakes.

Lindiana’s Southern Vegan Kitchen

The world is better off for Lindiana’s — solid, savory proof that Southern-style hearty home cooking and vegan fare can coexist. Owner Linda’s maternal instincts kicked in after her son became vegan, and she developed this menu that’ll please crunchy granola types and mainstream foodies alike.

Think vegan plant-based “boudain balls,” collard greens with a little kick, mac ‘n cheese and unbeatable “shrimp” and grits. The true feat? Lindiana’s dishes are great examples of Cajun and vegan — they’re not just popular for their fusion.

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Finn Hall

Space City’s most-anticipated food hall has finally opened. In the gorgeous J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. Building, the upscale cafeteria is a culinary collective of all different genres: burgers, pizza, tacos, oysters and more.

Diners weave around each self-contained station to chow down on goodies from Sit Lo, Yong, Oddball Eats, Mala Sichuan, Mr. Nice Pie, Low Tide, Goode Co. Taqueria, Dish Society, Craft Burger and Amaya Coffee. There’s something for everyone — and you’ll keep coming back for more. And the hustling bustling Main Street view is the crème de la crème of people watching.  

Rhotey Rotisserie

This rotisserie is as unassuming as it is delicious. You’d never expect the treasures that lie inside this strip center, certainly not the most succulent chicken you could imagine. The tender Wayne Farms organic chicken shows up in a stunning array of sandwiches like bacon chicken ranch and red pepper chicken.

Ingredients such as roasted lemon feta cauliflower and chipotle aioli play second fiddle only to the rich homemade buttermilk ranch and the 18-year-aged balsamic vinegar onion marmalade.

Irma’s Southwest

Irma’s Southwest Grill has long been a Tex-Mex mainstay. It’s a classic, but the restaurant power  just introduced a modern spin with Irma’s Southwest. While they may have ditched the “grill,” they branched out into all-new territory: printed menus and a restaurant in the luxury apartment tower Catalyst.

Irma’s Southwest will offer up the dishes that made it so loved — carne guisada, enchiladas, carnitas — dishes with meats like wild boar and antelope from Texas’ Broken Arrow Ranch and shareables like bacon-wrapped shrimp.

Coterie

It’s all good at this all-day cafe in Market Square Tower — whether it’s handmade pastries and a cappuccino for breakfast or a crisp flatbread and craft cocktail for supper. Co-owner Sean Marshall has quite the robust pedigree, with his career brewed up at Montrose’s popular Southside Espresso.

The coffee program runs on Fusion Beans coffee, the roaster responsible for the caffeine-fueled cups of Joe at Southside. The kitchen is led by chef Chris Wesley, whose resume includes stints at Eatsie Boys and Oxheart.

coterie
Coterie brings coffee goodness to Market Square Tower.

Shady Acres Saloon

If you’re feeling lucky, head on over to this Luckenbach-inspired joint’s half-acre patio lined with pecan trees. Shady Acres Saloon is a dog-friendly, blown-out backyard experience, drawing local country music acts and offering some of the best barbecue in town.

Their meaty purveyor is none other than Space City’s Willow’s Texas Barbecue. Think perfectly smoked ribs, brisket, drumsticks and beyond. It’s the vibe of a honky tonk with food to (cowboy) boot.

Pop & Pan

The name’s pretty cute, right? Well it’s more literal than you might think: Pop & Pan focuses on popcorn and paninis.

It may sound like a limited menu, but it’s definitely an elevated one. Ever wanted to take your pre-movie snack to the next level? Have you ever shuddered at a cold Subway sandwich? This one’s for you.

Popcorn comes in flavors that’ll make your Christmas tin cringe with inadequacy — candied pineapple, white chocolate cranberry and more. And paninis come with primo meats such as smoked brisket, fried chicken and Back 40 turkey. Go see how this pans out.

Tribute

The Houstonian hotel, Club & Spa’s Tribute restaurant has invented an all new cuisine. Chef Neal Cox, who cut his teeth and filled his belly at Pappas Bros. Steakhouse, Trevisio and Americas, came up with “Tex-Lex,” a blend of Texas, Louisiana and Mexico.

So, just what does that look like? Redfish on the half-shell, braised cabrito, rib-eye steaks, Gulf Coast oysters and smoked Wagyu beef ribs. We guarantee you’ll want to pay tribute to this spot.

tribute Houstonian hotel
The cabrito sopes at new Houstonian hotel restaurant Tribute are a surprising twist on the classic tostada.

Fukoka Sushi Bar & Grill

Fukoka is on a roll, with fresh sushi and reasonable prices to boot — a rare find in Midtown. There’s only one thing people rave about more than the escolar and Seattle Roll is the friendly, attentive and timely service.

Examples of the many dishes that won’t break the bank: the two roll combo for $7.50, with delights like the spicy tuna roll, yellowtail roll and California roll. The Udon’s something to write home about — costing less than $10 with braised pork belly, tempura shrimp or sliced beef.

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