Restaurants / Openings

Houston’s 18 Most Anticipated New Restaurants — From a Sushi Retreat to a Mexico City Wonder and Top Chef Passion Project

Plenty Of Ambitious and Interesting Spots to Put On Your List

BY // 04.14.23

As the most culturally diverse city in America, Houston has a bevy of exciting new restaurants in the works (or ones that have fairly recently opened) with cuisines ranging from Japanese to Thai, Mexico City and the California coast. This is your guide to the New Houston Restaurants You Need to Know:

Graffiti Raw

The cool, sophisticated interiors of Graffiti Raw bring the fourth and newest restaurant from The Big Vibe Group (joining Flora, Coppa Osteria and Gratify) to life. You’ll find Graffiti Raw in the Montrose Collective development. The beachy design is easy on the eyes, with niches reflected in mirrors hung about the space, soft blond woods and chic saddle-colored woven-leather dining chairs, all lit with a diffusion of light from overhead Moroccan-crafted rattan fixtures.

The "Ffiti Stack," short for graffiti, is composed in a clear cylinder at Graffiti Row, the new Houston restaurant. You'll spy layers of shrimp, octopus, tuna, avocado, red onion, and cucumber. The cylinder is slowly lifted off the towering display at the table, and you are offered three different condiments/sauces to flavor it. (Photo by Kirsten Gilliam)
The “Ffiti Stack,” short for graffiti, is composed in a clear cylinder at Graffiti Raw, the new Houston restaurant. You’ll spy layers of shrimp, octopus, tuna, avocado, red onion, and cucumber. The cylinder is slowly lifted off the towering display at the table, and you are offered three different condiments/sauces to flavor it. (Photo by Kirsten Gilliam)

The food and the vibe are meant to transport you to the ocean side, with fare that borrows from a Californian melding of Asian, Mediterranean and Mexican. The menu at this all-day kitchen and bar pays homage to its sister restaurants. From pasta honed at Coppa Osteria to the margaritas, guacamole and chips at Flora to the caviar program and fresh ceviche popular at Gratify.

Graffiti Raw is located at 1001 California Street.

Little Hen

Anglophiles, take note. It’s time to roost with the Little Hen, an English-inspired breakfast and brunch restaurant in River Oaks District. Hospitality veteran Enrique Altamirano brings an ethereal, romantic aesthetic to Little Hen with floral wallpapers, blue velvet chairs and dark leather settees with lace-embroidered cushions.

Little Hen is already becoming known for its rose-petal pancakes — a sweet pink-hued stack doused with rose-water-infused maple syrup — but also offers a full breakfast and brunch menu with avocado salmon toast, caviar omelets, truffled huevos rotos, crab cake egg Benedict and Nutella French toast.

Outdoor Dining with Bering's

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  • Bering's Gift's April 2024
  • Bering's Gift's April 2024
  • Bering's Gift's April 2024
  • Bering's Gift's April 2024
  • Bering's Gift's April 2024
  • Bering's Gift's April 2024
  • Bering's Gift's April 2024
  • Bering's Gift's April 2024
Little Hen is making breakfast an event in River Oaks District.

For boozy brunches, Little Hen’s cocktail program includes mimosas and Bloody Marys, as well as signature drinks such as the Champagne Candy Cloud, topped with a billowy cloud of cotton candy and sprinkled with rose petals. Afternoon tea is served throughout the day with a selection of pretty petits fours and French macarons, as well as bite-sized sandwiches and scones.

Little Hen is located in River Oaks District at 4444 Westheimer Road.

Andiron

Michael Sambrooks (The Pit Room, 1751 Sea & Bar and Candente) is on the brink of unveiling Andiron, his splashy new steakhouse. Andiron’s menu is an homage to the traditional steakhouse, offering a modern small-plate progressive dining with ingredients prepared simply, often with live-fire techniques.

Chef Louis Maldonado of Andiron
Louis Maldonado will take the helm of Houston’s forthcoming Andiron steakhouse, which will specialize in wood-fired food.

Housed in the newly christened Andiron Building, which was originally home to Star Engraving Company, Andiron is just across the street from Stages Theatre’s new home The Gordy. The interiors come from design firm AvroKO. The kitchen is led by chef Louis Maldonado, whose CV includes multiple Michelin-starred restaurants (French Laundry in Yountville, California, Aziza, Mourad and Cortez in San Francisco).

Andiron is located at 3201 Allen Parkway.

Katami

Four-time James Beard Award nominee Manabu “Hori” Horiuchi and Yun Cheng own Kata Robata, one of the best Japanese restaurants in all of Texas. This spring, they’re opening the sushi-forward restaurant Katami (“gift” in Japanese) in Montrose. The new restaurant is designed by the Abel Design Group — and it represents what Chef Hori believes is the future of Japanese cuisine in America.

Kata Robata chef Manabu “Hori” Horiuchi
Kata Robata chef Manabu “Hori” Horiuchi

He has fish flown in almost daily from Japan, and he estimates 80 to 95 percent of the fish on Katami’s menu will be caught off the coast of Japan about 20 hours before it hits your plate. Standouts are set to include a modern interpretation of dishes rooted in Japanese tradition, such as Wagyu sukiyaki, inspired by the Japanese hot-pot dish but cooked tableside, hot stone abalone and uni dashi, foie gras PBJ, and Toro tartare with kimchi sauce and Japanese milkbread.

Katami is located at 2701 W. Dallas,

Elro Pizza + Crudo

Chef/owner Terrence Gallivan, a two-time James Beard Award nominee (Charlie Palmer’s Aureole in New York City, The Modern, Gordon Ramsey at the London Hotel, Fiamma and Houston’s Pass and Provision) is opening Elro, a neighborhood pizzeria and crudo bar housed in a vintage bungalow.

“Why pizza and crudo? It was pretty simple,” Gallivan says. “I (and most people) love pizza. Since Houston is hot most of the time, balancing pizza with some lighter, more refreshing, cold seafood dishes is a nice combination. . .

“It will be a place you can pop in for a drink and bite with friends or an intimate date night.”

Gallivan, who served as both chef and wine buyer at The Pass and Provisions, will curate a concise wine list here as well.

Elro is located at 2405 Genesee Street.

Little’s Oyster Bar

Opening in the restaurant that used to house Little Pappas Seafood House (which shuttered during the pandemic) is Little’s Oyster Bar, the first and only chef-driven restaurant owned and operated by the Pappas Restaurants group. Chef Jason Scott Ryczek (Waterbar, Farallon, Alley & Vine) will focus on serving oysters and raw seafood, with fish caught by Pappas’ own boats in the Gulf (snapper, grouper, tile).

Little Oyster’s Bar is one of the most anticipated new Houston restaurant openings.

The menu will also feature Ora King salmon, Spanish octopus and fish from sustainable farms around the country. Caviar — specifically, hand-selected sturgeon roe from California Caviar Company — will also find a place on the California native’s menu.

Little’s Oyster Bar is located at 3001 S. Shepherd.

MaKiin

Lukkaew Srasrisuwan, who brought us Kin Dee in The Heights, is opening a new Thai restaurant called MaKiin on the ground level of the residential high-rise Hanover River Oaks. Rich in Thai culture, MaKiin means “come to eat,” an invitation to dine as the elite would.

“With Kin Dee, we showed Houstonians Thai food can be fun and vibrant,” Srasrisuwan says. “MaKiin will deliver a more elevated experience that will celebrate the artistry of my homeland’s authentic flavors, ingredients and techniques.”

Hanover River Oaks is getting a new Thai restaurant.
Hanover River Oaks is getting a new Thai restaurant.

MaKiin is located at 2651 Kipling Street.

Ojo de Agua

Mexico City export Ojo de Agua’s upcoming River Oaks District restaurant will be its first in Texas. The all-day cafe is aimed at the health-conscious set that values holistic ingredients and authentic flavors. The interiors draw inspiration from open-air Mexican markets with artisan-style touches, such as lemon-squeezer napkin holders and hanging wicker chairs.

Look for a vibrant menu packed with superfoods, fresh juices and smoothies, as well as açai bowls, chilaquiles, ranchero eggs, kale and salmon salad, a pesto bowl, lobster grilled cheese, avocado truffle toast and a Kobe burger. The beverage program features micheladas, local craft beers, wine-based fruit cocktails and mimosas mixed in a variety of juice options.

Ojo de Agua is located in River Oaks District at 4444 Westheimer Road.

Pastore

Underbelly Hospitality (Georgia James, Wild Oats, GJ Tavern) is opening a new Italian-rooted restaurant dubbed Pastore. That is Italian for shepherd, a nod to former Underbelly founding chef Chris Shepherd. We’re told chef Chris Davies is working on a menu of rotating handmade pastas for a late-spring opening.

Inspired by a Tuscan color palette, the interiors by designer Lisa Roth of Montgomery Roth Architecture and Design are a whimsical ode to traditional family-style Italian-American dining inspired by Italian gardens, a place of tranquility and a refuge from urban life.

Pastore is located at 1203 Dunlavy Street.

PS21

The self-described French Cowboy Philippe Schmit once manned the range at swank French restaurants Bistro Moderne at the Hotel Derek, Toulouse and Philippe Restaurant + Lounge, which closed 10 years ago. Now he’s partnering with hospitality veteran Sebastien Laval on PS21, a modern French restaurant that’s already opened in the space that used to be home to Queen Vic’s on Richmond in the Upper Kirby District.

Laval has helped launch high-end Houston restaurants before, including La Table, MAD, Le Colonial and Musaafer, so we can’t wait to see what’s in store.

Interior of PS-21 (Photo by Interiors: Raydon Creative, Food and Drink: Harold Cua)
Inside the new French boite, PS-21 on Richmond Avenue. (Photo by Interiors: Raydon Creative, Food and Drink: Harold Cua)

PS21 is located at 2712 Richmond Avenue.

Eau Tour

Stylish restaurateur Benjy Levit brought us his namesake Benjy’s three decades ago, the proliferating fast-casual restaurant chain Local Foods and the speakeasy-style wine bar Lees Den. Now he’s opened Eau Tour, a French-inspired restaurant in Rice Village.

Taking over the former Thai Spice space above Local Foods, this new bistro-style restaurant features simply prepared contemporary French cuisine with a focus on seafood and an extensive wine and cocktail program. Executive chef Kent Domas mans the range.

Eau Tour is located in Rice Village at 5117 Kelvin Drive.

Double Cheeseburger at Eau Tour (Photo by Jenn Duncan)
The double cheeseburger at Eau Tour has been getting lots of attention for its 60/40 combination of short rib and duck grind; apropos to its Gallic origins, it’s topped with melting gruyère, duck-fat-fried onions, and special sauce. (Photo by Jenn Duncan)

Balboa Surf Club

From Western Addition Restaurant Group (Il Bracco) comes Pacific-inspired seafood restaurant Balboa Surf Club. Neighboring Il Bracco in Post Oak Plaza, Balboa Surf Club’s menu will focus on fresh seafood, including a sushi program with whole fish and prime meats butchered in-house daily.

Michael Hsu Office of Architecture is conjuring the interior with a vintage coastal vibe inspired by both mid-century residential and Brazilian Brutalism design.

Balboa Surf Club is located 1753 Post Oak Boulevard.

Balboa Surf Club is one of Houston's most anticipated new restaurants.
Balboa Surf Club is one of Houston’s most anticipated new restaurants.

Auden

The first restaurant from husband-and-wife culinary team Kirthan and Kripa Shenoy (executive chef and executive pastry chef respectively) will fill a 2,800-square-foot space and 800-square-foot patio in the upcoming Autry Park development (expected opening mid to late May) designed by Rodrigo Tovar of rT3.

The Shenoys’ collective résumés boast years working in New York City under acclaimed Michelin-starred chef Michael White (Altamarea Group), whose métier is Italian cuisine.

“We are focused on sustainability, freshness and seasonality, and how that pays homage to Houston from a global perspective,” Kirthan says.

The chef-curated menu at Auden will feature both vegetable-forward options and globally inspired dishes.

Auden is located at 3737 Cogdell.

Late August

Slated to open in The Ion building, and the third restaurant from Lucille’s Hospitality Group, Late August pays homage to the department-store era — appropriately, since Sears was The Ion building’s owner for 88 years. The new restaurant’s name is a nod to the Sears Catalog which was always released in late August.

The restaurant, designed by Gin Design Group, channels the wonderment of those days through a menu of global comfort food developed by 2020 James Beard Semifinalist and Season 18 Top Chef finalist Dawn Burrell. Her culinary direction merges African and Asian flavors through innovative dishes such as crunch sea bass with basil rice salad; fish caramel and coconut brotu; dried beef with corn pappardelle, corn cream, tomato broth, and okra and black rice congee with smoked goat and marinated egg.

Late August is located in The Ion at 4201 Main Street.

Dawn Head Shot
Chef Dawn Burrell is opening Late August.

Berg Hospitality Group

Benjamin Berg has been a busy man, working on four new Houston restaurants scheduled to open this year. Annabelle Brasserie (811 Buffalo Park Drive, estimated May,) will be the restaurant anchor in the upcoming Autry Park mixed-use development overlooking Buffalo Bayou, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.

La Table (1800 Post Oak Boulevard), Berg’s joint venture with The Bastion Collection (Le Jardinier, L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon) will bring a fresh take on fine French dining. They’re transforming the 6 BLVD Place space into two separate restaurants: a reimagined La Table offering fine French dining upstairs and Tavola serving Italian food in a vibrant atmosphere on the ground floor.

Ben Berg (Photo by Leah Wilson)
Ben Berg (Photo by Leah Wilson)

Canopy Social (1818 Washington Avenue) is slated to open at Lovett Commercial’s latest development. The third-floor British colonial-style rooftop bar and lounge is adjacent to Berg’s B&B Butchers & Restaurant and above another upcoming new restaurant. Canopy Social will offer light bites and craft cocktails with an unobstructed view of the Houston skyline. The 5,200-square-foot space will have a retractable glass roof.

Downstairs, Benny Chows (1818 Washington Avenue) will offer Chinese food with a modern, innovative approach. Look for Asian-inspired design elements including a duck room where dozens of whole ducks will hang from black metal hooks. The fare will be reminiscent of the American-style Chinese food that Berg grew up eating in New York City, such as dim sum bites, with variations on the classic Peking duck, dumplings, fried rice and noodle dishes.

Both Canopy Social and Benny Chows are designed by architect Isaac Preminger, with Berg and Berg Hospitality vice-president Sam Governale bringing their imprimatur to the interiors.

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