Restaurants / Openings

Houston’s Luxury District Unveils High-Profile New Restaurant Additions

River Oaks District's Lineup Is More Impressive Than Ever

BY // 05.29.19

Houston’s a food city — its restaurant power is one of its greatest draws. And few places in the Bayou City celebrate that as completely as River Oaks District.

Yes, this is a shopping wonderland. But it’s also a foodie’s paradise. Bringing French, Vietnamese, Mediterranean food and more, River Oaks District is a treasure trove of the city’s finest dining. Now, it’s adding some of the most-anticipated restaurants in Houston to its already impressive lineup.

Including the second restaurant of the team behind Houston’s renowned BCN Taste & Tradition. MAD — named for Madrid, Spain’s capital — will pay homage to Spain’s culture and cuisine through a myriad of traditional and eclectic dishes.

MAD brings two kitchens for innovative tapas and paellas that are sure to tempt. Classic techniques will yield traditional and contemporary dishes alike. Rice, meats and fish will be lovingly cooked over an open-fire grill.

MAD will go beyond impressing your palate. It will truly be a feast for the eyes, 140 seats with divisible dining rooms, with the main one featuring a stately central bar with moving mirrors, Picasso ceramics, Brutalist art and other intriguing, eye-catching details.

Expect to be dazzled for lunch, brunch, dinner and even late-night. Making its debut in June, MAD is surely worth the anticipation that’s been building since the concept was first announced.

Twice as Nice

Atlas Restaurant Group made its Houston debut in River Oaks District with a flourish. Ouzo Bay and Loch Bar will open simultaneously on June 17 — drawing twice the buzz.

Ouzo Bay is Atlas’ signature take on the traditional Mediterranean “kouzina,” a spot for an expansive menu and a bevy of fresh fishes flown in daily from the world over. A massive display showcases the day’s very fresh catch.

You can enjoy drinks at the expansive bar area, and lunch, dinner and even weekend brunch. Highlighting the Mediterranean’s vibrant lifestyle, the brunch menu is punctuated with health-conscious options, including fluffy egg white frittatas, bursting Mediterranean Fish Tacos and fresh Arcadian salads, allowing Houstonians the option to eat clean or indulge throughout the expansive brunch menu.

Take in dinner in the main area or the private dining room, which can accommodate 30 of your closest friends and family for an unforgettable experience.

The glass-enclosed wine room offers a stunning display of the impressive collection curated by a true expert, sommelier Evan Turner formerly of Emmaline and Helen Greek Food & Wine. The wine room can even accommodate diners who wish to preview their selection in the temperature controlled area.

river oaks district loch bar raw
Loch Bar is a speakeasy-meets-seafood-tavern.

Loch Bar is a unique concept that shares the same prestige as Ouzo Bay. This classic seafood tavern has a modern element with its sultry speakeasy twist. Dishing up lunch, dinner and weekend brunch Houstonians will be able to enjoy classic American and seafood-centric dishes with an impressive beverage program to complement the array of choices.

Certain dishes pay homage to Houston’s own cuisine and cooking techniques, giving the menu a local flair. The large live bar display — an exceptionally rare find in Houston — includes an array of oysters and caviar to feast your eyes on.

The buzzy restaurant will transition into the night hosting live music every night of the week. Plan your summer nights on their expansive patio to get a front-row view at their exciting lineup. Playing into the speakeasy ambiance, Loch Bar boasts one of the most expansive whiskey libraries with hundreds of options ranging from French, Japanese, Irish, Scottish and American even the most refined whiskey aficionado will be impressed.

The menu at Le Colonial, a swanky spot for fine French-inspired Vietnamese eats, is second to none, thanks to its prestigious creator. Chef Nicole Routhier isn’t just a Houston native, she’s also an award-winning cookbook author.

There are a myriad of meetings spots in Le Colonial for an adventurous dinner, including the upstairs dining area, which transitions into a sultry lounge dishing out an elevated cocktail list that rotates seasonally.

Dine al fresco to take in the buzzy streets of The District by nestling into Le Colonial’s spacious outdoor patio.

Make sure to while away an evening at Le Colonial on Monday nights. Not only will the inspired dishes put a smile on your face, but on Wine Night, bottles $100 or less are half-off.

The Sizzle

Of course, River Oaks District already has major restaurant power. Steak 48 is completely unique, a steakhouse that’s not limited to the usual steakhouse crowd. The meat is certainly topnotch, but Steak 48’s setting brings a whole other world into play.

Picture it: many experiences all within the same restaurant. Each dining room has its own vibe, including enclosed glass booth areas in the back that offer a direct view into the kitchen.

The best seat in the house — and there are quite a few to choose from — is behind the back bar on the first floor, overlooking the central dining and bar area.

You can tuck in for supreme cuts, each served on a sizzling plate so that the meat stays piping hot and you can choose how each steak is finished. The large raw bar also has customizable options.

river oaks district steak 48 interior
Steak 48 is not your average streakhouse.

Steak 48’s boozy menu is reason enough to check out this genre-defying restaurant. Steak 48 is legitimately the only restaurant in the entire country to serve O’Shaughnessy by the glass. But if you’re more into vino, partake in the pleasure of its elevated wine program and cheerfully generous pours.

For those in the know, an outstanding off-menu item is the fluffy beignet tree, served up with delicious dipping sauce.

If you’ve got a serious hankering for something sweet even after you’ve had the beignets, check out Steak 48’s brand new dessert: made from scratch key lime pie, served individually portioned with three decadent layers of key lime mousse. The sweet selections go far beyond the beignets.

Foodie Wonderland

Then there’s Bisou, a River Oaks District restaurant that brings French dishes and a bubbly brunch bursting craft cocktails and Champagne magnums — plus all-new Japanese dishes.

Bisou is helmed by Master Chef of France Frédéric Perrier, the former private chef to the French Ambassador to the United Nations and gourmand extraordinaire regularly written up in the likes of Bon Appetit, The New Yorker, Food & Wine and Esquire.

Perrier has now been joined by quite the boon for Bisou — sushi chef Sam Walters, who brings a robust resume spanning such stunning sushi spots as Uchi and Uchiko, plus Lenior, Justine’s and Jeffery’s.

River Oaks District has a sweet side as well.

Truly great gelato is a thing of beauty. And the artisanal, unparalleled treats at Amorino are picture-perfect, molded gracefully into the forms of flowers. You can even top the beautiful blooms with macarons if you so wish.

Bright, light seasonal flavors dot the sweet menu, alongside an exclusive, summer-only offering. The “Summer Gelato Burger” adds a classy twist to your typical ice cream sandwich — with your gelato flavor pick nestled between two sweet brioche buns.

Sandwiches are taken to new heights at East Hampton Sandwich Co., a delectable Dallas transplant all about fresh takes on the food staple. East Hampton’s name harkens to the Northeast, and exports pepper the menu: crab cakes, clam chowder and out-of-this-world lobster rolls. Yes, even in Houston.

The charming and casual sandwich shop also serves up fried chicken sandwiches and burgers, not to mention adults-only beverages such as wine, local brews, sangrias and even spiked frozen lemonade. It boasts a chic patio overlooking the chic strolling avenues of River Oaks District.

river oaks district east hampton
You can get killer lobster rolls in River Oaks District.

In the battle of the burger wars of the Lone Star State, Hopdoddy Burger Bar is a major force. The Austin favorite is renowned for hearty burgers.

Inventive, rotating monthly burger specials keep things interesting, perfect for pairing either with traditional French fries or their decadent truffle parmesan fries.

There’s no wrong time to hit up Hopdoddy, but might we recommend the daily happy hour? You can get delicious deals on the burger of the month, fries, brewer of the month or wine from 3 to 6:30 pm Mondays through Fridays.

After all, every night’s a good night for a meal out at River Oaks District. This is a land where good eats reign.

For more information on River Oaks District and everything that is happening there (restaurant and otherwise), click here.

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