Restaurants / Openings

Houston’s New Thompson Hotel Shakes Up the Bayou City Dining Scene With More New Restaurants — Inside a New Food Mecca

Celebrity Chef Michael Mina Is Getting Some Company

BY // 03.28.24
photography Michael Anthony

The Thompson Houston, the luxury lifestyle hotel operated by Hyatt which opened just months ago, is already shaking up Houston’s restaurant scene. The new build, situated on Allen Parkway, is a 36-story gleaming steel and glass structure created by the award-winning architectural firm HOK with interiors fashioned by the Houston-based Abel Design Group. At Thompson Houston, each of the 172 rooms features floor-to-ceiling windows granting guests sweeping views of downtown and the lush 160-acre Buffalo Bayou Park across the street.

But unlike New York or Paris, known for their numerous, often Michelin-starred hotel dining options, the Thompson Houston is doing something bold in a city where Houstonians are not accustomed to frequenting hotel restaurants. Thompson Houston is bringing five completely different restaurants (and a coffee shop too) to its expansive campus in an effort to lure locals as well as out-of-town guests.

The first restaurant to premiere is Sol 7, open now on the seventh floor of the hotel overlooking the one-acre verdant garden surrounding Thompson Houston’s infinity pool. Proffering contemporary cuisine with global flavors, its menu is rooted in many of the culinary influences found throughout this culturally diverse city. Sol is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner (it also the only Thompson Hotel restaurant that will provide room service).

Dishes at dinner include appetizers such as Gulf red snapper ceviche with roasted sweet potato, Peruvian corn bathed in a marinade of leche de tigre ($17), and a little gems salad with avocado, sugar snap peas, Marcona almonds and a green goddess dressing ($16). Tempting entrees include a roasted half chicken with potato puree and mustard greens ($32) and rigatoni pasta with brisket bolognese and ricotta ($26).

Sol 7 features appetizers such as this cool, Gulf red snapper ceviche, inspired by local food ways and ingredients. (Photo by Michael Anthony)
Sol 7 features appetizers such as this cool, Gulf red snapper ceviche, inspired by local food ways and ingredients. (Photo by Michael Anthony)

Sol 7, like its upcoming neighbor, the French brasserie Chardon (due to open this summer), and Buck 40, an upscale supper club slated to open later this fall, were all developed and operated by the outside restaurant/hotel consulting group TableOne Hospitality. The group, co-created by the San Francisco-based chef Michael Mina, who previously brought Houston an outpost of his now-shuttered International Smoke in CityCentre. Mina is also the man behind Bourbon Steak (which boasts restaurants in multiple American markets), Mina Family Kitchen in San Francisco and his eponymous restaurant Michael Mina in Las Vegas to name but a few.

The Thompson Houston hotel is led locally by executive chef Alexandre Viriot, a Dallas native who during his illustrious career has worked alongside three of the world’s most renowned French chefs — Guy Savoy, Joël Robuchon and Alain Ducasse.

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Every hotel should have a great burger on their menu. At Sol 7, it's a smash burger made with a wagyu cut of beef. (Photo by Michael Anthony)
Every hotel should have a great burger on their menu. At Sol 7, it’s a smash burger made with a wagyu cut of beef. (Photo by Michael Anthony)

Meanwhile, across the front drive of this new Houston hotel, the restaurant group Noble 33 is set to open Toca Madera, billed as a modern Mexican steakhouse, and Meduza Mediterrania early this summer. The fourth locale of Toca Madera (following its Scottsdale, Las Vegas and West Hollywood restaurants) is focused on beef. But it promises to include options for the vegans, vegetarians and pescatarians.

You can also expect “farm-to-glass” cocktails made with seasonally fresh ingredients. Meduza Mediterrania’s website describes it as a restaurant that “celebrates the Mediterranean’s culinary heritage, embracing its deep-rooted traditions while exploring the boundaries of its variety of cuisines.”

Houston Astros pitcher Lance McCuller Jr and young entrepreneurs Juan Carlos Martinez de Aldecoa and Blake Fertitta are also bringing the first brick-and-mortar location of their Maven Coffee Company to The Thompson Houston hotel. With plans to open in mid-April, Maven offers specialty coffees, pastries and coffee-based cocktails.

The Thompson Houston is located at 1717 Allen Parkway.

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