Restaurants / Lists

Where to Eat in Houston Right Now — 10 Red Hot-Restaurants for February

Barbecue, New Sushi, Soul Food and More

BY // 02.08.19

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.

February’s the month for love, but there’s no reason you have to wait until the 14th to treat yourself to a seriously satisfying dinner. There’s lots to love out there, especially some brand new places that just opened in the last few weeks. Prepare to get smitten. 

Truth BBQ

The people have spoken, and they can handle the Truth. This beloved Brenham barbecue import’s reputation preceded it, and the 18-hour smoked brisket does not disappoint at its brand new Heights locale.

Pit master Leonardo Botello IV’s Central Texas-style barbecue, from spare ribs to house-made sausage and pulled-to-order Duroc pork has earned the Truth brand a space on Texas Monthly’s uber-exclusive Top 50 Barbecue Joints List.

You could say Botello smoked the competition.

truth bbq
Exposed brick walls are adorned with neon light designs. (Photo by Vanessa Chavez)

La Vibra Tacos

Get ready to sink your teeth into Mexico City at this zesty new taco spot in The Heights. The name means “the vibe” in Spanish, and La Vibra’s certainly established a memorable one. The dozens of taco varieties keep it real and flavorful.

Volcan champinones, chicken pastor, costra rajas — this taco haven’s got it all. Costras are the scene-stealers, perfectly crusted cheese tortillas wrapped around savory meat. Expect ribeye, chicken, fish and beyond, with a fair share of vegetarian and vegan options.


Rice Village restaurant Sud Italia got a casual revamp with Roma, a laidback pizza and pasta joint inspired by Italy’s capital. Promising the ultimate in Roman comfort food, Roma brings game with meatballs with mozzarella, spinach and ricotta ravioli and the Roman-style pizza of the day.

Dinner takes it next level with braised lamb shank and polenta, whole fish carved table-side, grilled octopus with cannellini beans and squid-ink-infused fettucine. When in Roma, eat authentic Italian.

roma an italian eatery ravioli
Rice Village’s Roma is Sud Italia reborn.

Kolache Shoppe

This Czech kolache and pastry paradise on Richmond Avenue is a veritable Houston institution, and Heights denizens are raving that the baked goodness has finally arrived in their neighborhood.

The expanded foodie footprint means more Polish kielbasa sausage, bacon, venison, pork, eggs and cheese tucked all cozy in warm breading than ever. That’s just a hint of the savory side. When it comes to sweet, you can count on Kolache Shoppe for lemon cream, Nutella, peach and apricot fillings.

Complete it with a cup of coffee. You know you want to.

Izakaya WA

This sought-after sushi haven in Memorial has made its way to River Oaks. It’s set up shop in what some have called a cursed location, haunted by the former restaurants in the space that have shuttered (Fuzzy’s Taco, Pesca World Seafood and Tinto’s).

In its mere weeks of operation, it seems Izakaya WA has broken the curse with its fresh Bluefin tuna nigiri and sashimi, pork katsu curry, agedashi tofu in world-changing umami broth and gindara.

izakaya wa bento box
Bento boxes are a Izakaya WA highlight.

Better Luck Tomorrow

Better Luck Tomorrow’s rousing success is no secret. But it’s turning heads across the country, most recently with a glowing write-up from The New York Times. The White Oak cocktail lounge and restaurant, courtesy of Justin Yu and Bobby Heugel, got major kudos for its sweet-and-sour fried lamb belly and fried chicken with Middle Eastern spices.

Think elevated — way elevated — pub fare, such as Persian flatbreads. The innovative dishes on the brief but dazzling menu are best paired with a cocktail, like the Andes julep with chocolate mint and mole bitters and the Long Story Short gin cocktail.

2840 At Dukessa

The Galleria is kicking it up a notch with this upscale lunch restaurant, luring the business crowd and eager shoppers. It’s undergone some evolution in its short time, with Kitchen 713’s chef Ross Coleman taking the helm of the kitchen.

It’s soul food, but made light enough for lunchtime. You’ll find your way to dishes that won’t weigh you down, like a take on shrimp and grits with smoked ham and shellfish. But if you’re into something a little more substantial, stick around for creole barbecue shrimp toast with shrimp Andouille sausage, barbecue shrimp sauce and a fried egg.

2840 at dukessa south texas chilly
The chef from Kitchen 713 is adding some Cajun flair to 2840 At Dukessa.

True Texas Boil House

Leave it to grocery giant H-E-B to surprise us all with a seafood spot in its Beechnut outpost. It’s a grab-and-go style on the supermarket’s 625-square-foot patio, perfect for hungry shoppers and lovers of spicy or mild crawfish, crab legs and head-on or headless shrimp.

They’re all boiled, and you can buy them all by the pound. But if you’re more in the food to eat right then and there, try fried catfish, fried shrimp or maybe hush puppies, coleslaw and Cajun fries.

Mademoiselle Louise

It’s no wonder this petite French bakery is cute as pie. The Downtown dessert oasis is known for its freshly baked breads, whatever your mood — the baguette for the fancy, or the ciabatta, focaccia or pain de mie.

For the decadent, there’s traditional flaky, fluffy croissants in traditional flavors butter, chocolate and raisin. Pastries abound, and when lunch time rolls around, you can find the classic Parisien sandwich.

mademoiselle louise muffins
Mademoiselle Louise is très délicieuse.

milk + sugar

Don’t let the somewhat silly lowercase signage fool you. milk + sugar is the real deal, and it’s pretty darn sweet. The surprising flavors are knockouts, from banana nut bread to Thai tea and the Rise and Shine, with earl grey tea, lemon and lavender.

Satisfy your sweet tooth with the unexpected. After just one taste, you’re liable to become a regular.

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