After a week of voting and much deliberation, we’re excited to announce the winners of the 2016 Eater Awards, recognizing the city’s most exciting — and delicious — culinary developments over the past year.
Without further ado, feast your eyes on Houston’s 2016 Eater Awards winners.
Restaurant of the Year: Bernadine’s
Gulf seafood is having something of a moment, and Chef Graham Laborde’s “love letter to the Gulf Coast” is a damn delicious tribute. The secret to what makes Bernadine’s great is in the details, from the house-fermented hot sauce to the meticulously chosen selection of top-notch oysters and more that comprise the city’s best raw bar. Even a plate as simple as fried catfish gets meticulous treatment, and that’s exactly what makes Bernadine’s great.
Reader’s Choice: Oxheart
Chef of the Year: Justin Yu
He’s young, but no one has been more influential in Houston’s culinary resurgence in recent years than Chef Justin Yu. This year’s James Beard Award winner for Best Chef in the Southwest, Yu has made snobby critics and diners alike take note of what’s going on in Space City. And, despite accolades from critics across the country, Yu hasn’t gotten complacent and relied on the hits. Nope, it’s still as great to dine at Oxheart today as it was when the restaurant first debuted in 2013.
Reader’s Choice: Hugo Ortega
Most Stunning Restaurant: Eloise Nichols Grill & Liquors
From top to bottom, Eloise Nichols Grill & Liquors is a remarkably chic expression of southern kitsch. From the gorgeous communal wood tables to the family photos and tchotchkes that tastefully line the walls at this River Oaks stunner, it’s an expression of all things Southern with a little bit of fancy French influence. The result is Houston’s most beautiful new restaurant.
Reader’s Choice: Arthur Avenue
Bar of the Year: Anvil Bar & Refuge
If you’ve been to Bobby Heugel’s endlessly popular Montrose cocktail bar, you know that the hype surrounding it somehow doesn’t even measure up to how great Anvil truly is. The cocktails are excellent, the service is top-notch, and there’s plenty of up-and-coming talent honing their skills behind the bar here, like 2016 Eater Young Guns winner Alex Negranza and the endlessly energetic Jessey Qi. Put simply, there’s really not a better spot in town to grab a drink.
Reader’s Choice: Anvil Bar & Refuge
Import of the Year
Thanks to its rising culinary profile, Houston’s been a popular destination for restaurants in Texas and beyond to expand — think Shake Shack, Hopdoddy Burger Bar, The Halal Guys, and the inimitable Cane Rosso. From its humble beginnings in Dallas as a mobile pizza oven to the statewide empire that it is today, Cane Rosso has brought excellent pies and two great neighborhood restaurants in the Heights and Montrose as it has taken over Houston.
Reader’s Choice: Cane Rosso