Over the past couple of years, Houston dining has gotten a lot of hype. From celebrity chefs to food critics, everyone’s turning a curious eye to the city’s sprawling restaurant scene, and they’re liking what they see.
As such, it’s not surprising that the millions of people who visit Houston each year for business or pleasure are looking for the city’s best restaurants. With literal thousands of dinner destinations to choose from, though, sometimes it’s hard to pick. Consider this totally intense itinerary for a glimpse at Houston’s unique culinary identity in just 24 hours.
Be warned, though — you’re definitely going to want to come back and explore more.
8 a.m. — Brothers Taco House
There will more than likely be a line out the door at this tiny taqueria, but it moves super quickly, and the tacos that await are worth it. Peek at what’s available on the steam table, then fill tortillas with potatoes, egg, carne asada, or any mix of the above, all priced at around $2.
10 a.m. — Blacksmith
Houston is packed with quality coffee shops, but Blacksmith remains a local caffeine legend. The beans are obsessively sourced from top-notch purveyors, then brewed into perfect cortados and cappuccinos. Tea enthusiasts will find freshly-brewed options like golden monkey black tea and Celadon pearl. After caffeinating, head to Houston’s iconic museum district to scope out collections of fine art.
1 p.m. — Asiatown
Plan on spending a few hours browsing the shopping centers of Asiatown, which line the length of Bellaire Boulevard. Try a bowl of pho, Houston’s favorite hangover cure, at Pho Binh or Pho Hung first. Then go on a dessert tour of Houston, making stops at Aqua S for sea salt soft serve and Coco Sweets for pandan leaf waffles. Then consider a bounty of small plates at HK Dim Sum, or Korean barbecue at Hankook Kwan. Don’t be surprised if a nap is required before trekking back out for dinner.
6 p.m. — UB Preserv
Visit UB Preserv, chef Chris Shepherd’s cozy Montrose restaurant, for a peek at one of Houston’s most innovative menus, featuring dishes like Vietnamese short rib fajitas, whole-roasted snapper with salsa verde, and duck egg curry.
10 p.m. — Drinking in Downtown Houston
Downtown Houston is packed with great cocktail lounges, and these upstairs-downstairs spots reign supreme. Start at The Pastry War, owned by H-Town bar aficionados Bobby Heugel and Alba Huerta, for mezcal-based drinks that stun every single time. Then, head upstairs for a completely different (and more refined) experience at Tongue Cut Sparrow, a Japanese-inspired bar with icy martinis and excellent service.
11:30 p.m. — Conservatory
If, somehow, hunger is still lingering, visit Downtown food hall Conservatory for a bounty of dining options. Barbecue, poke bowls, pizza, and pho await, and it’s open until midnight on weekdays and 3 a.m. on weekends.