Houston Chronicle dining critic Alison Cook has debuted her annual ranking of the city’s best restaurants, and chef Hugo Ortega’s Xochi tops the list for the second year in a row.
Cook dropped the list on Thursday morning, and the top two — Xochi and Theodore Rex — really come as no surprise. Killen’s Barbecue in Pearland, Heights Italian eatery Coltivare, and Spanish spot BCN Taste & Tradition round out the top five. Over the seven years that Cook has published this list, it’s not been uncommon for the same restaurant to sit at the top more than once — Chef Justin Yu’s Oxheart topped the list in four non-consecutive years.
It’s a relative newcomer, but Chris Shepherd’s UB Preserv, the successor to Underbelly, has already snagged a top-ten spot. Notably, Cook had Maba Pan Asian Diner in the number 10 spot, but the restaurant closed just days before the list published. 17 new restaurants and five formerly-ranked spots were added to the annual ranking, replacing 16 spots that are “still open but fell off the 2018 list,” and six currently-shuttered restaurants, including Holley’s.
Chef Paul Qui’s Aqui is included on the list, but did not earn a spot in the top 30.