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A Guide to Whale Watching in Houston

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For those looking to spot Whales in the wild, here are 15 suggestions. While the city's major steakhouses are a good place to start, there are more budget friendly options. First, Lankford Grocery is an open-to-everyone hamburger joint that's been on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Houston Coffee and Cars is free, although it does require a drive to Vintage Park at 8:00 a.m. on a Saturday.

One thing that stands out is that, more than food, Houston's Whales love restaurants that treat them right. A restaurant's food need not be cutting edge if the staff remembers a diner's name and favorite glass of wine.

Feel free to sound off in the comments with those restaurants that are whale-friendly but not on the map.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Tony's

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3755 Richmond Ave
Houston, TX 77046
(713) 622-6778
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With its luxurious interior, outstanding food and extensive wine list, Tony's is a natural spot for whales to gather. Yet, it's the restaurant's reputation for excellent service that keeps people coming back year after year.

2. Tony Mandola's On Waugh

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1212 Waugh Dr
Houston, TX 77019
(713) 528-3474
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The days of the three martini lunch may be dead, but the power lunch remains alive and well at Tony Mandola's. Diners come for the comforting flavors of the restaurant's signature gumbo and Italian-influenced Creole cuisine.

3. Damian's Cucina Italiana

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3011 Smith St
Houston, TX 77006
(713) 522-0439
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In an era when some restaurants change menus nightly, Damian's offers the comfort of a menu that's barely changed at all in 30 years. Its Midtown location makes it a convenient spot for downtown power brokers who want to get away for lunch but still have a 2:00 p.m. meeting.

4. Lankford's Grocery & Market

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88 Dennis St
Houston, TX 77006
(713) 522-9555
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The cash only burger joint feels like a secret spot, but the number of men with ties tucked into their shirts gives a hint as to the clientele. The dining room gets especially crowded for the Thursday chicken fried steak lunch special.

5. Irma's

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22 N Chenevert St
Houston, TX 77002
(713) 222-0767
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This restaurant's proximity to downtown's courthouses makes it popular with lawyer and judges who willingly scarf down Tex-Mex classics. They're not the sort of people who mind that prices aren't provided with the spoken menu.

6. Brennan's of Houston

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3300 Smith St
Houston, Texas 77006
(713) 522-9711
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As with Tony's, Brennan's mixes a talented young chef with superlative service that makes Whales feel at home. Table side preparations, as with the restaurant's signature bananas foster, add a sense of occasion.

7. Pappas Bros. Steakhouse

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5839 Westheimer Rd.
Houston, TX 77057
(713) 780-7352
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Pappas Bros combines in-house, dry aged beef with over $6,000,000 in wine inventory to create the ultimate whale playground.

8. Ouisie's Table

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3939 San Felipe St.
Houston, TX 77027
(713) 528-2264
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To the extent that River Oaks has a neighborhood restaurant, it's Ouisie's. The Southern-influenced comfort classics, including a reference quality chicken fried steak, pack diners in nightly.

9. Pizzitola's BBQ

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1703 Shepherd Dr
Houston, TX 77008
(713) 277-2283
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Long recognized as a power lunch spot, this Houston classic may not have the city's best barbecue, but it does combine friendly service and familiar flavors in a way that's irresistible to Whales.

10. Brasserie 19

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1919 W Gray
Houston, TX 77019
(713) 524-1919
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Brasserie 19 is a relative newcomer to the Whale scene, but the restaurant has become the go-to spot for River Oaks socialites. It's also one of the few places guaranteed to still have a crowd at 11:00 p.m. on a Friday night.

11. Armandos

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2630 Westheimer Rd
Houston, TX 77098
(713) 520-1738
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Armando's is pricey Tex-Mex in a luxurious setting for the River Oaks social set. The Thursday night disco party is a well-loved tradition.

12. Houston Coffee and Cars

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100 Vintage Park Boulevard, Vintage Park
Houston, TX 77070
On the first Saturday of every month, wealthy car enthusiasts from all over Houston drive almost all the way to Tomball for Coffee and Cars. The turnout features new and vintage Porsches, Ferraris, Lamborghinis and more. It's a site to behold.

13. two saints

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12460 memorial
Houston, Tx
"Rich guys love that place," is how one Eater tipster described this Memorial-area BYOB spot. On any given evening, one can find a diner cracking open a favorite bottle to celebrate a special occasion.

14. Killen's Steakhouse

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2804 S. Main St.
Pearland, TX
(281) 485-0844
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The only restaurant that hosted the Houston Texans's Bulls on Parade defense three times for dinner this season. Killen's also attracted national attention when a diner racked up a $12,000 bill on cult California cab.

15. Vic & Anthony's Steakhouse

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1510 Texas St.
Houston, TX 77002
(713) 228-1111
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It's a downtown steakhouse owned by a local billionaire. That makes it a destination for closing deals and visiting athletes, especially during baseball season.

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1. Tony's

3755 Richmond Ave, Houston, TX 77046
With its luxurious interior, outstanding food and extensive wine list, Tony's is a natural spot for whales to gather. Yet, it's the restaurant's reputation for excellent service that keeps people coming back year after year.
3755 Richmond Ave
Houston, TX 77046

2. Tony Mandola's On Waugh

1212 Waugh Dr, Houston, TX 77019
The days of the three martini lunch may be dead, but the power lunch remains alive and well at Tony Mandola's. Diners come for the comforting flavors of the restaurant's signature gumbo and Italian-influenced Creole cuisine.
1212 Waugh Dr
Houston, TX 77019

3. Damian's Cucina Italiana

3011 Smith St, Houston, TX 77006
In an era when some restaurants change menus nightly, Damian's offers the comfort of a menu that's barely changed at all in 30 years. Its Midtown location makes it a convenient spot for downtown power brokers who want to get away for lunch but still have a 2:00 p.m. meeting.
3011 Smith St
Houston, TX 77006

4. Lankford's Grocery & Market

88 Dennis St, Houston, TX 77006
The cash only burger joint feels like a secret spot, but the number of men with ties tucked into their shirts gives a hint as to the clientele. The dining room gets especially crowded for the Thursday chicken fried steak lunch special.
88 Dennis St
Houston, TX 77006

5. Irma's

22 N Chenevert St, Houston, TX 77002
This restaurant's proximity to downtown's courthouses makes it popular with lawyer and judges who willingly scarf down Tex-Mex classics. They're not the sort of people who mind that prices aren't provided with the spoken menu.
22 N Chenevert St
Houston, TX 77002

6. Brennan's of Houston

3300 Smith St, Houston, Texas 77006
As with Tony's, Brennan's mixes a talented young chef with superlative service that makes Whales feel at home. Table side preparations, as with the restaurant's signature bananas foster, add a sense of occasion.
3300 Smith St
Houston, Texas 77006

7. Pappas Bros. Steakhouse

5839 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77057
Pappas Bros combines in-house, dry aged beef with over $6,000,000 in wine inventory to create the ultimate whale playground.
5839 Westheimer Rd.
Houston, TX 77057

8. Ouisie's Table

3939 San Felipe St., Houston, TX 77027
To the extent that River Oaks has a neighborhood restaurant, it's Ouisie's. The Southern-influenced comfort classics, including a reference quality chicken fried steak, pack diners in nightly.
3939 San Felipe St.
Houston, TX 77027

9. Pizzitola's BBQ

1703 Shepherd Dr, Houston, TX 77008
Long recognized as a power lunch spot, this Houston classic may not have the city's best barbecue, but it does combine friendly service and familiar flavors in a way that's irresistible to Whales.
1703 Shepherd Dr
Houston, TX 77008

10. Brasserie 19

1919 W Gray, Houston, TX 77019
Brasserie 19 is a relative newcomer to the Whale scene, but the restaurant has become the go-to spot for River Oaks socialites. It's also one of the few places guaranteed to still have a crowd at 11:00 p.m. on a Friday night.
1919 W Gray
Houston, TX 77019

11. Armandos

2630 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77098
Armando's is pricey Tex-Mex in a luxurious setting for the River Oaks social set. The Thursday night disco party is a well-loved tradition.
2630 Westheimer Rd
Houston, TX 77098

12. Houston Coffee and Cars

100 Vintage Park Boulevard, Vintage Park, Houston, TX 77070
On the first Saturday of every month, wealthy car enthusiasts from all over Houston drive almost all the way to Tomball for Coffee and Cars. The turnout features new and vintage Porsches, Ferraris, Lamborghinis and more. It's a site to behold.
100 Vintage Park Boulevard, Vintage Park
Houston, TX 77070

13. two saints

12460 memorial, Houston, Tx
"Rich guys love that place," is how one Eater tipster described this Memorial-area BYOB spot. On any given evening, one can find a diner cracking open a favorite bottle to celebrate a special occasion.
12460 memorial
Houston, Tx

14. Killen's Steakhouse

2804 S. Main St., Pearland, TX
The only restaurant that hosted the Houston Texans's Bulls on Parade defense three times for dinner this season. Killen's also attracted national attention when a diner racked up a $12,000 bill on cult California cab.
2804 S. Main St.
Pearland, TX

15. Vic & Anthony's Steakhouse

1510 Texas St., Houston, TX 77002
It's a downtown steakhouse owned by a local billionaire. That makes it a destination for closing deals and visiting athletes, especially during baseball season.
1510 Texas St.
Houston, TX 77002

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