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A distant view of the bar at the Lymbar with bar stools, hanging plants, and red cushion seating.
The splashy interior of the Lymbar, now open at the Ion.
Dylan McEwan

The 15 Hottest New Restaurants in Houston, February 2023

Find vibey dining rooms, live entertainment, speedy omakase experiences, and much more at these buzzy newcomers

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The splashy interior of the Lymbar, now open at the Ion.
| Dylan McEwan

To some, Houston is considered a culinary capital, offering an onslaught of cuisines and restaurants that keep local diners and visitors alike hungry for more. And with a nonstop list of new openings, the question remains each month: Where to dine now?

Fortunately, Eater Houston has you covered — publishing some of the hottest and buzziest new restaurants each month.

While Luloo’s Day & Night, Mala, and Aya Sushi are still worthy picks, this list has been refreshed to include newer restaurants, like Ciel, Bayou Heights Biergarten, and the Lymbar.

Happy dining.

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Tim Ho Wan

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This international dim sum sensation landed in Katy in November, bringing some of the most delicious traditional and innovative morsels meant for sharing. Start with the classics, like the har gaw, shu mai, and baked bao buns, and consider the comforting congee and the spicy wontons offer a perfect way to warm things up. End with the creamy custard balls. You won’t be disappointed.

Four pieces of Tim Ho Wan’s shu mai, topped with dried goji berries, served in a tin basket.
Tim Ho Wan is now open in Katy’s Asiatown.
Brittany Britto Garley

Here, a steakhouse merges with Korean barbecue for an unforgettable experience, filled with quality meats grilled tableside, Sample different items from the a la carte menu, like the rice mussels served with pillowy milk bread or the rib-eye hot pot, or bring a friend to enjoy the “karnivore platter,” with five cuts of meat — chef’s choice — with side dishes like scallion salad, egg souffle, kimchi and pickles, and stew.

A plate of beef tartare topped with caviar on a white plate.
Tenderloin tartare with Osetra caviar at Karne.
Jenn Duncan

Burger Bodega

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HoustonEatz Instagram blogger and restauranteur Abbas Dhanani pays homage to New York convenience stores through this smash burger passion project, dishing out what might be the best chopped cheese in the city. Here, you’ll also find juicy burgers, either in smashed or classic fashion, loaded with Dhanani’s special Bodega sauce, and french fries, served plain yet crispy, or with the option of being cheesily “chopped” or “screwed” with toppings like bell peppers, onions, and sauce. The Craft Creamery milkshakes, which come in standard flavors, but also Vietnamese coffee and mango lassi, are also a must. Be sure to check out the collection of Houston-born products, like Pudgy’s cookies, that are available for purchase in its makeshift market.

Abbas Dhanani holds up two smash burgers at Burger Bodega.
Burger Bodega has capitalized on the wildly popular smash burger craze.
Michael Ma

Bayou Heights Biergarten

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From the same owners as Heights Biergarten, Bayou Heights Biergarten is the Kirby Group’s highly anticipated follow up bar and restaurant that opened in January. Like it’s sister concept, Bayou Heights Biergarten is made up of different buildings anchored by a courtyard, where guests can eat, drink, and lounge. Along with beer, wine, coffee, and cocktails, a food menu curated by chef Teddy Lopez includes hearty eats like brisket grilled cheese and house-made pretzels.

A tray of brisket, with a side of toast and pickles.
Adobe brisket at Bayou Heights Biergarten.
Dustyn Zenner

Ciel Restaurant & Lounge

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Despite how much you’ve heard about it, Ciel is the kind of place you have to experience for yourself. The see and be seen destination restaurant gets more and more lively as the night goes on, with a series of singers, dancers, and performers taking to the dining room each evening. While garnering a lot of buzz for its entertainment, Ciel offers a solid dinner menu too. Expect chef-driven options like smoked wagyu beef tartare, premium non-GMO caviar, and a sushi program.

A dining room with set tables, cushiony blue seating, and an array of wall art.
Ciel’s splashy dining room.
Shannon O’Hara

Little Hen

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This Florida-based restaurant known for its whimsical dining room bedecked in florals, has arrived in Houston, holding court in a cozy corner of River Oaks District. The dreamy space, which will soon include an outdoor Champagne garden, offers an ideal backdrop for sipping picture perfect cocktails like the Champagne candy cloud, featuring Pommery Champagne, cotton candy, and a sprinkle of rose petals. Brunch brings rose petal pancakes, and afternoons are reserved for an elegant, upscale tea service.

A patio with a long table shaded by white umbrellas and surrounded by florals.
The picturesque outdoor patio at Little Hen in River Oaks District.
Little Hen

TEN Sushi + Cocktail Bar - Houston

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Decorated with vibrant pinks and murals of cherry blossoms, TEN Sushi’s Houston location delivers a compelling and sexy ambiance with delicious sushi and creative cocktails to boot. Settle in with favorites like the shaken beef; the spicy tuna crispy rice starter; the Forbidden roll, made with black rice seared ahi, albacore, crab, spicy tuna, avocado, sweet soy, and jalapeño sauce; and a cocktail like the Lychee Like That. But don’t be afraid to venture off the beaten path. It’s hard to go wrong here.

Ten Sushi’s dining room dimly lit in hues of red.
Ten Sushi boasts an attractive dining room.
Ten Sushi + Cocktail Bar

Zanti Cucina Italiana - River Oaks

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With its second location in River Oaks, Zanti Cucina prides itself on offering true Italian fare in a swanky setting, complete with a charming patio. Start with the cacio e pepe salad topped with a cheese and pepper dressing with a balsamic drizzle, or the black truffle beef tartare. Shamelessly dig into a Neapolitan pizza or opt for a plate of pasta, like the pappardelle made with shredded braised veal ossobuco, or the black truffle taglioni, prepared tableside. Peruse the cocktail list, which includes the Bella Vita — a combination of raspberry vodka, limoncello, lemon juice, and Prosecco that works as a dinner complement or dessert.

Gatsby's Grill

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After opening the more formal Gatsby’s Steakhouse and Gatsby’s Seafood, the Gatsby’s restaurant group launched Gatsby’s Grill, a casual and approachable destination, now open in the East End. The menu features comfort plates like burgers and chicken fried steak, along with a variety of Latin-driven offerings like street corn, tacos, and queso, in an effort to pay homage to the surrounding El Segundo neighborhood.

A black plate with four deviled eggs on it on a wooden table.
Deluxe deviled eggs at Gatsby’s rGrill.
Raydon Creative

Louie's Italian American

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Formerly Cafe Louie, this sibling-owned all-day cafe turned Italian-American restaurant is worth venturing to the East End for. Pasta dishes are made-from-scratch in house, and include plates like spinach ravioli, tagliatelle Bianco, and osso bucco tortellini.

A white plate of spinach ravioli on a blue table.
Spinach ravioli at Louie’s.
Mai Pham

Graffiti Raw

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Newly opened in the Montrose Collective, Graffiti Raw is the latest endeavor from the Big Vibe Group (Coppa, Flora, and Gratify). Inspired by the laid back vibe of the West Coast, and with a diverse menu reflecting eats from around the globe, this hip restaurant is a welcome addition to the Montrose neighborhood. Opt for a seat on the sceney patio or at the 9-seat bar, and nosh on caviar and chips with a Flora margarita, before indulging in whole-roasted branzino.

Money Cat

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The team behind Tobiuo Sushi at LaCenterra in Cinco Ranch has brought its star power inside the loop with Money Cat, now open at Levy Park. Led by chef-owner Sherman Yeung and 22-year-old chef de cuisine, Jiolo “Jio” Dingayan, the menu showcases a mix of cooked and cold dishes and is coined as “new Japanese” cuisine. Expect sushi and sashimi alongside whimsical preparations of cured tuna, heirloom tomatoes, and Japanese shaved ice.

A dish of heirloom tomatoes made to look like they are growing out of potted soil.
Money Cat’s tomato garden is a feast for the eyes and palate.
Sabrina Miskelly

The Lymbar

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After honing his chops with his father Michael Cordua at the family’s Churrascos and Americas restaurants, chef David Cordua made his solo debut with the opening of the Lymbar at the Ion in December. The Latin-Mediterranean restaurant draws inspiration from Cordua’s Nicaraguan heritage and features items like beef tenderloin tacos arabes, a selection of empanadas, and desserts like tres leches and sweet corn flan. The attractive dishes are complemented by the equally pretty jewel-toned space.

A wooden board topped with beef tenderloin skewers, accompanied with sourdough flatbread and rice.
Beef tenderloin tacos Arabes with chimichurri, hummus and eggplant chili bomba, served with sourdough flatbread and basmati rice at the Lymbar.
Dylan McEwan

Sushi by Hidden

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The owners of Hidden Omakase have opened yet another speakeasy-style sushi restaurant. Sushi by Hidden is located discreetly in Rice Village and boasts an intimate space with 10 seats, which guests may reserve for $60 omakase experiences, and an art gallery featuring a revolving lineup of artists. Like Hidden Omakase, Sushi by Hidden is BYOB.

A wooden board showcasing pieces of raw fish topped with uni.
Sushi by Hidden offers a 30-minute omakase experience.
Jenn Duncan

Navy Blue

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Sister to James Beard Award-nominated chef Aaron Bludorn’s restaurant Bludorn, this Rice Village newcomer offers up some of the most delectable seafood dishes in the city, and it’s open for lunch and dinner. Begin with the baked goodness that is clams casino, the BBQ shrimp, and the creamy, chowder-like mussel bisque that comes topped with flaky pastry. Then, prepare for main courses, like Navy’s moist King Salmon, or swordfish au poivre, which comes with a halved hunk of roasted garlic. You can’t go wrong with pastry chef Marie Riddle’s desserts. The carrot cake, the chocolate coulant, and the Apples & Eggs — a green apple sorbet with creme fraiche and a bump of caviar — are all fantastic.

Navy Blue’s spaghetti vongole dish, with clams served over spaghetti with a garnish of seaweed.
Navy Blue’s spaghetti vongole.
Caroline Fontenot

Tim Ho Wan

This international dim sum sensation landed in Katy in November, bringing some of the most delicious traditional and innovative morsels meant for sharing. Start with the classics, like the har gaw, shu mai, and baked bao buns, and consider the comforting congee and the spicy wontons offer a perfect way to warm things up. End with the creamy custard balls. You won’t be disappointed.

Four pieces of Tim Ho Wan’s shu mai, topped with dried goji berries, served in a tin basket.
Tim Ho Wan is now open in Katy’s Asiatown.
Brittany Britto Garley

Karne

Here, a steakhouse merges with Korean barbecue for an unforgettable experience, filled with quality meats grilled tableside, Sample different items from the a la carte menu, like the rice mussels served with pillowy milk bread or the rib-eye hot pot, or bring a friend to enjoy the “karnivore platter,” with five cuts of meat — chef’s choice — with side dishes like scallion salad, egg souffle, kimchi and pickles, and stew.

A plate of beef tartare topped with caviar on a white plate.
Tenderloin tartare with Osetra caviar at Karne.
Jenn Duncan

Burger Bodega

HoustonEatz Instagram blogger and restauranteur Abbas Dhanani pays homage to New York convenience stores through this smash burger passion project, dishing out what might be the best chopped cheese in the city. Here, you’ll also find juicy burgers, either in smashed or classic fashion, loaded with Dhanani’s special Bodega sauce, and french fries, served plain yet crispy, or with the option of being cheesily “chopped” or “screwed” with toppings like bell peppers, onions, and sauce. The Craft Creamery milkshakes, which come in standard flavors, but also Vietnamese coffee and mango lassi, are also a must. Be sure to check out the collection of Houston-born products, like Pudgy’s cookies, that are available for purchase in its makeshift market.

Abbas Dhanani holds up two smash burgers at Burger Bodega.
Burger Bodega has capitalized on the wildly popular smash burger craze.
Michael Ma

Bayou Heights Biergarten

From the same owners as Heights Biergarten, Bayou Heights Biergarten is the Kirby Group’s highly anticipated follow up bar and restaurant that opened in January. Like it’s sister concept, Bayou Heights Biergarten is made up of different buildings anchored by a courtyard, where guests can eat, drink, and lounge. Along with beer, wine, coffee, and cocktails, a food menu curated by chef Teddy Lopez includes hearty eats like brisket grilled cheese and house-made pretzels.

A tray of brisket, with a side of toast and pickles.
Adobe brisket at Bayou Heights Biergarten.
Dustyn Zenner

Ciel Restaurant & Lounge

Despite how much you’ve heard about it, Ciel is the kind of place you have to experience for yourself. The see and be seen destination restaurant gets more and more lively as the night goes on, with a series of singers, dancers, and performers taking to the dining room each evening. While garnering a lot of buzz for its entertainment, Ciel offers a solid dinner menu too. Expect chef-driven options like smoked wagyu beef tartare, premium non-GMO caviar, and a sushi program.

A dining room with set tables, cushiony blue seating, and an array of wall art.
Ciel’s splashy dining room.
Shannon O’Hara

Little Hen

This Florida-based restaurant known for its whimsical dining room bedecked in florals, has arrived in Houston, holding court in a cozy corner of River Oaks District. The dreamy space, which will soon include an outdoor Champagne garden, offers an ideal backdrop for sipping picture perfect cocktails like the Champagne candy cloud, featuring Pommery Champagne, cotton candy, and a sprinkle of rose petals. Brunch brings rose petal pancakes, and afternoons are reserved for an elegant, upscale tea service.

A patio with a long table shaded by white umbrellas and surrounded by florals.
The picturesque outdoor patio at Little Hen in River Oaks District.
Little Hen

TEN Sushi + Cocktail Bar - Houston

Decorated with vibrant pinks and murals of cherry blossoms, TEN Sushi’s Houston location delivers a compelling and sexy ambiance with delicious sushi and creative cocktails to boot. Settle in with favorites like the shaken beef; the spicy tuna crispy rice starter; the Forbidden roll, made with black rice seared ahi, albacore, crab, spicy tuna, avocado, sweet soy, and jalapeño sauce; and a cocktail like the Lychee Like That. But don’t be afraid to venture off the beaten path. It’s hard to go wrong here.

Ten Sushi’s dining room dimly lit in hues of red.
Ten Sushi boasts an attractive dining room.
Ten Sushi + Cocktail Bar

Zanti Cucina Italiana - River Oaks

With its second location in River Oaks, Zanti Cucina prides itself on offering true Italian fare in a swanky setting, complete with a charming patio. Start with the cacio e pepe salad topped with a cheese and pepper dressing with a balsamic drizzle, or the black truffle beef tartare. Shamelessly dig into a Neapolitan pizza or opt for a plate of pasta, like the pappardelle made with shredded braised veal ossobuco, or the black truffle taglioni, prepared tableside. Peruse the cocktail list, which includes the Bella Vita — a combination of raspberry vodka, limoncello, lemon juice, and Prosecco that works as a dinner complement or dessert.

Gatsby's Grill

After opening the more formal Gatsby’s Steakhouse and Gatsby’s Seafood, the Gatsby’s restaurant group launched Gatsby’s Grill, a casual and approachable destination, now open in the East End. The menu features comfort plates like burgers and chicken fried steak, along with a variety of Latin-driven offerings like street corn, tacos, and queso, in an effort to pay homage to the surrounding El Segundo neighborhood.

A black plate with four deviled eggs on it on a wooden table.
Deluxe deviled eggs at Gatsby’s rGrill.
Raydon Creative

Louie's Italian American

Formerly Cafe Louie, this sibling-owned all-day cafe turned Italian-American restaurant is worth venturing to the East End for. Pasta dishes are made-from-scratch in house, and include plates like spinach ravioli, tagliatelle Bianco, and osso bucco tortellini.

A white plate of spinach ravioli on a blue table.
Spinach ravioli at Louie’s.
Mai Pham

Graffiti Raw

Newly opened in the Montrose Collective, Graffiti Raw is the latest endeavor from the Big Vibe Group (Coppa, Flora, and Gratify). Inspired by the laid back vibe of the West Coast, and with a diverse menu reflecting eats from around the globe, this hip restaurant is a welcome addition to the Montrose neighborhood. Opt for a seat on the sceney patio or at the 9-seat bar, and nosh on caviar and chips with a Flora margarita, before indulging in whole-roasted branzino.

Money Cat

The team behind Tobiuo Sushi at LaCenterra in Cinco Ranch has brought its star power inside the loop with Money Cat, now open at Levy Park. Led by chef-owner Sherman Yeung and 22-year-old chef de cuisine, Jiolo “Jio” Dingayan, the menu showcases a mix of cooked and cold dishes and is coined as “new Japanese” cuisine. Expect sushi and sashimi alongside whimsical preparations of cured tuna, heirloom tomatoes, and Japanese shaved ice.

A dish of heirloom tomatoes made to look like they are growing out of potted soil.
Money Cat’s tomato garden is a feast for the eyes and palate.
Sabrina Miskelly

The Lymbar

After honing his chops with his father Michael Cordua at the family’s Churrascos and Americas restaurants, chef David Cordua made his solo debut with the opening of the Lymbar at the Ion in December. The Latin-Mediterranean restaurant draws inspiration from Cordua’s Nicaraguan heritage and features items like beef tenderloin tacos arabes, a selection of empanadas, and desserts like tres leches and sweet corn flan. The attractive dishes are complemented by the equally pretty jewel-toned space.

A wooden board topped with beef tenderloin skewers, accompanied with sourdough flatbread and rice.
Beef tenderloin tacos Arabes with chimichurri, hummus and eggplant chili bomba, served with sourdough flatbread and basmati rice at the Lymbar.
Dylan McEwan

Sushi by Hidden

The owners of Hidden Omakase have opened yet another speakeasy-style sushi restaurant. Sushi by Hidden is located discreetly in Rice Village and boasts an intimate space with 10 seats, which guests may reserve for $60 omakase experiences, and an art gallery featuring a revolving lineup of artists. Like Hidden Omakase, Sushi by Hidden is BYOB.

A wooden board showcasing pieces of raw fish topped with uni.
Sushi by Hidden offers a 30-minute omakase experience.
Jenn Duncan

Navy Blue

Sister to James Beard Award-nominated chef Aaron Bludorn’s restaurant Bludorn, this Rice Village newcomer offers up some of the most delectable seafood dishes in the city, and it’s open for lunch and dinner. Begin with the baked goodness that is clams casino, the BBQ shrimp, and the creamy, chowder-like mussel bisque that comes topped with flaky pastry. Then, prepare for main courses, like Navy’s moist King Salmon, or swordfish au poivre, which comes with a halved hunk of roasted garlic. You can’t go wrong with pastry chef Marie Riddle’s desserts. The carrot cake, the chocolate coulant, and the Apples & Eggs — a green apple sorbet with creme fraiche and a bump of caviar — are all fantastic.

Navy Blue’s spaghetti vongole dish, with clams served over spaghetti with a garnish of seaweed.
Navy Blue’s spaghetti vongole.
Caroline Fontenot

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