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a tablescape at Flora featuring al pastor tacos, roasted chicken, and margaritas using fresh juices.
Grant Cooper’s latest restaurant Flora explores the flavors of small Mexican towns right here in Houston.
Kirsten Gilliam

The 18 Hottest New Restaurants in Houston, April 2022

Find squid ink pasta, top-notch margaritas with cricket salt, spice-laden brisket, and so much more at these exciting newcomers

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Grant Cooper’s latest restaurant Flora explores the flavors of small Mexican towns right here in Houston.
| Kirsten Gilliam

Even though the coronavirus pandemic continues, brand new restaurants are still debuting on a near-daily basis in Houston. Considering the circumstances, these restaurants have proved themselves as masters of adaptation, and are truly shining in this brave new world of dining.

This spring, the onslaught of new establishments has excited local diners and visitors alike — offering unique experiences focused on quality service, community, and most importantly, tastebuds. From creative takes on traditional Mexican and Italian cuisine and creative fast-casual Vietnamese offerings, these 18 hot new Houston restaurants offer a slew of seriously delicious ways to continue a promising start to the New Year.

While we’ve removed Underbelly Burger and Dave’s Hot Chicken, we’ve added Marmo and Flora to list.

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Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. d'Alba

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3715 Alba Rd
Houston, TX 77018
(346) 319-5790
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This new neighborhood establishment brings a much-needed hangout spot to the GOOF, offering dishes like hand-made pasta; grilled Texas quail with cherry olive tapenade and quinoa; and shareable like balloon bread with a selection of sauces, plus an extensive cocktail and wine list.

2. Saigon Hustle

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3323 Ella Blvd
Houston, TX 77018
(713) 565-1414
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This new Vietnamese drive-thru is drawing lots of attention to a Garden Oaks intersection, and for good reason. Boba tea, sizzling rice bowls made-to-order, and banh mi using freshly baked bread are all on-the-go options, but if in no hurry, the colorful, mural-covered outdoor patio invites diners to stay awhile.

3. Loro

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1001 W 11th St
Houston, TX 77008
(713) 930-2326
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James Beard Award winners Aaron Franklin and chef Tyson Cole bring the holy grail flavors of Texas barbecue and fuse it with that of Asian cuisine at Loro’s Houston newest location. Located in place a former church, this Asian Smokehouse features dishes like candied kettle corn with burnt brisket ends, rice bowls, char siu pork belly, and beef brisket with chile gastrique and Thai herbs.

4. Trattoria Sofia

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911 W 11th St
Houston, TX 77008
(713) 804-0429
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Ben Berg’s romantic new Italian hideaway is meant to evoke the side street restaurants of Rome or Florence, with rustic dishes like shrimp bruschetta, pan-seared swordfish, lamb ragu, and cacio e pepe, and serene outdoor patio. The cute personal-sized pizzas are perfect for dining solo or sharing with friends, and the beet salad makes for a refreshing starter.

5. Chivos

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222 W 11th St
Houston, TX 77008
(832) 767-1417
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Executive chef Thomas Bille brings Mexican-American cuisine to the space formerly occupied by Calle Onze, with dishes like pozole dumplings, duck in fig mole, and truffle butter and salmon roe. The restaurant employs traditional techniques like nixtamalization for making tortillas.

6. Casa Nomad

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600 N Shepherd Dr Suite 499
Houston, TX 77007

This intimate spot in the M-K-T development in the Heights is modeled after the tropical seaside cafes and fresh cuisine of Tulum, Mexico. Dishes include cobia tostadas topped with grapefruit guacamole and crema; roasted sweet potatoes in a peanut-carrot mole; blue crab-stuffed masa, and drinks like the Cenote, made with green chartreuse, elote liqueur, and pineapple juice.

7. Maize

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14795 Memorial Dr
Houston, TX 77079
(346) 409-2733
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Experience multiple Mexican culinary traditions with a mouthful at Maize. Choices seem endless with four types of ceviche to choose from and intriguing dishes like the duck confit enchiladas, barbacoa de res cooked in agave leaves, and the octopus prepared in a black salsa with potato, cauliflower, and pickled onion. In the mood for a different type of protein? Try the insect tacos.

8. POST Houston

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401 Franklin St
Houston, TX 77201
(713) 999-2550
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The long-awaited revamp of Downtown’s Barbara Jordan Post Office is finally complete, including a massive food hall with two bars and several stalls. Find raw oysters at Golfstrømmen, wood-fired pizza at Brooklyn’s beloved local outpost of Roberta’s, heartwarming West African cuisine at ChòpnBlọk, and much, much more.

9. Flora

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3422 Allen Pkwy
Houston, TX 77019
(713) 360-6477
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Overlooking Buffalo Bayou Park, this elegant treehouse replaces The Dunlavy, offering a taste of small towns in Mexico with a Houston flair. Here, you’ll find slammin’ al pastor tacos, charred octopus and chorizo, an alluring yellowtail ceviche negro using squid ink, and their spin on tender fajitas, plus what might be the best margarita in the city, made with fresh juices and rimmed with an addicting cricket salt.

10. Duck N Bao

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5535 Memorial Dr O
Houston, TX 77007
(832) 849-1783
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This Cypress fave just opened an in-the-loop location near Memorial Park, where diners can find the same juicy soup dumplings and crispy Peking duck, and Sichuan cuisine that made its suburban location a hit.

11. Common Bond Brasserie & Bakery

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800 Capitol St Suite P1-01
Houston, TX 77002
(713) 343-2255
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Common Bond has gone all-in with its on-the-go format in the past year, but the beloved Montrose bakery has recently switched gears, opening its first full-service restaurant, Brasserie, downtown. At the chic new spot, diners can look forward to dishes like french onion soup, wild mushroom and goat cheese flatbread, a croque madame sandwich, coq au vin, smoked duck rillettes, raw oysters, seafood towers, and more.

12. Rosalie

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400 Dallas St
Houston, TX 77002
(713) 351-5790
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From Top Chef Master winner Chris Cosentino, this critically-acclaimed Downtown restaurant reopened in 2021 after an 18-month COVID hiatus. Now it’s back serving Cosentino’s classic Italian-American dishes, including bold, rustic red sauces, wood-fired pizzas, blue crab manicotti, Texas wild boar ragu, and red snapper with wild mushrooms and arugula.

13. Urbe

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1101 Uptown Park Blvd Suite 12
Houston, TX 77056
(713) 726-8273
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Chef Hugo Ortega’s newest restaurant is now celebrating the street foods of Mexico in Uptown Park. At this fast-casual spot, Ortega’s famed tlayudas and gorditas are topped with slow-braised meats like birria de res, plus there’s an extensive selection of pan dulce and breakfast tacos in the morning.

14. Toro Toro

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1300 Lamar St
Houston, TX 77010
(713) 650-1300
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The self-proclaimed “father of modern Mexican cuisine” Richard Sandoval has opened a new Latin-influenced steakhouse at downtown’s Four Seasons Hotel. Expect dishes like a giant, 52-ounce mezcal-flambéed prime tomahawk steak, Spanish octopus, and antelope tenderloin, sourced from Texas’ Broken Arrow Ranch. There’s also a ceviche bar, and every steak is served with both chimichurri and barbecue sauce.

15. J-Bar-M Barbecue

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2201 Leeland St
Houston, TX 77003
(713) 534-1024
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EaDo’s buzzy new barbecue joint comes from Willow Villareal, who ran the popular but short-lived Willow’s Texas BBQ food truck. At J-Bar-M, find barky brisket, slow-smoked turkey breast, housemade jalapeno-cheese sausage, and contemporary sides like marinated cherry tomatoes, and cauliflower au gratin. Just get there early — it’s been selling out regularly.

16. Marmo

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888 Westheimer Rd Suite 109
Houston, TX 77006
(832) 626-3400
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With inviting decor and an expansive wine list, Marmo offers an exciting haven from a bustling Montrose, with classic pasta dishes and hand-cut dry-aged steaks. Start with the surprisingly juicy Tuscan chicken bites, served with fried artichokes and garlic aioli, and fill up on the creamy squid ink campanelle dish, served with fresh blue crab, uni cream sauce, basil, and a dash of chili and bread crumbs. Dessert calls for the light and heavenly tiramisu — you’ll want to finish it in one sitting.

17. Idle Hands

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910 Westheimer Rd
Houston, TX 77006

This Austin import brings tropical vibes and a rooftop terrace to Montrose with dishes like Cubano sandwiches, mini empanadas, pulled pork birria, and plantain chips and guac. Drinks include frozen mojitos and piña coladas, plus palomas, spritzes, and a Blue Hawaiian.

18. Le Jardinier

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Parking lot, 5500 Main St Suite 122
Houston, TX 77004
(713) 714-3015
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Browsing art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston can work up an appetite. Luckily, you don’t have to go far. Billed the best restaurant museum in Texas, Le Jardinier takes on a colorful garden theme as its French name suggests. Dishes like the earthy roasted beet salad with Asian pear, watercress yogurt and pomegranate, and the sea scallops with herbal cream are sure to make a first impression, as will the green circle chicken with brussels sprouts and black garlic. Can’t make up your mind? Choose the five-course “seasonal expression” meal for $145.

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1. d'Alba

3715 Alba Rd, Houston, TX 77018

This new neighborhood establishment brings a much-needed hangout spot to the GOOF, offering dishes like hand-made pasta; grilled Texas quail with cherry olive tapenade and quinoa; and shareable like balloon bread with a selection of sauces, plus an extensive cocktail and wine list.

3715 Alba Rd
Houston, TX 77018

2. Saigon Hustle

3323 Ella Blvd, Houston, TX 77018

This new Vietnamese drive-thru is drawing lots of attention to a Garden Oaks intersection, and for good reason. Boba tea, sizzling rice bowls made-to-order, and banh mi using freshly baked bread are all on-the-go options, but if in no hurry, the colorful, mural-covered outdoor patio invites diners to stay awhile.

3323 Ella Blvd
Houston, TX 77018

3. Loro

1001 W 11th St, Houston, TX 77008

James Beard Award winners Aaron Franklin and chef Tyson Cole bring the holy grail flavors of Texas barbecue and fuse it with that of Asian cuisine at Loro’s Houston newest location. Located in place a former church, this Asian Smokehouse features dishes like candied kettle corn with burnt brisket ends, rice bowls, char siu pork belly, and beef brisket with chile gastrique and Thai herbs.

1001 W 11th St
Houston, TX 77008

4. Trattoria Sofia

911 W 11th St, Houston, TX 77008

Ben Berg’s romantic new Italian hideaway is meant to evoke the side street restaurants of Rome or Florence, with rustic dishes like shrimp bruschetta, pan-seared swordfish, lamb ragu, and cacio e pepe, and serene outdoor patio. The cute personal-sized pizzas are perfect for dining solo or sharing with friends, and the beet salad makes for a refreshing starter.

911 W 11th St
Houston, TX 77008

5. Chivos

222 W 11th St, Houston, TX 77008

Executive chef Thomas Bille brings Mexican-American cuisine to the space formerly occupied by Calle Onze, with dishes like pozole dumplings, duck in fig mole, and truffle butter and salmon roe. The restaurant employs traditional techniques like nixtamalization for making tortillas.

222 W 11th St
Houston, TX 77008

6. Casa Nomad

600 N Shepherd Dr Suite 499, Houston, TX 77007

This intimate spot in the M-K-T development in the Heights is modeled after the tropical seaside cafes and fresh cuisine of Tulum, Mexico. Dishes include cobia tostadas topped with grapefruit guacamole and crema; roasted sweet potatoes in a peanut-carrot mole; blue crab-stuffed masa, and drinks like the Cenote, made with green chartreuse, elote liqueur, and pineapple juice.

600 N Shepherd Dr Suite 499
Houston, TX 77007

7. Maize

14795 Memorial Dr, Houston, TX 77079

Experience multiple Mexican culinary traditions with a mouthful at Maize. Choices seem endless with four types of ceviche to choose from and intriguing dishes like the duck confit enchiladas, barbacoa de res cooked in agave leaves, and the octopus prepared in a black salsa with potato, cauliflower, and pickled onion. In the mood for a different type of protein? Try the insect tacos.

14795 Memorial Dr
Houston, TX 77079

8. POST Houston

401 Franklin St, Houston, TX 77201

The long-awaited revamp of Downtown’s Barbara Jordan Post Office is finally complete, including a massive food hall with two bars and several stalls. Find raw oysters at Golfstrømmen, wood-fired pizza at Brooklyn’s beloved local outpost of Roberta’s, heartwarming West African cuisine at ChòpnBlọk, and much, much more.

401 Franklin St
Houston, TX 77201

9. Flora

3422 Allen Pkwy, Houston, TX 77019

Overlooking Buffalo Bayou Park, this elegant treehouse replaces The Dunlavy, offering a taste of small towns in Mexico with a Houston flair. Here, you’ll find slammin’ al pastor tacos, charred octopus and chorizo, an alluring yellowtail ceviche negro using squid ink, and their spin on tender fajitas, plus what might be the best margarita in the city, made with fresh juices and rimmed with an addicting cricket salt.

3422 Allen Pkwy
Houston, TX 77019

10. Duck N Bao

5535 Memorial Dr O, Houston, TX 77007

This Cypress fave just opened an in-the-loop location near Memorial Park, where diners can find the same juicy soup dumplings and crispy Peking duck, and Sichuan cuisine that made its suburban location a hit.

5535 Memorial Dr O
Houston, TX 77007

11. Common Bond Brasserie & Bakery

800 Capitol St Suite P1-01, Houston, TX 77002

Common Bond has gone all-in with its on-the-go format in the past year, but the beloved Montrose bakery has recently switched gears, opening its first full-service restaurant, Brasserie, downtown. At the chic new spot, diners can look forward to dishes like french onion soup, wild mushroom and goat cheese flatbread, a croque madame sandwich, coq au vin, smoked duck rillettes, raw oysters, seafood towers, and more.

800 Capitol St Suite P1-01
Houston, TX 77002

12. Rosalie

400 Dallas St, Houston, TX 77002

From Top Chef Master winner Chris Cosentino, this critically-acclaimed Downtown restaurant reopened in 2021 after an 18-month COVID hiatus. Now it’s back serving Cosentino’s classic Italian-American dishes, including bold, rustic red sauces, wood-fired pizzas, blue crab manicotti, Texas wild boar ragu, and red snapper with wild mushrooms and arugula.

400 Dallas St
Houston, TX 77002

13. Urbe

1101 Uptown Park Blvd Suite 12, Houston, TX 77056

Chef Hugo Ortega’s newest restaurant is now celebrating the street foods of Mexico in Uptown Park. At this fast-casual spot, Ortega’s famed tlayudas and gorditas are topped with slow-braised meats like birria de res, plus there’s an extensive selection of pan dulce and breakfast tacos in the morning.

1101 Uptown Park Blvd Suite 12
Houston, TX 77056

14. Toro Toro

1300 Lamar St, Houston, TX 77010

The self-proclaimed “father of modern Mexican cuisine” Richard Sandoval has opened a new Latin-influenced steakhouse at downtown’s Four Seasons Hotel. Expect dishes like a giant, 52-ounce mezcal-flambéed prime tomahawk steak, Spanish octopus, and antelope tenderloin, sourced from Texas’ Broken Arrow Ranch. There’s also a ceviche bar, and every steak is served with both chimichurri and barbecue sauce.

1300 Lamar St
Houston, TX 77010

15. J-Bar-M Barbecue

2201 Leeland St, Houston, TX 77003

EaDo’s buzzy new barbecue joint comes from Willow Villareal, who ran the popular but short-lived Willow’s Texas BBQ food truck. At J-Bar-M, find barky brisket, slow-smoked turkey breast, housemade jalapeno-cheese sausage, and contemporary sides like marinated cherry tomatoes, and cauliflower au gratin. Just get there early — it’s been selling out regularly.

2201 Leeland St
Houston, TX 77003

Related Maps

16. Marmo

888 Westheimer Rd Suite 109, Houston, TX 77006

With inviting decor and an expansive wine list, Marmo offers an exciting haven from a bustling Montrose, with classic pasta dishes and hand-cut dry-aged steaks. Start with the surprisingly juicy Tuscan chicken bites, served with fried artichokes and garlic aioli, and fill up on the creamy squid ink campanelle dish, served with fresh blue crab, uni cream sauce, basil, and a dash of chili and bread crumbs. Dessert calls for the light and heavenly tiramisu — you’ll want to finish it in one sitting.

888 Westheimer Rd Suite 109
Houston, TX 77006

17. Idle Hands

910 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77006

This Austin import brings tropical vibes and a rooftop terrace to Montrose with dishes like Cubano sandwiches, mini empanadas, pulled pork birria, and plantain chips and guac. Drinks include frozen mojitos and piña coladas, plus palomas, spritzes, and a Blue Hawaiian.

910 Westheimer Rd
Houston, TX 77006

18. Le Jardinier

Parking lot, 5500 Main St Suite 122, Houston, TX 77004

Browsing art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston can work up an appetite. Luckily, you don’t have to go far. Billed the best restaurant museum in Texas, Le Jardinier takes on a colorful garden theme as its French name suggests. Dishes like the earthy roasted beet salad with Asian pear, watercress yogurt and pomegranate, and the sea scallops with herbal cream are sure to make a first impression, as will the green circle chicken with brussels sprouts and black garlic. Can’t make up your mind? Choose the five-course “seasonal expression” meal for $145.

Parking lot, 5500 Main St Suite 122
Houston, TX 77004

Related Maps