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a sandwich topped with lobster tails still in the shell and fried catfish pieces
Fried catfish and lobster stack from The Greasy Spoon.
The Greasy Spoon/Facebook

Where to Find the Most Comforting Soul Food in Houston

Feast on the city’s finest oxtails, catfish and grits, banana pudding, and so much more

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Fried catfish and lobster stack from The Greasy Spoon.
| The Greasy Spoon/Facebook

Just as Black cuisine is American cuisine, soul food will always be American food. Originating in the South, soul food emerged from the culinary traditions of enslaved peoples in the South, which were largely based on West African and indigenous cooking traditions.

Though the term soul food materialized in the 1960s alongside the Civil Rights movement, the legacy of soul food has come to define a lot of what’s considered the food of the American South — dishes like fried chicken, black-eyed peas, macaroni and cheese, cornbread, and sweet potato pie.

In Houston, where Black Americans make up nearly 23 percent of Houston’s population, these dishes shine. From music to art, and yes, to soul food, the impact of Black Americans on Texas’ Space City is palpable. Soul food highlights some of the culinary ingenuity and cultural history that defines Black America, all while providing the comfort and flavor so deeply desired by Southerners.

Use this map as a guide to the city’s essential Soul Food restaurants, from longstanding favorites to newcomers that are doing the classics up right.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

The Greasy Spoon

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The brainchild of Max Bozeman II, the Greasy Spoon makes good on the young chef’s desire to elevate Southern cuisine. Leaning into the close relationship between Texas’ and Louisiana’s Black cuisine, the eatery places a sincere and loving focus on its incredible seafood options. The Cajun jambalaya pasta and blackened catfish Opelousas are not to be missed. For the non-seafood enthusiasts? Herb-roasted chicken, smothered pork chops, and decadent sides like “souled out” black eyed peas, candied yams, Southern style greens, and sweet buttered corn are sure to please. To place a delivery or curbside, visit ChowNow, or call the restaurant directly.

Christine's Soul Food Place

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With classic soul food offerings like baked chicken, smothered steak, peach cobbler, and a variety of cakes, Christine’s Soul Food Place is great for when you’re in need of a quick, home-cooked meal. You can call the restaurant to place a pickup or takeout order. 

Esther's Cajun Cafe & Soul Food

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Equally rich in food options and history, Esther’s Cajun Cafe & Soul Food puts heart and soul into every single dish. There’s creamy Cajun fettuccine pasta, hearty chicken and dumplings, traditional shrimp and crawfish etouffee, and sweet and smooth banana pudding to finish off what’s sure to be a memorable meal. You can call or stop by Esther’s to order takeout, or order online with Doordash.

Esther's Signature Dish

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A brunch and lunch version of Esther’s Cajun Cafe, Esther’s Signature Dish brings comfort and flavor to Houston’s North Side. Piled-high chicken and waffles and catfish and grits are signature plates, but the famous shrimp and grits and boudin ball skillet are also not to be missed. Order pickup or delivery on DoorDash, UberEatsGrubhub, and Seamless.

Heavenly Choices

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If heaven was truly a place on earth, you might just find it in Heavenly Choices. Come for the oxtails and baked yams, stay for the German butter cake. Call the restaurant to place a takeout order.

The Breakfast Klub

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Perhaps one of the most storied and integral restaurant’s to Houston’s Black eating culture, The Breakfast Klub continues to garner lines wrapped around its building — and with good cause. The signature “katfish” and grits and wings and waffles continue to bring celebrities, politicians, and Houstonians to the restaurant, and their menu of breakfast plates, lunch salads, and heart healthy options continue to impress Third Ward and the greater Houston community. The Breakfast Klub offers curbside, pickup, and delivery options through its website, and you can also order pickup or delivery through Grubhub.

Soul Food Vegan

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Soul food is often associated with heavy, greasy, fare and decadent flavors and ingredients. While it certainly can be indulgent, this restaurant also believes it can also be bright and modern. Providing soulful, plant-based twists on Southern classics like gumbo, boudin balls, and jambalaya, Soul Food Vegan also strives to end food deserts, and combat nutritional deficiencies in underserved communities. You can order through the restaurant’s website or on Grubhub.

a plate of boudin balls next to a side of fries
Vegan “boudin” balls from Soul Food Vegan
Soul Food Vegan/Facebook

Alfreda's Soul Food

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Founded in 1964, the Green family’s Alfreda’s Soul Food Restaurant has withstood the test of time in Houston’s ever-changing dining community. Time has done them well, because they’ve perfected signature dishes like turkey wings, fried shrimp, red beans and rice, and shrimp and grits. You can order takeout and curbside on their website, and delivery through Grubhub and Postmates.

Houston This Is It Soul Food

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It’s hard to disagree with Houston This Is It Soul’s Food claim as the place “where every meal gives you a Sunday feel.” Their oxtail plate with two sides and two pieces of cornbread is just $18.95, and their smothered chicken and fried catfish plate will take the many Houstonians with Southern Baptist roots back to the Sundays of their childhood. Open for carry out, delivery, and onsite dining, patrons can order with Doordash and Grubhub.

a slice of sweet potato pie
Sweet potato pie from This Is It Soul Food
This Is It Soul Food/Facebook

NaWels Cajun & Soul Food

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NaWels Cajun and Soul Food keeps things simple, and tasty. The unassuming restaurant packs a flavor punch in its beloved catfish basket, red beans and rice with sausage, and shrimp po-boy. If you’re in an extra sweet mood, make sure to grab a funnel cake. Order online for pick up or delivery on Grubhub and Seamless.

Mikki's Soulfood Cafe

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Family-owned and operated, Mikki’s Soul Food has been preparing some of Space City’s most comforting, soul-driven eats for 20 years. With locations in Southwest Houston and Pearland, it’s now easier than ever to grab some of the restaurant’s beloved oxtails, chicken fried chicken, and ham hocks. Order on Mikki’s website, or use Grubhub, DoorDash, Uber Eats, or Postmates to order from either or their two locations.

Soulfood by Catherine

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Soul Food by Catherine provides classics like smothered pork chops and rice, yams, and collard greens. They also offer fried fish and chips baskets, stuffed bell peppers, and desserts to satisfy every sweet tooth. Delivery is available through Grubhub and UberEats.

Viola & Agnes

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Seabrook is technically not Houston, but true Houstonians know that there’s always a chance you’ll end up near the Space Station, in need of some grub. Lake Charles native Chef Aaron offers terrific family favorites like bbq shrimp and grits — local shrimp in a New Orleans-style barbecue butter sauce with peas, mushrooms, and micro basil — and chili honey wings and Liège waffle — double cooked wings tossed in a sweet and smoky chili Texas honey sauce, with a homemade Liège waffle. Order pickup or delivery through Postmates, Grubhub, or DoorDash.

a plate of fried chicken smothered in sauce with beans and rice, lemon edges and a dinner roll
Viola and Agnes’ in Seabrook
Viola and Agnes’/Facebook

The Greasy Spoon

The brainchild of Max Bozeman II, the Greasy Spoon makes good on the young chef’s desire to elevate Southern cuisine. Leaning into the close relationship between Texas’ and Louisiana’s Black cuisine, the eatery places a sincere and loving focus on its incredible seafood options. The Cajun jambalaya pasta and blackened catfish Opelousas are not to be missed. For the non-seafood enthusiasts? Herb-roasted chicken, smothered pork chops, and decadent sides like “souled out” black eyed peas, candied yams, Southern style greens, and sweet buttered corn are sure to please. To place a delivery or curbside, visit ChowNow, or call the restaurant directly.

Christine's Soul Food Place

With classic soul food offerings like baked chicken, smothered steak, peach cobbler, and a variety of cakes, Christine’s Soul Food Place is great for when you’re in need of a quick, home-cooked meal. You can call the restaurant to place a pickup or takeout order. 

Esther's Cajun Cafe & Soul Food

Equally rich in food options and history, Esther’s Cajun Cafe & Soul Food puts heart and soul into every single dish. There’s creamy Cajun fettuccine pasta, hearty chicken and dumplings, traditional shrimp and crawfish etouffee, and sweet and smooth banana pudding to finish off what’s sure to be a memorable meal. You can call or stop by Esther’s to order takeout, or order online with Doordash.

Esther's Signature Dish

A brunch and lunch version of Esther’s Cajun Cafe, Esther’s Signature Dish brings comfort and flavor to Houston’s North Side. Piled-high chicken and waffles and catfish and grits are signature plates, but the famous shrimp and grits and boudin ball skillet are also not to be missed. Order pickup or delivery on DoorDash, UberEatsGrubhub, and Seamless.

Heavenly Choices

If heaven was truly a place on earth, you might just find it in Heavenly Choices. Come for the oxtails and baked yams, stay for the German butter cake. Call the restaurant to place a takeout order.

The Breakfast Klub

Perhaps one of the most storied and integral restaurant’s to Houston’s Black eating culture, The Breakfast Klub continues to garner lines wrapped around its building — and with good cause. The signature “katfish” and grits and wings and waffles continue to bring celebrities, politicians, and Houstonians to the restaurant, and their menu of breakfast plates, lunch salads, and heart healthy options continue to impress Third Ward and the greater Houston community. The Breakfast Klub offers curbside, pickup, and delivery options through its website, and you can also order pickup or delivery through Grubhub.

Soul Food Vegan

a plate of boudin balls next to a side of fries
Vegan “boudin” balls from Soul Food Vegan
Soul Food Vegan/Facebook

Soul food is often associated with heavy, greasy, fare and decadent flavors and ingredients. While it certainly can be indulgent, this restaurant also believes it can also be bright and modern. Providing soulful, plant-based twists on Southern classics like gumbo, boudin balls, and jambalaya, Soul Food Vegan also strives to end food deserts, and combat nutritional deficiencies in underserved communities. You can order through the restaurant’s website or on Grubhub.

a plate of boudin balls next to a side of fries
Vegan “boudin” balls from Soul Food Vegan
Soul Food Vegan/Facebook

Alfreda's Soul Food

Founded in 1964, the Green family’s Alfreda’s Soul Food Restaurant has withstood the test of time in Houston’s ever-changing dining community. Time has done them well, because they’ve perfected signature dishes like turkey wings, fried shrimp, red beans and rice, and shrimp and grits. You can order takeout and curbside on their website, and delivery through Grubhub and Postmates.

Houston This Is It Soul Food

a slice of sweet potato pie
Sweet potato pie from This Is It Soul Food
This Is It Soul Food/Facebook

It’s hard to disagree with Houston This Is It Soul’s Food claim as the place “where every meal gives you a Sunday feel.” Their oxtail plate with two sides and two pieces of cornbread is just $18.95, and their smothered chicken and fried catfish plate will take the many Houstonians with Southern Baptist roots back to the Sundays of their childhood. Open for carry out, delivery, and onsite dining, patrons can order with Doordash and Grubhub.

a slice of sweet potato pie
Sweet potato pie from This Is It Soul Food
This Is It Soul Food/Facebook

NaWels Cajun & Soul Food

NaWels Cajun and Soul Food keeps things simple, and tasty. The unassuming restaurant packs a flavor punch in its beloved catfish basket, red beans and rice with sausage, and shrimp po-boy. If you’re in an extra sweet mood, make sure to grab a funnel cake. Order online for pick up or delivery on Grubhub and Seamless.

Mikki's Soulfood Cafe

Family-owned and operated, Mikki’s Soul Food has been preparing some of Space City’s most comforting, soul-driven eats for 20 years. With locations in Southwest Houston and Pearland, it’s now easier than ever to grab some of the restaurant’s beloved oxtails, chicken fried chicken, and ham hocks. Order on Mikki’s website, or use Grubhub, DoorDash, Uber Eats, or Postmates to order from either or their two locations.

Soulfood by Catherine

Soul Food by Catherine provides classics like smothered pork chops and rice, yams, and collard greens. They also offer fried fish and chips baskets, stuffed bell peppers, and desserts to satisfy every sweet tooth. Delivery is available through Grubhub and UberEats.

Viola & Agnes

a plate of fried chicken smothered in sauce with beans and rice, lemon edges and a dinner roll
Viola and Agnes’ in Seabrook
Viola and Agnes’/Facebook

Seabrook is technically not Houston, but true Houstonians know that there’s always a chance you’ll end up near the Space Station, in need of some grub. Lake Charles native Chef Aaron offers terrific family favorites like bbq shrimp and grits — local shrimp in a New Orleans-style barbecue butter sauce with peas, mushrooms, and micro basil — and chili honey wings and Liège waffle — double cooked wings tossed in a sweet and smoky chili Texas honey sauce, with a homemade Liège waffle. Order pickup or delivery through Postmates, Grubhub, or DoorDash.

a plate of fried chicken smothered in sauce with beans and rice, lemon edges and a dinner roll
Viola and Agnes’ in Seabrook
Viola and Agnes’/Facebook

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