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A chef shaves cured egg yolk onto a piece of nigiri at Sushi by Hidden.
Defy the constraints of a short lunch break with the newly launched 30-minute lunch omakase at Sushi by Hidden.
Jenn Duncan

17 Houston Restaurants Raising the Bar for Lunch

With indulgent salads, heaping bowls of pasta, and loaded sandwiches, these restaurants are slinging belly busting eats for lunch

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Defy the constraints of a short lunch break with the newly launched 30-minute lunch omakase at Sushi by Hidden.
| Jenn Duncan

Breakfast may be the most important meal of the day, but lunch deserves just as much fanfare, especially with so many Houston restaurants offering festive places to break from the office, lounge with friends, or simply retreat for sustenance on a hot summer’s day. There are dreamy Downtown restaurants serving up prime steaks and sandwiches, plus neighborhood gems in Montrose and Rice Village that offer premium people-watching from well-appointed patios. Put simply — the city is littered with worthy restaurants to “do lunch.”

Whether you’re in search of a place to connect with coworkers or a gathering place for gal pals within one of the city’s premier shopping districts, here are 17 restaurants that stand out for midday dining.

This map has been updated to include Sushi by Hidden, the Warwick, the Rado Market, and 93’ Til.

Don’t see your favorite lunch spot on the list? Shout it in the comments.

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Eater maps are curated by editors and aim to reflect a diversity of neighborhoods, cuisines, and prices. Learn more about our editorial process. If you buy something or book a reservation from an Eater link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics policy.

Gatlin's Fins & Feathers

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Greg Gatlin is no stranger to serving daytime diners at Gatlin’s BBQ, but lunch service is also offered at his full-service restaurant, Fins & Feathers in Independence Heights. Here, the spotlight is on fried chicken and Gulf Coast gems like New Orleans barbecue shrimp and chargrilled oysters. At lunch, pair a charred Brussels sprouts salad with a cup of gumbo or go whole hog with a fried catfish plate.

Benny Chows

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Berg Hospitality’s newest restaurant, celebrating American Chinese cuisine, launched both lunch and dinner service right off the bat, with a single menu available throughout the day. Dishes made with Cantonese traditions in mind are prepared using local ingredients, as in the smoked brisket egg roll using meat from Truth BBQ. Cold sesame noodles and duck lettuce wraps appeal during Houston’s hotter days, while the Beijing duck, made with a 7-pound specially sourced Jurgielewicz duck that takes three days to prepare, is a full feast.

Sliced Beijing duck on a slab with sauces.
Benny Chow’s Beijing duck takes three days to prepare.
Brian Kennedy

Tribute

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Located within the Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa, Tribute is open for all-day dining with a dedicated menu for lunch (plus breakfast, dinner, and weekend brunch, too.) The cuisine reflects the best of Texas, Louisiana, and Mexico with highlights like smoked blue crab claws, blackened redfish, and the Tribute burger built with house-ground beef.

Guard and Grace

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Located on the street level of One Allen Center, Guard and Grace is one of the few Downtown steakhouses that offer lunch service. Its dedicated lunch menu features steakhouse favorites like shrimp cocktail and a wedge salad, plus hearty meat sandwiches like the brisket melt made with Creekstone prime smoked brisket Steaks are on offer, too. A bounty of choices like the 4- or 8-ounce filet mignon or New York strip are just the right portions for lunch.

When an escape from the mundaneness of the office is needed, lunch at Urbe provides exactly the right vibe. The casual counter-service restaurant from chef Hugo Ortega is decked out with vibrant Mexican art, and offers a colorful backdrop to dine and drink margaritas, should you opt not to return to the office. Go for the shrimp tostadas or something heartier like the quesabirria, and save room for something sweet made from the on-site bakery. Glass cases are stocked with made-from-scratch pastries like pan dulce, orejas, muffins, and cookies.

A large meat torta topped with sliced avocado and a sunny side-up egg.
The pambazo torta at Urbe is a handful.
Urbe

Toro Toro

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Toro Toro, by globally renowned chef Richard Sandoval, brings pan-Latin flair to the ritzy Four Seasons Hotel, and is a popular choice among Downtown’s power lunch crowd. Lunch service features a number of salads and taco plates, along with more filling mains like the pulled pork, turkey, and ham Cuban sandwich. Return to work with an order of the churros with brandy dulce de leche, and be the office hero.

Ostia is not a bad choice any time of day, but during lunch is when the restaurant slings its famed pizzas prepared in the restaurant’s live-fire, four-deck Italian stone pizza oven, and offers its three-course family-style lunch meal for two to three people, priced at $42, that includes an appetizer, salad, a pizza, pasta, entree, and dessert. Going a la carte? Take to the picturesque greenhouse room, and start with a classic Caesar salad or chicken liver pate before keeping an entire pie to yourself.

A whole pizza with mushrooms on a white plate.
Ostia’s pizza Bianco is a house favorite.
Michael Anthony

This vibey Italian restaurant at the Montrose Collective is known for its extended hours, remaining open well into the night, but it’s equally as popular for its daytime service, with lunch beginning at 11 a.m. The menu is one and the same all day, with salads, half portions of pasta, and entrees like chicken marsala and scallops with corn succotash being top-notch lunch choices.

BARI RISTORANTE

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River Oak District’s scene-y new Italian restaurant draws in the crowds day and night, making it a popular lunch destination on weekdays and weekends alike. Find hard-to-resist salads like the poached lobster with citrus dressing, and heaping pasta plates like the pappardelle bolognese with a housemade three-meat ragu or gnocchi with montasio cheese fondue.

The Warwick

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This swanky restaurant is a perfect place for a business lunch or a getaway from the office. Order classics from its general menu, like its spinach and artichoke dip (with the option to add crab) and the chili-glazed Gulf shrimp, both which harken back to the days when Houston’s was still open. Then, dive into a bowl of gumbo topped with fried soft-shell crab, the Thai noodle salad, or something hearty like the Hawaiian rib-eye. If looking for an easy way to try everything, consider Warwick’s pre-fixe lunch menu, which offers two courses for $25.

93' Til

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This vinyl-playing Montrose hangout has finally introduced lunch service, and it's bringing back some of the classics. From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., diners can find a host of salads and sandwiches, including its fan-favorite buttermilk-brined chicken sandwich that’s topped with a cabbage and kale slaw and its double patty, double cheese 93’ Til Burger that’s layered with Worcestershire mayonnaise, sherry onions, and house pickles. The menu is also available on Uber Eats.

93’ Til’s crispy chicken sandwich topped with slaw.
Find tunes and lunch now at 93’ Til.
Angie Cook

The Rado MKT

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Stop into this charming Third Ward all-day cafe for hearty salads and sandwiches made up of tantalizing combinations, like its oxtail and beef burger, its grilled cheese, which is served with a side of green gumbo for dunking, and the Rado chopped salad, made with farm leaves, chopped egg, tomato, avocado, jerk chicken, and a homemade ranch dressing. If you have more time to lunch, consider ordering your meal to-go and making it a picnic in the nearby Emancipation Park. Rado’s in-house market has all the preparations, including to-go dessert, drinks, and wine bottles for the road, plus blankets and insulated bags to keep things at the right temp.

Turkey, cheese, lettuce, and tomato on toasted bread smeared with pesto at the Rado Market.
Find sandwiches, salads, burgers, and plenty of flavorful items to grab on the go at Rado Market.
David “Odiwams” Wright

This new French restaurant from Houston hospitality veterans chef Philippe Schmit and beverage expert Sébastien Laval offers a dedicated lunch service Tuesday through Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Find a scaled down version of the main menu, showcasing more lunch-forward features like the eggplant panini, ham and cheese baguette, and a wagyu-patty burger.

Money Cat

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Located on the street level of Kirby Grove, a mixed-use development that includes a 16-story office building and sprawling outdoor space at Levy Park, Money Cat is a favorite for its modern Japanese cuisine. Lunch is from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. during which time the full menu is offered, with highlights like the chicken katsu sando, chutoro toast on squid ink milk bread, plus nigiri and sashimi.

Overhead view of two halves of a chicken katsu sando, layered with Japanese tartar sauce and tamari caramel on house milk bread.
Money Cat’s chicken katsu sando is layered with Japanese tartar sauce and tamari caramel on house milk bread.
Jenn Duncan

Sushi by Hidden

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Got a tight work schedule with a limited amount of time to spare for lunch? Get away from the hustle and bustle at this 10-seat Rice Village sushi speakeasy, which offers a 30-minute omakase for $60. With just six seatings between 11 a.m. and 2:45 p.m., the 12-course dining experience offers rich bites of nigiri and hand rolls with the freshest catches, including the delicate Hirame, a slice of Olive flounder over rice that’s topped with scallion oil and fried shallots, and Golden Sea Break that’s perfectly paired with shiitake mushroom duxelle and salt-cured egg yolk. Don’t miss out on the a la carte items, like the shared engawa topped with truffle. It’s one of the house favorites.

Multiple pieces of nigiri sit on a plate at Sushi by Hidden.
Sushi by Hidden is offering a new lunch omakase that won’t break the bank or make you late for work.
Jenn Duncan

Navy Blue

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This posh seafood restaurant from chef Aaron Bludorn is an ideal place to fuel up during a day of shopping in Rice Village. During its lunch service, hosted on Tuesdays through Saturdays from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., diners can explore its menu featuring dinner favorites like the grouper sandwich, plus lunch-exclusive items like the omelet with black truffles and chicken Milanese with marble potato salad, arugula, and piperade.

A grouper sandwich with cabbage, tomato condiment, caper, and aioli on a seeded bun, wrapped in paper.
Navy Blue’s grouper sandwich is built with cabbage, tomato condiment, caper, and aioli.
Caroline Fontenot

This Rice Village gem known for its modern Israeli cuisine offers lunch service Tuesday through Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Try the falafel sandwich, loaded with toppings like tahini, hummus, and red cabbage, or opt for something saucy like the shakshuka with spiced tomato and egg. On nice weather days, sit on the picturesque front patio, and take in the sights and sounds of the bustling shopping center while you dine.

Gatlin's Fins & Feathers

Greg Gatlin is no stranger to serving daytime diners at Gatlin’s BBQ, but lunch service is also offered at his full-service restaurant, Fins & Feathers in Independence Heights. Here, the spotlight is on fried chicken and Gulf Coast gems like New Orleans barbecue shrimp and chargrilled oysters. At lunch, pair a charred Brussels sprouts salad with a cup of gumbo or go whole hog with a fried catfish plate.

Benny Chows

Berg Hospitality’s newest restaurant, celebrating American Chinese cuisine, launched both lunch and dinner service right off the bat, with a single menu available throughout the day. Dishes made with Cantonese traditions in mind are prepared using local ingredients, as in the smoked brisket egg roll using meat from Truth BBQ. Cold sesame noodles and duck lettuce wraps appeal during Houston’s hotter days, while the Beijing duck, made with a 7-pound specially sourced Jurgielewicz duck that takes three days to prepare, is a full feast.

Sliced Beijing duck on a slab with sauces.
Benny Chow’s Beijing duck takes three days to prepare.
Brian Kennedy

Tribute

Located within the Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa, Tribute is open for all-day dining with a dedicated menu for lunch (plus breakfast, dinner, and weekend brunch, too.) The cuisine reflects the best of Texas, Louisiana, and Mexico with highlights like smoked blue crab claws, blackened redfish, and the Tribute burger built with house-ground beef.

Guard and Grace

Located on the street level of One Allen Center, Guard and Grace is one of the few Downtown steakhouses that offer lunch service. Its dedicated lunch menu features steakhouse favorites like shrimp cocktail and a wedge salad, plus hearty meat sandwiches like the brisket melt made with Creekstone prime smoked brisket Steaks are on offer, too. A bounty of choices like the 4- or 8-ounce filet mignon or New York strip are just the right portions for lunch.

Urbe

When an escape from the mundaneness of the office is needed, lunch at Urbe provides exactly the right vibe. The casual counter-service restaurant from chef Hugo Ortega is decked out with vibrant Mexican art, and offers a colorful backdrop to dine and drink margaritas, should you opt not to return to the office. Go for the shrimp tostadas or something heartier like the quesabirria, and save room for something sweet made from the on-site bakery. Glass cases are stocked with made-from-scratch pastries like pan dulce, orejas, muffins, and cookies.

A large meat torta topped with sliced avocado and a sunny side-up egg.
The pambazo torta at Urbe is a handful.
Urbe

Toro Toro

Toro Toro, by globally renowned chef Richard Sandoval, brings pan-Latin flair to the ritzy Four Seasons Hotel, and is a popular choice among Downtown’s power lunch crowd. Lunch service features a number of salads and taco plates, along with more filling mains like the pulled pork, turkey, and ham Cuban sandwich. Return to work with an order of the churros with brandy dulce de leche, and be the office hero.

Ostia

Ostia is not a bad choice any time of day, but during lunch is when the restaurant slings its famed pizzas prepared in the restaurant’s live-fire, four-deck Italian stone pizza oven, and offers its three-course family-style lunch meal for two to three people, priced at $42, that includes an appetizer, salad, a pizza, pasta, entree, and dessert. Going a la carte? Take to the picturesque greenhouse room, and start with a classic Caesar salad or chicken liver pate before keeping an entire pie to yourself.

A whole pizza with mushrooms on a white plate.
Ostia’s pizza Bianco is a house favorite.
Michael Anthony

Marmo

This vibey Italian restaurant at the Montrose Collective is known for its extended hours, remaining open well into the night, but it’s equally as popular for its daytime service, with lunch beginning at 11 a.m. The menu is one and the same all day, with salads, half portions of pasta, and entrees like chicken marsala and scallops with corn succotash being top-notch lunch choices.

BARI RISTORANTE

River Oak District’s scene-y new Italian restaurant draws in the crowds day and night, making it a popular lunch destination on weekdays and weekends alike. Find hard-to-resist salads like the poached lobster with citrus dressing, and heaping pasta plates like the pappardelle bolognese with a housemade three-meat ragu or gnocchi with montasio cheese fondue.

The Warwick

This swanky restaurant is a perfect place for a business lunch or a getaway from the office. Order classics from its general menu, like its spinach and artichoke dip (with the option to add crab) and the chili-glazed Gulf shrimp, both which harken back to the days when Houston’s was still open. Then, dive into a bowl of gumbo topped with fried soft-shell crab, the Thai noodle salad, or something hearty like the Hawaiian rib-eye. If looking for an easy way to try everything, consider Warwick’s pre-fixe lunch menu, which offers two courses for $25.

93' Til

This vinyl-playing Montrose hangout has finally introduced lunch service, and it's bringing back some of the classics. From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., diners can find a host of salads and sandwiches, including its fan-favorite buttermilk-brined chicken sandwich that’s topped with a cabbage and kale slaw and its double patty, double cheese 93’ Til Burger that’s layered with Worcestershire mayonnaise, sherry onions, and house pickles. The menu is also available on Uber Eats.

93’ Til’s crispy chicken sandwich topped with slaw.
Find tunes and lunch now at 93’ Til.
Angie Cook

The Rado MKT

Stop into this charming Third Ward all-day cafe for hearty salads and sandwiches made up of tantalizing combinations, like its oxtail and beef burger, its grilled cheese, which is served with a side of green gumbo for dunking, and the Rado chopped salad, made with farm leaves, chopped egg, tomato, avocado, jerk chicken, and a homemade ranch dressing. If you have more time to lunch, consider ordering your meal to-go and making it a picnic in the nearby Emancipation Park. Rado’s in-house market has all the preparations, including to-go dessert, drinks, and wine bottles for the road, plus blankets and insulated bags to keep things at the right temp.

Turkey, cheese, lettuce, and tomato on toasted bread smeared with pesto at the Rado Market.
Find sandwiches, salads, burgers, and plenty of flavorful items to grab on the go at Rado Market.
David “Odiwams” Wright

PS-21

This new French restaurant from Houston hospitality veterans chef Philippe Schmit and beverage expert Sébastien Laval offers a dedicated lunch service Tuesday through Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Find a scaled down version of the main menu, showcasing more lunch-forward features like the eggplant panini, ham and cheese baguette, and a wagyu-patty burger.

Money Cat

Located on the street level of Kirby Grove, a mixed-use development that includes a 16-story office building and sprawling outdoor space at Levy Park, Money Cat is a favorite for its modern Japanese cuisine. Lunch is from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. during which time the full menu is offered, with highlights like the chicken katsu sando, chutoro toast on squid ink milk bread, plus nigiri and sashimi.

Overhead view of two halves of a chicken katsu sando, layered with Japanese tartar sauce and tamari caramel on house milk bread.
Money Cat’s chicken katsu sando is layered with Japanese tartar sauce and tamari caramel on house milk bread.
Jenn Duncan

Sushi by Hidden

Got a tight work schedule with a limited amount of time to spare for lunch? Get away from the hustle and bustle at this 10-seat Rice Village sushi speakeasy, which offers a 30-minute omakase for $60. With just six seatings between 11 a.m. and 2:45 p.m., the 12-course dining experience offers rich bites of nigiri and hand rolls with the freshest catches, including the delicate Hirame, a slice of Olive flounder over rice that’s topped with scallion oil and fried shallots, and Golden Sea Break that’s perfectly paired with shiitake mushroom duxelle and salt-cured egg yolk. Don’t miss out on the a la carte items, like the shared engawa topped with truffle. It’s one of the house favorites.

Multiple pieces of nigiri sit on a plate at Sushi by Hidden.
Sushi by Hidden is offering a new lunch omakase that won’t break the bank or make you late for work.
Jenn Duncan

Related Maps

Navy Blue

This posh seafood restaurant from chef Aaron Bludorn is an ideal place to fuel up during a day of shopping in Rice Village. During its lunch service, hosted on Tuesdays through Saturdays from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., diners can explore its menu featuring dinner favorites like the grouper sandwich, plus lunch-exclusive items like the omelet with black truffles and chicken Milanese with marble potato salad, arugula, and piperade.

A grouper sandwich with cabbage, tomato condiment, caper, and aioli on a seeded bun, wrapped in paper.
Navy Blue’s grouper sandwich is built with cabbage, tomato condiment, caper, and aioli.
Caroline Fontenot

Hamsa

This Rice Village gem known for its modern Israeli cuisine offers lunch service Tuesday through Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Try the falafel sandwich, loaded with toppings like tahini, hummus, and red cabbage, or opt for something saucy like the shakshuka with spiced tomato and egg. On nice weather days, sit on the picturesque front patio, and take in the sights and sounds of the bustling shopping center while you dine.

Related Maps