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15 Essential River Oaks Restaurants

The ritzy neighborhood’s best restaurants

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Over the past couple of years, the River Oaks District has rapidly become one of the city’s hottest dining neighborhoods. Many of the spots here are “see and be seen” kind of restaurants, but there’s plenty of solid fare to be found within the confines of this historically upscale ‘hood.

For those who live nearby or simply need a swanky place to dine, these 15 eateries offer River Oaks’ finest fare. From upscale Vietnamese to excellent margaritas, dining your way through this neighborhood won’t be cheap, but it will be delicious. And sure, some of these spots fall just slightly outside of the boundaries of what is technically River Oaks, but they’re all worth the drive.

Is your favorite River Oaks restaurant missing from this map? Shout it out in the comments.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Backstreet Cafe

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1103 S Shepherd Dr
Houston, TX
(713) 521-2239
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Cozy, intimate and always inventive, Backstreet is a winner for ambiance excellent comfort fare. The plate of freshly prepared daily vegetables is one of the best anywhere, and the endlessly popular pecan-crusted chicken is always a solid choice.

Backstreet Cafe
Backstreet Cafe
Backstreet Cafe

2. Américas

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2040 W Gray St
Houston, TX
(832) 200-1492
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The cuisines of Latin America come together at this West Gray eatery, known for its diverse menu. Dig into lobster corn dogs or a flight of ceviches, then dig into a giant pan of paella made with chorizo, salmon, Gulf shrimp, mussels, and smoked crab.

3. La Griglia

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2002 W Gray St
Houston, TX
(713) 526-4700
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Start off dinner at this bouncy, eclectic West Gray Street space with a trip to the antipasti bar, where you can custom design your plate with an array of cheeses, meats and vegetables. The bread basket’s little pizza strips are also a crowd favorite, and the savory shrimp & crab cheesecake is a must.

4. Brasserie 19

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1919 W Gray St
Houston, TX
(713) 524-1919
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Get classy at this bright French eatery with a selection of oysters and Petrossian caviar, or keep it simple yet Euro-chic with steak frites, roasted hen, or trout amandine.

5. Pepper Twins

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1915 W Gray St
Houston, TX
(346) 204-5644
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An expansion of the Montrose original formerly known as Cooking Girl, Pepper Twins serves up Houston’s finest Chinese fare made with lots of organic ingredients. Take a crowd and order an assortment of reasonably-priced appetizers (like wood ear mushroom salad and a beef tendon dish called Mr. and Mrs. Smith) and definitely don’t miss Pepper Twins’ tingly, Sichuan-pepper spiked “steak cube” or chicken.

6. Hopdoddy Burger Bar

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4444 Westheimer Rd Ste H100
Houston, TX
(713) 227-2337
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An Austin export, Hopdoddy’s burgers inspired epic lines when the chain arrived in Houston last year. Meaty burgers topped with everything from bacon and grilled poblanos to chili & cheddar abound, but there’s a also a solid veggie burger option. The hand-cut Kennebec fries are also reliably great.

Hopdoddy Burger Bar

7. The Tuck Room

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4444 Westheimer Rd, Ste C-220
Houston, TX
(832) 709-2146
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The Houston outpost of this upscale eatery offers an excellent late-night dining option for those times when you’re feeling a little fancier than the drive-thru. Order up ahi tuna poke and pulled pork sliders until 11 p.m. on the weekdays and 1:30 a.m. on the weekends.

8. Local Foods

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2555 Kirby Dr
Houston, TX
(713) 255-4440
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Technically closer to Upper Kirby, Local Foods is equally worth schlepping a few extra blocks. Uber-trendy avocado toast is on offer, along with a bevy of scratch-made sandwiches like truffle egg salad, roast beef, and vegan “meatballs.” Vegetarian and gluten-free options are on the menu, too.

9. Relish Restaurant & Bar

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2810 Westheimer Rd
Houston, TX
(713) 599-1960
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It’s maybe a little closer to Upper Kirby, but Relish Restaurant & Bar is decidedly worth the drive. The formerly casual cafe has made the transition into a full-service restaurant quite nicely, due in large part to its totally accessible menu prepared with excellent ingredients.

10. Armandos

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Offering upscale Tex-Mex in a gorgeous, clubby space, Armando’s is a longtime River Oaks fave. Lobster enchiladas, cheesy quesadillas, and beef tenderloin fajitas are among this spot’s best offerings, as are the potent (and totally drinkable) margaritas.

11. State of Grace

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3256 Westheimer Rd
Houston, TX
(832) 942-5080
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Atlanta chef Ford Fry’s Houston eatery has quickly become a local favorite, thanks to its globally-inspired Southern fare. Belly up to the raw bar and enjoy a selection of the country’s finest bivalves, then move on to heartier plates like Vietnamese-style sticky beef ribs and duck carnitas.

12. Le Colonial

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4444 Westheimer Rd Ste G-140
Houston, TX
(713) 629-4444
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This chic River Oaks eatery serves up modern Vietnamese fare, like delicate wood-ear stuffed banh cuon and crispy chicken wings with tamarind-lemongrass sauce. Find a seat on the breezy patio for some of the area’s best people-watching.

Ellie Sharp/EHOU

13. Frank's Americana Revival

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3736 Westheimer Rd
Houston, TX
(713) 572-8600
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Cozy up in one of the booths at Frank’s for comforting fare and a good glass of wine. The chicken fried steak is a perennial favorite, and the gumbo is one of the city’s best. Stop by for date night, when the space feels extra intimate.

14. Giacomo's Cibo e Vino

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3215 Westheimer Rd
Houston, TX 77098
(713) 522-1934
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This cozy and casual neighborhood eatery serves up some of the city’s finest Italian cuisine. Split a few small plates (maybe the goat cheese and onion tart or a trio of crostini) with friends or a date, then move on to heartier fare like gorgonzola and mushroom pappardelle and trout grilled whole with basil, rosemary, and lemon.

15. Steak 48

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4444 Westhiemer
Houston, TX
(713) 322-7448
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Swanky and spendy, Steak 48 is the kind of spot where it’s pretty much impossible to not show off. The slabs of beef are USDA Prime, the raw bar is stocked with good oysters, lobsters, and crab, and the hearty sides (like crab & shrimp mac and cheese and shaved truffle baked potato) are solid.

Steak 48

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1. Backstreet Cafe

1103 S Shepherd Dr, Houston, TX
Backstreet Cafe
Backstreet Cafe
Backstreet Cafe

Cozy, intimate and always inventive, Backstreet is a winner for ambiance excellent comfort fare. The plate of freshly prepared daily vegetables is one of the best anywhere, and the endlessly popular pecan-crusted chicken is always a solid choice.

1103 S Shepherd Dr
Houston, TX

2. Américas

2040 W Gray St, Houston, TX

The cuisines of Latin America come together at this West Gray eatery, known for its diverse menu. Dig into lobster corn dogs or a flight of ceviches, then dig into a giant pan of paella made with chorizo, salmon, Gulf shrimp, mussels, and smoked crab.

2040 W Gray St
Houston, TX

3. La Griglia

2002 W Gray St, Houston, TX

Start off dinner at this bouncy, eclectic West Gray Street space with a trip to the antipasti bar, where you can custom design your plate with an array of cheeses, meats and vegetables. The bread basket’s little pizza strips are also a crowd favorite, and the savory shrimp & crab cheesecake is a must.

2002 W Gray St
Houston, TX

4. Brasserie 19

1919 W Gray St, Houston, TX

Get classy at this bright French eatery with a selection of oysters and Petrossian caviar, or keep it simple yet Euro-chic with steak frites, roasted hen, or trout amandine.

1919 W Gray St
Houston, TX

5. Pepper Twins

1915 W Gray St, Houston, TX

An expansion of the Montrose original formerly known as Cooking Girl, Pepper Twins serves up Houston’s finest Chinese fare made with lots of organic ingredients. Take a crowd and order an assortment of reasonably-priced appetizers (like wood ear mushroom salad and a beef tendon dish called Mr. and Mrs. Smith) and definitely don’t miss Pepper Twins’ tingly, Sichuan-pepper spiked “steak cube” or chicken.

1915 W Gray St
Houston, TX

6. Hopdoddy Burger Bar

4444 Westheimer Rd Ste H100, Houston, TX
Hopdoddy Burger Bar

An Austin export, Hopdoddy’s burgers inspired epic lines when the chain arrived in Houston last year. Meaty burgers topped with everything from bacon and grilled poblanos to chili & cheddar abound, but there’s a also a solid veggie burger option. The hand-cut Kennebec fries are also reliably great.

4444 Westheimer Rd Ste H100
Houston, TX

7. The Tuck Room

4444 Westheimer Rd, Ste C-220, Houston, TX

The Houston outpost of this upscale eatery offers an excellent late-night dining option for those times when you’re feeling a little fancier than the drive-thru. Order up ahi tuna poke and pulled pork sliders until 11 p.m. on the weekdays and 1:30 a.m. on the weekends.

4444 Westheimer Rd, Ste C-220
Houston, TX

8. Local Foods

2555 Kirby Dr, Houston, TX

Technically closer to Upper Kirby, Local Foods is equally worth schlepping a few extra blocks. Uber-trendy avocado toast is on offer, along with a bevy of scratch-made sandwiches like truffle egg salad, roast beef, and vegan “meatballs.” Vegetarian and gluten-free options are on the menu, too.

2555 Kirby Dr
Houston, TX

9. Relish Restaurant & Bar

2810 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX

It’s maybe a little closer to Upper Kirby, but Relish Restaurant & Bar is decidedly worth the drive. The formerly casual cafe has made the transition into a full-service restaurant quite nicely, due in large part to its totally accessible menu prepared with excellent ingredients.

2810 Westheimer Rd
Houston, TX

10. Armandos

Houston, TX

Offering upscale Tex-Mex in a gorgeous, clubby space, Armando’s is a longtime River Oaks fave. Lobster enchiladas, cheesy quesadillas, and beef tenderloin fajitas are among this spot’s best offerings, as are the potent (and totally drinkable) margaritas.

11. State of Grace

3256 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX

Atlanta chef Ford Fry’s Houston eatery has quickly become a local favorite, thanks to its globally-inspired Southern fare. Belly up to the raw bar and enjoy a selection of the country’s finest bivalves, then move on to heartier plates like Vietnamese-style sticky beef ribs and duck carnitas.

3256 Westheimer Rd
Houston, TX

12. Le Colonial

4444 Westheimer Rd Ste G-140, Houston, TX
Ellie Sharp/EHOU

This chic River Oaks eatery serves up modern Vietnamese fare, like delicate wood-ear stuffed banh cuon and crispy chicken wings with tamarind-lemongrass sauce. Find a seat on the breezy patio for some of the area’s best people-watching.

4444 Westheimer Rd Ste G-140
Houston, TX

13. Frank's Americana Revival

3736 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX

Cozy up in one of the booths at Frank’s for comforting fare and a good glass of wine. The chicken fried steak is a perennial favorite, and the gumbo is one of the city’s best. Stop by for date night, when the space feels extra intimate.

3736 Westheimer Rd
Houston, TX

14. Giacomo's Cibo e Vino

3215 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77098

This cozy and casual neighborhood eatery serves up some of the city’s finest Italian cuisine. Split a few small plates (maybe the goat cheese and onion tart or a trio of crostini) with friends or a date, then move on to heartier fare like gorgonzola and mushroom pappardelle and trout grilled whole with basil, rosemary, and lemon.

3215 Westheimer Rd
Houston, TX 77098

15. Steak 48

4444 Westhiemer, Houston, TX
Steak 48

Swanky and spendy, Steak 48 is the kind of spot where it’s pretty much impossible to not show off. The slabs of beef are USDA Prime, the raw bar is stocked with good oysters, lobsters, and crab, and the hearty sides (like crab & shrimp mac and cheese and shaved truffle baked potato) are solid.

4444 Westhiemer
Houston, TX

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