clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

15 Essential River Oaks Restaurants

The ritzy neighborhood’s best restaurants

View as Map

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.

Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
If you buy something or book a reservation from an Eater link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics policy.

Backstreet Cafe

Copy Link

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

Américas

Copy Link

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.

La Griglia

Copy Link

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.

Brasserie 19

Copy Link

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.

Pepper Twins

Copy Link

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.

Hopdoddy Burger Bar

Copy Link

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

The Tuck Room

Copy Link

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.

Local Foods

Copy Link

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.

Relish Restaurant & Bar

Copy Link

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.

Armandos

Copy Link

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.

State of Grace

Copy Link

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.

Le Colonial

Copy Link

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

Frank's Americana Revival

Copy Link

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.

Giacomo's Cibo e Vino

Copy Link

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.

Steak 48

Copy Link

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

Loading comments...

Backstreet Cafe

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.

Backstreet Cafe
Backstreet Cafe
Backstreet Cafe

Américas

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.

La Griglia

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.

Brasserie 19

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.

Pepper Twins

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.

Hopdoddy Burger Bar

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.

Hopdoddy Burger Bar

The Tuck Room

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.

Local Foods

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.

Relish Restaurant & Bar

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.

Armandos

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.

State of Grace

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.

Le Colonial

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.

Ellie Sharp/EHOU

Frank's Americana Revival

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.