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Gatsby’s Prime Seafood offers a 1920’s flare, with navy blue plus booths, sparkling chandeliers, and broad brushstrokes of gold throughout.
Gatsby’s Prime Seafood aims to take diners back into the 1920s with its moody, luxe decor.
Raydon Creative

15 of Houston’s Most Stunning Restaurants

With sparkling chandeliers, funky wall art, and plush seating, these restaurants strive to make dining a beautiful experience using decor

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Gatsby’s Prime Seafood aims to take diners back into the 1920s with its moody, luxe decor.
| Raydon Creative

Sometimes choosing a place to dine isn’t just about the food. It can also be about seeking an unforgettable experience that’s deeply rooted in the ambiance or tapping into all five of your senses. Fortunately, Houston has no shortage of places that will have you eating with your eyes thanks to many restaurants, which have put extra thought into their interiors.

From a luxurious palace-like dining room to an Instagram-worthy mirrored hallway, here’s a list of 15 of the most beautiful restaurants in Houston that offer amazing food and an appealing background for a culinary trip.

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Inspired by the travels and journey of a fictional Indian princess, this Woodlands restaurant aims to bring royalty to the dining experience. Settle in for standout dishes like its ostrich kebab and red wine braised lamb shank in the luxe dining room area or the Secret Garden-themed back room, with its floral booth seats. If seeking more privacy, opt for the semi-private or glass-enclosed private dining room. Even its tapas bar and cocktail area, with its plush couches and murals, exude luxury.

Most barbecue and smokehouses aren’t known for their beautiful interiors or decor, but Loro is an exception. Housed in a former church that was built in the 1940s, this Heights restaurant has kept the bones intact, maintaining the institution’s red brick and wooden details and breathtaking vaulted ceilings and implementing skylights, fresh plants, and woven chandeliers for a brighter, modern look. A favorite renovation for many diners is the enclosed patio and its outdoor dining area, which is equipped with wicker hanging chairs and string lights — a perfect place for people to indulge in Loro’s blend of Southeast Asian flavors with Texas barbecue (which can feel religious by Texas barbecue standards).

Loro in the Heights features woven light fixtures, wooden tables and chairs and plenty of plants.
Housed in a former church, Loro Heights incorporates natural woods and light for a delightful dining experience.
Loro

Trattoria Sofia

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Evoking romance in every corner, Trattoria Sofia’s allure starts at its entrance with an antique fountain that you could picture in fair Verona. Inside, the vibe is rustic and intimate, inviting guests to stay awhile for glasses of wine and delicious Italian fare. The main attraction is the climate-controlled, pergola-covered patio that is centered around a live olive tree that will continue to grow and cover the space. Insider tip: Be sure to visit during the holiday season when the restaurant is dressed in all its Christmas finery.

Trattoria Sofia’s entrance, which features laterns that line the walkway, which leads to a three-tier fountain.
Head to Trattoria Sofia for a romantic dinner.
Michelle Watson

Mala Sichuan Bistro

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The fifth location of Mala Sichuan has been a labor of love for owner Cori Xiong, with the decor inspired by the countryside of the Sichuan province. Walk through the circular entrance, which is reminiscent of the Chinese “moon gates,” welcomes guests with luck and good fortune. Peer through the inside bar partition, which is designed to look like an ancient wooden abacus, and then enjoy Mala staples like dan dan noodles and crispy chicken while sitting in the dining room, where Chinese lanterns float effortlessly overhead, giving the impression that you’re dining under the night sky. The full-sized, wooden pagoda roof that also hangs over the dining room, is also not to be missed.

A view of Mala Sichuan’s dining room, with glimpses of the bar area and dining room, with fabric lanterns and a full-size Pagoda hanging from the ceiling.
Mala Sichuan Bistro’s Heights location pays homage to the Sichuan province through its decor.
Bill Kramptiz for TK Images

Daily Gather

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If more mod yet familiar decor is your jam, head to Daily Gather, where the restaurant is loaded with “seating nooks,” framed artwork that resembles picture frames that one might see in a family living room, wood accents, and a stunning brass back full bar with cove lighting. The wraparound patio that overlooks the City Centre is just as charming, with its variety of couches and seating — perfect for imbibing or downing a menu full of comforting American fare.

With stunning views both inside and out, this aptly described “glass treehouse” is surrounded almost entirely by floor-to-ceiling glass windows that overlook Buffalo Bayou Park. During the day, the restaurant offers views of lush greenery, and at night, a breathtaking lit-up skyline. Adding to the sparkle are the dozens of chandeliers that dangle gracefully over diners, plus an outdoor terrace that submerges you in nature as you dine on a modern, fresh take on Mexican cuisine.

Guard and Grace

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Enclosed by floor-to-ceiling windows that look out to downtown Houston, this 15,000-square-foot space is a bright and airy departure from the dark tones of most steakhouses. There are booths that overlook the open kitchen concept, a metal stairway leading to the second-floor private rooms, and a two-story glass wine cellar with a 16-foot-tall sliding “library ladder.” The menu is a sight to behold, too, with the finest cuts of dry-aged steak, including an impressive 35-ounce tomahawk, and playful dishes like the hamachi crudo sprinkled with Pop Rocks. But don’t forget to look up and admire the most dramatic part of the restaurant — Hanging from the ceiling above the main dining room is an eye-catching installation of more than 5,000 bronze rods, an ode to Denver, the “mile high city” and Guard and Grace’s first location.

Guard and Grace’s interior, with an installation of more than 5,000 bronze rods that hangs over the dining and bar area.
Modern steakhouse Guard and Grace is an absolute stunner.
Leah Wilson

Gatsby's Prime Seafood

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After taking over the former Tony Mandola’s location on Waugh, gone are the touches of old-school New Orleans and salmon-colored walls. Gatsby Hospitality’s recent overhaul exudes a lively flapper-era atmosphere of its sister restaurant Gatsby Prime Steakhouse, with a royal blue interior that envelops guests as soon as they step inside, with bold strokes of gold and crystal chandeliers that capture the opulence of the steakhouse. Sink into the luxurious velvet booths and treat yourself to picturesque dishes, including decadent seafood towers, robust crab cakes, tender sea bass, rich lobster bisque, and thick-cut maple bacon.

Gatsby’s Prime Seafood offers a 1920’s flare, with navy blue plus booths, sparkling chandeliers, and broad brushstrokes of gold throughout.
indulge in sea bass and lobster bisque while taking in the decor at Gatsby’s Prime Seafood.
Raydon Creative

Bloom & Bee

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Vibrant and feminine, this Post Oak Hotel restaurant is awash in pastel hues of pink and purple, with a delightful floral theme woven throughout. Interior design fans will relish the patterned wallpaper, fresh flowers at each table, and more subtle features, like its light fixtures that resemble buds and the abstract flowers on the upholstery. The most impressive feature, though, is the colorful hand-blown light fixtures that resemble daffodil blooms looming overhead. The restaurant’s patio that overlooks the hotel pool is also a sight to see all on its own.

While MAD is named after the airport code for Spain’s capital city of Madrid, this establishment is also a fairly accurate description of its theatrical decor. Walk into the neon-lit, maximalist space, and you’ll find it’s hard to keep your eyes on just one thing. Between the bear head at the host stand, the orbed light fixtures, and funky wall art, including a bear in a space suit (a quirky nod to Houston), you’ll have plenty to feast your eyes on as you delve into its equally playful menu of modern tapas. The restaurant’s mirrored labyrinth, which leads to the restroom, is likely one of the most recognizable backdrops on your social media feed.

Fine dining at March takes on a refreshing feel, trading in the stereotypical buttoned-up and stuffy vibes for a beguiling yet simplistic elegance. Just as the walls are adorned with surrealist art, dinner and drinks are also artfully served in vintage glassware and tiled plates with patterns that are alternated for each course. The focal points of the restaurant are the tapestry, which covers almost the entirety of the back wall, and the private dining area’s ceiling, which depicts. a dense, green landscape that alludes to March’s backstory: described by its owners as an area of land on the border between two territories, a frontier between realms, and a connection between the earth and food.

Musaafer

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Similar to their 100-day journey across 29 states in India, owners Mithu and Shammi Malik strive to take diners on a journey at Musaafer. The regional menu, which traverses the country, is one experience — the decor of the restaurant’s different spaces is another, each more opulent than the last. The traveler’s room, for example, houses the “musafir”, or “traveler” statue that gives the restaurant its name, while the shadow room draws inspiration from henna, with the chandeliers casting intricate patterns onto the walls. The most jaw-dropping is the Sheesh Mahal, the palace of mirrors, which features more than 220,000 mirrors for a recreation of the grandest of Indian palaces.

Le Jardinier

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With a name that means “the gardener” in French, MFAH’s restaurant oozes cultivation and seasonality in both its menu and its charming interior. Sit by its expansive windows make-up one of its walls, or opt for a seat near the bright tapestry trees that line the other. Shades of light, mossy green ground the dining room in the form of a rug that resembles spring grass and plush velveteen booths and chairs that make the space as much of a piece of impressionist art as the works on display in the museum in which it is housed.

Le Jardinier’s plush dining room, with a tree-filled mural, suede-like green seats, and floor-to-ceiling windows.
Le Jardinier sticks to its name, taking on a lush garden theme in its decor and on its menu.
Claudia Casbarian

Gratify

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With an energy that screams contemporary Versailles — or in the Big Vibe Group’s words, Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette, this Rice Village bistro encapsulates over-the-top design sensibilities, The vintage chic decor features an eclectic mix of furniture; bold, patterned wallpaper; and intricate light fixtures. The dining area is dark and moody, perfect for an intimate date or a lively birthday, while the expansive patio conjures the feeling of quintessential French bistro sidewalk dining.

Aya Sushi

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Walk into Aya’s main dining room and you’ll find it hard to believe that it was once home to the massive yellow school bus of the now-closed burger joint, Bernie’s Burger Bus. Following a complete renovation, the restaurant now lives up to its name, which means “design” in Japanese. Find warm, dark forest green color adorning the walls and the booths, and wooden LED-lit arches that run the length of the ceiling adds an almost futuristic touch.  Annavy Nguyen, the local artist behind the colorful mural on Kau Ba’s patio, also showcases her mural work here with a beautiful Sapporo tree next to the sushi bar and a flock of cranes in the restroom hallway. The modern, minimalist vibe sets the stage for Chef Yoshi’s indulgent 20-plus-course omakase offering.

Amrina

Inspired by the travels and journey of a fictional Indian princess, this Woodlands restaurant aims to bring royalty to the dining experience. Settle in for standout dishes like its ostrich kebab and red wine braised lamb shank in the luxe dining room area or the Secret Garden-themed back room, with its floral booth seats. If seeking more privacy, opt for the semi-private or glass-enclosed private dining room. Even its tapas bar and cocktail area, with its plush couches and murals, exude luxury.

Loro

Most barbecue and smokehouses aren’t known for their beautiful interiors or decor, but Loro is an exception. Housed in a former church that was built in the 1940s, this Heights restaurant has kept the bones intact, maintaining the institution’s red brick and wooden details and breathtaking vaulted ceilings and implementing skylights, fresh plants, and woven chandeliers for a brighter, modern look. A favorite renovation for many diners is the enclosed patio and its outdoor dining area, which is equipped with wicker hanging chairs and string lights — a perfect place for people to indulge in Loro’s blend of Southeast Asian flavors with Texas barbecue (which can feel religious by Texas barbecue standards).

Loro in the Heights features woven light fixtures, wooden tables and chairs and plenty of plants.
Housed in a former church, Loro Heights incorporates natural woods and light for a delightful dining experience.
Loro

Trattoria Sofia

Evoking romance in every corner, Trattoria Sofia’s allure starts at its entrance with an antique fountain that you could picture in fair Verona. Inside, the vibe is rustic and intimate, inviting guests to stay awhile for glasses of wine and delicious Italian fare. The main attraction is the climate-controlled, pergola-covered patio that is centered around a live olive tree that will continue to grow and cover the space. Insider tip: Be sure to visit during the holiday season when the restaurant is dressed in all its Christmas finery.

Trattoria Sofia’s entrance, which features laterns that line the walkway, which leads to a three-tier fountain.
Head to Trattoria Sofia for a romantic dinner.
Michelle Watson

Mala Sichuan Bistro

The fifth location of Mala Sichuan has been a labor of love for owner Cori Xiong, with the decor inspired by the countryside of the Sichuan province. Walk through the circular entrance, which is reminiscent of the Chinese “moon gates,” welcomes guests with luck and good fortune. Peer through the inside bar partition, which is designed to look like an ancient wooden abacus, and then enjoy Mala staples like dan dan noodles and crispy chicken while sitting in the dining room, where Chinese lanterns float effortlessly overhead, giving the impression that you’re dining under the night sky. The full-sized, wooden pagoda roof that also hangs over the dining room, is also not to be missed.

A view of Mala Sichuan’s dining room, with glimpses of the bar area and dining room, with fabric lanterns and a full-size Pagoda hanging from the ceiling.
Mala Sichuan Bistro’s Heights location pays homage to the Sichuan province through its decor.
Bill Kramptiz for TK Images

Daily Gather

If more mod yet familiar decor is your jam, head to Daily Gather, where the restaurant is loaded with “seating nooks,” framed artwork that resembles picture frames that one might see in a family living room, wood accents, and a stunning brass back full bar with cove lighting. The wraparound patio that overlooks the City Centre is just as charming, with its variety of couches and seating — perfect for imbibing or downing a menu full of comforting American fare.

Flora

With stunning views both inside and out, this aptly described “glass treehouse” is surrounded almost entirely by floor-to-ceiling glass windows that overlook Buffalo Bayou Park. During the day, the restaurant offers views of lush greenery, and at night, a breathtaking lit-up skyline. Adding to the sparkle are the dozens of chandeliers that dangle gracefully over diners, plus an outdoor terrace that submerges you in nature as you dine on a modern, fresh take on Mexican cuisine.

Guard and Grace

Enclosed by floor-to-ceiling windows that look out to downtown Houston, this 15,000-square-foot space is a bright and airy departure from the dark tones of most steakhouses. There are booths that overlook the open kitchen concept, a metal stairway leading to the second-floor private rooms, and a two-story glass wine cellar with a 16-foot-tall sliding “library ladder.” The menu is a sight to behold, too, with the finest cuts of dry-aged steak, including an impressive 35-ounce tomahawk, and playful dishes like the hamachi crudo sprinkled with Pop Rocks. But don’t forget to look up and admire the most dramatic part of the restaurant — Hanging from the ceiling above the main dining room is an eye-catching installation of more than 5,000 bronze rods, an ode to Denver, the “mile high city” and Guard and Grace’s first location.

Guard and Grace’s interior, with an installation of more than 5,000 bronze rods that hangs over the dining and bar area.
Modern steakhouse Guard and Grace is an absolute stunner.
Leah Wilson

Gatsby's Prime Seafood

After taking over the former Tony Mandola’s location on Waugh, gone are the touches of old-school New Orleans and salmon-colored walls. Gatsby Hospitality’s recent overhaul exudes a lively flapper-era atmosphere of its sister restaurant Gatsby Prime Steakhouse, with a royal blue interior that envelops guests as soon as they step inside, with bold strokes of gold and crystal chandeliers that capture the opulence of the steakhouse. Sink into the luxurious velvet booths and treat yourself to picturesque dishes, including decadent seafood towers, robust crab cakes, tender sea bass, rich lobster bisque, and thick-cut maple bacon.

Gatsby’s Prime Seafood offers a 1920’s flare, with navy blue plus booths, sparkling chandeliers, and broad brushstrokes of gold throughout.
indulge in sea bass and lobster bisque while taking in the decor at Gatsby’s Prime Seafood.
Raydon Creative

Bloom & Bee

Vibrant and feminine, this Post Oak Hotel restaurant is awash in pastel hues of pink and purple, with a delightful floral theme woven throughout. Interior design fans will relish the patterned wallpaper, fresh flowers at each table, and more subtle features, like its light fixtures that resemble buds and the abstract flowers on the upholstery. The most impressive feature, though, is the colorful hand-blown light fixtures that resemble daffodil blooms looming overhead. The restaurant’s patio that overlooks the hotel pool is also a sight to see all on its own.

MAD

While MAD is named after the airport code for Spain’s capital city of Madrid, this establishment is also a fairly accurate description of its theatrical decor. Walk into the neon-lit, maximalist space, and you’ll find it’s hard to keep your eyes on just one thing. Between the bear head at the host stand, the orbed light fixtures, and funky wall art, including a bear in a space suit (a quirky nod to Houston), you’ll have plenty to feast your eyes on as you delve into its equally playful menu of modern tapas. The restaurant’s mirrored labyrinth, which leads to the restroom, is likely one of the most recognizable backdrops on your social media feed.

March

Fine dining at March takes on a refreshing feel, trading in the stereotypical buttoned-up and stuffy vibes for a beguiling yet simplistic elegance. Just as the walls are adorned with surrealist art, dinner and drinks are also artfully served in vintage glassware and tiled plates with patterns that are alternated for each course. The focal points of the restaurant are the tapestry, which covers almost the entirety of the back wall, and the private dining area’s ceiling, which depicts. a dense, green landscape that alludes to March’s backstory: described by its owners as an area of land on the border between two territories, a frontier between realms, and a connection between the earth and food.

Musaafer

Similar to their 100-day journey across 29 states in India, owners Mithu and Shammi Malik strive to take diners on a journey at Musaafer. The regional menu, which traverses the country, is one experience — the decor of the restaurant’s different spaces is another, each more opulent than the last. The traveler’s room, for example, houses the “musafir”, or “traveler” statue that gives the restaurant its name, while the shadow room draws inspiration from henna, with the chandeliers casting intricate patterns onto the walls. The most jaw-dropping is the Sheesh Mahal, the palace of mirrors, which features more than 220,000 mirrors for a recreation of the grandest of Indian palaces.

Le Jardinier

With a name that means “the gardener” in French, MFAH’s restaurant oozes cultivation and seasonality in both its menu and its charming interior. Sit by its expansive windows make-up one of its walls, or opt for a seat near the bright tapestry trees that line the other. Shades of light, mossy green ground the dining room in the form of a rug that resembles spring grass and plush velveteen booths and chairs that make the space as much of a piece of impressionist art as the works on display in the museum in which it is housed.

Le Jardinier’s plush dining room, with a tree-filled mural, suede-like green seats, and floor-to-ceiling windows.
Le Jardinier sticks to its name, taking on a lush garden theme in its decor and on its menu.
Claudia Casbarian

Gratify

With an energy that screams contemporary Versailles — or in the Big Vibe Group’s words, Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette, this Rice Village bistro encapsulates over-the-top design sensibilities, The vintage chic decor features an eclectic mix of furniture; bold, patterned wallpaper; and intricate light fixtures. The dining area is dark and moody, perfect for an intimate date or a lively birthday, while the expansive patio conjures the feeling of quintessential French bistro sidewalk dining.

Aya Sushi

Walk into Aya’s main dining room and you’ll find it hard to believe that it was once home to the massive yellow school bus of the now-closed burger joint, Bernie’s Burger Bus. Following a complete renovation, the restaurant now lives up to its name, which means “design” in Japanese. Find warm, dark forest green color adorning the walls and the booths, and wooden LED-lit arches that run the length of the ceiling adds an almost futuristic touch.  Annavy Nguyen, the local artist behind the colorful mural on Kau Ba’s patio, also showcases her mural work here with a beautiful Sapporo tree next to the sushi bar and a flock of cranes in the restroom hallway. The modern, minimalist vibe sets the stage for Chef Yoshi’s indulgent 20-plus-course omakase offering.

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