If you’re heading to Houston for the big game day soon, you might only have football on the mind — but that doesn’t mean that you can’t sneak in some good food, great art, and a little sightseeing. Our VP of Editorial Melissa Liebling-Goldberg hails from the Bayou City and is give you her tips on her hometown. And if you aren’t traveling to Houston, we have you covered with the perfect picks for hosting a viewing party, even down to what to wear.
Houston is justifiably famous for its awesome Tex-Mex cuisine and real Texas BBQ, but that’s not all to find in the ethnically diverse city. The Vietnamese is legendary, and some of the top chefs in the country are turning out gastronomical wonders too.
Pappasito’s Cantina: My personal favorite. The chile con queso is the perfect consistency and the house made tortilla chips are so thin and crispy (but stand up to that queso). Order the fajitas for the full Tex-Mex experience.
El Tiempo: Started by the son of Tex-Mex icon Ninfa Laurenzo (aka Mama Ninfa to Houstonians), this is as classic as it gets.
Molina’s Cantina: The Jose’s dip is a carnivorous spin on queso that is addictive and filling enough to be its own standalone meal.
Goode Co. BBQ: The brisket here is classic (this is wet bbq, so slather on the sauce), but the potato salad and the pecan pie are what keeps me coming back over and over.
Killen’s Barbeque: The lines here are as well-known as the meat. Come early – and hungry!
Demeris Bar-B-Que: Open since 1964, this is a Houston institution.
Uchi: Highly inventive and refined Japanese in a luxe, buzzy environment. Try anything fried.
Underbelly: James Beard winner chef Chris Shepard is serving up a mix of food that captures Houston’s unique ethnic cuisine intersections, and it’s so good you don’t care where it came from.
The Pass & Provisions: This is actually two restaurants in a shared space — one relaxed, one focused on fine dining, and both memorably good.
Pondicheri: You can sit at the elegant main restaurant for a full Indian feast, or go upstairs to their cafe for a quick bite (or pastry!) if you’re in a hurry.
Tout Suite: The desserts are the draw here, but you’ll want to savor them with a cup of coffee just to enjoy the lofty, sun-soaked space.
Tinys No. 5: This is the ultimate lunch spot for a group outing with the girls, with just the right mix of healthy and naughty options. Their chocolate chip cookies are good enough to have spun off into their own business.
Pho Binh: With seven locations in the Houston area, you are never too far from a steaming bowl of the classic Vietnamese soup.
I suppose you might want to do something besides eat and watch football (although, that’s an A+ weekend in my book). Houston is a sprawling city, so focus your efforts so you aren’t stuck criss-crossing the city’s mega-highways.
Museum District: The art museums in Houston are exemplary, from their collections to their architecture (think Mies van der Rohe Renzo Piano. The Menil Collection, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston and the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston are all worth a visit.
Bayou Bayou: This recently redone park is sprawling, with bike trails, art installations, and postcard views of the Houston downtown skyline.
Saint Arnold Brewery tour: Visit Texas’s oldest craft brewery for a tour of the facility outside downtown, and keep it PG with their spicy signature root beer.
Manready Mercantile : Stop by the brand’s store (or shop it on Spring!) to see their carefully curated mix of their own products and other brands.
City image c/o Visit Houston