Hugo Ortega

Hugo Ortega


About Hugo Ortega

The winner of Best Chef: Southwest at the prestigious 2017 James Beard Foundation Awards started with very humble beginnings. Hugo has published two cookbooks: Hugo Ortega’s Street Food of Mexico (2012) and Backstreet Kitchen: Seasonal Recipes from Our Neighborhood Cafe (2013). He was a James Beard Award finalist for six consecutive years, 2012-2017. Hugo is one of Houston’s most acclaimed chefs and believes that a chef is only as good as the last meal he cooked. He remains a fixture in his four restaurant kitchens, is an avid bicyclist, and enjoys spending time at the beach with his family.


  • Nominee for Best Chef: Southwest
    James Beard Foundation
  • Chef of the Year
    Houston Culinary Awards
  • Award of Excellence
    Wine Spectator
  • Guest chef
    James Beard House
  • Restaurant of the Year (Hugo's)
    Houston Press
  • ChefsFeed Winner
    One of the Best Things to Eat in Houston
  • Best Chef, Southwest (2017)
    James Beard Foundation

Where I Go Out

At My Venues

Pato en Pipian Rojo
$$$, Happy Hour, Mexican, Reservations, Full Bar, Seafood, Uptown
"This is an amazing seafood experience. My immediate thoughts are "fresh, clean, and on target." The service is impeccable and Chef Hugo Ortega manages to create an enriching dining experience by seamlessly integrating a variety of culinary techniques. We enjoyed Caracol with a group of friends. The two appetizers, Rosas de Atun and Baja Ceviche, were a fantastic preparation for what was to come: delicate plating and a wonderful combination of flavors. Our expectations were met and exceeded with our two favorite entrees, Pato en Pipian Rojo and Marisco al Ajillo. Portion sizes are so filling that we were unfortunately too full to try a dessert!"
$$, Happy Hour, Outdoor Seating, Mexican, Reservations, Full Bar, Hyde Park
"It's a taco stuffed with suckling pig. What else is there to say? They also make great homemade tortillas."
$$, Happy Hour, Outdoor Seating, Mexican, Reservations, Full Bar, Hyde Park
"This is authentic Mexican cooking from Hugo Ortega and his brother Ruben. It's a diverse menu that features everything from seafood cocktails to Oaxacan moles, all housed in a beautiful 1920s era, Latin-inspired building. The slow-roasted goat meat from the cabrito entrée is pulled from the bones and served with nopales, guacamole, and spicy habanero salsa."
Veulva a la vida
$$, Happy Hour, Outdoor Seating, Mexican, Reservations, Full Bar, Hyde Park
"Hugo’s was the first great restaurant I dined in when I arrived in Houston, and this dish is one that I continue to go back for. It’s a mix of fresh, local seafood, including shrimp, oysters, and octopus with just the right amount of lime and tomatoes. It’s simplicity at its best, and it comes with Hugo’s fried-to-order tortilla chips, which are absolutely the best in the city."