The Required: Houston

The Required: Houston

A definitive guide to Houston's tried and trues, as chosen by over 5000+ of the nation's top chefs, sommeliers, bartenders, & other food and beverage pros.

July 27, 2020
The Required: Houston

The Required: Houston

A definitive guide to Houston's tried and trues, as chosen by over 5000+ of the nation's top chefs, sommeliers, bartenders, & other food and beverage pros.

July 27, 2020

Houston, We've Landed.

The Required is our expert version of a "best list," comprised of the stand-out restaurants that have garnered the all-time most recommendations from our expert community. That's 5000+ all-star chefs, sommeliers, bartenders, and more–no black box of food editor committees or user surveys, just plain, crave-able cred.

Read on to plan your next trip—or just to be sure you've checked all the boxes on your home turf. 

Da Marco

The Story: Chef Marco Wiles has been serving modern Italian style cooking to Houstonians since 2001. Set in a cozy Montrose trattoria, Da Marco has since become a Houston staple.

What to Eat: Housemade thin-crust pizza and pasta are the stars of the show. Our Experts swear by the Raviolo - stuffed with Fresh Ricotta, Egg Yolk and Truffles, served with Parmesan and Butter. Specifically, during wintertime when the kitchen has white Alba truffles, ask for an extra shaving or two. 

What to Drink: Start with an Aperol Spritz and then move on to a bottle or two from their extensive list of imported Italian varietal wines.

The Vibe: An intimate trattoria with rustic Italian inspired décor.  

When To Go: Open Monday through Saturday for both lunch and dinner service, the fact that reservations are often still required after nearly 20 years of being in business speaks to the excellence of De Marco. Ask them about their dress code and the $29 pre-fixe business lunch. 

Da Marco
Hot Spot
Hyde Park, Houston
$$$$, Full Bar, Italian
7 Recommendations

Uchi

The Story: Celebrity chef-owner Tyson Cole's contemporary interpretations of Japanese food have earned him a James Beard Award for Best Chef Southwest along with national critical acclaim. Uchi made its debut in Austin in 2003 and its overall success caused Cole and co. to open another iteration of the concept in Houston in 2012. Melding culinary innovation with approachable, and most importantly, delectable ingredients, Uchi Houston’s menu features items culled from both Uchi and Uchiko Austin, along with seasonal plates created by Chef de Cuisine Chris Davies.  

What to Eat: According to Expert/Chef Ronnie Killen, it’s all about the Hama Chili with Ponzu, Orange Supremes, and Smoked Trout Roe. “The combination of sweet, sour, and spicy on a plate is the perfect dish, and it's one of my favorites in Houston." Other hits include the texturally diverse Fo To Remon Miso: “This is a serious mind game…It comes with a Phō granita, basil and cilantro panna cotta, bone marrow, and rice noodle crackers. It's INSANE (in a really good way),” says Expert/Chef Rebecca Masson. 

What to Drink: They have an epic selection of Sake, Japanese and domestic microbrew beer, and imported European wine varietals. 

The Vibe: A hip Japanese joint with gorgeous walnut slab furniture, excellent lighting and contemporary art on the walls. 

When To Go: If you can squeeze in for their “Sake Social” from 5-6:30 p.m. daily you’ll be treated to great deals on small plates and Sake based cocktails. Otherwise make a reservation or walk-in. 

Uchi
Hot Spot
Montrose, Houston
$$$$, Happy Hour, Sushi, Outdoor Seating, Japanese, Full Bar
7 Recommendations

Hugo's

The Story: James Beard Award winning Chef Hugo Ortega opened his namesake restaurant in 2002 after returning from an extended visit in his native Mexico City.  Located in the heart of Houston's Montrose area, Hugo's is a beacon of authentic Mexican food in a Tex-Mex town. This Houston institution is a must-visit for out-of-towners and a favorite spot for our local Experts. The menu features traditional dishes from many regions of Mexico, all made from scratch and with great care.  

What to Eat: The slow and low roasted Cabrito– Roasted Goat Meat pulled from the bone, served with Nopales Asados, Refritos, Guacamole, and Salsa Habanero has our Experts coming back on the reg. Other favorites include Pato en Molé Poblano and the Posole Rojo with Littleneck Clams, Hominy, and Puya Pepper.  

What to Drink: Hugo-Ritas and Palomas Rusticas. 

The Vibe: Mission-style furnishings in a swanky 1920’s era building add to the sensual feast you’ll experience at Hugo’s. 

When To Go: Happy Hour is 3-6 p.m. Monday through Friday, offering $7 cocktails and reasonably priced bocadillos and tacos. For dinner, reservations are always a good idea. 

Lechón
dish
Hyde Park, Houston
$$, Happy Hour, Outdoor Seating, Mexican, Reservations, Full Bar
Hugo's
Hot Spot
Hyde Park, Houston
$$, Happy Hour, Outdoor Seating, Mexican, Reservations, Full Bar
7 Recommendations
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