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. 

Dolce Vita Pizzeria and Enoteca

The Story: The second lovechild of Expert/Chef Marco Wiles, Dolce Vita Pizzeria comes highly recommended for their Neapolitan style thin crust wood fired pizza, house made pasta, and salumi. 

What to Eat: Expert/Chef Ryan Pera says the Zucca pizza is where it’s at: “"This butternut squash, red onion, and pancetta pizza is available all year long, although I tend to order it in the fall when squash is in season. It hits all the right notes on Dolce’s perfectly cooked crust that comes out of their Neapolitan pizza oven." The Parsley and Pancetta salad prepared tableside, and Grilled Octopus with Rapini also come highly recommended. 

What to Drink: They have a heavenly and prolific wine list featuring imported Italian varietals. 

The Vibe: A casual, welcoming enoteca and trattoria with an open kitchen, cozy tables, and a patio for the warmer months. 

When To Go: They’re open for dinner service 5-10 pm Tuesday through Friday, and open for lunch and dinner on Saturdays and Sundays.

Brennan's of Houston

The Story: For those that don't know, Brennan's of Houston is the sister restaurant to the world-famous Commander's Palace in New Orleans. Located in the Midtown neighborhood of Houston, Brennan's blends the Cajun-Creole classics of New Orleans with Texas ingredients for a classic Southern dining experience.

What to Eat: While the menu has had a revamp since the 1967 opening, dishes like turtle soup, crab cakes with corn relish and bananas foster still remain menu staples. Our experts recommend the Sunday brunch in the restaurant's New Orleans-style courtyard, a plate of eggs Sardou and the live French Quarter jazz band.

What to Drink: Sazeracs and Mint Juleps, just like you would in New Orleans.  

The Vibe: Southern elegance with white linen service. Don’t forget to wear your fanciest hat and your loudest dress socks.  

When To Go: They’re open daily for brunch and dinner service, and reservations are always a fine idea. 

Brennan's of Houston
Spot
Midtown, Houston
$$$$, Happy Hour, Outdoor Seating, Modern, Full Bar, Seafood, Cajun / Creole, Southern / Soul
4 Recommendations

Caracol

The Story: Chef Hugo Ortega makes this list again with his elegant seafood restaurant Caracol. 

What to Eat: Sexy, chilled seafood crudo and ceviche will keep you cool in the Houston heat. While Mexican seafood is the star at Caracol, the menu also boasts killer vegetarian selections, like the Wild Mushroom Molé. Don't miss the "El Coco" dessert: a House-Ground Cacao Confectionary shell, filled with Coconut Buttercream and a Coconut Streusel that you get to whack open with a mallet.

What to Drink: The Zihuatanejo - with Mezcal, Crème de Violate, Lime and Salted Margarita Foam is not only a highly photogenic hue of violet, but serves up mesquite, floral, sweet, tart and savory notes in a highly shippable ratio.  

The Vibe: Said to be one of the most glamorous restaurants from Chef Hugo Ortega, the space has several distinct areas including an oyster bar, a private wine room and a bar serving a wide selection of refreshing cocktails and sangrias. Note: they have a “business casual” dress code. No, this doesn’t mean to dress like Dwight Shrute from The Office (but points if you do, please send pics!); Instead dress as you would for an exciting job interview or promising first date. 

When To Go: Caracol features a Sunday brunch you won't want to miss with "All you can eat Gulf Oysters," plus a full buffet and live band all for $37. They also offer a daily Happy Hour from 3-7 with killer deals on cocktails and small plates.

Caracol
Spot
Uptown, Houston
$$$, Happy Hour, Mexican, Reservations, Full Bar, Seafood
4 Recommendations
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