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Mar 16, 2007 06:56 PM

Houston Downtown - Girls' weekend

I'm meeting up with a friend in Houston because it's halfway between where I am (South Florida) and where she is (Utah). I need some suggestions for tasty food downtown. We'll be at the Magnolia Hotel for a Sat-Sun. I don't like BBQ generally but we both like Mexican, which seems like our best bet for regional food. She's vegetarian but I like meat so we need options for both of us.

I already got some brunch ideas from another thread, so we need ideas for either hip places with great drinks and snackables, or a place with a reasonably priced dinner (<$20/entree).

Thanks everyone!

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  1. Tafia might be a good choice? It might push over the $20 range though?

    1. Unique to Houston is Birraporetti's Italian Restaurant & Irish Bar. Go to It's really good, not too pricey.

      Also, and this is on the very low end, there is a James Coney Island downtown. Good chili, hot dogs, sandwiches and very cheap. It is a Houston institution! Hmm - not very vegetarian, though.

      Not too far from Downtown is Cosmo's Cafe. It's a bar/cafe with some good food, and a fun place to go.

      1. Last Concert Cafe is in the very sparse but neat warehouse area which is near downtown. They have Mexican that is OK. Dharma's cafe is down there too and everyone raves about their brunch, but make a reservation (or make the Magnolia!).

        Catalan, Dolce Vita, Max's Wine Dive (extremely busy and in right now), and Gravitas are all places that are very near downtown, a quick cab ride and perfect for Girls Weekend. None are bank-busters. Catalan would be the most expensive. A great Tex Mexican place right now is 1308 Cantina which is on Montrose and very close to downtown.

        1. Not sure if you have made your trip yet but here are my suggestions:

          El Tiempo for good Mexican food
          The Fish on West Gray for good sushi
          Farrago on West Gray is good and fun
          Not sure of your age range but I heard Sammy's downtown is a fun dance spot
          Ruggles on Westheimer is good food and usually a good time

          Again depending on your age range la Strada is crazy for brunch and good food. I love Baba Yega for brunch. All of these have websites.

          Hope you have fun!

          2 Replies
          1. re: mocity

            Nope, haven't made the trip yet, I'll be there this weekend (14th and 15th). I'm 27 and she's 41. Thanks for the suggestions!

            Also, the update is that she will most likely be renting a car so that expands our options.

            I just learned about kolaches which I had never heard of, so that will be something I want to try. We have here in Florida empanadas which are different but kind of a similar concept as far as being available in multiple fillings and being cheap.

            1. re: panthur

              It's good that you're getting a car, downtown Houston is going to be pretty dead on weekends. There's another thread going here on CH on vegetarian in Houston which you should look at.

              Kolaches are a traditional Czech pastry that are very popular here in Texas. The best are probably to be found in the little Czech towns between Houston and Central Texas but there are some very good ones in the city. The best I know of is the oldest one, Original Kolache Shoppe on Telephone @ Park Place, on the SE side. Been there since 1956. Very good, but will likely have a limited selection on Saturday, may close as early as 10am on Saturday and closed on Sunday. Another good one is the Kolache Shoppe on Richmond @ Weslayan, SW side near Greenway Plaza, a spin off of the former. Should be open til about 2pm on Sat but closed Sunday. Most Mom and Pop kolache shoppes will be closed by early afternoon -- it's mainly a breakfast pastry thing; the earlier you get there the fresher out of the oven they're going to be. A lot like a Danish but made with bread dough and a lot more filling. I would avoid, if I were you, the Kolache Factory, which you will encounter all over. It's a chain; they seem to want to be to kolaches what Dominos is to pizza and they're trying to turn kolaches into an all day thing. I've found their kolaches to be very unsatisfactory.

              Some good Mexican suggestions above, all Tex-Mex, I think. If you prefer Mex-Mex in any of it's many varieties, let us know. You might also consider the original Ninfa's on Navigation, where the fajita craze really began in the early 70s. Owned by a chain now but still has a lot of charm. The El Tiempos are run by Ninfa Laurenzos descendants and use her original recipes; a Laurenzo is in charge of the kitchen at 1308 mentioned above.

              We have empanadas, too. Argentianian, Columbian, Venezuelan and Salvadoran that I know of, all different.

          2. Quick, fast seriously tasty tex mex food.. the original Berryhill on westheimer and avalon.
            Also to try, Kenny&ziggy's deli across from the galleria. Barnaby's for downhome type comfort food, MoMong for trendy vietnamese(near montrose, off the giant hollywood video.)
            Good stuff.
            Also, great pizza, try Star pizza off shepherd. NOT the star pizza off washington. Foo.