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Downtown Houston Restaurants

I'm looking for a place to eat before a company Christmas party on Friday. Clearly we aren't planning much in advance! Doesn't have to be uber fancy, but someplace where we won't feel odd being dressed nice (ie, wearing tuxes at Chili's or something). Muchas gracias, in advance!

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  1. Clarification: are you looking for just a quick nosh to tide you over until food is served at the party or will this be your only meal?

    I wouldn't recommend a Chili's anyway but I wouldn't worry about the tuxes anywhere - might get you better service, after all.

    1 Reply
    1. re: brucesw

      Chili's was my example - we are NOT going there! :)

      There won't be a meal served at the party, just some hors d'orves, so we want a meal so that the wine won't go to our heads (ok, fine, MY head!).

    2. vic and anthony's is my favorite restaurant downtown. 17 and brennan's are also a good choices.

      1. Howdy hmoore, I hope more Houston 'hounds chime in on this one because they're doubtlessly more knowledgeable, but if you're not looking for a full multi-course dinner (or giant steak) since the holiday party will have some hor' dourves (usually heavy ones at these functions I assume), maybe Catalan (http://catalanfoodandwine.com/) in the Heights would be a good option. There are tapas-style small plates and bigger portions for those with bigger appetites. Catalan was recently on Texas Monthly's Top 10 New Restaurants list along with other big hitters statewide.

        Some other downtown (or near downtown) good options:
        Hugo's for upscale Mex-Mex (wish we had something like this in Dallas
        )T'afia (Monica Pope's baby that's been in local and national press)
        Glass Wall (another Texas Monthly Top New Restaurant, gets a few mentions on these boards, too)

        1. Try Ibiza in Midtown. You can get two appetizers if you don't want a full meal. Also downtown is Mia Bella where you can get a light meal. Or Julia's in Midtown. Ibiza would be my first choice.

          1 Reply
          1. re: maryanntex

            Excellent suggestion maryanntex on Ibiza! Same owners as Catalan, same style tapas and big plates, but probably closer in location for what you're looking for.

          2. Birra Poretti's is in the theater district, so at this time of year you see lots of people dressed up in there. Good Italian food, but take it easy if you want to be awake for the following party! ;-)

            1. thanks everyone! i'm sure out of all of these we can find something we all agree on!

              3 Replies
              1. re: hmoore

                You can add Quattro, in the Four Seasons Hotel, to your list. I've been there, tuxedoed, numerous times. Food is generally quite good, a few notches above Birra Poretti's, which I cannot recommend.

                The Strip House is definitely one of the better cow palaces in Houston, as it should be, for the price.

                Bank, in the Hotel Icon, is affiliated with celeb chef Jean-George Vongerichten and, with prudent selection from the menu, you can have an excellent dinner there. Same can be said about Gravitas and Ibiza (which maryanntex describes above).

                Brennan's (one of the first recommendations you got) is excellent, as is nearby Damian's.

                Lastly, I'll gladly scarf down a Churrasco, then Tres Leches cake, at Artista (in the Hobby Performing Arts Center) any time....It's a Cordua Brothers place...very good indeed.

                Hope this helps you.

                1. re: guttural

                  Actually, restaurant staff reported to me that Jean-George ended his affiliation with the Hotel Icon some months ago.

                  It's still the absolute best French Toast I've ever had.

                  1. re: foodbevlaw

                    ahhh...I had heard the rumors, but no resolution. Thanks,