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Aug 10, 2008 10:06 AM

Downtown Houston Help

I will be in town for business all next week. Does anyone have any chow-ish recommendations in the Downtown Houston area (staying at Hotel Magnolia)? One dinner could be a more formal business dinner with colleagues... Thanks in advance.

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  1. Voice is new and all the rage right now. Upscale yet fun, from what I have read. There are a few really good choices, but I would go to this site to scope it out.

    1. I had an excellent meal at Reef about 2 weeks ago. If you like seafood, this is the place.

      1. near the Magnolia (700 block of Main across from the Flying Saucer) is an Indian Rest.,, Yatra. They really started out with a bang,, but I was a little disappointed on a recent visit.. Maybe a tough night! Bollywood on w/e's. Also try Vic and Anthony's for steaks,, a couple of blocks from the ballpark. 17 on Prarie might be a nice choice for your more formal dinner or,, Voice is catching a lot of buzzz these days!
        Have fun!

        1. lucky for you this week is houston restaurant week. there are several restaurants in downtown participating. basically, you get a 3 course meal for $35 and $5 of the proceeds goes to the houston end hunger network. here is their website for a list of restaurants and their HRW menus:

          check out this board for HRW restaurant reviews, but like danhole said, if you can get into VOICE, i think you will be very happy with your meal there. normally, a 3 course meal there would be in the $50+ range.

          i had a wonderful HRW meal at strip house this evening and also recommend it if you're in the mood for steak. if your business colleagues are all male, strip house would work. it has sort of a sexy boudoir feel about it that is very tastefully done. men love it.

          also downtown and participating in HRW: *17, the grove, artista, bistro lancaster, quattro, skyline, spindletop, and the aquarium. the last 2 listed i wouldn't even go to if they paid me to eat there.

          non-HRW recommendations:

          if you're in the mood for seafood, i highly recommend reef in midtown which was already recommended to you too. they have a beet ravioli on the menu right now which is one of the most heavenly things to touch my tongue lately. the signature dish is the crispy skin snapper which i had again last week and it was killer. the wine list and prices are amazing (just a tad over retail). it gets loud in there as the dining room fulls up so it may not be a great idea for business.

          another good foodie spot is ibiza also in midtown. food is great. chef competed on iron chef america. wine list and prices are awesome (just a smidge above retail). another high energy, trendy spot.

          also in midtown is brennan's, a houston institution, which would be great for a business dinner.

          vic and anthony's is my favorite steakhouse in houston and would do well for a formal dinner too. the crabcakes and maple glazed quail appetizers are simply amazing.

          7 Replies
          1. re: neverfull

            Chows: thanks for all of these great recommendations. Was in Houston all last week and will be here all this week. A run down of where we have been so far:

            Zula: Average food, poor service. Was surprised to learn that it was built out in 2002 becasu the interior looks like 1985.

            Sambuca: Recommened by our client. We won't be folowing his recs anymore. Another poor service experience - our apps came out before we were finished our salads, they cleared two plates before the third was finished, and they actually asked the table whether we would like dessert while my colleague was bringing a forkful of scallop and risotto to her mouth. Plus, the music made is really tough to hold a conversation.

            Vic and Anthony's: Really, really amazing steak. Polite and formal service. One of the best steaks I've ever had, and certainly better than Morton's, S&W, etc. Super wine list, but alas, waaaay overpriced as well (Trinchero for $68? Please...)

            Voice: Just returned and we were delighted by our meal. The gnocchi could have been more pillow-y, but the tuna entree was fantastic, and my two colleagues who had lamb said they were pleased. The raviolli app looked wonderful, and while it's cliche by now, I like how they are sourcing locally and seasonally. Desserts were excellent as well. Strange interior design - not sure what they are going for (esp. the alck and white room drapes). I felt the wine list was reasonably priced, and was happy to see some real gems on there (Martinelli Giuseppe and Louisa Zin).

            Any more recs? We're staying at Hotel Icon this week.

            1. re: GyroBall

              i'm sorry you wasted money at sambuca and zula.

              get breakfast tacos at el rey across the street.

              if you liked VOICE, head to reef for seafood in midtown. read my suggestions again that i posted above.

              ibiza is also in midtown and is good, but it's sister catalan (spanish inspired) is even better. pork belly, fois gras bon bons, roasted bone marrow apps are wonderful. it's a 10 minute drive from your hotel.

              hit montrose (about 15 min drive) for the rest of the restaurant stars of houston all located on westheimer within minutes of each other: mark's, da marco, dolce vita, indika, and feast.

              menus are all listed on their websites.

              are you looking for hole-in-the-wall, ethnic cuisine too? any cuisine in particular?

              1. re: neverfull

                neverfull --- 2:18 am?? Don't you EVER sleep?

                1. re: Cheflambo

                  We took your recommendation, neverfull, and went to Reef last night. It was pretty fantastic, and wow that wine list. We had a $58 bottle of Martinelli sav blanc that was fantastic and at just about retail. If Reef were in our city my wife and I would go there every week!

                  Tonight is Vic and Anthony's...again!

                  I have also been enjoying El Rey. Great tacos the way I remember them from mexico, though didn't like the breakfast tacos too much. Prefer Ninfas. The tortilla soup, however, was perfect.

                  1. re: GyroBall

                    gyroball, still in town? great! go check out catalan next for something a little trendy or da marco for high end italian. or go to dolce vita for casual italian, menu is very similar to batali's otto (NY) or pizzeria mozza (LA). check out my restaurant blog too, you might get some ideas there: i just put a reef review up yesterday actually.

                    at el rey, i get mexican egg tacos on whole wheat tortillas (they are good and i can use all the fiber i can get), with bacon, guac, and cilantro. they wrap them in 2 tortillas which i separate and make 2 smaller tacos.

                    cheflambo, yeah, obviously i don't sleep.

                    1. re: neverfull

                      Yep, still in town. Well, not right now, but next week again. Staying at Alden this time. Will definitely check out Dolce Vita and Da Marco. Thanks so much for your recs.

                      1. re: GyroBall

                        I loved Da Marco's and went there for the first time this year. Here is my review:


                        Also I just went to Catalan's last Wednesday and that is a must go to place! See the reviews recently posted.

                        It's funny because when it was my bday and my friend wanted to treat me, I was torn between Catalan and Da Marco, so we ended up at Da Marco. It was my turn to treat for her bday, and we go to Catalan. Both are on the top of our lists now.

          2. Recently ate at a place called Open City Houston in Midtown ( At our table we tried Buffalo Calamari--not too spicy, crumbles of blue cheese. Lamb shank with green beans, crispy, kinda sweet, and smashed potatoes. Hazelnut-crusted trout with smashed potatoes. Tasted a side of mac and cheese--very creamy, rich, delicious. Bread pudding--husband loved it--I'm not a bread pudding fan. Food and service was good. Went on Friday night when dj entertains on the roof--gets a little loud. Quieter during the week, I'm told. Also sliders had been recommended but didn't try them this time. A variety of them on the menu, Salads looked great, will get next time!