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Restaurants in downtown Houston?

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I'm going to Houston for the first time and wondering where to eat--are there any good, not-too-touristy places downtown? We're staying on Lousiana street. Thanks!

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  1. For Upscale: Voice in Hotel Icon and 17 in Alden Hotel are both very good. The Grove which is on Discovery Green gets really mixed reviews, but is worth going for a drink because the environment is so interesting. Go get a drink and an appetizer.
    For casual: Treebeards for cajun, I forget which street but it's on the northern part of downtown, not a bad walk at all. There is also one in the tunnels, have the hotel point the way.

    1. I love Cava Bistro and Mia Bella on Main Street. The owners opened a new Tex-Mex place on Main but I haven't tried it yet.

      I wasn't impressed with the food at the Grove. Tasted very fresh but kind of bland. There was 6 of us in the group and we each sampled each others entrees plus had appetizers. Cool place for a drink though.

      If you want quick and inexpensive Tex-Mex and Cuban fare, try El Rey's on Main Street.

      I don't think you are going to find too many touristy places since I don't think many tourists come to Houston.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Asticat

        Right there, Houston is not a tourist town, it's a business town, with alot of people coming to visit friends and relatives who have moved here. Treebeards, I haven't been there in a while, but I wouldn't charecterize it as authentic Cajun. Kim Son on Jefferson St. has at times some very nice Vietnamese, ask your server. Also, you can go online to Frommer's Houston for suggestions, plus the Houston Press, just don't read the thumbnail reviews, they often bear little resemblance to the original, and can be misleading, seek out original reviews, the Press has a good archive.

        1. re: James Cristinian

          The only thing that qualifies as "touristy" that I've discovered is down by NASA and the Kemah Boardwalk.

          So as long as you're not planning a meal there, you won't need to worry about avoiding "tourist traps."

          1. re: Jaymes

            I would call the Downtown Aquarium touristy.

            And the food tastes like its all SYSCO.

          2. re: James Cristinian

            Kim Son is good but I've noticed if you go when they are very busy, the quality isn't as good. Go during the off hours.

        2. Treebeard's, the Market Square or the Cloister locations, is only open at lunch M-F but terrific for Louisiana cooking. You order from the cafeteria line, so it's not fancy, but is very clean and delicious.

          1. Go to Voice. One of the very best restaurants in Houston.

            1 Reply
            1. re: mgovshteyn

              So is Reef, for seafood.

            2. "Not-too-touristy"? Try Irma's for breakfast or lunch. A very eccentrically decorated Mexican place with a recited menu. Basically, they'll cook you whatever you're hungry for. Everybody says "try the lemonade," which is loaded with fruit chunks, but I think it's overrated and just drink iced tea.

              1. We are coming in June, staying at the Hotel Icon. I would like to have some good BBQ, Cajun, and some local breakfast spots to hit up close by. I took note of El Reys and Irmas, anything else we should look into?