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2 days in Houston: Seeking Best steak and Mexican Food

I have two dinners inn Houston and want the steak of my life and a memorable Mexican meal.

Steak: Not interested in a chain (no Morton's, Ruth's, Palms, I can go to those anywhere). I want Houston's best steakhouse. I don't care if it's upscale, but I am perfectly fine with "old school" steakhouse (think salad bar) and a giant slab of perfectly cooked high quality meat dripping off my plate.

Mexican: Atmosphere would be nice, the more home made dishes (tortillias and sauces) the better. I like de-constructed modern versions of Mexican classics. Not looking for burritos or enchiladas smothered with sauce. Oh yes, great margaritas.

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  1. lots of choices for both steaks and Mexican Food.

    If you're a "tourist" to Houston or Texas...then go to Taste of Texas for steaks and go to El Tiempo for Mexican food

    If NOT a tourist....then go to Churasscos for steak and for Mexican go to Picos (don't worry about the neighborhood, it's OK).

    Am sure you'll get lots of other good suggestions, but you won't be disappointed with any of these.

    1 Reply
    1. re: silversource

      I just posted about my experience at Taste of Texas. Picos is also one of the most horrible meals I've ever had. Four of us went for lunch and only one person could eat their food. We were the only ones in there on a stormy day and it still took over an hour to get our food. One other couple wandered in about half an hour after we got there. I should have known that if it was good, there would have been some people eating there at lunch. The servers would not bring us more salsa or chips even though that was all we could eat. The salsa was wonderful but it's not worth the price of a meal that you can't eat.

    2. For margaritas, I love Cafe Adobe (peach margarita), El Patio or Don Carlos. The food is just okay. It gets better the more margaritas you have :-)

      As far as steaks go the Capital Grille used to be real good, haven't been in awhile. I can tell you one thing do NOT waste your time and money on Taste of Texas. I went one time and everything was gross. The salad bar was worse than the ones at Pizza Hut and the steak was awful. I got their signature steak and could hardly chew it. Golden Corral would have probably been better. It remains my biggest disappointment in a restaurant ever.

      There are lots of new South American style restaurants in Houston. Americas on Post Oak is good and the steak there is wonderful, even on the lunch menu. http://www.cordua.com/cordua.cfm?a=cm...

      3 Replies
      1. re: texasredtop

        Taste of Texas on par with Golden Corral and Picos with El Patio?...you must have really had a bad visit at those....can't even imagine comparing them.

        Nonetheless, both Taste of Texas and Picos are on just about every top 10 list since 2005 for steaks or Mexican Food....visited both in the past month and both were terrific, Picos was exceptional. In fact, had someone with me from the Harrah's school in Las Vegas at the time who said it was the best Mexican restaurant she had ever been to.

        And of course, Americas and Churasscos have the same owner....both are terrific.

        C'est la vie.

        1. re: silversource

          I tried both of them because they WERE on the top 10 and was extremely disappointed in both to the point that I would NEVER return to either under any circumstances. I haven't tried Churasscos but Americas was excellent. Everything I had there was delicious and I ordered right off the lunch menu every time I went there. El Patio has some of the best margaritas around. The food hasn't changed in decades and is okay, nothing to write home about. I left Pico's and Taste of Texas still hungry. Those are the only two times I remember eating at a restaurant that was so bad I ate one or two bites and left the rest to be thrown out. I'm not a picky eater either. Like I said too, Pico's salsa was outstanding. Homemade for sure. But that's where my good experience there ended. It was kind of dirty too. The floors were sticky.

          1. re: texasredtop

            Thank you for the information. I would love to hear from others who have additional restaurant rec's. Thanks!

      2. We went to The Steamboat House last year and had some great steaks. It's a nice place, but not terribly upscale. Full of Texas history, and a gorgeous place. Beautiful bar area, too. It's out by the Horse Tracks.


        You can go to B4-u-eat.com and see what others have said.

        I haven't been to Hugo's, but it is my goal to go before the end of the year. I think it fits more of what you want in a Mexican restaurant. Many hounds have told me it is a must go place.

        My favorite Mexican place is El Tiempo, on Washington.

        1. For your steak dinner, got to Pappas Bros Steakhouse (http://pappasbros.com/). For Mexican, my favorite is Hugo's (www.hugosrestaurant.net).

          1 Reply
          1. re: bakersdaughter

            What bakersdaughter said, although I would probably replace Pappas with either Vic & Anthony's or Kllen's in Pearland.

            Hugo's is your best bet for Mexican (not Tex Mex as you requested). El Tiempo is good for Tex Mex, but it sounds like you're looking for true Mexican. I like Pico's too, but it's def casual. Both are different.

          2. Steak: Either Vic & Anthony's or Pappas Brothers. Mexican (Interior): Definitely Hugo's.

            1. For the steak, you may want to consider Perry's Steakhouse. I've eaten there more than a few times and the food was great and service excellent. I believe they now have 4 or 5 locations around Houston. For Mexican, I typically eat at local dives, not much on atmosphere or deconstructed modern Mexican food, just good tex-mex, so I'm probably no good to you there.

              1 Reply
              1. re: riley723

                I agree about Perry's. I've only eaten at the original one in Clear Lake but it was always excellent. I've been wanting to try Killen's in Pearland too (not to be confused with Cullen's in Pasadena which is really awful).


                1. re: lynndela

                  Absolutely Pappa Bros. Steakhouse is the best non-chain (I know it has a couple of other locales in Tex, but the one in Houston is the first) for steaks. I would even say best in Houston period, although many will rank Capital Grill, or Flemings or Vic and Anthony's ahead. PB dry ages its beef on site which is reason enough to stay away from the filet. If you're solo you can eat at the counter.

                  For Tex Mex, I'd suggest El Tiempo or Sylvia's Enchilada Kitchen. Of course their are tons of other good Tex mex places in Houston. Ninfa's on Navigation, Armando's, etc.

                  Sylvia's Enchilada Kitchen
                  6401 Woodway Dr, Houston, TX 77057

                  1. re: Phil W

                    Which El Tiempo? There seem to be several restaurants with that phrase in their name.

                    1. re: aynrandgirl

                      There are two El Tiempos, one on Richmond near Greenway Plaza, and the other on Washington at TC Jester. I prefer the Washington location, it's closer, plus I've gotten to know a couple of the waiters and I am always treated well. There's also a 1308 Cantina on Montrose I believe, but I've never been.

                2. I would vote for Vic & Anthony's for steak. Pricey but everything was spot on. I honestly cant say what the best Mexican food place is as there is so many here, but Lopez on Willcrest is good as is Tony's on Ella Blvd.