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Chicago Foodie needs help for upscale foodie HOU restaurant....please help!

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So, my husband and I are traveling to Houston for the upcomnig weekend, a combination work/anniversary/visiting friends trip. We are having dinner with friends who recommended the following two restaurants: Mark's and RDG. Neither seem to fit the bill. Both have basic American /Steakhouse menus, the typical one duck, one steak, one salmon, with app of foie gras, etc. I would prefer something that has a more interesting menu....nothing French or American (although contemporary American with a twist is ok)....we love spanish/tapas, Japanese, Mexican, Vietnamese, etc.

We'd also love a great ambience, pretty venue/lighting upscale in feel or soemthing different, just nothing boring and stuffy. any price point ok, but not into $40 entrees of steak, duck, lamb and salmon. any help is greatly appreciated!

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  1. Look into Hugo's. It is an amazing upscale Mexican (not Tex-Mex, mind you) in a beautiful setting with a menu I don't think you'll find in many other places. Just named one of the top 5 mexican restaurants in Texas too.

    You also might want to look into Feast, or Reef, as they might fit the bill. Beavers is great if you're not looking upscale (and it's definitely not stuffy). It's kind of a foodie bbq joint.

    Good luck!

    3 Replies
    1. re: greghouston

      Thanks for the help. we love bbq and roast our own full pigs in our caja china. I think we'll have to do Beavers for lunch on sunday. woudl that be your top rec for great bbq and a fun atmosphere? what are must-orders there as far as the cue and sides?

      For Saturday night, Reef looks great if I wanted seafood...not sure my husband will be into that...I thoguht Hugos loked great...I looked at the webiste and I think we were there last time! we really liked it, but want to try something new. any other thoughts? Can be expensive/upscale I just want either an upbeat ambience or somehting with candles/etc...anything but stuffy, really. Nothing too minimalist, either. thanks

      1. re: ljero

        I think you'll like Beavers. The brunch on Sunday in particular is excellent (but Houston has a lot of great brunch options. Check out the brunch menu at Max's Wine Dive as well).

        Kata Robata, which someone else recommended, is good although I've only had sushi there.

        If want Tex-Mex, try one of the El Tiempo locations. They're pricy but always good.

        I haven't been there yet, but Stella Sola in the Heights is supposed to be great (it's owned by the chef at Reef).

        Good luck!

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        Kata Robata
        3600 Kirby Drive, Houston, TX 77098

        Stella Sola
        1001 Studewood, Houston, TX 77008

        1. re: ljero

          I agree with all the posters and would also include Ibiza in midtown. Really a handsome restaurant esp night time.. DaMarco on Westheimer is terrific but will set you back $ wise. Pagoda for Vietnamese might fit for you.. Great food and ambiance,, service is on the slow slide but the wait is usually worth it. If you want action,, eat a pizza at the bar at Dolce Vita or watch the hardest working and most synchronized cooks at the food bar at Carrabba's on Kirby.. they put on quite the show. Order the "off the menu shrimp and crab app.. Sushi King on Kirby offers up nice ambience with a piano player serving up nice background sounds. Have fun!

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          Sushi King
          3401 Kirby Drive, Houston, TX 77098

      2. I'd recommend Catalan on Washington or REEF in Midtown. Catalan is considered by many to be the best foodie restaurant in Houston, and REEF is an amazing seafood restaurant that showcases the Gulf Coast.

        I'll throw out Feast and Indika (both on Westheimer) for something a bit different.

        Hugo's is a great upmarket Mexican restaurant, but you have really good Mexican in Chicago, so that wouldn't be my first choice.

        Japanese is not strong in Houston, although Kata Robata is supposed to be awesome.

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        Indika
        516 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77006

        Kata Robata
        3600 Kirby Drive, Houston, TX 77098

        1 Reply
        1. re: Bulldozer

          I second the recommendations of Catalan, Feast, and Indika.

          I think Da Marco is delicious, but you have great Italian in Chicago, so maybe not that interesting to you.

          t'afia offers dishes with a lot of local ingredients, and I like the ambiance (some might think it's a bit minimalist)

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          Da Marco
          1520 Westheimer, Houston, TX 77006

          t'afia
          3701 Travis Street, Houston, TX 77002

          Indika
          516 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77006

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