Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Houston >
Apr 28, 2011 01:10 PM

options near Four Seasons (w/o a car, willing to use light rail and transit)

My wife and I are staying at the Four Seasons (1300 Lamar St.) May 5-7 for a wedding. We need options for 2 breakfasts, two lunches and 1 dinner. I don't know Houston at all and "Four Seasons" didn't turn up many results in a search of this board. We won't have a car but are willing to use light rail/transit, or a cab if the restaurant is within a $20 roundtrip cab ride.

I've heard that Houston is a great dining city, and as the 4th largest city in the US, one would expect there to be a lot of good options. I'd love good options for the ol' standbys, BBQ and Mexican, both of which are in short order in Seattle, as well as a good Gulf coast seafood option. Given Houston's size and ethnic diversity, I'd also love options that reflect that culinary/cultural asset. Also, my wife is pregnant, so having several options in my back pocket that might be able to respond to her cravings would be great.

For dinner, I'd say our ceiling is probably $120 for the two of us.

Thanks in advance.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Close by I can only think of three really good places. Brennan's, Mardi Gras Grill and El Tiempo. If you've never had Gulf shrimp, you'll be amazed at the difference from what you get in Seattle. I go to your neck of the woods every summer and feast on dungeness crab :-) My dream is to live on the west side of San Juan Island.

    For your one dinner, Brennan's for New Orleans creole. The Brennan's family owns several extremely popular restaurants in New Orleans. Shrimp and grits are amazing. Almost everything there is wonderful. Just on the outskirts of downtown so close by. Mr. B's in NO makes my #1 favorite dish in all the world, bbq shrimp. The shrimp they serve with the shrimp and grits is basically the same recipe. Mr. B's is owned by one of the Brennan boys.

    Mardi Gras Grill is cajun fare. Great fresh seafood, mostly fried. It's just outside of downtown.

    El Tiempo is mexican and I adore the crab quesadillas. It's huge, I can only eat half of the order or less. The one on Washington is just outside of downtown. We have blue crabs here which are much more tasty than dungeness but you burn more calories trying to get the meat out than you do eating them. So enjoy them in dishes other than boiled where you don't have to pick the meat out yourself. Their flavor is wonderful.

    Also there is the original Ninfa's on Navagation. It is owned by the same family as El Tiempo but has been there for decades. It became so popular that they opened dozens of restaurants around Houston. When Mama Ninfa died, the family didn't take proper care of the business and they are left with the original on Navagation which was usually the best of the bunch anyway. Don't miss the beef fajitas if you go there. Ninfa's started the fajita craze decades ago. They were always my favorite for beef fajitas. Just outside of downtown.

    You will probably get a recommendation from some here to go to Reef. Reef reminds me more of Seattle than Houston. My experience there was lost orders, food that was not good enough to finish even though I was hungry from waiting over an hour to get it and a very hefty tab with a tiny "I'm sorry it took over an hour to get your sliders." Yeah, I was sorry too and won't make that mistake twice.

    Your price range shouldn't be a problem. Things are a lot more reasonably priced down here than in Seattle.

    Let us know what you decide and how you liked your experience in Houston. Keep in mind we cannot control the heat and humidity :-) Have a wonderful time!!

    Forgot to mention the bbq - let it go. We just don't have anything worth recommending. I know, it's Texas and all but it's true. Do not let anyone steer you to Goode Co. BBQ - unless you like eating shoe leather. At one time it was a good place but that was long ago. Most of the best bbq places are around San Antonio and Austin.

    Mardi Gras Grill
    1200 Durham, Houston, TX 77007

    1 Reply
    1. re: texasredtop

      Thanks for the recs trt. Sounds like you're a wise one, if your dream is to live on the west side of SJ Island, that's beautiful country. I didn't realize the Houston Brennans is the same as the NO Brennans. Good to hear. Anyway, the meal options are now breakfasts and lunches as a group will be gathering at Armondo's (?) on Thursday night. Rehearsal dinner is at Cafe Ginger, by the way. I'll let BBQ and maybe check out Ninfa's for lunch. Thanks again.

      3601 Kirby Dr, Houston, TX 77098

    2. You have BOATLOADS of options if you are willing to take the light rail or <$20 cab ride. I'm going to stretch you to $25 roundtrip cab ride incl tip. You will have a great time!

      Breakfast: Baby Barnaby's on Fairview (not any other Barnaby's location), Breakfast Klub (can take the light rail)

      Lunch: banh mi at Les Givrals on Drew & Milam (light rail), Hubcap Grill (have not been there but gets great reviews - check if open at the weekend), Treebeards (love the red beans and rice, but not open on weekends - not sure when your lunches are), Lankford Grocery (legendary - I've only been once. Not open on Sunday)

      Dinner: Da Marco (could go over budget depending on wine), Ibiza (light rail), Catalan, Stella Sola (though I've only found Stella Sola to be ok, many people rave about it), Feast, Indika, Hugo's, Dolce Vita (one of my favorites in Houston),

      Also peruse the Houston Press food blog for other ideas. Have fun and please report back!

      Da Marco
      1520 Westheimer, Houston, TX 77006

      Baby Barnaby's Cafe
      602 Fairview St, Houston, TX 77006

      Breakfast Klub
      3711 Travis St, Houston, TX 77002

      Les Givral's
      801 Congress St Ste 101, Houston, TX 77002

      516 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77006

      Hubcap Grill
      1111 Prairie St, Houston, TX 77002

      Stella Sola
      1001 Studewood, Houston, TX 77008

      1 Reply
      1. re: WtotheN

        Oh, I forgot about kolaches for breakfast -- might be hard to find a good place within your distance requirements, but so cheap you can spend a little more on the taxi, no? Plus, you can run out in the AM to get the kolaches while your pregnant wife rests in the hotel, awaiting your return with delicious kolache goodness. Google Houston kolaches to find some reviews

      2. I think there is a fare estimator on the Yellow site and I see the hotel has a courtesy car that covers the downtown business district so you might check both of those to ease your transport worries.

        I'll second everything TRT said except I wouldn't be quite so hard on bbq - we may not have what is considered the best in the state but most out-of-staters find what we have to be satisfactory.. However there's none close to downtown. There are two Pappas locations downtown, a local family owned mega-operation. The big one down near St. Joseph's Hospital on the southern edge of downtown was their first and still gets good reviews but I haven't been in decades. Not much love for Pappas on this board but there you have it if you want to try it.

        I'll have to be thinking about ethnic eateries close to downtown to recommend..

        Try searching this board for 'downtown' - we get lots of requests for places to eat close to downtown, the Galleria and the Medical Center so there will be lots of threads with suggestions.

        Edit: just happened to realize the other Pappas may be closer to the hotel, on the west side of downtown near the Library and City Hall.

        Edit again: - many downtown eateries are only open during the week for lunch, as is Treebeard's, I think. Hubcap Grill, downtown on Prairie, very close to the hotel, would be a hamburger place - many think it's the best in town while Lankford is getting a lot of mixed reviews (and was featured on DD&D and was mobbed even before that extra publicity), also open only for lunch during the week.

        1 Reply
        1. re: brucesw

          Lankford is open on Saturday (agree that it has been getting mixed reviews)

        2. Not to far off the light rail line you can find Reef,, a gulfcoast seafood restaurant.. Also a nearby walk toward Minute Maid Stadium for terrific tex/mex is Irma's Southwest Grill on Texas St. (not open for dinner unless their is a baseball game that night,, and not the Mom's restaurant). On the line you'll find Korma Sutra Indian restaurant and Bombay Pizza (terrific Koti rolls). Julia's is also on the line and wonderful.. enjoy!

          Irma's Southwest Grill
          1314 Texas St Ste 100, Houston, TX 77002

          1. forgot to mention,, the Sunday Brunch at the 4Seasons is supposed to be killer!!!!!!!!!!!!

            2 Replies
            1. re: bornie

              Yup Quattro at the Four Seasons is well reviewed consistently, but pricey. Have a cocktail in the bar though, it's a great bar.

              1. re: Lambowner

                The Four Season's has a wine bar...Vinoteca Quattro...that offers half price glasses of wine and speicals on appetizers. I don't remember the appetizers but I do remember having a glass of sangiovese for $4/glass that I really enjoyed. Actually it's the place we go before hockey games at the Toyota Center.