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Thursday lunch in Houston

We have a layover at IAH with parents to pick us up and drive us around. Where would you go for a nice lunch on a Thursday? Hugo's is a favorite but will we have time? We have 4-5 hours and I saw the previous post about restaurants in the area, just wonder if we could venture further?

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  1. Time depends on when you expect to exit and return to the airport. Any time close to rush hour - fuhgeddaboutit.

    1. The same area as Hugo's has tons of great restaurants, so you don't necessarily have to venture further for great food. You can get to/from Hugo's from IAH in an hour (or less, depending on traffic). I think you have time. Do you have another kind of food you're interested in? That would help us give you better suggestions.

      1 Reply
      1. re: arashall

        We like all types of food from Vietnamese to Italian to French to American to Mexican and beyond. Any thoughts about d'amico?

      2. If you like Hugo's, chef Hugo Ortega has several other restaurants in Houston. You might consider Backstreet Cafe, although the time in traffic will be longer. His newest offering, Caracol, has been earning rave reviews, but I'd be even more concerned about traffic.


        1. IAH to downtown takes ~1/2 hour when not busy and can take more than 1 hour when busy. If it turns out (due to late arrival) that you are pressed for time, there is always Pappadeaux in terminal E. There are several good Vietnamese places in Houston. For Thai, there is always the "Telephone Thai" (Kanomwon) on Telephone Road. Lunchtimes only, you have Treebeards for Cajun.

          1 Reply
          1. re: kagemusha49

            It can take quite a few minutes just to get out of the airport, it is a big place. I'd do the safe bet and go to Pappadeaux for baked oysters Baton Rouge, reliable frying, and fish in a butter crab sauce.


          2. My "go-to" spot just south of IAH is JImmy G's.
            Much less worry than going to/from downtown.

            2 Replies
            1. re: zippypinhead

              I've posted about Jimmy G's before after meeting my brother there. Nice place and a close cab ride. I would leave a minimum of an hour to downtown, bare minimum.

              1. re: zippypinhead

                Is jimmy g's anything like willie g's used to be in the 80's?

              2. Ya'll must all drive slower than me, or maybe you don't go down 59 to downtown :-) But Pappadeaux and Jimmy G's are reliable, too. If you just want to escape the airport, there's also Pappas Seafood (same chain, a little less Cajun emphasis then Pappadeaux) a few minutes north of the airport on Highway 59.

                1. I like to build in extra time for air travel and would never assume a thirty minute trip downtown with leaving and re-entering the airport, parking downtown, etc. Besides, it leaves time for a few more relaxing cocktails instead of sitting in the back of a smelly cab. Just me.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: James Cristinian

                    Good point, we are thinking jimmy g's is the answer

                    1. re: James Cristinian

                      Well with parents at the ready, the smelly cab is not in play. But to see them you have to leave the secured area and so Jimmy G's is a good option. Depending on the time of day and day of the week, the security line can be lengthy getting back in, also.

                      1. re: Lambowner

                        And, as it certainly appears your parents live here, you should have plenty of other opportunities to explore Houston's less airport-accessible restaurants.

                        So, count me in with those advising you to stick close to the airport this time around.

                        But, you mentioned Vietnamese. There are some really wonderful Viet restaurants here. On your next longer visit with your parents, you should come back here to do a little research into those.

                    2. Oops, missed the parents part, and I thought I gave it a good read. My reading comprehension must be slipping.