Houston, like other large cities, has a diverse set of neighborhoods. Midtown Houston’s position west-southwest of Downtown provides for less congested access to the Central Business Area. I spent two weeks in midtown, separated by an elevated piece of Interstate 45, getting to know a city I’d lived in for two years during my medical residency training 25 years earlier. What a difference a generation can make! It is a good site for seeing the region since it is located between Downtown and the Museum District.
With a land area of about 1.24 square miles, everything is accessible, and the eateries vary from old favorites to newcomers. It doesn’t surprise me that Food & Wine named Houston the newest capital of outstanding cuisine and Tasting Table magazine named it the country’s most intriguing culinary city.
The benefit of living in a smaller area is the opportunity to step out your door and select from a variety of culinary alternatives. Right outside my door, I have crepes, pizza, Chinese, Mexican, street tacos, Japanese, and a short distance away, Thai and amazing soul food.
Visiting other places in Texas? Check out our other tasty guides:
- 9 Must-Try League City Restaurants
- 11 Best Restaurants In Southlake TX
- 8 Must-Try Keller Restaurants
- 10 Best Restaurants in The Woodlands, TX
- 9 Must-Try San Antonio Mexican Restaurants
- 8 Amazing Things To Do In Grapevine TX
- 1 The Top 9 Midtown Houston Texas Restaurants
- 1.1 Breakfast Klub’s
- 1.2 Russos Pizzeria and Italian Restaurant in New York
- 1.3 Waffles, Coco Crepes, and Coffee
- 1.4 A Dim Sum
- 1.5 Thai Nua
- 1.6 Tacos & Tequila on La Calle
- 1.7 Cyclone Anaya Mexican Restaurant
- 1.8 Christians Tailgate Grill
- 1.9 Hobbit Caf
- 1.10 Which of these Midtown Houston eateries do you want to try first? Please share your thoughts in the comments box below!
The Top 9 Midtown Houston Texas Restaurants
Chicken and Waffles, which originated as late-night lunches at Harlem’s Wells Supper Club, is now a favorite southern dish. And nowhere in Houston is it more popular than at The Breakfast Klub in midtown. Available for breakfast and lunch, don’t make the mistake of thinking you’ll avoid the queue at this unassuming facility with no apparent sign from the street if you arrive before 9 a.m. on Sunday.
There are churches nearby, yes, but the parking lots are crowded, front and back; front for carry-out and pre-orders, and back for the fortunate few who steal a place to wait in line to sit in this area surrounded by wonderful art, joyous noise, and the delightful scent of fried chicken.
The chicken is scented with the spices used to perfect their three drumsticks and three wings, which are served with a huge Belgian waffle gently sprinkled with powdered sugar and topped with a strawberry. When my entrée arrived, it was accompanied with spicy sauce, syrup, butter, and even ketchup, and the extremely nice waitress asked me to double-check my order before driving away.
There are many additional meals to try that have received accolades from Zagats, Esquire, Texas Monthly, and Good Morning America, as well as Reviews.org. Wings & grits, pankakes or waffle, pork chops & eggs, klubs benedict, French toast, green eggs & ham, biskits & gravy, or katfish & grits are among the most popular items on the menu. An early bird special of bakon, handmade pan sausage, ham, or turkey and two eggs served with potatoes or grits and choice of bread or biskit is offered Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m.
I’m not a coffee drinker, but I overheard many others say, Darn great coffee. And the sign outside the building suggests what to get after your chicken and waffles: Wakanda, one grit at a time.
If you inquire about the knitty gritty, you could just receive their view on fish, grits, and politiks.
Everyone here are cheery and kind, and they clearly like offering people delicious meals. They’ve nailed the execution of this soul cuisine staple.
Russos Pizzeria and Italian Restaurant in New York
+17135331140306 Gray at Bagby
Whether you need a location with cable to watch the World Series, a drink, or a delicious dinner, Russos is the place to go. After a hard day at work and craving a slice, it was a simple decision for me. Their thin crust pizza is offered by the extremely big slice for $5 with an extra price for toppings.
If you want to eat, the soup, salad, appetizer, and Italian cuisine options will delight most people. And pizza always seems to go down well with the kids.
They have eight salads with EVOO on the menu. They provide tomato basil soup by the cup or bowl, vegan minestrone, and tortellini brodo, all prepared fresh to order from their Italian recipes.
Cauliflower Fritti with house-made marinara sauce, East Coast Calamari, Mozzarella Fritti, Jumbo Liberty Wings, Insalata Caprese, Russos homemade meatballs (beef and veal in a Chianti-braised beef sauce), truffle garlic knots (yum! ), Italian garlic bread, and Pomodoro Bruschetta are among the appetizers available. A couple of these might serve many people as a dinner. I believe her favorite dishes are the cauliflower fritti, the East Coast Calamari, and the Pomodoro Bruschetta.
Apart from pizza by the slice, you can also have a 12-, 16- (circular or square), or 28-inch pizza. Its 28-inch pan seems to be large enough to serve a large crowd. It is said to serve eight to 10 people. To me, it seems to be larger. I counted 21 different sorts of pizza. in addition to the construct your own kind, where you get to choose your own toppings.
They offer three shrimp meals that my favorite daughter would appreciate, plus a couple of chicken dishes that I would enjoy. I appreciate that their lasagna is made with meat. Their spaghetti with meatballs recipe includes an Italian sausage alternative.
They place a high value on product freshness. It’s evident in the flavor.
There are also sandwiches and calzones available, as well as a dessert case. The red velvet and carrot cakes are favorites of the server, who is working his way up to the triple chocolate fudge cake. Customers also like the cheesecakes, New York or Turtle. The Russos tiramisu and Italian Cream Cake (dusted with coconut) are excellent desserts.
Waffles, Coco Crepes, and Coffee
Gray Street (+17135210700218 )
This restaurant, which has both indoor and outdoor dining, rapidly became a popular favorite. Our first two weekend breakfasts were served here, and there are still plenty of options.
The staff is amusing. When my favorite daughter asked for a suggestion between two options, the young guy glanced at her and responded, “I don’t do veggies,” with a totally straight face. It restricted his power to assist her decision but established the tone for the trip.
Although crepes are their claim to fame, the majority of the individuals surrounding us, all of whom seemed to be locals, seemed to prefer the espresso-infused beverages. I asked the same young guy to assist me select between a sweet crepe, an apple pie, and two scoops of gelato, and he suggested the apple pie. A scoop of vanilla gelato is included. These delicious crepes are served with whipped cream and powdered sugar and do have gluten-free options.
The first day, favorite daughter ordered the chicken and avocado crepe from the savory menu. We discovered that all of the savory crepes are cooked with a basil pesto aioli and hence have a similar taste profile.
The tables were busy the first day, so we brought the crepes back to the apartment, which was just a few streets away. Lesson learned: the crepes were gummy when we returned. My daughter says it’s because the lid was put on them straight soon, even though it was just a short trip.
I’m used to a lighter, less chewy crepe, so when another travel writer joined us the following day, we went back and claimed an outdoor table. All the more reason to enjoy people and dog watching as we waited for our meal.
I went with the cinnamon roll crepe this time. The Mediterranean Crepe with oven-roasted tomatoes, feta cheese, kalamata olives, and baby greens with a Harissa aioli was chosen by a favorite daughter. Our companion ordered the chicken and spinach crepe with sautéed mushrooms and mozzarella cheese, accompanied by a mushroom pesto sauce.
Their two meals were so identical that we had to rely on the chef to tell them apart. We delved in, and the crepes were almost the same as when we walked with them. The cinnamon roll was in the traditional cinnamon roll form and taste.
We mostly enjoyed one other’s company as we walked down the shaded brick-paved route, away from the chilly weather.
Waffles, paninis, soups, and salads are also available. I’m still attempting to return for the gelato.
Smoothies, coffee specialty, coffee espresso, traditional favorites like lemonade, hot chocolate, sweet Moroccan mint tea, loose leaf tea, or fresh brewed iced tea are available for beverages and sweets. The cococcinos are iced coffee beverages made with house gelato. Caramel, vanilla, and dark or white mocha are all options.
A Dim Sum
Gray Street +13462939188510 Gray Street
My daughter and a travel writer buddy have a passion for dim sum, and I joined them. And then I discovered something I’d appreciate as well.
Despite the fact that it is so busy, the staff maintains a cheerful, helpful demeanor. With the existing constraints, they can’t wheel a cart with dim sum, but they have a full menu on paper so customers may circle what they want to eat.
Jun Hun, the owner, designed this Chinese cafe with very scrumptious little servings of several fantastic-looking items. I’ve never seen anything like the shrimp balls before. Three shrimp, deep-fried in a batter designed to resemble flames flowing from a tiny plate.
BBQ pork buns, morel shrimp dumplings, and pork & shrimp buns resemble the dim sum I’d become used to in both Houston and Seattle. It was simple to envision what it would be like to have them on the tray as it passed past.
The crabmeat dumplings with pea shoots were a big success. I believe they were the first to go.
The Stew Long Bao reminds me of the excellent Disney short film. This bao wasn’t the finest my group had ever had, but it was quite enough. The shrimp balls, in my opinion, stole the show.
For myself, I ordered a cashew chicken meal with steamed rice from the menu, which sustained me not only that day, but also for the next two days.
As predicted, there were lots of leftovers, enough for six dinners, which kept us going for the rest of the week.
2020 Louisiana Street +18325825489
Nua Thai was an excellent choice for a late lunch. Since it was so packed, I intended to take my dinner home, but when I learned there was a 25-minute wait for take-away orders, I opted to eat my starter there and take the remainder home.
The hostess informed me that the crispy spring rolls take approximately four minutes to cook and the spicy edamame takes about seven minutes, so I ordered the crispy spring rolls to go (I was hungry after walking all around downtown that morning!) and the edamame and cashew chicken to go.
The restaurant is spacious and airy, with just indoor seating. It’s not far from the elevated stretch of 45, so keeping everyone safe inside makes sense.
Fresh summer rolls, chicken satay, tulip dumplings, crab cream cheese roll, Thai chicken wings, Brussels sprout, coconut shrimp, sriracha wings, and lab kai salad are among the other appetizers available. There are so many more options!
Thai papaya salad, spicy grilled beef salad, Tom Yum, Tom Kha, shrimp soup, and wonton soup are among the soups and salads available. I had never enjoyed papaya until my time in Belize, and that was a red papaya (theirs is green), but it’s worth a try the next time I visit.
Spicy basil (pad kra pow), vegetable joy, broccoli lover, healthy ginger, Ka Pow Kai, eggplant basil, a peanut special, teriyaki chicken, orange chicken, and garlic pepper are among the other meals. They provide jasmine or brown rice with chicken, tofu, beef, or shrimp as a protein option.
They provide seven different varieties of curry, including pad thai, drunken noodle, pad woon sen, Tom Yum noodle soup, and pad see ew. Six fried rice options complete out the menu.
Tacos & Tequila on La Calle
+18326358226401 Gray St.
If you prefer street tacos, this is the place to go! It’s right near to the Midtown sign and has lots of green area for extra seats.
Walk around the right side of the building (facing Gray) and choose the automated menu. Starters, Tacos, Tacompartir Packs (Party Packs of 20 or 50 tacos), Beverages, and Desserts are available.
Since they do not take cash, have your credit card ready to be inserted as you place your purchase.
Street Elote (corn on the cob with cotija cheese and mayocrema), consome de birria, Esquite (corn off the cob), and Cevichito are among the appetizers (shrimp and cucumber).
Street tacos with a side of Birria consome, gringos with chorizo beans, lettuce, pico, mayocrema, and yellow cheese, and Quesa-Birria with a side of consome are among their taco choices. Beef, pig, and goat are among the meat alternatives. On my visit, there was no chicken.
Bottles of Aguas Frescas, Jarritos, Water, Chescos, or glasses of Virgin Michelada are among the beverages available.
They ran out of fountain beverages (Coca-Cola) when I was there since they were so crowded.
Their current dessert option is a cream cheese flan to round off your meal.
Cyclone Anaya Mexican Restaurant
Gray Street (+17135206969309).
Pappasitos, my all-time favorite Mexican restaurant, is in Houston, but none are in midtown. Our next-door neighbor, Cyclone Anaya, serves a tasty flauta meal with two bean variants, rice, guacamole, sour cream, and wonderful chips and salsa.
As I waited for my supper, I was able to learn more about Cyclone Anaya, the man and the tale. According to legend, the Cyclone made its way from Mexico to South America. During a career spanning two decades, he was one of the biggest legends in the world of professional wrestling. His personality was famous, nearly as much as his athletic agility.
He was not only the World Heavyweight Champion, but he was also named one of the Ten Best Dressed Men in America and appeared in The Saturday Evening Post.
Carol Berzeny, his wife of fifty years, was the reigning Miss Houston when they met. Their heritage was carried on by four sons and a daughter, as well as eleven grandchildren. Rico, the youngest son, is the current owner and operator.
The respect, character, and high standards required for a successful sports career may be transferred to the restaurant industry. And you can see real evidence of their passion at this great Mexican Restaurant on Gray Street.
Christians Tailgate Grill
2000 Bagby Street #105 +17135270261106
If you want the finest burger in Midtown, go to Christians Tailgate Bar & Grill.
With television screens for all the sports you may want to watch, you’ll have enough to keep you interested as you wait for your food, inside or out.
It is the greatest and most conveniently accessible burger joint in the region. The service is kind and attentive, and the menu is readily accessible through QR code. Just look under grub.
A well-balanced tray of appetizers, including mozzarella sticks, fried pickles, and two egg rolls, may be shared with the party. Queso may be served with chips and salsa. My personal favorite is the Gigantic Pretzel with yellow mustard and queso. You have the option of fajitas or spinach and mushroom quesadillas. For a truly cholesterol-charged meal, request the heart attack fries, french fries loaded with jalapeos, bacon, pulled pork, melted cheese, and pico de gallo. If you prefer breaded green beans, they are served with ranch dressing. The menu also includes Parmesan truffle fries and chicken nuggets.
3 pound of beef served with lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions, mayo, and mustard on a freshly toasted bread. Burgers come with fries, with the option of parmesan truffle fries or a split order of both. There are seven different burgers to select from, including a vegetarian bean burger. As a purist, I like the standard burger, 1
Ten wraps and sandwiches, including a BLT (served on white), and four salads round out the menu, which also includes surf and turf tacos. I’ve never heard them characterized in that manner before, but I think it’s a terrific concept.
Two sides are included with baskets, sliders, hot wings, and entrees of chicken fried steak, chicken fried chicken, and grilled chicken breast.
Their sweets are centered on their signature fried Oreos, which are served in batches of three or six (believe me when I say that one person can easily consume three) and ice cream.
When we return, there will be so much more to select from. The World Series was made even more interesting by the lively and celebratory atmosphere.
Since our visit in New Zealand, I’ve loved following the odd story of The Hobbit enthusiasts. This is three miles distant, but it is well worth the drive from midtown. The Hobbit Cafs history, according to the menu, started in January 1972 on Shepherd Drive, serving Houstonians and tourists from across the world until 2000, when we relocated to Richmond Avenue and became the Hobbit Caf.
We were an early pioneer in Houston, inspired by the natural foods movement out of Austin, Texas. At first, prominent singers and artists such as Mama Cass, Neil Young, Clint Eastwood, and Peter Max paid visits. The Hobbit Hole featured an upstairs health food shop with an in-house bakery and a wholesale health food distribution operation that reached six states. Our health food shop in Austin was handled by two of the three Whole Foods founders, one of whom named the restaurant. We’ve welcomed many great guests throughout the years, and we’re thrilled to have you!
The meal is offered early and often, in line with the Hobbit plot. They notably note Second Breakfast, which is provided from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. First breakfast, second breakfast, lunch, tea, and three dinners?
And the meal quantities are enormous. The Friendship Plate, which includes roasted garlic hummus, tabouli, kalamata olives, feta, roasted red peppers, tomato, and cucumber over spring mix and pita with tzatziki, may serve four people. The whole supper. And it is only an appetizer!
From dragon wings and goblin pickles to orc poppers and Treebeards guacamole salad, the products properly depict the plot. Mordor has a hummus plate, and the Lonely Mountain black bean nachos are a good option.
Kickin Kombucha, Ents Lemonade (served in a sixteen-ounce mason jar), and Tom Bombadil are among the beverages available. Their lemonade is wonderful, with the perfect balance of sweet and tangy.
Tropical Pippen to Arwin (banana and coconut), Tauriel (kiwi and strawberry), Legolas (avocado, spinach, and mango), Gimli (peanut butter, banana, carob, and cinnamon, as Elvis was a Hobbit), or Baggins Banana are among the smoothies available.
They have Hobbit Soup and Morgoths Gazpacho under soups, right?
Tolkien bowls are available with a choice of cold and hot meats and veggies. If you don’t want a bowl, they can wrap it in a spinach wheat tortilla for you.
My gaze was drawn to two complete columns of burgers and sandwiches. The Gandalf (burger with avocado, mushrooms, and melted jack cheese), Smaug’s joy (smoked turkey breast), and the award-winning Dwalin are all available (curried chicken salad with red grapes). The Fires of Mt. Doom Burger sounded delicious, with beef, chorizo, Azons hatch Queso, guacamole, pico of gallo, sautéed jalapeos, sliced serranos, and cilantro. Yet one of the other meals piqued my interest.
Outside the Shire, Gollum’s fish tacos satisfied my hunger. On corn tortillas, blackened filets, shredded red cabbage, and house-made chipotle Caesar dressing are accompanied with mango, pico de gallo, black beans, brown rice, and house-made red salsa. They provide two or three (Hobbit servings) and demand an extra fee for mahi-mahi. That was well worth it.
Elrond’s Shrimp Enchiladas would have been her favorite dish. Lady Galadriel’s Magic Enchiladas, sautéed spinach, mushrooms, and onions in corn tortillas topped with house-made mole sauce and melted jack cheese, are another option.
And whether you go for a sweet or a take-away, you won’t want to miss the Hobbit Sweets. Bag End Key Lime Pie, Old Man Willows Mousse Cake (delicious! ), Carrot Cake of Angmar, Brandywine Bourbon Pecan Pie, Oin and Gloins Cheesecake, Shelobs Salted Caramel Cheesecake, or Viking Blood Mead are some examples.
Speaking of mead, they have SIX pages of alcoholic drinks, and a sign at the entryway depicts Gandalf. You will not pass unless you drink one of our new meads today, he adds. If you drink, I strongly encourage you accept his counsel.
The Pharm Restaurant and Steakhouse in Buffalo, Texas is an added bonus.
Whether you reside in Houston or Dallas, chances are you have pals in the other city. That is what happened to us. Buffalo is a fantastic mid-sized city.
My travel writer buddy and I contacted another travel writer friend we met on a Peru photographic excursion and later at a travel writers conference in Austin, Texas. Her family has resided in the Centerville, Texas region for many decades. She decided where we could meet since she was so familiar with the region.
The Pharm is not easy to locate; I passed it twice before discovering it, but it is well worth the effort. You should ask for Michelle in Buffalo, which is just north of Centerville. She’s fantastic.
Heading east from I-45, it may be easier to see if you keep an eye out for the Shell gas station on the left. The Drugstore is located before the gas station, and you will need to drive slowly to enter the parking lot securely.
As you go in, you’ll be under multiple elk or deer mounted above the entrance, all belonging to the owner or family members of the owner. The traditional way to describe it was redneck utopia, but with the rural decor and hunting trophies, it seems like a very common Western vibe these days. The kitchen is supported by wood log pillars, and a blackboard lists the day’s desserts and specials.
Neon signs for Bud Lite, Corona, and Budweiser adorn the walls, while a giant Coca-Cola sign advertises the drink of choice. The drink of the day at our table, though, is unsweetened tea served in the biggest cups I’ve ever seen, well over a liter apiece. Everything in Texas is larger. And I’d want one of these glasses for my home or for traveling.
One word of caution, though: there is only one cubicle in each of the women’s and men’s restrooms, so keep that in mind while you finish your second or third glass.
The menu is a single, double-sided sheet in Texan style.
Crawfish Queso, Fried Green Tomatoes, Calf Fries, Texan Toothpicks (fried jalapeño slivers), Mozzarella Cheese Sticks, Fried Green Beans, Fried Pickles (favorite daughter likes these), and Chips and Homemade Salsa are among the appetizers.
3 were required to be taken to go), grilled chicken breast, or cheese. Quesadillas contain grilled ribeye (one of our larger options, 2 per quesadilla).
Salads include a taco salad or house salad with nine dressing options, as well as the Pharm Salad, which has your choice of meat on a bed of mixed greens, tomatoes, red onions, cucumbers, shredded cheddar cheese, and croutons with your choice of eight protein options.
The hamburger, cheeseburger, patty melt, club sandwich, BLT, chicken sliders, grilled chicken sandwich, CFS sandwich (chicken fried steak), or ribeye steak sandwich are all sandwiches.
After consulting with Michelle, I decided on the BLT. I’d never seen a bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich with mayonnaise on blueberry bread before. Michelle told me that it was a delicious mix, and she suggested the sweet potato fries to balance the taste profile. The combination of sweet and salty was fantastic.
Plates include three varieties of fish, chicken fried steak, chicken strips, and smoked sausage, as well as two sides or a house salad.
If I return after 5 p.m., I’ll have their eight-ounce hand-cut, seasoned filet cooked over mesquite wood with loaded mashed potatoes and a house salad.
Desserts included a delicious pecan pie served with vanilla ice cream, fruit tarts, and a variety of cheesecakes. I was quite tempted by the berry tart, but I opted against it this time. Our Fort Worth acquaintance, on the other hand, got the pecan pie to take home to her husband, and Michelle, with a smile in her eye, provided a little sample of ice cream and three spoons in case we wished to try it for him.
We had more to speak about after the great dessert, so they allowed us leave one vehicle in the parking lot while we went to Crockett, a charming little town with a Courthouse in the midst of the square. Davey Crockett stopped here one night on his route to the Alamo. According to legend, if he had lived, he would have returned to his homestead there.
Such a thrilling return to Houston after a 25-year absence. Houston seems foreign but somehow familiar. I never spent much time in downtown or midtown Manhattan. My life was centered around the medical center, so it’s good to return to find how many other things there are to adore.