Where locals love to take out-of-town visitors to eat in the Houston area


HOUSTON – We asked locals a simple question: Where do you take out-of-town guests to eat when you want to show them around Houston? The restaurant doesn’t have to be the “best” or even your favorite, but rather someplace intimate, exciting, or nostalgic — the kind of place you bookmark in your brain and save for the perfect outing with the perfect person.

Dozens weighed in. Here’s what they recommended.

🥡 Asian

• Baan Thai Cuisine: 5350 Farm to Market 1960 Rd E, Humble, (346) 616-5033, baanthaicuisinehumble.com.

“Fresh food, family owned and it dares some to try something new!” – Kara Manser of Humble, Texas

• Pho Binh: Multiple locations, phobinh.com.

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Thaicoon: 1223 Grand W Blvd Suite B-101, Katy, (281) 206-7680, 1223 Grand W Blvd Suite B-101, Katy, thaicoonpub.com.

“Blossom Pad Thai is one special dishes that I always get when I go there. The pineapple fried rice is served on a half pineapple. It does not just taste good, but it also looks very yummy and Instagram-able.” – Khie Dong of Houston

MORE: The best pho spots in the Houston area, according to KPRC 2 viewers

🐷 Barbecue

• Corkscrew BBQ: 26608 Keith St, Spring, corkscreworders.com.

“It’s one of the best BBQ joints in the state and is repeatedly mentioned in ‘Best Of’ lists. Plus it’s in Old Town Spring, which has really come a long way over the years, and you can make an entire day down there after you finish some brisket and ribs.” – Nathan Albrecht of The Woodlands

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• Gabby’s BBQ: 3101 N Shepherd Dr, Houston, (713) 864-5049, gabbysbbq.com.

“Casual & comfortable Texas atmosphere, good food. Especially great place to take visitors from overseas.” – Ron Williams of Houston

• Killen’s Barbecue: 3613 E Broadway St, Pearland, (281) 485-2272, killensbarbecue.com.

“Long lines are less intimidating when there’s complimentary beer! Also the best Brisket in all of the Houston area. And don’t forget the banana pudding!” – Marcela Perez of Houston

• Pappas Bar-B-Q: Multiple locations, pappasbbq.com/home.

• Pizzitola’s Bar-B-Cue: 1703 Shepherd Dr, Houston, (713) 227-2283, pizzitolasbbq.com.

“Oldest BBQ in Houston. Great history, great food. Iconic Houston.” – Tim Taylor of Houston

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• The Pit Room: 1201 Richmond Ave, Houston, (281) 888-1929, thepitroombbq.com.

“Great BBQ, great sides, great onion/pickle bar and there is a bar next door. Cool part of town as well, and the BBQ smell is incredible.” – Christian Lopez of Katy

MORE: Get your Frito pie fix at one of these longstanding Houston-area eateries

🍝 Italian

• Ciro’s Italian Grill: 9755 Katy Fwy, Houston, (713) 467-9336, ciros.com.

“Consistently top-notch food, friendly and warm staff that treats you like part of the family, and service that goes above and beyond. Let’s not forget about the recent updates to an already outstanding outside area that sits between the restaurant and Hotel Zaza that is perfect for your kids to run around while you sip a glass of vino from their wonderful selection!” – Ana Petrou of Spring Branch, Texas

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• Perbacco: 700 Milam St, Houston, (713) 224-2422, perbaccohouston.com.

“We are always warmly greeted by the Sicilian owner, followed by an authentic, delicious meal that is reasonably priced. Dishes are made from fresh ingredients and if my guest has a particular dietary requirement the owner asks ‘What do you want, I can make whatever you like?’ Downtown location with floor to ceiling windows is lovely.” – Carrie Cash of Houston

• The Original Carrabba’s on Kirby: 3115 Kirby Dr, Houston, (713) 522-3131, carrabbasoriginal.com.

“The Original Carrabba’s is a Houston institution! I love the surprise from out of town guests when they experience the Original as opposed to the chain locations. The food and hospitality at Johnny’s Original can’t be beat!” – Jay Andrew of Houston

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🥙 Mediterranean

• Mary’z Mediterranean Cuisine: Multiple locations, maryzmediterranean.com.

• Niko Niko’s: Multiple locations, nikonikos.com.

“Niko Niko’s because everything on the menu is great and those potatoes are to die for!” – Jerry Rodriguez-Solitario of Houston

• Skipper’s Cafe: 1026 Marina Bay Dr, Kemah, (281) 334-4787, skipperscafe.com.

“The food is amazing. We are regulars. Their gyro omelet with feta is so amazing especially with the homemade salsa. Their grits are from scratch as well as their biscuits. Hands down the best gyro meat I’ve eaten. Pair that with their mimosas, I would be remiss not to take relatives there when they come to town. Family owned and friendly. Wouldn’t think of taking anyone to a chain restaurant over this place.” – Christopher Sluder of Shoreacres, Texas

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MORE: 31 Houston-area eateries that have stood the test of time

🐟 Seafood

• Brennan’s of Houston: 3300 Smith St, Houston, (713) 522-9711, brennanshouston.com.

“The food is ALWAYS delicious and fresh and the service is top tier!” – Curtistine Phillips of Houston

• Gilhooley’s Restaurant and Oyster Bar: 222 9th St, San Leon, (281) 339-3813, gilhooleystx.com.

“Gilhooleys has the best oysters around.” – Dwayne Guarino of Kemah, Texas

• Hans’ Crawfish: 15920 Farm to Market 2920, Tomball, (713) 851-1409, hanscrawfish.com.

“Best crawfish in town and a down-home family atmosphere.” – Ashley Leins of Cypress, Texas

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• Monument Inn Restaurant: 4406 Independence Pkwy, La Porte, (281) 479-1521, monumentinn.com.

“Been eating the best shrimp there for decades.” – Dee Ferris of Montgomery, Texas

• Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen: Multiple locations, pappadeaux.com.

🐔 Southern

• The Breakfast Klub: 3711 Travis St, Houston, (713) 528-8561, thebreakfastklub.com.

“THE best breakfast in Houston!” – Sara Gutierrez of Houston

• Grace’s: 3111 Kirby Drive, Houston, (713) 728-6410, gracesonkirby.com.

• Lost and Found: 160 W Gray St, Houston, (832) 649-3050, lostandfoundmidtown.com.

“The patio is amazing. They have great drinks and wings.” – Ashlynn Coleman-Mass of Houston

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• State Fare: Multiple locations, www.statefaretx.com.

“Their food is good, brunch is better & drinks are awesome.” – Sharon Ruisinger of Houston

MORE: At these iconic Houston diners, breakfast is served with a heaping side of nostalgia

🥩 Steak

• Taste of Texas: 10505 Katy Freeway, Houston, (713) 932-6901, tasteoftexas.com.

“Taste of Texas gives out of town guests bandanas and takes Polaroid pictures.” – Ana Hymel of Cypress, Texas

MORE: Timeless burgers: 10 of Houston’s oldest burger joints you have to try

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🌮 Tex-Mex and Mexican

• Hugo’s: 1600 Westheimer Rd, Houston, (713) 524-7744, hugosrestaurant.net.

“Hugo’s has terrific food and a great atmosphere. It is in a cool neighborhood that defines Houston.” – Deborah Tesar of Houston

• Pappasito’s Cantina: Multiple locations, pappasitos.com.

• The Original Ninfa’s on Navigation: 2704 Navigation Blvd, Houston, (713) 228-1175, ninfas.com.

• Teotihuacán: Multiple locations, teomexicancafe.com.

“Usually when someone is in from out of town they way want Tex Mex, and Teotihuacan checks all the boxes perfectly. The food is excellent, the prices are just right for any budget (take your in laws and get parrilladas and specialty margs, take the touring punk band for burritos and share a pitcher at happy hour – but always get the queso). It’s one of the few restaurants where I don’t order the same thing every time because they don’t specialize in just one thing, they knock all of their dishes out of the park, so no matter who’s visiting, I know they’re gonna love what they order (flautas! nachos! fajitas! al a carte!).” – April Brem of Houston

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MORE: Temples of Tex-Mex: 6 iconic Houston-area restaurants that have withstood the test of time

🍦 Sweets

• Common Bond: Multiple locations, commonbondcafe.com.

• Nu Cafe: 9889 Bellaire Blvd STE 112A, Houston, (713) 771-7771, nuiceusa.com.

“Nu Cafe is just a new style of dessert to try.” – Ana Hymel of Cypress, Texas

MORE: 5 of Houston’s oldest bakeries, dessert destinations


Insiders, we want to hear from you! What restaurants would you add to this list? Where do you take out-of-town guests to eat when you want to show them around Houston? Drop your recommendations and insights in the comment section.

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