The Best Restaurants In EaDo guide image

HOUGuide

The Best Restaurants In EaDo

Where to eat and drink in Houston’s EaDo neighborhood.

EaDo didn’t really exist as a geographical area of Houston until a decade ago. In fact, some people don’t even believe it exists at all. But once a few bars and townhomes popped up around the former Chinatown neighborhood, the real estate wildcatters pounced. Long-time East End residents hate the term EaDo, but it’s become so ubiquitous that they’re forced to use it—just ignore the disdain in their voice.

Most of EaDo’s restaurants, bars, and breweries line about eight blocks along St. Emanuel Street where you can dodge the hordes of roving Astros fans and out-of-town convention attendees. From Cambodian-inspired bakeries to grab-and-go tacos spots, here are the 11 best places in EaDo.

THE SPOTS

photo credit: Liz Silva

Huynh imageoverride image
8.1

Huynh Restaurant

$$$$

912 St Emanuel St, Houston
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Huynh is a beloved neighborhood Vietnamese restaurant in EaDo close to the convention center and downtown where every diner is treated like a regular. It’s a reliable place, even when it’s busy. Service is attentive, and the food is solid, ranging from a charred, smoky shaken beef and a spicy, aromatic bún bò huế. The owners are always there, waiting tables and greeting guests—you’ll know who they are from all of the family photos hanging in the waiting area. Huynh is also BYOB, so you can bring a few bottles for a date or large get-together. And make sure to grab a Dum-Dum on your way out.

From the team behind Nancy’s Hustle, Tiny Champions is a small-but-mighty EaDo neighborhood spot with a short but imaginative menu of pizza, pasta, and some serious sorbet. At this laidback space, you'll find mismatched chandeliers, cartoon portraits of well-dressed alligators, and a sizable patio in the back with covered picnic tables. The thinly shaved cremini mushroom salad is topped with parmesan the consistency of a cloud, and the kale greens on your ricotta pizza are crispy, charred, and the main reason the pizza disappears as quickly as it hits your table. This place can fill up pretty quickly, so either make a reservation, or cozy up with some hearty tomato risotto at the bar.

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If you distilled Houston down into a bakery, it would probably look a little like Koffeteria. From the flaky chocolate croissants stacked next to aromatic curry meatball kolaches, to the sweet and savory ube and Thai tea drinks, Koffeteria is a comforting bakery with inventive dishes that you just can’t get anywhere else. The food is whimsical and a little unpredictable, but somehow it always works. Make sure to get here early on the weekends, because they often sell out.

This tiny, bright pink spot close to the 59 underpass is a breakfast taco hotspot for anyone working in or around the downtown area. Every morning, there’s always a bustling lineup at the steam counter for tortillas full of eggs, bacon, and papas mexicanas for breakfast, or carne guisada and al pastor for lunch. Everything is wrapped up in Brothers homemade tortillas, which you can top with a tart salsa verde or fiery salsa roja. Squeeze into the tiny dining room, or get everything to go.

Inside and outside of the burger and craft beer bar Rodeo Goat, you’ll see swarms of people standing and sitting glued to the TVs, watching Astros or Rockets games. The laid-back patio feels like summer camp for adults, complete with picnic tables and games like ring toss. And the burgers are as oversized as the patio, including the extra-spicy Hot Bastard that’ll melt your mouth off, or the ones inspired by Houston icons, like the (281) 330-8004, named for Houston rapper Mike Jones, with garlic-roasted cremini mushrooms, gruyere, and a soy caramel glaze.

Chapman & Kirby is the type of spot where you go to see and be seen. During the week, if this spot isn’t rented out for a private event, you’ll see folks at the bar splitting tangy pork spare ribs, nodding along to whatever the DJ is spinning as they bounce from the sleek interior to the massive outdoor patio, colorful cocktails in tow. You should also come here in your best fit on “Sunday Funday,” for a brunch that runs from 12-7pm, with fluffy french toast that melts into your mouth, crispy fried catfish served on top of cheese grits, and chilled carafes of peach mimosas. Plan ahead though: there’s rarely an open spot for walk-ins on Sundays so you’ll need a reservation unless you come early for a seat at the bar.

Nancy's Hustle is like the friend that you leave alone at the party who makes five friends by the time you come back to check on them. It's laidback, lovable, and definitely sexy. You come to this charming EaDo joint for creative, bistro-y dishes like lamb tartare on a crisp sesame flatbread or a juicy cheeseburger served on an english muffin. As cool and lighthearted as Nancy’s Hustle is, a free table for walk-ins is probably somewhere next to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, so make a reservation if you don’t want to try your luck at the bar.

Pitch 25 is not only a massive industrial warehouse across from PNC Stadium, it’s also a sports bar. There’s nearly 100 beers on tap, and the food, like brisket-smothered fries and a crispy chicken sandwich, isn’t bad. But you’re likely here to pre-game, post-game, or maybe even play soccer in an inflatable suit. Squeeze past the throngs of Astros or Dynamos jerseys, and head straight to the massive tap wall before hitting up the arcade games.

Mostly a sprawling patio that happens to have an adjoining counter-service breakfast and lunch restaurant, Leeland House is built to withstand an unrelenting crush of boozy brunch-goers. Order skillets of smoky potato hash with brisket or eggs benedict with smashed avocado and soft poached eggs. The food gets to your table suspiciously fast, and every plate appears to have some kind of bacon—even the creme brulee french toast. You can easily show up here with as many or as few people as you like.

A chill counter-service operation, The Cajun Stop serves Creole staples like crispy deep-fried catfish and shrimp, as well as bags of steamed snow crab legs sold by the pound. None of the food here skimps on the heat, which may be why there’s a fridge full of novelty sodas for you to grab as needed. Largely a takeout operation, if you dine-in you can expect staff to kindly yell from behind the counter to see if you’re enjoying your food and occasionally come from behind the counter to clear your table.

The modern Texan and Southern restaurant Indianola is chic and upscale, but not too fancy, sort of like being inside an issue of Southern Living magazine. The seasonal menu changes pretty often, but expect riffs on Southern classics like a blue corn cornbread with brown butter cream cheese and local fruit, a wood-grilled hanger steak with a sweet corn pudding, and Texas quail stuffed with Vietnamese country pork sausage. Even though service can be inconsistent at times, Indianola is perfect for a date night, especially the plush brown booths in the airy dining room. Afterwards, head to their cocktail bar next door, Miss Carousel, for a nightcap.

No matter the hour, the cafe/bar Brass Tacks is packed with laptop after laptop, after yet another laptop. Seemingly designed for students and remote employees working from morning to night, you can go from a coffee and a pastry in the morning, to a midday taco break, and then finish with a gin cocktail without ever leaving. There’s something to be said about late-stage capitalism burnout, but who cares. You have work to do, and there are plenty of outlets and coffee. It can get loud with baristas barking out orders, so bring your noise-canceling headphones.

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