HOUGuide

The Best Restaurants & Bars In Montrose

The best restaurants, bars, and cafes in Montrose.
The Best Restaurants & Bars In Montrose image

photo credit: Quit Nguyen

As a neighborhood, Montrose packs an impressive number of restaurants and bars into its four square miles. There are low-key Mexican spots, breakfast cafes, places tourists (yes, Houston has those) seem to like a lot, fancy date night restaurants, and grab-and-go operations. So while Montrose seems determined to retain its patented Houston grime, we appreciate that the neighborhood is both full of great spots to celebrate a special occasion and places to grab a cheap falafel the morning after a late night out.

THE SPOTS

photo credit: Richard Casteel

Japanese

Montrose

$$$$Perfect For:Special OccasionsDate NightImpressing Out of Towners
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The sushi at Katami is so great, we would come here even if it was served in a crumbling cardboard box. Thankfully, this minimalistic spot seems beamed in from an aspirational magazine spread where people who own Eames loungers snack on sashimi at a mountain health spa. Order a chef’s selection of sashimi and what arrives is a mountain of ice and glass dripping in flowers nestled around glistening cuts of silver-skinned gizzard shad, intense but sweet barracuda, and perfectly pink hamachi. Everything here is like a chic mullet: trim and precise up front, but packing a flavor supernova in the back.

photo credit: Richard Casteel

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Aladdin stands like a pita bread beacon at Montrose and Westheimer, one of the neighborhood’s busiest intersections. The Mediterranean counter-service spot pumps out fresh pita all day, along with combo plates with lamb shawarma, kebabs, falafel and your choice of a long list of delicious sides. Here the only thing you’ll need to worry about is whether you want caramelized onion or traditional hummus—and, look, you want onion. Dine in for a quick lunch, or bring your takeout to Menil Park where you will be the envy of every overfed squirrel.


photo credit: Quit Nguyen

Get a dose of nostalgia with arcade games, tavern-style pizza, and 90s pizza parlor aesthetics at Nonno’s Family Pizza Tavern. Run by the folks behind Nobie’s, Nonno’s makes some of the best pizza in town with toppings ranging from zippy giardiniera,  piped dollops of ricotta, and, yes, pineapple. Plus the cheese pull from the chunky, mozzarella sticks feels deeply satisfying. Throw on a couple of shots of Malört, a few rounds of Crusin’ The World, and a thick slice of cheesecake for a casual weeknight out with friends.


Smack in the middle of Montrose’s gayborhood—a dense cluster of excellent gay bars—sits the tiny breakfast-only cafe Baby Barnaby’s. A neighborhood staple, come here enough times and the long-term servers will likely remember your name, your order, your dog’s birthday, and if you got that job you applied for. Seriously, the servers are really good. Almost as good as the crispy home fries and the perfectly golden waffles. Ever popular, get to Baby Barnaby’s early on the weekends, or for a mid-morning weekday breakfast.


Housed in a Spanish-style bungalow, the luxurious Spanish restaurant BCN Taste & Tradition shares a parking lot with an auto detailer, a gas station, and the club-combo-Greek-cafe Echoes. Driving past, you could mistake it for any other residence were it not for the line of luxury cars backed up at the valet. The place serves Catalan-specific cuisine, like plates of aged jamón Iberico, grilled branzino or octopus, gazpacho, and dessert pastries stuffed with crema catalana. The golden, modern dining room also makes a great backdrop for an anniversary celebration, or dinner with friends who are really into museum-quality art.


If you want to eat excellent charcuterie and drink fabulous wine, but also stay grounded in where you are, hit up Montrose Cheese & Wine. Not only does it have a tucked away patio, but it also has a front-row view to the main drag of Westheimer’s traffic pile ups and wandering characters. Smear some spicy nduja salami on toast, sip on a glass of rosé, and listen to some twee French pop pumping through the speakers all while gazing at the laundromat across the street. Snacks and a show.


Located on Montrose’s other eponymous corner, Dunlavy and Westheimer, lies what could be considered a general purpose common area that’s coincidentally also an all-day cafe. Plus, Brasil’s cloistered patios are great for escaping whatever honking cars of roving packs of shopping-bag-laden teenagers you require respite from. Or maybe you just want a solid and quiet spot for a quick lunch, or to linger on a laptop with a glass of wine, all of which you can do at Brasil.


Known for packed brunches, complete with mariachi bands on the patio, Cuchara brings the flavor and color of Mexico City to its little corner of Montrose. There are also about as many dishes to choose from here as there are murals on the wall. Split some cheesy quesadillas with earthy huitlacoche, a terracotta cauldron of turkey mole, or the decadent cinco leches dessert with a small group of hungry friends or for a low-key weekday date night.


The fairly standard casual Italian counter-service cafe Paulie’s serves a menu of fresh pasta, smashed paninis, massive salads, plates of piccata, and personal-sized pizzas. Everything tastes pretty good, especially seeing how generous the portions are compared to the price. We appreciate that you can grab lunch solo, split a few glasses of wine with your fellow fettuccine freaks for a casual dinner, or whatever combination of food and meal in-between. Make sure to grab a cookie to-go.


Despite hiding in the back of a bespoke clothing store, Neo serves one of the best sushi omakases in town, with 16-plus courses of beautiful, mouth-watering nigiri.. The serious yet serene experience emphasizes Neo’s dedication to creating perfect bites of sushi—slightly warm, soft rice and on-the-edge-of-cold sliced fish—and you also get a lot of free saké. While wrangling for an ultra-coveted reservation can feel like trying to hogtie a loose calf, the eventual meal makes any pre-planning more than worth it.


La Guadalupana—often shortened to “Guad”—is one of Montrose’s most beloved institutions. The Mexican breakfast and lunch cafe opened in 1995 and seems to be mythically passed down as the mid-morning meal cafe of choice for any 20-something in close proximity. That’s either due to the aromatic cinnamon coffee or the Guad’s fabled hangover cure, the vampiro, a carrot-orange-beet juice comb best consumed in one big glug. Add on a plate of over easy huevos rancheros or enchiladas verdes blanketed in lettuce, and you will be pleasantly satisfied for a few hours, or at least until Happy Hour starts at a bar nearby. Or grab some breakfast tacos and fresh pan dulce to-go for an early morning commute.


The Pit Room bucks the trend other barbecue joints appear to revel in—it’s open most of the day and never seems to run out of ‘cue. And while the dining room is fairly small, The Pit Room offers a massive, sprawling patio deck with an outdoor bar, so you can enjoy a giant plate of smoked meats as the pitmaster intended: Outside, with a beer in hand, amidst the aroma of slowly-smoking beef, pork, and turkey. While Pit Room offers the standard combination meat, it also serves smoky queso, pulled pork tacos, frito pie, and, importantly, breakfast tacos stuffed with brisket and eggs in the morning. 


A certified Montrose classic, Hugo’s serves upscale Mexican food that doesn’t feel stuffy. Most folks dining in the historic building are celebrating a birthday, anniversary, or the sort of occasion you brag about on social media. Staff go out of their way to make every minute here feel special, like bringing a rack out for your handbag and shaking margaritas tableside like it’s their life’s greatest honor. And the pampering continues once the expertly crafted dishes like slow-roasted lamb barbacoa and the pato en mole poblano hit your table. If you can’t wait until the next milestone to have a meal at Hugo’s, there’s also a Happy Hour during the week. 


Nobie’s may look like any other tiny house lining the streets of Montrose. But this American restaurant makes good use of its space and fills every square inch with folks looking for a good meal. The menu at Nobie’s changes seasonally, so even if you make a quarterly pit stop here, you can always expect some new additions alongside mainstays like the steak tartare and the dilly bread. Sit at the bar and sling back some oysters, or come with four of your closest friends and split a gigantic chicken dinner.


Maybe you’re looking for a fuel-up after an aerial yoga class, or you just need somewhere to lower your internal body temperature by a few degrees. For that, there’s Vibrant, a sort of healthy restaurant intent on keeping gluten out of meals and any sort of heat off of the premises. Vibrant’s design is minimal, which leaves all of the focus on dishes like sorghum blueberry waffles with a tart elderberry syrup, or a deceptively spicy sweet potato hash. And if you want to bring a pooch with you for lunch, the patio at Vibrant is dog-friendly.


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