8 Great Restaurants In Rice Village image


8 Great Restaurants In Rice Village

All the best places to eat after you shop ‘til you drop.

Rice Village might be a giant mall where Rice University students can buy designer sheets for their dorm room, get pampered at a spa, or aimlessly wander before a big game. And while all of that is true, Rice Village also has some great restaurants. So if you want to speed through a 30-minute omakase, grab a leisurely French bistro lunch with a bottle of wine, or eat kebabs and hummus in between shopping for couches or hitting up a fancy calligraphy store, use this guide.


photo credit: Jenn Duncan



Rice Village

$$$$Perfect For:Eating At The BarCasual Weeknight DinnerDrinking Good Cocktails
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While it might not have a velvet conversation pit in the center of the room, Eau Tour still has all the flair of a mod 1970s living room. From the people behind Local Foods, the French restaurant Eau Tour serves dishes like steak frites with an oyster au poivre and mushroom and raclette dumplings. A versatile spot, pop in to split oysters and make googly eyes with your boo, or bring a gang of friends, split a bottle of wine, and try some of the hors d’oeuvres. And while we love dinner at Eau Tour, a Happy Hour spent here with a $7 dill martini, double cheeseburger, and duck confit french fries feels just as satisfying.

The casual Turkish restaurant Istanbul Grill & Deli has been grilling up kebabs and cheesy pides since the late ‘90s. Shrouded in a giant plastic canopy tent behind giant potted plants, it’s easy to miss, but look for the red awning and the faint scent of warm brick-oven-baked bread. Once inside the plastic tent flaps, you’ll find a menu full of pickles, dips, spiced vegetable spreads, baked bread with tangy cheese, and wonderfully tender döner and kebabs. Split a slew of mixed plates between friends after a Rice game or before a day of shopping.

photo credit: Kirsten Gilliam



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The Italian restaurant Coppa Osteria sits in the courtyard of a luxury apartment complex, and the swanky energy follows you through the front doors. With white tablecloths and candlesticks abound, dining at Coppa Osteria feels sweet and a little sexy. Come in your best date night fit to tackle fried gulf shrimp and calamari, tender bolognese, and a chicken parmesan all but drowned in marinara sauce. Between the pastas and dishes that are straight up focaccia bread with an assortment of butter, the carb wall can hit hard and fast at Coppa Osteria. But try your best to leave some room for a few forkfuls of tiramisu.

From the same team behind Eau Tour, the healthy-ish restaurant Local Foods has several locations, but we’re partial to the one in Rice Village. Cozy and casual, the inside of this counter-service spot is airy, with bouncy green booths to snuggle into before taking down a crispy chicken sandwich topped with crushed chips and briny housemade pickles. Local Foods also has dozens of specialty drinks (hello sparkling pomegranate lemonade with cardamom) to add on to your meal and maybe a chocolate chip cookie, too. After you’ve eaten, take a stroll through the market and buy a bottle of fancy olive oil to remember Local Foods by.

The 30 minute experience at Sushi By Hidden bravely answers the question, “What would it be like to have an omakase that’s about the length of an Abbott Elementary episode?” Created by the folks behind Hidden Omakase, the compact sushi bar is made up of a gray counter and enough seats for 10 people. So plan on spending your time either fiercely minding your business or slyly eavesdropping as you throw back pieces of madai snapper and kanpachi. And with all the time saved from the omakase, you can take a stroll through the NFT art gallery that this place is hidden behind.

Hamsa’s great for when you’re feeling fancy but still want to eat dinner with your hands. The Israeli restaurant has a full menu of small plates to linger over, like an entire appetizer salatim smorgasbord of spicy or sweet dips, pickles, and warm pita bread or a fleet of grilled kebab skewers. Ensconce yourself into one of Hamsa’s spacious booths or under a giant umbrella on the small garden patio. Either are a great way to hopefully ease the tension before (or after) embarrassing your friend by lying face up during the James Turrell Skyspace sunset showing.

Small enough to feel cozy but not quite cramped, the interior  of the French bistro Cafe Rabelais is tailored for an intimate, quiet meal. If the bottles lining every available wall or the textbook masquerading as a wine list aren’t indication enough, this place takes wine seriously. With literally hundreds of options to choose from, you can dig through the pages for the exact glass you’re looking for, or let your server take the helm and make the decision for you. Whatever you decide to sip on, pair it with some mussels in a rich cream sauce, or with escargots swimming in garlic butter. And maybe imagine what the Parisian countryside feels like for a while.

On the second floor of Hungry’s, a sort of healthy lunch and brunch spot, is Upstairs Lounge, a 21+ rooftop bar and lounge. While the inside of Upstairs is dark and feels like a speakeasy where you’d share a cozy meal, the outside is bright with a light wood exterior that resembles a giant treehouse. We recommend enjoying your drink on the rooftop, to both get some vitamin D and order from Hungry's menu of dishes like gyro plates, pineapple and prosciutto pizza, and grilled salmon. And with trees hugging the perimeter of the bar, your view is only a few treetops, blue skies, and maybe a spicy pineapple margarita.

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photo credit: Richard Casteel

8 Great Restaurants In Rice Village image