Houston's Restaurant & Bar Openings guide image


Houston's Restaurant & Bar Openings

All the restaurant and bar openings in Houston you should know about.

Keeping track of every brand new restaurant and bar in Houston is enough to make you a little dizzy. Which is why we put together this guide to all the new restaurants and bars that seem like they have the most potential. Although keep in mind, for the ones we haven’t tried, we make no promises. Go forth and be a pioneer.

We’ll be regularly updating this guide, and adding a note whenever we review a spot, or add it to our guide to the best new restaurants in Houston, the Hit List.

Got any tips? Hit us up at houston@theinfatuation.com.

May 2023

photo credit: Little’s Oyster Bar

Little’s Oyster Bar review image

Little’s Oyster Bar


3001 S Shepherd Dr, Houston
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Houston restaurant darlings, the Pappas group, closed and renovated a former Pappas Seafood restaurant at this same location in Montrose. Now, it’s been reopened as another seafood restaurant: Little’s Oyster Bar. The menu focuses a lot on, well, oysters, and throws in some crudo, grilled fish, and a steak—’cause it wouldn’t be a Pappas restaurant without steak.

Roswell’s Saloon in Montrose appears to be an astronaut-on-acid-themed cocktail bar. The two-story space is filled with the kind of blacklight neon you might see at a mid-2000s laser tag arcade, or if you were really into glow-in-the-dark golf. Cocktails are served in round glassware with gaseous-planet prints and other funky shapes.

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photo credit: Becca Wright

Bari Ristorante review image

Bari Ristorante



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Now open in the River Oaks District, Bari is an Italian restaurant that serves a lot of pasta and has a cute little Italian car parked outside on the patio. As with a lot of places in River Oaks, Bari does enforce a dress code, so be prepared unless you’re able to grab something at one of the many high-end clothing stores nearby.

Koi, now open in Montrose, took over the former Kamalan Bakery space, which had recently taken over the former Avalon space. Hopefully Koi—a sushi and Japanese restaurant amongst many others along this strip of Westheimer—will stick it out. 

Dante’s River Oaks is an Italian restaurant in (checks notes) River Oaks. It has a big patio and a simple menu of shareable small plates, pasta, and grilled dishes like ribeye and a rotating catch of the day. 

Houston meets Nashville at Thunderbirds HTX in Washington Heights, which serves hot chicken sandwiches and wings dressed up in Sichuan flavors. Thunderbird HTX is also the only spot in town that specifically serves halal hot chicken. 

The original Lankford Grocery & Market opened in Midtown in 1937. Nearly 90 years later, there’s a second location of the family-owned restaurant, this time in Bellaire, but with a shorter name and the same menu of burgers, sandwiches, and milkshakes. 

photo credit: Michael Anthony

Albi review image


Perfect For:A Clubstaurant

From the family behind the Lebanese restaurants Mary’z Mediterranean comes Albi, a combination Lebanese/Turkish/Greek high-end and (sometimes) live entertainment restaurant. Plus, Albi got the same designer who did the recently opened River Oaks clubstaurant Ciel, so, fancy. The menu features shrimp falafel, bluefin tuna tartare, and a lemon halvah tart.

If you’ve ever gone dancing at Echoes and thought that it would be really cool if Echoes the nightclub was also Echoes the Mexican-Greek dinner and brunch cafe, then you should buy a lottery ticket ASAP. The opening of Echoes Cafe, in the same location as Echoes the club (you’ll get there) merges together two symbiotic activities: eating and dancing. Snack on some hummus, eggplant tempura, or a plate of pork souvlaki before thrashing to cosmic disco jams.

April 2023

From the team behind the newish spot Bayou Heights Bier Garten comes Verde Garden in Montrose. The Tex-Mex restaurant has a sprawling patio,12 different types of made-to-order margaritas, 80 different types of cocktails, and dishes like poblano mole enchiladas, ceviche, and elote dusted in chili powder.

Thai-Lao restaurant Lao’d District in Chinatown, serves jerky, homemade Lao sausage, plates of rice and noodles, and something called crack belly. There’s also a giant graffiti mural in the restaurant that looks very cool.

Hailing from Austin, the allergy-friendly restaurant Picnik is now open at the Montrose Collective. The refined sugar-free, seed oil-free, peanut-free, and gluten-free casual spot serves all-day brunch as well as sandwiches, tacos, and salads. And don’t worry: you can add adaptogens to that.

The clubstaurant and hookah lounge Pergola brings a social media fever dream to the Gulfton area. The theme and decor changes wildly from room to room—from jungle to underwater to dragons to a lush garden. Choose your own adventure, or conjure your own latent sleep paralysis demon, with a side of chicken enchiladas.

photo credit: Kirsten Gilliam

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Mandito’s from Round Top is open in Bellaire. This is the first Houston location of the Tex-Mex restaurant, and the menu features chile con queso, steak chalupas, margaritas with sangria floaters, and the World Famous Burrito Bowl.

Padre’s Wine is now open in the Heights, serving as both wine bar and shop, stocking primarily South American wines. And while the shop closes at 8pm, the bar is open a few hours later for lounging with the option of 20 wines by the glass to try as well as a few bar bites like East Coast oysters and paninis. Have a glass on the couches or order from the cozy patio at the walk-up window.

Andiron, a high-end steakhouse in Montrose, focuses on live-fire cooking techniques and dressing up servers in custom-tailored suits. The restaurant is from the same folks who created The Pit Room and Candente.

The folks behind Dinette in The Heights now have a bakery, conveniently located right next door and aptly named Dinette Bakery. The menu features traditional Vietnamese pastry like savory bánh patê sô, or puff pastry pies, filled with chicken and lemongrass and pho brisket, and thêm đô ngọt, or sweet pastries, like a milk bread pandan and toasted coconut cinnamon roll.

Himari in Garden Oaks is the newest restaurant brought to us from the team behind Handies Douzo. Like its sister locations, Himari keeps the similar minimalist vibe, menu, and sushi counter, but Himari also has robata options as well as a few seated tables in the dining room. The menu at Himari also features kanpachi nigiri, salmon maki rolls topped with curry aioli, and sweet potato tempura.

photo credit: Jenn Duncan

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Hongdae 33 Korean BBQ

Hongdae 33, an all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ joint from the team behind the Chinese restaurants Duck N Bao, is the latest addition to the Dun Huang Plaza plaza in Chinatown. For 33 bucks, you can grill pork bulgogi, miso-marinated steak, squid, and shrimp to your heart’s content (or, until the 90-minute table time ends). The drink menu at Hongdae 33 is about a half-mile long with everything from green apple soju, to lychee martinis, to jager bombs shots.   

The Heights neighborhood has a new vegan restaurant, The Ginger Mule. Along with painted murals with sunflowers and uplifting messages, expect vegan pizza, mushroom burgers topped with onions, and plant-based breakfast served all-day every day. 

photo credit: Chi’Lantro BBQ

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Chi’Lantro BBQ

Korean BBQ Chi’Lantro is once again serving the famous kimchi fries in the Heights, but no longer from a food truck. Although Chi’Lantro quickly populated standalone restaurants across Austin amidst the food-truck years, this is the first brick-and-mortar outpost in Houston. Eat there, or take a bibimbap bowl to go and snack on it while watching Chi’Lantro’s Shark Tank episode. 

March 2023

East End residents have long-awaited the return of Villa Arcos—a beloved taco spot that always had a line out the door—which closed during the beginning of the pandemic. But now the little red house along Navigation is back to serving up breakfast taco goodness on fresh flour tortillas. Get there early.

Muse brings together former chefs of Riel, La Table, the Dunlavy, and the Classic for a 4,000 square foot high-end fusion restaurant on the edge of Montrose and River Oaks. And it’s filled with massive glowing cherry blossom trees lit by pink LEDs. A mix of different cuisines and flavors shows up on the menu, with dishes like wagyu potstickers with caviar, lobster pasta, and a red bean brownie dessert with Vietnamese coffee mousse. Brunch service on Muse’s rooftop patio is soon to follow. 

From long lines snaking around a Rice Village parking lot, to a potential but never fully-realized space in Rice Military, the viral food cart Yoyo’s Hot Dogs finally has a permanent home in EaDo. Find the mayo-drenched, crispy, crunchy signature Korean hot dogs at Eighth Wonder Brewery. 

While the casual French bistro PS21 in Upper Kirby may be new, the folks behind it have fingers in many restaurant pies around town—whether that be consulting or even funding—at places like Mad, Musaafar, and Ciel. But ignore all that, and try the food here, which includes classic French dishes like brandade, rilletes, and duck wellington. There’s also a long list of French-only wine to accompany the very French menu. Have everything in the exposed brick dining room on the Parisian-style garden patio.

photo credit: Brian Kennedy

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Heights Social

Finally, a place to get an espresso martini without the wait. Heights Social, a clubstaurant in the Heights, has cocktails on tap, a massive chandelier, lots of those little tiny table lamps—and they also serve bar food like wings and pizza. The interior resembles an indoor pool atrium with large skylights and blue LEDs under every table. 

Se7en, a self-described entertainment restaurant in Upper Kirby, kind of looks like a place where Patrick Batemen might trawl for a date. The not-clubstaurant serves Asian-French-Mediterranean food (mostly sushi and steaks) and is loosely themed around both the seven wonders of the world and the seven deadly sins. The space is over 5,000 square feet of pure marble, chrome, and velvet with a private VIP room, a giant tree-crammed patio, and a DJ booth. 

Eau Tour, a tiny French bistro in Rice Village, is yet another concept crammed above the ground floor of Local Foods—the other being the weekends-only wine bar Lee’s Den. Sort of like digging around in Mary Poppins’ bag, more spots than you expect keep squeezing onto that second floor. Eau Tour, a deco-esque space with scalloped ceilings, colorful built-in lights, and gold bar stools, serves “contemporary French cuisine” like cheeseburgers and seared trout.

Last year, Uchi Houston in Montrose reabsorbed the small space that once housed Southside Espresso (RIP). The tiny space underwent renovations to become Oheya: a 12-seat, reservation-only omakase experience. Oheya offers two seatings per night at 6pm and 8:30pm, and costs $175 per person, with an optional beverage pairing for $75. Reservations will likely book up in advance, so claim yours soon.

Rockhouse Southern Kitchen, a southern restaurant and rock venue opened by the folks behind Slowpokes and Prospect Park, took over and renovated a former venue near the Galleria area. There’s a solid amount of fried stuff and meat on the menu, as well as bottle service. Don’t forget to check the dress code before you go, because they apparently have one of those.

February 2023

Hailing from Houston’s Chinatown, there’s now a second location of the casual Sichuan restaurant Lao Sze Chuan, this time in Montrose. Swing by for whole Peking duck, dumplings, or mapo tofu.

photo credit: Chelsea Thomas

Mimo review image


Mimo, a casual Italian spot, opened quietly after renovating a defunct Thai restaurant in the back of Tlaquepaque Market in the East End. Actually, they opened so quietly, you can only find out if the restaurant is even open by checking Instagram. Inside, Mimo opts for a simple, organic approach with pink curtains, dark ceilings, and worn wood tables. Find a small wine list, spritzes, and a vegetable-heavy menu of salads, fritters, giant porchetta or eggplant caponata sandwiches, and simple desserts like vanilla bean panna cotta.

What started as a counter in a downtown food hall is now a standalone, casual restaurant in Spring Branch. Although it’s from the same chef who also runs Xin Chào in Sixth Ward, the long-awaited brick and mortar The Blind Goat is their first solo venture. The menu is a mixture of Vietnamese classics infused with other Houston flavors like Tex-Mex, crawfish, and brisket fried rice. 

Reel Seafood & Bar is a casual boiled and fried seafood and wings spot. The restaurant recently relocated from Missouri City to the Shady Acres corner of The Heights and brought Viet-Cajun-style crawfish, stir-fried crab legs, and oyster po boys along with them. 

Named for the eponymous blue tile street names found around Houston, Blue Tile Coffee shop serves, you guessed it, coffee, and pastries next to the HEB off Washington and Heights. The open, high-ceiling space has lots of seating and outlets, but as always, be aware you will likely need to park in the garage or drive back and forth gauntlet-style on the ground level to find a spot.

photo credit: Mikah Danae

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Eight Row Flint

The team behind Eight Row Flint, a popular icehouse with Tex-Mex food and an enormous patio in The Heights, has opened a new location in the East End. While both locations have an impressive patio space, Eight Row Flint East End has a rooftop patio with a view of the downtown skyline. Unlike the original, the new location of Eight Row Flint has a full kitchen to prepare more food options like pickled quail eggs and seafood campechana.

Co-created by a finalist from season 19 of Top Chef, the restaurant Jun By Kin in the Heights serves a new take on southeast Asian cuisine, with dishes like Gulf shrimp with taro, thai chili fried chicken, raw oysters with fermented mango, and beef tartare with toasted rice.

photo credit: Quit Nguyen

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The Smoke

The newest addition to the Finn Hall food hall downtown is The Smoke, a food stall serving barbecue. Expect pulled pork and chopped brisket sandwiches, macaroni and cheese, loaded baked potatoes, and pickles by the jar.

January 2023

When Thai Gourmet in the Galleria area closed unexpectedly after 27 years in business, fans of the restaurant were devastated. To fill the void (and literally the same building) Thai Garden opened up in its place. While there is some menu overlap, as can happen with most Thai restaurants, the restaurant is, supposedly, completely unrelated to Thai Gourmet, so take a break on those conspiracy theories and just have some dinner. 

From the same restaurant group behind spots like Flora comes Graffiti Raw, an all-day restaurant in Montrose inspired by Mediterranean and Mexican cuisines. The space is designed with the laid-back, beachy energy of California in mind, and there are dishes like ceviches, crudos, spaghetti with uni and calabrian chili, and whole roasted branzino.

photo credit: Quit Nguyen

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Bayou Heights Bier Garten

Bayou Heights Bier Garten is a new beer garden in the Washington Corridor neighborhood with three different buildings surrounding a massive patio in the center. You can order one of the 74 different beers or 16 wines on tap, or dishes like brisket grilled cheese, smoked chicken wings, and pulled pork sandwiches. Bayou Heights Bier Garten also serves brunch on the weekend and offers a Happy Hour Monday-Friday 3pm-6pm.

The team behind Blood Bros. BBQ has opened Luloo’s Day & Night in Garden Oaks, a casual all-day eatery serving fried chicken sandwiches, smashed meatball subs, kolaches (with specials every weekend), jumbo cinnamon rolls, and fresh bread for sale from their private wholesale bakery.

photo credit: Bitty & Beau's

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Bitty & Beau’s Coffee

The coffee shop chain Bitty & Beau’s Coffee opened their first Houston location in Rice Village. This coffee shop seeks to provide employment opportunities for individuals living with disabilities, and this is where you can grab a frappe, hot chocolate, or mango smoothie.

photo credit: Ajna Jai

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Kriti Kitchen

Kriti Kitchen, a casual Greek cafe owned by the former chef at Pondicheri, has opened in West University. Swing by to split a mezze board, chicken wraps served with lemon potatoes, or mizithrapita pancakes during the weekend at brunch. And for taking Kriti Kitchen on the go, there is an extensive menu of frozen meals for reheating at home.

photo credit: Liz Silva

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Little Hen

The first Houston location of Miami-born English breakfast and brunch restaurant, Little Hen, has opened in River Oaks. You can expect omelets, assorted pastries, eggs benedict,  burgers at lunchtime, and a flurry of floral print wherever you look. If you’re feeling particularly fancy, you can make the most of the  “smart chic” dress code and opt for afternoon tea service served with assorted scones, macarons, and mini sandwiches.

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Suggested Reading

The Best Vietnamese Restaurants In Houston guide image
The Best Vietnamese Restaurants In Houston

The best pho, bún bò huế, and bánh mì that Houston has to offer.

The Best Tex-Mex Restaurants In Houston guide image

Tex-Mex isn’t just a type of food. It’s a way of life. Here is your guide to the best Tex-Mex restaurants in Houston.

The First-Timer’s Guide To Eating In Houston guide image

When it comes to Houston restaurants, think of this guide as your crash course.

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