Dinner and a Show: Houston's Top 10 Restaurants for Pre-Theater Dining

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Map by Monica Fuentes

Chances are that if you're heading downtown for a night out at the opera, the symphony or the Alley, you're not simply grabbing McDonald's on your way -- you want to make an evening of this, as well you should.

Many restaurants have done away with theater menus, meaning you'll have to order judiciously from the regular menus and advise staff that you need this meal to be slightly more fast-paced than normal. Fortunately, downtown is rich with restaurants that cater to the theater crowd -- and even a few in Midtown that offer complimentary shuttles to and from the Theater District so you don't have to walk.

10. The Blue Fish

One of the closest dining options to Jones Hall, the Alley, the Houston Ballet and the Wortham is this sushi palace that fronts Bayou Place. The Dallas-based chain features Americanized sushi at its cheekiest, with a giant ahi tuna tower that's smashed into bits tableside as its gleeful signature dish. Although there's no theater menu here, just tell the staff that you're heading to a show and they'll speed things up accordingly.

Dinner and a Show: Houston's Top 10 Restaurants for Pre-Theater Dining

9. MKT Bar

MKT Bar inside the two-story Phoenicia grocery store is where you head for a lighter, more casual pre-show meal that doesn't skimp on flavor. I love the pizzas -- especially on thick whole wheat and kalamata olive crust -- and the za'atar-dusted fries, and the small but tight selection of wines and craft beers at the long, inviting bar. If you're taking in a movie at nearby Discovery Green, simply take a picnic instead -- either get MKT Bar's food to go or build your own basket inside the grocery store.

8. 17 at the Alden Hotel

I've heard claims that 17 has a theater menu, although its Web site doesn't mention one and calls to the restaurant resulted in a confused employee asking me what a "prix fixe" menu is. However, the restaurant makes some mean modern American food and it's close -- only six blocks away from the Theater District. But if that's too far to hoof it, the Hotel Alden also offers shuttle service.

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