Industry Insiders Name The Best Brunches In Houston
A variety of fresh mimosas made with grapefruit, strawberry, raspberry and orange juice is offered at Hungry's Cafe in Rice Village.
Photo by Cuc Lam
The mingling of breakfast sweets with lunch treats gives rise to the most perfect meal time of the day, Brunch. Made quintessential with the addition of mimosas and cocktails, a good brunch sets the tone for a Sunday fun-day, a time to reflect on the weekend's adventures or a moment to indulge in some of Houston's tastiest late morning, early afternoon fare. A few local chefs and industry folks share their favorite brunch spots in the city and we're ready to pull up a chair and pick up a fork along side them.
Chef and owner of Pho & Crab, Andrew Tran loves the beef ribs on the brunch menu at Tradicao Steakhouse. For $20, guests have access to a limited selection of meats as part of the brunch buffet and salad bar (grilled skewered meats, drinks, dessert, tax and gratuity are not included). For $39, diners have access to the Signature 15 Cut Menu, which includes those beef ribs along with lamb chops, filet mignon and bacon-wrapped scallops. “The cheese bread is addictive, too,” added Tran.
Tradicao is located at 12000 Southwest Freeway in Meadows Place and brunch is available on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Alex Padilla of the Original Ninfa's loves Hugo's chili relleno for brunch.
Photo courtesy of Hugo's
Many Houstonians would agree with executive chef Alex Padilla of the Original Ninfa's on Navigation that Hugo's is a great spot for brunch. "I think Chef Hugo is a brilliant chef; the chili relleno is a pretty standard [Mexican] dish, but he does it so well," says Chef Padilla. Hugo's brings earthy Mexican flavors to Houston with a variety of mole and pastries. "The guy playing piano upstairs makes this one of my favorite places for brunch."
Hugo's is located at 1600 Westheimer in Montrose. Saturday Brunch hours are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and the Sunday Brunch Buffet is available between 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. The cost is $33 per person / $12 per child (12 and under) not including beverage, tax and gratuity.
Seaside Poke chef Tai Nguyen (formerly of Uchi) picks a Midtown joint that has been a mainstay in Houston "kulture" since 2001. The Breakfast Klub at 3711 Travis is nationally recognized as one of the "best breakfast restaurants in the nation," and repeatedly chosen as Reader's Choice for Best Breakfast in Houston by Houston Press readers. Chef Nguyen says he likes it because it's "nothing fancy, just good food. My favorite thing to get there is the katfish and grits; I love it!" Another popular item on the menu is the fried chicken wings and waffles and there is a great selection of coffee.
Hours are Monday through Fridays, 7 a.. to 2 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Get there early because the line snakes around the corner very quickly.
Brunch at Upstairs at Hungry's Cafe in Rice Village is a perfect choice for bright, sunny days on the patio.
Photo by Jazzmine Woodard
"Start with the the spicy shrimp tacos drizzled with honey habanero aioli and a mimosa flight," says Jazzmine Woodard of Dash of Jazz, "you won’t regret it." Woodard is referring to the gorgeous flight of fruity mimosas crafted by Linda Salinas, the beverage operations manager at Hungry's Cafe in Rice Village. Flavors include grapefruit, strawberry, raspberry and the more traditional orange. The indoor/outdoor patio area up the stairs called Upstairs is the place to be right now, when the weather is perfect for soaking up the sun and enjoying the view through the trees of the Village.
Woodard also loves the Wood Stone pizza topped with button and portobello mushrooms, crushed red pepper, arugula, homemade basil pesto marinara sauce, fresh mozzarella and parmesan. Wait, it's not finished. The pizza is then topped with a fried egg just to complete the brunch experience. Another must-try is the beet and ginger margarita, whipped up with a housemade beet-infused tequila, fresh ginger and lemon juice. It's only offered Upstairs and was made to "make you feel good about your drink choices."
Enjoy brunch at Hungry's Cafe, 2356 Rice Boulevard, on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
"Oooh, that's a tough question," says Felix Florez owner of Black Hills Farm and co-owner of Ritual. His serious-brunch-eats is the barbacoa tacos from Gerardo's, the old-school drive-in joint in Northside Village inside the loop. "They really do it right, 100 percent beef head, cheek and tongue meat."
Gerardo's is located at 609 Patton. Hours are Mondays through Fridays, 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The Eggs Sardou at Brennan's Of Houston, 3300 Smith, comes in a close second place. The traditional New Orleans-style poached eggs recipe with artichoke hearts, spinach and hollandaise is executed perfectly by chef Danny Trace. Brunch is served between 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday.
Chef Jason Gould from Cyclone Anaya's and Rico's Morning, Noon & Night picks Tiny Box Woods because it holds a special place in his heart and his stomach. The chef married his fair lady there and says that the patio is "extremely relaxing, surrounded by the gardens." The grilled steak salad with peanut dressing, mint and basil, almonds, mangos, and crispy wontons is a hit. "The little kitchen puts out some very tasty food," he adds. Catch brunch on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and on Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tiny Boxwoods is located at 3614 West Alabama.
Chef Gould's chilaquiles with brisket are available until 3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
Photo courtesy of Cyclone Anaya's
Chef Gould didn't pass up the opportunity to share a brunch item that he does best at Cyclone Anaya's.
"The chilaquiles with brisket at Cyclones are killer," he says and "you can't beat penny mimosa refills." Brunch is served until 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. In Midtown, Cyclone Anaya's is located at 309 West Gray.
Assistant general manager at Wooster's Garden, Joseph Seahorn, says that if he had to choose just one brunch joint, it would be Cafe Brasil at 2604 Dunlavy in Montrose. The cafe is so much more than a coffee house, with an extensive wine and craft beer selection along with a beautiful brunch menu.
Seahorn has been coming here for years; it's his go-to place for working (out of the office), reading, or just kicking back on the patio with a coffee or meal. "I usually get the house iced coffee and a spicy chicken salad sandwich or their delicious mushroom pizza."
Brunch is available at Cafe Brasil on Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The schnitzel and fried waffles at Peli Peli is a small mountain of brunch at its best.
Photo courtesy of Peli Peli
Local bood blogger Hank Lewis of Hank on Food says that the brunch pizza at Union Kitchen is his choice. Diners need to call ahead to order it as it is an off-the-menu item that would need to be prepped. Brunch at the Union Kitchen is offered on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. There are several Union Kitchen locations around town.
"My other favorite is the schnitzel and deep-fried waffles at Peli Peli," he says. The Belgian waffles are stacked with chicken schnitzel, a ton of bacon, a fried egg, amarula cream and passion fruit cream and it looks ridiculous. Brunch is served on Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Peli Peli Galleria is located at 5085 Westheimer.
Cajun Stop owner, Lisa Carnley Benoit, can't decide on just one favorite brunch spot, so she shares both of them. "The cake donuts and fried chicken at Weights + Measures is really special," she says. The dish is served with an Oelke Farms maple hazelnut syrup that is divine. Weights + Measures is located at 2808 Caroline.
The coffee flight at Fielding's allows guests to sample four delicious coffee cocktails.
Photo courtesy of Fielding's Wood Grill
When staying close to home, the Benoit family enjoys Fielding's Wood Grill in The Woodlands. The brunch menu offers a delicious coffee flight, where diners can choose to sample four coffee cocktails like the Mexico City made with Kahlua, Espolón tequila, organic gelato, coffee and whipped cream or the Irish Gaelic created with Jameson Irish whiskey, Bailey’s Irish cream, whipped cream, coffee and a Crème de Menthe drizzle. The crab cake benedict is her must-have dish because of the chipotle bacon aioli.
Brunch is served at Fielding's, 1699 Research Forest Drive, on Fridays from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and on Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
As founder of the Memorial Area Eats (MAE) Facebook group, Susie Doucette Pyle spends lots of time sharing recipes, and cooking tips, and facilitating conversations about food on her page. Sunday mornings are usually spent with her family: "I love to make homemade waffles and let the kids add what they want. The little one will add chocolate chips, the others will add fruit and all three will add lots of powdered sugar."
When her family does venture out for brunch, it's a treat to visit Adair Kitchen. There's a "good variety of dishes as each kid likes something different," says Pyle. Adair Kitchen is located at 5161 San Felipe in the Uptown/Galleria area. A few brunch favorites are the breakfast tacos, egg croissant with feta, huevos rancheros and a nutritious selection of fruit juices. Adair Kitchen is located at 5161 San Felipe.
Other brunch enthusiasts mention the whole hog and South American buffet at Sal y Pimienta in City Centre, dim sum at Fung's Kitchen or the Texas picnic board with house charcuterie, pecan-bourbon pimento cheese, house pickles, pork rinds and those deviled eggs at Ritual. What are your favorite Houston brunch spots? Leave us your picks in the comments.
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