The 10 Best Pancakes in Houston

Triniti proves that heavenly pancakes don't need fancy ingredients.EXPAND
Triniti proves that heavenly pancakes don't need fancy ingredients.
Photo by Erika Kwee

As evidenced by the name of my food blog, I take pancakes seriously. So let’s start with some expectations: For this list of the 10 best pancakes in Houston, I stuck to the traditional American definition of pancakes: fluffy, stove-cooked, sweet and typically topped with syrup. No oven-puffed Dutch babies, no whisper-thin crepes and, for the most part, no savory pancakes (even though Houston is home to a few notable ones).

I define a good pancake mostly by its crumb and flavor, as well as its heft-to-lightness ratio. I prefer thicker pancakes with a tight, almost cakey crumb (though I can occasionally be swayed by a rich, porous crumb) — pancakes are essentially a vehicle for eating cake in the morning, after all, which is why I love them. Lightness is essential, and a faint tang of buttermilk is an occasional plus. Chewy pancakes are my absolute nemesis.

The pancake landscape in Houston is quite vast and varied outside of the typical diners that might immediately come to mind (sorry, Fountain View Cafe, you're not my jam), so forget any rubbery, uninspired diner pancakes you may have ingested in the past and rally some friends for a crawl through the following list of stunning carb creations:

The lemon poppyseed pancakes on the Ruggles Green breakfast menu in the Heights are a great find for gluten-free diners.EXPAND
The lemon poppyseed pancakes on the Ruggles Green breakfast menu in the Heights are a great find for gluten-free diners.
Photo by Erika Kwee

Honorable mentions: Gluten-free pancakes are a relatively scarce find on Houston menus, so Ruggles Green deserves a nod for its gluten-free lemon poppyseed pancakes, which are pretty much on par with its regular pancake offering: delicately lemony, springy, neat rounds dotted with poppyseeds ($8). Additional honorary mentions go to the whole wheat pancakes at Le Peep, which the lowbrow portion of my tastebuds adore, and Revival Market's peaches and cream pancakes (the accompanying peach jam is one of my favorite pancake toppings in Houston).

Even the pancakes shine at PESKA's unlimited brunch service.EXPAND
Even the pancakes shine at PESKA's unlimited brunch service.
Photo by Karen de Amat

PESKA: It feels ridiculous to call out the humble pancake at an establishment that does dinner service and seafood so well. However, freshness and superb execution of the delicate pancake duo that I ordered in a last Hail Mary round of PESKA’s unlimited brunch one morning just speak to the excellence that the PESKA team infuses into its dishes. Though on the thinner side, these tender, scratch-made buttermilk pancakes are crowned with seasonal fruit for a beautiful and delicious presentation. Part of the $46 unlimited weekend buffet brunch.

Dish Society's plate-size pancakes are fluffy with a slightly grainy crumb.EXPAND
Dish Society's plate-size pancakes are fluffy with a slightly grainy crumb.
Photo by Erika Kwee

Dish Society: This modern, counter-service dining establishment specializes in high-quality, locally sourced ingredients and gets extra points for working whole grains into its enormous double stack of fluffy, subtly grainy pancakes. Featuring gristmill organic wheat with the option to add white chocolate chips, candied pecans, strawberries or banana for an extra $1.50, the pancakes can be a tough choice to order over the Nutella French toast, but the well-griddled, sugar-sprinkled stack is worth it. $6. 

You thought maple syrup was decadent? Try the buttery caramel that blankets these bananas Foster pancakes at Davis Street.EXPAND
You thought maple syrup was decadent? Try the buttery caramel that blankets these bananas Foster pancakes at Davis Street.
Photo by Erika Kwee

Davis Street: It’s by virtue of the rich amber caramel that blankets this three-pancake-strong stack that the bananas Foster pancakes at Davis Street made the list. Though the pancakes are short on the banana (just three sadly un-caramelized banana coins top the stack) and the pancakes take on a bit of chew once they've cooled, when hot, they're tender, fluffy and essentially blanketed in liquid candy. They’re some of the priciest pancakes I’ve encountered and definitely only for those with an intense sweet tooth. $16.

 

Semolina pancakes by Helen Greek Food and Wine are topped with a house-made cherry compote and yogurt whipped cream.EXPAND
Semolina pancakes by Helen Greek Food and Wine are topped with a house-made cherry compote and yogurt whipped cream.
Photo by Shannon O'Hara

Helen: These caramelized-edged, almost nutty-tasting pancakes are scratch-made with a semolina flour base and enhanced with vanilla bean. This airy, slightly grainy base is topped by a distinguished trio: a dollop of addictive yogurt whipped cream, chopped almonds and a chewy, winey dried cherry compote reduced with mavrodaphne wine, vanilla, sugar and citrus. Pancakes are available only during Sunday brunch from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. $12.

Max's Wine Dive's cornmeal pancakes are compellingly reminiscent of cornbread in pancake form.EXPAND
Max's Wine Dive's cornmeal pancakes are compellingly reminiscent of cornbread in pancake form.
Photo by Erika Kwee

Max's Wine Dive: Skip the gimmicky red velvet pancakes here, which come out so chewy and listless that even lemony cream cheese frosting can’t save them. Instead, go for the jalapeño-kissed cornmeal pancakes — which have more of a bite and interesting texture from whole kernels of corn — or even the regular buttermilk pancakes. Though the buttermilk pancakes lack the beautiful lacy griddled face of others and the exterior can be mildly chewy after they cool, they have a feather-light, almost cottony crumb that takes well to a pour of syrup. $11.50.

Coffee butter and pancakes: Hubbell & Hudson's Bistro has breakfast on lockdown.EXPAND
Coffee butter and pancakes: Hubbell & Hudson's Bistro has breakfast on lockdown.
Photo by Hubbell & Hudson

Hubbell & Hudson: Each of the house-made buttermilk pancakes achieves a consistently browned sear on its exterior, which houses a cakey, fluffy crumb. Whipped maple syrup, coffee butter and powdered sugar are a dreamy combination of toppings offered at Hubbell & Hudson Bistro (the Kitchen offers maple syrup and fruit). Both locations also have gluten-free corn and rice pancakes topped with apple butter, blueberries, whipped maple syrup and fresh mint. $9.

Pancake flights at Snooze allow diners to try three types of pancakes of their choosing.EXPAND
Pancake flights at Snooze allow diners to try three types of pancakes of their choosing.
Photo by Erika Kwee

Snooze: Houston is notably lacking in novelty pancakes — the kind that are really entire other desserts masquerading as breakfast items. Snooze, the bright and cheery diner transplant from Denver, is here to change that. Scratch-made pancakes include flavor staples such as pineapple upside-down, sweet potato, peach pie and blueberry Danish (classics like plain, chocolate chip and blueberry are available as well), but be on the lookout for Snooze's pancake of the day. The banana pudding special came laced with a silky dollop of Danish cream, chopped banana and brown sugar and topped with caramel and vanilla wafers; it blew me away. Plus, the pancake flights solve every indecisive diner's dream: You can sample three kinds in one dish. $7.50 or $9 for a pancake flight.

Triniti serves up some of my favorite pancakes in Houston, with simple ingredients combining for a melt-in-your-mouth texture.EXPAND
Triniti serves up some of my favorite pancakes in Houston, with simple ingredients combining for a melt-in-your-mouth texture.
Photo by Erika Kwee

Triniti: These beautifully presented mixed-berry pancakes are made from a very simple batter of regular ingredients such as whole milk, butter, sugar and flour. Executive sous chef Pat Sommers calls it a great recipe because "it’s simple, but it turns out every time." Topped with melting coins of cinnamon sugar butter and fresh berries, these rich and thick pancakes are so fluffy that the syrup elevates them to a melt-in-your-mouth texture. $15.

The golden hotcakes at Kraftsmen deserve a cult following.EXPAND
The golden hotcakes at Kraftsmen deserve a cult following.
Photo by Erika Kwee

Kraftsmen Cafe: These golden hotcakes have a bronzed, crispy crust that is unequaled among all the pancakes I’ve ever sampled: There is a gentle, audible crunch that occurs when the pancake is disturbed with a fork. They’re thick — close to an inch thick at the tallest point — and while the interior of the pancake is a little coarser-crumbed and airier than my ideal, the flavor is always fresh and delicately milky, and those crusty golden edges are the stuff dreams are made of. Short stack $7, tall stack $9.

Baby Barnaby's offers a strong contender for my favorite pancake in Houston.EXPAND
Baby Barnaby's offers a strong contender for my favorite pancake in Houston.
Photo by Erika Kwee

Baby Barnaby’s: This comfy neighborhood cafe garners a miles-long wait list on weekends for a reason. Aside from the greens- and cheese-studded egg scramble popular among my savory-inclined friends, the enormous, golden pancake is the stuff of legend. Lightly bronzed from the griddle and topped with a scoop of butter, the inch-thick, plate-size pancake cooks up with irresistibly lacy-crisp edges and a feather-light, buttery and cakey crumb that melts in your mouth. I tend toward the banana- and pecan-studded combo, but it’s delicious with or without add-ins. This is the type of pancake that's phenomenal all on its own, no syrup required. $7.95.

Use Current Location

Related Locations

miles
Helen Greek Food and Wine

2429 Rice Blvd
Houston, TX 77005

832-831-7133

miles
Peska Seafood Culture

1700 Post Oak Boulevard #1-190
Houston, TX 77056

713-961-9229

www.peska.us

miles
Revival Market

550 Heights Blvd
Houston, TX 77007

713-880-8463

www.revivalmarket.com

miles
Baby Barnaby's Cafe

602 Fairview St.
Houston, TX 77006

713-522-4229

www.barnabyscafe.com

miles
Kraftsmen Baking

611 W. 22nd Street #A
Houston, TX 77008

713-426-1300

miles
Max's Wine Dive

4720 Washington Ave.
Houston, TX 77007

713-880-8737

www.maxswinedive.com

miles
Davis Street At Hermann Park

5925 Almeda
Houston, Texas

844--328--4778

miles
Hubbell & Hudson Bistro

24 Waterway Ave.
The Woodlands, TX 77380

281-203-5641

www.hubbellandhudson.com


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