After living in The Woodlands since I was seven years old, I have eaten at many restaurants, seen many open and quickly close. Over the last ten years, The Woodlands has grown exponentially, adding new shopping centers, a renovated concert pavilion and more community areas.
With all of this expansion and development, The Woodlands has received a multitude of new restaurants, many of which have made this list.
10. Mi Cocina
Mi Cocina recently took the place of Rockfish Grille in The Woodlands Waterway plaza and has proven to be a wonderful addition to this shopping center. Whether you're dining there for lunch or dinner, you're in for a delicious authentic Mexican meal. Start out with their complimentary thick and crispy chips and their classic "Mi Cocina" margarita. Choose from a variety of tacos and enchiladas filled with everything from rib-eye beef to pork. Make sure to order the Tacos "De Brisket" for delicious overnight roasted shredded brisket topped with queso blanco and avocado slices stuffed in corn or flour tortillas. They're mouthwatering and scrumptious.
9. Hubbell & Hudson Bistro Attached to the specialty market, Hubbell & Hudson's Bistro offers a menu filled with items made from the products sold in the market. Every item on the menu features such a multitude of interesting and intriguing ingredients that it is hard to choose what to order. Of course, you can't go wrong with a black truffle risotto to start your meal, followed by one of their dry aged steaks with your choice of rub, sauce and two sides. Even though the restaurant is sophisticated and modern, choosing one of their sandwiches for dinner is perfectly fine. The wagyu burger with smoked gouda, baby arugula and prosciutto di parma on a toasted English muffin is to die for. With a market next door, you've also got an endless supply of wines and beers from around the world.
8. Via Emilia
Via Emilia was originally on FM 1960 in Spring near my high school. I remember going after basketball or soccer games with my family and ordering a big plate of pasta, and always leaving satisfied. After graduating, I haven't been able to visit the Spring area too often, but Via Emilia recently moved to The Woodlands with an expanded dining room. My mom swears by the datteri ripieni, otherwise known as dates stuffed with goat and Mascarpone cheese, wrapped in smoked bacon, as an appetizer, or the osso buco with veal. Their pasta tastes fresh each time I have visited and all of their meat, chicken or seafood dishes have always satisfied my appetite. It's a typical Northern Italian menu with all of the classic dishes you love.
My family and I found our go-to Chinese restaurant in The Woodlands and have stuck with it since 1999. Ace Chinese is a little hole-in-the-wall restaurant serving up delicious classic Chinese cuisine. Every time we visit or order it to go, we always get egg rolls, wonton or hot and sour soup, General Tso's chicken and sweet and sour chicken, all served with white rice and lots of soy sauce. Ace Chinese always gets the classics right and that's what we love about it.
One of the newest additions to the Waterway Town Center is Grimaldi's Pizzeria where pizzas are made in a coal brick oven. Rather than using wood or gas, Grimaldi's uses coal to give the pizza a unique taste that resembles the pizza you'd find on the streets in New York City. Choose from either a 12-inch personal pizza or a 16 or 18-inch pizza with either red sauce, white sauce or pesto. Then, choose your toppings -- everything from fresh garlic and jalapenos to meatballs and extra basil. Grimaldi's is truly in a convenient area of The Woodlands. Grab a quick bite to eat before going to see a movie, or stop by after a long day of shopping in the mall.