Set in the heart of River Oaks, the flagship for the Cordúa family of restaurants is its brightest-shining star. Though the menu is still dominated by the signature, much-imitated churrasco steak, executive chef David Cordúa also has introduced fun and approachable items, such as deep-fried empanadas, ceviches in a rainbow of fish selections (including salmon, tuna and tilapia), and taquitos topped with beef tenderloin confit. A rose spud salad, made of a crispy potato-chip-like sheet shaped into a rose, is as visually exciting as it is delicious. Hearty paellas, a Cordúa family favorite, come topped with sprinkles of deeply flavorful, crispy Spanish chorizo rice. Edgy cocktails from beverage director James Watkins complement the experience, and the signature desserts, such as the famous tres leches, never get old.

Photo by Mai Pham
This is "moist" brisket at Killen's Barbecue.

Get ready to stand in line if you plan on stuffing your face with brisket, ribs and sausage at Killen's Barbecue. Ronnie Killen's Pearland BBQ restaurant draws crowds each and every day, and with one bite of the tender, moist, black-crusted brisket, you'll know why. Some describe it as food porn because it oozes with savory juice. Throw in a side of classic baked beans and potato salad, and don't forget to top it all off with banana pudding for dessert. Just make sure to be in line early, because once all the 'cue is gone, it's gone.

You could visit Kata Robata every single night and get a different tasting menu. That's the beauty of a Japanese omakase, which, translated, means "trust chef." Available by reservation at the sushi bar and varying between eight to 12 courses on a given night, the omakase experience with executive chef Manabu Horiuchi (Hori-san) is one of the best culinary rides in Houston. Each course represents the very best of what's available that night. It might kick off with a duo of fresh kumamoto oysters, one topped with uni, another with a classic mignonette. To follow, you'll taste a few creative sashimi appetizers before getting something hot from the kitchen, like a 72-hour Wagyu beef preparation topped with foie gras. Then Hori-san might serve you a selection of the best sushi of the night: o-toro, anago, amaebi, hamachi and live hotate. The tasting menus start off easy, building up to heartier dishes like his famous uni chawanmushi or a charred snapper collar, before ending on a sweet note with one of the house's desserts. And seriously, it's awesome every time.

You can stop by for a tour and weekday lunch with fresh-tapped brews, or spend your Saturday afternoon lounging in the beer hall playing board games, eating lunch and, of course, drinking beers. Or you can have one crazy week and do both. Tours are held at 3:30 p.m. on weekdays and every hour from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays. Consider yourself lucky if founder Brock Wagner leads your group through the brewery, because he's overflowing with unique facts about Saint Arnold Brewing Company. There's a reason this beer hall is constantly packed. Houstonians can't get enough of the craft brews, whether it's the hoppy Elissa IPA, the malty Amber Ale, or the dark and black Santo.

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