These two Montrose mainstays may not serve the best food in town, but they can't be beat for late-night people watching up and down Westheimer. The cheesecake milkshakes and noodle kugel at Katz's are terrific for soaking up booze, while an omelet from Theo's will shake out the cobwebs early in the morning.
This Midtown classic was many Houstonians' first encounter with Vietnamese food. And 34 years after opening, it's still the most reliable spot in the area to get a midnight meal of pho and spring rolls (or watch the girls spilling out of area clubs stumble around awkwardly on tired, be-heeled feet as their eyes readjust to the light). And on the other side of Midtown, relative newcomer Majorca is a fun change-up from diner food with its menu of tapas and other Spanish favorites (like the albondigas with a fried egg on top that will perk up even the weariest diner).
9. Copacabana Pizzeria Open until: 1:30 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 11:30 p.m. the rest of the week
It can be tough to find good late-night options this far outside the Beltway, but Brazilian-Italian joint Copacabana Pizzeria (formerly known as Friends Pizzeria before it relocated to its new home a few months ago) has everything from rum-soaked caipirinhas (now that it finally has its liquor license) to wonderfully messy X-tudo burgers. And -- of course -- pizzas, topped with anything from basic pepperoni to Brazilian specialties like soft, savory catupiry cheese. And if you go on a Saturday night, prepare to spend an evening surrounded by lively (and live) Brazilian music.
8. Max's Wine Dive Open until: 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, midnight the rest of the week
Max's would be higher on the list if only its 2 a.m. closing time extended to the rest of the week -- can you imagine being able to get chef Michael Pellegrino's fried chicken or beef belly meatballs on duck fat biscuits at all hours of the night? As it is, being able to dine at Max's past midnight on the weekends is still pretty cool.
These two GOOF-y spots (that's Garden Oaks-Oak Forest to the uninitiated) are located practically right next door to each other off Shepherd, and both offer great food and excellent craft beer late into the evening. Although it's too new to say how Cottonwood's food will ultimately fare, I was seriously impressed with a plate of late-night jerk chicken wings one recent night. And the slightly upscale pub grub at Shepherd Park Draught House -- especially the burgers -- is reliably good stuff.