Sometimes, diners want to get away from the hustle and bustle of their lives and enjoy a quiet meal. That doesn’t mean they’re in search of a restaurant with no customers because it's in its death throes. It’s about finding a respectable place where fellow diners are subtly encouraged to behave with some decorum.
For those who seek a peaceful meal, this isn't the time to visit the hot new restaurants or a Tex-Mex place that specializes in tequila shots. It’s about finding a restaurant fit for the grownups.
Also, consider timing. There's a reason why professionals in the restaurant industry call holidays as well as Friday and Saturday nights "amateur hour." Weeknight dining is where it's at. Those who absolutely must go out on Friday or Saturday night will do well to have dinner earlier or later than the usual, like 5:30 or 9 p.m.
Here are ten Houston restaurants where diners can find a good meal and peace of mind, and perhaps even have a good conversation with a friend.
Paulie’s, 1834 Westheimer. It’s not that Paulie’s doesn’t get full and a little “buzzy,” but as a neighborhood Italian restaurant, it never get raucous. Those lucky enough to be able to dine between 1:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. will discover a place peaceful enough to work in, free Wi-Fi and half-price wine.
Mockingbird Bistro, 1985 Welch. Chef John Sheely’s contemporary French bistro is a date-night favorite thanks in no small part to its respectable atmosphere. Happy hour at the bar between 5 and 7 p.m. is the most lively it gets, but people still generally keep the noise down.
La Table, 1800 Post Oak. At La Table, diners can choose their preferred volume. How about the hushed, elegant, “at your service” atmosphere in the upstairs dining room, Château? Maybe instead it should the patio, where even the sound of the cars making their way down Post Oak isn’t particularly noticeable? Downstairs at Marché is likely to be the most energetic spot, but even so, it doesn’t get crazy.
Vallone’s, 947 Gessner. Much like Tony Vallone’s original restaurant, Tony’s, this Memorial City-area Italian steakhouse is full of actual grownups who know how to dine — and that means using “inside voices.” That said, people who actually want to have a party should check out the spacious upstairs dining room, which is ideal for social gatherings.
KUU, 947 Gessner. Located mere footsteps away from Vallone’s is another restaurant where conversations are actually possible. Japanese restaurant KUU has amazing sushi thanks to highly trained chef Adison Lee. Actually, some of the best talking to be done here is over the sushi bar with the chefs, so this is also a great place to dine alone.