In Houston, we're pretty serious about our brunch. Whether it be migas and breakfast tacos or chicken and waffles and loaded Bloody Marys, we have no shortage of awesome spots to get our brunch on. Keeping later hours and killer cocktails in mind, we'll be taking a look at some of our favorite spots around town. See the complete list at the end of this post.
This week, we're covering the deliciously rich 'hood of River Oaks.
Note: For the purposes of this post, River Oaks is defined as south of Buffalo Bayou, west of Dunlavy, east of Suffolk and north of Westheimer.
If there's anyone who can make chicken-fried steak smothered in cream gravy seem sophisticated, it's Elouise Adams Jones. You can find that and other delights at both of Jones' Third Coast kitchens. At Ouisie's, feast on mozzarella topped bison burgers, seafood crepes, and shrimp and cheese grits. At The Bird & The Bear, munch on a fried green tomato BLT, Alaskan salmon eggs Benny, and huevos rancheros. And of course, don't forget to tack on a fully loaded Southern Mary or bottomless mimosas, bellinis, and champagne ($12 at Ouisie's, $9 at B&B).
*Note: Ouisie's also has earlier breakfast hours.
4. Empire Cafe Daily 7:30 a.m. to noon
Though this could also be considered Montrose, it lies just on the cusp of our River Oaks borders, earning this hip cafe with a even hipper patio a spot on this list. Their morning beverages -- including fresh-mint-infused mojitos, "empress" Marys, and boozy coffees made with Bailey's, Frangelico, and Grand Marnier -- helped to earn them that spot. As did their menu of homey breakfast classics, from true Irish oatmeal and build-your-own omelets to breakfast quesadillas and gingerbread waffles.
This story continues on the next page.
3. Local Pour Sunday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
While LP is certainly one of the nicer, trendier beer bars in town (it is in River Oaks after all), it's a beer bar none the less. And sometimes, you just want to brunch at a spot where no one will look at you twice if you're wearing last night's T-shirt and jeans.
Grab a long table or a seat at the dark, handsome bar and order the first of many 99 cent mimosas -- available in orange, cranberry, pineapple, mango, peach, or wild berry. Then take down brunch and lunch specialties like a Texas-sized French toast dredged in orange liqueur and dolloped with housemade pecan butter; breakfast tacos with corn salsa, the LP burger or the house favorite calamari fries.
2. Backstreet Cafe Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
This charming café tucked away off South Shepherd is sure to be packed, so cozy yourself up to the bar to start with some killer brunch drinks while you wait for a table (you'll likely wait a short while, even with a reservation). But that's all the better to build up the appetite you'll need to eat everything you're going to want to try.
Do yourself a favor and get a pan of fresh-out-of-the-oven buttermilk biscuits -- some of the best we've encountered in the city -- for the table. And maybe an order of the orange-infused, chocolate-studded brioche rolls if you're feeling randy. Then move on to anything from glazed pork belly and grits to lobster frittata and chicken enchiladas. And of course, a few more champagne-and-brandy kissed cocktails couldn't hurt.
This story continues on the next page.
1. Brasserie 19 Sunday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
This cool and cozy French brasserie is always a place to see and be seen, but we find it a little more laid back on lazy Sunday mornings. The people watching is still great and the brunch fare? It's even better. Sip on beautifully crafted cappuccinos or pop a bottle of bubbly while you take down bistro classics like French onion soup, soft scrambled eggs, steak frites and pain perdu.
We especially love the croque madame, a golden-brown and buttery brioche number topped with thick-cut French ham, melted Gruyere, and a velvety, rich-as-all-hell béchamel. Oh, and an expertly cooked sunny-side-up farm fresh egg. Break the yolk and watch it ooze over the sandwich, then use the mountain of crisp pomme frites to sop up anything you may have missed.
See our other 5 Best Brunch Lists:
For our guide to the best cheap lunch spots by neighborhood, check here.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.