When you're dining out during the holidays, it simply feels more like a celebration if the restaurant has put some real effort into decorating. Some restaurants in Houston are really into the season in a big way, but the approach varies from one place to the next. No matter what setting diners want, there’s a restaurant to suit every mood and every type of party. From tasteful, classic decorations to an over-the-top Christmasland, here are seven Houston restaurants that accentuate holiday meals with the lights and beauty of the season.
9. Mark's American Cuisine, 1658 Westheimer
As if a restaurant housed in a former cathedral isn't splendid enough, the place has been adorned in evergreen and lights from floor to ceiling. Boughs are hung along the balcony and the entryway is prepared to receive visitors in festive glamour, too. It's perfect for enjoying holiday-appropriate dishes like the Trio of Lamb, heirloom beet salad, smoked salmon and the other high-end, classic fare Mark's is known for.
8. Artisans, 3201 Louisiana
The 14-foot-tall tree in the entryway of Artisans is so striking that it’s easily visible from Smith Street. Inside, the decor is classy and restrained, as befits a fine French restaurant. There are poinsettias everywhere — giant baskets in the corners and smaller ones in the window ledges. It's a fine environment to dine on hearty short ribs and decadent layered desserts.
7. Tony’s, 3755 Richmond
Just past the entrance of Tony’s is a multi-tiered display of hundreds of Christmas ornaments as well as a menorah — a nod to the multicultural melting pot that is Houston. Further inside, colorful arrangements of flowers and ornaments are tall, elegant and tasteful. We'd expect no less from this fine dining institution.
6. Brennan’s of Houston, 3300 Smith
Festive yet tasteful is the motif at Brennan’s of Houston. There’s not a single room left untouched by decor, but it’s not a bunch of gaudy overkill, either. Expect a reasonable number of wreaths, evergreen arrangements and dangling shiny ornaments everywhere, even outside. Brennan’s of Houston is, of course, probably one of the most in-demand dining settings during the holidays, so call ahead for your reservation to dine on genteel Creole-inspired fare.
5. Cuchara, 214 Fairview
Really, Cuchara has an air of festivity about it year-round thanks to the numerous colorful Mexican collectibles the restaurant sells and decorates with. (Some are breathtaking in their artistry, like the throw embroidered with hand-sewn from top to bottom.) At this time of year, a big Christmas tree and giant piñatas add their own sparkly glamour. The warming cuisine of Mexico City seems well-suited for this time of year, too.