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Top 10 Dog-Friendly Restaurants in Houston

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Recently, our music blog listed the top ten bars where your dog is welcome, and we thought, hey, why should the bars get all the canine love? Thanks to Paws on Patios, an organization started in 2010 that made it possible for Houston restaurants to get permitting from the city to allow dogs at outdoor tables, more than two dozen restaurants now welcome our canine friends.

And fortunately for those of us who like to enjoy a nice day with our dogs and a delicious meal, there are some truly great Houston eateries with dog-friendly patios. It's no longer just beer joints and the random greasy spoon. These ten places have great food and great spaces in which you and your dog can dine together.

Honorable Mention: Beaver's, Winston's on Washington, Cafe Rabelais and Paulie's all have small but very dog-friendly outdoor seating areas.

10. Tila's Tila Hidalgo's unique Mexican restaurant has imaginative food, strong margaritas and a great, sprawling patio perfect for pooches. It was one of the first restaurants to welcome dogs after the initial Paws on Patios permits were granted back in 2011. Since then, Tila's has been welcoming dogs of all breeds. OK, technically, they aren't supposed to eat there, but there's no harm in sneaking some quesadillas under the table, right?

9. Little Bigs Little Bigs is known for great sliders and boozy milkshakes, but the patio near the corner of Westheimer and Montrose is also a great place to chill with your dogs. The entire family-friendly outdoor seating area is shaded, and there are almost always kids running around while their parents take a much-needed burger break. (So if your dog doesn't do kids, this might not be the best spot for him.) The shade and available water will keep your canine cool, while The Dude, a white Russian milkshake, will keep you cool as well.

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8. Barnaby's There are six Barnaby's in town, all of which are dog-friendly. After all, the place is named for the owner's childhood pet, Barnaby, a big, goofy sheepdog. Barnaby's had been allowing pets on the patio for years until it was pointed out that city ordinance forbade that. So for a while all Barnaby's had to ban dogs, until Paws on Patios permits made it A-OK once again. You'll almost always find dogs at Barnaby's around town now for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The menu features a wide variety of options, and all the meat used is humanely raised.

7. J. Black's Get a little fancy with your four-legged friend at J. Black's, where you can enjoy lamb chops or an artisan pizza on a swanky patio and your pup can feel like a classy fella. The food at J. Black's is pricier than some of the other places on this list, but it's good quality and worth it to dine in style with your dog. J. Black's also features a great cocktail program, making it an ideal place to start an evening of fun on the Washington Corridor before heading out to one of the many dog-friendly bars in the area. Just remember, your dog cannot be your designated driver.

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6. Gratifi Gratifi recently underwent renovations thanks to the TV show "Restaurant Impossible," and the newly redesigned space and menu are better than ever. Thankfully, the production crew left the great, dog-friendly patio intact, meaning you can still dine with your dog at the first Paws on Patios restaurants in town. Owner Kevin Strickland loves dogs, and he often holds fundraisers for local animal rescues at Gratifi. All the food is made from scratch, including dog food, which you can purchase along with your dinner, so you and your buddy really can eat together.

5. Backstreet Cafe The outdoor patio at Backstreet Cafe is one of the loveliest in Houston, and it makes a great dining spot whether you're with a dog or not. Hugo Ortega (of Hugo's and Caracol) is the executive chef at Backstreet, so you know the food is going to be great, though it differs from the traditional Mexican food you'll find at Ortega's other restaurants. Pull up a chair with Fido under one of the patio's large trees, and enjoy outdoor heaters during the cooler months and a great breeze coming off a large fountain during the summer.

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4. Cottonwood Cottonwood has much more space outdoors than indoors, and they invite drinkers and diners to bring the kids and the dogs and settle in for killer burgers and a few games of horseshoes or giant Jenga. Cottonwood is more bar than restaurant, but the menu is quite good, and it features one of the best burgers in Houston. The great space often hosts events featuring live music, artists selling crafts and an array of food trucks to feed all the extra mouths, and your dogs are welcome even then.

3. Good Dog Houston The hotdog food truck gone brick-and-mortar restaurant opened in the Heights late last year, and people have already embraced the notion of eating 'dogs with your dogs. The menu is simple (but awesome), the food is cheap, and there's outdoor seating in the front and back for you and your furry friends. Though hot dogs may sound like a great food to share with your pet, these are really too delicious to give to a non-discerning critter. Bonus: Good Dog has a great selection of wine and beer to make those beef and pork hotdogs go down just a little more smoothly.

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2. Hugo's Hugo Ortega's namesake restaurant doesn't seem like a place that would welcome dogs. It's a little on the fancy side, and the cuisine tends more toward upscale Mexican than Tex-Mex. Still, the patio at Hugo's is just as lovely as the one at Backstreet Cafe, and it, too, is dog-friendly. It's isolated enough that you'll forget you're in the middle of bustling Houston, but totally walkable if you live in Montrose. Did I mention that Hugo's serves some of the best Mexican food in Houston and has a wonderful wine and cocktail program? Yeah, all that and you can bring your dog.

1. Boheme The food and drinks at Boheme get better every week. No, really. Chef Rishi Singh is constantly adding new, delicious options to the menu (think lobster pizza) and the talented bar staff are mixing up unique cocktails all the time. The indoor part of Boheme is on the small side, but the outdoor patio is HUGE (6,000 square feet to be exact), and dogs are welcome throughout. The pizzas at Boheme are some of my favorites--not because they're traditional Neapolitan-style pies, but because they have unique toppings that pair wonderfully with the house-made sangria or a pint of craft beer. There are water and bowls available for your four-legged friends, and plenty of room for them to stretch out and sleep under the table while you eat and drink the night away.

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