We get asked a lot for suggestions on where to take visitors to Houston. Houston is an amazing place for foodies and non-foodies alike, and it's great to watch the surprised faces of non-Houstonians when they realize all Houston has to offer. Here are our top 10 places to take out-of-towners to eat. All you have to bring is your appetite and your wallet.
1. La Guadalupana: Start your food tour with a hearty breakfast taco and a cup of La Guadalupana's signature cinnamon coffee. Fillings include jalapeños, potatoes and even fajita beef. It's hard to resist coming here and not getting an almond croissant or tres leches for later.
2. Tiny Boxwoods: We have yet to go to Tiny Boxwoods when there isn't a huge crowd. But if you can get past the swarms of fashionistas, you'll find good sandwiches and salads. But what really brings us back again and again are the fresh-from-the-oven cookies and the champagne and peach punch. Plus, your guests can see that Houston really does have grass and trees (Tiny Boxwoods is part of a nursery).
3. Frenchy's Chicken: There are a lot of Frenchy's in Houston, but the best is on Scott St. by the University of Houston. We actually have dreams about their fried chicken. Grab a couple of pieces of crispy goodness and a side of greens for a sinful soul food lunch. While you're in the area, take your out-of-towners on a quick tour of the university.
4. Thien An: Houston has an incredible international food culture, and near downtown Houston you'll find a bevy of delicious Vietnamese food. One of our favorites is the banh mi dac biet at Thien An. The banh mi dac biet contains pate, ham, chicken, pork sausage and meatballs on toasted French bread. But, you can also get regular Vietnamese sandwiches with just chicken, ham or veggies.
5. Café Brasil: You don't have to wear skinny jeans and oversized glasses to have brunch at Café Brasil, but, you'll definitely fit in if you do. After brunch, stroll down Montrose, or what the New York Times called a slice of Austin, and check out the funky antique stores and clothing boutiques.
6. Ninfa's on Navigation: Not all Ninfa's are alike. And if you've been to the one on Navigation, you know what I'm talking about. Ninfa's on Navigation is the original Ninfa's and the best. It's fun and festive, with good food. Grab a seat on the patio and check out the fajitas and blackberry margaritas.
7. West Alabama Ice House: There's nothing like sweating outside in the heat and humidity with a cold beer to remind you that you're in Houston. Fortunately, West Alabama Ice House has good beer and a great atmosphere. People bring their dogs and spend lazy Sunday afternoons drinking beer and playing horseshoes. Sometimes, they even have the occasional crawfish boil.
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8. Goode Co. Barbeque: You can't come to Houston without eating barbeque. And, Goode Co. BBQ is a Houston staple. Whether you're picking up pecan pies for Thanksgiving or grabbing a quick lunch before heading back to work, Goode Co. is always a good choice. We get their chopped beef sandwich on jalapeño cheese bread with a side of jambalaya. We usually need a nap afterwards.
9. La Carafe: Walking into La Carafe is like walking into a haunted house where the cobwebs are real and you're not quite sure if the building is going to collapse with you in it. But, then again, it's a great spot to see Downtown, and at this haunted house, they serve wine.
10. St. Arnold's Brewery: Houston is fortunate to have a brewery, and a good one at that. On a rainy Saturday, pick up some sandwiches and head to the new St. Arnold's brewery for basically free beer (it actually costs $5). Just make sure to get there early, or you may have to wait in a long line.
What are your favorite spots to take visitors?