After living in The Woodlands since I was seven years old, I have eaten at many restaurants, seen many open and quickly close. Over the last ten years, The Woodlands has grown exponentially, adding new shopping centers, a renovated concert pavilion and more community areas.
With all of this expansion and development, The Woodlands has received a multitude of new restaurants, many of which have made this list.
10. Mi Cocina
Mi Cocina recently took the place of Rockfish Grille in The Woodlands Waterway plaza and has proven to be a wonderful addition to this shopping center. Whether you're dining there for lunch or dinner, you're in for a delicious authentic Mexican meal. Start out with their complimentary thick and crispy chips and their classic "Mi Cocina" margarita. Choose from a variety of tacos and enchiladas filled with everything from rib-eye beef to pork. Make sure to order the Tacos "De Brisket" for delicious overnight roasted shredded brisket topped with queso blanco and avocado slices stuffed in corn or flour tortillas. They're mouthwatering and scrumptious.
9. Hubbell & Hudson Bistro Attached to the specialty market, Hubbell & Hudson's Bistro offers a menu filled with items made from the products sold in the market. Every item on the menu features such a multitude of interesting and intriguing ingredients that it is hard to choose what to order. Of course, you can't go wrong with a black truffle risotto to start your meal, followed by one of their dry aged steaks with your choice of rub, sauce and two sides. Even though the restaurant is sophisticated and modern, choosing one of their sandwiches for dinner is perfectly fine. The wagyu burger with smoked gouda, baby arugula and prosciutto di parma on a toasted English muffin is to die for. With a market next door, you've also got an endless supply of wines and beers from around the world.
8. Via Emilia
Via Emilia was originally on FM 1960 in Spring near my high school. I remember going after basketball or soccer games with my family and ordering a big plate of pasta, and always leaving satisfied. After graduating, I haven't been able to visit the Spring area too often, but Via Emilia recently moved to The Woodlands with an expanded dining room. My mom swears by the datteri ripieni, otherwise known as dates stuffed with goat and Mascarpone cheese, wrapped in smoked bacon, as an appetizer, or the osso buco with veal. Their pasta tastes fresh each time I have visited and all of their meat, chicken or seafood dishes have always satisfied my appetite. It's a typical Northern Italian menu with all of the classic dishes you love.
My family and I found our go-to Chinese restaurant in The Woodlands and have stuck with it since 1999. Ace Chinese is a little hole-in-the-wall restaurant serving up delicious classic Chinese cuisine. Every time we visit or order it to go, we always get egg rolls, wonton or hot and sour soup, General Tso's chicken and sweet and sour chicken, all served with white rice and lots of soy sauce. Ace Chinese always gets the classics right and that's what we love about it.
One of the newest additions to the Waterway Town Center is Grimaldi's Pizzeria where pizzas are made in a coal brick oven. Rather than using wood or gas, Grimaldi's uses coal to give the pizza a unique taste that resembles the pizza you'd find on the streets in New York City. Choose from either a 12-inch personal pizza or a 16 or 18-inch pizza with either red sauce, white sauce or pesto. Then, choose your toppings -- everything from fresh garlic and jalapenos to meatballs and extra basil. Grimaldi's is truly in a convenient area of The Woodlands. Grab a quick bite to eat before going to see a movie, or stop by after a long day of shopping in the mall.
If you are looking for a place to eat breakfast, Black Walnut Cafe is the place to go. Enjoy their made-to-order kolaches, personalized omelets or classic pancake stacks. I'm always a sucker for chocolate chip pancakes. It's the perfect place to stuff your face and go back home for a morning nap. Black Walnut Cafe is also open for lunch and dinner. So, if you're in the mood for soups, comforting sandwiches or fresh salads, Black Walnut Cafe will satisfy your cravings. But, the breakfast menu is my favorite.
Located in the middle of the Market Street shopping center is Jasper's. This restaurant serves delicious southern cuisine with an elegant touch. I've always ordered the signature Maytag blue cheese potato chips as an appetizer -- the thick cut fresh potato chips are covered in melted blue cheese that will make any blue cheese lover feel like they have died and gone to heaven. Jasper's is one of the only gourmet restaurants in The Woodlands where you can order their slow smoked baby back ribs and it is acceptable to get the ancho barbeque sauce all over your face and hands. Honestly, getting messy while eating baby back ribs is the only way to truly enjoy them. Finish the night with one of the delicious desserts; it's hard to decide between the rocky road ice cream sandwiches or the butterfinger creme brulee. Or even better, get the mini dessert trio for three of their desserts in smaller form.
Kirby's sits on a hill-top near I-45 in The Woodlands Mall area and has one of the best steaks in town. Any time you visit Kirby's, you have to order the pepper steak: a filet mignon coated in cracked peppercorns with a cognac pepper sauce draped over the top. If you're feeling seafood, I recommend the pan roasted sea bass with a lobster risotto. Both items are scrumptious. Start your meal with the lobster bisque and a blue cheese wedge salad and you're in for a tummy satisfying night.
2. Perry's Steakhouse & Grille The Woodlands location for Perry's is in my opinion the best. The restaurant always offers excellent service, followed by a delicious meal; it's a feel-good experience all around. The escargot at Perry's is hands-down the best escargot I have had, and I have eaten some in Paris. It's buttery, salty and melts in your mouth. But, the star of the menu is their famous pork chop carved tableside. The first time I ordered this I didn't know what I was getting myself into. There are three sections to the pork chop and the server tells you to go in order when you're eating the entree. I couldn't finish the first section, but that didn't stop me from tasting the other two juicy and savory sections. It's a lot of food, but makes for great leftovers the next day. If you're feeling a little fishy, go for the hong kong style sea bass or the pecan-crusted red snapper. It will rock your world.
I absolutely love Amerigo's. My parents visited Amerigo's for the first time while I was in college and promised to take me the next time I came down. Last Christmas, we spent our Christmas Eve dining there and it was one of the best Christmas Eve dinners I have ever had. We began our meal with the calamari fritti -- breaded and fried to perfection. Afterwards, I ordered the bosc pear salad with dried cranberries, gorgonzola and pears with a blueberry-pomegranate dressing. My mom ordered her favorite Italian entree, cioppino, a seafood stew with lobster, snapper and shellfish sitting in a tomato sauce, with crusty bread to soak up all the sauce. I ordered the snapper, served with crabmeat and was a happy camper. It's a wonderful Italian restaurant to enjoy a night of celebration or a quiet dinner for two. I guarantee you'll leave with a smile on your face.
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