The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion is a great place to hear a concert. But if you'd like to move to a higher level of experience as far as food is concerned, you might want to fuel up elsewhere. Fortunately there are plenty of good restaurants nearby, several within walking distance from an approved parking lot for the pavilion.
Here's our top 10:
10. Tommy Bahama
If you're in the mood for seafood, steak, sandwiches or a salad, this Caribbean-themed restaurant has you covered, but you'll probably need a reservation. Try the house roasted pork sandwich - the pork is cooked in a blackberry brandy barbecue sauce and topped with crispy fried onions, an Asian slaw, and fries on the side. The macadamia nut encrusted snapper with wasabi soy butter, almond rice and asparagus is another standout. Park your car in an approved parking lot close to the restaurant and walk directly to the pavilion.
9. Mi Cocina
Tex-Mex, margaritas, chips, salsa, what's not to love? Fill up on a platter of fajitas or tacos "de brisket" with shredded brisket, queso blanco and an avocado salad. You can also keep it simple with a couple of appetizers like quesadillas, guacamole, chips, or a cocina platter to sample a few appetizers. Ask for a seat "outside" in the air-conditioned, covered patio for a more comfortable outdoor dining experience. You can easily walk from Mi Cocina to the pavilion, too.
If you want a quick bite to eat, Salata is the place. Get a customized salad or wrap before the concert for something cheap, quick and healthy. Choose from a wide variety of salad toppings, like radishes, snap peas, sun-dried tomatoes, grapes, avocado and a seafood mix. This "next generation salad bar" lets you make a restaurant-worthy salad to your liking. Because Salata is inside the Market Street, you can walk from the restaurant straight to the front gate of the pavilion.
Grimaldi's Pizzeria stands on the other side of the pavilion; grab a slice of pizza with an uber crispy thin crust. Don't shy away from a crust that appears to be burnt, or blackened by the coal brick oven -- just the way they do it in New York. Grimaldi's fires its pizzas in a coal brick oven, unlike most places, so the oven gets much hotter, giving each pizza a nice sear on the crust and a smoky finish. Tell your pizza maker to keep the pizza in the oven for just a minute longer if you want the crust to be super crispy. Pizza night becomes just a little bit more special at Grimaldi's.
A new addition to the Waterway, La Lupita serves up Mexican classics (note: not Tex-Mex), and specialty margaritas in the downstairs main dining room. Enjoy gazing at the beautiful Waterway while sitting in the large patio. Head on over to La Lupita after the concert as well to enjoy a night with friends at the full bar serving a vast amount of different types of tequila to create specialty drinks, like the El Chicuahua made with Sotol Reposado, Cointreau, St. Germain and grapefruit, or the El Negro made with Patron XO, almond tequila and Godiva chocolate.
If you're bringing a date to a concert, take him or her to Americas on The Waterway. Enjoy various ceviches and appetizers, such as beef short ribs and softshell crawfish, as well as corn smoked crab fingers and a selection of empanadas. Follow those plates with The Churrasco steak topped with chimichurri and served with a crispy yuca cake. If you're still hungry, enjoy tequila bread pudding for a sweet twist on the classic dessert, or indulge in a chocolate fest with the delirio de chocolate, a chocolate truffle cake with chocolate mousse, chocolate ganache, raspberry coulis and a pineapple tarragon relish. Eat like a rockstar before you go watch a few perform at the pavilion.
Other than the spectacular fish tacos at Berryhill Baja Grill, feast on a plate of 2012's no. 7 tamales in Houston. Choose from spinach-and-corn, beef or chicken and you'll see why these famous tamales made our 2012 Rest of the Best list for top 10 tamales in Houston. The tamale sauce balanced with vinegar and spice complements the delectable masa in the tamales. Make it an extra special dinner by treating yourself to a piece of tres leches cake, some of the best in the city, at Berryhill, another Market Street restaurant offering an easy walk to the pavilion.
Right down the street from La Lupita is Hubbell & Hudson which gives you two options: bistro dining, or order a sandwich or make a salad inside the grocery portion of the restaurant. Sit upstairs ‑ you might get lucky enough to see a cooking class ‑ or sit outside and make yourself a picnic if the weather is being friendly. You most certainly can choose from a selection of ready-made foods like green beans, lasagna, roasted vegetables and mashed potatoes. Simply choose a few dishes, heat them up in the microwave inside the downstairs seating area and enjoy a gourmet meal in minutes. Grab a pastry, cup of gelato, or a cookie (or just sample one or two) to end your meal on a sweet note.
2. Uni Sushi
The lively atmosphere at Uni Sushi lends itself to being a great place to grab a delicious and healthy meal before any concert. Reservations are advised but if you decide to hit up the sushi restaurant last minute, you might get lucky and snag a seat at the bar. Start with the perfectly baked crab stuffed avocado. Round out your meal with some specialty sushi rolls, like the Shaggy Dog or Watch Your Butt roll.
The beauty of Jasper's is that you can eat outside on the patio, inside at the bar or in the main dining room and have a wonderful experience. Start the meal off with the homemade crispy chips smothered in melted and crumbled Maytag blue cheese. The sharp zip from the blue cheese goes hand-in-hand with the salty and crispy homemade chips. Follow those chips with the Bon Appetit favorite, baby back ribs, but order the half-rack, because these ribs are massive. If you still have room for dessert, finish with a trio of mini versions of Jasper's desserts, like the Butterfinger crème brulee, or keep it light with Pinkberry frozen yogurt.