Houston Chronicle food critic, Alison Cook, released her top 100 restaurants picks for 2017. The much anticipated list, now in its seventh year, includes the best restaurants in town and makes for a great dining guide for Houstonians and visitors alike.
This year, the list includes 16 newcomers, including chef Hugo Ortega’s downtown restaurant, Xochi, which took the top spot held by the now closed Oxheart in previous years. Also this year, Cook numerically ranked the top 30 restaurants on the list up from 25 in 2016 because, she writes, “it was such a strong year for the Houston dining scene.”
Curious to know which restaurants earned the top spots? Below are Cook’s top 10. See the full list here.
- Xochi - Set in downtown’s Marriott Marquis, chef Hugo Ortega’s Xochi celebrates Oaxacan cuisine and culture. Cook calls it the “crown jewel restaurant” downtown Houston deserves.
- BCN Taste and Tradition - Named after Barcelona’s airport code, this Museum District restaurant has been treating Houstonians to modern Spanish cuisine. “It just keeps getting better,” writes Cook about chef Luis Rogers’s cuisine.
- Coltivare - This Heights rustic Italian restaurant under the helm of chef Ryan Pera is a neighborhood and city favorite for its seasonal flavors and local sourcing. It doesn’t take reservations but Cook writes it’s worth the wait.
- The Pass and Provisions - Cook praises chefs Seth Siegel-Gardner and Terrence Gallivan for managing two adjacent restaurants with very different ambiances and menus. The Pass, a more formal setting, offers seasonal tasting menus and wine pairings. At Provisions, the casual brasserie next door, Cook suggests trying the Saturday-only brunch, which she calls “one of the best (and less cliched) in the city.”
- Kata Robata - Up from the number 13 last year, Chef Manabu Horiuchi's Japanese restaurant is better than ever, writes Cook. She calls Kata Robata’s omakase (chef’s choice) “an essential Houston dining experience.”
- Hugo’s - Even though it moved down from the number 2 spot, perhaps making room for its new sibling (Xochi), Hugo’s continues to be a dining destination in Houston. Don’t miss chef Hugo Ortega’s authentic Mexican cuisine, which according to Cook, “remains deeply satisfying.”
- Pondicheri - Chef Anita Jaisinghani’s West Avenue casual eatery offers Indian breakfast, lunch, and dinner plus delicious treats at its upstairs Bake Lab. “If there is a Houston restaurant that offers more daily opportunities for delight than Pondicheri, I'd like to hear about it,” writes Cook.
- Killen’s Barbecue - Chef Ronnie Killen’s Pearland barbecue joint is a Houston destination if you’re looking for good ‘cue. Cook praises its superior sides, great sauces, and desserts while assuring readers that she has not once visited and not encountered barbecue that is “good to outright glorious.”
- Helen Greek Food & Wine - This Rice Village Greek Tavern shines for its modern takes on regional Greek cuisine and well-curated Greek wine list, which Cook calls the restaurant’s heart and soul.
- Pax Americana - This Montrose restaurant serves up modern American fare in a lively atmosphere. Cook praises the graceful touch that chef Martha de Leon brings to the menu following the departure of the restaurant’s founding chef, Adam Dorris. She also recommends the fixed-price family style supper menu for a tour of the restaurant’s best dishes.