Dynamic Variation:

Houston's Top American Food Restaurants


For a city known for its delicious ethnic fare, it should come as no surprise that Houston delivers top-notch American cuisine, too. Sure, there are plenty of greasy spoons in the nation’s fourth-largest city, turning out mouthwatering burgers, hot dogs, and fries, but what about buttoned-up American outposts? Read on for our top date worthy H-Town restaurants that deliver stateside classics and New American cuisine in style.

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BACKSTREET CAFÉ

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Backstreet Cafe

Tucked away on Shepherd Drive is the converted residence that is home to Backstreet Café. Since 1983, James Beard-nominated Chef Hugo Ortega’s New American venture has delighted fans with refined comfort food like shrimp and grits and a savory meat loaf tower. For prime people-watching, patrons in-the-know request one of the umbrella-covered tables on the front terrace.

CULTIVATED F+B

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Cultivated F+B at The Lancaster

Snag a pre-theater meal (or post-show dessert) at The Lancaster Hotel’s Cultivated F+B. Inside the intimate space, white tablecloths and soft lighting set the scene for contemporary American bistro favorites like crab cakes and pan-seared fresh catch. Save room for the signature warm croissant bread putting with brandied dried cherries, fig confit, and caramel sauce.

THE ANNIE CAFÉ AND BAR

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RDG Bar Annie

Within Chef Robert del Grande’s multi-level The Annie Café and Bar, diners find a mix of newly-developed dishes, revamped culinary creations, as well as favorites like the tortilla soup and wood-roasted rabbit enchiladas. 

Culinary-The Grove

Located across the street from the George R. Brown Convention Center, the two-story, ultra-urban The Grove is one of two restaurants inside Downtown’s Discovery Green park. There, patrons find a sleek and modern space, along with a menu designed by chef/owner Robert Del Grande, featuring a variety of steaks, seafood, and rotisserie specialties. The bar menu offers more casual fare, such as the signature cheeseburger made famous at RDG + Bar Annie.

HEARSAY GASTRO LOUNGE

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Hearsay On The Green

Situated in downtown’s historic W.L. Foley Building, Hearsay Gastro Lounge brings a fresh focus to a site that once served as a Confederate armory during the Civil War. The renovated spot features a massive ceiling—three-stories-high—original brick walls and crystal chandeliers. There, regulars return for upscale pub grub like the beer-battered asparagus, lamb chop pops, and espresso-blackened catch.

It’s been more than a decade since father-son team Tony and Russell Masraff teamed up to launch the family’s contemporary-American concept, Masraff's. Set in the heart of the Galleria area, the light-filled and modern space features floor-to-ceiling windows, etched-metal artwork, a 10-foot-high elevated fireplace and shimmering light fixtures. The popular wild-mushroom ravioli and garlic-seared calamari both impress on the variety-filled menu, as do the daily-changing risottos and the caramelized diver scallops.

MAX'S WINE DIVE

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Max's Wine Dive

Max's Wine Dive is an “upscale dive bar” offering a standout wine list, late-night comfort food, and a Texas-proud jukebox. Concrete floors, exposed brick walls, and luxe black leather booths don't scream “dive joint,” but neither does the expertly selected wine list or menu dominated by organic and locally grown goods. Crowds of trendy diners vie for tables at dinner time, sampling menu standouts like the Texas-style chili, kobe beef burger, and king-size “haute dog.”

Ouisie’s Table

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Native Houstonian Elouise Adams Jones—better known to locals as Ouisie—opened her upscale Southern restaurant, Ouisie’s Table, in 1973 as a way to share family-style dishes from her childhood. Set inside a renovated country house, Ouisie’s features multi-room dining spaces that are cozy and intimate, boasting fireplaces, high-ceilings, garden views and a blackboard advertising the day’s specials. On the menu, Ouisie’s assortment of regionally-inspired dishes reflects her love for the Gulf Coast and elegant Louisiana cuisine. The southern shrimp and grits remain a local favorite, as does the chicken fried steak.

RAINBOW LODGE

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Rainbow Lodge Pie HRW 2020

Set along the banks of the White Oak Bayou, inside a more than 100-year-old log cabin, the Rainbow Lodge remains one of the city’s most-loved and historic dining destinations. Inside the converted Heights’ home, stone fireplaces, stag heads, and antler-clad chandeliers adorn the multi-room restaurant, lending to the lodge’s cozy appeal. Outside, tables line a dramatic deck, which overlooks the restaurant’s tropical grounds and makes a serene escape. On the culinary front, wild game and seafood reign supreme, highlighted by standouts like the slow-smoked duck and andouille sausage gumbo and pan-seared red snapper.

Roost Montrose

Owned by Haven alum, Kevin Naderi, Montrose’s farm-to-table Roost restaurant tempts date night duos and business clients with shareable small plates offered in a home-style setting. Tempting smells drift from the open kitchen, highlighting dishes on Naderi’s internationally influenced (and always changing) menu. Expect a mix of fish and meat dishes (the diver scallops and flat iron steak are both standouts), but don’t miss the roasted cauliflower and signature donut hole dessert.

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