Happy new year, food folks! We hope you resolve to try some fun new places this month. Here are 10 hot places to get you started . . .
Some are new restaurants entirely, while others are more seasoned, but all are well worth a visit.
Ryan Hildebrand’s new restaurant officially opened on Christmas Eve to much fanfare, offering an enviable menu of American cuisine with a French twist. Located on Shepherd at Alabama, the attractive, open space fills nightly with pretty people looking to nosh on things like veal broth with foie gras dumplings, Texas quail with duck sausage stuffing and roasted pheasant with fingerling potatoes.
Pizaro's Pizza Napoletana
Authentic Neapolitan pizza? It’s finally here thanks to Pizaro’s on the west side.
Proprietor Bill Hutchinson is a VPN-certified pizza master, while his wife Gloria makes what might be the finest starter salads in town, complete with homemade dressings. Son Matt is the one tossing the dough up front. The resulting pies, complete with housemade mozzarella and sauce, are stunningly delicious.
We expect great things from this farm-to-table gem (on Fairview near Shepherd) in the new year. They’re already doing the little things right — like a lovely bread service and nice charcuterie plate. Mains and vegetable sides are tasty, too, and the menu changes often.
A final, fabulous plus for this little newcomer: Roost is BYOB until it secures the right liquor license.
Rice Box Truck
Craving the Chinese food of your youth?
Find this big red truck outside of Anvil most weekdays at lunch to dig on saucy delights like General Tso’s Chicken, Sweet-n-Sour Chicken, pan-fried dumplings, and fried rice. While you wait for your food, introduce yourself to proprietors Arthur and John, two of the nicest guys on the scene. Follow the @RiceBoxTruck on Twitter for a schedule.
Forget what you’ve heard about Tony’s. The Houston institution has suffered from the standard ups, downs and inconsistencies that follow 45-year-old restaurants, but young chef Grant Gordon has rekindled the burning flame.
He’s earned raves for fantastic soups and mains, but the real joy is in the delicate, housemade pastas paired with sauces both classic and creative.
This sandwich shop opened in November, offering wonderful sandwiches, soups and salads. It’s the casual component of the upscale Benjy’s restaurant and located in the former Antone’s space right next door (in Rice Village).
We love the truffled egg salad sandwich and BLT, plus the beet slaw and kale salad. Go early at lunchtime, as the lovely light-filled sanctuary fills up fast.
Taking the old Tomo spot on Westheimer is Nabi, a new Asian offering. While most of the menu skews sushi/Japanese, there are some outliers from the other eastern influences — pork buns, for example, and vegetable curry.
The food is fine, though not outstanding, but be sure to try the green tea Twinkies for dessert.
Coppa seems to be the it place these days, inspiring oooh-and-ahhhs over bright pastas, hearty meatballs, and creamy burrata. Neapolitan pizzas are worth a try as well.
The space is open and modern — and almost always lively, loud, and full. That said, be sure to have a reservation if you go.
Korean fusion isn’t a common request in Houston, but Kobecue aims to change that with its fast-casual eatery on Richmond at Weslayan. If you’re looking for authentic, this isn’t your place.
But it’s a fun, filling meal that serves as an easy introduction to a genre you may not know well. If you’re a newbie, try the tacos and pork burgers. If you’re more daring, go for the bibimbap or kimchi fries.
The Waffle Bus
We’re beyond excited that this new food truck, which offers waffles and waffle sandwiches, plans to open early this month. Um, strawberry Irish cream creme brulee waffle? Red Velvet Belgian Waffle with white chocolate powdered sugar?
Yes, please! Follow @TheWaffleBus on Twitter for opening details and locations.
Need more recs? Try our lists from previous months: