time to brag

Houston scores 'stunner' spot in Time Magazine's Best Places in the World list

Houston scores 'stunner' spot on Time's Best Places in the World list

Musaafer winter pomelo salad
Musaafer, the cutting-edge, palatial Indian restaurant, gets a nod in the article.  Photo by Raydon Creative

Houstonians once again can enjoy some serious bragging rights. The Bayou City has been named to Time Magazine’s prestigious list of World’s Greatest Places 2021.

With respectful regrets to Austin and Dallas-Fort Worth, H-Town is the only Texas city to appear in the listing.

For a little perspective, other world-class cities mentioned on the enviable report include Athens; Beijing, Cannes, France; KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa; Arouca, Portugal; and Marrakech, Morocco.

U.S. cities in the report include understandable destinations such as New York, Los Angeles, New Orleans, and Denver — as well as some surprises such as Indianapolis; Memphis, Tennessee; and Orlando, Florida.

Heralding Houston as a “Lone Star stunner,” (aw shucks), the Time piece notes that our fair city has welcomed around 100,000 new residents in 2019 and has “emerged as one of the most diverse cities in the American South.”

Not surprisingly, dining is a focus in the Houston article, with nods to Musaafer, as well as Late August, the “highly anticipated restaurant led by Top Chef finalist Dawn Burrell, will soon open in the city’s new innovation district.”

And why not? As CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler noted, the palatial, over-the-top Musaafer (its interior alone warrants a visit) boasts the charismatic chef Mayank Istwal and his creations — all inspired by his travels across India’s 29 states to collect recipes and ideas.

“It is an honor to have achieved this milestone on the heels of our first anniversary following what at times felt like an insurmountable year,” Musaafer's owners, Shammi and Mithu Malik, tell CultureMap. “We are proud to call Houston home and are pleased that Musaafer contributes to the city's ever-evolving, diverse culinary landscape. It is our mission to celebrate our culture with our new community, and this recognition on a global scale serves as a testament to the years of hard work and dedication by our executive chef Mayank Istwal and his team.”

Meanwhile, as noted in an exclusive interview with the overachiever Burrell, a a former Olympic track athlete who reached the finals of Top Chef, Late August is yet another example of the cutting-edge dining found here. Her eatery will introduce “a new style, which is Afro-Asian cuisine,” she told Sandler. “A lot of cultures like Guyana, they have all those flavor profiles because of migration.”

Other notables in the Time piece include the buzzy POST Houston, the downtown concert venue, food and market hall, and work space, which will open in a former post office this fall. As CultureMap noted when the project was initially announced, POST will feature one of the world’s largest rooftop gardens.

The downtown hot spot just announced 11 exciting new food hall tenants, representing fresh global and local offerings and approaches. 

Houston’s beloved Project Row Houses, our community-­based arts organization that restored row houses to provide art studios and exhibition spaces for local artists and affordable housing for young mothers, also gets some love.

Founded by the dynamic local artist Rick Lowe, Project Row Houses recently celebrated a major cash infusion thanks to a generous grant from Houston Endowment and the Ford Foundation.