10 Houston house restaurants we want to go home to
There's nothing like a rich, home-cooked meal. And if that meal is cooked by a professional, served in a quirky, cozy space and the cleaning is left to others, so much the better.
There's something to be said for soaring ceilings and cavernous wine cellars, but sometimes nothing can beat the pleasures of a restaurant meal in a home. Here are the Top 10 house restaurants in Houston.
10. Just Dinner
A house restaurant in the truest sense, Just Dinner holds only a handful of tables and looks like any other house of Dunlavy from the outside. Inside, fresh Italian dishes are served up — for dinner only, natch.
9. Baba Yega
The dining room here is perfectly adequate, but we adore the patios (there are at least four) and the resplendent weekend brunch. For sandwiches, vegetarian fare or people watching, there's no place better.
For romance, there's nothing like Antica Osteria near West University, all candlelight, cozy nooks and exceptional Italian comfort food.
There's no doubting the quality of the ceviche at Ocean's — no one places in the Chowhounds' Throwdowns without serving some seriously good food, and Ocean's plates theirs lovingly on a platter, like an edible work of art.
But the surroundings, including a beyond picturesque patio, really take Ocean's to the next level.
A Heights institution, Patrenella's still feels like walking into someone's home — someone who makes killer mussels and has a fondness for bocce.
5. Zelko Bistro
A classic bungalow cleaned out and scrubbed to whitewashed (but still homey) perfection, Zelko serves Southern comfort food with a nod to the past, both through the cuisine and the subtle design touches — mason jar lights, anyone?
There are many great things about Max & Julie's place — the warm, seasonal French fare has its share of standouts — but the second floor patio is perhaps the most amazing place in town to enjoy a bottle of wine and an expertly edited array of cheese.
3. Dolce Vita
If a small space can be both airy and warm, Dolce Vita accomplishes it, all while serving incredible, gourmet thin-crust pizzas like no one else in town.
If French food can feel too stuffy, Au Petit Paris is the perfect anecdote. Tucked away on a residential stretch of Colquitt, the atmosphere channels a charming Parisian hideaway in the Latin Quarter, but the food and the service are nothing short of five-star.
With raves from the likes of Frank Bruni (and a James Beard nomination to boot), Feast has added a whole new chapter to Houston dining with their pitch-perfect take on traditional British nose-to-tail cooking, set in a light-filled house facing Westheimer full of cozy corners, wood paneling and baroque-style paintings dotting the walls.
Diners can be as adventurous — or as tame — as they desire, with scallops, chicken and pork belly alongside oxtail, pork cheek and braised tongue. And the lunch deals, with two courses for $14 or three for $18, is the best secret in town.
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