Once again, Texas Monthly has published its list of the state’s best new restaurants. Led by food critic and executive editor Pat Sharpe, the 21st edition of the list highlights the magazine’s favorite dishes from around the state.
Texas Monthly utilized the same format for its 2021 list, opting not to publish a ranked list due to the difficulties restaurants faced during the pandemic. “This year, in the wake of the delta and omicron coronavirus variants, we made the same decision,” Sharpe writes.
Open to restaurants that opened between December 1, 2020 and December 1, 2021, the list breaks down dishes into the following categories: small plates, sandwiches, large plates, sweets, and cocktails. Separate features highlight Texas-made beers, wines, and spirits; provide an overview of popular outdoor dining options in major Texas cities; and look ahead to 2022’s most anticipated new restaurants.
Houston leads the way with eight bars and restaurants receiving recognition for their dishes or drinks. Looking at the state’s other major cities, Austin and Dallas eateries each earn seven spots, respectively, while Fort Worth and San Antonio have five entries per city.
Three restaurants receive slightly longer profiles. They are: March, the Montrose restaurant devoted to elegant, Mediterranean-inspired tasting menus; Up Scale, a San Antonio restaurant that focuses on steaks, seafood, and sushi; and Meridian, Dallas chef Junior Borges’s modern Brazilian restaurant. Sharpe hails March for its “art-filled, 28-seat dining room” and chef Felipe Riccio’s “highly inventive” take on Spanish food the restaurant served in the fall (it just reopened with a new, French-inspired menu for the spring).
Turning to the Houston bars and restaurants recognized for their individual dishes, both Da Gama’s Tandoori Roots and Ixím’s fried meatballs make the small plates section. Winnie’s gets a nod for its Peacemaker Po’ boy. The large plates section includes the Pollo a la Leña served at Chivos, Duck N Bao’s signature whole Peking duck, and Urbe’s huarache, a masa cake topped with refried black beans, carnitas, and poblano chile strips (rajas). The drinks and dishes section finishes with the Butterfly dessert served at Le Jardinier and Night Shift’s Pornstar Martini.
The patio dining list mixes old favorites like Backstreet Cafe and Brennan’s alongside relative newcomers like Buffalo Bayou Brewing Co. and J-Bar-M Barbecue. Finally, Texas Monthly is looking forward to Aaron Bludorn’s still-unnamed Rice Village restaurant and Top Chef finalist Dawn Burrell’s Afro-Asian restaurant Late August, among others.
Head to the Texas Monthly website to see the complete list of selections from across the state.