3 things to know

3 things to know in Houston food right now: New Italian, more Moroccan, and fine French lunch

3 things to know in Houston food: New Italian, fine French, and more

Concura Italian Bites carbonara di pesce
Concura Italian Bites' carbonara di pesce. Photo by Matthew Rood
Le Jardinier interior
Le Jardinier will begin lunch on September 3. Photo by Claudia Casbarian
ZOA Moroccan Kitchen
Zoa Moroccan Kitchen opens in Bellaire next month. Courtesy of ZOA Moroccan Kitchen
Concura Italian Bites carbonara di pesce
Le Jardinier interior
ZOA Moroccan Kitchen

Editor's note: Houston’s restaurant scene moves pretty fast. In order to prevent CultureMap readers from missing anything, let’s stop to look around at all the latest news to know.

Concura Italian Bites has opened near Highland Village at 4340 Westheimer Rd. Named for the Italian word for “with care,” owner Jessica Biondi has used Italian furniture and artwork throughout the intimate space. Executive chef Angelo Cuppone (Roma) takes his part of his inspiration from the Adriatic coast while also serving traditional dishes such as Pappa al Pomodoro, Vitello Tonnato, Carbonara di Pesce, and Polpo e Patate con Olive Taggiasche. 

“Think of Concura as a place you come to gather with friends. The inviting atmosphere will make you feel comfortable and right at home,” Biondi said in a statement. “Eat, drink, and feel Italiano – that’s our motto.”

Concura is open for dinner Tuesday-Saturday beginning at 5 pm. Reservations are available via Resy.

Zoa Moroccan Kitchen will open its second Houston-area location on September 1 in Bellaire at 6700 S. Rice Ave. Founded by chef Youssef Nafaa, CEO of Bella Restaurants Group (Mia Bella, Coco’s Crepes) in 2020, Zoa offers traditional Moroccan dishes translated to a fast casual format of bowls and sandwiches. Diners can opt to assemble their own, Chipotle style, or go for a preset mix of ingredients. 

Zoa uses all halal proteins, including beef, chicken, and lamb, that are paired with a wide array of vegetables, including roasted root vegetables, confit onions, feta cheese, and cucumber tomato salad as well as sauces such as harissa, mint-avocado yogurt, or garlic aioli.

The restaurant has been a hit with diners. It earned 52nd on Yelp’s list of Texas’s 100 best restaurants. 

Le Jardinier, the vegetable-forward fine dining restaurant at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, will add lunch service to its offerings beginning September 3. Developed by chef Alain Verzeroli, who holds a Michelin star at the New York location of Le Jardinier, the restaurant’s lunch menu includes dishes such as an avocado tartine with with purple hull peas, Carolina gold rice risotto with roasted squash, and an upscale spin on shrimp and grits.

“When you bring a new concept to a city with a culinary reputation like Houston, you never know how it will be received, but we’ve been honored to see our vision for Le Jardinier turn into a reality,” chef de cuisine Andrew Ayala said in a statement. “Through the new lunch service, we’re excited to expand not only the number of reservations we can offer, but also the way our guests experience the restaurant.”

Lunch will be served from 11:30 am to 2 pm Wednesday-Saturday. Reservations are available via Resy.