TxMo best new restaurants
Aaron Bludorn's new eatery tops Texas Monthly's best new restaurants, with 2 more local favorites on the list
Texas Monthly editor Patricia Sharpe has published her list of Texas’s Best New Restaurants in 2023. Numbered one to 10, it’s open to establishments that opened between December 1, 2021 and December 1, 2022, and it must be a restaurant's first Texas location.
Notably, it’s Texas Monthly’s first ranked list of best new restaurants since 2020. Due to the challenges restaurants faced in 2021 and 2022, the magazine shared a longer list of favorite dishes and drinks from restaurants across the state. Now, the article has returned to its familiar format.
After riffing on a few topics, including the rise of shareable dishes — she calls out shared desserts where restaurants “hand you a spoon as if it were a five-year-old’s birthday party” — diners dressing casually at all styles of restaurants, and ever-earlier happy hours, Sharpe finds the overall state of Texas restaurants to be pretty strong.
“This relaxed approach to dining works well with the trend toward creative, mix-and-match cooking, which has been gaining ground for years,” she writes. After describing the various culinary traditions represented on this year’s list — including four French-influenced restaurants — she concludes with an observation, “Cross-cultural cooking used to be dismissed as ‘confusion cuisine.’ Now it’s business as usual.”
Houston restaurants lead the way with three in the top 10. They are seafood restaurant Navy Blue (first), modern Israeli restaurant Hamsa (third), and Pacha Nikkei (sixth), a restaurant serving Japanese-Peruvian fusion. Southern comfort food restaurant Gatlin’s Fins and Feathers and Mexican-inspired Flora earn honorable mentions.
Rice Village seafood restaurant Navy Blue follows in the footsteps of its sister restaurant Bludorn, which made the 2021 edition of the list. Sharpe praises the “scandalously rich mussel bisque” and “superlative seafood risotto,” among other dishes.
At Hamsa, the modern Israeli restaurant that’s also located in Rice Village, Sharpe hails chefs Sash Kurgan and Yotam Dolev for being “determined to expand Texans’ notions of Israeli food.” Her favorite dishes include the hummus, lahmajun (a type of flatbread), and the small vegetable dishes that occupy the salatim section of the menu.
Sharpe describes the Japanese-Peruvian fusion dishes chef Masaru Fukuda serves at Pacha Nikkei “edible works of art.” She cites the grilled short ribs and octopus as two of the chef's standout dishes.
Dallas’s two entries on the top 10 are Revolver Taco Lounge Gastro Cantina (fifth) and French bistro Au Troisième (eighth). Prime rib restaurant Brass Ram earns an honorable mention.
Diner Bar (second), a Southern-inspired restaurant from James Beard Award winner Mashama Bailey, and Maie Day (ninth), a casual steakhouse from Olamaie chef-owner Michael Fojtasek, represent Austin on the list. Mexican restaurant Este makes the honorable mentions.
San Antonio also gets two restaurants on the list — French-influenced Southern spot Restaurant Claudine (fourth) and French bistro Cullum’s Attaboy (tenth). Italian restaurant Allora and Mediterranean restaurant Ladino receive honorable mentions.
Fort Worth Mexican restaurant Don Artemio (seventh) rounds out the list. Tim Love’s Italian restaurant Caterina’s and the revamped Paris Coffee Shop make the honorable mentions.
In terms of notable omissions, three of the four Texas restaurants that earned James Beard Award semifinalist nominations for America’s Best New Restaurant do not appear on Texas Monthly’s list. They are: Houston Mexican restaurant Tatemó, Dallas sushi restaurant Tatsu, and Restaurant Beatrice, a Cajun restaurant in Dallas.
The full list in order is as follows:
- 1. Navy Blue, seafood restaurant in Houston
- 2. Diner Bar, Southern restaurant in Houston
- 3. Hamsa, modern Israeli restaurant in Houston
- 4. Claudine, French-influenced Southern restaurant in San Antonio
- 5. Revolver Taco Lounge Gastro Cantina, Mexican in Dallas
- 6. Pacha Nikkei, Japanese-Peruvian fusion in Houston
- 7. Don Artemio, Mexican restaurant in Fort Worth
- 8. Au Troisième, French bistro in Dallas
- 9. Maie Day, casual steakhouse in Houston
- 10. Attaboy, French bistro in San Antonio