MainStay Suites Texas Medical Center/Reliant Park
3134 Old Spanish Trail
Houston, TX 77054
Phone: (832) 201-3131
Fax: (832) 200-2750
Operating from a meat and barbecue shop of the same name, Guy's Meat Market has been delighting locals with their delectable slow smoked meat creations. The place is pretty basic and seems more like an extension to the shop, with no seating options. Patrons simply order at the counter and take away the preparation once done. On offer is a simple selection of barbecue favorites from ribs to brisket. Burgers at Guy's have garnered accolades, featuring among the best in the country. The award means that the hidden spot is no longer a secret, and sees a perennial queue throughout opening hours. Head out early before they run out.
Located in the Museum District of Houston, the Reggae Hut Cafe serves authentic Caribbean cuisine in a friendly atmosphere. Offering counter service only, patrons place their orders and then find seating. The menu may seem on the small side, however the quality more than makes up for it. Everything on the menu is outstanding, but some of the local favorites include the jerk chicken, friend plantains, oxtail stew and the chicken patties. The restaurant features vibrant and bright mural work throughout, simple tables and chairs and occasionally has live music.
Famous for its margaritas and mariachis, Spanish Village has been satisfying Houston appetites since 1954 and for good reason. Its no nonsense, down home appeal draws a host of local regulars. The atmosphere borders on fiesta level and might require ear plugs during the peak hours, but this only assures it is a great place for groups and casual chitchat. The traditional south-of-the-border decor features loads of pastel coloring and the ubiquitous tile tables. The authentic enchiladas and Tex-Mex fajitas are popular. Lunch specials are available during the week.
Sometimes nothing else will do but some fried chicken. It's the kind of chicken to write home about, the perfect amount of cayenne-kick that builds in the mouth, the kind of crispy-on-the-outside that first shatters then disintegrates and makes way for the moist chicken below. The sausage is another favorite, smoked to this side of Louisiana. Save room for excellent sides like seasoned fries, jambalaya or red beans and rice. Hit it on right night and find the Houston Rockets waiting in line with rest of the devotees. There are several locations around town but the original is the best.
Self-taught chef and hometown favorite, Danton Nix stays true to his cultural and culinary roots with seafood fresh out of the Gulf. In months with the letter "r," enjoy some of the most succulent, fresh-shucked oysters in town at the Oyster Bar. (Be sure to check the site for excellent happy hour prices!) Head into the main Dining Room for dinner-of Seafood Courtboullion) or come back on Sunday for the Blues Seafood Brunch. Try comfort food like the juicy, open-faced, pot roast Debris sandwich at lunch along with Patsy's Chocolate Monkey Cake. - JoAnn Takasaki
Olive Garden serves up authentic Italian cuisine. Their signature breadsticks and one-of-a-kind menu make them an American icon. Standard Italian options like bruchetta, calamari, ravioli, and eggplant parmigiana line their lengthy menu. More exotic items like salmon, chicken dishes, and innovative pizzas are also available. For the calorie-counter, Olive Garden has a range of low fat and low carbohydrate options. Their bottomless salads ensure a well-balanced feast. Enjoy your meal with a bottle from their extensive wine list or one of their tropical island drinks. Finally, top it all off with a little something from their dessert menu- their cakes, custards, and ice creams are sure to win you over. Lunch and take out menus are available.
The museum crowd treats this popular eatery as a "see and be-seen" establishment. The sleek, nouveau decor and soft classical music provide the perfect degree of sophistication without crossing into the 'stuffy' realm. Expect to enjoy a classy dining experience with exceptional, non-invasive service. Equally sophisticated, the menu features spiced-up versions of many traditional Chinese favorites. Try the Asian vermicelli with one of several spicy meat or seafood options. Beer and wine are plentiful, but a full bar is not available.
Raven Grill is a West University restaurant, with its emphasis on healthy dishes, offering a casual dining experience with just a touch of sophistication. Fresh-cut roses and wildflowers throughout the sunny dining area are particularly appealing to one and all. The menu is diverse with lots of Southwestern grilled items, but the pastry chef's creations, like Chocolate Nevermore, are the real "must-have" items.
Nelore Churrascaria, promises Gaucho Hospitality, the hospitality of Southern Brazilian Cowboys. Nelore is the breed of cattle known for the good quality beef and Churrasco is the Gaucho style of roasting meat. Yes, roasted meats are a specialty and with table side service, you can try as many varieties as you can. A salad bar where you can serve yourself Brazilian Style Beans or Smoked Salmon or many other sides. Brazilian cocktails, wines, desserts make for a perfect climax after the sumptuous roasted meat cuts. Another feature of the service here are the red and green coasters which can be flipped to signal the waiting staff to serve.
Based on popular Cajun cuisine from “po' boys” to “rich boys,” Zimm’s Little Deck serves up seafood, sandwiches and gumbo in an atmosphere of old world charm. But what else would you expect from a "fancy" icehouse complete with a broad selection of craft beers and "cheap, decent or good" wines. Sit inside with a group, or alone at the bar. Zimm’s Little Deck adds fun to the food with the only petanque court in Houston. Outdoor patio seating and wide French doors allow everyone to enjoy the petanque game. If you like football, you can watch the game on one of the many wall-mounted flat screen televisions. -Lisa Carey
This restaurant has been satisfying diners near the Medical Center and Museum District for years. It offers a warm, appealing atmosphere and prices that are hard to beat. The dark green exterior serves as a convenient landmark if you need help finding the location. Reasonable prices are only part of the attraction here, the traditional Italian dishes possess a very real appeal of their own. Try one of the pastas or sandwiches, or dive into a cheesy pizza if you want to share with others in your party.
As Houston's only Turkish restaurant, Istanbul Grill & Deli is a Rice Village eatery enjoys a great deal of popularity with lovers of Turkish spices and flavors. Elaborate wall mosaics and gleaming copper pots add warmth to the dining experience. Outdoor seating is also available in fair weather. Some specialties, such as the manti that are small pastry shells filled with ground beef and covered in a yogurt sauce, are only available on weekends. If you have a specific dish in mind, you might want to call ahead for availability. Prices are moderate, and a glass of the house wine is available at a comfortable rate. Smoking is not allowed.