All eyes will be on Houston next month, when Space City hosts the Super Bowl.
But for the past few years, the Texas city has been gaining notice for its diverse culinary scene.
“This town really appreciates good food,” said Terrence Gallivan, co-owner of the restaurants The Pass & Provisions. “It seems like more people are coming here to check out the dining scene.”
If you’re one of those people, amNewYork tapped Gallivan and co-owner Seth Siegel-Gardner — who met while cooking in NYC — for where to eat and drink in Houston right now.
Of course, there’s the chefs’ restaurants, under one roof. “The Pass is a little more ambitious in terms of cooking,” Gallivan said. “Provisions is casual, somewhat Italian-inspired. All of our pastas we’re pretty proud of — we make everything every day by hand in-house.” 807 Taft St., 713-628-9020
“If you come to Houston, you have to go to Hugo’s,” Gallivan said. “It’s authentic Mexican food. 1600 Westheimer Road, 713-524-7744
“It’s one of the first Tex-Mex places I ate at,” Gallivan said. “It’s in an up- and-coming part of town.” 2704 Navigation Blvd., 713-228-1175
“There’s lots of great pho all over town,” Gallivan said. “[Huynh has] really good food, the service is impeccable and it’s BYOB.” 912 Saint Emanuel St., 713-224-8964
Mala Sichuan Bistro
“It’s some of the best Chinese cooking outside of New York that we’ve had,” Gallivan said. 9348 Bellaire Blvd., 713-995-1889; 1201 Westheimer Road, 832-767-0911
“There’s a pretty big craft scene growing here,” Siegel-Gardner said. “The local breweries that we really love here are 8th Wonder Brewery and Saint Arnold Brewing Co. Both have more food-hall setups.” 8th Wonder Brewery, 2202 Dallas St., 713-229-0868; Saint Arnold, 2000 Lyons Ave., 713-686-9494
West Alabama Ice House
“The ice house scene is something that’s very Texas,” Siegel-Gardner said. “We love West Alabama Ice House, and there’s a pretty killer taco truck that’s parked there.” 1919 W. Alabama St., 713-528-6874
“If you want something more upscale, as far as bars, Anvil is probably the best bar in Houston,” Siegel-Gardner said. “They’ve been open for maybe 10 years now, but they kind of helped put Houston on the map as far as cocktails.” 1424 Westheimer Road, 713-523-1622
Alice’s Tall Texan
“This dive bar is pretty good — it’s just a local hangout,” Siegel-Gardner said. “It could give you a good sense of the Houston dive bar scene for sure.” 4904 N. Main St., 713-862-0141
More Space City sights
When not dining out, here’s what else Houston has to offer, according to the chefs.
Buffalo Bayou Park: “They just redid the bayou, there’s this beautiful park running west from downtown,” Gallivan said. “There are a lot of concerts that happen there.”
White Oak Music Hall: “There’s a really great music scene here,” Gallivan said. “This brand-new concert venue is basically three or four venues in one.”
Houston Museum of Natural Science: “This is really great for families,” Gallivan said. “That’s located in Hermann Park, which is really nice.”
NASA Johnson Space Center: “I did a tour of NASA for the first time [recently] — it was really cool,” Gallivan said. “It’s very unique. You’re not going to see Apollo rockets in New York.”
Golfing: “This time of year for outdoor activities — the weather will be great,” Siegel-Gardner said. “There are some good public golf courses if people are taking an extended stay. And we have Topgolf all over the place here now.”
Houston Bcycle: “We have a bike-share program similar to what there is in New York now,” Siegel-Gardner said. “Being able to hop on a bike and take advantage of that is pretty great.”