10 new Houston restaurants with spectacular patios for outdoor dining
If you manage to find fabulous food, terrific drinks and a spectacular outdoor setting all in one place this time of year, you’ve scored a major trifecta. The restaurants below pull off all three. From a contemporary Italian eatery near Minute Maid Park to a gastropub with fun games from cornhole to foosball, here are 10 new patios to hit up now.
Look no further than newcomer hotspot Nobie’s in Montrose for delicious seasonal fare from land and sea, doting service, and an intimate 250 square-foot patio, with seating for 20, that offers a respite from the hustle and bustle of the city.
2048 Colquitt St.; 346-319-5919
Field & Tides
Heights bistro Field & Tides offers Southern comfort cuisine, from pimento cheese fritters to pan-seared scallops with seafood risotto, and outdoor seating for 32. Come summer, the owners are set to launch a bar and lounge next door, where you can enjoy sips, and snacks from the restaurant’s kitchen.
705 East 11th St.; 713-861-6143
Osso & Kristalla
Downtown’s Osso & Kristalla from Houston Astros owner Jim Crane has plenty of patio game, thanks to outdoor seating for 60, plus two flatscreen TV’s, a state-of-the-art sound system, and a prime location near Minute Maid Park.
1515 Texas Ave.; 713-221-6666
Dig into drool-worthy Southern eats, including a smoked double pork chop, hot fried chicken, and fresh shucked cream corn, on the 24-seat patio at Gateway Memorial City restaurant State Fare, which CultureMap readers voted as Best New Restaurant at the recent Tastemaker Awards.
947 Gessner; 832-831-0950
Chef Hugo Ortega’s (Hugo’s, Backstreet, Caracol) latest concept, Xochi, is a prime destination standout for traditional Oaxacan cuisine paired with an extensive roster of mezcals, tequilas and Mexican craft beers. Indulge on the 775 square-foot veranda located on a prime corner of the new Marriott Marquis Hotel near Discovery Green. The patio has 60 seats, complete with large ceiling fans and a roof outfitted with slats that open and close, so it’s a sure thing no matter the weather.
1777 Walker St.; 713-400-3330
Up your your bar game when you dine alfresco at Beaver’s Westheimer. The outdoor space at Briargrove/Tanglewood gastropub with Southern fare and tasty ‘cue boasts a 5,000 square-foot deck, a fire pit, a bar housed in a repurposed trailer, and games from Jenga to foosball.
6025 Westheimer Rd.; 713-714-4111
Grotto Ristorante Downtown
Enter the downtown locale of Grotto Ristorante at the George R. Brown Convention Center and you can’t miss the front 1,430 square-foot, 40-seat rustic dining space. Two propane fire pits, along with portable heaters and comfy couches, set the mood for a cozy good time if the weather gets chilly. Multiple TV’s throughout make every seat the best in the house.
1001 Avenida de las Americas, Suite A; 713-658-0752
Two massive oak trees provide shelter from the sun on the 1,500 square-foot patio at Bebidas Juice, Coffee & Bites near River Oaks. Breakfast and lunch treats are available every day — the avocado toast is popular — and on Wednesdays, load up with fare from a revolving lineup of food trucks (6-8:30 pm). Once a month, get your workout on as various fitness spots (think Big Yoga to Define Body and Mind) host a class.
2606 Edloe St.; 713-554-0023
Hopdoddy Rice Village
Inventive burgers, frothy milkshakes, and ice-cold brews may be the hallmarks of Hopdoddy, but the spacious 4,000-square-foot patio, with a cornhole and seating for 100, at the Rice Village locale is also worth noting.
5510 Morningside Dr., Ste. 100; 281-557-2337
Brasserie du Parc
The terrace at downtown French eatery Brasserie du Parc makes an impression from the moment you walk in. The eye-catching 1,500 square-foot space, climate-controlled with sliding glass doors, features marble tables with wicker bistro chairs, providing seating for 100. What’s more, it’s also the home of a crêperie concept within the restaurant, Crêperie du Parc, which serves up delectable sweet and savory crêpes.
1440 Lamar St.; 832-879-2802
8 Insta-Worthy Restaurants with Stellar Interior Design
Inarguably, Houston is a hotspot for culinary delights, but next time you dine out, why not head to a restaurant that pleases your visual senses as well as your palate? Coldwell Banker United, Realtors © presents the list of striking spaces below, all of which take their stylish decor as seriously as their delectable eats. Read on for eight hotspots, all with high design and solid menus, that will make you the envy of your Instagram followers.
Chic French Vietnamese restaurant Le Colonial, designed by architect Mark Knauer, resembles a modern-day 1920s French Colonial villa. As you enter the two-story picturesque space through steel doors from a Houston artisan, you’ll find pressed tin ceilings, framed rug patterns reminiscent of houses and hotels in turn-of-the-century Saigon, and wicker dining room chairs and Art Deco brass table bases from the Philippines. The second floor is fashioned by a tropical themed wall mural created by acclaimed Swedish painter Jonas Wickman.
By day, grab-and-go eatery The Kitchen at The Dunlavy offers counter service for breakfast and lunch. By night, the venue turns into an elegant event space. The sleek, free-standing building, located on the banks of Buffalo Bayou, boasts floor-to-ceiling windows, offering guests scenic views of Buffalo Bayou Park, the downtown skyline and Lost Lake, a restored pond located onsite. French white oak floors, Spanish wood beams, and glamorous Italian and French crystal chandeliers set the backdrop at the contemporary glass treehouse, while crisp gallery-like interiors serve as a blank slate allowing the interior designer inside you to shine.
The interior of Caracol, designed by John Kidd Associates, pays tribute to Mexico, especially the country’s beaches. The walls of the restaurant, located in the Galleria-area, is decked out with aquatic-themed art by American Modernist painter Charley Harper. The bar area is complete with sailboat booms and a suspended sailcloth with hues of sand, straw and blue throughout.
Visual stunner Osso & Kristalla, designed by the Houston office of the acclaimed Gensler firm, catches your eye from the moment you walk in. Expect bronze and black lighting fixtures, beige and green banquettes, butcher-block tabletops, and triangular flooring. Get inspired by the open exhibition kitchen which provides insight into the creative culinary process. The lively yet casual vibe makes you feel right at home.
A collaboration between Archi-Arts, general contractor James Montgomery and restaurant owners Shepard Ross and Dan Zimmerman, this Montrose eatery is decked out with a bar that was originally a way station for Wells Fargo coaches in the 1800s. A giant map of the U.S. cut from a single piece of steel and an impressive art collection with several pieces by Keith Haring further delight the visual senses. Inside the bathrooms, pieces by Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein artfully canvas the walls.
BCN Taste and Tradition
Set in an intimate 1920s home in Montrose, original works of art by Miro and Picasso pop up against crisp museum-white walls at BCN Taste and Tradition. The two-story restaurant, designed by San Antonio–based architect and designer Augustin Orozcohas sports bright orange window awnings and a custom burnished copper sign, which complement the original period details of the building. Refinished wood flooring and sand-colored tablecloths add warmth while keeping things simple.
State of Grace
The architects at Square Feet Studio in Atlanta, along with in-house designer Elizabeth Ingram, skillfully created a cozy yet elegant setting at James Beard Award semi-finalist Ford Fry’s State of Grace. Dine at a table under one of three custom sparkling chandeliers or at the bar with a window view of a live oak tree.
A color palette of greens, grays, and warm whites set off blackened-steel frame doorways and natural elements (think walnut, marble, and leather) in the timeless space.
Relaxed European tavern-like eatery Oporto Midtown, located on the ground floor of Post Midtown Square apartments, is modish with an old-world feel, drawing inspiration from the owner’s Portuguese-Italian background. Dramatic features from Spanish cedar ceilings to Mexican cement tiles and to wood-and-tile flooring, are all the work of Austin’s award-winning architect Michael Hsu.
10 Best Things We Ate This Month – Houston Press
It’s the end of the month, and with that comes time for deep reflection. Well, maybe not deep reflection, but at least a look back on the dishes we regarded as the best we ate during the month of March. From dense, rich desserts to wacky brunch items, these Houston dishes cover quite a bit of ground and are all worth a try.
Photo by Erika Kwee
“It was the salads that stood out,” writes Erika Kwee during a first look at this newly opened downtown trattoria. “Served in a deep bowl in order to conceal the generous mound of soft ricotta under a mountain of purple kale, even the mini version [of the Kristalla salad] has quickly risen to be one of my favorite salads in Houston. The kale is lively but not scratchy, tossed in a preserved lemon dressing that balances salt, sweet and tang. With or without salty pancetta as an accent, thin slices of apple and generous scatterings of toasted pine nuts make for an undeniably tasty and satisfying salad.”
First Look at Osso & Kristalla – Houston Press
At Osso & Kristalla, light pours through the floor-to-ceiling windows surrounding the bar, providing an airy dining space that’s almost reminiscent of an atrium. At the head of the restaurant, the thick slab of marble and slatted beams ascending toward the ceiling draws the eye towards the bar — where, ironically, there is no cocktail menu — just a pleasant bartender waiting to whip up your libation of choice.
It’s an utterly pleasant locale to transition into evening with drinks and a bite, as my dining companion and I did on a Friday night while sipping a gin-based Moscow mule.
Osso & Kristalla features outdoor patio seating along with plentiful indoor seating.
Photo by Erika Kwee
Like Provisions to The Pass, Osso & Kristalla is the more casual sister restaurant to the upscale dinner-service-only Potente (both opened by Houston Astros owner Jim Crane). Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Osso & Kristalla is the kind of place you could drop in for a snack or drink any time of day — in the morning for a bombolone, a filled Italian doughnut, or a $5 breakfast sandwich on freshly baked bread, or in the afternoon or evening for wine and a more substantial bite.
The heartiest of bites on the menu include wood-fire-roasted chicken or steak frites served with spaghetti fries, though we opted to sample the recommended four-cheese tortellini instead. The tortellini are nearly palm-sized, the creamy blend of parmesan, ricotta, fontina and mozzarella wrapped in a delicately chewy pasta that belies the skill needed to form the silky housemade specialty. A mixture of arugula, lightly marinated vegetables and parmesan balances what might otherwise be a heavy pasta dish.
Silky handmade pasta sheets envelop a creamy, cheesy filling in the four-cheese tortellini.
Photo by Erika Kwee
Surprisingly for a menu at a modern Italian trattoria, it was the salads that stood out — both the wispy, lemony arugula salad that topped the tortellini as well as the namesake Kristalla salad, which we added on as a side for $6. Served in a deep bowl in order to conceal the generous mound of soft ricotta under a mountain of purple kale, even the mini version has quickly risen to be one of my favorite salads in Houston. The kale is lively but not scratchy, tossed in a preserved lemon dressing that balances salt, sweet and tang. With or without salty pancetta as an accent, thin slices of apple and generous scatterings of toasted pine nuts make for an undeniably tasty and satisfying salad.
Photo by Erika Kwee
The menu is still subject to change, but when we visited, our server recommended the Quattro Formaggi pizza, a gooey mixture of mozzarella, fontina, gorgonzola and pecorino with a glistening of truffle oil. Pastry chef David Berg’s 100-plus-year-old starter forms the base of the pizza dough, which added a yeasty depth to the crust. The uneven char on the crusts set the pizza a cut above those found at your average Italian restaurant.
While the menu is brief — just one page featuring a handful each of appetizers, pizzas and entrées — based on what we sampled, what few menu items Osso & Kristalla offers, it does well. The wine list is more extensive, with a heavy representation of affordable Italian wines — the grand majority hovers around $50 or less.
The bar seating area is open, light-filled and airy.
Photo by Erika Kwee
Bisected into a smaller bar area and a larger dining room with many tables and booths — along with an outdoor patio area — Osso & Kristalla easily caters to several different demographics within its casual dining sphere. The front bar is a relaxing spot to grab a drink and catch a game after work, with several large monitors mounted for easy sports viewing. The tables in the larger dining room can be pushed together to accommodate larger groups, with the added bonus of being able to see into the open kitchen. Casual dates or families can cozy up in one of the large booths lining the sides.
Although business was still slow by the time we left around 8 p.m., it’s easy to imagine Osso & Kristalla transforming into a bustling, essential component of the downtown ecosystem, particularly given its location right next to Minute Maid Park and proximity to the Main Street bar scene, just a ten-minute walk away.
Four Casual New Restaurants for Your Weekend
The weekend is once again upon us, and in Houston, that means a bazillion new restaurants have just opened. Okay, maybe not a bazillion. But, anyways, here are two new eateries and two major new revamps that just debuted in the past week. Again, they’re all pretty casual. Nothing that will break the bank, with food that covers a bit of ground, from 50-cent oysters to fast casual chicken sandwiches to finer Northern Italian fare. These are the hottest tickets in town this weekend.
This downtown trattoria is the sister restaurant to the recently opened fine-dining destination Potente. Both are new spots from Houston Astros owner Jim Crane with a doozy of industry talent on board. Michael Parker, Crane’s own private chef and head of the Floridian National Golf Club, runs the kitchen, with chef de cuisine Micah Rideout (of Tarakaan and Reef fame) and pastry chef David Berg also on board. At Osso & Kristalla, you’ll find housemade pastry in the morning and wood-fired pizzas, handmade pasta and more for lunch and dinner. There’s indoor/outdoor seating that turns rather loungey in the evening.
Weekend hours: Friday 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Anticipated Trattoria Osso & Kristalla Lands Downtown – Houston Press
Inside Osso & Kristalla
Photo courtesy of Osso & Kristalla
Houston Astros owner and Italian food enthusiast Jim Crane just debuted his high-end eatery Potente back in early February. Now the second (and more anticipated) of his two sister restaurants, Osso & Kristalla, is open in the 500 Crawford building at 1515 Texas as well.
The casual trattoria features an open kitchen, patio seating and a lounge-type atmosphere (for dinner service anyways). The restaurant is also open for breakfast and weekend brunch, and, in anticipation of a bustling downtown lunch business, has already gone ahead and jumped into the takeout and delivery game. Place orders at 713-221-6666 or request delivery through UberEats.
The menu features housemade pastries, pastas, wood-fired pizzas and more Italian eats, along with wine, beer, cocktails and local Katz coffee.
Executive chef Michael Parker of Potente, as well as chef de cuisine Micah Rideout, are also overseeing the kitchen at Osso & Kristalla. The front of house is also headed up by Potente’s Billy Floyd, a Jean-Georges Vongerichten alum and owner of Jackson Street BBQ and co-owner of Reef, Third Bar, Little Bigs and El Real Tex Mex.
Osso & Kristalla
1515 Texas, 713-221-6666, ossoandkristalla.com
Hours: Monday to Thursday, 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
This post is sponsored by Potente and Osso & Kristalla. All opinions are mine alone.
A First Look Tasting:
Osso & Kristalla and Potente
Osso & Kristalla and Potente, the new kids in town, bring Northern Italian cuisine to the heart of Houston. Astros owner, Jim Crane, recently opened his new Italian eateries across from Minute Maid Park. Leading the culinary side is executive chef Michael Parker and chef du cuisine Michael Rideout. So when the Houston Food Blogger Collective was invited to experience a first look tasting of these upscale eateries, I knew we were in for a treat!
When you enter Potente, the foyer is stunning. Marble tiled floors and rich, warm gold tones with modern accents welcome you to experience an evening of fine dining. We toured Potente and glanced at the menu. They actually light up when you open them. What a great feature to have so you can see what to order!
Then we crossed over to the Osso & Kristalla side for our first look samplings. We heard that Osso & Kristalla was still updating their menu and preparing for their grand opening. We were thrilled to be first in line to see the gorgeous space and taste some delicious Northern Italian cuisine in Osso & Kristalla’s new casual dining area.
Our tastings started off with frozen negronis. They reminded me of a frozen strawberry margarita. Since we were visiting on National Margarita Day, the frozen negroni seemed appropriate for the event!
There were close to forty food bloggers at our tasting which made it a bit challenging to capture the essence, the ambiance, and the food. Yet, I managed to get a few good pics to get your taste buds salivating!
A couple of things really stood out to me. The service at Potente and Osso & Kristalla is outstanding. I spoke to several of the staff and everyone was polite and attentive. These upscale gems are off to a good start with their incredible service.
Second, the pizza was impressive. Osso & Kristalla use fresh, local ingredients with Houston Dairymaids being one of their cheese sources. But what really wowed me was Osso & Kristalla’s pizza crust. Osso & Kristalla’s chefs use a hundred-year-old starter to make the pizza dough. Then the pizza is hand-tossed and fire baked to perfection. You will love the cheese pulls on these pizzas!
The Margherita pizza and the rigatoni & Fontina stuffed meatball topped with marinara were my favorite bites of the night. The marinara has a wonderful sweetness to it with oregano and basil flavors.
Osso & Kristalla is perfect for casual dining with friends for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Reservations are not required for Osso & Kristalla so you can pop in after work or before a game. Potente, on the other hand, is fine dining and requires reservations. Potente is the place to go for elegant, formal dining for anniversaries, birthdays or whenever you want to treat yourself. Honestly, you don’t need a reason to spoil yourself. Just gather your friends or significant other and check out Osso & Kristalla and Potente for your own first-hand look.
Thank you, Potente and Osso & Kristalla, for inviting the Houston Food Blogger Collective for a first look view of your two new restaurants and delicious tastings! Northern Italian cuisine in the heart of Houston is exactly what Houston needed to unwind after work or to catch a bite before a game. I wish you all the best in success and I hope to see you soon for happy hour.
Go taste and see for yourself and let me know what you think!
Houston patrons can experience some fine Italian cuisine at new downtown restaurant Potente, located on the ground floor of a luxury apartment building just steps from Minute Maid Park.
Potente boasts a menu of high quality seafood, steaks and pasta; an exhausting wine list and décor that would make anyone stand in awe. Their menus even light up … how fancy is that?
Astros owner Jim Crane owns Potente as well as his other, more casual Italian restaurant Osso & Kristalla, which is located next door to Potente. The restaurants are named after his three children.
The Houston Food Blogger Collective was invited to tour both restaurants Feb. 22 and sample some delicious food offerings at Osso & Kristalla prior to the restaurant’s official opening. And before we get to the yummy food pics, you must be informed that executive chef Michael Parker (personal chef to Crane), Chef du cuisine Micah Rideout and executive pastry chef David Berg are behind the magic. Now … enjoy!
Both restaurants are now open to the public, so be sure to stop in and get full. Potente opens at 5pm every day for dinner and Osso & Kristalla serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Tell them 2 Girls Who Travel sent you!