Houston’s Hottest Restaurants

By Amber Ambrose
March 3, 2014

Coltivare

Why It’s Hott: Simple Italian dishes made with house-grown vegetables, meats cured by sister establishment, Revival Market, and a casual feel mean it’s an everyday type of eatery, but with a little extra oomph.
Must Order: Spaghetti with black pepper, Parmesan and olive oil, $10
Insider Tip: Waits have been insane since opening. Go early or late and try for a reservation if planning ahead.

3320 White Oak Dr.; 713-637-4095

Cook & Collins

Why It’s Hott: An upstairs terrace, weekend brunches and a hip neighborhood that needed a quality restaurant
Must Order: C&C burger with grass-fed beef, three cheeses, sundried tomato, Parmesan chip, truffle mayo and a challah bun for $16 (served with fries)
Insider Tip: Spring for the valet in the evenings when street parking is a headache.

2416 Brazos St.; 832-701-1973

Fish & The Knife

Why It’s Hott: The seafood is fresh, one of the chefs was a contestant on Iron Chef America, and the interior design is sleek and sophisticated
Must Order: Flaming volcano roll – a sushi roll where there’s literal fire involved ($12.25)
Insider Tip: It turns from restaurant to a more loungey vibe as the night progresses.

7801 Westheimer Rd.; 713-677-0220

Nara

Why It’s Hott: Upscale Korean food and amazing sushi offerings in West Ave equal good times. It helps that chef and owner Donald Chang is also widely respected and immensely talented.
Must Order: Salmon truffle roll ($17)
Insider Tip: Sit at the sushi bar and watch the chefs in their natural habitat.

2800 Kirby Dr. #100; 281-249-5944

Killen’s Barbecue

Why It’s Hott: Chef Ronnie Killen is a Le Cordon Bleu-trained barbecue master with a tireless passion for smoking meats. He’s created a frenzy by offering weekend pop-ups a year before he opened the permanent location. Smart, smart man.
Must Order: Three-meat plate with two sides ($16.95)
Insider Tip: They sell out almost daily, so get there early and expect to wait in line.

3613 E. Broadway St.; 281-485-2272

Caracol

Why It’s Hott: Chef and owner Hugo Ortega has been nominated multiple times for a James Beard Award, plus coastal Mexican dishes are a refreshing take on seafood in Houston.
Must Order: Ostiones asados, wood-roasted Gulf oysters on the half-shell ($23 a dozen)
Insider Tip: Valet parking is much easier than navigating the nearby parking garage.

2200 Post Oak Blvd.; 713-622-9996

60 Degrees Mastercrafted

Why It’s Hott: A certified master chef at its helm, plus a widely respected sommelier on staff
Must Order: The $200 60 Degrees bistro burger with chopped rib-eye, seared foie gras, caramelized onions, Bordelaise sauce, mushrooms and shaved white truffles and served with white truffle fries. (Just kidding, we also hear the Texas chili for $9.50 is very tasty.)
Insider Tip: They have a Sunday brunch that also includes a live acoustic guitar performance for a romantic endeavor.

2300 Westheimer Rd.; 713-360-7757

Andes Cafe

Why It’s Hott: Chef David Guerrero is finally back in the kitchen cooking low-key South American fare like he was born to run this place.
Must Order: Concha negra ceviche – a traditional Ecuadorian ceviche made with fresh black clams in a citrusy, flavorful marinade ($14)
Insider Tip: Save room for the coffee, specifically the Andes cappuccino made with your choice of exotic fruit syrups made in-house.

2311 Canal St.; 832-659-0063

Good Dog

Why It’s Hott: Gourmet hot dogs with fun toppings and housemade condiments
Must Order: Ol’ Zapata Dog with bacon, muenster cheese, caramelized onions, tomatoes, housemade ketchup, mayo and jalapeño relish ($6.50)
Insider Tip: They make a mean Vietnamese coffee milkshake with Fat Cat Creamery’s ice cream and iced cafe sua da from Caphin.

903 Studewood St.; 832-800-3647

DISH Society

Why It’s Hott: It’s a casual neighborhood spot with counter service, but with a focus on local ingredients and an impressively complex menu.
Must Order: Shrimp sautéed in a Tabasco-shallot butter with bacon and smoked-gouda grits, plus a fried egg on top for brunch ($13.50)
Insider Tip: Check out their ‘social’ hour from 3 to 6 PM Monday through Friday for discounted bites, beer, wine and nonalcoholic house elixirs.

5740 San Felipe St. #100; 832-538-1060