Houston is a big city with over 6 million people in the greater area. In most cities of similar size, the fancy foodie scene is ruled by Michelin Stars and tasting menus. Houston, per usual, does things a little differently. It’s not that we don’t have some of the most diverse and tasty food in the whole world, we do. But the top restaurants in Houston are less caviar and more filet mignon. If you’re coming to Houston then you need to save room for steak.
Pappas Bros. Steakhouse
Top of the list is a local brand with a wide net. You can find nearly every kind of food concept under the Pappas flag. The crown jewel by far is their steakhouse. This place has 2300 wines to select from and almost as many awards to match. It isn’t cheap but it is a cut above the rest when it comes to steak. If there are two of you and you’re hungry then you might want to split the porterhouse for two. 40 oz of dry aged beef and a little bit of a discount due to the size.
If you don’t mind a drive out to Pearland then you have got to go to Killen’s Steakhouse for some of the best steak in the state - and that’s no small feat. It was named one of the 31 best steakhouses in the country in 2017. With a selection of wine topping 1200, former White House chef and restaurant namesake Ronnie Killen has created an amazing concept. If you’re lucky, you may run into J.J. Watt when you’re there as he is a close friend of the chef and has his own special dining room.
This concept located in the Montrose neighborhood may be relatively new but is just as impressive with James Beard award recipient Chris Shepherd at the helm. It’s also a little more fun with their showstopper “Baller Board” which features items like Wagyu strip, porterhouse, tray-aged tomahawk, pork belly and crispy potatoes covered in roasted garlic aioli. The board selections will vary, so ask your server what offerings are available.
Any steakhouse list must include Houston restaurant royalty Tony Vallone who lends his name to this amazing concept. Along with business partner Scott Sulma, the Vallone family tradition of iconic eating keeps moving forward. James Beard nominated chef Greg Gordon leads this steak and fish house which spans over 12,000 square feet and two stories - making it one of the largest eateries in the city. You don’t want to miss the 33 foot wine tower that is the centerpiece of the space, truly as big as Texas.
Part butcher shop and part fine dining, this concept is popular for happy hour and beyond. Located on the border of downtown and the Heights, this old warehouse concept is always packed. Like all of these restaurants, a reservation is needed (as well as a thick pocketbook).Standout cuts include Texas-bred Wagyu beef from the Gearhart Ranch in West Texas near Marfa and Japanese Kobe straight from Japan.