Are you getting ready to head to Houston, Texas, for Simpleview Summit 2023? The Visit Houston website is your go-to spot for things to do, places to see, and perhaps the most exciting … places to chow down while out on the town with colleagues or your friends from Simpleview.
As a Houston resident, I want you to be prepared for the foodie ride of your life. Houston’s food is directly reflected in the diversity of our people. City residents speak at least 145 languages, and 90 nations have consular representation. The list below was very difficult to curate due to the many delicious options, but I hope you get a taste of Houston by trying a new cuisine or a familiar flavor. Bon appetit!
1. Phoenicia Speciality Foods & MKT Bar
Just a five-minute walk from the Marriott Marquis Houston, Phoenicia Speciality Foods & MKT Bar is an international grocery store, market, and restaurant. Stock up on some essentials, enjoy a sweet treat, or visit the salad bar for a fresh meal. Pro tip: get the Chicken Shawarma, which is a 35+-year-old recipe and is made 100% from scratch. Also, remember to visit the second floor for wines, unique spices, and more.
2. The Pit Room
It wouldn’t be a visit to Texas without trying some BBQ. Take a short Uber ride to The Pit Room for two custom-made, barrel-style offset smokers with a vertical sausage cooker, perfect for melt-in-your-mouth BBQ. You can’t miss the tasty sides, like Elote and mustard potato salad. My favorite? The loaded chopped beef Frito Pie is both nostalgic and tasty. I add all the toppings and extra nacho cheese on my cheat days.
3. Mai’s | Crawfish & Noodles
Closest to the hotel, you’ll find Mai’s, a traditional Vietnamese restaurant founded in 1978 as a means to provide for their family of eight children. Mai’s is frequently visited by locals as a late-night weekend spot because their Pho (classic Vietnamese noodle soup) is known to rehydrate and nourish your body after a night of indulging. Houston is also known for its Vietnamese and cajun fusion cuisine; the best place to experience this fusion is at Crawfish & Noodles in Houston Heights. A concept by James Beard Finalist Chef Trong Nguyen, who was featured in Anthony Bourdain's Parts Unknown, this can’t-miss restaurant boasts some must-try dishes, including fish sauce wings and seafood dishes made with a Viet-cajun twist.
4. Brother's Taco House
Make your way to a family-owned taco shop called Brother’s Taco House, just an eighteen-minute walk from the Marriott Marquis. With 3,400 reviews, locals love this spot for breakfast and lunch tacos with handmade tortillas. While in East Downtown (known as EaDo), check out the Graffiti Park on Emanuel Street and the We Love Houston sign.
5. Handies Douzos
At Handies Douzos, you can expect crudos, sashimi, and a variety of rolls filled with premium proteins like Ora king salmon, yellowtail, toro (tuna belly), and Kani (lump crab). With intimate spaces at both restaurants, every seat in the house allows you to watch the chef create your rolls. Reservations are highly recommended.
6. ChòpnBlọk at Post HTX
Feeling adventurous? ChòpnBlọk is a fast-casual restaurant concept that shares a West African culinary experience — serving fresh proteins, vegetables, grains, and beverages prepared under a West African flavor. It’s located inside Houston’s newest food hall, shopping center, and rooftop, which is called POST HTX. I recommend The Motherland, which has steamed white rice and a spiced peanut curry topped with vegetables and plantains. Pair your entree with beef mini-pies and African hibiscus tea or fresh lemonade.
7. Mala Sihuan
Mala Sichuan is a Houston classic with five locations, where you can taste the unique and authentic flavors of the Sichuan Province. The Spicy & Crispy Chicken includes Sichuan peppercorn, making the month tingly and slightly numb. Another must-try dish is their house-special “Funky Noodles” and the warm bowl of nourishing chicken soup.
8. Little India in Houston
Just a short drive from the hotel, you’ll find yourself in Mahatma Gandhi District, dubbed Houston’s Little India. Shop for a souvenir or purchase some eclectic jewelry. Best of all? You’re within walking distance of 25+ restaurants and boutique stores. Some must-visit restaurants include Honest Restaurant for their Pav Bhaji (think an Indian sloppy joe filled with lots of veggies) and Hot Breads for their sandwiches and pastries (the Nougat Crunch is my favorite). Kathmandu Curry and Bar is known for their Momos (a Nepali-style dumpling served with tomato chutney). Lastly, be sure to try Saffron Kabob House for some Chapli Kebabs (a thin and spicy beef patty) served with rice, hummus, and warm bread.
You can’t enjoy all this delicious food without some great drinks, right? Stay tuned for more…