I imagine this is a oft discussed topic but i am looking for some help. I will be in Houston next week and I am looking for recommendations for Tex-Mex near the convention center as well as any other thoughts for breakfast/lunch/cocktail spots.
Looking forward to your thoughts!
I think this is the first time we’ve gotten a request like this on this board. I’ll take a stab at it but I’m not much of a fan of Tex-Mex anymore (eating it since the middle of the last century) and never get out to eat in that part of town.
Closest would be the Pappasito’s in the Hilton Americas, which may be your hotel. The Pappas family are hugely successful restaurant operators here with many different formats. While their steakhouses are regarded as among the best in the state, all their other concepts are just above average chains. This isn’t bad but it wouldn’t be my first choice if I was looking for Tex-Mex in that part of town; I mention it since you may run into it. I haven’t been to a Pappasito’s in probably 15 years.
Other possibilities that may be within walking distance - Irma’s Original and Irma’s Southwest Grill. I’ve never eaten at either one of these but I think one of our other posters may have. Note hours before heading out.
And also Guadalajara Del Centro. Some of our posters here have eaten at other locations of this local small group.
Further away, out of walking range, are a couple of classics of Tex-Mex in Houston, the Original Ninfa’s and El Tiempo. Ninfa Laurenzo was credited with starting the fajita craze in the 70s. She didn’t invent them, they had been popular back-yard cook-out fare in South Texas and northern Neuvo Leon, but she was the first to put them on a public menu. She was also famous for her green sauce. Ninfa has been gone for years and the restaurant is owned by investors now. Some people say it’s not as good but it frequently shows up on lists as a must visit for tourists. BTW fajitas on Ninfa’s menu were always referred to as Tacos al carbon or Tacos a la Ninfa.
The El Tiempo next door is run by descendants of Ninfa who claim to stick to her original recipes. There are several posters on this board who are very fond of El Tiempo. Both of these are pricier takes on Tex-Mex.
When we got tourist requests on the other board they usually were for Tex-Mex, steak or BBQ. You might also be interested in Vietnamese, Chinese, interior Mexican, or other so let us know.
I love Pappasito’s! El Tiempo is great too. The Original Ninfa’s on Navigation is where fajitas were first made, and I love that historical place.
For breakfast the downtown-ish Breakfast Klub is legendary and known for chicken and waffles.
People also love Blacksmith for breakfast.
Not far from downtown is the Snooze am Eatery. I haven’t been yet for breakfast, but it gets raves. Two locations are fairly new to Houston.
Also in that area is El Real Tex-Mex, I adore the cheese enchiladas there which are totally classic yellow cheese and beef gravy.
The Pass and Provisions on Taft downtown are two award winning restaurants under one roof, two different vibes, excellent food.
Ooooh this is fun, I could go on, but I won’t. Let us know where you eat!!
El Real is one of two Tex-Mex places I go to. I was supposed to meet a couple of friends at Snooze. I was running late; they texted me there was a 30 minute wait at 11:30 am and they refused to wait. We went to El Real .
Although I haven’t been in a while Pappasito’s is reliable for grilled meats and shrimp.
My favorite Tex-Mex is El Tiempo but haven’t been to the Navigation location. Portions are huge and an appetizer or entrée can feed one and an app. and entrée can feed two. Our favorites are carne asada and anything crab, enchiladas, nachos, and quesadillas. Skinny margaritas are delicious and potent.
I’ve been going to Ninfa’s Navigation since the mid 70’s but it has fallen out of favor in our household with the change in recipes. The vaunted Ninfaritas have been watered down and now just produce headaches. Ask for Omar if you do go.
I went to the original Irma’s once and never returned.
I can’t believe we haven’t been to El Real, it’s on the to do list.
A nice cocktail spot is La Carafe in Houston’s oldest bar. Wine and beer only.