With 15 years experience working in travel and hospitality, Anna Stancioff has a serious case of wanderlust. Anna has visited more than 30 countries and has promoted some of the world's biggest names in travel, with a specialty in luxury hospitality. She is interested in design, architecture and the arts, as well as active and adventure travel. Anna is based in New York City, and will never say no to a game of pinball.
Houston is getting quite a bit of attention for its culinary scene. The trifecta of excellent farming, ranching and fishing in the area is a major contributor, and there are a slew of new restaurants, bars, and markets that are worth checking out. Here’s what’s hot in Houston right now:
Chef Chris Shepherd opened Underbelly in April 2012 after having trouble finding a restaurant that truly celebrated Houston. His “American Creole” cuisine recognizes the city’s ethnic diversity, and his dedication to “only buy from friends” ensures that ingredients are locally and sustainably sourced. This casual restaurant takes food seriously; from the “Korean Braised Goat & Dumplings” ($14) to the “Vinegar Pie” ($9) to the list of jams that guests can take home with them, no detail has been overlooked.
This new hotspot just opened in September with industrial design and a chef-focused menu utilizing plenty of creative ingredients. The idea was to create a place that chefs would want to “hang out,” with hearty and flavorful dishes like the “cresta de gallo” pasta which is served with hen of the woods mushrooms and enlivened with roasted yeast and parmesan ($14).
In the heart of the Lower Westheimer neighborhood (voted one of “America’s Hippest Hipster Neighborhoods” by Forbes) is Anvil Bar & Refuge. This low-key spot specializes in impeccably crafted cocktails like “The Trotter” ($10). Their 10’x12’ kitchen provides hearty snacks like flatbreads and cheese plates.
Revival Market is an elegant food shop offering everything from a perfectly brewed cup of coffee to fresh fish caught in the Gulf that morning. The BLT sandwich, homemade pastries, and fresh produce keep locals loyal, and tourists can bring the flavors of Houston home with culinary souvenirs like Sam Houston’s BBQ Sauce or Market Grill Rub.
On the Radar
Here’s a look at some highly-anticipated upcoming Houston restaurant and bar openings:
Houston’s beer scene will grow with the addition of City Acre Brewing, with an on-site garden. Early 2013.
The team behind Revival Market is opening a rustic Italian restaurant, Coltivare. Spring 2013.
A group of independent restaurant and bar owners are collaborating on a bar where 100% of the proceeds are donated to charity, OKRA Charity Saloon. Early 2013.
The Pass is the space adjacent to Provisions, with the same chefs but a more upscale experience and only 36 seats. Fall 2012.
Where to Stay
The Hotel Icon in downtown Houston has spacious rooms with plenty of local flavor, like prints of Texas Longhorns. Once home to the Union National Bank, the building still retains elegant architectural details, including the vault door behind the front desk. Weekend rates from $144.