Here it is, folks. Our definitive guide to the best restaurants in the Woodands area. Guided by over 35,000 foodies in the Woodlands Area Foodies group, our anonymous review panel consumed countless meals in search of the very best.

Restaurants are ranked in groups by number of stars; within each group, the restaurants are listed alphabetically.

Pulpo en Salsa de Chorizo at Xalisko

The Short List

The Best Restaurants in the Woodlands Area

Four Star

Among the best restaurants in Texas

Amrina Indian

TRIS American (New), Burgers, Seafood, and Steaks

Four Star detailed listing >

Three Star

Notable on a statewide level

Belly of the Beast American (New) and Mexican

CorkScrew BBQ BBQ

Fielding’s Local Kitchen + Bar American (New), Brunch, Burgers, and Steaks

Killen’s Steakhouse Burgers, Seafood, and Steaks

Mezze#1 Mediterranean and Middle Eastern

Robin’s Snowflake Donuts n’ Cafe Breakfast and Sweets

Xalisko Mexican

Three Star detailed listing >

Two Star

Among the best restaurants in the Woodlands Area

Azzurro Italian Costal Cuisine Italian and Seafood

Fielding’s Wood Grill American (New), American (Traditional), Brunch, and Burgers

Goode Co Fish Camp Seafood

Julio’s Mexican Grill – Magnolia Mexican and Tacos

Julio’s Mexican Grill – Sawdust Mexican and Tacos

Mexican Mom Mexican

Nahui Seafood Mexican and Seafood

Noodle Kitchen Chinese

Papa Amadeos Italian

RC’s NYC Pizza & Pasta Italian and Pizza

Rise French

Rita’s Cantina Mexican

Tejas Burger Joint Burgers

The Kitchen American (New), American (Traditional), Brunch, Burgers, Salads, and Sandwiches

Tony’s Italian Deli Sandwiches

Via Emilia Italian

Zanti Cucina Italiana Italian and Pizza

Two Star detailed listing >

One Star

Notable in the Woodlands area

Baja Cantina Brunch, Mexican, and Tacos

Black Walnut Cafe American (New), American (Traditional), Burgers, Sandwiches, and Tacos

Bosscat Kitchen & Libations American (New) and Burgers

Buldogies American (Traditional) and Sandwiches

Cafe Express American (New), Burgers, and Sandwiches

Califas Tacos & Beer Mexican and Tacos

Camilia’s Mexican

Casa Medina Mexican

Del Frisco’s Grille American (Traditional), Brunch, Seafood, and Steaks

EAD Vietnamese Restaurant Vietnamese

Eden Cafe American (Traditional)

Fu Manchung Vietnamese

In-N-Out Burger Burgers

Johnny’s Italian Steak House Italian and Steaks

La Cocina de Roberto Mexican and Tacos

Mastro’s Ocean Club Seafood, Steaks, and Sushi

North Italia Italian

Russo’s NY Pizzeria Italian and Pizza

Schilleci’s New Orleans Kitchen Cajun/Creole and Seafood

Sixty Vines American (New), Charcuterie, Pizza, and Wine Bar

State Fare American (Traditional), Brunch, and Burgers

The Olive Oil Greek

The Republic Grille American (Traditional), Burgers, and Salads

Tommy Bahama American (New) and Seafood

Tosca Italian Bakery Bakery, Italian, and Sandwiches

Truluck’s American (Traditional), Seafood, and Steaks

Uli’s Kitchen Mexican and Tacos

Zalat Pizza Pizza

One Star detailed listing >

Among The Best Restaurants in Texas – Four Star

Among the best restaurants in Texas.

Indian cuisine meets French technique at this luxe location near the waterway

Amrina

🌟🌟🌟🌟 — Among the best restaurants in Texas.

🥇 Best Happy Hour
🥇 Best Indian
World-class Indian cuisine from noted chef Jassi Bindra meets French technique in this swanky location near the Woodlands Waterway. GM Giorgio Ferrero has assembled a spectacular wine list (first growth Bordeaux, anyone?) to complement the luxurious, beautifully crafted cuisine. Spare-no-expense interior design is the backdrop for a special night out; those looking for an upscale scene need look no further. Amrina is piling up the awards: Not only have they been recognized by TWTX one of the best restaurants in Texas, but they were Eater Houston’s Restaurant of the Year 2022 for Houston. At this rate, they’re going to need a bigger trophy case.

Info and Photos >>
Full review >>

$$$ and $$$$ | Indian
Brunch, Family-Run Small Business, Full Bar, Good Desserts, Good for Vegetarians, Happy Hour, HRW2023, Late Night, Live Music, Outdoor Dining, Private Room, Romantic, and Upscale

3 Waterway Square Pl #100 | The Woodlands 77380
| Map | Review
Website

Raising the bar for dining in the Woodlands

TRIS

🌟🌟🌟🌟 — Among the best restaurants in Texas.

🥇 Best American (New)
🥇 Best Burger
🥇 Best Happy Hour
🥇 Best Seafood
🥇 Best Steak

Chef-driven restaurants are rare in The Woodlands, but Chef Austin Simmons demonstrates how successful they can be. Formerly known as Hubbell & Hudson Bistro, TRIS features innovative cuisine, and everything from the outstanding burgers to the most elaborate entree shows the kind of attention to detail that is the hallmark of a great restaurant.

Not only does Tris butcher their own beef, but they’ve created their own hybrid breed of cattle (Gyulais, a wagyu/charolais hybrid) that meets the chef’s exacting standards.. Chef Austin has the uncanny knack of combining diverse and unique ingredients into dishes that surprise and delight, while maintaining the integrity of the cuisine.

Steaks are a strength; from USDA prime to Texas wagyu to their own Gyulais herd to Japanese A5 (Miyazaki) for the true connoisseur. Each is cooked with the technique that will bring out the unique flavor of the breed and cut of beef.ย Seafood is another specialty, and it’s handled superbly. A deep dive into the appetizers can bring great rewards, from the now-iconic Korean butter-poached crab to the ethereal hamachi sashimi.

Many establishments slip a notch when the name on the door isn’t in the house, but not Tris; Simmons has created a well oiled machine. Chef Courtney helms the kitchen in the maestro’s absence, and we can’t detect any difference at all. That is the mark of an outstanding organization, and Tris exemplifies just how good a restaurant can be with a great team and a creative genius at the helm.

Info and Photos >>
Full review >>

$$$ and $$$$ | American (New), Burgers, Seafood, and Steaks
Catering, Full Bar, Good Desserts, Good for Vegetarians, Happy Hour, HRW2020, HRW2021, HRW2022, HRW2023, Outdoor Dining, Private Room, and Upscale

24 Waterway Avenue | The Woodlands 77380
281-203-5641
| Map | Review
Website | Menu | Order Online

Notable On a Statewide Level – Three Star

Notable on a statewide level.

Superb Mexican-influenced New American cuisine in a cozy setting

Belly of the Beast

๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ โ€” Notable on a statewide level.

🥇 Best American (New)
🥇 Best Mexican

To say we were impressed by Belly of the Beast is an understatement. And apparently we’re not the only ones. In 2024 Belly of the Beast has been nominated for a James Beard Award.

Chef Thomas Bille has brought his Los Angeles and Downtown Houston sensibilities (Ritz Carlton, Otium, Xochi) to a small family restaurant in Spring, and the results are exceptional. From the first bite of the sharp, blindingly fresh housemade ceviche to the rich, nuanced, layered flavors of the Mexican Hummus and the superb Quesobirria Tacos, BotB surprises and delights.

The breadth and complexity of the tacos is simply astounding. From the vegetarian Calabacitas (summer squash, yellow corn, poblano cremata, burrata) to the lush Carne Asada (citrus marinated flank steak, grilled onions, guacsalsa), to the surprising K-Town (smoked Berkshire shoulder, Korean glaze, miso yogurt, scallion kimchi), to the phenomenal Birra (Prime beef, queso chihuahua, onions, cilantro, salsa roja) Chef Thomas delivers bites that are nothing short of a revelation. Cozy, comfortable setting; gets busy on weekends… but it’s well worth the wait.

Info and Photos >>

$$ and $$$ | American (New) and Mexican
Family-Run Small Business and On the Radar

5200 FM 2920 #180 | Spring 77388
in new location on 2920
281-466-2040
| Map
Website

Iconic Craft BBQ

CorkScrew BBQ

๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ โ€” Notable on a statewide level.

🥇 Best BBQ

When Will Buckman quit his job with the phone company to focus on barbecue, some thought he was crazy. Our first taste of Will’s brisket, served from a trailer on Budde road, convinced us he was crazy like a fox. Along with wife Nichole, Buckman has built Corkscrew BBQ into one of the best BBQ joints in the world – Texas Monthly named them to their prestigious Top 10 list in 2017. From the superlative brisket to the gargantuan beef ribs (Saturday only) Corkscrew’s meats do not disappoint. But don’t skip the sides, or Nichole’s remarkable cobblers. And get there early. Corkscrew routinely sells out by mid-afternoon, and the line starts an hour or more before opening.

Info and Photos >>

$$ | BBQ
Family-Run Small Business and Outdoor Dining

26608 Keith St | Spring 77373
832-592-1184
| Map
Website

Modern American bistro in an upscale park setting

Fielding’s Local Kitchen + Bar

๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ โ€” Notable on a statewide level.

🥇 Best American (New)
🥇 Best Brunch
🥇 Best Burger
🥇 Best Happy Hour
🥇 Best Steak

Housemade is a term youโ€™ll hear at Fieldingโ€™s Local. Owner Cary Attar is passionate about the details, and his customers are the beneficiaries. His partner, Chef Edel Goncalves, has created a tightly edited menu featuring local, all-natural, and organic ingredients.ย This chef-driven approach to the food delights and surprises, be the dish based on pan-roasted chicken, housemade bacon, or 44 Ranch beef.

Chef Edel’s creativity always impresses, be it a vibrant starter with shimmering flavors and textures or a soulful entree with a clever surprise. His European outlook and mastery of classic technique is reflected on every plate. But Local is not pretentious; steak lovers will be pleased to discover that the steaks stack up against the best steakhouses in town, and there’s always a killer burger on the menu.

The airy, modern bar doesn’t disappoint, with their talented staff concocting superb craft cocktails from an impressive collection of spirits. Beers are sourced locally and internationally to stock the rotating selection of taps, and featured bar menus are created on a regular basis. This is easily the top bar in the Woodlands.

Service is professional and friendly. The building is stunning, with glass overlooking the expansive patio and Creekside green beyond. Fielding’s Local is a true destination restaurant, and worth a spot on any foodie’s short list.

Info and Photos >>
Full review >>

$$$ and $$$$ | American (New), Brunch, Burgers, and Steaks
Brunch, Catering, Family-Run Small Business, Full Bar, Happy Hour, HRW2020, HRW2021, Live Music, Outdoor Dining, Romantic, Scenic View, and Upscale

26400 Kuykendahl Rd | Tomball 77375
281-351-2225
| Map | Review
Website

Serious Steaks from a Master Chef

Killen’s Steakhouse

๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ โ€” Notable on a statewide level.

🥇 Best Burger
🥇 Best Seafood
🥇 Best Steak

When Ronnie Killen announced he was coming to the Woodlands, locals stood up and took notice. Why? Because this Cordon Bleu trained chef has developed a reputation for serving some of the best beef in Texas – wet aged and dry aged, and sourced from the US, Australia, and Japan. Burger lovers should not skip the outstanding Killen’s Burger; it may be the best steakhouse burger around.

Classic steakhouse vibe packs in hungry carnivores. Service is polished and professional, but approachable. Ronnie Killen’s reputation brings foodies in the door, and the expertly prepared steaks and seafood bring ’em back for more.

Info and Photos >>

$$$ and $$$$ | Burgers, Seafood, and Steaks
Full Bar, Happy Hour, Private Room, Romantic, and Upscale

1700 Research Forest Dr | Shenandoah 77381
281-323-4004
| Map
Website

Perhaps the best Middle Eastern food in the Houston Area in a warm, inviting setting

Mezze#1

๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ โ€” Notable on a statewide level.

🥇 Best Middle Eastern

We never expect to find great ethnic foods in the suburbs, but Mezze#1 turned our expectations upside down. This hidden gem, tucked away along the new Grand Central Parkway between the Woodlands and Conroe, may be the best Middle Eastern restaurant in the entire Houston area. Owner Riad El Khalibi’s journey began in Syria, then took him through both Moscow and Manhattan before landing him in Texas. Along the way he mastered the cuisines of the Middle East, and we benefit from his experiences. We’ve been blown away by so many dishes here that it represents a masterclass in Middle Eastern cuisine. Regardless of your choices, you’ll enjoy the beautiful room and the warm, friendly service.

Info and Photos >>

$$$ | Mediterranean and Middle Eastern
Catering, Family-Run Small Business, Full Bar, Good Desserts, Good for Vegetarians, On the Radar, Outdoor Dining, and Romantic

1205 Grand Central Parkway Ste. 100 | Conroe 77304
936-494-0298
| Map
Website

Donuts, kolaches and breakfast egg rolls

Robin’s Snowflake Donuts n’ Cafe

๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ โ€” Notable on a statewide level.

🥇 Best Sweet Shop

Apparently word is getting out: Robin’s Snowflake Donuts has been recognized as the Best Donut Shop in Texas by Yelp, USA Today and Travel + Leisure. Congratulations to Robin and the team for such an impressive achievement!

A variety of breakfast creations are the draw at Robin Nou’s Snowflake Donuts n’ Cafe, located in a strip center on Louetta. Unique creations like Breakfast Egg Rolls, well crafted kolaches (actually klobรกsnรญky) and a wonderful assortment of donuts are the draw; somehow this small shop manages to delight both Krispy Kreme and Shipley’s fans. We’re huge fans of the savory Brisket Kolaches (made with brisket from local favorite 3rd Coast Barbecue), the supremely southern Biscuits & Gravy Kolache, and Robin’s incomparable Apple Fritter. They close at noon, so get there early.

Info and Photos >>
Full review >>

$ | Breakfast and Sweets
Catering and Family-Run Small Business

4660 Louetta Rd #170 | Spring 77388
832-585-1106
| Map | Review
Website

World class BBQ, outstanding specials, unique sides

Tejas Chocolate & Barbecue

๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ โ€” Notable on a statewide level.

🥇 Best BBQ

World class craft barbecue is the draw at Tejas Chocolate & Barbecue, a classic Texas barbecue joint located just off Main Street in Tomball. It’s also one of the best on the planet; in 2017, Texas Monthly ranked them #6 in the nation in their prestigious list. We agree. Pitmaster Scott Moore, Jr. and his brother (and chef) Greg smoke some of the best brisket, ribs, and sausage to be found in the state. Thursdays are a special treat, when housemade pastrami is added to the mix; don’t miss it. Wednesdays have become a big deal with the appearance of the Smoked Burger on the menu; it’s a destination burger worthy of a trip. (Update: The burger spawned its own restaurant.)

Info and Photos >>
Full review >>

$$ | BBQ
Family-Run Small Business and Outdoor Dining

200 N Elm St | Tomball 77375
832-761-0670
| Map | Review
Website | Menu

Destination Mexican Dining from an accomplished team

Xalisko

๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ โ€” Notable on a statewide level.

🥇 Best Mexican
🥇 Best Tacos

Chef Beatriz Martines and her husband Juan have brought a destination Mexican restaurant to the Woodlands. Chef Beatriz bring world-class experience (from Hugo Ortega’s kitchens to the legendary Can Roca in Spain) and it shows in her cuisine. We were seriously impressed by her tableside trompo service of Tacos al Pastor; these are easily the best version we’ve found in the Houston area. Modern, upscale setting with numerous touches that reference Mexican culture. This isn’t your dad’s favorite Tex-Mex spot; its something far more interesting.

Info and Photos >>
Full review >>

$$$ | Mexican
Catering, Family-Run Small Business, Full Bar, Good Desserts, Happy Hour, HRW2023, On the Radar, Private Room, Romantic, and Upscale

1335 Lake Woodlands Dr | The Woodlands 77380
281-323-4092
| Map | Review

The Best Restaurants in the Woodlands Area – Two Star

Among the best restaurants in the Woodlands area.

The coastal cuisine of Italy in a romantic, lakeside setting

Azzurro Italian Costal Cuisine

🌟🌟 — Among the best restaurants in the Woodlands area.

🥇 Best Italian
🥇 Best Seafood

Azzurro brings the cuisine of coastal Italy to Texas, and does so with verve and style. From the beautifully appointed lakeside dining room (outside seating is available as well) to the polished, professional service to the skillfully executed cuisine, Azzurro exceeds expectations.

The kitchen sings with fresh seafood preparations. We’d happily make a meal from the stellar Octopus Carpaccio, the soulful House Smoked Salmon, and the lush Pesce Crudo. But don’t miss the handmade pastas; the Mafaldine Braised Beef Cheeks was one of the best pastas we’ve sampled this year.

It’s another hit for the Orioli family, who are spreading their Italian vision across the Woodlands. Upscale casual atmosphere, valet parking.

Info and Photos >>
Full review >>

$$$ | Italian and Seafood
Family-Run Small Business, Full Bar, Good Desserts, Outdoor Dining, Romantic, Scenic View, and Upscale

1950 Hughes Landing Blvd #1900 | The Woodlands 77381
281-310-6662
| Map | Review
Website

Outstanding Thai cuisine in a beautiful upscale setting

Charm Thai Kitchen and Bar

🌟🌟 — Among the best restaurants in the Woodlands area.

🥇 Best Asian
🥇 Best Thai

Serial restaurateurs Adam and Wanalee Gorelick set their sights on the Woodlands with Charm Thai Kitchen and Bar. Taking their success with Spring’s Charm Thai Kitchen to the next level, the food and experience has been elevated for discerning Woodlands guests. The cuisine at Charm comes directly from Thailand; Wanalee grew up there. Their rendition of Pad Thai is perhaps the best we’ve had in Houston, but diners should explore beyond the obvious; we’ve been delighted with every noodle dish and curry we have sampled here.

Info and Photos >>
Full review >>

$$ and $$$ | Thai
Family-Run Small Business, Full Bar, Good Desserts, Good for Vegetarians, Happy Hour, On the Radar, Outdoor Dining, and Romantic

4223 Research Forest Dr #100 | The Woodlands 77381
832-429-2929
| Map | Review
Website

Burgers and American favorites, chef-driven and scratch made

Fielding’s Wood Grill

🌟🌟 — Among the best restaurants in the Woodlands area.

🥇 Best American (New)
🥇 Best American (Traditional)
🥇 Best Brunch
🥇 Best Burger
🥇 Best Happy Hour

Gourmet burgers cooked over a wood grill are the centerpiece at Fielding’s Wood Grill, the original member of the Fielding’s family of restaurants. Founder Cary Attar sweats the details, and believes in making everything in-house, from the custom grind of 44 Ranch Beef to the house cured bacon. Culinary Director Edel Goncalves takes these ingredients and creates unique burgers and an evolving menu of appetizers and entrees that keep the regulars coming back for more. The appeal of Fielding’s extends past the burgers; a very popular weekend brunch features creative spins on brunch classics, and the bartenders pull mugs from a great selection of locally brewed beers when they’re not slinging craft cocktails. Service is brisk and efficient.

Info and Photos >>
Full review >>

$$ and $$$ | American (New), American (Traditional), Brunch, and Burgers
Brunch, Catering, Family-Run Small Business, Full Bar, Happy Hour, HRW2020, HRW2021, and Upscale

1699 Research Forest Dr | Shenandoah 77380
832-616-3275
| Map | Review
Website | Menu | Order Online

Well-executed Gulf Coast seafood in an upscale, casual setting

Goode Co Fish Camp

🌟🌟 — Among the best restaurants in the Woodlands area.

🥇 Best Seafood

Levi Goode has brought his outstanding take on Gulf Coast seafood to the Woodlands with his new Goode Co Fish Camp concept. Diners can expect expertly crafted seafood dishes (do not miss the iconic campechana) served in a casual but classy room that pays homage to the Texas Gulf Coast. Polished service, friendly staff.

Info and Photos >>
Full review >>

$$ and $$$ | Seafood
Catering, Full Bar, Good Desserts, Happy Hour, Outdoor Dining, and Upscale

8865 Six Pines Dr Suite 100 | Shenandoah 77380
281-947-9120
| Map | Review
Website

Creative Mexican food and Tex-Mex favorites

Julio’s Mexican Grill – Magnolia

🌟🌟 — Among the best restaurants in the Woodlands area.

🥇 Best Mexican
🥇 Best Tacos

The original location of this growing restaurant empire (Julio’s Sawdust, Red Flame) is still packing ’em in. Theyโ€™re drawn in by the impressive Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine, which goes beyond the typical fajitas (although Julioโ€™s are outstanding) to superb creations like the El Sabroso (lightly breaded chicken breast covered in a shrimp/poblano cream sauce). The menu is strong from top to bottom โ€“ street tacos are a donโ€™t miss, and their al pastor may be the best on Houstonโ€™s north side. Service is friendly and professional.

Info and Photos >>

$$ | Mexican and Tacos
Family-Run Small Business, Full Bar, Happy Hour, and Outdoor Dining

33418 Egypt Ln #2759 | Magnolia 77354
281-259-4522
| Map
Website

Creative Mexican food and Tex-Mex favorites

Julio’s Mexican Grill – Sawdust

🌟🌟 — Among the best restaurants in the Woodlands area.

🥇 Best Mexican
🥇 Best Tacos

The best Mexican restaurant in Magnolia has opened a second location on Sawdust road, and savvy locals are already converging. They’re drawn in by the impressive Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine, which goes beyond the typical fajitas (although Julio’s are outstanding) to superb creations like the El Sabroso (lightly breaded chicken breast covered in a shrimp/poblano cream sauce). The menu is strong from top to bottom – street tacos are a don’t miss, and their al pastor may be the best on Houston’s north side. Service is friendly and professional.

Info and Photos >>

$$ | Mexican and Tacos
Catering, Family-Run Small Business, Full Bar, Good Desserts, Good for Kids, Happy Hour, Outdoor Dining, and Private Room

544 Sawdust Road | The Woodlands 77380
(by PetCo)
281-419-5441
| Map
Website | Order Online

Traditional Mexican cuisine in a cozy, friendly spot

Mexican Mom

🌟🌟 — Among the best restaurants in the Woodlands area.

🥇 Best Mexican

Mexican Mom is the kind of tiny, family-run cafรฉ that we love to see succeed. Chef Gina Antimo brings her very personal approach to Mexican cooking to the establishment, and her care is evident on every plate. The menu changes weekly; Gina creates new dishes from the best and freshest ingredients available… but a few dishes make repeat appearances, including the stellar Enchiladas Verdes, one of our favorites. Mexican Mom is the kind of restaurant that makes a community better, and should be on your short list whenever you’re craving great Mexican food.

Info and Photos >>

$$ | Mexican
Catering, Family-Run Small Business, Good Desserts, and On the Radar

1027 Sawdust Rd #375 | The Woodlands 77380
832-614-1798
| Map
Website

Small family-run seafood spot that evokes a Mexican coastal resort

Nahui Seafood

🌟🌟 — Among the best restaurants in the Woodlands area.

🥇 Best Seafood
🥈 Recommended Mexican

Nahui Seafood is a hidden gem tucked away in a nondescript center along I-45. Stepping inside transports the guest to a beachside restaurant along the Mexican coast; the vibe is relaxing and laid back, and the staff treats guests with the kind of hospitality you only find south of the border.

The food is full of pleasant surprises. Your meal starts with housemade chips and fresh fish ceviche, a very generous complimentary start. Then you choose from a wide variety of seafood dishes, both cooked and citrus cured. We were particularly impressed with the ceviches, which were fresh and refreshing, and the superb shrimp dishes, like the excellent friend Rock Shrimp and the marinated and grilled Zarandeados Shrimp. Service is attentive and professional.

Info and Photos >>

$$ and $$$ | Mexican and Seafood
Family-Run Small Business, Good Desserts, and On the Radar

25602 I-45 Unit 112A | Spring 77386
346-634-1138
| Map

Classic Italian, prepared skillfully from scratch

Nona’s Italian Grill

🌟🌟 — Among the best restaurants in the Woodlands area.

🥇 Best Italian

Foodies in search of outstanding Italian food have a tucked away spot to try. Chef owned and relocated to the Woodlands, Nona’s Italian Grill shows the kind of carefully crafted cuisine that is the hallmark of a memorable restaurant.ย From classics like the excellent Chicken Parmigiana to creative combinations featuring pastas, seafood, and outstanding steaks, we were impressed by quality of the ingredients, the solid execution, and the classic flavors of the signature sauces.

Located in a strip center on Highway 242 just west of I-45, Nona’s modest yet upscale setting is cozy, quiet, and perfect for date night. Nona’s moving to the Woodlands triggered the Italian food renaissance that totally remade the cuisine’s footprint in our area. Full bar, professional service.

Info and Photos >>

$$ and $$$ | Italian
Family-Run Small Business, Full Bar, Happy Hour, HRW2022, HRW2023, Live Music, Romantic, and Upscale

3091 College Park Dr #185 | The Woodlands 77384
936-224-3132
| Map
Website

Authentic Shanghai cuisine in a tidy strip center location

Noodle Kitchen

🌟🌟 — Among the best restaurants in the Woodlands area.

🥇 Best Chinese

Kuykendahl road has a great destination for serious Chinese food. Called Noodle Kitchen, this small, family-run Chinese spot features hand-pulled noodles, superb xiao long bao (soup dumplings) and a nice selection of well-prepared Chinese favorites. North siders who are craving authentic cuisine from the Shanghai region now have an option that doesn’t involve a drive down to Bellaire, and for that, we are forever thankful. Friendly service from new staff that can be overwhelmed; showing a little grace and patience will be greatly rewarded.

Info and Photos >>

$$ | Chinese
Family-Run Small Business, Good for Vegetarians, and On the Radar

18363 Kuykendahl Rd | Spring 77379
346-463-8078
| Map
Website

Outstanding Chinese specializing in handmade noodles and dumplings

Noodle Kitchen Woodlands

🌟🌟 — Among the best restaurants in the Woodlands area.

🥇 Best Chinese

The people behind the north side’s best noodles and dumplings have opened a second location in the Woodlands on College Park. Hungry patrons flock for such authentic dishes as bao, xiao long bao (soup dumplings) and hand-pulled noodles. Casual setting, friendly service, but don’t expect things too fast; making from scratch takes time.

Info and Photos >>

$$ | Chinese
Family-Run Small Business and On the Radar

3335 College Park Dr #800 | The Woodlands 77384
| Map
Website

Sophisticated Indian cuisine in a cozy family-run setting

Palette Indian Kitchen

🌟🌟 — Among the best restaurants in the Woodlands area.

🥇 Best Indian

Discerning foodies looking for a great Indian restaurant now have a solid local destination. Palette Indian Kitchen creates remarkably complex, subtly spiced dishes that will please the most demanding palate. From the scrumptious Chicken Popsicles, with their lush garlic lemon creme sauce, to the savory Lamb Seekh Kabob, boldly aromatic, herbal, moist and incredibly flavorful, there is a lot to love on the expansive menu. Surprises abound; we were tickled by the gently sweet Peshwari Naan (baked in the tandoori oven with coconut, nuts, and hints of cherry) and the Goan Shrimp Curry, a subtle curry with plump, beautifully cooked shrimp and layer upon layer of flavor. Don’t let the casual strip-center location fool you; this is a serious kitchen with serious food.

Info and Photos >>

$$ | Indian
Family-Run Small Business, Good for Vegetarians, Outdoor Dining, and Private Room

3559 Rayford Rd Suite 200 | Spring 77386
281-362-5999
| Map
Website | Order Online

Handmade contemporary Italian cuisine

Papa Amadeos

🌟🌟 — Among the best restaurants in the Woodlands area.

🥇 Best Italian

Don’t be fooled by the modest strip center location. Papa Amadeos crafts some of the finest Italian food in the Woodlands area. Chef Arturo Huerta’s meticulous personal approach delivers delicious results. Everything is handmade in house; from the pastas to the balanced, classic sauces, to the more innovative dishes featured in the evenings. The classics are beautifully executed; we keep getting drawn in by the flawless chicken parmigiana and the light, pillowy gnocchi. Well priced, curated wine list.

Info and Photos >>

$$ | Italian
Catering, Family-Run Small Business, Live Music, Private Room, Romantic, and Upscale

432 Sawdust Rd. | Spring 77380
Behind Herb & Beet
713-389-5975
| Map
Website

Brooklyn-style pizza with a Texas accent

RC’s NYC Pizza & Pasta

🌟🌟 — Among the best restaurants in the Woodlands area.

🥇 Best Pizza
🥈 Recommended Italian

The Woodlands has no shortage of great pizza places. But one name comes up over and over when asked for recommendations. RCโ€™s NYC Pizza & Pasta serves honest-to-Vito New York street pizza, either traditional (cheese only) or with your choice of toppings. Theyโ€™re serious about pizza: RC himself travels around the nation competing against the best pizza makers in the country, and has repeatedly brought home the hardware.

RCโ€™s goes beyond pizza, with outstanding wings, delicious calzones, and great plated entrees. This isnโ€™t your average pizza spot, which is why it earned a spot on our list.

Info and Photos >>

$ and $$ | Italian and Pizza
Family-Run Small Business

501 Sawdust Rd | Spring 77380
281-298-4663
| Map
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Soufflรฉ's and more from this playfully upscale French cafe and wine bar

Rise

🌟🌟 — Among the best restaurants in the Woodlands area.

🥇 Best French
🥇 Best Sweet Shop

Upscale French cuisine in a relaxed yet elegant setting? That’s Rise, the Dallas import that will have locals lining up at the door. Soufflรฉ’s the the specialty, both the expected sweet and the surprising (but craveable) savory. Chef Cameron Achee and his team are bringing their spin on this classic French cuisine to the western Woodlands, and we’re lucky they are.

Info and Photos >>
Full review >>

$$ and $$$ | French
Full Bar, Good Desserts, On the Radar, Private Room, and Romantic

26435 Kuykendahl Rd Suite 100 | Tomball 77375
281-809-0742
| Map | Review

Superb Tex-Mex in an unassuming strip center

Rita’s Cantina

🌟🌟 — Among the best restaurants in the Woodlands area.

🥇 Best Mexican

When WAF member Bob Frasier dines at the same restaurant several times a week, it’s worth investigating. And we’re glad we did. Rita’s Cantina, located in a nondescript strip center off Hwy 249, is a restaurant we’d have driven by without noticing. But now we’re in on the secret.

Inside Rita’s is some of the best Mexican food in the Houston area. From beautifully composed combination plates to the sizzling fajitas, Rita’s food is several steps above the typical Mexican restaurant in the area. Both flavors and presentation are superb; chef Javier Gonzalez is one of the most talented in the city. His wife Judy oversees the comfortable dining room, filled with regulars who are in the know.

Info and Photos >>
Full review >>

$$ | Mexican
Family-Run Small Business, Full Bar, and Happy Hour

32015 TX-249 | Pinehurst 77362
(About 10 minutes from Woodlands Pkwy and 2978)
346-248-5097
| Map | Review
Website

Handcrafted burgers in a quaint small town setting

Tejas Burger Joint

🌟🌟 — Among the best restaurants in the Woodlands area.

🥇 Best Burger

The burger at Tejas Chocolate & Barbecue was just too good to offer one day a week, so Scott Moore and his team opened Tejas Burger Joint, offering a variety of superb, handcrafted burgers every day. The flagship Smokehouse Burger (ground brisket, smoked and then seared on a griddle, topped with housemade bacon and smoky cheddar) is one of the best burgers in the Houston area. Cozy, casual setting on Tomball’s Main Street.

Info and Photos >>

$$ | Burgers
Family-Run Small Business

214 W Main St | Tomball 77375
832-349-6116
| Map
| Order Online

Serious chef-driven comfort food in a fast casual setting

The Kitchen

🌟🌟 — Among the best restaurants in the Woodlands area.

🥇 Best American (New)
🥇 Best American (Traditional)
🥇 Best Brunch
🥈 Recommended Burger
🥈 Recommended Sandwiches

Fast casual meets upscale cuisine at The Kitchen, the laid-back cousin of the award-winning Tris. Don’t let the counter service fool you; Chef Austin Simmons has created a serious menu full of creative dishes. We’re especially fond of the Greek Chicken and the new Steak Salad. Burgerphiles love the Kitchen as well; Chef Austin knows his burgers. Wine drinkers rejoice… the Kitchen sells wine at retail prices (not restaurant prices) so you can get a great bottle for as little as $10. Carefully curated craft beer selection. Service surprises for fast casual, GM Austen Goodwin and his team are raising the bar in this segment.

(Formerly Hubbell & Hudson Kitchen)

Info and Photos >>
Full review >>

$$ | American (New), American (Traditional), Brunch, Burgers, Salads, and Sandwiches
Brunch, Good Desserts, Happy Hour, and Outdoor Dining

4526 Research Forest Dr | The Woodlands 77381
281-203-5650
| Map | Review
Website | Menu | Order Online

World-class sandwiches in a strip center location

Tony’s Italian Deli

🌟🌟 — Among the best restaurants in the Woodlands area.

🥇 Best Sandwiches

Outstanding sub sandwiches are the draw at Tony’s Italian Deli, a notable sandwich shop in a nondescript strip center across from the entrance to April Sound. Founded by the prolific Ron Nicoletta, perfected by Hootie and Mary Trant, the new owners are moving forward with the original concept, and producing huge, tasty sandwiches that satisfy the crowd. This isn’t Subway, folks.

Choosing from the wall of options is tough. New visitors should resist the urge to build their own and delve into one of the recommended creations; our favorites are the J. Gandolfini (cold) and the Lucky Luciano (hot). Expect a filling meal, and another one at home with the half you couldn’t eat in the store.

Info and Photos >>

$$ | Sandwiches
Outdoor Dining

16235 TX 105 | Montgomery 77356
(Second location on Kuykendall south of Creekside Forest Drive)
936-588-4800
| Map
| Order Online

Upscale Italian in a cozy, romantic setting

Via Emilia

🌟🌟 — Among the best restaurants in the Woodlands area.

🥇 Best Italian

Great upscale Italian food can be tough to come by in the Woodlands, but Via Emilia is an exception to this rule. Tucked away in a strip center on Kuykendahl and Woodlands Parkway, Via Emilia prepares northern Italian specialities with verve and aplomb, and the gracious staff provides flawless service in the lovely dining room. Skillfully prepared seafood, meats, and pastas are great choices, and be sure to save room for the stellar limoncello cake.

Info and Photos >>
Full review >>

$$$ | Italian
Full Bar, Happy Hour, Live Music, Private Room, Romantic, and Upscale

10700 Kuykendahl Rd | The Woodlands 77381
281-465-9555
| Map | Review
Website | Order Online

Modern Italian in a chic, upscale setting

Zanti Cucina Italiana

🌟🌟 — Among the best restaurants in the Woodlands area.

🥇 Best Italian
🥇 Best Pizza

Upscale Italian cuisine comes to the Northwest Woodlands with the opening of Zanti Cucina Italiana, the brainchild of three brothers who bring extensive food & beverage background to this new endeavor. Outstanding housemade pastas, Neapolitan pizzas, and strict attention to detail are the draws here. You don’t have to drive downtown for a great Italian meal anymore… or even to the front of the Woodlands.

Info and Photos >>
Full review >>

$$ and $$$ | Italian and Pizza
Full Bar, Happy Hour, Live Music, Private Room, and Upscale

10000 Research Forest Drive | The Woodlands 77354
281-259-1300
| Map | Review
Website

Notable Restaurants – One Star

Notable in the Woodlands area.

Notable craft BBQ in a cozy backyard spot near the Woodlands

3rd Coast BBQ & Catering

๐ŸŒŸ โ€” Notable in the Woodlands area.

🥇 Best BBQ

There’s a new rising star on the north side craft BBQ scene, and their name is 3rd Coast BBQ. Pitmaster Troy Mulligan is a Houston native, and has mastered his art after driving around Texas and sampling ‘Q from dozens of the state’s top pits. His dedication and research is paying dividends: The centerpiece is superb brisket; remarkably moist, beautifully rendered, and with a cravable bark created by his top secret rub.

Other proteins aren’t shortchanged; the pork ribs are savory masterpieces, with a plucky texture and effortless pull from the bone. Sausage should’t be overlooked; Troy makes an outstanding boudin, with perhaps the best meat/rice balance that we’ve come across. For those eating lighter, turkey is beautifully smoky and tender. Attention to detail shows in the sides (all made in-house, don’t miss the gently spicy street corn or the excellent buns and breads (all Slow Dough, the local baking wizards.) Open Thursday through Sunday, and they’re typically sold out by 4pm.

Info and Photos >>

$$ | BBQ
Family-Run Small Business and Outdoor Dining

25219 Oakhurst Dr | Spring 77386
713-545-0718
| Map
Website

Cali-Mex Cuisine in a festive spot on Waterway Square

Baja Cantina

๐ŸŒŸ โ€” Notable in the Woodlands area.

🥈 Recommended Mexican
🥈 Recommended Tacos

Baja is the region of Mexico south of California, and Baja Cantina brings California’s spin on Mexican food to the Woodlands. A talented team has come together to bring this lighter take on Mexican cuisine to the business types who congregate at lunch, families at dinner, and the millennial party crowd on weekends. We think all groups will enjoy such specialities as the spectacular tuna soft taco, the huge nacho tower, and the unique pork belly and mint salad. Cocktail program looks promising; their margarita was smooth and flavorful, with unique herbal accents that aren’t usually found ’round these parts. House made aqua frescas will keep the designated driver delighted. ย Just don’t come looking for Tex-Mex; Baja Cantina is a whole different state of Mexican food.

Info and Photos >>

$$ | Brunch, Mexican, and Tacos
Full Bar, Happy Hour, Outdoor Dining, and Scenic View

24 Waterway Ave Suite 160 | The Woodlands 77380
Waterway Square
832-432-2252
| Map
Website | Menu

A broad array of modern comfort food in a sleek setting

Black Walnut Cafe

๐ŸŒŸ โ€” Notable in the Woodlands area.

🥈 Recommended American (New)
🥈 Recommended American (Traditional)
🥈 Recommended Brunch
🥈 Recommended Burger
🥈 Recommended Happy Hour
🥈 Recommended Sandwiches
🥈 Recommended Tacos

The secret is out: The Masked Chef who’s been making over the menu at Black Walnut is none other than Chef Austin Simmons, mastermind behind the award-winning Tris, Cureight, and the Kitchen. The result: Black Walnut has been seriously upping their culinary game. New menu items are appearing regularly, and they show a new viewpoint and a very skillful touch. We’ve been very pleased to see an established brand elevate their offerings like this, and can’t wait to see what’s next.

—-

Black Walnut is perhaps the biggest success story for restaurants originating in the Woodlands. Founded by serial restaurateur George Pallotta, the organization has spread statewide under the Black Forest Ventures umbrella. Why? Big portions of chef-created comfort food, served in an upscale, fast-casual setting. Sandwiches are a big deal here, and the broad menu offers something for everyone. We’re especially fond of the terrific pasta dishes; some proven recipes that have been popular for years, and some brand new ones. These rival pasta dishes at dedicated Italian restaurants; they’re that good. Tacos are another surprise; the expanding menu of tacos (including some impressive new birria tacos) is also worth exploring.

Don’t skip brunch; it’s very popular. And save room for dessert.

Info and Photos >>

$$ | American (New), American (Traditional), Burgers, Sandwiches, and Tacos
Brunch, Full Bar, Good Desserts, Happy Hour, HRW2022, HRW2023, Outdoor Dining, and Private Room

9000 New Trails Drive | The Woodlands 77381
Also at the Conroe Airport
281-362-1678
| Map
Website | Menu | Order Online

Whiskey and food in a cozy, intimate setting

Bosscat Kitchen & Libations

๐ŸŒŸ โ€” Notable in the Woodlands area.

🥇 Best Brunch
🥇 Best Burger
🥈 Recommended American (New)

Bosscat Kitchen is a restaurant with a focus on pork and a bar with a focus on whiskey. These two American cousins come together in a cozy, intimate setting that’s perfect for happy hour or date night. Food is well executed elevated comfort food; start with the Pig Candy and thank us later.

Info and Photos >>

$$ and $$$ | American (New) and Burgers
Brunch, Full Bar, Good Desserts, HRW2023, On the Radar, Outdoor Dining, Private Room, and Romantic

9595 Six Pines Dr Unit 250 | The Woodlands 77380
On Market Street near Tiffany's
281-819-6330
| Map
Website

New York-style pizza from this iconic local chain

Brothers Pizza Express

๐ŸŒŸ โ€” Notable in the Woodlands area.

🥇 Best Pizza

This long-time Woodlands standby serves big New York-style pizzas to hungry patrons who’ve been visiting for years. Calzones and pastas are also offered. The environment is basic but comfortable; no frills, but a great place to grab a pizza. Brother’s was the winner of our 2022 Pizza Shootout.

Info and Photos >>

$ and $$ | Pizza
Delivery by Restaurant, Family-Run Small Business, and Good for Kids

2260 Buckthorne Pl #173 | The Woodlands 77380
(also in Sterling Ridge Center)
281-298-9299
| Map
Website | Menu | Order Online

Flawlessly Executed Carnival Cuisine

Buldogies

๐ŸŒŸ โ€” Notable in the Woodlands area.

🥇 Best American (Traditional)
🥈 Recommended Sandwiches

Foodies in search of the best hot dogs around make the hike up to Highway 105 to drop in at Buldogies. Inside they’ll find handcrafted versions of the food that’s found at a state fair… but prepared far better. Huge hot dogs made from quality ingredients and assembled with attention to detail are the centerpiece, but the excellent sandwiches, carnival favorites, and indulgent desserts delight kids and adults alike. Foodies jump right to the City Crafted Dogs or the Outlaws, each of which is a well-balanced dish with expertly layered flavors. This isn’t James Coney Island; you don’t need to order three, although you may want to try them all.

Info and Photos >>

$ | American (Traditional) and Sandwiches
Family-Run Small Business

14543 TX 105 #406 | Conroe 77304
936-588-6688
| Map

Modern American cuisine in a sleek, contemporary setting

Cafe Express

๐ŸŒŸ โ€” Notable in the Woodlands area.

🥈 Recommended American (New)

Cafe Express offers a broad menu of American favorites in a sleek, contemporary setting. Big burgers, lush salads, sandwiches, soups, and plated entrees are all made from scratch in house. This Houston-based restaurant group previously had a location at Market Street.

Info and Photos >>
Full review >>

$$ | American (New), Burgers, and Sandwiches
Catering, Happy Hour, and On the Radar

3091 College Park Dr #290 | The Woodlands 77384
(832) 404-2451
| Map | Review
Website

West Coast-style tacos and burritos in a sleek, family-run space

Califas Tacos & Beer

๐ŸŒŸ โ€” Notable in the Woodlands area.

🥇 Best Tacos
🥈 Recommended Mexican

Tacos and Burritos are the thing at this family-run taqueria. Excellent housemade tortillas are crafted into craveable signature tacos; we were particularly impressed by the Poblano, bursting with grilled angus, slices of grilled poblano peppers, jack cheese and their tasty poblano sauce. These are definitely Cali-style tacos, with different flavor profiles than found in Texas or Mexico. The Pastor was quite good as well, and was pretty much what you’d expect of tacos al pastor, with the addition of a mild guacamole with the onion and cilantro. Must be a California thing; the result was tasty. Friendly service from Mom, Dad, and the two kids.

Info and Photos >>

$$ | Mexican and Tacos
Family-Run Small Business, On the Radar, and Outdoor Dining

1500 Research Forest Dr #100 | Shenandoah 77381
281-466-2075
| Map
Website | Menu | Order Online

Tex Mex meets Barbecue in a friendly, lively setting

Camilia’s

๐ŸŒŸ โ€” Notable in the Woodlands area.

🥇 Best Mexican
🥈 Recommended BBQ

Tex Mex and Barbecue are the national foods of Texas, and Camila’s marries both together with utterly delicious results. This is not a me-too Tex Mex place; the broad slate of unique dishes meld both Texas cuisines into something both unique and craveable. From the kitchen’s new spins on old favorites (pit-smoked fajita, anyone?) to their utterly unique creations (Tex-Mexi-Que Enchiladas, Tejas Smoke Cheese) the big flavors and solid executions keep patrons smiling. The owner is all about continuous improvement, so keep coming back and discover what new masterpiece he’s added to the menu.

Info and Photos >>

$$ and $$$ | Mexican
Brunch, Catering, Family-Run Small Business, Full Bar, Good Desserts, Happy Hour, and On the Radar

1245 Grand Central Parkway | Conroe 77304
936-224-5594
| Map
Website

Quality Tex-Mex and outstanding margaritas

Casa Medina

๐ŸŒŸ โ€” Notable in the Woodlands area.

🥈 Recommended Mexican

Solid Tex-Mex entrees and big margaritas are the main attraction at this family-owned Tex-Mex spot. Owner Adan Medina and his family differentiate their place with delicious flavored margaritas; weโ€™re partial to the Avocado Margarita, which is smooth and delicious. Service is prompt and professional in both the big dining room and the cozy bar.

Info and Photos >>

$$ | Mexican
Family-Run Small Business, Full Bar, and Happy Hour

28777 I-45 | Spring 77381
281-298-9866
| Map
Website

Superlative Thai cuisine in a jewel-like strip-center setting

Charm Thai Bistro

๐ŸŒŸ โ€” Notable in the Woodlands area.

🥇 Best Asian
🥇 Best Thai

A wide variety of expertly crafted Thai dishes is on the menu at Charm Thai Bistro, and we were impressed with every single one we sampled. From the cool, tangy, refreshing Som Tum (papaya salad) to the delightfully complex Tom Kha (coconut soup) to the soulfully rich Panang Curry, we were blown away by the obvious care that went into every dish. Even the de rigueur Pad Thai was the best we’ve found ’round these parts.ย Chef Adam Gorelick is not a native of Thailand, but you’d never know by the food that flows from his talented kitchen. Modern, comfortable setting, featuring artifacts imported from Thailand, and a huge mural of a Thai lion overseeing the dining room. Service is warm, friendly and professional.

Info and Photos >>

$$ | Thai
Family-Run Small Business, Good for Vegetarians, and HRW2021

2203 Spring Steubner Rd #100 | Spring 77389
281-516-5555
| Map

Quality steaks and seafood in a scenic lakeside location

Del Frisco’s Grille

๐ŸŒŸ โ€” Notable in the Woodlands area.

🥇 Best American (Traditional)
🥈 Recommended Burger
🥈 Recommended Seafood
🥈 Recommended Steak

We love the patio at Del Frisco’s Grille; the view over the lake is perhaps the best in The Woodlands. The food satisfies too; from the legendary Del Frisco steaks, to the enticing flatbreads, cheesesteak egg rolls (believe us, it works), and well executed entrees. At lunch, we’re especially fond of the Grille Prime Cheeseburger, a double-patty creation worthy of any burger lover’s attention.

The well-trained staff anticipates patrons’ needs and provides excellent service. Chef Brian McNamara serves up outstanding specials; call ahead to see what magic he’s worked today.

Info and Photos >>

$$ and $$$ | American (Traditional), Brunch, Seafood, and Steaks
Full Bar, Happy Hour, HRW2020, HRW2021, HRW2022, HRW2023, Outdoor Dining, Private Room, Romantic, Scenic View, and Upscale

1900 Hughes Landing Blvd #500 | The Woodlands 77380
281-465-0300
| Map
Website | Menu

Elevated Vietnamese Cuisine

EAD Vietnamese Restaurant

๐ŸŒŸ โ€” Notable in the Woodlands area.

🥇 Best Asian
🥇 Best Vietnamese

This hidden gem is an offshoot of Huynh, one of the best Vietnamese restaurants in Houston, so we were excited to hear of its opening. Upon visiting, our high expectations were exceeded.

Soups are superb; the pho is rich and flavorful, and the chicken wonton is light years ahead of what you’ll find at a typical Chinese spot. But don’t miss the plated entrees; they are created with an eye to bold flavors and careful attention to detail.

The space is large, bright, and airy, with a sleek modern design. It’s quickly become our preferred Vietnamese destination in the Woodlands area.

Info and Photos >>

$$ | Vietnamese
Good for Vegetarians

17947 Interstate 45 S | Shenandoah 77385
281-651-2208
| Map
| Order Online

Eclectic Family-Run Cafe

Eden Cafe

๐ŸŒŸ โ€” Notable in the Woodlands area.

🥇 Best American (Traditional)

This family-run cafe has been making area diners happy with generous portions of eclectic, home-style cuisine. American favorites, Italian, and Cuban entrees are the highlights.

Owner Ulises Larramendi originally hails from Cuba, and he brings a gentle latin twist to American favorites. Service is friendly and reliable, and the family-friendly environment is filled with diners of all ages.

Info and Photos >>
Full review >>

$$ | American (Traditional)
Brunch, Family-Run Small Business, Full Bar, Good for Kids, Happy Hour, and Private Room

33418 Egypt Ln #16 | Magnolia 77354
832-934-2800
| Map | Review
Website

Enticing Asian fusion in a cozy, family-run nook.

Fu Manchung

๐ŸŒŸ โ€” Notable in the Woodlands area.

🥇 Best Asian
🥇 Best Vietnamese

Delightfully quirky family-run Asian fusion spot with an enticing slate of unique and memorable dishes. These family recipes surprise and delight; highlights are the deep, rich pho, surprising noodle dishes, superb curry, and a slate of tasty and clever appetizers. Don’t skip the beverages; Cafรฉ Su Da and Thai Milk Tea are both among the best we’ve sampled.

Service is professional, with a delightfully personal touch. The setting is cozy, comfortable and spotless.

Info and Photos >>

$ and $$ | Vietnamese
Family-Run Small Business and Good for Vegetarians

3416 FM 2920 Suite 210 | Spring 77388
832-791-5873
| Map
Website

Upscale Tex-Mex from the iconic Houston family

Goode Co Kitchen & Cantina

๐ŸŒŸ โ€” Notable in the Woodlands area.

🥇 Best Mexican

Top notch fajitas and seafood, solid margaritas, and cold beer are the draws at this Houston-area transplant. The food is more Tex-Mex than Mexican, but big plates and well executed food rarely disappoint. Beautiful upscale setting, great service, and a professional staff draw the regulars back for more, eye-opening prices can surprise newcomers.

Info and Photos >>

$$$ | Mexican
Happy Hour and Outdoor Dining

8865 Six Pines Dr Ste 150 | Shenandoah 77380
281-826-5150
| Map
Website

The iconic SoCal burger joint serves well priced, high quality burgers

In-N-Out Burger

๐ŸŒŸ โ€” Notable in the Woodlands area.

🥈 Recommended Burger

In-N-Out Burger has been a Los Angeles icon for decades, and they’ve slowly expanded to select cities across the nation. The Woodlands location carries on the brand’s focus on a tightly edited, high quality menu. You won’t find gimmicks here, just fresh beef, melty cheese, and fresh traditional toppings. Fries can disappoint; order them well done, or skip them entirely. While lesser burger joints often hide a mediocre patty behind countless toppings, In-N-Out sticks to a purist approach, and we’re fans of the results. Being open late is an added bonus: Until 1am during the week, and 1:30 on weekend nights.

Service is friendly and professional; the brand new restaurant is spotlessly clean. Expect lines for the first few weeks.

Info and Photos >>
Full review >>

$ | Burgers
Good for Kids, Late Night, On the Radar, and Outdoor Dining

1717 Lake Woodlands Drive | The Woodlands 77380
North edge of Woodlands Mall
800-786-1000
| Map | Review
Website | Menu

Steaks and Italian in a surprisingly fashionable hideaway

Johnny’s Italian Steak House

๐ŸŒŸ โ€” Notable in the Woodlands area.

🥈 Recommended Italian
🥈 Recommended Steak

We never expected to find good food in a hotel off Research east of I-45. So we were pleasantly surprised by Johnny’s Italian Steak House, a mid-priced steakhouse that also features some very good Italian dishes. We’re particularly fond of their happy hour offerings – well priced appetizers perfect for sharing.

Johnny’s kitchen does an outstanding job turning out steaks that won’t break the budget; the result is a wonderfully upscale meal without the upscale prices.

Service is attentive without being intrusive and the room is beautiful and cozy, making it perfect for a getaway with that special someone.ย Johnny’s demonstrates that you don’t have to pay a lot to enjoy a quality steak in a beautiful setting.

Info and Photos >>
Full review >>

$$ and $$$ | Italian and Steaks
Catering, Full Bar, Happy Hour, HRW2021, HRW2022, HRW2023, Live Music, Outdoor Dining, Private Room, Romantic, and Upscale

19333 David Memorial Dr. | Shenandoah 77385
(Inside the Crown Plaza Shenandoah)
346-331-2060
| Map | Review
Website

Chef Ronnie Killen's BBQ is now in the Woodlands

Killen’s Texas Barbecue

๐ŸŒŸ โ€” Notable in the Woodlands area.

🥇 Best BBQ

JJ Watt’s favorite barbecue is now available in the Woodlands. Chef Ronnie Killen has expanded his footprint in the Woodlands to include his incredibly popular craft BBQ spot, located at Six Pines and Research Forest. Craft is the key; Chef Ronnie is Cordon Bleu trained, and it shows in his approach to BBQ. Superb prime briskets, with savory, complex bark and expertly rendered fat. Ginormous beef ribs, sublimely tender and beefy. Picture-perfect pork ribs, well balanced between sweet and savory. And don’t miss the sides; Killen’s creamed corn has become a Houston legend, and for good reason. The expertise goes beyond traditional ‘Q joint favorites: Killen’s also serves the best chicken-fried steak we’ve found around these parts. The chef’s attention to detail is evident; even the pickles are housemade sweet and sour, and are expertly paired to the flavors of the rich, moist meats. As with all craft BBQ places, they sell out when they sell out, so get there early.

Info and Photos >>

$$ | BBQ
Catering and Outdoor Dining

8800 Six Pines Dr | Shenandoah 77380
| Map
Website | Order Online

Great Tacos and Mexican dishes from a hidden gem

La Cocina de Roberto

๐ŸŒŸ โ€” Notable in the Woodlands area.

🥇 Best Tacos
🥈 Recommended Mexican

A hidden gem at the far west end of Sawdust (and now with a second location on I-45 just south of Woodlands Parkway), La Cocina de Roberto began as a cozy little taqueria, serving the Timber Ridge neighborhood. But the savvy owners have added more full-fledged entrees to the menu, making it one of our favorite Mexican restaurants in the Woodlands. Tacos are still delicious: Carne asada and camerรณn are the standouts. Don’t miss the bargain faijta / shrimp combo, or the excellent chicken enchiladas.

Alcohol is BYOB – bring your own liquor, and Roberto will provide setups. You can’t beat a bargain margarita made with premium tequila.

Info and Photos >>

$ and $$ | Mexican and Tacos
Catering and Family-Run Small Business

26817 Interstate 45 N | The Woodlands 77380
832-813-8030
| Map
Website

Seafood and steaks in a see-and-be-seen environment from Landry's

Mastro’s Ocean Club

๐ŸŒŸ โ€” Notable in the Woodlands area.

🥈 Recommended Seafood
🥈 Recommended Steak

Woodlands scenesters no longer have to drive to Houston to dine at the high roller and celeb favorite Mastroโ€™s. The Landryโ€™s group has brought their Mastroโ€™s Ocean Club concept to the Woodlands, with the promise of luxurious seafood and expertly prepared steaks. Prime is only the beginning; the menu boasts both Japanese Miyazaki A5 and Kobe beef, alongside an expanded seafood offering, including a tightly curated sushi menu.

 

Info and Photos >>

$$$$ | Seafood, Steaks, and Sushi
Full Bar, HRW2022, HRW2023, Live Music, and Upscale

9595 Six Pines Drive, Suite 100 | The Woodlands 77380
In the Market Street Center
346-298-3958
| Map
Website | Menu

Skillfully executed Italian classics in a comfortably boisterous setting.

North Italia

๐ŸŒŸ โ€” Notable in the Woodlands area.

🥈 Recommended Italian
🥈 Recommended Pizza

Hungry Inner Loopers have raved about North Italia, the upscale Italian concept from serial restaurateur Sam Fox. Now the concept has taken root in the Woodlands, and local residents are learning what the fuss is about. From housemade pastas to wood fired pizzas to expertly crafted entrees, North Italia brings mom-and-pop craftsmanship together with polished service and a capacious, beautiful room. Extensive bar, lots of seating overlooking the Waterway. Don’t write this one off just because it’s part of a national chain.

Info and Photos >>

$$ and $$$ | Italian
Brunch, Catering, Full Bar, Good Desserts, Happy Hour, On the Radar, Private Room, and Scenic View

1201 Lake Woodlands Dr | The Woodlands 77380
281-292-6935
| Map
Website

Prime steaks in a comfortable suburban setting.

Red Flame Steak & Grill

๐ŸŒŸ โ€” Notable in the Woodlands area.

🥈 Recommended Steak

Serial restauranteur Julio Amer (Julio’s Mexican Grill, Julio’s Mexican Grill Sawdust) has another hit on his hands with Red Flame Steak & Grill. Brining top-quality steaks to the Magnolia area is an idea long overdue; locals pack in to the beautiful bar and casual dining room to enjoy flame-grilled prime steaks and other enticing entrees. Service is reliable, good wine selection and cocktails.

Info and Photos >>

$$$ | Steaks
Family-Run Small Business, Full Bar, Happy Hour, HRW2023, Outdoor Dining, and Upscale

7214 Farm to Market Rd 1488 | Magnolia 77354
281-521-5066
| Map
Website

Excellent NY-style pizza in a family-friendly, classy setting

Russo’s NY Pizzeria

๐ŸŒŸ โ€” Notable in the Woodlands area.

🥇 Best Pizza
🥈 Recommended Italian

Russo’s New York Pizzeria walks a very tricky line between a pizza place that kids will like and one that foodie parents will find interesting. The traditional options are all here, including a killer pepperoni option with your choice of flat or cupped pepperoni (we choose both, naturally), so the kids will find lots to love. But parents wanting something that’s more uniquely Italian will discover plenty of options, from the variety of Tuscan-style pizzas (we’re crazy about the Prosciutto & Fig), pastas, and unique offerings not often on the menu at the competition. The interior is both family-friendly and casually upscale; you can actually get out of the house and enjoy pizza and a glass of wine. Friendly, professional staff, lots of easy free parking.

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$$ | Italian and Pizza
Good Desserts and Good for Kids

3335 College Park Dr #300 | The Woodlands 77384
936-273-6060
| Map
Website | Menu | Order Online

The tastes of New Orleans in an upscale, family-run establishment

Schilleci’s New Orleans Kitchen

๐ŸŒŸ โ€” Notable in the Woodlands area.

🥇 Best Seafood

Schilleciโ€™s brings Louisiana classics, from seafood gumbo to crawfish รฉtouffรฉe, shrimp creole and red beans & rice to the Woodlands. The family’s goal is to use many New Oreleans staples in the restaurant, including Gambinoโ€™s Bread, Blue Plate Mayonnaise, Community Coffee, and Abita Beer. Locals say they’re successful; it’s the closest thing to the French Quarter you’ll find in the Woodlands.

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$$$ | Cajun/Creole and Seafood
Family-Run Small Business, Full Bar, Outdoor Dining, and Upscale

9595 Six Pines Dr #1120 | The Woodlands 77380
In Market Street Center
281-419-4242
| Map
Website

Unique wines and innovative cuisine in an expansive, energetic space

Sixty Vines

๐ŸŒŸ โ€” Notable in the Woodlands area.

🥇 Best Wine Bar
🥈 Recommended American (New)
🥈 Recommended Brunch
🥈 Recommended Pizza

This Dallas import expands the concept of a wine bar to include ample seating (including festive community tables) and an experience that’s more vineyard than bar. Sixty varieties of wine on tap, complimented by a clever menu that’s full of surprising dishes. We were delighted by a fork-tender, incredibly flavorful pork chop, and the innovative pizzas are top notch. Boisterous, energetic setting.

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Full review >>

$$ and $$$ | American (New), Charcuterie, Pizza, and Wine Bar
Brunch, Full Bar, Happy Hour, On the Radar, Private Room, and Upscale

9595 Six Pines Dr | The Woodlands 77380
On the square in Market Street
| Map | Review
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Upscale Southern cuisine in a polished lakeside setting

State Fare

๐ŸŒŸ โ€” Notable in the Woodlands area.

🥈 Recommended American (Traditional)

State Fare has arrived at Hughes Landing, and brings with it dedication to serving outstanding Southern cuisine. Chef Ray Hernandez’s kitchen turns out huge, crowd-pleasing portions like a beautifully executed chicken fried steak, moist and incredibly flavorful Airline Chicken, and the superb Mexican/Southern fusion that is Birria Grilled Cheese. The restaurant sweats the details; outstanding fresh cut french fried potatoes are the result of a kitchen that doesn’t skip steps in this surprisingly painstaking process. Friendly service from GM Ben Neumann’s staff, stunning Lake Woodlands location is a beautiful backdrop for a relaxing lunch or dinner.

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$$ and $$$ | American (Traditional), Brunch, and Burgers
Brunch, Catering, Full Bar, Good Desserts, Happy Hour, HRW2022, HRW2023, Outdoor Dining, Private Room, and Scenic View

1900 Hughes Landing Blvd, Suite 200 | Th Woodlands 77380
In Restaurant Row
281-825-5368
| Map
Website

Greek Cuisine and Live Entertainment

The Olive Oil

๐ŸŒŸ โ€” Notable in the Woodlands area.

🥇 Best Greek

A classic Greek experience awaits hungry diners at The Olive Oil. Located in a huge strip center on Sawdust, The Olive Oil offers classic Greek cuisine, well prepared by the bustling kitchen. Favorites include the mixed grill (the marinade drizzles enticingly onto a bed of spinach beneath the meat) and the gyro. Families pack the restaurant on weekend nights, where belly dancers and musicians turn the dining room into a party.

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Full review >>

$$ | Greek
Family-Run Small Business

373 Sawdust Road | The Woodlands 77380
281-367-0114
| Map | Review
Website

Contemporary Texas cuisine in a comfortably upscale room

The Republic Grille

๐ŸŒŸ โ€” Notable in the Woodlands area.

🥈 Recommended American (Traditional)

The flavors of Texas are served up on a plate at The Republic Grille, a locally-owned bistro located centrally in the Woodlands (with a second location on the far west end, and a third on Rayford). Entrees like chicken-fried steak, shrimp & grits, pork chops, and fried chicken satisfy the appetites of hungry Texans, and the upscale casual setting (featuring historic photos of the early days of the Woodlands by noted photographer Ted Washington) serves as a comfortable backdrop for families, couples, and groups of friends. The chicken-fried-steak is getting a bit of a reputation; numerous publications have named it among the Houston area’s best.

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$$ and $$$ | American (Traditional), Burgers, and Salads
Full Bar, Happy Hour, Live Music, Outdoor Dining, and Private Room

4775 W. Panther Creek, Suite 490 | The Woodlands 77381
(also 30340 FM 2978 Rd #800 / 281-789-7119)
281-789-7119
| Map
Website

Casual Upscale overlooking Market Street's Green

Tommy Bahama

๐ŸŒŸ โ€” Notable in the Woodlands area.

🥈 Recommended American (New)
🥈 Recommended Seafood

Tommy Bahama’s restaurant brings a tropical oasis to the middle of Market Street. Well prepared seafood (sure bets include ahi tuna tacos, crab bisque, and coconut shrimp) and solid American cuisine are the initial draws. The beautiful setting (complete with gorgeous, shaded patio) and professional service keep the upscale patrons coming back for more. Attached boutique is convenient if you feel underdressed. Bar executes tropical drinks well, and can be a bit of a scene.

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$$$ | American (New) and Seafood
Full Bar, Happy Hour, Live Music, Outdoor Dining, Private Room, Romantic, Scenic View, and Upscale

9595 Six Pines Dr | The Woodlands 77380
(in Market Street)
281-292-8669
| Map
Website | Menu

An authentic Italian bakery tucked away off Sawdust

Tosca Italian Bakery

๐ŸŒŸ โ€” Notable in the Woodlands area.

🥇 Best Sandwiches
🥇 Best Sweet Shop
🥈 Recommended Italian

Tosca Italian Bakery brings the experience of an Old World Italian bakery to the Woodlands area. Owner Mario and his team have immigrated from Italy, and brought years of baking expertise with them. The result is a wonderful selection of breads, pastries, sandwiches and focaccia pizzas brimming with character and charm. If you’re looking for an authentic Italian experience, Tosca should be your destination.

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Full review >>

$$ | Bakery, Italian, and Sandwiches
Catering, Family-Run Small Business, and On the Radar

25227 Borough Park Dr | Spring 77380
| Map | Review

Seafood, Crab, and Steaks at Hughes Landing

Truluck’s

๐ŸŒŸ โ€” Notable in the Woodlands area.

🥇 Best American (Traditional)
🥇 Best Seafood
🥈 Recommended Steak

The popular seafood and steak chain has landed at Hughes Landing, and locals have already made it a preferred destination. Crabs are front and center, and Truluck’s does them well. Chef Shane Flynn is a master of seafood, and his menu reflects this expertise. Those wanting something less aquatic head for the selection of prime steaks and choice filets. Cocktail Hour at Truluck’s is a scene; the half-priced cocktails and nice selection of seafood appetizers satisfy those looking to see and be seen at the stylish bar.

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$$$$ | American (Traditional), Seafood, and Steaks
Full Bar, Happy Hour, Live Music, Outdoor Dining, Private Room, Romantic, Scenic View, and Upscale

1900 Hughes Landing Blvd, Suite 600 | The Woodlands 77380
281-465-7000
| Map
Website

Authentic Mexican cuisine in a cozy Alden Bridge corner

Uli’s Kitchen

๐ŸŒŸ โ€” Notable in the Woodlands area.

🥇 Best Mexican
🥈 Recommended Tacos

Uli’s Kitchen brings authentic Mexican cuisine to the residents of Alden Bridge. This cozy neighborhood spot features an interesting menu that offers both upscale versions of Mexican tacos, as well as pricier plated entrees. Menu looks promising, but the tacos we ordered were a mixed bag; Birria Tacos were beautifully presented but flavor was very mild; the signature Uli’s Tacos were bursting with medium rare ribeye, chicharron and veggies. We’ll give ’em another try soon. Friendly service, comfortable neighborhood setting. Full bar.

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$$$ | Mexican and Tacos
Family-Run Small Business and Full Bar

8021 Research Forest Dr suite a | The Woodlands 77382
281-323-4853
| Map

Creative pizzas featuring high-spec ingredients and a fanatical focus on quality

Zalat Pizza

๐ŸŒŸ โ€” Notable in the Woodlands area.

🥇 Best Pizza

This Dallas-based chain rolls into the Woodlands offering their version of hand-tossed pizza. Beef-based pepperoni is a calling card, as are unique pizzas that stretch from the expected to the unexpected. Refreshing corporate culture (employees have stock options!) and fanatical dedication to quality (staff makes, tastes, and judges pizzas every week) makes this a pizza place to check out. As predicted, Zalat’s strong offering has been consistently delivered and has earned them a coveted spot on our “Best” list.

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Full review >>

$ and $$ | Pizza
Catering, Good for Kids, Late Night, and On the Radar

1620 Research Forest Dr Ste 200 | Shenandoah 77381
832-621-0420
| Map | Review
Website | Order Online