Restaurants “On the Radar” are new, interesting spots that have caught our attention. Since they’re new, we’re keeping an eye on them to see if they can consistently deliver the kinds of experiences that will rank them among the very best. As with all new restaurants, we encourage you to visit, but expect occasional bobbles along the way as the staff is trained and procedures are learned.
Featured Restaurants On the Radar in The Woodlands
Indian cuisine meets French technique at this luxe location near the waterway
🌟🌟🌟 — Notable on a statewide level.🥇 Best Brunch
🥇 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.
$$$ and $$$$ | Indian
Brunch, Family-Run Small Business, Full Bar, Good Desserts, Good for Vegetarians, Happy Hour, Late Night, Live Music, On the Radar, Outdoor Dining, Private Room, Romantic, and Upscale
Authentic Mexican and in a sleek, sophisticated setting
🌟🌟 — Among the best restaurants in the Woodlands area.🥇 Best Mexican
🥇 Best Tacos
Baja Sur was already one of our favorite Mexican restaurants in the Woodlands, but the recent pivot away from Tex-Mex to more traditional Mexican cuisine was a very pleasant surprise. Even more pleasant was the news that Chef Thomas Bille (of the late, lamented Belly of the Beast) was taking over the cuisine. Of course, Chef Thomas’s superlative Birria Quesotacos are represented, and at $12 for two, they’re a steal. Other outstanding dishes include delectable Bay Scallops on the Half Shell (dinner only) and a killer Pork Tamal. Full bar with a seriously extensive tequila list.
$$ and $$$ | Mexican
Full Bar, Happy Hour, HRW2021, HRW2022, On the Radar, Outdoor Dining, Private Room, and Upscale
🥈 Recommended Pizza
Research Forest gets a new, tucked-away wine bar offering a peaceful hideaway from the day’s stresses. Boardough Vino offers a curated wine list along with well priced bites ranging from pizza and sandwiches to charcuterie. We were pleasantly surprised by the reasonably priced 18″ pizzas featuring cracker crusts, high quality toppings, and nicely balanced sauces; they’re one of the best thin crusts pizzas in the Woodlands. Expansive bar, comfortable seating, and a cozy patio make for a great happy hour spot or romantic getaway with that special someone. Casual atmosphere, friendly staff.
$$ | Charcuterie and Pizza
Full Bar, Happy Hour, On the Radar, Outdoor Dining, and Romantic
Gourmet cinnamon rolls with hundreds of options
The Woodlands area has a fun new spot for sweet treats and desserts. Cinnaholic bakes fresh cinnamon rolls, then cranks them up to 11 with your choice of frostings, toppings, fresh fruits, and nuts. There are hundreds of possible combinations, but fortunately the clever staff has a selection of predefined choices that are enticing and delicious. Catering for business and group events. The shop is bright, clean, and inviting, and the staff is smiling; you would be too if you were surrounded by cinnamon rolls all day.
$ | Sweets
Catering, Family-Run Small Business, Good Desserts, Good for Kids, and On the Radar
Well-executed Gulf Coast seafood in an upscale, casual setting
🌟🌟 — 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.
$$ and $$$ | Seafood
Catering, Full Bar, Good Desserts, Happy Hour, On the Radar, Outdoor Dining, and Upscale
Gourmet burgers from the Austin-based group
🌟 — Notable in the Woodlands area.🥇 Best Burger
Hopdoddy, the wildly successful Austin-based burger group, has opened its long-awaited Woodlands location. Diners flock to manageably-sized signature burgers, with a variety of chef-designed toppings. Beef is a custom grind, buns are made in house, and toppings and sauces are created by their executive chef. Vegetarians and the gluten sensitive aren’t left out – specific options exist for both. Fries are cut in house and very good; they sweat the details and use the correct two-step cooking process that’s necessary for fresh cut fries. Comfortable location with a large patio, ample parking.
$ and $$ | Burgers
Full Bar, Good for Kids, Good for Vegetarians, On the Radar, and Outdoor Dining
Authentic Shanghai cuisine in a tidy strip center location
🌟🌟 — Among the best restaurants in the Woodlands area.🥇 Best Chinese
Kuykendahl road has a great destination for serious Chinese food. Called Noodle Kitchen, this small, family-run Chinese spot features hand-pulled noodles, superb xiao long bao (soup dumplings) and a nice selection of well-prepared Chinese favorites. North siders who are craving authentic cuisine from the Shanghai region now have an option that doesn’t involve a drive down to Bellaire, and for that, we are forever thankful. Friendly service from new staff that can be overwhelmed; showing a little grace and patience will be greatly rewarded.
$$ | Chinese
Family-Run Small Business, Good for Vegetarians, and On the Radar
Skillfully executed Italian classics in a comfortably boisterous setting.
🌟 — 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.
$$ and $$$ | Italian
Brunch, Catering, Full Bar, Good Desserts, Happy Hour, On the Radar, Private Room, and Scenic View
Modern Italian in a sleek urban setting
🥈 Recommended Pizza
The Grogan’s Mill / Town Center area gets an outpost of the hugely popular Washington Avenue Italian hotspot… Porta’vino.
Combining moderately-priced pastas, entrees, and appetizers with BYOB wines (and a reasonable corkage fee), Porta’vino brings a new, modern Italian offering to hungry Woodlands foodies who love wine but don’t want to pay restaurant prices for it. Tucked away at the entrance to the tony East Shore neighborhood, Porta’vino offers a full Italian menu, from sharable and pizzas to salads, pastas, entrees, and desserts.
$$ and $$$ | Italian and Pizza
Catering, On the Radar, Outdoor Dining, and Private Room
Iconic Chicago pizza chain
Chicago expats and others looking for Chicago-style pizza have a new option: Rosati’s. Offering both Chicago-style deep dish and tavern-cut thin crust, this local Rosati’s franchise is bringing the taste of the Windy City to the Woodlands area. Carry out and delivery only.
$$ and $$$ | Pizza
On the Radar
Upscale Southern cuisine in a polished lakeside setting
🌟 — Notable in the Woodlands area.🥇 Best 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.
$$ and $$$ | American (Traditional), Brunch, and Burgers
Brunch, Catering, Full Bar, Good Desserts, Happy Hour, HRW2022, On the Radar, Outdoor Dining, Private Room, and Scenic View
Burgers and more from this southern California concept
This long-time Southern California favorite bursts beyond the borders of the Golden State and lands at Hughes Landing. Fresh creations from high-quality ingredients are the focus. From burgers and sandwiches to salads and wraps, The Stand delivers healthy quick service food without getting preachy about it. Save room for dessert, and don’t forget to peruse their curated collection of beer and wine.
$ and $$ | Burgers, Salads, and Sandwiches
Catering, Good for Kids, Good for Vegetarians, On the Radar, and Outdoor Dining
An authentic Italian bakery tucked away off Sawdust
🥈 Recommended Sandwiches
Tosca Italian Bakery brings the experience of an Old World Italian bakery to the Woodlands area. Owner Mario and his team have immigrated from Italy, and brought years of baking expertise with them. The result is a wonderful selection of breads, pastries, sandwiches and focaccia pizzas brimming with character and charm. If you’re looking for an authentic Italian experience, Tosca should be your destination.
$$ | Bakery, Italian, and Sandwiches
Catering, Family-Run Small Business, and On the Radar
Japanese and Chinese cuisine in a spacious Sterling Ridge location
🥈 Recommended Chinese
🥈 Recommended Japanese
Sterling Ridge residents now have a convenient option for well executed sushi and other Asian options. Uptown Asian Fusion is a small, family-run spot in a beautiful, spacious room, focusing on sushi and offering a variety of Chinese and Japanese dishes. Sushi was well executed and featured generous cuts of fish. Service was friendly but could be slow at time; a bit of patience will work wonders.
$$ and $$$ | Chinese, Japanese, and Sushi
Family-Run Small Business and On the Radar
Modern, multicultural tacos in a hip, energetic environment
This successful chain of hip, multicultural taco joints has pulled into the Woodlands, and locals are buzzing about all the different taco options. Influences range from India to England to Lebanon, with lots of sources of inspiration in between. Unlike some other hip taco joints, food and sauces are created in-house, and hungry customers can taste the difference. Open late, a rarity ’round these parts. Friendly, energetic staff.
$$ | Tacos
Catering, Late Night, On the Radar, and Outdoor Dining
Creative pizzas featuring high-spec ingredients and a fanatical focus on quality
🌟 — Notable in the Woodlands area.🥇 Best Pizza
This Dallas-based chain rolls into the Woodlands offering their version of hand-tossed pizza. Beef-based pepperoni is a calling card, as are unique pizzas that stretch from the expected to the unexpected. Refreshing corporate culture (employees have stock options!) and fanatical dedication to quality (staff makes, tastes, and judges pizzas every week) makes this a pizza place to check out. As predicted, Zalat’s strong offering has been consistently delivered and has earned them a coveted spot on our “Best” list.
$ and $$ | Pizza
Catering, Good for Kids, Late Night, and On the Radar