Updated July 2021. Originally published in 2021.)


A broad array of modern comfort food in a sleek setting

Black Walnut Cafe

Update (July 2020): 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. Don’t skip brunch; it’s very popular. And save room for dessert.

$$ | American, Burgers, and Sandwiches
Outdoor Dining and Private Room

9000 New Trails Drive | The Woodlands 77381
281-362-1678
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Burgers and American favorites, chef-driven and scratch made

Fielding’s Wood Grill

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.

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$$ and $$$ | American, Brunch, and Burgers
Happy Hour, HRW2020, and Outdoor Dining

1699 Research Forest Dr | Shenandoah 77380
832-616-3275
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Upscale Tex-Mex from the iconic Houston family

Goode Co Kitchen & Cantina

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.

$$$ | Mexican
Happy Hour and Outdoor Dining

8865 Six Pines Dr Ste 150 | Shenandoah 77380
281-826-5150
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Eclectic burgers with a variety of creative toppings

Grub Burger Bar

Towering custom burgers are on the menu at Grub Burger Bar, the Texas-based chain that foodies have grown very fond of. Skip your basic cheeseburger and go with one of the gourmet creations; the monthly specials are also often well worth trying. Save room for a milkshake; both the PG-rated and the boozy versions are very good. Fast casual service, but your food is delivered to the table, and you probably won’t see your server after that.

$$ | Burgers, Salads, and Sandwiches
Outdoor Dining

2417 Research Forest Dr | The Woodlands 77381
281-907-9001
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Serious Steaks from a Master Chef

Killen’s Steakhouse

When Ronnie Killen announced he was coming to the Woodlands, locals stood up and took notice. Why? Because this classically-trained chef has developed a reputation for serving some of the best beef in Texas. Classic steakhouse vibe packs in hungry carnivores; expertly prepared steaks (wet aged, dry aged, and wagyu) brings ’em back for more.

$$$ and $$$$ | Steaks
Happy Hour

1700 Research Forest Dr | Shenandoah 77381
281-323-4004
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Chef Ronnie Killen's BBQ is now in the Woodlands

Killen’s Texas Barbecue

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 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, but expect food into the dinner hour.

$$ | BBQ
Catering and Outdoor Dining

8800 Six Pines Dr | Shenandoah 77380
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Lama Mediterranean Cuisine

Lovers of Mediterranean cuisine have been frequenting this family run cafe, now in its second, larger location. A broad menu stretches from Greece to Lebanon, with favorites from both cultures well represented. We’re particularly fond of the rich, lush lamb stew, the flavorful schwarma (similar to a gyro), delicious housemade hummus and the bright, tasty tabouli. If you’re in the mood for something out of the ordinary, Lama is a great option.

$$ | Greek and Lebanese
Outdoor Dining

1644 Research Forest Dr #100 | Shenandoah 77381
281-292-5262
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Elevated Americanized Chinese Food

Shanghai Bistro

Suburban Chinese restaurants can be mind-numbingly predictable, but Shanghai Bistro brings its Manhattan sensibility to the Woodlands. No surprise, because the chef hails from New York City. His relocation brings a decidedly upscale approach to Americanized Chinese cuisine. Dishes that are often mundane are elevated by a savvy choice of better ingredients, and the housemade sauces are a welcome departure. Clean, airy setting in a strip center on Research near Gosling.

$$ | Chinese

4223 Research Forest Dr #300 | The Woodlands 77381
281-298-9998
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Serious chef-driven comfort food in a fast casual setting

The Kitchen

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)

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$$ | American, Brunch, Burgers, Salads, and Sandwiches
Outdoor Dining

4526 Research Forest Dr | The Woodlands 77381
281-203-5650
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Modern Italian in a chic, upscale setting

Zanti Cucina Italiana

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.

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$$ and $$$ | Italian and Pizza
Happy Hour and Private Room

10000 Research Forest Drive | The Woodlands 77354
281-259-1300
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Restaurant Listings

Avanti Italian Kitchen $$$ Italian   Creekside Forest West and Research East
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Black Walnut Cafe $$ American, Burgers, and Sandwiches   Research East
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Fielding’s Wood Grill $$ and $$$ American, Brunch, and Burgers   Research East
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Goode Co Kitchen & Cantina $$$ Mexican   Research East
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Grub Burger Bar $$ Burgers, Salads, and Sandwiches   Research East
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Huti’s 5 Free-Fire Grill - closed $$ Latin American   Research East
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Killen’s Steakhouse $$$ and $$$$ Steaks   Research East
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Killen’s Texas Barbecue $$ BBQ   Research East
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Lama Mediterranean Cuisine $$ Greek and Lebanese   Research East
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Radunare - closed $$   Research East
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Rico’s - closed $$ and $$$   Research West
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Shanghai Bistro $$ Chinese   Research East
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The Kitchen $$ American, Brunch, Burgers, Salads, and Sandwiches   Research East
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Uli’s Kitchen $$$ Mexican   Research West
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Zanti Cucina Italiana $$ and $$$ Italian and Pizza   Research West
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