Updated August 2021. Originally published in 2021.)
Solid Italian cuisine in an expansive, faux Tuscan setting🥈 Recommended Italian
Brio delivers quality Italian food in a big, comfortable, definitely corporate setting. This isn’t a neighborhood hole-in-the-wall; those who prefer a more opulent room will feel right at home. The food was a pleasant surprise; it’s notably better conceived and prepared than their chain restaurant competitors. Attention to detail was apparent on every plate. Service was professional, friendly, and welcoming.
$$ and $$$ | Italian
Full Bar, Happy Hour, Outdoor Dining, Private Room, Scenic View, and Upscale
South African Cuisine in a family-friendly setting
The popular South African restaurant group travels across the Atlantic and lands in the Woodlands. CEO Ryan Stewart (previously with Peli Peli) brings an intriguing array of grilled meats, seafood, and other dishes designed to please the jaded palate. Opening Sept 10
$$ and $$$ | Seafood, South African, and Steaks
Full Bar, Good Desserts, Happy Hour, On the Radar, Outdoor Dining, and Private Room
South African Cuisine in an upscale, modern setting
The Woodlands now has its own outpost of this incredibly popular Houston-based restaurant. Bringing the interesting (but not scary) cuisine of South Africa, Executive Chef Ryan Stewart’s team presents an intriguing array of grilled meats, seafood, and other dishes designed to please the jaded palate. Beautiful room is comfortable and inviting, slightly upscale but not stuffy. Owners and staff reflect the diversity of Houston.
$$ and $$$ | American, Brunch, Seafood, and Steaks
HRW2020 and HRW2021
Well-executed burgers, shakes and sandwiches in an airy, modern setting🥈 Recommended Burger
Danny Meyer’s Shake Shack is a decidedly New York approach to a burger joint, and now they’ve brought their Manhattan sensibilities to the Woodlands. Beneath the slick, polished exterior is a friendly, well-trained staff and a tightly edited menu. So how are the burgers? In a word, excellent. Cooked to order, nicely charred, juicy, and oozing with melty cheese. This isn’t a fancy, chef-ed up burger; it’s a traditional cheeseburger made with quality ingredients and without shortcuts. Don’t want a burger? Chicken and veggie options are also delightful. Danny Meyer is one of the nation’s great restaurateurs, and Shake Shack demonstrates what happens when this kind of attention to detail is applied to the humble hamburger.
$ | Burgers and Sandwiches