8 Houston hotel restaurants you need to try

Houston hotel restaurants are no longer just a convenience for out-of-towners; some have won over Houston foodies with their tantalizing dishes and drinks. And many offer advantages: stunning settings, fine art, decor and furnishings, and easy parking. Diners also benefit from the ability of hotel chefs to please the palates of demanding international guests.

From fancy eateries to casual-gourmet cafes, check out these eight restaurants that all happen to be inside Houston hotels. 

Monarch at Hotel ZaZa Museum District

This chic indoor/outdoor social hub serves elevated American classics and fun cocktails. On any given evening, you’ll be dining with as many Houstonians as travelers—couples who come weekly after art-spotting or before theater shows and officemates who gather after work for happy hour bites and drinks. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the flavors are bright and the scene lively. Speaking of scenery, dine al fresco in sight of the Mecom Fountain and Museum of Fine Art, Houston. Monarch’s large enchanting semi-enclosed and covered terrace is even air-conditioned.

Savor: Chef Daniel Hatcher’s culinary team caters to appetites from carnivore to vegan to gluten-free. Savor the Superfoods Bowl packed with tri-color quinoa, avocado, roasted sweet potatoes, jalapeno and lemon-tahini or the Curious Traveler sampler. 

Sip: Desert Sun—tequila, mezcal, pineapple juice, lime, cilantro and agave.

Dessert: Lemon Basil Creme Brulee + Brownie a la Mode.

Parking: Street parking and valet ($15).

Patio seating at Cultivated F+B at The Lancaster Hotel.

Patio seating at Cultivated F+B at The Lancaster Hotel.

Courtesy of The Lancaster Hotel

Cultivated F+B at the Lancaster Hotel 

Given the artwork-filled Lancaster Hotel’s century-old impeccable reputation, no wonder its restaurant has earned die-hard fans for its food and service. Now a hot new menu and chef have elevated Cultivated F+B to among the best restaurants in Houston. Chef Joseph Vinson put fresh spins on the restaurant’s classics; for example, the crispy pan-seared salmon is now avocado-glazed and accompanied by sweet potato mash, shaved-and-sauteed Brussels sprouts and mango salsa. There’s also a new brunch in town, served on Saturdays and Sundays. Bananas Foster Waffles, anyone?

Savor: Pan-seared salmon with The Lancaster Salad and Mediterranean Roasted Cauliflower garnished with currants, mint and toasted pine nuts. 

Sip: West Texas Sunset, a twist on Ranch Water with a splash of cranberry.

Dessert: Bread pudding—toasted butter croissants chased with brandied dried cherries, fig confit, caramel sauce and creme fraiche. 

Parking: Street parking and valet ($8 at lunch, $18 at dinner).

Toro Toro at Four Seasons Hotel Houston. 

Toro Toro at Four Seasons Hotel Houston. 

Don Riddle for Four Seasons Hotel Houston

Toro Toro at Four Seasons Hotel Houston

Long-time favorite Quattro has been replaced with chef Richard Sandoval’s Toro Toro Pan-Latin Steakhouse, which showcases the bright flavors of Central and South America. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, you can share small plates in a fresh, elegant setting complete with a grand central stone bar. Hit the Suviche (sushi and ceviche) bar for shareable plates. After dinner, toast with inventive cocktails and rare spirits at newly opened Bandista speakeasy.

Savor: Peruvian Ceviche and 52-ounce mezcal-flambéed Prime Tomahawk.

Sip: Casual Encounter—TX Bourbon, Drambuie and Cocchi Americano smoked in a glass box.

Dessert: La Bomba, created tableside, involves a chocolate half sphere, vanilla, dulce de leche and strawberry ice creams, berries and crumble drizzled with vanilla berry sauce.

Parking: Complimentary valet for diners.

The Wine Room at TRIBUTE.

The Wine Room at TRIBUTE.

Courtesy of The Houstonian Hotel Club & Spa

TRIBUTE at The Houstonian Hotel Club & Spa

There are many fancy restaurants in Houston, but one where servers remember regulars’ names and what they like to drink? Welcome to Tribute, where Southeast Texas born-and-bred executive chef Neal Cox conjures Tex-Lex cuisine inspired by Texas, Louisiana and Mexico. Ideal for date night, the setting includes chandeliers dripping with hand-hewn Brazilian natural crystal points and a beloved Texas live oak aglitter with 100,000 lights. A coveted secret: the Wine Room, where you can celebrate special occasions beneath a wine-bottle waterfall—with blankets supplied for snuggling.

Savor: Smoked Blue Crab Fingers with tomato butter, and Bacon-Wrapped Bander Quail from Diamond H Ranch with jalapeño jack and mezcal glaze.

Sip: The Rye Not—WhistlePig 10-year Houstonian Barrel #2, Whistle Pig barrel-aged maple, Angostura and Marasca cherry.

Dessert: Churro with dulce de leche ice cream and chocolate fudge sauce. 

Parking: Complimentary valet for diners.

Safina at InterContinental Houston - Medical Center, an IHG Hotel.

Safina at InterContinental Houston – Medical Center, an IHG Hotel.

Courtesy of InterContinental Houston – Medical Center

Safina Mediterranean at the InterContinental Houston – Medical Center

People working in the neighborhood come for an escape that’s Mediterranean in food and feel. Natural light and touches of nature-themed sculptures and art fill the space of Safina. Chef Harol Ortiz brings French culinary twists to healthy, flavorful dishes using locally grown and raised ingredients. 

Savor: Grilled salmon with roasted corn, quinoa, sherry tomato and roasted red pepper sauce and Chilean Sea Bass, pan-seared with butternut squash.

Sip: French Moto—Zacapa rRum, Grand Marnier and lemon juice.

Dessert: Tres leches cake.

Parking: Free two-hour validated.

Craft F&B at The Post Oak Hotel. 

Craft F&B at The Post Oak Hotel. 

Craft F&B via Yelp

Craft F&B at The Post Oak Hotel

Nice restaurants in Houston are a dime a dozen but here you can order gold! The $1,600 24-Karat Black Gold Burger with Japanese wagyu beef, black truffle and truffle aioli on a caviar-infused, 24-karat gold-topped bun and served with 24-karat golden french fries and a bottle of Dom Perignon.

But for the rest of us, Craft F&B serves Southern craft food and brews in a cool space clad with fine woods, exposed brick and stained concrete floors. Make friends at the communal-style tables, watch the game or catch breezes on the patio. Award-winning Executive Chef Jean Luc Royere belongs to the esteemed Master Chef of France Association and has long helmed kitchens at five-star luxury properties.

Savor: Positano Pizza with house-made dough, San Marzano tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella and fresh basil. And the #1 Burger.

Sip: The Uptown—Don Julio, lime, blue curacao, Cointreau and velvet falernum.

Dessert: Step over to Bouchée Pâtisserie for house-made bonbons and gelato.

Parking: $6 valet for diners.

Cuisine from Main Kitchen at JW Marriott Houston Downtown.

Cuisine from Main Kitchen at JW Marriott Houston Downtown.

Ben V. via Yelp

Main Kitchen at JW Marriott Houston Downtown

The cuisine at Main Kitchen is Americana with international flair, served in a setting of floor-to ceiling windows. Paired with the 806 Lounge, it’s popular for business schmoozing, casual celebrations and brunch. The cocktail list includes super-premium spirits curated globally by Scotland native Andrew Gallacher. Chef Rafael Gonzalez draws from experiences creating menus around the world.

Savor: Buffalo Cauliflower topped with jalapeno ranch and carrot jicama slaw. Or the MK Burger, with Texas-bred ingredients.

Sip: Fifty 9, featuring H-Town’s Avonak Fifty 9 Gin, petals, lemon and strawberries, topped with Mediterranean citrus tonic and served in an Instagramable balloon G&T glass. 

Dessert: King’s Cheesecake “Houston Style”—a Texas-sized confection with graham cracker crust, Amarena cherries and house whipped cream garnished with gold dust.

Parking: $10 valet for diners.

Rosalie Italian Soul restaurant located at C. Baldwin Hotel in downtown Houston. Photo credit.Julie Soefer, courtesy C. Baldwin

Rosalie Italian Soul restaurant located at C. Baldwin Hotel in downtown Houston. Photo credit.Julie Soefer, courtesy C. Baldwin

Julie Soefer for C. Baldwin Hotel

Rosalie Italian Soul at the C. Baldwin Hotel

Top Chef Master Chris Cosentino named this friendly upscale Italian restaurant in Houston for his great-grandmother. She taught him the secrets of old-world Italian traditions, which he now interprets with Houston’s local ingredients. The setting’s mid-century decor includes retro TVs, records, cookbooks and banquettes embroidered with roses. The intimate Rosalie sun room is adorned with greenery. 

Savor: Fresh rigatoni with Texas wild boar ragu and the wild mushroom pizza.

Sip: Jessica Rabbit—Cuervo Tradicional Blanco tequila, sour cherry molasses, ginger and lime.

Dessert: Creamy old-fashioned soft serve in chocolate, olive oil and Maldon salt and vanilla seasonal fruit swirl.

Parking: $8 valet for diners.

If you’re too stuffed to move after your meal at one of these spots, you can always get a room.