What to Eat, What to Drink, Where to Stay and What to See in Houston

The host city of this year's big game has a bustling art scene and a slew of international restaurants. We found plenty of reasons to visit now, or anytime.

Eat: Hugo’s

Go to this Mexican restaurant on Sunday morning for the brunch buffet — $33 gets you unlimited servings of favorites such as tomatillo chilaquiles and churros. hugosrestaurant.net

Eat: Da Marco

This jacket-preferred trattoria has an extensive Italian wine list and an attentive waitstaff well trained at shaving truffles tableside. damarcohouston.com

Eat: Nidda Thai Cuisine

Skip your usual pad thai and try something new, like avocado Massaman curry, or chu chee eggplant coated in red curry. niddathaicuisine.com

Eat: Mala Sichuan Bistro

The xiao chi (small plates) section of this menu brings Sichuan-style street food inside. Try the chilled mung bean noodles and chili oil dumplings. 832-767-0911

Eat: Aladdin Mediterranean Cuisine

At this cafeteria-style spot, your main course comes with three sides. Locals love the chicken kebabs with tabouli — and the good value. aladdinshouston.com


Eat: Uchi

This Japanese favorite is famous for its happy hour: $3 sake, and rolls and small plates made with fish flown in daily from Japan. uchirestaurants.com

Eat: Theo's Restaurant

All the delicious Greek classics are on the menu here, including keftedes (meatballs) and loukanika (pork sausage). theoshouston.com


Eat: Indika

The menu at this bold Indian restaurant is not for the timid: Dishes include goat brain masala, seared foie gras and saffron-pistachio ice cream. indikausa.com

Eat: L’Olivier

This French bistro turns out beloved dishes like chateaubriand (a center-cut filet of beef) and île flottante (an island of meringue floating in custard). lolivierhouston.com

Eat: b10 Vietnamese Café

Banh mi sandwiches are ubiquitous in Houston, and when you mix one with an all-American sloppy joe at b10 Vietnamese Café, you get a sloppy beef bahn mi. b10vncafe.com 

Eat: Muiishi Makirritos

The pan-Asian food truck specializes in mac 'n' cheese egg rolls stuffed with bacon and mac and cheese. muiishimakirritos.com 

Eat: Wokker TX Ranger

At Wokker TX Ranger, mesquite-smoked brisket is the only (and unexpected) protein option for pad thai. wokkertxranger.com 

Eat: Brothers Taco House

Tex-Mex isn’t a creation of the fast food industry: Tejanos, Texans from Mexico and Spain, invented the cuisine in the 1800s by riffing on their native recipes. Don’t leave Houston without trying the breakfast tacos. brotherstacohouse.com 

Eat: BCN Taste & Tradition

You can admire original artwork by Picasso and Miró while you enjoy the Spanish tapas here. bcnhouston.com

Eat: Steak 48

This popular surf-and-turf joint is where Sandra Lee heads for a bowl of poke. steak48.com

Eat: Christie’s Seafood & Steaks

At this family-run Houston fixture, Sandra’s favorite dish is the gumbo. It’s made from a century-old recipe. christies-restaurant.com

Eat: Etoile Cuisine et Bar

Sandra loves chef Philippe Verpiand’s seasonal French fare — and the elegant setting. etoilecuisine.com

Eat: Caracol

At chef Hugo Ortega’s new restaurant, the signature mole is an undisputed favorite. caracol.net

Eat: Roegels Barbecue Co.

Every weekday, Russell and Mistry Roegels feature a different oak-smoked meat (pastrami on Thursday!). Don’t miss his wife Misty’s bourbon banana pudding. roegelsbarbecue.com

Eat: Papa Charlie's Barbecue

Wesley Jurena grew up trying all the city’s barbecue spots with his dad. His own spot is famous for not-so-traditional bites like masala-rubbed tri-tip. pappacharliesbbq.com

Eat: Midtown Barbecue

Brett Jackson churns out brisket and pulled pork, while his lifelong BFF Eric Aldis whips up sides like corn casserole and spicy slaw. midtownbbqhouston.com

Eat: Ray's Real Pitt BBQ Shack

Rayford S. Busach is a retired sheriff’s deputy and barbecue pit veteran who is well known for his baby back ribs and fried corn on the cob. raysbbqshack.com


Drink: Reserve 101

Sandra loves this whiskey bar for its huge selection (the largest in Texas!) and the intimate lounge upstairs. reserve101.com

Drink: Bayou & Bottle

Sandra is a fan of The Four Seasons, home of this sleek new bar that specializes in top-shelf bourbon. fourseasons.com

Drink: Eureka Heights Brew Co

The Moo Caliente is a milk stout with cinnamon and cayenne that's like Mexican hot chocolate in beer form. eurekaheights.com


Drink: Platypus Brewing

Australian hops, mango and passion fruit go into Troppo, a wheat-based ale. platypusbrewing.com

Drink: Bakfish Brewing Co.

The spicy aroma of I'll Tell You Wit, a Belgian-style beer, comes from coriander and fresh orange. bakfishbrewing.com

Drink: Sigma Brewing Company

8/29/97 is a double IPA, made with an extra amount of hops, and has tones of lemon and dill. sigmabrewingcompany .com

Stay: Hotel Zaza

The vibe here is more Sin City than Space City. There’s a dimly lit lobby, baroque furniture, a busy rooftop bar and plenty of rooms with dramatic views. From $329; hotelzaza.com

Stay: The Whitehall

At this newly renovated hotel, all rooms come with a welcome treat (lemon sugar cookies), and guests have access to a new coffee shop, cocktail bar and art gallery. From $129; thewhitehallhouston.com

Stay: The Houstonian

This lodge-like property, set in a secluded 18-acre forest in the middle of the city, has a spa, three pools and nine tennis courts. From $209; houstonian.com

Stay: Marriott Marquis Houston

At this new downtown spot, you’ll find a Oaxacan restaurant, a sports bar curated by Astros Hall of Famer Craig Biggio and a Texas-shaped lazy river on the roof. From $249; marriott.com

Do: Beer Can House

Beer-lover John Milkovisch decorated his iconic house with more than 50,000 aluminum cans. beercanhouse.org

Do: Lunch at Johnson Space Center

The visitors center at NASA’s Johnson Space Center is a must-see, especially on Fridays, when you can have lunch with an astronaut and hear stories about living and working in space. The roster of astronauts and the menu rotate (alas, no Tang or freeze-dried ice cream!). Reservations recommended; spacecenter.org 

Do: Watch the Big Game

Although this is Houston’s third Super Bowl, it’s the first one taking place at NRG Stadium. Concessionaires will be cranking out Texas favorites like a brisket sandwich on jalapeno bread at Killen’s Barbecue, and a baked potato loaded with chili and cheese in sections 109 and 129.