Unique Outdoor Eats in Houston

Houston is packed with great spots to dine outdoors

Some of Houston's tastiest meals can be enjoyed while sitting in the great outdoors. Whether you are looking for a cup of coffee and breakfast, a quirky mid-day burger, a courtyard dinner or a neighborhood drink, there are options all throughout the city. 

Casual and Comfy Picnic Table Eateries

Moon Tower Inn offers an eclectic menu including wild game hot dogs on pretzel buns and rock star-themed tacos,but the main draw is the huge curated selection of beers and hard ciders. Order food at the front of the building and take a seat there under a covered patio or make your way to their spacious yard with picnic tables, horseshoes and ping-pong. Sometimes, there's even live music or a film. Moon Tower is a hidden treasure off the beaten path.

Cedar CreekDry CreekCanyon Creek and Onion Creek are scattered throughout greater Houston and provide a welcome oasis to all customers. Diners come on bike, in business suits or after a run, but all are welcome here. These sister establishments are order-at-the-counter restaurants offering everything from coffee to microbrewed beers, and there's food for every level of appetite. While indoor seating is an option, most come to enjoy the partially secluded patios with string lights and comfy seating inviting guests to eat and go or sit and stay for a while, as you wish.

Hubcap Grill is regularly awarded for its fun and tasty burger combinations. Frito Pie Burger, Muffaletta Burger, Cheeto Burger - there is almost nothing owner Ricky Craig won't try. There are multiple locations, but the Heights location offers a huge seating courtyard and plenty of tables. Be prepared to wait - burgers can take 40 minutes on a busy day. 

Courtyard-style Restaurants 

Café Brasil is in an inconspicuous, unmarked building on the bustling corner of Dunlavy and Westheimer. The menu varies from freshly made baked goods and quiches to elegant sandwiches and entrées. There is a good-sized indoor dining room in addition to two large outside eating spaces. At the front of the building is a fence-enclosed eating space where you can watch traffic and pedestrians go by. The second space, behind the building, is canopied with trees and foliage and offers a more relaxing atmosphere. 

Boheme Café & Wine Bar offers an atmosphere like few others in the city. The bar is central inside the restaurant, and customers cuddle into one of the couches tucked throughout the rooms, choose a booth in the European-feeling alleyway or nestle into a table on the ambling back patio. Antiques and contemporary art mix well with their homemade sangria, Sriracha french fries and a bevy of gourmet pizza options. 

Batanga, located in the heart of the city, is a step up in both elegance and price. This modern tapas restaurant includes a 3,600 sq. ft. outdoor patio with umbrellas, heaters and fans. With specialty drinks and live music most nights - as well as long hours - Batanga is a great spot for dinner or to top off a night out on the town.

Location, Location, Location

Bistro Menil combines food excellence with casual dining. In a sleek new building directly across the street from the Menil Collection, this Houston treasure offers a large menu from breakfast to dinner to evening treat. Including cask beers, wines and happy hours, customers can eat on the patio or take their meal to dine in the park across the street. This quiet pocket of Houston houses numerous museums in easy walking proximity.

The Grove, which is on the grounds of Discovery Green Park, offers rooftop eating and an extensive menu including golden beets, smoked pork belly, watermelon granita and sweet pumpkin bread. The LEED-certified building is a wonder itself with a self-sustained cooling system and linear design.

Brenner's on the Bayou is known for its quality steaks, service and show-stopping location. Situated on a curve of Houston's Buffalo Bayou, Brenner's offers a huge patio with exceptional views and beautifully landscaped surroundings. The restaurant is near several popular tourist stops, including The Beer Can House, Renzi Mansion and Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens. 

Whatever your preferred style, location, budget or appetite, Houston's provides many options for eating outside - and with this list you can't go wrong. For more restaurants with outdoor seating, click here.

By Jenn Haight 

Top