Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Deck the City

It is *splendid* outside right now. Absolutely splendid.

Yes, the weather’s nice and the livin’s easy. So where do you dine to take advantage of this fleeting joy? The problem is, no matter how nice the temp gets, “outdoor dining” here often means you’re sitting in a glorified parking lot. Never fear, gentle eaters! Here are a few selections to take your mind off Concrete City. Next stop, Niceville.

If it’s a burger you seek, head to Beck’s Prime on Augusta for a two-hander and one of the best milkshakes in town. Get yer grub on while you cool your jets under the shade of Houston’s largest tree, a great-granddaddy live oak. Little Big’s provides another option, and if you sit with your back to Montrose, you can *just* make out the downtown skyline among the Phone Pole Wasteland.

The Black Lab on Montrose gives you the unique opportunity to sample Houston’s finest cheese soup while you play a lifesize game of chess on the hedged-in front patio. Or get your Tex-Mex fix under the lighted palms on the back patio at El Pueblito. [Sigh!]

For something a little nicer, try the aptly named Treehouse on the Discovery Green; it’s American food and cocktails galore, elevated high(ish) into the downtown skyline. A true Houston jackpot is the Backstreet Café. If the food there weren’t so darn good, I’d attribute its 20-year success to the legendary garden deck. Or grab a date and take a strip mall hiatus at the Daily Review or Tiny Boxwood’s, which offer serene garden havens where you can wine, dine, recline, and refine. Hoo-ahhhh.

There’s plenty of beauty to be found in Houston’s madness -- Bodegas in the Museum District, Petrol Station in Oak Forest, Giacomo’s in River Oaks. Just keep your eyes peeled and your mind open. Any outdoor treasures I missed?


Anonymous said...

Try the Red Balloon on Clay Road. They have a nice deck next to an old pecan grove.

tshu said...

Good list.

I would add Rainbow Lodge and perhaps Market Square Bar & Grill, although I'm not sure I would recommend the food at MS.

I also like Dolce Vita and Nippon, but those go right up to the streets.

Newhouse said...

I've always enjoyed Hobbit Cafe on Richmond

Anonymous said...

super splendid indeed! I also like the patio at Pico's, although they don't have a great view, and passed a lovely afternoon/evening on the patio at Beaver's last Friday.

it's not a patio, but the courtyard at 13 Celsius is such a sweet little spot and they're really great about being attentive but not hover-y.

Michael said...

Great list, my favorite being El Pueblito for lunch. Niko Niko's expanded patio is nice, even if it is right on Montrose. BB's just next door has a few seats for the rare al fresco houston meal. Onion Creek for lunch. The Original Ninfas on Navigation & even Hubcap downtown affords the 'eat while the world walks by experience'.

ayn said...

Invaluable list!

King Biscuit on White Oak has a nice view for grabbing a drink: http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-king-biscuit-houston

hedrives said...

Add Beaver's Ice House to the list.

Dr. Ricky said...

I fear you have left out the small collection of Mexican refresquerias and restaurants that the city has explicitly for outdoor dining. Heck, often there is no indoor seating at all. Check out Mambo's Seafood or their refresqueria adjacent on Hillcroft. Or Flamingo Chill.