5 exceptional menus to try during Houston Restaurant Weeks




Houston’s Most Anticipated Culinary Event of the year is in full swing, and we are getting ready to taste the best menus the city has to offer.

As a reminder, Houston Restaurant Weeks (HRW) is held this year from August 1 through Labor Day (September 5), which equals 36 days of gourmet offerings to raise funds for the Houston Food Bank. Founded in 2003 by local media personality and philanthropist Cleverley Stone, HRW has to date raised more than $17.6 million to fight hunger in Houston and in the process provided more than 52.8 million meals to those who suffer from food insecurity.

Here’s how it works: Each year, participating restaurants donate from their HRW sales, all set at fixed prices. For example, a $55 dinner set will come with a $6 donation, a $39 dinner set will come with a $4 donation, and a $25 lunch or brunch set will come with a $2 donation. When you add that up, that means six to 18 meals are generated for the Houston Food Bank per sale.

With over 300 restaurants participating in the fundraiser this year, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite menus so you can spend less time looking for meals and more time eating them. Here are five of our top HRW picks.

Chivos

Dinner: $39 per person
Donation from HRW: $4
Meals generated by the Houston Food Bank: 12

Chivos, the new Mexican-American concept from the group behind Space Cowboy and Trash Panda Drinking Club, has a three course dinner which we are incredibly excited about. Priced at $39 per person, the dinner will include a $4 donation to HRW, which will generate 12 meals for the Houston Food Bank. First-course options include stone fruit burrata, tostada ceviche, and blistered shishito peppers. For the second course, you will have the choice between pork belly tacos and half a chicken in a soy glaze. For dessert, our top pick is the peach tres leches, which comes with peach bourbon jam, peach meringue, and cashews.

Canteen Da Gama

Dinner: $25 per person
HRW Donation: $2
Meals generated by the Houston Food Bank: 6

Da Gama Cantina, located in MKT uphill, serves some of the best Luso-Indian cuisine you can find in Houston. The chic restaurant is earthy and unpretentious, just like its HRW-menu, priced at $25 per person, which equals a $2 donation to HRW and six meals for the Houston Food Bank. The menu, available only at lunchtime, includes two courses. Options for the first course include saag paneer, beef paratha taco, and rotisserie chicken wrap. For the second course, your options include pastel de nata & café (a traditional Portuguese custard baked in a pastry shell and served with espresso), blueberry cake bar (aka polenta and ricotta cake also served with espresso), and the ice cream halwa, a dreamy mix of homemade esporão olive oil ice cream, carrot and cashew halwa and golden raisins.

Flora

Dinner: $55 per person
HRW Donation: $6
Meals generated by the Houston Food Bank: 18

Flora’s contemporary Mexican restaurant, located in Buffalo Bayou Park, is one of Houston’s finest restaurants. His HRW menu is equally stunning. Flora’s three-course HRW dinner is priced at $55 per person, which equates to a $6 donation to HRW and 18 meals for the Houston Food Bank. Standout first course options include red snapper ceviche and beef nachos. For the second dish, we are more excited about the green mole and the charred octopus. And for dessert, you can’t go wrong with the flan, although we bet the key lime pie option is just as exciting.

At Lulu’s

Dinner: $55 per person
HRW Donation: $6
Meals generated by the Houston Food Bank: 18

The Italian restaurant River Oaks Lulu’s, which opened at the end of September, is appreciated for its classic Italian cuisine and its impeccable atmosphere. Fans of the restaurant, a project of Armandos owners Cinda and Armando Palacios, will find much to love in its HRW menu, which is priced at $55 per person and includes a $6 donation to HRW, which will generate 18 meals for the Houston Food Bank. We’ll start our meal with a first course of polpette (meatballs on soft polenta with shavings of grana padano) before diving into a second course of ravioli al uovo, which includes ricotta cheese, egg yolk and a butter with sage sauce, or vongole spaghetti with surf and manila clams. For dessert, we opt for the traditional and order the tiramisu, even though the bombolini look very tempting.

Rosalie italian soul

Dinner: $55 per person
HRW Donation: $6
Meals generated by the Houston Food Bank: 18

Dining at chef Chris Cosentino’s Rosalie Italian Soul is akin to dining at your grandmother’s house, which makes sense considering the old-school Italian restaurant is inspired by and named after her great-grandmother. For his HRW menu, Rosalie delivers all the classics. Priced at $55 per person, the three-course dinner will bring HRW $6, which is equivalent to 18 meals for the Houston Food Bank. First-course options include an heirloom tomato panzanella as well as a Sicilian salad of watermelon and calamari (we’re delighted with this one!). Second-course options include pesto, ricotta, red sauce, and Parmesan lasagna, and a pork chop Milanese served with summer bean salad and crispy shallots. For the third course, take your pick of soft strawberries, summer berry panzanella, and stone fruit in an ultra-creamy sabayon.

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