11 Great Houston Patio Restaurants for Alfresco Dining

One of life’s pleasures is dining outdoors, pairing delicious food and drink with refreshing views. As al fresco dining in Houston has become more popular than ever, restaurants and bars have responded by offering great patio seating like the recently opened Terrace Bar high up overlooking the White Oak Bayou Trail.

To keep you comfortable no matter the season, Houston’s best patio restaurants offer umbrellas, fans, shade trees, canopies, and heaters. Next time you’re looking for a place to dine al fresco, consider these 11 spots with fantastic patios.

Rainbow Pavilion

Now it’s an escape: a 114-year-old log cabin on an acre of lush grounds on the shores of White Oak Bayou. Rainbow Pavilion enchants with pastoral views, a citrus grove, various garden terraces and patios, and walkways that wind around trees and through a gentle stream.

Rainbow Lodge, a 114 year old log cabin on an acre of lush grounds along White Oak Bayou.

jerry smith

climate control: Parasols, shade trees, overhangs, fans, misters and heaters.

Popular dishes: Rainbow trout with crab in pieces and brown pecan butter, crispy sweet potato curls and spinach with garlic or wild game.


Sips: Hibiscus margarita with tequila, organic hibiscus liqueur, Cointreau and fresh lime or the Caddis Pineapple-Thyme mocktail with homemade pineapple-thyme syrup, ginger ale and fresh lime.

Find it: 2011 Ella Blvd., Houston, TX 77008; 713 861-8666

At Lucille’s

Relax on the large patio and dive into the fine Southern cuisine at At Lucille’s– named after the co-founders’ great-grandmother, culinary innovator Lucille B. Smith. The semi-covered space houses picnic tables and standard tables and is enriched with live jazz music on Thursday evenings and during brunches on Saturday and Sunday. While you’re there, be sure to take a look at the impressive kitchen garden.

Lucille's patio.  Credit Ayaan Ahsan, courtesy of Lucille's

Lucille’s patio. Credit Ayaan Ahsan, courtesy of Lucille’s

Ayaan Ahsan for Lucille

climate control: Retractable umbrellas, fabric sails, shade trees, overhangs, fans, misters and heaters.

popular dish: Fried green tomatoes with seasoned cornmeal, spicy aioli and goat cheese.

Sips: Woke Punch with vodka, homemade lemonade, strawberry purée and serrano peppers.

Find it: 5512 La Branch St., Houston, TX 77004; 713-568-2505

Postino downtown park

Day and night, the patio of the Postino downtown park resembles a party where diners often chat with people at neighboring tables. Close to Memorial Park, this is a great place for lunch with friends or a date night or a late night hangout. The music is upbeat, the bar is indoor-outdoor, and the food is meant to be shared.

Postino downtown park

Postino downtown park

Brittany N. via Yelp

climate control: Parasols, fans, fireplace and fireplace.

Popular dishes: Planks and bruschetta, crispy romesco cauliflower and OMG grilled cheese with layered gourmet cheeses.

Sips: $6 glasses of wine and pitchers of beer during happy hour; until 5 p.m.

Find it: 1151 Uptown Park Blvd., Suite 12, Houston, TX 77056; 713-574-8337

Pondicherry

Sample cuisines from several regions of India on a large patio surrounded by plants, flowers and herbs, many of which are used in Pondicherry dishes, thalis and drinks. The garden also attracts butterflies and the patio is also a good place for people watching.

While staying in Pondicherry, you can enjoy outdoor Indian cuisine.

While staying in Pondicherry, you can enjoy outdoor Indian cuisine.

Ajna Jai ​​for Pondicherry

climate control: Parasols, partial roof and radiators.

Popular dishes: Gluten-free coconut crab with ginger and tomato masala served with sesame dosa.

Sips: Honey Blues with Color Changing Butterfly Pea Flower Vodka, Lavender Honey, Ginger, and Lemon Juice (non-alcoholic version also available). $5 draft beers, $8 cocktails, and 25% off wine during daily happy hour.

Find it: 2800 Kirby Drive, Suite B132, Houston, TX 77098; 713-522-2022

Sylvia’s enchilada cooking

Treat yourself to classic Tex-Mex on Sylvia’s Festive Wraparound Patio for lunch, dinner or brunch. Today’s menu features 19 varieties of hand-rolled enchiladas, all named after towns in Texas. The space also boasts a cheerful atmosphere and includes lovely touches such as a fountain-turned-planter.

The patio of Sylvia's Enchilada Kitchen.

The patio of Sylvia’s Enchilada Kitchen.

Paula Murphy for Sylvia’s Enchilada Kitchen

climate control: Built-in fans and heaters. One section is shaded by a permanent structure rain or shine.

Popular dishes: Enchilada Tours with four mini enchiladas, north or south of the border, and fajitas.

Sips: Sylvia’s Skinny Margarita with silver tequila, agave nectar and fresh lime juice and Micheladas.

Find it: 6401 Woodway Drive, Houston, TX 77057; 713-334-7295

Urbe

Pair Mexican street food with creative cocktails (or beer and wine) in of Urbe outdoor dining areas. A soothing fountain serves as the centerpiece of the main patio, and the other areas of the restaurant offer more privacy. The cuisine is inspired by the staff’s hometowns such as Mexico City, Oaxaca, Jalisco and Puebla.

The Patio Dining Room at URBE in Uptown Park.

The Patio Dining Room at URBE in Uptown Park.

Paula Murphy

climate control: Parasols and radiators. A section fills a breezeway.

Popular dishes: Plato de Botanas with taquitos, gorditas, garnachas, quesadillas and elotitos and colorful homemade pastries.

Sips: Late afternoon beer and wine specials during happy hour, Tuesday through Saturday.

Find it: 1101 Uptown Park Blvd., Suite 12, Houston, TX 77056; 713-726-8273

tiny boxwood

Inside a charming nursery is an oasis of lush greenery, seasonal flowers, rustic decor and tiny boxwood, an ideal setting in all seasons for an intimate date or a lively Sunday brunch. Psst… their famous chocolate chip cookies will make you want to linger.

Tiny Boxwoods In West U is a great place to eat and people watch.

Tiny Boxwoods In West U is a great place to eat and people watch.

Courtesy of Tiny Buis

climate control: Fans and umbrellas, heaters and blankets. A covered semi-private area hosts large parties and an awning shades the side patio.

Popular dishes: Plate of cheeses and local meats with mustard cream, jalapeño jam, dried figs, hazelnuts with rosemary and flatbread or Watercolor shrimps and crab poached in a spicy herb butter on coconut rice.

Sips: Dalmatian with vodka, grapefruit, black pepper and lemon or Texas Sun with tequila or mezcal, orange, peach and lemon.

Find it: 3614 W. Alabama St., Houston, TX 77027; 713-622-4224

Casa Nomad

The vibe, food and drink of this coast Mexican themed restaurant are inspired by Tulum, a city on the Yucatán Peninsula. The cozy covered patio is decorated in a tropical style with a rope awning, ornate sky blue tile walls and lush tropical vegetation. Beachy “jungle disco” music completes the boho-chic setting.

Casa Nomad

Casa Nomad

Casa Nomade via Yelp

climate control: Fans, heaters and covers. A covered patio is also available and on colder nights the sheer roll-down covering blocks the wind and retains the heat.

Popular dishes: Fried camote with peanut, carrot and roasted sweet potato.

Sips: Jungle Disco with tequila reposado, pineapple, serrano syrup, carrot and lemon juice.

Find it: 600 N. Shepherd, Suite 499, Houston, TX 77007; 832-538-1056

wild oats

Watch the action at History Houston Farmers Market or on one of the televisions while savoring a shot of chili or half-shell rockfish at wild oats. Customers can also slip into a rocking chair and relax in this restaurant that combines classic and cool. The food reflects a love of southern, Mexican, and ranch influences that are blended together to create twists on traditional Texas cuisine. And Texas wines populate much of the wine list.

Wild Oats, across from the Farmer's Market.

Wild Oats, across from the Farmer’s Market.

Courtesy of Claudia Casbarian

climate control: Fans and heaters.

Popular dishes: Redfish on the half shell with salsa verde and shrimp and Diablo grits.

Sips: Texan tea with bourbon, dark rum, apricot, lemon and Mexican cola.

Find it: 2520 Airline Drive, Suite C-315, Houston, TX 77009; 713-393-7205

candent

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire – in the form of bold-tasting, cheese-laden Tex-Mex selections and masterful grilling at candent. The restaurant’s colorful patio, accented with large plants and a fountain and shaded by an industrial-style silver roof, provides a welcome retreat for diners.

Candente, a refreshing place to dine outside with a roof for shade and rain.

Candente, a refreshing place to dine outside with a roof for shade and rain.

Rebecca Wright for Candente

climate control: Fans and heaters. A covered area with sides can be lowered if necessary.

Popular dishes: Brisket Nachos, sample Botanas appetizer, Niman Ranch meats and Elote salad.

Sips: Mezcal Margarita Premium with reposado, Grand Marnier and agave lime.

Find it: 4306 Yoakum Blvd., Houston, TX 77006; 346-867-1156

Kitchen Back Table + Bar

Share seasonal sips and bites featuring chef-led Southern dishes focused on local ingredients at Kitchen Back Table + Bar. Soak up the views of the scenic 18and green at Woodlands Resort’s Panther Trail Golf Course and at sunset, watch the sun go down as you sip. On the spacious side deck near the covered trellis, claim lounge seating or an Adirondack-style chair by the large fire pit.

Rear kitchen table + patio bar.

Rear kitchen table + patio bar.

Jenn Duncan for Back Table

climate control: Fans, heaters and a covered terrace.

Popular dishes: Marinated shrimp and deviled eggs, beer can brick chicken with bourbon brown sugar sweet potato mash, voodoo beer fish sticks and vegetables, and stone ground polenta with lemon butter and cast iron sweet potato.

Sips: Ambrosial Pineapple Lavender Martini with the savory Acapulco sunset or the zero-proof tropical hurricane with prickly pear, mango and rosemary.

Find it: 2301 North Millbend Drive, The Woodlands, TX 77380; 281-367-1100



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