Get Out(side) While You Can! Here Are Our Patio Picks for the Season

Get Out(side) While You Can! Here Are Our Patio Picks for the Season

Badolina Bakery in Rice Village (photo by Kirsten Gilliam)

WHAT MAKES A restaurant patio great? Beauty, comfort, uniqueness? Check. Stellar food? Check. The feeling that you got away from it all? Triple check. Whether you’re looking to whet your whistle, grab a bite in a treehouse, dine under the stars, or catch a sunset over the urban landscape, Houston is rich with patios, balconies and rooftops. Get some air and celebrate the glorious season at these newbies and stalwarts.

Annabelle Brasserie

Seared diver scallops at Annabelle Brasserie (photo by Brian Kennedy)

When a fancy French fête is in order, Ben Berg’s feminine Autry Park newcomer is ready with a sleek bi-level, umbrella-dotted veranda and picturesque views of Buffalo Bayou. The nature theme continues indoors with yards of flowers dangling from the ceilings and French doors streaming with sunlight. If indulging your inner Francophile, order the raclette baguette prepared tableside, and a Frenchie martini.

Armadillo Palace

A stage on the patio at Armadillo Palace

If you want it made in the shade with a side of live music, Goode Co.’s lively landmark is your ticket to hot summer nights. The roomy gravel patio is strewn with metal lawn chairs, pastel settees, and picnic tables all in view of the bandstand, and the Airstream dispenses cold Longnecks during events. Couple the genuine Hill Country music-venue vibe with fine Texana fare, and this palace has a true sense of place.

Coltivare Pizza & Garden

After 10 years, a Heights classic (and its vegetable garden glowing with string lights) continues to flourish. As far as restaurant patios go, Coltivare is the closest thing to dining in someone’s backyard. GM-sommelier Leonora Varvoutis always has interesting Italian-focused wines to pair with the fresh menu. Think zingy strawberry salad, or lamb steak with spring vegetables.

Eau Tour

The Eau Tour entrance and patio

Anticipate loads of charm at Benjy Levit’s still-new brasserie, from its fun menu and modern interior to the intimate, treehouse-style patio hideaway overlooking Rice Village. Arrive early, and you might just have the whole patio to yourself. After an order of raclette dumplings with shaved mushrooms or duck confit, you’ll realize this is much more civilized than sitting on a crowded, loud sidewalk café in France.

Flora Mexican Kitchen

The patio at Flora Mexican Kitchen

When you think of dining outdoors, this epic undertaking hovering over Buffalo Bayou’s Lost Lake has all the elements. The glass-wrapped interior dripping with chandeliers sports impressive views. Your destination — the patio — feels like you are floating in a cube inside the woods. But Flora isn’t just a pretty face: Serious fare like pork shank with mole rojo and Gratify ceviche please both hard-core Mexican-food fans and ladies-who-lunch-and-brunch.

Hamsa & Badolina Bakery

Rice Village people-watching, along with buzzy drinks, pastries and modern Israeli fare, keep these adjacent outdoor spaces hopping. Crisp garden furnishings with ornate umbrellas and lush landscaping add to the exotic patio vibe; Hamsa sports roll-up doors to bring the outdoors in. Catch the new brunch, go all out for dinner, or simply share a salatim with creamy labneh, hummus, beet salad and much more.


A toast on Hungry’s upstairs balcony (photo by Becca Wright)

Hungry? Vegans and meat-eaters, you’ve come to the right place. Immensely popular on weekends for its sprawling Rice Village patio and second-floor covered balcony, Hungry’s affordable, massive menu is also a draw. Tuck into a market chopped salad, crispy eggplant tacos, or a slew of burgers. Brunch on egg Benedicts — and the winning smoked-salmon-avocado toast with chipotle cream cheese, guacamole and Persian cucumber dill salad. Here’s to another 45 years!

La Griglia

The Courtyard at the new La Griglia

Maybe it’s the plush banquettes, the shrubs and lemon trees hugging each table, or the patio bar, but this new courtyard with a retractable roof feels a little like you’re sitting on a patio in Tuscany. Don’t miss the generous salads — namely the Caesar — or the must-have classic Snapper La Griglia with prawns, jumbo crab and Barolo sauce. Chef kiss!


Here’s a stunning use of a relatively small space that evokes India. The second-floor terrace has a slick little bar with enchanting dangling lamps and its semi-private cabana-draped daybeds with tables make it feel worlds away. You might be tempted to take a catnap, but then you’d miss the exciting fare like Mithu’s Coriander Shrimp, the golden hour Lodhi Garden cocktail, or an eye-popping dessert.

Tiny Boxwoods

The gardens at Tiny Boxwood

No question the prettiest perch in town, nursery-landscaper Thompson+ Hanson’s restaurant blooms straight from its lawn. Green thumbs and foodies have been digging the Euro-American menu for 20-plus years, and with three concepts and a recent expansion to Austin, we don’t see this group slowing. Try the spring burrata with prosciutto and melon — and do stop and smell the roses.

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