Houston restaurant winter menus that will warm your mood

Houston restaurant winter menus that will warm your mood

This time of year is a pleasure that brings us together, warming up over the seasonal dishes and beverages that tempt you to indulge in long, casual meals on short winter days.

Local restaurants serve toast-worthy winter treats. Here are some choices that have caught our attention and whetted our appetite.

The Original Ninfa's, delicious seasonal seafood paella created by chef Alex Padilla.

The Original Ninfa’s, delicious seasonal seafood paella created by chef Alex Padilla.

Photo by Becca Wright, courtesy of The Original Ninfa’s.

The original Ninfa
2704 Navigation Blvd., East End
1700 Post Oak Blvd., Uptown

Now this is a party dish. Chef Alex Padilla’s colorful, aromatic Seafood Paella serves up to five people, offering a colossal $ 125 Tex-Mex spin on the Spanish dish. Book 24 hours in advance for take-out or dining at Ninfa’s East End and Uptown locations. Other heart-warming choices include Red Chile Pork Posole, the traditional Mexican hangover cure. For those who do not want to eat indoors, you can enjoy your meal on Ninfa’s lively heated terraces.

Julep, Oyster Picnic on the season's menu.

Julep, Oyster Picnic on the season’s menu.

JENN DUNCAN

Julep
1919 Washington Ave., Washington Corridor

How about pampering your friends with a winter outing? Julep’s seasonal menu includes Oyster Picnic, served with baguettes from Magnol French Bakery, as well as Toulouse sausage, fine herb butter and lemon. Julep recently closed its patio, providing a hot spot to try seasonal cocktails, including old-fashioned apple butter, spiced hot chocolate, mulled wine cider and a very rummy Christmas in the Caribbean. If holiday shopping eased your wallet, slip in on weekdays for happy hour cocktails at half price and house wines.

Musaafer.  Elegant exotic spaces include the Diwan Lounge.

Musaafer. Elegant exotic spaces include the Diwan Lounge.

Photo by Julie Soefer, lent by Musaafer.

Musaafer
5115 Westheimer Rd., The Galleria

Musaafer’s new winter menu features a wealth of vegan, vegetarian and hearty meat dishes, craft cocktails and original desserts, all inspired by deeply researched authentic Indian dishes that have been updated with chef Mayank Istwal’s flair. The exotic two-storey space opened in 2020, and the large windows, the ornate bar and the sumptuous Diwan Lounge provide a rich winter environment.

State Fare Kitchen & Bar, 610 Traffic Jam S'mores is a winter experience to share.

State Fare Kitchen & Bar, 610 Traffic Jam S’mores is a winter experience to share.

Photo by Adrian Verde, on loan from State Fare Kitchen & Bar.

State Danger Kitchen & Bar
947 Gessner Rd., Memorial
15930 City walk, Sugarland

The winter drink menu at State Fare Kitchen & Bar offers fresh choices, including Cranberry Surprise. On weekends, guests enjoy meat lovers and vegan-friendly brunch menus and festive happy hours. But anytime is good to warm up with State Fares tempting. heat-and-eat table side 610 Traffic Jam S’mores.

Armadillo Palaces Chili con Carne.

Armadillo Palaces Chili con Carne.

Photo lent by Goode Company

Goode Company Armadillo Palace
5105 Kirby Dr. Upper Kirby / West U.

At Armadillo Palace you can dance, play exciting games with cornhole and – after whetting up an appetite – dig into warm winter dishes like Chili con Carne, served with cheddar, jalapenos, onions and frittos. Or grab Kenedy Ranch Carne Discada, a South Texas vaquero-inspired stew with skirt steak, salsa ranchera, cerveza and handmade corn tortillas. Goode Company’s covered terrace and backyard offer heaters, comfortable seating and after-work drinks such as Fool’s Gold – a winter blend of Bourbon, lemon, chili and honey.

Backstreet Cafe, French onion soup

Backstreet Cafe, French onion soup

Paula Murphy

Backstreet Cafe
1103 S. Shepherd Dr., River Oaks

Backstreet’s winter treats include French onion and beef tail soup with Gruyere cheese; pear salad sprinkled with sun-dried cherries, pomegranate seeds; and candied walnuts and Sean’s Eggnog with added apple brandy and bourbon.

Pier 6 Seafood & Oyster House.

Pier 6 Seafood & Oyster House.

Photo by Becca Wright, courtesy of Pier 6.

Pier 6 Seafood & Oyster House
113 6th St., San Leon

Chandon’s “By The Bay” Reserve Blanc de Blanc is available exclusively at only two restaurants in Texas, and Pier 6 is one of them. This award-winning blend of Chardonnay and Pinot is an elegant, quirky California star thrower. Buy a bottle and receive, upon request, a free half-dozen chilled Gulf Coast oysters to sip between sips. Also ripe for winter: Pier 6’s new Whiskey Apple Pie cocktail with Crown Royal, ginger beer and more, topped with thyme, cinnamon and an apple slice.

Tobiuo Sushi & Bar, Cinnamon Pear winter cocktail.

Tobiuo Sushi & Bar, Cinnamon Pear winter cocktail.

Photo of Dragana Harris on loan from Tobiuo.

Tobiuo Sushi & Bar
23501 Cinco Ranch Blvd., Katy

Warm up with that special someone while enjoying Tobiuo’s seasonal drinks cocktails. The Cinnamon Pear cocktail is a soft dessert drink with pear, vanilla, brown sugar and Rumchata. Do you need a little heat and simmer? Order Spice of Life, a bourbon elixir with cranberries, ginger, honey and a spicy touch of serrano.

Reserve 101 seasonal cocktails.

Reserve 101 seasonal cocktails.

Photo lent by Reserve 101

Reserve 101
1201 Caroline St., Downtown

At Reserve 101’s heated patio – which is surrounded by city views and decorated with wooden furniture inspired by vintage whiskey barrels – cocktails will ignite your mood for a limited time. Cheap cocktails include “Fleeting Ambitions”, which combine Knob Creek Rye Whiskey, Bénédictine, homemade orange cordial, Amaro Montenegro and lemon.

Safina Mediterranean restaurant, a creamy winter cocktail, a great place to stay warm in the Medical Center district.

Safina Mediterranean restaurant, a creamy winter cocktail, a great place to stay warm in the Medical Center district.

Photo by Doug Kelly, courtesy of Safina.

Safina
6750 Main St., Medical Center

This year-old Mediterranean restaurant, located inside the InterContinental Houston, has become a fine gathering place surrounded by sunny window walls and beautiful works of art. Seasonal offerings include creamy cocktails, toasted cauliflower soup with truffle oil and sixty leches, a solid end to a winter meal.

Phat Eatery, Kung Pao Chicken with special sauce highlighted on the Chinese American by Alex Au-Yeung.

Phat Eatery, Kung Pao Chicken with special sauce highlighted on the Chinese American by Alex Au-Yeung.

Photo courtesy of Phat Eatery.

Phat eatery
23119 Colonial Pkwy., Katy


At this Malaysian outpost, chef Alex Au-Yeung pampers your senses with seasonal Chinese-American classics. Homemade sauces top fresh ingredients in festive versions of Chili Crab Rangoon, General Tso’s ginger sauce deep-fried antibiotic-free chicken and the Malaysian sweet and sour.



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