11 Stellar Wine Restaurants in Houston

These diverse Restaurant Award winners show why Texas' largest city is a culinary capital for wine lovers

11 Stellar Wine Restaurants in Houston
Mastro's Steakhouse at the Post Oak Hotel has held a Wine Spectator Grand Award since 2019. (Fertitta Entertainment)
Aug 11, 2022

In recent years, Texas has become a stronghold for world-class dining. But where to start a culinary tour of the massive Lone Star State? One of your first stops has to be Houston. Space City’s restaurants are upping the game with impressive wine lists and diverse menus, as these 11 Wine Spectator Restaurant Award winners show, offering everything from steak-house luxury to contemporary takes on French and Asian classics. Time for liftoff!

This is just a small sampling of standout wine spots. For more wine-and-food destinations in Texas and around the world, search all of Wine Spectator’s Restaurant Award–winning restaurants, including our choices for 5 Great Wine Lists in Dallas, as well as all our Grand Award recipients.

Do you have a favorite you’d like to see on this list? Send your recommendations to restaurantawards@mshanken.com. We want to hear from you!

Note: Opening hours and menus are subject to change as the industry continues to adjust to evolving regulations..


Mastro's Steakhouse at the Post Oak Hotel

Post Oak Hotel, 1650 West Loop S., Houston, Texas
Telephone (713) 993-2500
Website www.thepostoakhotel.com
Grand Award

 A modern-style dining room at Mastro’s at the Post Oak Hotel, with beige chairs and a large wine fridge full of bottles, stretching across the wall
The largest wine selection of all Mastro’s Steakhouse locations is inside the Post Oak Hotel. (Fertitta Entertainment)

With 11 Restaurant Award–winning locations across the country, it should come as no surprise that Mastro’s Steakhouse—part of Tilman Fertitta's Landry’s restaurant group—delivers top-notch dining. For wine lovers, the chain’s crown jewel is its Grand Award–winning location at Houston’s Post Oak Hotel, which hosts the largest wine collection of any Mastro’s restaurant, at 37,500 bottles. Working with the hotel's beverage director, Shaun Prevatt, Mastro’s wine director David Anderson distills that cellar into a 4,000-label list packed with selections from Burgundy, Bordeaux, Champagne, the Loire Valley, Piedmont, Tuscany, California, Madeira and other regions. Mastro’s displays many of these bottles on the walls of its sleek, elegant dining room, where guests enjoy executive chef Michael Colbert’s menu of steak house classics, including wet-aged prime cuts and a massive seafood tower of oysters, shrimp and crab legs. But it’s not just about wine and food; Mastro’s also regularly hosts live music in its lounge.


Pappas Bros. Steakhouse Houston

5839 Westheimer Road, Houston, Texas
Telephone (713) 780-7352
Website www.pappasbros.com
Grand Award

 People dining at the dining room at Pappas Bros’ Steakhouse in Houston, with red walls and bottles of wine on shelves, and a gold-colored ceiling
The dining room at Pappas Bros. offers Texas-style elegance. (Julie Soefer)

Pappas Bros. Steakhouse proves that everything is indeed bigger in Texas. The group boasts Wine Spectator Grand Award–winning restaurants in Dallas, in downtown Houston and on Houston’s restaurant-lined Westheimer Road. At this latter Houston location, wine director Steven McDonald impresses with a 5,000-selection wine list that highlights producers in Burgundy, Bordeaux, Champagne, the Rhône Valley, Piedmont, Tuscany, Austria, Spain and Napa Valley, among other regions. Leading names abound, from France’s Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey to California’s Abreu. There’s also a sizeable Port selection among the restaurant’s 28,000 bottles. Alongside these wines, executive chef Michael Velardi offers a wide range of steaks, including a 12-ounce filet mignon and a 26-ounce dry-aged porterhouse; beyond beef, there’s Australian lobster tail, broiled Ora King salmon and much more, including all the classic, steak house fixings. Like its sibling locations, the restaurant hosts a range of events throughout the year, including wine tastings, wine dinners, Scotch dinners and holiday meals.


Amrina

3 Waterway Square Pl., The Woodlands, Texas
Telephone (201) 562-9811
Website www.amrina.social
Best of Award of Excellence

 People dining at the dining room at Amrina, a modern space with large windows, chandeliers and columns, its décor referencing traditional architecture of India
At Amrina, diners enjoy a lively atmosphere in a modern space that references traditional Indian design and architecture. (Julie Soefer)

Located in wider Houston’s The Woodlands district, Amrina offers guests new insights into and unique takes on fine Indian cuisine. Wine director and general manager Giorgio Ferrero calls it a “new plot in a familiar tale.” Chef Jaspratap "Jassi" Bindra’s dishes are inspired by those he cooked alongside his mother as a child and also by his later travels. But the chef takes a more contemporary approach with dishes like jackfruit samosas, whole-roasted duck with tamarind hoisin (known as “Queens Duck”) and pulled tandoori leg of lamb with grilled avocado and vegetables. Holding a Best of Award of Excellence, Ferrero’s 700-selection wine list enhances the Amrina experience by focusing on wines that capture a sense of place, just as the restaurant does through its cuisine and distinctively stylish, India-inspired decor. France and California lead here, from Champagne and Burgundy to Napa and Sonoma, with plenty more from Italy, Spain and beyond. The program features well-known wineries, such as Zinfandel star Turley and Bordeaux’s Château Latour-Martillac, and focuses significantly on wines made by women.


El Meson

2425 University Blvd., Houston, Texas
Telephone (713) 522-9306
Website www.elmeson.com
Best of Award of Excellence

 Jessica Elaine Garcia in El Meson’s wine cellar
Wine director Jessica Elaine Garcia oversees El Meson’s impressive, Spain-focused list of more than 500 wines. (Julie Soefer)

For nearly four decades, El Meson has been serving a blend of Spanish and Cuban cuisines near Houston’s Rice University. Chef Pedro Angel Garcia, who hails from Cuba, offers an eclectic menu of traditional tapas and paellas, plus Cuban classics such as ropa vieja and palomilla (top sirloin served with rice, black beans and plantains). True to local culture, there are also Tex-Mex options, including staples like tacos al carbon and varied enchiladas. Wine director Jessica Elaine Garcia heads a Best of Award of Excellence–winning list focused on Spain (the Sherries are not to be missed), with additional options from California, Italy, France and beyond. Still, the Iberian Peninsula forms the heart of the list, which is sure to dazzle any Spanish wine lover with verticals of La Rioja Alta, R. López de Heredia, Vega Sicilia and more.


Georgia James

1658 Westheimer Road, Houston, Texas
Telephone (832) 241-5088
Website www.georgiajamessteak.com
Best of Award of Excellence

 The long dining room and bar at Georgia James, full of people, with beige chairs and modern furnishings
Set in a lively dining room, steak house Georgia James offers a wine program focused on California, France and Italy. (Duc Hoang)

Chef-restaurateur Chris Shepherd’s Best of Award of Excellence winner Georgia James is a restaurant set to challenge assumptions about what the traditional Texas steak house can be. With a “no farms, no food” mentality, sourcing locally is key at this downtown Houston eatery, and the restaurant prominently spotlights the farms it works with throughout its menu. With a range of cuts dry-aged at the restaurant, executive chef Greg Peters prepares impressive steaks like a long-bone ribeye and a Japanese A5 wagyu, as well as less traditional takes on beef: pho-cured beef tenderloin carpaccio and wagyu bone marrow, for instance. Just as this eclectic menu helps challenge steak house norms, so does wine director Matthew Pridgen’s 410-selection wine list. You will still find steak-friendly favorites like Bordeaux and Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon—including verticals of Château Ducru-Beaucaillou and Colgin’s IX Estate—but these sit alongside less-expected bottles, including Hungarian Furmint, diverse Spanish whites and Sagrantino di Montefalco. White and red “Odds and Ends” lists help highlight these options, spotlighting regions from Texas to Armenia.


Kiran’s

2925 Richmond Ave., Houston, Texas
Telephone (713) 960-8472
Website www.kiranshouston.com
Best of Award of Excellence

 A person on a ladder examining a bottle of wine in Kiran’s chandelier-lit, wood-shelved wine cellar
With a 3,000-bottle inventory, Kiran’s offers plenty of options for pairing with Texas-accented Indian cuisine. (Courtesy of Kiran’s)

In the hip Upper Kirby neighborhood, Kiran’s blends Indian dining with American and French elements. Chef Kiran Verma, an acclaimed name in fine Indian cuisine and a Top Chef guest judge, prepares versions of classics such as chicken tikka masala and lamb rogan josh. Her approach—inspired by the Awadhi technique of long, slow cooking over a low fire, as well as by tandoor cooking—shines in other dishes like tandoori quail, gulf snapper and bison rib-eye (a tasty way to remind guests they’re in Texas). Three tasting menus, including a lobster-focused selection, are available, alongside a four-course afternoon tea served on Saturdays and Sundays, complete with Verma’s proprietary chai blend. Of course, tea isn’t the only beverage available. Wine director J.C. Sharma oversees a Best of Award of Excellence–winning list with diverse strengths, especially in French whites and sparkling wines that pair deliciously with Indian cuisine. The restaurant continually expands the list with a focus on up-and-coming New World producers.


March

1624 Westheimer Road, Houston, Texas
Telephone (832) 380-2481
Website www.marchrestaurant.com
Best of Award of Excellence

 The sleek, modern-design cellar at March, with metal bottle shelves, a table lined with wine bottles and wineglasses and three red, leather stools
March’s massive, 1,600-selection wine list highlights leading wineries around the world, from Burgundy to Napa. (Julie Soefer)

March is a restaurant inspired by, and named for, Europe’s borderland frontiers. For instance, chef Felipe Riccio’s menu dives into the cooking of Southern France and its Occitan subregion, among other locales. Guests can explore this cuisine across six- and nine-course tasting menus, with standard and “premier” wine pairing options. The meal begins with a glass of vermouth, infused in-house with Mediterranean herbs and seasonal fruits, which is followed by dishes such as tielle sétoises (a seafood pastry originating in the Languedoc city of Sète) and Provençal pork with black garlic. Wine director Mark Sayre—along with assistant wine director Gillie Dougherty and the sommelier team—manages a hefty, wide-ranging list of 1,600 selections. (The restaurant is co-owned by CEO June Rodil, a leader in Texas's beverage scene.) Guests will find acclaimed names throughout, interspersed with profiles of wineries and winemakers, offering a more intimate look at the people responsible for March’s wines. Producer highlights include Champagne’s Pierre Gimonnet, Alsace’s Trimbach, Napa Valley’s Corison and Piedmont’s Paolo Scavino.


Rainbow Lodge

2011 Ella Blvd., Houston, Texas
Telephone (713) 861-8666
Website www.rainbow-lodge.com
Best of Award of Excellence

 The dining room at Rainbow Lodge, lined with logs, with stained glass windows and trophies of deer on the walls
Rustic décor meets sophisticated dining in Rainbow Lodge’s dining room. (Courtesy of Rainbow Lodge)

Set in a century-old log cabin lined with hunting trophies, Rainbow Lodge offers a truly rustic-meets-elegant dining experience that matches up with executive chef Mark Schmidt’s menu of game-based dishes like bison carpaccio, South Texas–raised nilgai antelope loin, pan-roasted Alaskan halibut and a grilled elk chop. (A prix-fixe menu is available.) Whichever dish they choose, guests will find no shortage of pairing options on the 450-label wine list; California and Italy are the stars here, with Sonoma Pinot Noirs, Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignons, super Tuscans and more from leading wineries like Hirsch, Kosta Browne and Tenuta San Guido. Wine director Marc Borel also offers plenty from other regions, including Champagnes, Burgundies, Rhône reds and Riojas. (The wine list features older vintages from star winery La Rioja Alta). The hits keep coming with Rainbow Lodge’s extensive sweet wine, half-bottle and by-the-glass selections, including diverse, high-end and rarer wines poured using a Coravin preservation system. Rainbow Lodge also hosts monthly wine tastings, as well as wine dinners co-hosted with visiting winemakers.


Le Colonial, Houston

4444 Westheimer Road, Houston, Texas
Telephone (713) 629-4444
Website www.lecolonalhouston.com
Award of Excellence

 The dining room at Le Colonial Houston, with bungalow-style wood design elements, chandeliers and an alocasia tropical plant
The flavors and ambience of the 1920s are celebrated at Le Colonial Houston. (Courtesy of Le Colonial)

With three Award of Excellence–winning locations, the team behind Le Colonial has shown its chops when delivering sophisticated, wine-filled dining experiences. For wine lovers in Texas, the Houston location is a must-visit, set in an exquisite, wood-lined dining room. Executive chef Charlie Ho offers Le Colonial’s signature mix of French and Asian cuisine, with dishes such as chilled shrimp rolls, spicy yellowfin tuna tartare, lamb shank with Japanese potato gratin and braised tofu with caramelized onions. Wine director Julie Lin pairs these dishes with a 135-wine, French-focused list, which has held a Wine Spectator Restaurant Award since 2018. The program offers the likes of Bordeaux, Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Burgundy, along with picks from beyond France’s borders: Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, Napa Cabernet and Amarone, to name a few.


Rosie Cannonball

1620 Westheimer Road, Houston, Texas
Telephone (832) 380-2471
Website www.rosiecannonball.com
Award of Excellence

 The contemporary-design dining room at Rosie Cannonball, with green booths and a white and wood coffered ceiling
Set in a vibrant, contemporary dining room, Rosie Cannonball brings Europe to Texas through its menu and wine list. (Courtesy of Rosie Cannonball)

From the team behind March (the two restaurants share a wine cellar), Rosie Cannonball offers comforting, European-style cuisine in a vibrant setting, which is centered around a wood-burning grill and oven. Fresh twists on classic pizzas and pastas are the stars of chef Felipe Riccio’s menu, though you shouldn’t miss other wood-fired dishes like the roasted oysters with Calabrian chile crab butter, pulpo a la gallega (wood-fired octopus) with cranberry beans and peach sofrito, grilled swordfish and Berkshire pork chop. To complement this cuisine, Mark Sayre’s wine program highlights friendly, eminently pairable options from France, Spain and Italy, with many options available on the by-the-glass list. Adding even more variety, New World gems are sprinkled in, and there's a fun and intriguing cocktail list, with non-alcoholic options available.


State of Grace

3258 Westheimer Road, Houston, Texas
Telephone (832) 942-5080
Website www.stateofgracetx.com
Award of Excellence

 The bar at State of Grace, made of wood and reflective tiles, with green barstools, in a dining room with a white ceiling and a white-tile floor
Classic dishes mingle with an informative wine list and a welcoming atmosphere at State of Grace. (Courtesy of State of Grace)

State of Grace—from Atlanta, Houston and Nashville restaurateur Ford Fry—welcomes guests to “Texas in another time,” with nods to Lone Star State history throughout its wine list, menu and sophisticated, but comfortable interior. Upon opening in the Lamar-River Oaks Center in 2015, State of Grace made wine a top priority from the start. Wine director Matthew Crawford’s 275-selection program gained immediate recognition, earning its Award of Excellence in 2016, and it continues to impress. State of Grace’s 2,000-bottle cellar is packed with older vintages of Bordeaux, for instance. But, working with sommelier Matt Malone, Crawford looks to make the list accessible to all guests, no matter how formal or casual they would like their meal to be, with helpful notes on the list about the producers, wine styles and grape varieties. These wines join chefs Bobby Matos and John Quinn’s menu, which draws heavily from regional and Southern cuisine, as well as Latin, Gulf Coast, German and Asian influences. Altogether, it’s a style that challenges aspects of traditional Southern food, which can be seen in dishes like duck with dirty risotto (rather than the Cajun classic, dirty rice) and twice-fried quail with ginger.

Edited by Collin Dreizen, Emma Grant and Kenny Martin

Restaurants dining-out texas

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