As the grip of COVID-19 and its associated fears begin to wane, restaurant dining rooms feel like paradises again. Either way, with the promise of fresh air and room to stretch out, outdoor seating is still a big draw for the Houstonians. In addition, there are the additional benefits of chirping birds and people watching – simple pleasures to cheer up after being so locked up this year.
Houston has many options for al fresco dining. This includes the downtown east side, especially with the new restaurants that have sprung up in recent years. EaDo (formerly “Old Chinatown”) and East End District (part of the Second Ward) are great places to explore. Each has a particular appeal to residents and visitors alike looking for shady streets, sun-drenched verandas, and an eclectic assortment of architecture, art exhibits, and community events.
While places with a few sidewalk tables are appreciated, these are not included due to the lack of dedicated patio space. Looking for patios in other parts of the Greater Houston areas? Read our giant list of restaurant patios across the region. There is also a list dedicated to Sugar Land. Watch for more neighborhood patio roundups in the near future.
Acadian coast, 2929 Navigation: The patio adjacent to the street of this New Orleans-style restaurant has traditional tables and bar seating. The Creole and Cajun-inspired menu includes classic dishes such as Snapper Pontchartrain and Boudin balls. To make things happen, there is Grilled Rockefeller Oysters that replace kale and Havarti cheese sauce for traditional spinach and cream. the Rogue Shrimp offers another variation that employs a fermented pepper sauce alongside blackened shrimp.
Visit for Sunday brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for favorites such as beignets served with a choice of chicory chocolate or berry compote, Steak and Eggs (44 Farms filet mignon with eggs and potatoes) and decadent Mushroom ravioli filled with fresh crimini mushrooms and nut butter, and dipped in a traditional hot sauce. Keep the New Orleans vibe flowing with a hurricane cocktail made with dark and light rum, orange, passion fruit, lime and grenadine.
District 7 Grill Eado, 1508 Hutchins: This patio shaded by oaks evokes the comfort of the courtyard. The fast, easygoing service from this growing Houston restaurant business contrasts with high rates such as osso buco (braised pork knuckle with grilled asparagus) and vsrab cakes with avocado, grilled onion and poblano pepper.
Brunch is served daily from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Choose from Braised Beef Benedict with poached eggs, arugula and hollandaise and choice of fruit or oatmeal, or the spile of hort of pancakes. There are also oysters, and these are available raw or grilled. The dressing choices for the grilled variety are Buffalo, bacon jam or lemon-garlic. District 7 also serves hand-thrown pizzas with a variety of toppings such as Backyard Pizza with artichoke, spinach, tomatoes, garlic, mushrooms, parmesan, pepperoncini, grated mozzarella and red sauce.
time, 2814 Navigation: Start your tour with a wish in the Pegasus Fountain, then enjoy the sound of flowing water as you dine like a cafe. Order from a classic – and expansive – menu filled with Mexican standards, including an expansive section of parradilla (grilled meat). Options include Lobster, carnitas, traditional beef fajitas and more. Each is served on an individual hearth, called an anafre, which is brought to the table while the meat is still hot and sizzling. Try toppings such as Durango, a mix of tomatoes, bacon, jalapeños and cilantro.
For a variation of enchiladas, try the Chunky Crab Enchies served with marisco cream or vegetarian red sauce. There are also lighter fare, like the refreshing Mango and jicama salad, which includes Diced strawberries mixed with a mango and black pepper sauce.
Brunch is served Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and includes Pecan Crepe Pancakes with butter syrup, fruit and freshly squeezed orange juice.
Leeland House, 2119 Leeland: This neighborhood hangout has a veranda in the front and a shaded patio in the back. Choose from light dishes such as Thai Steak Salad that comes with marinated steak, mango, tomato, Thai basil, mint, cilantro and chopped peanuts, or go for the substantial Short rib pappardelle with shishito peppers, shiitake mushrooms, stockin cheese and parmesan. Brunch is served on Sundays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and sometimes includes a live jazz band. Specials include the Big Daddy Benedict served on a croissant with local chorizo and avocado-jalapeño cream. Order a pitcher of Hibiscus Mimosa to share with friends.
The original Ninfa on navigation, 2704 Navigation: A shaded and secluded patio is the perfect place to try the fajitas that have made this longtime neighborhood gem famous. Sure, there are the mainstays: beef, chicken, or veg, but creative options abound as well. To choose quail grilled over a wood fire, Bacon Wrapped Diablo Shrimps, Portobello Fajitas or Picadillo Chilli Relleno Breast as a basis. Then select toppings such as Bay (a combination of tomato, onion, jalapeño and mushroom named after a loyal customer) or Chihuahua (bacon, cheese, onion and pepper).
Traditional dishes preferred by customers include Ground beef enchiladas with beef and cheddar cheese sauce and Texas redfish modernized with chipotle aioli, coleslaw, pico de gallo and poblano rice. Wash it with a Ninfarita – a large tangy margarita made from 100% silver agave tequila. It is not for the faint of heart, and Sangria, made with red wine, tequila, whiskey, fruits and spices. These are available by the glass or by the pitcher.
Ninfa’s serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Visit for brunch only Red Chili Pork Pozole. This pork soup with avocado, onions, sour cream and a tostada queso fresco is a traditional hangover remedy. There are also every day Breakfast tacos for less than $ 5 each from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Little champions, 2617 McKinney: The sister restaurant of Nancy’s Hustle has a large back patio. Chef Jason Vaughn and his team prepare natural sourdough pizzas, fermented vegetables and homemade pasta. the plate of pickled vegetables is a good starter before moving on to more hearty dishes. These include creative pizzas like Kale + chard topped with ricotta, mozzarella and marinated garlic or Sausage Pizza with sausage, mozzarella, tomato sauce, basil, peppers and onions.
Other intriguing main dishes include Safran Mafalda – is a flat ribbon-shaped dough covered with braised lamb with green olives and orange – and Escabeche, a chilled mackerel served with fennel and paprika.
Finish with a treat from the pastry chef Julia doran, like homemade ice cream in flavors like Praline Malt / Hazelnut with the choice of dinner toppings from a complete list that includes Grilled meringue or Blackberry Caramel. Beverage specialist Sean jensen developed a nice cocktail menu with options like Love Pusher, a mixture of vermouth, sour mezcal, strawberry and fennel and sommelier Bridget paliwoda also prepared a nice wine list.
Vinny’s Pizza, 1201 Saint Emanuel: Enjoy a beer and a slice of pizza in this industrial atrium bathed in natural light. Agricultural hotel the partners Ryan pera, Morgan weber and Vincent huynh make their own pepperoni, locally sourced 44 Farms beef, hand-make a massive 52-ounce pizza and charge only $ 4 a slice. There are classic pizzas, including Cheese pizza with mozzarella and tomato sauce or more exotic selections like Meatzilla with pepperoni, Angus beef, fatty bacon, tomato sauce, provolone and chili flakes. Gluten free pizza is available on request.
The menu also goes beyond pizza, with selections such as Big baller meatball submarine served on a La Reyna bolillo with tomato sauce and three cheeses, and the Judy Chop salad made with house pepperoni, blue cheese crumbles, iceberg lettuce, red onions, tomato and topped with buttermilk dressing.