Texas Monthly adds and updates approximately sixty restaurant listings to our Dining Guide each month. There’s limited space in the print issue, but the entire searchable guide to the best of Texas cuisine is at your fingertips online!
Below are a few highlights from the new restaurants reviewed in our August 2022 issue. Click “More Info” for further detail on each restaurant:
Amar means “to love,” and the family behind this restaurant lovingly merge the flavors of Peru and Mexico. Begin with the Ceviche Amar: mussels, octopus, and shrimp in a leche de tigre marinade decorated with crispy calamari. Continue with the lomo saltado, chunks of beef tenderloin nestled among french fries and sautéed tomatoes and peppers. Or check out the empanadas, which come loaded with shrimp or fresh spinach. Desserts are spectacular; consider the guava cheesecake or an alfajor, a sandwich-style cookie with a filling of dulce de leche. The patio, with its tasseled shade cloth, will make you feel as if you’re on vacation.
Latin American | ⭑⭑⭑ | $$ | More Info
Hildee’s Texas Dine-Inn
Chef Ryan Hildebrand once ran elegant Triniti in Houston. Now he’s done a 180 and opened a fun venue with country knickknacks on the walls and
concrete floors outside the weekend destination town of Wimberley. The hummus-like purple-hulled-pea spread came off bland, but the confit-tomato pie made with farmer’s cheese was essentially a fine, down-home quiche. Our main courses ran the gamut from good-but-chewy chicken-fried venison in sawmill gravy to a fine redfish on the half shell with almonds and an interesting sorghum glaze. Best overall: a magnificent burger with smoked cheddar and bacon jam. Major rethinking is needed on the tough-crusted, molasses-tinged malted walnut pie. Might be best to finish instead with the classic Texas sheet cake. Pro tip: you can avoid winding farm roads by routing your GPS through Dripping Springs.
Modern American | ⭑⭑ | $$$ | More Info
From Olamaie chef Michael Fojtasek, this celebration of a dining room inside the South Congress Hotel has a vibe that lands someplace between church supper and clubby steakhouse. Amid murals of Matisse-esque nudes dancing as if around a maypole, servers deliver items such as a tomahawk pork chop and an oversized strip steak; each could feed three, especially if paired with the creamed kale and chard. But just about everything is overshadowed by the Ham Plate: shavings of three different American country hams served with corn muffins and an ambrosial honey butter.
Steak | ⭑⭑⭑ | $$$ | More Info
Well-heeled ladies who lunch flock to this tiny cafe within the Conservatory on Two, a posh boutique above the Chanel store in Highland Park Village. Boasting views of treetops and golf greens, the airy, plant-filled spot serves salads, soups, sandwiches, and quiches. We liked the roasted chicken tartine, starring herb-rubbed meat with garlicky aioli and arugula on sourdough toast; it came with a generous salad of impeccably fresh greens. Other good choices were the Thai inspired salad with chicken, soba noodles, and sesame-ginger vinaigrette; the tomato-basil soup; and the quiche lorraine. A bit of lemon pistachio tart and a browse through the Conservatory capped our meal nicely.
Tearoom | ⭑⭑ | $$ | More Info
With a top-flight wine list and knowledgeable staff, Benjy Levit has knocked it out of the park with this speakeasylike wine bar above his Local Foods Market, in Rice Village. Inside it’s cozy and plush, but we sat on the lofty patio with a couple of cooling spritzers and felt as if we had gone on vacation. Our fluffy Japanese milk bread with whipped butter and smoked trout roe was soft and tangy, and sesame-ginger meatballs with Thai basil were delicious dredged in a barely adequate peanut drizzle. More, please! We also loved the smoked top sirloin, every bit the equal of what you’d enjoy at a steakhouse. The Uni Wiggle pasta, with sea urchin, caviar, and saffron chile oil, was transporting.
Wine Bar | ⭑⭑⭑ | $$ | More Info
Our reviews are written by critics who live in the cities and regions they cover. They remain anonymous to ensure that they receive no special treatment. The magazine pays for all meals and accepts no advertising or other consideration in exchange for a listing. Comments? Write us.