Things to do and eat in Houston
May 20, 2018 8:40 PM   Subscribe

Hi MetaFilter! I'm attending a conference in downtown Houston at the end of June, and would like recommendations for delicious vegetarian food and interesting things to do in Houston.

I'm open to any cuisines, though would appreciate Mexican, Tex-Mex, and Vietnamese recommendations since I've heard Houston is known for that. Also, lunch options near the convention center would be great.

Since I'll be at a conference, I'm looking for things to do that are still open/accessible in the evening (after 5 pm). I will not have a car, and plan to walk and use public transporation/lyft to get around. Thanks!
posted by girasoli to Travel & Transportation around Houston, TX (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
How vegetarian? Vegan? Pescaterian? LactoOvo?
posted by jadepearl at 1:34 AM on May 21, 2018

The original Ninfa's and also El Tiempo on Navigation is close to downtown and the convention center. Of those two, I'd pick El Tiempo, though Ninfa's is more famous. Also, if it's your sort of thing, the hackerspace in houston, Tx/Rx Labs, at 205 Roberts St is world class as those things go and close to the same area. I haven't lived in Texas since 2014 though, so my info may be old.
posted by smcameron at 2:53 AM on May 21, 2018

Best answer: I found the area around the convention center to be bafflingly devoid of dinner options outside of hotel restaurants, but if you take a slightly sketchy-looking walk, this place was Metafilter-recommended and very good.
posted by soren_lorensen at 3:38 AM on May 21, 2018

If you're pescaterian, I recommend Pappasito's, about a block away from the convention center, in the Hilton. If you're strict vegetarian, I think the only thing they'll have for you is quesadillas.

Exactly as close, but in the Marriott, is Xochi, which actually has a vegetarian menu.
posted by ubiquity at 7:05 AM on May 21, 2018

Best answer: Here is an art installation in downtown Houston, which may be worth your time.
posted by Midnight Skulker at 7:42 AM on May 21, 2018 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Um, I literally cannot imagine that a veggie would have a good time at either Ninfa's or El Tiempo, given the status of both joints as "temples of meat."

I live here, so let me chime in.
  • The previously linked Huyn is an absolutely stellar Vietnamese joint close to downtown (east side). The walk from George R Brown would be a little sketchy, but the Uber ride would be cheap.
  • Veggie lunch near the convention center is maybe tough, but there's a pretty great fancy-grocery with a restaurant in the apartment tower just west of it called Phoenicia. It's got a restaurant/wine bar in it. The walk from GRB to hear is absolutely NOT sketchy.
  • As also previously noted, Xochi is INSANELY good, but won't be cheap. Maybe make it a dinner. It's a new restaurant by James Beard winner Hugo Ortega, and it's spectacular. North of the convention center, and very walkable.
  • If you're willing to branch out from downtown, Roost is beloved and veggie-friendly. It's a shortish uber/taxi/lyft ride from downtown -- in Montrose, so still very central --but worth the trip.
  • Also walkable from the GRB is The Conservatory, an underground food & beer hall. It's like a food court, but with only delicious & high quality options. Current vendors include pizza, tex-mex, pho, and poke/tempura. Oh, and a wine bar.
Finally, DoorDash has great penetration here, so look into that if you want not-hotel but also not-walking.
posted by uberchet at 8:00 AM on May 21, 2018

Best answer: Indika may be a good choice for vegetarian; interesting Indian fusion. Short Lyft ride from downtown, and that part of Westheimer in the Montrose is a fun neighborhood with some interesting bars and coffee shops and the like.

I haven't been to Xochi but his other restaurant Hugo's is excellent. Modern Mexican, not Tex Mex, and good. I'm also fond of Tex Mex but it is not a very vegetarian friendly cuisine. But if you're up for a lot of melted cheese Ninfas-on-Navigation or El Real are the single places I'd recommend.

Houston has great art. Ordinarily I'd recommend a visit to the Menil Gallery + the Rothko Chapel, but the main part of the Menil is currently closed for renovation and the other parts are, IMHO, not as interesting. (Although if Twombly is your thing, boy is this the place for you.) The Museum of Fine Arts is excellent too and the current exhibitions look interesting.
posted by Nelson at 8:23 AM on May 21, 2018

(BTW, Indika is pretty pricey, but there's a formerly-related lower-priced, more casual concept started by the same folks called Pondicheri over on Kirby that I recommend without reservation.)
posted by uberchet at 8:46 AM on May 21, 2018

Response by poster: Hi all — thanks for the suggestions! Just to clarify, I am a lacto ovo vegetarian (yes to dairy and eggs, no to meat and fish).
posted by girasoli at 5:37 PM on May 21, 2018

Best answer: Some more ideas for you:

Snooze is my favorite breakfast spot in Houston (Montrose area). You can get any meat dish substituted with soyriso and the waitstaff is so friendly and helpful.

Another favorite of mine is Hugo's for their vegetarian menu.

It's about 45 minutes away by car, but Ashiana has hands-down the best Indian buffet anywhere.
posted by oxisos at 5:43 PM on May 21, 2018

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions!
posted by girasoli at 10:11 AM on May 26, 2018

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