Upper Kirby is an all-encompassing urban oasis in the middle of Houston. With proximity to downtown, the Rice Village, and River Oaks, Upper Kirby is a key focal point for both high-end and edgy cultural attractions.
From art galleries to farmers’ markets, Upper Kirby is a lively and fashionable neighborhood for all ages.
Perhaps it is best known for its namesake main artery, Kirby Drive, which has always been a crucial commercial avenue and veritable restaurant row.
You can expect some amazing restaurants in the Upper Kirby district, and with so many options, you’ll need to narrow it down to the very best.
2111 Norfolk St, Houston, TX 77098
Star Pizza is a long-standing Upper Kirby institution for incredible deep-dish and thin-crust pizza. Family-owned and operated since 1976, Star Pizza now has three locations, the Upper Kirby location a block from Spotts Park being the second.
They make their dough and sauce in-house daily, using only the freshest ingredients to elaborate their award-winning pies.
Their pizza consistently wins the Houston Chronicle’s Best of the Best Award for deep-dish Chicago-style pizza. They offer New York or Chicago-style pizza, but their Chicago-style pizza is the only one you want to try.
I loved the Starburst pizza with ground beef, Italian sausage, pepperoni, onions, mushrooms, green peppers, cheese, and tomato sauce.
2555 Kirby Dr, Houston, TX 77019
Teetering between Upper Kirby and River Oaks, Local Foods is a farm-to-table, American eatery, sourcing all produce, meat, and dairy from local Houston purveyors and farmers.
Their large contemporary industrial-chic dining hall has exposed brick walls, high-beamed tin-roof ceilings, and washed concrete floors, making for a sleek and lively dining experience.
Their menu has shareable plates, soups, salads, and sandwiches with plenty of vegan and vegetarian options. Since all the food is locally sourced, every dish tastes as fresh and clean as can be.
I loved the Chimichurri Steak sandwich with local tri-tip beef, baby arugula, paragon cheddar, avocado, tomato, and aioli on a ciabatta bun.
3115 Kirby Dr, Houston, TX 77098
Carrabba’s may be a wildly successful chain of Italian bistros, but their flagship location is in the Upper Kirby neighborhood, right on Kirby Drive, Houston’s famous restaurant row.
Founded by Johnny Carrabba and Damian Mandola in 1986, Carraba’s features authentic wood-fired Italian dishes influenced by the Carraba and Mandola family recipes along with their extensive global travels.
The Original Carrabba’s has a massive multi-course Italian menu of antipasti, pasta, pizza, salad, and main entrees that revolve around a wood-burning oven.
I loved their fresh, house-made pasta dishes, namely, the Linguine Pescatore with shrimp, scallops, and mussels tossed in a spicy marinara sauce and topped with fresh herbs.
2800 Kirby Dr b132, Houston, TX 77098
Located in a gorgeous modern dining space in the northeastern corner of Upper Kirby, Pondicheri is a contemporary Indian Fusion bistro owned and operated by famed Head Chef and Indian-native Anita Jaisinghani.
Chef Jaisinghani uses her cultural heritage, knowledge of Ayurveda, and years of experience as executive chef in Houston’s most famous fine-dining restaurant to inform a unique menu that has received press features from Food Network, Thrillist, Houstonia, and the Houston Chronicle.
There is an onsite bakery with a separate menu, along with a full cocktail, wine, and beer menu. Vegetarians will love their meatless Monday menus. My favorite dish was the chickfu curry with empire masala and crispy okra over turmeric rice.
2800 Kirby Dr Suite A100, Houston, Texas 77098
Eddie V’s is a fine dining steakhouse and seafood restaurant inside a stunning dining space a quick drive from McMurrey Memorial Stadium.
Eddie V’s Prime Seafood uses the freshest and highest-quality seafood and cuts of steak to create gorgeous plates paired with expertly crafted cocktails and a robust wine list for a special and romantic dining experience.
Eddie V’s has a traditional New American multi-course menu of appetizers, raw bar specialties, second courses, prime seafood, and prime steaks.
I recommend a surf and turf dish like the bacon-wrapped filet medallions served Oscar style with cold water lobster, grilled asparagus, and bearnaise sauce.
2048 Colquitt St, Houston, TX 77098
Located in the heart of Upper Kirby, Nobie’s is a hip, artsy wine bar, bakery, and bistro. It serves inventive New American dishes sourced from local purveyors in a fashionable atmosphere with a DJ serenading your meal or happy hour with vinyl hip hop sets.
Named for Executive Chef Martin Sayer’s grandmother, Nobie’s serves farm-to-table food with a daily changing menu.
Nobie’s also employs an award-winning sommelier to create an incredible wine list with recommendations for food pairings.
The menu has up to 25 items a day, drawing inspiration from all areas of the globe. I loved the short rib ravioli with Boursin, sour cream and onions foam, melted leeks, and crispy garlic and onion.
3131 Argonne St, Houston, Texas 77098
Located cattycorner to Carraba’s Mia’s Table is a casual, family-friendly traditional American comfort food restaurant owned by the Carraba family.
They serve decadent American comfort food from all regions of the U.S. in heaping portions with free soft serve for the kiddos. They also have a wide selection of beers and a full bar lined with TVs playing all your favorite games.
Whether you want nachos, burgers, or chicken-fried steaks, Mia’s Table has every comfort food you can think of with a luxurious list of over-the-top milkshakes and banana pudding for dessert. I had a fish fry basket with catfish and shrimp served with french fries.
3737 Buffalo Speedway Suite 100, Houston, Texas 77098
Named for Executive Chef Drake Leonard’s hometown in Southern Louisiana, Eunice is a high-end Cajun and Creole fusion restaurant in a beautiful, contemporary, and charming dining space near Greenway Plaza.
The high-ceilinged, concrete-walled dining space has wood finished booths and hanging boho-chic cloth chandeliers. Chef Leonard uses his European culinary training to fuse Mediterranean and Creole cooking.
Eunice won the Diner’s Choice award for its creative and unique dishes, sourcing seafood straight from the gulf.
I started with the Cajun Duck poppers with bacon-wrapped jalapenos stuffed with duck and cream cheese. I had to try my favorite Creole dish, the Shrimp Etoufee served with handmade noodles instead of rice.
3435 Kirby Dr, Houston, TX 77098
Located in the Kirby-Richmond Plaza, Luna Pizzeria is a family-friendly neighborhood pizzeria and pub, offering gourmet New York-style pizzas in a modern and inviting atmosphere.
They have a full list of wine and beer, with great daily specials like 2$ beer and wine on Tuesdays and half-priced pizzas on Mondays.
You can build your own pie or choose from a wonderful menu of specialty pie with gourmet, imported Italian ingredients.
I loved the prosciutto and arugula pizza with tomato sauce, mozzarella, provolone, sliced prosciutto, arugula, and a lemon vinaigrette drizzle.
2303 Richmond Ave, Houston, TX 77098
Capon’s Oven and Bar is a flapper-style bar, pizzeria, and Italian kitchen in a gorgeous Texas-minimalist space with hardwood floors, exposed wood-beamed ceilings, and leather chairs.
All food is scratch-made to order, and Capone’s wood-fired brick oven cranks out super-thin crust pizza that has won a spot on Houston’s top 10 pizza list.
Located a few blocks from the Southwest Freeway, Capone’s also serves a full menu of antipasti, salads, pasta, and entrees.
If you want to fuse Texas flavors with Italian pizza, I recommend the Pina Picante with BBQ sauce, smoked chicken, applewood-smoked bacon, tabasco-infused pineapple, red onions, smoked gouda, cilantro, and mozzarella.
4848 Kirby Dr, Houston, TX 77098
Teetering between Rice Village and Upper Kirby, Hillstone Restaurant was originally called Houston’s and has been a beloved contemporary American bar and grill for decades.
Smells of sizzling meat waft from the open grill where customers can watch the theatrics of an open kitchen preparing high-quality steaks, salads, sandwiches, fish, and the best warm apple cobbler you’ll ever taste.
The dimly lit restaurant with large burgundy leather booths is a romantic place to enjoy fine-dining service without the pretension of a traditional steakhouse. My favorite dish at Hillstone is the barbecue pork ribs slow-cooked, with french fries and coleslaw.