Washington Avenue traverses various artsy and unconventional Houston neighborhoods as well as many of the city’s most iconic attractions.
There’s a wealth of art galleries and installations along Washington Avenue that rival its famous museum district.
Washington Avenue also runs by Memorial Park, one of Houston’s most beautiful green spaces.
Like all major arteries in Houston, Washington Avenue is also home to a diverse selection of restaurants and bars.
915 Snover St, Houston, TX 77007
Laredo Taqueria is a longstanding Tex Mex chain of fast-casual taco and Mexican food restaurants owned by Joe and Roy Soto.
The Soto Brothers opened the first Laredo Taqueria in the 1980s in Rice Military, opening three subsequent locations over the next thirty years.
They use their mother’s recipes to create an authentic Mexican menu with a Texas twist.
Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Laredo Taqueria offers a variety of tacos, tamales, enchiladas, and hearty entrees for incredibly low prices.
They make their own flour and corn tortillas fresh daily. I loved their Chile Relleno plate with a cheese-stuffed, battered and fried poblano served with rice, refried beans, a salad, and fresh tortillas.
4819 Washington Ave, Houston, TX 77007
Another Rice Military favorite, Velvet Taco is a hip American and Mexican fusion taco stand and margarita bar.
Their creative taco creations fuse traditional Mexican street food with global street food ingredients in a festive, family-friendly eatery. They also sell various tequila drinks and margaritas in giant plastic cups and pitchers.
They make delicious blue corn tortilla chips with creamy, spicy queso that tastes great while sipping a frozen margarita.
My favorite taco at Velvet Taco is the Fish n Chips with curry mayo, malted french fries, house shredded coleslaw, beer-battered Atlantic cod, and pea tendrils in a flour tortilla.
El Tiempo Cantina – Washington
5602 Washington Ave, Houston, TX 77007
El Tiempo Cantina is Tex Mex at its finest, owned by the Texas-famous Laurenzo Family whose matriarch, Mama Ninfa, revolutionized the Tex Mex concept.
Its Rice Military location is a beautiful Spanish colonial-style hacienda with a bright turquoise rot iron fence and door frames adorned with lush tropical greenery and Mexican succulents.
They make everything from scratch using Mama Ninfa’s recipes, offering a massive menu of all your Tex Mex favorites from cheesy enchilada plates and puffy chalupas to nachos and quesadillas.
Perhaps their most famous dish is their sizzling fajitas which you can get with pork, chicken, beef, shrimp, veal, or vegetables, all served with rice and beans, pico de gallo, guacamole, and the best flour tortillas you’ll ever taste.
MAX’s Wine Dive
4720 Washington Ave ste b, Houston, TX 77007
Owned by airline pilot turned restaurateur Jerry Lasco, MAX’s Wine Dive restaurant is a refined yet inviting wine bar and elevated comfort food bistro named after Lasco’s son. MAX’s Wine Dive offers an award-winning wine list and gourmet brunch and dinner in an unpretentious atmosphere with great happy hour and live music on the weekends.
Their Rice Military location along Washington Avenue is a quick drive from Memorial Park. They have an extensive global wine list as well as craft beers, cocktails, and wine cocktails to pair with some seriously decadent Southern comfort food.
You must try their famous southern fried chicken marinated in jalapeno buttermilk and served with mashed potatoes, collard greens, and Texas toast.
1919 Washington Ave, Houston, TX 77007
Located a few blocks from Buffalo Bayou Park, Julep is a casual, vintage-chic cocktail bar with a laid-back and cozy atmosphere.
The interior has plush leather booths, candle-lit tables, and wall-to-wall shelves cluttered with books and bottles. Their weeknight happy hour is unbeatable, with half-off house cocktails and wine.
They have an extensive spirits list, with endless varieties of whisky, bourbon, scotch, rum, gin, and mezcal.
Expert mixologists create the perfect craft cocktail, whether you want a classic martini or an innovative concoction like the Budgy Smuggler with dark and Jamaican rum, allspice dram, lime, grapefruit, angostura bitters, and soda.
4412 Washington Ave, Houston, TX 77007
Another Laurenzo Family restaurant, Laurenzo’s is an elegant, yet old-school Italian restaurant and steakhouse located in the heart of Rice Military across the street from Laredo Taqueria.
They offer luxurious service and source produce from an onsite organic garden. While the Laurenzo family is famous for Tex Mex, the patriarch, Tommy Laurenzo, is Italian American and the source of inspiration for the Italian menu.
They have a full cocktail bar and extensive wine list to pair with an equally extensive menu of Italian dishes like pasta, pizza, and chicken parmesan as well as steaks and fresh seafood.
They have some of the best prime rib in town served with au jus, whipped potatoes, and brown gravy.
B&B Butchers & Restaurant
1814 Washington Ave, Houston, TX 77007
Voted Best Steakhouse by Robb Report, B & B Butchers and Restaurant is a high-end butcher shop and steakhouse is also one of only 29 American steakhouses outside of Japan to be Kobe Beef Association-certified.
Located in an industrial-chic warehouse space a few blocks north of Buffalo Bayou Park, B&B Butchers have the finest quality Kobe, Wagyu, and USDA Prime beef, not to mention the various other freshly cut proteins from the adjoining butcher shop.
Their wonderful wine list won the Wine Spectator Award. I recommend starting with the brisket ravioli with house-made pasta and pork belly stuffing with mushroom and marsala ragu. The 55-day dry-aged Wagyu ribeye is utter perfection.
1902 Washington Ave D, Houston, TX 77007
Tacodeli originated in Austin in 1999 when Mexican City-native chef Roberto adapted Mexican-street food to Texas palates in a laid-back neighborhood taco stand.
Today Tacodeli is a Texas staple with locations in Austin, Dallas, Plano, and Houston. The Houston location is in the heart of downtown Houston.
Offering tacos for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Tacodeli recently started serving a variety of Mexican cocktails and beer along with topo chico and Mexican coke.
I loved their Yucatan Pastor tacos with pastor pork slices cooked in banana leaf and garnished with red onion escabeche.
4015 Washington Ave Suite F, Houston, TX 77007
The Cookshack is a trendy contemporary Southern comfort food restaurant in the heart of the Rice Military neighborhood offering spicy southern-style fried chicken, barbecue, and salads in an industrial-chic dining space.
They offer five different spice levels for their fried chicken to please the timidest of tastebuds or the most fearless.
If you can’t choose between their two signature dishes, why not try both? They have a seriously decadent rib and chicken combo with a half-rack of their super saucy baby back ribs and two large fried chicken tenders with a heaping portion of French fries and Texas toast.
Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken
1815 Washington Ave, Houston, TX 77007
Originating in Tennessee over 40 years ago, Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken is now a nationwide franchise.
Founded by Vernon Gus Bonner, who inherited an award-winning fried chicken recipe from beloved Tennessee couple Maggie and Na Vanderbilt, Gus’s Fried Chicken is an authentic taste of Memphis, even if you happen to be enjoying it in Houston.
Gus’s Houston location is in Rice Military a quick walk from Buffalo Bayou Park, serving fresh, hormone-free chicken battered and fried in peanut oil.
You can choose chicken by the piece or get a multi-piece platter with delicious southern sides like fried okra, collard greens, mac and cheese, and fried green tomatoes.
3414 Washington Ave, Houston, TX 77007
Urban Eats is a two-story multi-concept restaurant with a formal bistro and cocktail bar on one level and a fast-casual Market eatery on another.
The lovely 40s-style brick building has a great outdoor patio surrounded by flowering greenery. You can enjoy a lavish, upscale meal and cocktail hour or grab a gourmet sandwich to enjoy at the nearby Spotts Park.
The fast-casual market has an onsite bakery and a large, prepared foods section that you can grab, pay for, and enjoy on the patio or to-go.
The second-floor bistro and cocktail bar serves lunch, brunch, and dinner. I loved their comforting Bolognese Lasagna dinner with hearty Italian sausage and fee ragu, ricotta, provolone, bechamel, and marinara sauce with fire-roasted artichoke and pesto parmesan croutons.