July 6, 2022



11 great patio restaurants in Houston for dining al fresco

7 min read

One of life’s pleasures is dining outside, pairing delicious food and drinks with refreshing views. As outdoor dining in Houston has become more popular than ever, restaurants and bars have responded by offering great patio seating like the recently opened patio bar in the Heights that overlooks the White Oak Bayou Trail.

To keep you comfy no matter what the season, the best patio restaurants in Houston offer umbrellas, fans, shade trees, roofs and heaters. The next time you’re looking for a spot to dine alfresco, consider these 11 spots with fantastic patios. 

Rainbow Lodge

Now this is an escape: a 114-year-old log cabin on an acre of lush grounds on the banks of White Oak Bayou. Rainbow Lodge enchants with pastoral views, a citrus grove, various garden decks and patios and walkways that wind around trees and across a gentle stream.

Rainbow Lodge, a 114-year-old log cabin on an acre of lush grounds along White Oak Bayou. 

Rainbow Lodge, a 114-year-old log cabin on an acre of lush grounds along White Oak Bayou. 

Jerry Smith

Climate control: Umbrellas, shade trees, overhangs, fans, misters and heaters.

Popular dishes: Rainbow trout with lump crab and pecan brown butter, crispy sweet potato curls and garlic spinach or the wild game.

Sips: Hibiscus margarita with tequila, organic hibiscus liqueur, Cointreau and fresh lime or the Pineapple-Thyme Caddis mocktail with housemade pineapple-thyme syrup, ginger ale and fresh lime.

Find it: 2011 Ella Blvd., Houston, TX 77008; 713 861-8666


Relax on the grand patio and dig into refined Southern cuisine at Lucille’s—named for the co-founders’ great-grandmother, culinary innovator Lucille B. Smith. The semi-covered space shelters picnic and standard tables and is enriched by live jazz music on Thursday evenings and during Saturday and Sunday brunch. While you’re there, be sure to take a peek at the kitchen’s impressive vegetable garden.

Lucille's patio. Credit Ayaan Ahsan, courtesy Lucille's

Lucille’s patio. Credit Ayaan Ahsan, courtesy Lucille’s

Ayaan Ahsan for Lucille’s

Climate control: Retractable umbrellas, fabric sails, shade trees, overhangs, fans, misters and heaters.

Popular dish: Fried green tomatoes with seasoned cornmeal, spicy aioli and goat cheese.

Sips: Woke Punch with vodka, housemade lemonade, strawberry puree and serrano peppers.

Find it: 5512 La Branch St., Houston, TX 77004; 713-568-2505

Postino Uptown Park

Daytime and evening, the patio at Postino Uptown Park resembles a party where diners often chat with people at nearby tables. Near Memorial Park, it’s a great place for lunch with friends or a date night or late-night hangout. The music’s upbeat, the bar’s indoor-outdoor and the food is made for sharing.

Postino Uptown Park

Postino Uptown Park

Brittany N. via Yelp

Climate control: Umbrellas, fans, fire pit and fireplace.

Popular dishes: Boards and Bruschetta, Crispy Cauliflower with romesco and OMG Grilled Cheese with layered gourmet cheeses.

Sips: $6 glasses of wine and pitchers of beer during happy hour; until 5 p.m. 

Find it: 1151 Uptown Park Blvd., Suite 12, Houston, TX 77056; 713-574-8337


Sample cuisines from several regions of India on a spacious patio surrounded by plants, flowers and herbs—many of which are used in Pondicheri’s dishes, thalis and drinks. The garden also attracts butterflies and the patio makes a good spot for people-watching, too.

Guests of Pondicheri can enjoy Indian cuisine outdoors. 

Guests of Pondicheri can enjoy Indian cuisine outdoors. 

Ajna Jai for Pondicheri

Climate control: Umbrellas, partial roof and heaters.

Popular dishes: Gluten-free Coconut Crab with ginger and tomato masala served with sesame dosa.

Sips: Honey Blues with color-changing butterfly pea flower vodka, lavender honey, ginger and lemon juice (mocktail version also available). $5 draft beers, $8 cocktails and 25 percent off wine during daily happy hour.

Find it: 2800 Kirby Drive, Suite B132, Houston, TX 77098; 713-522-2022

Sylvia’s Enchilada Kitchen

Indulge in classic Tex-Mex on Sylvia’s festive wrap-around patio for lunch, dinner or brunch. The daily menu includes 19 varieties of hand-rolled-to-order enchiladas, all named for Texas towns. The space also boasts a cheerful atmosphere and includes nice touches such as a fountain converted into a planter.

The patio area at Sylvia’s Enchilada Kitchen.

The patio area at Sylvia’s Enchilada Kitchen.

Paula Murphy for Sylvia’s Enchilada Kitchen

Climate control: Built-in fans and heaters. One section is shaded by a rain-and-shine permanent structure.

Popular dishes: Enchilada Tours featuring four mini enchiladas, from north or south of the border and fajitas.

Sips: Sylvia’s Skinny Margarita with silver tequila, agave nectar and fresh lime juice and Micheladas.

Find it: 6401 Woodway Drive, Houston, TX 77057; 713-334-7295


Pair Mexican street food and creative cocktails (or beer and wine) in Urbe’s outdoor dining areas. A soothing fountain serves as the main patio’s centerpiece and the other areas of the restaurant offer more privacy. The cuisine is inspired by staff hometowns such as Mexico City, Oaxaca, Jalisco and Puebla.

The patio dining area at URBE in Uptown Park. 

The patio dining area at URBE in Uptown Park. 

Paula Murphy

Climate control: Umbrellas and heaters. One section fills a covered breezeway.

Popular dishes: Plato de Botanas with taquitos, gorditas, garnachas, quesadillas and elotitos and colorful housemade pastries.

Sips: Late afternoon beer and wine specials during happy hour, Tuesday through Saturday.

Find it: 1101 Uptown Park Blvd., Suite 12, Houston, TX 77056; 713-726-8273

Tiny Boxwoods

Inside a charming nursery is an oasis of lush greenery, seasonal flowers, rustic décor and Tiny Boxwoods, an ideal all-season setting for an intimate date or a lively Sunday brunch. Psst … their famous chocolate chip cookies will entice you to linger.

Tiny Boxwoods In West U is great spot for dining and people watching. 

Tiny Boxwoods In West U is great spot for dining and people watching. 

Courtesy Tiny Boxwoods

Climate control: Fans and umbrellas, heaters and blankets. A covered semi-private area accommodates larger parties and an awning shades the side patio.

Popular dishes: Local cheese and meat board with mustard cream, jalapeño jam, dried figs, rosemary hazelnuts and flatbread or Watercolor Shrimp and Crab poached in spicy herb butter over coconut rice.

Sips: Dalmatian with vodka, grapefruit, black pepper and lemon or Texas Sun with tequila or mezcal, orange, peach and lemon.

Find it: 3614 W. Alabama St., Houston, TX 77027; 713-622-4224

Casa Nomad

The ambiance, food and drinks at this coastal Mexican-themed restaurant are inspired by Tulum, a town on the Yucatán Peninsula. The cozy covered patio is decked out in tropical style with a rope canopy, sky-blue tile-adorned walls and lush tropical vegetation. Beachy “jungle disco” music completes the boho-chic setting.

Casa Nomad

Casa Nomad

Casa Nomad via Yelp

Climate control: Fans, heaters and blankets. A covered patio is also available and on colder nights, clear roll-down siding blocks wind and retains heat.

Popular dishes: Fried Camote with peanut, carrot and roasted sweet potato.

Sips: Jungle Disco with reposado tequila, pineapple, serrano syrup, carrot and lemon juice.

Find it: 600 N. Shepherd, Suite 499, Houston, TX 77007; 832-538-1056

Wild Oats

Watch the action at the historic Houston Farmers Market or on one of the TVs while savoring a shot of chili or redfish on the half shell at Wild Oats. Guests can also slide into a rocking chair and relax at this restaurant that combines classic and cool. The food reflects a love of Southern, Mexican and ranch influences that are mixed to create twists on traditional Texan cuisine. And Texas wines populate much of the wine list.

Wild Oats, across from the farmers market. 

Wild Oats, across from the farmers market. 

Courtesy of Claudia Casbarian

Climate control: Fans and heaters.

Popular dishes: Redfish on the half shell with salsa verde and Shrimp and Grits Diablo.

Sips: Texas-ish Tea with bourbon, dark rum, apricot, lemon and Mexican Coke.

Find it: 2520 Airline Drive, Suite C-315, Houston, TX 77009; 713-393-7205


Where there’s smoke, there’s fire—in the form of boldly flavored, cheese-laden Tex-Mex and masterful pit barbecue selections at Candente. The restaurant’s colorful patio, accented with big plants and a fountain and shaded by a silvery industrial-style roof, offers a welcome retreat for diners. 

Candente, a refreshing place to dine outside with a roof for shade and rain. 

Candente, a refreshing place to dine outside with a roof for shade and rain. 

Rebecca Wright for Candente

Climate control: Fans and heaters. A roofed area with sides can be pulled down if needed.

Popular dishes: Brisket Nachos, Botanas appetizer sampler, Niman Ranch meats and Elote salad.

Sips: Premium Mezcal Margarita with reposado, Grand Marnier and agave lime.

Find it: 4306 Yoakum Blvd., Houston, TX 77006; 346-867-1156

Back Table Kitchen + Bar

Share seasonal sips and bites spotlighting chef-driven Southern fare that’s focused on local ingredients at Back Table Kitchen + Bar. Soak in the view of the picturesque 18th green at The Woodlands Resort’s Panther Trail golf course and at sunset, watch the sun sink as you sip. On the spacious side terrace by the covered trellises, claim lounge seating or an Adirondack-style chair by the grand fire pit.

Back Table Kitchen + Bar patio. 

Back Table Kitchen + Bar patio. 

Jenn Duncan for Back Table

Climate control: Fans, heaters and a covered patio.

Popular dishes: Pickled Shrimp and Deviled Eggs, Beer-can Brick Chicken with bourbon brown sugar sweet potato puree, Voodoo Beer Batter Fish Sticks, and Vegetables and Stone-ground Polenta with lemon butter and cast iron sweet potato.

Sips: Ambrosial Pineapple Lavender Martini with savory Acapulco Sunset or zero-proof Tropical Hurricane with prickly pear, mango and rosemary.

Find it: 2301 North Millbend Drive, The Woodlands, TX 77380; 281-367-1100

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