By Janie Pace~
By Janie Pace~
Toulouse Café & Bar
The patio at Toulouse Café & Bar on Knox Street is usually enclosed with clear panels in the winter, which is friendly to comfortable outdoor dining. I love the classic French cheese pastry puffs drizzled with truffle oil. I also recommend trying the cheesy French onion soup gratinee alongside the Toulouse salad with bib lettuce, endive, poached pear, toasted walnuts, Roquefort cheese, and raspberry vinaigrette. And you can’t go wrong with the Escargots Toulouse. If you have room for the main course, the trout almandine or the sauteed diver scallops are great choices. Be sure to save room for the Grand Marnier souffle with chocolate and raspberry, or the lavender crème brulee. The pear martini is also divine. If you dare, indulge in a bottle of 2010 Dom Perignon.
Next door to Toulouse, the enclosed patio at the relaxed neighborhood favorite Taverna is heated comfortably while still allowing for people-watching near the Katy trail.
Enjoy cozze all marinara and sauteed mussels with white wine, tomato, and garlic at this go-to spot for delicious and reasonably priced Italian fare. The tagliarini scampi here is the real thing. You will also find classic seafood dishes like fettuccine al frutti di mare with shrimp, mussels, clams, and scallops in a sumptuous brandy crustacean cream sauce.
Don’t forget to save room for the homemade cannoli.
This Mediterranean-inspired restaurant with a charming courtyard patio will transport you to a lush garden in Europe.
Located in the Bishop Arts District, Paradiso offers brunch, lunch, happy hour, and dinner at socially distanced tables inside and outside. The menu features fresh, seasonal ingredients like toasted fregola with house-made Italian sausage, Littleneck clams, pickled peppers in herbed white wine, and fried baby artichoke hearts with tomato. Try a wood-fired pizza or tarragon mushroom linguine. Be sure to save room for strawberry-short cake or pumpkin brioche pudding.
With its chic rooftop patio, The Henry has earned its reputation as the perfect happy hour spot.
Indulge with a classic shrimp cocktail, butter-poached king crab, or grilled fish tacos. Save room for the delicious flourless chocolate brownie — your tastebuds will thank you. For cocktails, choose a Naughty List Dirty Martini, the fig & ginger mule, or the house champagne.
During these challenging COVID times when dining-in is a national concern, these well-equipped restaurants offer the opportunity to enjoy a meal out while staying safe, comfortable, and socially distanced.
Fearing’s Live Oak Bar
Named after the beautiful Texas live oak that shades the outdoor patio, Chef Dean Fearing’s Live Oak Bar at the famed Ritz-Carlton Restaurant features an outdoor patio with a large brick fireplace and portable heaters.
This full-service bar is famous for Dean’s Margarita and his signature southwestern-barbequed shrimp tacos with tropical mango salsa, as well as his Dr. Pepper-braised short ribs with crispy tobacco onions. You can find the Live Oak Bar abuzz with patrons most of the year, except when it’s raining.