Always looking for the next best thing, our editors Lesa Rossick in Austin, Cynthia Smoot in Dallas, Jennifer Roosth in Houston, and Eleanora Morrison in San Antonio share their stellar statewide recommendations that are must-dines during the warm weather months.

AUSTIN

NOW THAT’S ITALIAN

Like a familiar lifetime friend where you are always welcome, to many La Traviata is exactly that and still serves the best Italian food west of Rome. Run by owner-chef Marion Gillcrist, this fan favorite has served seasonally fresh cuisine in the heart of downtown for nearly two decades. The must-haves are the Chicken Parmesan, homemade ravioli, and salmon dishes, which all reign supreme as classic Italian dishes.

At LaTraviataATX.com

ALWAYS ALMA

Menu favorites include crema de elote, roasted duck relleno and specialty margaritas keep El Alma firmly planted in the spotlight of the best Mexican fare in Texas. Featuring a multi-level design, including a rooftop deck with dramatic skyline views, El Alma offers lunch and dinner seven days a week along with a daily happy hour and weekend brunch.

At ElAlmaCafe.com

COMFORT DELUXE

The former union hall on the edge of Zilker Park recently had new life breathed into it as a boutique hotel and chic eatery. The place-to-be is Carpenter’s Hall restaurant that serves up Texas comfort food like no other. Schnitzel, pastas and burgers round out the fare in the large open interior space, as well as private dining outside, too.

At CarpenterHotel.com

DALLAS / FORT WORTH

A HERO’S WELCOME

HERO by HG SPLY CO has recently opened an impressive 25,000 square foot open-air restaurant just steps away from American Airlines Center. The main dining room offers two full-service bars with an open-air facade. At the opposite end of the building is a massive indoor/outdoor bar area dubbed, The Meantime, with impressive 24-foot screen for game watching, concerts, private events and presentations. HERO also houses its 800 square-foot Arcade with classic gaming that can be tailored for events, a pool table and more.

At HeroByHG.com

 Photography courtesy of Shannon Faulk

HOUSE SPECIALTY

Merchant House offers a new American and globally inspired menu taking on a combination of shared items and entrees to create a fully social dining experience. You can expect an array of delicious, scratch cocktails and a full complement of locally brewed beers and cocktails on tap. Merchant House also offers weekend brunch with a focus on fun, social food and drinks for the whole table. The upstairs bar offers stunning views of downtown with a sexy, intimate lounge atmosphere.

At MerchantHouse.ArgoConcepts.com

SUMMER SENSATIONS

Truluck’s has added 10 new cocktails to celebrate the summer season. From fruity concoctions to mellow libations, there’s something to tantalize the taste buds of everyone. Available in the Stone Crab Lounge and on the dinner menu served in the upstairs dining room, Truluck’s uses the best possible ingredients and techniques to ensure that every drink served is an experience. Plus, Truluck’s has one of the best happy hours in town, offering half-price cocktails, featured wines, and selected appetizers in the Stone Crab Lounge.

At Trulucks.com

HOUSTON

MARVELOUSLY MENDOCINO FARMS

Named for the California county known for its support of the slow food movement and sustainable farming, Mendocino Farms has selected its first location outside of California in Rice Village. The restaurant will feature a unique gathering place where foodies and families alike can come together over chef-driven sandwiches and soulful salads served with white tablecloth hospitality. The seasonally rotating menu features fine dining quality ingredients at an approachable price point and champions deserving local farms and food artisans. Opening late summer 2019 and additional locations on the horizon are: Uptown Park, Heights, and Downtown.

At MendocioFarms.com

POSITIVELY POSTINO

Postino was born in a historic 1940s-era Arizona post office in 2001 and has since been dedicated to giving customers a hyper-localized experience within each community it becomes a part of. The brand is built on Postino’s foundation of revitalizing historically relevant buildings that are integral to the neighborhoods that surround each location. This August, Postino will open its second Houston location in Montrose, formerly home to the Montrose Mining Company, bringing the area a new classic neighborhood outpost.

At PostinoWineCafe.com

Photography by Becca Wright

ONLY OUZO

Recently opened in the heart of the River Oaks District, Ouzo Bay offers contemporary Mediterranean cuisine with a seafood-focused menu. In addition to a wide selection of freshly-caught whole fish and signature dishes of Mediterranean, Greek-inspired favorites that are paired with the acclaimed sommelier’s elevated beverage program available at Ouzo Bay’s full-service bar, lounge, or at one of the many tables in the bright, nautical space. 

At OuzoBay.com

SAN ANTONIO

HALLS OF IVY

On the hunt for a magical venue for your next special event? Look no further than Southtown’s Ivy Hall, a cluster of stylish indoor-outdoor spaces managed by best of San Antonio caterer Tim the Girl. From brand photoshoots, to birthday parties, to weddings and more, Ivy Hall is an urban botanical oasis with a freshly funky old-meets-new feel that is sure to provide a standout backdrop that fits your needs.

At TimTheGirl.com/Ivy-Hall

FLAVORFUL CONCEPT

A dining experience built around America’s favorite food–burgers–infused with Mexico’s interior flare, Burgerteca transforms the experience of casual dining in a creative and fun environment conceptualized by San Antonio chef Johnny Hernandez. With indigenous Mexican ingredients, distinct styles and regional iconic and celebratory dishes, Burgerteca celebrates Mexico’s culture of its sweet and savory colorful day-to-day life.

At ChefJohnnyHernandez.com

LIKE IT’S 1973 AGAIN

Boasting a branding revamp and showcasing exciting summer menu additions, San Antonio’s treasured neighborhood bar since 1973, Bombay Bicycle Club now offers Sunday brunch, craft cocktails, and community events. The place where everybody knows your name, Bombay Bicycle Club is a refreshingly nostalgic feel-good spot to add to your frequent favorites list.

At BombayBicycleClubSA.com