Caracol is one of my favorite restaurants in Houston, I have been four times this summer since they reopened. It is part of the H-Town Restaurant Group, which is owned by Executive Chef Hugo Ortega and his wife Tracy Vaught. Ortega is the winner of the James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: Southwest in 2017. I also frequently eat at both Hugo's and Backstreet Cafe, two other restaurants in the group. As I thought about which restaurants in Houston have great food, nice patios and good ethics for safety protocol, these were some of the first restaurants to come to mind and I have not been disappointed. I've only opted to go to Caracol on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, thus far, arriving as early as 4pm and as late as 7:30pm. I make reservations in advance and request a shady table on the patio at that time.
I like the fact that guests have the ability to not walk through the restaurant to access the patio. You can just open the door and let the hostess know you have arrived and then go to the patio without going in. They have hand sanitizer available at the host stand. They have both scannable QR codes and single use menus. Servers wear both masks and gloves. Many of the surrounding office building are still not operating with a full staff so the usually crowded Happy Hour is not seeing its normal crowds right now.
The menu has a fantastic selection of seafood making it easy to enjoy a light summer meal. My favorites include the entire crudo menu, both the raw and roasted oysters, the fire roasted shrimp, and the lobster tacos. More filling choices are the pork taquitos, grilled fish and the pan roasted duck. The freshly made chips and guacamole are always a good way to start.
The patio at this Uptown area eatery has more limited shade so dress in light weight clothes to be comfortable. A table with an umbrella near the fountain is a good choice on a clear evening while under cover along the restaurant front is better if there are rain concerns. Avoid being too close to the greenery covered wall as it may block any breeze. Guests can find an array of beverages to help beat the heat curated by Sommelier/Beverage Director Sean Beck. While cerveza and margaritas are classic, consider trying a chilled bottle of Casa Madero rosé, it pairs beautifully with the Mexican coastal cuisine and it is made by the oldest winery in the Americas. Salud!
Follow the link to see my selections for Houston's Best Patios
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