Does anyone else have a hard time finding good happy hour spots in Houston like me?  It is one area that I am often asked about that I cannot provide a long list of options for unfortunately.   So when restaurants hit me up to alert me to their happy hour and meal deals, I get super excited and even more excited to share with you all! In this happy hour edition, I am sharing all of the fun details from my Oyster Mondays at Riel experience!

The Setup

I have a thing for neighborhood restaurants.  They always feel more quaint and inviting.   Plus I love the idea of walking from your house to a restaurant.  It typically feels more like dining at a friendly neighbors home versus a stuffy restaurant.   Riel is the epitome of this.  As you drive down Fairview, you could easily miss it because it is smack dab in the middle of neighborhood.  But for all the reasons stated above, it’s PERFECT.

Despite being in a neighborhood and a block or so from Westheimer, there is still great parking!  Riel’s parking lot is valet only and I assumed complimentary.   Lacking cash for a tip, I opted for the convenient street parking and just walked over.  Inside, the space is long and rectangular.  Somehow they managed to cram in two bars and a nice amount of tables.  The space is on the small side, but works well!

As far as the crowd, it seems to pull the older wealthy business crowd.  I sat perched at a window table and watched luxury cars pull up one after another.  As the patrons entered, they hauled in briefcases and seemed to be carrying on after 5pm business meetings.   Look, I do not meet any of the above criteria, but I enjoy mingling in spaces like that.  Gives you something to aspire too.

The Food

So, some of you may have assumed that you are priced out of Riel based on my description of the patrons.  Fear not my friends!  Riel is priced well, plus they have deals!  So during my visit, I came specifically to dine on their fresh gulf coast oysters!  On Mondays, these oysters go for a buck each! I ordered a few and thought they were pretty good.

Once they used the word “oyster” with me, my eyes zoned in on the fried oysters on their menu.  So even though I ordered the raw oysters, I also ordered the fried ones too.  Excuse my bias here because I prefer fried over raw.  Don’t get me wrong, the raw ones were good, but those fried ones?? So good! The batter had good texture and was seasoned well.  Plus the oysters set on a bed of delicious Vietnamese coleslaw. Delicious!

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In addition to the Monday oyster special, Riel also has a week day happy hour from 4-7pm.  After eating the oysters, I couldn’t eat too much else, so I let me eyes do the tasting here.  From a glance, the $8 bar bite like the grilled chicken wings and smoked meat sliders caught my eye.  There are also some veggie options like cauliflower.  So I will certainly be back for their happy hour.

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Drinks

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Poolside Swizzle

Like I said in the beginning, there are two bars in this spot so one must assume they have some great drinks right? That would be the correct assumption!  I ordered the Poolside Swizzle.  A gin based cocktail with grenadine, lime, mint and peach.   My waitress described it as a refreshing cocktail with great fruity flavors.  I guess I am less sophisticated because I said it reminded me of a popsicle hehehehe.  All the same, it’s good and if it is representative of the other signature cocktails at Riel, you will not leave disappointed.  Also, there are a few classic cocktails on the happy hour menu priced at eight bucks as well.

Overall

Look the food is great and priced well, plus it’s a cool professional crowd.  For these reasons, I say you add Riel to your happy hour rotation and perhaps plan a nice dinner there too!   Oh, also note that Riel’s menu changes often so you may not be able to find it on their website.  Instagram is always a good place to look though, including their tagged photos!

Riel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato