As a food blogger, there are two questions I get the most 1) where would you recommend that I brunch? and 2) It’s my birthday! I need a nice dinner spot. HELP! Well, I think I have sufficiently answered question number one with countless brunch lists and reviews (Check here for that). For the second one, I guess my dinner section did not give folks clear options, so here comes the list! June just so happens to be my birthday month so it is only fitting that I roll out a list of Houston Birthday Dinner spots to host your birthday dinner this month!
My criteria for a good birthday dinner spot would be a) GOOD food! Who wants average run of the mill stuff on their birthday? Not this foodie! b) Spots that have private rooms or semi private spaces for larger groups, and C) places that are tad fancy. For that reason, these spots WILL set you back a few coins. We are talking two to three dollar sign symbols on yelp ($$-$$$). But live a little! It’s your birthday! You can pay that light bill next month.
Tiny No 5/ Tiny Boxwoods
Kicking it off with my own personal favorites, Tiny No. 5/ Tiny Boxwoods! I held my 30th birthday celebration at Tiny No 5 in their private room. Their menu is full of great American fare like burgers and salads. They sweetened the deal by giving me one of their signature chocolate chip cookies with a candle to celebrate! If you are going for a “ladies who lunch” in a beautiful garden vibe, then you cannot go wrong with Tiny No. 5 or the original Tiny Boxwoods. Both restaurants have privates spaces that you can rent with Tiny Boxwoods having the added bonus of spaces in their garden!
The new spot downtown is so sophisticated and perfect for a birthday dinner. I am drawn to spaces with dark colors because it usually matches my outfit for the evening. Potente is pretty much all black with gold ascents. To demonstrate how dark it is, the menus even have lights on them. Potente’s menu focuses on upscale Italian dishes including some excellent pizzas. They of course offer private dining rooms including a cozy space that seats eight in the wine room. This is a newer spot, so go ahead and plan your dinner here before everyone starts stunting on the gram there.
Lucille’s makes just about all of my lists and y’all will deal! For those who have frequented Lucille’s you may have noticed the house setup. Well guess what? They recently opened the upstairs space for private events, like birthday parties! According to their website this space fits 50-75 people so you can definitley throw a large shindig there. Plus as I have told you countless times, the food here is delicious so you cannot go wrong especially if Soul Food is your jam! Small note though, Lucille’s is closed on Mondays! A friend of mine tried to host a birthday dinner on my advice on a Monday and sadly had to coordinate another spot.
The draw for Peli Peli is the unique South African cuisine! So, you would be offering your guests a unique cuisine that they likely may not have tried before. I should also add that it’s GOOD. It’s not just different for the sake of being different! Both the Vintage Park and Galleria location have private rooms. They also are known for providing nice touches to special events like engagements and birthdays!
Brunch brought me to the American Bistro Backstreet Cafe some years ago, but with chef Hugo Ortega at the helm I knew they had more to offer! Located in a converted home, Backstreet has a high class homey feel that would go a long way in creating a homey birthday party. On the event front, if you glance at their website, Backstreet clearly prides themselves on creating custom events and parties. This is the spot you pick when you really want to do something very nice and done right!
I celebrated my birthday at the Washington location of Benjy’s some years back when I was still in my twenties! *sighs OH how I miss those days* For my birthday, I just grabbed a large reservation for me and some girlfriends, but Benjy’s does offer private dining! Best of all they gave me a delicious dessert topped with Mexican Vanilla ice cream and I have been obsessed with that flavor ever since. The Benjy’s menu offers good modern American dishes which explains why it remains a favorite among Houstonians ! Go with this spot
Hearsay Gastro Lounge
Between the two Hearsay locations, you are bound to find one that fits your birthday dinner needs. Both locations have similiar menus focusing on contemporary American dishes and fabulous cocktails. The Travis location is housed in a beautiful old restored building which is why Hearsay calls itself “chic antique.” Here, you can rent the semi-private loft space upstairs for a good sized dinner. The other location, Hearsay on the Green does not have the same charm, but it is bigger! At this location you can rent out the entire space if needed. If you plan to go to the simple route and just sit in the main dining room, I advise that you reserve in advance especially for the Travis street location. It’s an small intimate restaurant which makes it difficult for them to accommodate large groups. Best to call ahead in that case.
This place is gorgeous and set up in a manner that allows them to host several events large and small at the same time. Last time I visited it was for Sundown at the Grove a private event that used their upstairs space and the wraparound patio. Upstairs is the best space in my opinion as it great views of downtown and Discovery Green. Over the years I have heard of so many events being hosted here such as weddings, baby showers and official NBA All-Star Weekend events. Events is what the Grove does best I would say! For the food, the Grove describes it’s menu as “rustic” with salad, steaks and sandwiches serving as their highlights.
State of Grace
Located in the River Oaks neighborhood, State of Grace has been wowing guests since it opened a few years back. I follow them on Instagram and they are often shut down for a private event. That is a good sign! The space is really beautiful and may offer a different look than other comparable options. Plus, they offer different rooms to host events in including the oyster bar! While I do not have a blog post about State of Grace, I have visited and enjoyed it!
Steakhouses are usually great for special events or birthday dinners. I tried to give you my favorite for this list and that would be B&B Butchers. I mean have you seen their bacon?! B&B Butchers also offers amazing private spaces upstairs and a patio with views of downtown. It is perfect if you want to impress your guests with a dose of fancy. Finally, if it’s good enough for a Beyonce to dine at twice then it’s good enough for the rest of us common folks!
Brenner’s on the Bayou
So I constantly get Brenner’s on the Bayou and Brennan’s confused! This blurb is about Brenner’s though, but if you need to know more about Brennan’s than check out this post on Gristle and Gossip. Back to the topic at hand, Brenner’s on the Bayou though! With a beautiful setting garden like setting, this steakhouse is probably one of Houston’s premiere event spaces. Birthday dinners are small fries for them as they typically host events like weddings and rehearsal dinners. I would pick this spot if you are planning a large hosted dinner that needed to accommodate 75 plus.
Ginger & Fork
I had a GOOD ole time when I visited Ginger & Fork a few years back. Every item on that menu was delicious! Several friends have visited and had similar positive experiences. So they have great food covered, but they also have a private dining space that can fit up to 70 people! For more intimate gatherings consider their small patio.
As I mentioned in my recent post about the French restaurant La Table, this restaurant is split up in to two spots the Chateau and Marche. What I failed to mention is there is a private room used for events called the Paris room! La Table’s website includes tons of information on private dining, so be sure to check it out. The cool thing about this spot, a birthday dinner here will probably include an amazing Texas sized soufflé.
Bistecca Houston Italian Steakhouse
Located on Westheimer in the Montrose area, Bistecca focuses on good Italian food. I stopped by for a workday lunch one Friday and was super impressed with the quality of the food and the modern space. It is also semi low-key and could easily offer your party guests a place they have never been! I checked out their website and see they do offer a decent sized private room for parties.
So I haven’t been here just yet, but Yauatcha, the Michelein rated restaurant is easily the most anticipated opening in Houston of the year. Located in a stand alone building in the Galleria parking lot across from Shake Shack and the Cheesecake Factory, this spot is described as a “stylish” high end team room featuring “refined” dim sum. Doesn’t that sound like a good birthday? I’ll make my way there sooner than later, perhaps for this years birthday dinner! *Update* I visited Yauatcha for my birthday dinner and it was everything! Read about it here.
During any celebration, I love to support black owned! Kulture shares the same owner as the Breakfast Klub and resides in the perfect spot downtown! I am adding them to the list because they have great cocktails (Mahogany 75!), good southern inspired dishes and a semi private space upstairs. Check out my full review here.
Look, I told y’all this restaurant is bomb in a blog post and good restaurants are perfect for birthday celebrations. They also have several private spaces including their patio which can be used for private parties. Mastro’s is good and probably one of the pricier spots on this list. IF you go with this, be sure you either cover the bill for everyone or give folks the heads up about price points! Finally, be sure to top of your birthday celebration with their warm butter cake. It is literally one of the best desserts in town!
Now, I refuse to visit the Houston location until I go to the beautiful one in Malibu first. If you enjoy the Houston version of a “Hollywood” crowd so to speak then this is the spot for you. That is not intended to be shady AT ALL, I just realize that a lot of folks are looking for that vibe so if that is you, this world famous sushi spot is perfect for you.
Poitin occupies a large space that is great for large groups. You could easily reserve a large table in their main dining room or opt for their private space near the back. I have only visited Poitin during brunch, so I would highly recommend it for that!
Ginza Japanese Restaurant
This is a Houston GEM that I recently discovered. Ginza is a non-assuming restaurant located in a shopping center near the galleria. What makes it worth for this list though are the unique private spaces. Ginza has three private rooms where guests eat at low table, but unlike the ones in the movies, the floor is hollowed out so you can stretch your legs. The rooms have to be reserved in advance for a nominal fee plus they have happy hour.
My birthday this year will be celebrated in a part a few weeks early at my SOLD OUT Brunchin’ with Black Girls Who Brunch event at Harold’s Restaurant and Tap Room! Then probably a small dinner on my actual birthday with family.! Then I have some family coming in town for the weekend for some 30+ plus turn up. So it should be fun!
Before I leave some additional words of advice! Keep in mind every restaurant has different rules regarding reserving their private rooms! Do not read this and think you can just stroll up the day of with a cake and balloons and they’ll let you in private room let alone main dining room. Many require a deposit and or credit card to hold the space. Others will only allow one credit card to be used for the room and have food/drink minimums. Plan for these things in advance and prepare your attendees for costs and methods of payment. If it does not break the bank, a hosted dinner is the easiest particularly if you want to use a private room. For tips on splitting the bill though check out this old post! Also, another tip for renting spaces, be aware that some places do not allow outside food including cakes. Others may allow it, but will charge you a fee to cut it and serve it.
So now that you know all that I know about planning birthday dinners in Houston you can go forth and have the best birthday celebrations ever. Just make sure my invite doesn’t get lost in the mail :).
What’s your favorite Houston Birthday Dinner Spot? Share the wealth and drop the name in the comments!