When people started raving about how great Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse was, I was surprised that a restaurant inside a Holiday Inn was getting such great foodie reviews. Well, it far exceeded my expectations. This gem sitting inside the Shenandoah hotel has some amazing steaks and Italian classics. I think the steaks here are the best in the area, and yet they cost much less than the more expensive steak houses. I love the filet trio with different toppings. The horseradish topping is amazing. The filet was flavorful and tender. The dish is three portions of filet, each topped with a different topping. The steaks are served with a salad, bread, and a side dish. The garlic potatoes are fantastic. The Italian classics are great too. The lasagna is cheesy and spiced perfectly. The chicken parmigiana is tender, juicy, and comforting. The crab stuffed shrimp is a great seafood dish rounding out the diverse menu. The limoncello raspberry cake is the perfect way to end a fantastic dining experience here. The service was friendly and fast. Johnny’s also has a great bar that makes a great martini at happy hour. The bar service is friendly and the bartenders are knowledgeable. Johnnys is open for lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch. This will definitely be a part of my regular mix of restaurants I frequent.
Tag - restaurant
Image from The Refuge Steakhouse and Bourbon Bar
The newest upscale restaurant in Creekside is The Refuge Steakhouse and Bourbon Bar. On a recent Monday night, the place was packed with people enjoying themselves. I recommend you start in the bar. This is probably my favorite bar in The Woodlands. The gorgeous rustic decor makes you want to stay all night. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable. On a recent night, we tasted several bourbons, bourbon cocktails, and bourbons flavored with all sorts of interesting things like mint, chocolate, and coffee. They were all superb. The non bourbon drinks were excellent too. In the dining room, our favorite appetizer was the pork belly three ways. It was perfect to share between three people and very tasty. The steaks and seafood on the menu are all excellent. Steaks come with a choice of two sides which are large. I loved the flavorful brussels sprouts and macaroni and cheese. Including the sides makes it very reasonably priced and made it plenty for two meals. The sea bass is one of the best in the area and was cooked to perfection. There are lots of other things on the menu I cant wait to try. The chicken fried rib-eye and the mojo marinated pork tenderloin both tempted me! Save room for dessert because the chocolate cake is fudgy and delicious. One really cool thing they do at The Refuge is a pub run. On Monday nights, a group of local runners meet and run, and then cool off on the patio with a few beers. It looked like a fun group and a great way to build community. I think The Refuge is going to be one of the long term favorites in this area.
Image Courtasy of Hello Taco Google Business Listing
It’s Taco Tuesday and you have to have tacos. Where do you go? My favorite taco place is Hello Taco on the edge of The Woodlands. It is a simple place that has fresh wonderful tacos and other Mexican specialties. The key to this place is the fresh ingredients. They make the flour tortillas in a big tortilla press when you place your order. They taste so good I could eat them alone. They have every kind of taco you could want, but my favorite is always the shredded beef. Decide what kind of meat (veggie available) you want and then you pick what toppings you want on it. There are lots of toppings and everything is very fresh. The guacamole is excellent and seasoned perfectly. I always get the queso fresco, cilantro, and fresh pico de gallo for toppings. Then I top it off with sour cream and spicy salsa. The tacos melt in your mouth. Although I’m partial to the beef, they also have excellent el pastor, barbacoa, fish tacos, shrimp tacos, salads, and burritos. I always check out the specials as these are sometimes amazing and cause me to detour from my usual. Their posole is fantastic. This is a friendly family run operation and you won’t be disappointed.
I love a good Happy Hour and Tommy Bahama at Market Street has a great one. There are several good cocktails at happy hour prices as well as wines and beers. And of course, they have several great appetizers to go with those awesome drinks. Service is stellar, attentive but relaxed, and the decor makes you forgot your worries and pretend you are on a tropical island somewhere. Whether you are at happy hour, lunch, or dinner, the macadamia encrusted goat cheese is THE appetizer to get. It is totally addictive. It is one of the best appetizers anywhere in The Woodlands. The duo of dips is fantastic too. I love that spicy guacamole. I don’t eat coconut, but the coconut shrimp is one of the most popular items at this restaurant. The edge that Tommy Bahama’s has over other chains is that their food is unique and different. The menu is a bit different and most dishes have something special in them that makes them memorable. It is one of the few restaurants in the area where I like many different things on the menu instead of having one or two favorites. For entrees, I love the fish and chips. The fish is always moist and delicious and i love their tartar sauce. The chips are made of yucca and are a perfect complement to the fish and the tangy slaw. The Parmesan crusted Sanibel chicken with the red pepper sauce is another outstanding dish that is a best seller. They have some of the best, freshest and most interesting salads around. The Filet Mignon salad is absolute amazing. It is truly a gourmet salad that is a filling meal. The grilled chicken and mango salad is bright, different, and satisfying. So, head over to Tommy Bahama and pretend you are away from it all in a tropical paradise. You will love it!
Restaurant Website: http://www.tommybahama.com/restaurants/woodlands
Submitted by Restaurant Review Contributor, Terri Olson
On one of those perfect temperature, perfect humidity evenings, I headed to the best location on Lake Woodlands at Hughes Landing. We only get about three of these evenings a year, so you have to take advantage. I headed to Broken Barrel. Their wrap around patio faces the largest part of the lake and is perfect for watching the sunset. All of this amazing atmosphere is enhanced by a great menu of adult drinks and interesting tapas. Lets talk about the drinks first. They have an awesome wine menu that is well priced. They have one of my favorite red wines by the glass — The Prisoner. They also have Orin Swift Machete by the bottle which is always excellent. They have a full bar and craft beers. But for me, the stars of the bar are the gin and tonics. They pair different gins with fresh botanicals and serve it on ice with good quality tonic on the side. For example, Hendricks is served with rose petals and cucumber. They are excellent and interesting. The tapas menu is creative and has something for everyone. There are daily Happy Hour specials until 6:30pm which are a good value and excellent. I recommend the queso and the taquitos. The menu has full sized dinner options as well as veggies, bites, and small plates. My favorite, the grilled octopus is tender and smokey, and served with a carrot hummus. The avocado toast with its crunchy pumpkin seeds and radishes is tasty and filling. The cochinita pibil tostones are served on fried plantains and I could eat them all day. Veggies are flavorful and fun. The baby beets are tasty as are the roasted rainbow carrots, and goat cheese and arugula salad. It would be easy to fill up on tapas and drinks and overlook dessert. However the s’mores casserole is worth every single calorie. It is amazing and even though I say I’m only going to eat a few bites, I always finish every single bite. The owner of Broken Barrel can usually be found in the restaurant, and I think she will make this a local favorite.