10 Houston comfort foods to help you beat the winter blues

Homemade Grilled Cheese with Tomato Soup for Lunch (Brent Hofacker, bhofack2)

HOUSTON – It can be difficult for some Houstonians to handle winter temperatures, no matter how fleeting. In H-Town, many view anything below 70 as heavy jacket weather. Then there are the rare few that relish the cool air, enjoying the brief period when they can slurp soup or sip piping hot coffee without sweating bullets. Whether you’re in group A or B, here’s a list of 10 winter comfort food spots locals love to indulge in when the temps drop.

*Note, reviews have been edited for content and length

1. Chicken noodle soup: Kenny & Ziggy’s New York Delicatessen Restaurant

Soups on! Come warm up with a bowl. #kennyandziggys #kzcakeworks #westu #upperkirby #greenwayplaza #riveroaks...

Posted by Kenny & Ziggy's New York Delicatessen on Saturday, January 11, 2020

Comforting critique: “The only three words you’ll need to know here: MATZAH BALL SOUP. I first had their soup at the Annual Chicken Soup Cookoff a year or so ago, and it was definitely the best chicken soup there, hands down. Perfectly clean, chickeny broth with a soft but chewy matzah ball. It is comfort, hugs and mom’s cooking wrapped up in a bowl. Sure, it’s pretty pricey, but it’s worth every freaking drop.” Becky K.

Address: Multiple locations

Website: www.kennyandziggys.com

2. Menudo: La Guadalupana Cafe and Bakery

Voted one of the best menudos and I have to agree. Their coffee if amazing. It comes from Mexico. I’m on my 4th cup.

Posted by Cynthia Ramon on Saturday, October 19, 2019

Comforting critique: “The food here is homemade filled with real ingredients. It’s greasy and excellent. Perfect tacos, breakfast plates for the Sunday morning hang over. Menudo soup is tripe-filled with option to add hominy. With lime, jalapeño, onion and cilantro, perfect cure! It is not the perfect no-smell menudo just so you aware.” Ling W.

Address: 2109 Dunlavy St., Houston, TX 77006

Website: https://www.facebook.com/La-Guadalupana-Cafe-and-Bakery

3. Ramen: Tiger Den

Comforting critique: “I love ramen and I came here for a late night snack. I’ve tried many ramen places but many of them are good but not great. The thing I love most about the ramen here are the noodles. They’re made fresh in-house every morning (they stated this) and I love it. It isn’t too chewy, sticky, or hard. The texture and consistency was so enjoyable for me that I want to come back and try more ramen very soon. Definitely one of my favorite places.” Viet N.

Address: 9889 Bellaire Blvd. # 230, Houston, TX 77036

Website: www.tigerdentx.com

4. Hot chocolate: The Chocolate Bar

Time to warm up with the best cup of European #HotChocolate this side of the pond! ☕️

Posted by The Chocolate Bar on Thursday, December 28, 2017

Comforting critique: “I stumbled upon this beauty while in Houston with my bf. The hot chocolate puts Starbucks to shame. Imagine Hershey kisses melted into heavy cream... It’s sinful. This place will always be on my itinerary when making a Houston trip.” Jade W.

Address: Multiple locations

Website: www.theoriginalchocolatebar.com

5. Gumbo: Treebeards

Comforting critique: “This place along with their sidekick in the church has been serving wonderful gumbos and jambalaya that I think matches anything that Louisiana produces. Prices for the quality and portions make this place an absolute bargain. Cafeteria style might not be to some peoples style but the workers are great and tables are cleaned up quickly. Their gumbo is on a rotating basis of ingredients so try them all and find your favorites. I will be coming in again to get my gumbo fix.” Patty H.

Address: Multiple locations

Website: www.treebeards.com

6. Chicken tortilla soup: El Rey Taqueria

Comforting critique: “Hands down the best chicken tortilla soup I’ve ever had. EVERYONE needs to try this soup! I walked in craving tacos and walked out with a container of soup and boy am I glad I decided to get it because it was the most healing bowl of soup. Perfectly tender pieces of chicken, a hearty tomatoey broth, crunchy tortilla chips, and topped with chunks of creamy avocado and cheese. It is pure perfection. This will definitely be my go-to soup now whenever I have a cold or am craving comfort food.” Michelle W.

Address: Multiple locations

Website: www.elreytaqueria.com

7. Grilled cheese & tomato soup: MAX’s Wine Dive

Comforting critique: “I LOVE MAX’s Wine Dive. The wine selection is wonderful, and their grilled cheese with tomato basil soup is one of my favorite items to order. Also, order the Max N’ Cheese. Just do it.” Shaina H.

Address: Multiple locations

Website: www.maxswinedive.com

8. Pho: Pho Saigon

Comforting critique: “I love this place. Like really love it. Pho is such a comfort food for me. Since my mother isn’t located here in Houston, whenever I’m sick, I always come here for a bowl of chicken pho to get me feeling better. I don’t think I’ve ever had a bad experience here. The wait staff is always friendly and there never a wait time to be seated. I usually get the #43. Chicken pho with vermicelli noodles. Yummy yummy yummy. Pho Saigon is a must visit place whenever you’re in Houston.” Bianca C.

Address: Multiple locations

Website: www.phosaigonnoodlehouse.com

9. Bread pudding: Red Dessert Dive

Comforting critique: “WHAT A FIND!!!!! My wife is a complete BREAD PUDDING SNOB, so we tried their Chocolate Bread Pudding, which of course my wife compared to the best restaurants in New Orleans. Her verdict - RDD’s Bread Pudding would hold it’s own with ANY of the best of NOLA!!! I had some and have to agree...AWESOME!!!” David B.

Address: 1045 Studewood St., Houston, TX, 77008

Website: www.reddessertdive.com

10. Hot toddy: Wooster’s Garden.

We may have temperate weather, but our guests still love Hot Toddies! Enjoy a whole menu of them every winter. Featured is the Crimson Mantle with @wildturkey, @amaro_nonino, tawny port, cranberry, lemon

Posted by Wooster's Garden on Thursday, December 26, 2019

Comforting critique: “Cute little patio out front with fire pits, swings, and tables for seating. Walking inside you see that this is a cozy type of bar with more seating available. The bartenders REALLY know what they’re doing, and we found out that they have to go through a tedious process to learn the in’s-and-out’s of their vast menu. I thought it was cool that they offered seasonal hot toddys and flask drinks. I tried my friend’s and it was perfect to sip on by the fireside.” Carissa C.

Address: 3315 Milam St., Houston, TX 77006

Website: www.facebook.com/woostersgarden

Sippin’ soup in my Snuggie like:

About the Author:

Olivia Kolanek is the Features Producer of KPRC 2's Houston Life. She joined the KPRC family in the summer of 2019 after working in non-profit communications for three years. She is passionate about creating content that features good people, good food or a good story. Olivia is a University of Houston alumna, Audible junkie and scuba novice.