Where to Get the Best Gumbo in Houston for 2024

Chicken and andouille gumbo at Josephine's

Isn’t it remarkable that Houston temperatures can get up over 100 degrees in the summer and down in the teens in the winter? When we say the city is “dynamic”, we’re not kidding. When it starts getting cold, Houstonians start hankering for gumbo thanks to the close relationship and shared border with Louisiana. The hot, flavorful broth, mix of vegetables (most often the “trinity” of onion, bell pepper and celery) and variations of meats — seafood, chicken, andouille or duck, for example — make gumbo a perfect wintertime food. There are different kinds of gumbo, and you can revisit Staci Davis’s 2022 article for a great history lesson on how these came to be. Since that article, we’ve found some new favorites, so this is an updated and revised list. 

Most restaurants that serve gumbo offer it by the bowl as a main meal or by the cup as an appetizer. As for us — well, it’s by the bowl nearly every time any time of year. We can’t get enough no matter what the temperature is outside. Pass the hot sauce, and take a look at some of our favorites in the Greater Houston area. 

Bay Area (Galveston, San Leon & Seabrook)

"The Jobber" gumbo from BLVD. Seafood in Galveston. Courtesy photo.
“The Jobber” gumbo from BLVD. Seafood in Galveston. Courtesy photo.

BLVD. Seafood, 2804 Avenue Road, Galveston: This Galveston Island seawall destination offers an array of dishes showcasing coastal heritage and soulful Southern favorites. Executive chef Chris Lopez works with fresh ingredients sourced locally from vendors such as Katie’s Seafood Market and Galveston Shrimp Company. Such ingredients appear in The Jobber gumbo with Gulf shrimp, blue crab, andouille sausage and white rice in a fairly thick roux with a nutty aroma and dark color. It’s available by the cup for $12 or by the bowl for $21. A cup of The Jobber is also available on the happy hour menu Monday through Friday from 3 to 7 p.m. for $8 (at the bar only). — Mario-Sebastian Berry

Seafood gumbo at Pier 6 Seafood & Oyster House
Seafood gumbo at Pier 6 Seafood & Oyster House. Photo by Becca Wright.

Pier 6 Seafood & Oyster House, 113 6th Street, San Leon: Executive chef Joe Cervantez is one of the many chef alumni of Brennan’s of Houston, so it stands to reason that he learned a little something about gumbo during his tenure. (He clearly learned many things during his career, as Pier 6 was a James Beard Award semifinalist for Best New Restaurant in 2022.) Owner Raz Halili also runs Prestige Oysters, so it stands to reason that Pier 6’s seafood gumbo is a good way to showcase these, as well as other types of Gulf seafood. The gumbo also has shrimp and crabmeat, and the most fun thing about it is that you can make the divisive choice of rice OR potato salad in it or alongside. No matter where you stand on that issue, you can have it your way.

A cup of gumbo from Viola & Agnes' Neo Soul Café accompanying a plate of red beans and rice with grilled sausage. Photo by Mario-Sebastian Berry.
A cup of gumbo from Viola & Agnes’ Neo Soul Café accompanying a plate of red beans and rice with grilled sausage. Photo by Mario-Sebastian Berry.

Viola and Agnes’ Neo Soul Cafe, 3659 NASA Road One, Seabrook: This colorful gem is worth a trip to Seabrook. The chicken, sausage, blue crab, okra and boiled egg filé gumbo is modeled after recipes from chef Aaron Davis’ grandmothers, the namesakes of the restaurant. It is $8.50 for a  cup and $16 a bowl. The rest of the menu is decidedly Creole and includes family dishes from all over Louisiana. Other fan favorites include fresh fried pork rinds and braised beef cheeks and gravy. — Staci Davis

Downtown/Midtown

bowl of gumbo with meat and rice
Seafood Gumbo at Brennan’s of Houston. Photo by Kimberly Park.

Brennan’s of Houston, 3300 Smith Street: The iconic sister restaurant of Commander’s Palace in New Orleans keeps Gumbo du Jour on the menu year-round by including whatever tasso, fish or fowl are in season. It is topped with toasted garlic rice from Jazzmen, a Louisiana company, and a sprinkle of filé and scallions. It is $14 per bowl. Don’t stop at the gumbo. Brennan’s is an ideal spot for lip-smacking grub in elegant surroundings and there is plenty more to enjoy, including Shrimp Chippewa (shrimp and stone ground grits made tableside) and the legendary Bananas Foster. — Staci Davis

Chicken and andouille gumbo at Josephine's
Chicken and andouille gumbo at Josephine’s. Photo by Phaedra Cook.

Josephine’s Gulf Coast Tradition, 318 Gray: Once upon a time, there was a cafeteria-style restaurant called Piccadilly’s (it’s apparently still around in other Southern states, but not in Texas), and it is the place I first fell in love with gumbo. Childhood memories can be unreliable, but mine tend to be pretty enduring when it comes to food, and I recall that the gumbo there was actually pretty darn good. It makes sense, as it first opened in Baton Rouge in 1932

I’ve not had a dish that has made those memories of first falling in love with a dish come roaring back so powerfully as the chicken and andouille gumbo at Josephine’s. I greedily gobbled up my bowl down to the last spoonful, and even though I didn’t find favor with some of the other dishes, the gumbo is the only reason I need for a return visit. Made with a medium-dark roux and served with a scoop of rice in the center, a bowl is only $10. A dash of Crystal Hot Sauce doesn’t hurt a bit. — Phaedra Cook

Greenway/Upper Kirby

bowl of gumbo with shrimp and rice
Drew’s Smoked Chicken and Sausage Gumbo at Eunice. Courtesy photo.

Eunice, 3737 Buffalo Speedway: Chef Drake Leonards presents plenty of hearty fare at this locale named for a town in Louisiana. Try Drew’s Smoked Chicken & Sausage Gumbo, which is served alongside authentic long-grain popcorn rice, potato salad and crackling. It costs $14 for a cup and $17 for a bowl. Additional must-try dishes include Cast Iron Cornbread and Chicken Liver Mousse with Fig Jam. — Staci Davis

Montrose

Backstreet Café's seafood gumbo. Photo by Mario-Sebastian Berry.
Backstreet Café’s seafood gumbo. Photo by Mario-Sebastian Berry.

Backstreet Café, 1103 South Shepherd: Gulf seafood has always been important to chef Hugo Ortega, who co-owns H-Town Restaurant Group with his wife, Tracy Vaught. His high standards include finding a reliable supply that is ethically and responsibly sourced. It empowers the group to confidently provide the highest-quality seafood available, such as red snapper which is delivered to all of its restaurants the same day it is caught, while ensuring that process is sustainable. This dedication to quality is apparent in dishes like Backstreet’s seafood gumbo, which is filled to the brim with juicy shrimp, red snapper, crab, andouille sausage, okra, holy trinity, green onions and rice for $18. There’s more than enough seafood to fill every spoonful with well-seasoned morsels and a dark, brothy roux that’s not too thick. — Mario-Sebastian Berry

Eugene's Gulf Coast gumbo
A fat oyster and shrimp in one of my favorite gumbos at Eugene’s Gulf Coast restaurant in Houston. Photo by Phaedra Cook.

Eugene’s Gulf Coast Cuisine, 1985 Welch: The predecessor of this restaurant was Danton’s, and until it closed, it was widely known for serving one of Houston’s best gumbos. Thankfully, when owner Kyle Teas opened Eugene’s, he brought the gumbo with him. To this day, it’s distinguished from others by its very dark roux, which takes two days to make, including an overnight rest in the cooler. (You can read more about the process in my article about Eugene’s.) The seafood gumbo doesn’t skimp on the proteins; expect plump shrimp and oysters, in addition to crab. A cup costs $10.75 and a bowl is $16.75. There’s a chicken and sausage gumbo, too, for $9.75 a cup or $15.75 for a bowl. — Phaedra Cook

Spring Branch

Chicken and sausage gumbo from Feges BBQ in Spring Branch. Photo by Mario-Sebastian Berry.
Chicken and sausage gumbo from Feges BBQ in Spring Branch. Photo by Mario-Sebastian Berry.

Feges BBQ, 8217 Long Point and The Hub, 3 Greenway Plaza: Pitmaster-owner Patrick Feges and chef-owner Erin Smith Feges are known for offering an array of imaginative dishes beyond the trays of smoked meats found at a typical Texas barbecue joint. One such dish is the gumbo, which is available daily. It’s thick and hearty with a smoky richness that’ll make a Cajun blush. The Greenway Plaza location offers Pitmaster Gumbo with smoked chicken, sausage and whatever extra barbecue scraps are available, and the Spring Branch location sells smoked chicken and sausage gumbo. Both gumbos are served with green onions and rice for $12. Add a wedge of hogfat cornbread to really make the gumbo sing. — Mario-Sebastian Berry

Greater Heights

Smoked Duck Gumbo at Rainbow Lodge
A cup of Smoked Duck Gumbo at Rainbow Lodge. Photo courtesy of Rainbow Lodge.

Rainbow Lodge, 2011 Ella: This historic and elegant log cabin restaurant specializes in game and seafood, which is a natural fit for any gumbo. The earthy Smoked Duck Gumbo has andouille sausage and wild rice pilaf, and the smoke permeates the soup with its own flavorful depth. The gumbo is $9 for a bowl, but you can take home a quart for $16. Other Creole dishes to try include Rainbow Trout with Lump Crab and pecan brown butter or Wild Game Mixed Grill with grilled venison, elk, Texas quail and wild boar chop. — Staci Davis

Comments (6)

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  • January 18, 2024 at 10:38 amBill

    Winnie’s gumbo rocks.

    Reply
    • January 18, 2024 at 11:06 amPhaedra Cook

      YOU ARE SO RIGHT. Usually, someone says, “Oh, you missed this place,” and my reaction is “Eh.” However, in this case, this was indeed a miss. I love Winnie’s gumbo, and Winnie’s in general.

      Reply
  • January 17, 2024 at 1:51 pmTimP

    It’s been a while since I’ve done this but there are few to no takeout deals better than the quart of gumbo to go for $16 at Rainbow Lodge.

    Reply
    • January 17, 2024 at 2:09 pmPhaedra Cook

      Awesome tip. I order it every single time I’m dining in and now wonder why I’ve never gotten a quart to go before.

      Reply
  • January 16, 2024 at 10:09 pmAlan J.

    I’m going to all of them!!

    Reply
    • January 17, 2024 at 9:46 amPhaedra Cook

      A gumbo tour sounds like a great way to spend a weekend. 🙂

      Reply