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El Real is located in the restored Tower Theater in the heart of Houston’s Montrose neighborhood.

Address/Phone
1201 Westheimer
(at Yoakum)
713.524-1201

Hours of Operation
Mon-Wed 11am-10pm
Thu 11am-11pm
Fri-Sat 11am - Midnight,
Sat Brunch 11am-2pm
Sun 10am - 10pm, Brunch 10am-2pm

Happy Hour Mon-Fri 3-6:30

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Meet Pepe Z and Try Some Great Tequila

Pepe Zevada

Like Tequila?

Come on down to El Real on Thursday March 20th at 6:30 pm, meet the legendary Pepe Zevada and try some inspired tequila pairings!

After 35 years in the liquor business, Z Tequila founder, Pepe Zevada formulated his own recipes for 100% pure agave tequilas.

In March of 2012, Z Tequila Blanco was awarded the Double Gold Medal at the prestigious San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Pepe’s Z Tequila Reposado and Z Tequila Añejo were also deemed medal worthy.

Pepe’s award-winning signature process begins with the harvesting of seven- to nine-year-old lowland agave plants. The tequilas are crafted by hand, drawing from centuries old tequila traditions and time-honored distilling and filtration techniques.

Then each precious 100% natural drop is aged in the traditional white oak casks according to variety. Except for Z Tequila Blanco, which is bottled immediately. A single sip reveals Pepe’s uncompromising standards along with the unmistakable affirmation that pure tequila perfection has indeed been achieved.

The price of the tequila tasting dinner is $40 plus tax and tip.
Reservations are required, call 713-524-1201

“Best Tex-Mex” 2013 HP Awards

We are delighted to announce that El Real Tex-Mex Cafe has been awarded “Best Tex-Mex” and “Best Enchiladas” in the 2013 Houston Press “Best of Houston Awards.”

Many thanks to our loyal customers and hard-working staff.

The Mayor Drops In for Tacos

El Real Tex-Mex welcomed Houston Mayor Annise Parker and her entourage Friday morning for a breakfast meeting. She seemed to enjoy herself!

Daily Meal: El Real Chicken Puffy Taco #7 in USA

photo by Laurie Smith

Thanks to the Daily Meal website for naming our Chicken Puffy among the 35 top tacos in the nation. Here’s what they had to say:

7) El Real Tex-Mex Café, Houston: Chicken Puffy Taco
Located inside a restored theater in Houston’s Montrose neighborhood, El Real serves Tex-Mex classics like chile con carne, nachos, and Frito pie, but we recommend you head directly for the San Antonio Puffy Taco Plate, with smoked chicken. The deep-fried shell gets a smear of refried beans, then the smoked chicken (which is smoked whole before being shredded) is liberally applied. Lettuce and tomato come on top, and it’s a taco you’re not likely to forget any time soon.

El Real’s Perfect Margarita on Texas Monthly’s 10 Best Margarita List

El Real’s Perfect Margarita was named one of the ten best margaritas in Texas by Texas Monthly Magazine this month.

The “Perfect Margarita” was also described as “genius” on Eater Houston’s list of Houston’s iconic margaritas.

Alison Cook also raved about El Real’s Perfect Margaritas at 29.95. “Now there’s a cocktail worthy of El Real’s wonderful beef fajita nachos, which are some of my favorites in town. I consider it a welcome miracle, and I hope the build-your-own idea catches on elsewhere in town,” she wrote.

The stirred and shaken margarita didn’t become popular until the frozen margarita took the state by icy storm back in the early 1970s. Following on the frozen daiquiri craze of the 1960s, the frozen margarita was primarily made at home with a bottle of souvenir tequila and a Waring blender.

In 1971, when the Texas legislature made it possible for communities to hold local elections to legalize “liquor by the drink” in restaurants, Tex-Mex restaurants began offering the cocktail to patrons. The drink caught on, especially with women, and the local Tex-Mex cantina replaced the male-dominated, smoke-filled saloon as the Happy Hour venue of choice.

Stirred and shaken versions, like El Real’s Perfect Margarita, came along later as patrons with a taste for good quality tequila demanded a “Mexican Martini” style mixed drink.

For those of you who haven’t tried one yet, the El Real perfect margarita starts with a slip of paper and golf pencil–you circle your choice of tequila, liqueur, juice, sweetener and mode of delivery.

We love a good margarita on the rocks, but El Real has great frozen margaritas too. The world’s first frozen margarita machine was invented by Mariano Martinez in Dallas in 1972. It was a modified soft serve ice cream freezer.

On November 20, Mariano’s machine was moved to Washington D.C. as part of the Smithsonian’s new exhibit, “FOOD: Transforming the American Table 1950-2000.” Señor Martinez was there at the opening. El Real salutes Mariano Martinez for his contribution to our Tex-Mex cocktail culture.

New! Pork Fajitas!

Now you can request beef, chicken or our new pork fajitas when you order fajitas on a sizzling comal from our grill menu. The tender meat is marinated and mesquite-grilled pork brisket. It comes with hot off the griddle housemade tortillas and all the fixin’s including guacamole, pico de gallo, a roasted jalapeño and our melted herb butter.

Come by soon and give pork fajitas a try!

Brunch Special: Bacon Enchiladas

The most popular item on El Real Tex-Mex Cafe’s Saturday and Sunday Brunch Menu is a plate of bacon enchiladas. What’s a bacon enchilada? It’s a couple of slices of bacon and cheese rolled up in a tortilla, slathered with El Real’s signature chile con carne gravy, baked until it’s bubbly hot and topped with a fried egg.

Try it with a Bloody Maria, or one of our fabulous “Perfect Margaritas.”

Fajitas and Beyond

Tex-Mex Mixed Grill

Sure we have old-fashioned outside skirt steak fajitas and grilled chicken fajitas. And yes, those come with fluffy housemade flour tortillas, fresh guacamole, pico de gallo, an addictive herb butter, and all the condiments.

But did you know we also cook up juicy quail, bacon-wrapped shrimp, and Certified Angus strip steaks on our J.R. Oyler mesquite-fired grill? There’s also “wholefish fajitas,” a whole Gulf snapper served up with caramelized onions on a sizzling comal.

You can get our grilled items in a wide range of combinations including the “Padre Steak,” a sirloin strip with 4 shrimp wrapped in bacon and stuffed with cheese and jalapeño; and “Cielo Y Tierra, 2 grilled quail with fajitas.

Try an El Real mixed grill soon–we also serve Alexander Valley Cabernet!

Update: Shrimp Puffy Taco Rave!

Many thanks to Joanna O’Leary of the Eating Our Words blog at the Houston Press for her recent blog item on our shrimp puffy tacos. The popular new tacos already appear on our printed menus, we promise to put them on our online menu soon!

My current favorite entrée at El Real is not even on the menu (yet). This confused me the first time I tried to order this dish, because I had seen it on the El Real Web site. After scanning the menu a few times, I thought perhaps I had missed the boat. The SHRIMP boat. HAH! (Tumbleweed.) Okay, moving on.

“Do you still have the shrimp puffy tacos?” I asked our server. “Oh, yes,” she replied. “They’re very popular. They should be permanently on the menu soon.”

After trying them, I can certainly understand why. El Real specifies that “to make the tacos, five shrimp are rubbed with a zesty spice blend, mesquite grilled, chopped into chunks and stuffed into two fresh-fried puffy taco shells.”

Two fried tortillas stuffed with grilled prawns, cabbage slaw, tomato, and cilantro and laced with jalapeño ranch sauce, the shrimp puffy tacos are the perfect combination of garden and grease. I usually gravitate to the reverse format (fried fish, soft tortillas) for seafood tacos, but the puffy shell presents two advantages. First, its sturdier structure means there’s less chance of the shell disintegrating under the weight of its contents, and second, the crisp of the tortillas is particularly satisfying when juxtaposed with the juiciness of the grilled shrimp.

Free Astros Tickets! Tuesday and Thursday Happy Hour Giveaways!

To celebrate our new El Real Tex-Mex concession on the club level at Minute Maid, we’re giving away free club level tickets to upcoming Astros games!!

Join us at El Real Tex-Mex Cafe every Tuesday and Thursday for happy hour and enter your name in the drawing with one of our bartenders. You’ll be eligible to win two tickets to an upcoming game. The drawing will take place Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6:30 PM. (You must be present to win.)

Lucky winners will leave El Real with two club level tickets in hand. We’ll also throw in a free order of ballpark nachos from our new El Real Tex-Mex concession stand.

Go Astros!