ARA restaurant at Royal Sonesta Hotel Houston

4.1
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59 Reviews
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$30 and under
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Global, International
Featuring hardwood floors, chocolate-brown leather booths with red bolster pillows and a menu highlighting global cuisine, ARA restaurant is situated within the Royal Sonesta Hotel Houston. ARA restaurant offers an exceptional dining experience in the heart of the city's vibrant Uptown District.

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Mon - Thu 5:30PM - 7:30PM

What 59 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.1based on all time ratings
4.0
food
4.2
service
3.9
ambience
3.8
value
Noise · Quiet
86% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
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OT
San Antonio
2 reviews
Dined on September 19, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 3ambience 1

For being in a nice hotel, Ara is more fast casual than fine dining. The wait staff were unprofessional and the atmosphere was similar to a casino buffet. We left after the appetizer and went down the street to another restaurant.

MA
1 review
Dined on March 12, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

The service was a bit slow, but there was only one server for the restaurant (although there seemed to be two hosts).

OT
Dallas
6 reviews
Dined on February 26, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

Our wait staff did not appear knowledgeable.

BS
Houston
1 review
Dined on February 13, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 2

The food was great the service was horrible. If they make changes to service there might be a chance.

AJ
Washington DC
33 reviews
Dined on December 25, 2018
Overall 5food 3service 5ambience 4

Great 3 course deal including a glass of wine.

OT
New Orleans
1 review
Dined on December 25, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Great food over all good service, great cocktails, they didn’t know it was going to be busy that night of Xmas so food took a while longer and they told us it would.

I enjoyed my food and so did my wife.

Great job. No consistency on he blackberry basil drink. The rest was really good.

OT
New Orleans
1 review
Dined on December 14, 2018
Overall 3food 1service 3ambience 3

The restaurant was empty, we were literally the only people there. The waiter was ok but the food was horrible. I was so disappointed.

K
1 review
Dined on December 1, 2018
Overall 2food 1service 5ambience 4

I didn’t enjoy my meal/steak at all. My steak was over cooked, and the fresh bread was cold.

IP
Houston
132 reviews
Dined on September 19, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food was OUTSTANDING as was the service.

We will be back.
You treated us like royalty and we lived our experience.

JK
Houston
64 reviews
Dined on September 11, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

Overall nice dining experience. Valet parking is complimentary.

RE
1 review
Dined on July 25, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

We were lucky enough to be eating late, and there restaurant was quieter, there wait staff are excellent.
We had the tuna tacos (plenty of tuna and well balanced with the wasabi), scallops (the parsnip puree was amazing) and filet mignon (cooked to perfection).
After such a great experience with their mains we decided to have dessert as well. There creme brulee was a little different to what we were used to, bit still tasty. The texas rum cake was outstanding.
Overall an excellent experience.

L
Dallas
31 reviews
Dined on April 19, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

My husband and I had a late meal at ARA, which meant that only one other couple was in the restaurant at the same time. The waiter was helpful and friendly, and the ambiance - quiet and restful - was a nice change from the busyness of the rest of the hotel.

S
Chicago
28 reviews
Dined on February 22, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

Convenient and high quality dining. Limited menu, but enough to please everyone in my group of 6. What they do, they do well.

TM
Houston
6 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2018
Overall 2food 3service 1ambience 2

My fiancé and I had such a wonderful time last year, we decided to experience it again. Next year we will definitely not return to the ARA for our Anniversary and Valentine’s Day Celebration. The service was subpar, the food, though delicious, was lukewarm—at best. We waited upwards of 10 minutes for refills and our waitress was barely pleasant.

Very disappointed in the service, the food and the entire experience.

l
Houston
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

The hostess and waiter were really friendly. The table was decorated with rose petals and hearts. Music and lighting was low, creating a romantic atmosphere. The starter bread was warm and delicious. Food came in a large quantity and was well cooked. The wine list is quite pricy though.

j
Houston
4 reviews
Dined on December 28, 2017
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 4

Everything was nice except that the restaurant was presumably closed even when I made the reservation. But the hotel staff let us into the restaurant and prepared the meals somehow. Other than this issue, everything was nice.

OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on December 24, 2017
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

The place was amazing and the feel was so friendly.....the staff made you feel welcome and wanted..the chef personal check with you to make sure your food was how you wanted..the waiter and the chef went way beyond there job duties to make you at home...I loved it

V
Houston
14 reviews
Dined on March 21, 2017
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

I always enjoy going to ARA. They use local ingredients as much as possible and there are some vegetarian options as well. The mushroom broth with noodles is really delicious. The menu changes seasonally and depending on availability.

FL
Baltimore
38 reviews
Dined on March 1, 2017
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 5

Dining atmosphere very elegant. Grilled asparagus very thin but tender. Very pricey for an average tasting steak! Waiter was not very attentive as to who ordered what.

R
Houston
4 reviews
Dined on December 16, 2016
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

A very pleasant surprise. Waitstaff is very knowledgeable & helpful.

OT
New Mexico
360 reviews
Dined on December 8, 2016
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 3

The food was good and the service was very good. A nice place to eat, nothing very special however. If you are a guest in the hotel a good place for a good meal.

OT
Los Angeles
5 reviews
Dined on December 5, 2016
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We ate on a Monday night, so it was not crowded, but we certainly were not the only guests. Our server was great and attentive. Food was really good. Tenderloin steak very good.

V
Houston
14 reviews
Dined on November 7, 2016
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Really nice meal. Enjoyed the vegetarian selection (Mushroom with noodles in miso broth). Enjoyed the tomato and mozzarella salad as well. The mozzarella was soft and really delicious! Fairly attentive staff as well.

OT
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on October 11, 2016
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The waiter was professional, knowledgeable. Overall excellent service

OT
Houston
1 review
Dined on September 10, 2016
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Took the wife for our anniversary and I couldn't have been happier. Lobster/crab cake was wonderful and the lobster/crab/scallop bisque was as well. She had the Bryan farm chicken and I had the Beef tenderloin with a lobster tail. Our meals were cook perfectly and my beef was the best I've EVER had at a restaurant. I've been to Vic and Anthony's, Pappas Steak house, Perry's etc and the steak at ARA is the best. It was so good I didn't use the Bernaise at all and even asked the waiter what spice they used and the chef made an appearance and talked with me and my wife about the meats they use and how they are prepared. Two bottles of wine later dessert was excellent. We had lava cake with REAL dark chocolate center and handmade Ice cream with berries. Writing this review has made my mouth water and wish for another occasion to book a reservation.

OT
Houston
1 review
Dined on April 10, 2016
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Enjoyed the food. Elegantly plated and great taste. Service is superb.

JC
Houston
28 reviews
Dined on March 5, 2016
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This was our 3rd visit and it has always been excellent! The lamb was perfect and the risotto with vegetables were the perfect compliment. The duck and hand made pasta was wonderful as well. Each time we have gone, we try a new combination of flavors with the homemade ice cream and are always happy we did! I have recommended this place to several people and have gotten great feedback that everyone enjoyed it.

E
Oklahoma City
5 reviews
Dined on February 25, 2016
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 4

The food was good but the service was very very slow. Slow to get drinks and refills and the kitchen was slow to get the food out. For the price, it was disappointing.

OT
Houston
1 review
Dined on February 1, 2016
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We booked a group dinner at the ARA restaurant, I contacted the ARA in advance to have a sent menu for our party. The menu was fantastic even included our company logo. The food was fantastic and the service exceptional. I highly encourage you to enjoy the friendly-outgoing service and exceptional food.
Very satisfied customer.

M
Houston
1 review
Dined on December 25, 2015
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 2

the menu on web site was not available on the day. food was nothing special.

OT
Houston
2 reviews
Dined on August 2, 2015
Overall 2food 1service 1ambience 2

Long wait before they sit us. The bread was chewy from the microwave. I asked the waitress if the sauce in the Tandoor Cauliflower (v) 16$ (Coconut Rice, Saffron Mint Yogur, Vindaloo) could be done vegan and she said no problem, we can do that. Instead the just removed the sauce: they brought me three small pieces of steamed cauliflower and the coconut rice and they still charged me 16$.

FD
Houston
7 reviews
Dined on July 27, 2015
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 3

Had the Texas Grilled Cheese, although I am a native Texan, I had never heard of or seen one of these. Perhaps it is a chef invention. Tasty. For such a grandiose hotel I expected to be wowed by this restaurant's design and was not. Lots of competition in the city, so no wonder we had a nice quiet lunch!

G
Houston
48 reviews
Dined on July 16, 2015
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

We all enjoyed our dinners. All perfectly prepared and served beautifully! Our waiter was attentive without being overbearing and the dining room is actually quiet enough to hold conversation! Our evening would have been perfection except for the valet who was having a conversation with his buddy instead of bringing our car up. We finally started walking to get it ourselves! You can self park and so think next time we will do just that.

DD
Houston
10 reviews
Dined on May 23, 2015
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 5

Nice restaurant with a very good selection of entrees and side dishes. I had the Bryan chicken which was very tender and juicy accompanied by gnocchi and asparagus. My wife had the lamb chops that were grilled perfectly with a tasty reduction sauce with grilled vegetables and mushroom risotto. Had the entire restaurant to ourselves since the hotel had a wedding going on so received superior service and was very romantic and quiet.

Y
New Orleans
1 review
Dined on May 16, 2015
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This restaurant had a great menu with great selections. I truly enjoyed my meal!

OR
Houston
6 reviews
Dined on April 23, 2015
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The dinner at Ara was absolutely amazing!
The service was exquisite thanks to Marty and the food was delicious thanks to Peter Laufer, everything from yummy Signature Tortilla Soup and Bryan Farm Chicken Breast to mouthwatering House made Ice Cream & Sorbets was so tasteful, that we are going to come back and try other items from the menu
Of course, our special compliments are left to 16 oz. 100% Black Angus Rib Eye Steak Prime, from now on the best steak in Houston for us.
Every dish was served in such a beautiful manner, that even the Baked potato as a side was begging for a picture.
We definitely recommend this restaurant for the quiet dinner for special occasion or simple night out during the week.
They also validate your parking ticket, which leaves even better impression after all.

D
Houston
9 reviews
Dined on March 7, 2015
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

It was one the best meals we have had in a long time. My wife said that she had the best meal in the last five years.

s
Central Texas
30 reviews
Dined on February 19, 2015
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Pleasant environment to sit and enjoy a glass of wine before you order your meal. Servers are attentive, but not overbearing. Food was excellent, as was the wine. Great place for a special occasion or a romantic evening.

g
Chicago
27 reviews
Dined on February 18, 2015
Overall 2food 4service 1ambience 3

Hopefully this is not the norm but quality of service was similar to a struggling chain restaurant. This doesn't bother me at restaurants that charge less for their food. For ARA, this should be completely unacceptable quality of service. No menus ready for reserved tables and while the wait staff are really nice people, I found the front to be generally highly inattentive. The food was quite good so I'm hoping this was an off night for the service. It looked like they had a conference so the volume might have been a bit overwhelming. However, it is hard to justify going to places at this price point if you don't get quality service along with it regardless of the situation.

FF
Cleveland
32 reviews
Dined on February 5, 2015
Overall 2food 2service 4ambience 3

So this place isn't quite working. I ordered a cauliflower salad. Everything in it was really good, except the cauliflower, which was undercooked and too hard. I also ordered the salmon with the tarmarind sauce which sounded interesting. It wasn't bad but it sat on some really bland "curried" lentils and watery spinach, which kind of ruined it. As you can see from these dishes, they're trying to do something interesting, but they just aren't pulling it off. I would say the service was attentive, and I regret I didn't pick up on the waiter's suggestion to go for the steak. Perhaps that would have worked out better.

If you're not staying at Royal Sonesta, I wouldn't go out of my way to eat at this restaurant. And don't pay extra for the "breakfast included" packages. The breakfast is actually much worse than the dinner.

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