Sambuca Restaurant - Houston

4.3
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899 Reviews
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$30 and under
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American

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A word from Sambuca Restaurant - Houston
Located in the historic Rice Hotel downtown, Sambuca is Houston’s only rockin’ dinner club. We serve American food with a side of nightly live music as diverse as our menu. And our talents don’t stop there! Sambuca can cater your next special event in style. Whether it is off-site at Sambuca or in the Crystal Ballroom at the Rice, you can be sure every detail will be handled with the upmost attention. Contact our catering department to book your next party.
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What 899 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.3based on recent ratings
4.3
food
4.2
service
4.3
ambience
3.9
value
Noise · Moderate
85% of people would recommend it to a friend
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S
Houston
14 reviews
Dined 19 hours ago
Overall3food3service2ambience3

The $12 valet took six minutes to retrieve the car at the end of the meal, while we stood on the chilly street, waiting. The 8 member band was excellent and fun, but their drummer wasn't behind a shield, so everyone else had to play and sing so loudly that conversation was impossible, even at the most distant table where we were seated, and we and our waiters had to shout at each other the whole evening. Our first waiter had to abandon us after taking our order because she "was in the wrong section." Our second waiter took our order by memory, only to need to come back in five minutes asking us to repeat it so he could write it down. The food was good but not great, halfway between bar food and gourmet. Overall, the music was good, but the food and service were mediocre.

YG
Houston
2 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall5food4service5ambience5

We really had a great time, my husband enjoyed his birthday!! Thank you

OT
1 review
Dined on January 11, 2020
Overall4food5service5ambience4

Birthday celebration.

TB
1 review
Dined on December 28, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great place for fun and the food is awesome the staff is friendly and courteous they helped us get a table right next to the band

OT
Houston
1 review
Dined on December 18, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Our third wedding anniversary could not have been any better, thanks to the hard-working and thoughtful staff at Sambuca. We were seated in a private area and offered complimentary champagne. The food was delicious and even received a special message with our dessert. The manager knew that Sambuca catered our wedding event, and that we got married at the Crystal Ballroom upstairs. He walked us up to the venue and let us look around and reminisce. It was an amazing night for my wife and I. Thank you to the awesome staff who truly stepped up to give us a special night. Cheers.

B
Houston
5 reviews
Dined on December 17, 2019
Overall3food4service1ambience2

Just about the worst service I’ve ever endured during a dining experience. Out of multiple wines, took 45 minutes to get water after our waiter was MIA, told us they were out of salmon 15 minutes after we ordered. We’re at the restaurant almost 3 hours and the actual dining experience lasted maybe 30 minutes of that. Would not recommend anyone going here in a hurry. The only reason they’re not 1 star was the food was surprisingly quite good.

JB
Denver
2 reviews
Dined on December 17, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience4

We had dinner before a show at Jones Hall. Our server was aware and did a great job of getting our food to us promptly. The food was good but pricey for what we got. Overall, a good experience.

MA
1 review
Dined on December 14, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience5

Great place with live music. Great option for a date night in downtown.

C
Austin
12 reviews
Dined on December 14, 2019
Overall3food4service3ambience3

We made a reservation but when we arrived they said that it would take 30-45 minutes to get a table. We decided to sit outside (amazingly nice night) which is considered bar area and not wait. We felt ignored. Then a homeless man came over to our table asking for money. Finally got drinks and food which was very good. Not sure what to think of our overall experience though.

DF
Houston
2 reviews
Dined on December 14, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This place is still a great restaurant to take family and friends for dinner! Other than having to eat and leave within 2 hours... Urghhhh... my party of 4 was very impressed and completely satisfied with the food, ambiance, efficiency of the waitstaff, etc, was totally superb!

MP
Houston
1 review
Dined on December 13, 2019
Overall5food4service5ambience5

Great food. Portions leave you a bit wanting
Service was excellent
A bit loud but there is live entertainment which is nice so expected

FE
1 review
Dined on November 30, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Need to have dancing music during the breaks. Dances that the entire crowd can get on the floor and enjoy. Seemed like there was no DJ for this time who could feel the crowd and put on some enjoyable music.

OT
Houston
2 reviews
Dined on November 23, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Sambuca was a great restaurant! My boyfriend & I danced while waiting for our food to arrive. The band was great & kept the party going. The food was excellent! Very nice romantic ambiance.

KR
Houston
1 review
Dined on November 17, 2019
Overall4food5service3ambience5

The food was great but the service was a bit off even though it was Sunday evening and only a few tables occupied.

JR
Houston
1 review
Dined on November 11, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Enjoyed a nice anniversary dinner with jazz playing in the background. Food was great and the place was not too crowded (Mon night). Cost was a little high, but it was worth it for a nice evening.

OT
Houston
1 review
Dined on November 9, 2019
Overall3food2service1ambience2

Wasn’t a live band.... bad quality of food and the service wasn’t good. Not recomendable

TR
Houston
1 review
Dined on November 9, 2019
Overall2food3service2ambience2

I've been to Sambuca before and the experience was much different. This time around was not as pleasant. They were short staffed ( and didn't tell us initially), The band canceled ( they didn't tell us that either untill much later into the night). They had us waiting as table after table became free, which is a bit disconcerting. On the other had, the DJ who filled in was excellent and played crowd appropriate music. Our wait staff was excellent and the food was brought out in a timely fashion.

C
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on November 2, 2019
Overall5food4service5ambience5

Excellent service and ambiance. We really enjoyed the live music of “SVK”. Food was good but a bit overpriced. Would highly recommend this place to couples and parties!

s
1 review
Dined on October 23, 2019
Overall3food2service3ambience3

This place is not good if you are vegetarian. Also, the music is too loud

OT
Houston
1 review
Dined on October 19, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

EXCELLENT!!!!!

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LE
Houston
2 reviews
Dined on October 18, 2019
Overall5food5service3ambience5

I made a reservation for the top deck, when I got there I was told they had nothing available other than the bar. What's the point of making a reservation then. So they sat us on the first floor. It took 30 min to get our drinks eventhough they were waiting on 3 tables!! The restaurant was empty

DB
Houston
1 review
Dined on October 12, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I have told a few friends about the Music, Food, Service, and Vibe of Sambuca! It's one of my favorite hot spots.

R
Houston
33 reviews
Dined on October 11, 2019
Overall4food3service4ambience5

Food is good (not great) but menu could be updated. Seems like it's been the same for over a year. Should add some casual dishes which would would align better with the type of establishment (entertainment venue).

A
Houston
7 reviews
Dined on October 11, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Good food and great service. Fab 5 band playing the oldies was icing on the dessert cake. We had dinner, went to the Symphony and came back for a nightcap and the live music. Perfect date night for a couple of young-timers and empty nesters.

LC
New England
3 reviews
Dined on October 8, 2019
Overall3food2service4ambience1

I should have known when there was no one in this restaurant. I did want to see some music, so stuck it out. Decided to stick with the so so appetizers since they were half price. Was our anniversary, so a special night. Music was supposed to start at 7, the sound person flaked so no one could figure out the sound until after 8. Couldn’t believe the musician took a break. Every table left.

LC
1 review
Dined on October 5, 2019
Overall3food2service4ambience4

Not what it used to be many years ago. Pretty much airport food now.

OT
Houston
6 reviews
Dined on September 14, 2019
Overall1food2service2ambience3

This is NOT the Sambuca of 5 years ago. This used to be a place of fine dining and live jazz.
So we were staying overnight in Houston and wanted to go out for a fine dining experience. We decided to book Sambuca as we have both been there in the past and it was fantastic at the time.
So we walk in at 7:30 on a Saturday night and it’s dead. Maybe 3 tables had guests. No music, the bar was empty.
We’re seated along this banquette, filled with pillows. In a dining area?
Our waiter didn’t know what the special was so he had to go and ask. The menu was extremely limited and sandwiched between the wine and cocktail section in the menu. Weird.
For the limited and not very interesting selection, the prices were quite high. We were quite disappointed that this is NOT the Sambuca which used to be the place for fine dining in Houston.
We left before even ordering drinks... save yourself the disappointment.

R
Philadelphia
6 reviews
Dined on September 8, 2019
Overall5food4service5ambience3

Great Music and Food! It was a Sunday evening so the restaurant was empty, which we realized was the case with downtown Houston on the weekend. Service was superb even though our waiter was new, he did a Great job!

CH
Houston
13 reviews
Dined on September 7, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience5

The food was good as was the wine. The band was wonderful! Enjoyed the evening with my family and a friend.

OT
Houston
11 reviews
Dined on September 1, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Seated right in front of the performer! Exceptional service by the management. Quite an enjoyable evening.

EC
Houston
1 review
Dined on August 31, 2019
Overall4food4service3ambience4

The food was yummy. The ambiance was very nice (although quite loud due to the band). Overall, very nice evening!

CB
1 review
Dined on August 31, 2019
Overall5food3service5ambience5

The food was outstanding. The and beyond was great service was wonderful. Music Was not good. Are maybe I just didn't like the group. Everything else was on point. I will be back.

JS
1 review
Dined on August 17, 2019
Overall5food4service3ambience5

Celebrated our anniversary to good food and the Shapeshifters. Great food and music. Had a great time.

OT
Houston
11 reviews
Dined on August 17, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

My husband wanted to enjoy live music while we are. I found this restaurant from a search. It was listed in an article by the Houston Press. It also was participating in the Food Bank Restaurant Week. Win Win! My husband really enjoyed our first date after the last child went to college.

JS
1 review
Dined on August 17, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience5

We had an early dinner prior to an evening of theater at the Alley. Sambuca was just the right spot for our evening meal. While our guests thoroughly enjoyed their steaks, our pasta and shrimp was quite bland. Not even comparable to one of the popular "Italian" chain restaurants. Service was fantastic and the restaurant has a dark and romantic ambiance. Wine service was professional. We were too early for the live music to comment on it. Overall 4 stars due to disappointing meal.

L
1 review
Dined on August 14, 2019
Overall1food1service1ambience3

One of my least favorite restaurants in Houston. Bad food. High $$$. Awful service.

OT
Seattle
1 review
Dined on August 10, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Had a great time. Love that they have good food and live music. Fun place!

CJ
1 review
Dined on August 10, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

My husband and I had a wonderful time. We've visited this establishment for at least (4) times. The food and ambiance was great!

K
1 review
Dined on August 10, 2019
Overall2food2service1ambience1

Food was so so, I had a beggar harass me at my table. I had to pay him 5 bucks just so he would leave me alone. The band was horrible, I had a birthday celebration for my wife years ago and the place was fantastic. WHAT HAPPENED?

JM
Houston
5 reviews
Dined on August 10, 2019
Overall5food4service5ambience5

We dined early, but even without the live band we enjoyed the atmosphere. The food was very good and the service was excellent. We plan to come back soon.