Sambuca Restaurant - Houston

4.1
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878 Reviews
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$30 and under
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American
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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Private Dining

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What 878 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.1based on recent ratings
4.2
food
4.0
service
4.3
ambience
3.8
value
Noise · Moderate
82% of people would recommend it to a friend
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DB
Houston
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

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
31 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 5

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 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

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
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 1

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
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 4

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

OT
Houston
6 reviews
Dined on September 14, 2019
Overall 1food 2service 2ambience 3

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
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 3

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
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

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
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

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
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

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
Overall 5food 3service 5ambience 5

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
Overall 5food 4service 3ambience 5

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
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

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
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

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
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 3

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

OT
Seattle
1 review
Dined on August 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

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

CJ
1 review
Dined on August 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

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
Overall 2food 2service 1ambience 1

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
3 reviews
Dined on August 10, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

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.

J
1 review
Dined on August 10, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

Drinks were amazing but food not worth the cost. Service was great and the ambiance good. Convenient location for a play at the Alley theater.

KL
Central Texas
1 review
Dined on August 10, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 5

We were there for Houston Restaurant Weeks and had to ask for a menu. Our waitress wasn't familiar with the menu at all, or how the wine pairing worked with the set menu. That is my only critique.

OT
1 review
Dined on August 9, 2019
Overall 2food 4service 2ambience 3

Table was not ready when we arrived. Had to remake my salad 4 times to get right. A couple we’ll drink took a long time to come. The asparagus we ordered with our meal was not served. A glass of wine that was ordered extra was brought out and it was water in a wine glass.
The band was great! We loved them.
Just sad since it was for my 69th Birthday celebration. I was embarrassed since I picked this place and had special plans with this weeks in advance.

AM
New York Area
14 reviews
Dined on August 9, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 4ambience 5

Great food and the band was excellent. Nice place for a date or a night out with friends.

OT
Houston
1 review
Dined on August 3, 2019
Overall 1food 3service 1ambience 3

Booked a table but they’d given it away and wanted us to sit at the bar

NF
Houston
4 reviews
Dined on August 3, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 5

Food & Service was excellent. Only drawback was our table had dried food on several places when we were seated.

JW
Houston
1 review
Dined on August 3, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

So grateful that they had open tables at such late notice! The food was speedy + oh so tasty! Our server was ok but host and management staff really made the experience awesome— so kind and friendly!

JB
Houston
6 reviews
Dined on August 2, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Great service, fun music and good food

DR
Houston
1 review
Dined on July 27, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 1ambience 5

My husband and I celebrated our wedding anniversary and made reservations to be near the stage. Our table was located behind a pillar in the back of the restaurant. We spoke to hostess up front and she was very professional and sweet to move us close to the stage. Our waiter was terrible, never could find him around when requesting to order or needing a refill on water. I provided 3 stars for the friendly hostess, quality of food, ambiance and live entertainment. This place was our first date and we had our wedding reception here. Hopefully we'll have a 5 star experience next time we return.

OT
Houston
1 review
Dined on July 26, 2019
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 1

I will never go to Sambuca again. Derive was terrible. Reservation was for a table that could see the band. We got place upstairs in a back room. Waiter had too many tables and rarely checked on us. We had to ask for water several times. Food took 45 minutes to come out. My wife ordered her expensive ribeye steak medium well. It cam out bloody. She ate the edges that were cook and left the rest. Server messed up the bill 2 times. We had to get a manger to fix it. He took a long time too. Then we went down to the bar where I waited 30 minutes to get 1 drink. We had to chase Dow the bar tender. He would never come over to us, and would never make eye contact. Worst restaurant experience I have ever had. Will never go back.

m
Houston
4 reviews
Dined on July 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I love this venue - it is my favorite place to listen to the Fab 5

JL
1 review
Dined on July 21, 2019
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 1

My experience here was terrible! So I come to Sambuca for my birthday yesterday (traveled from Katy) and online it states y’all close at 11pm. I got there at exactly 9:30 to have a birthday dinner with some friends. Me and my boyfriend got there first and when we walked in nobody was at the front. There was only the bartender there talking to a guy. Not once were we acknowledged even though she saw us. We waited there for about 5 minutes and still did not acknowledge us when they clearly saw us. I proceeded to ask if they were about to close and she said “Yeah the kitchen closes at 10:00pm” and continued on with her conversation. So mind you it’s 9:37 at this point. There were a couple of guys coming from the back and when they saw us they turned around and went back to the back and still was not acknowledged. We waited about 5 more minutes and then we just left. We were treated EXTREMELY POOR coming to this restaurant and completely felt invisible and with it being my birthday this was the last spot to celebrate my day so I am very upset. Y’all should really advertise y’all close at 9:30 on Sundays instead of 11pm to keep people from wasting time and gas. This was completely disappointing.

CS
Houston
1 review
Dined on July 19, 2019
Overall 1food 2service 1ambience 2

Whole experience was horrible. Even though made dinner res days in advance for a special Birthday, and confirmed TWICE on the day of and they CONFIRMED table was set and waiting 15 min prior to our arrival, they had NO table for us as promised. Service was terrible in every way possible. Food was just blah.

RB
Houston
1 review
Dined on July 18, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 4

Sambuca used to be one of Houston's "go to" restaurants in its days. I am very disappointed in how this this place has gone down. Hostess was very unprofessional. Used foul language and more than anything, lack of knowledge in locating open tables. Not sure if Sambuca will be back on my list of restaurants.

LH
1 review
Dined on July 18, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

I attended the last Latin Thursday Night. Cristina Amaro performed a Selena Tribute Show. It was wonderful! The food was delicious and the restaurant was elegant! My only concern was that the temperature was a bit warm. Other than that, very lovely time!

KR
Dallas
1 review
Dined on July 17, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Really enjoyed the live music! The appetizers were also delightful. We had a really nice hostess and waiter.

DJ
Houston
1 review
Dined on July 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great music and food... the ambiance was great. Beautiful venue

JG
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on July 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We have a group of 14 people to celebrate a birthday on Thursday night. Excellent food and service. Good live Latin music and great environment to dance and have a great time. Be back every Thursday night.

GA
Houston
13 reviews
Dined on July 6, 2019
Overall 1food 3service 1ambience 3

My husband and I (who are both servers and bar tenders) almost always write 5 star reviews, so for us to give something at this level means it honestly was a bad experience.

We arrived at 550pm for our reservation and were sat immediately. Our server did not greet us until after 6pm (at which time we were ready to order). I ordered a water, my husband an Old Fashion and water. We also ordered the Bruchetta appetizer. We tried to order our entrees, but our server walked away before we could. My water arrived, then a food runner brought us our appetizer, then the server dropped off my husbands cocktail. He again walked away before giving us a chance to order. A back waiter refilled my water and cleared our appetizer. By 620, our server had not come back to take our order.

Since we had a 730 show at Jones Hall, we went up to the hostess stand, let her know we needed to close out our table because our server wasn’t available to take our order and that we’d be happy to reseat ourselves at the bar so we could have some dinner. She brought our check to us at the bar.

While seated at the bar, what appeared to be a bar back offered us a menu. We let him know that we didn’t need a menu, we were already ready to order. He said “ok” and walked away. There were 4 people behind the bar which was about 1/3 full. It appeared to be 2 bar tenders and 2 bar backs. Not one of them acknowledged us for the next 10 minutes. They stood around watching soccer on the TV and talking to each other.

By 630 we were approaching the point of no return. We let the hostess know that no one at the bar seemed to want to take our order either and we were going to have to go somewhere else if we were going to make our show on time. She apologized.


My husbands cocktail and our bruchetta were both good. We were looking forward to this dinner and are disappointed that two entire sections of the restaurant were incapable of taking our order so we could enjoy dinner and a show for my birthday.

JS
Houston
1 review
Dined on July 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food and service, thanks Cameo for making our anniversary dinner special 😀

EP
1 review
Dined on June 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We really enjoyed our dining experience. Not to mention our seating was excellent; we had a perfect view of the city and the stage.

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