Sambuca Restaurant - Houston

4.1
866 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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What 866 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
4.1
food
3.9
service
4.3
ambience
3.8
value
Noise · Moderate
82% of people would recommend it to a friend
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JS
1 review
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5food 4service 3ambience 5

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

OT
Houston
8 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
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.

L
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 3

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

OT
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
12 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
5 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.

RM
Houston
1 review
Dined on June 27, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 3

The food was good but expensive and didn’t fit with the Latin theme. Most people just came for drinks, dance, and music. We felt out of place as a dinner crowd. A lighter Latin themed menu; much less expensive, would have fit.

OT
Houston
1 review
Dined on June 23, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Good experience as always. Special thank you to the chef. She was amazing

TF
1 review
Dined on June 22, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Always a good experience! Even the rice is usually not cooked well or supposed to be dirty rice...the place and service is awesome..

OT
Houston
1 review
Dined on June 21, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

it’s was an amazing experience. the food was so good. i wish i could eat it all over again. our server was so sweet and amazing and the bang playing was GREAT. they played so many good sounds and sounded amazing. literally anything you order on the menu is going to be so good

B
1 review
Dined on June 21, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 5

when arriving the restaurant did not have our table ready (group of 6) and looked confused when i told them my name and reservation time (I even called the night prior to go over my birthday arrangements) We waited over 10mins to be seated

JC
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on June 21, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 5

My party really enjoyed themselves. But, as a group of musicians, we were a bit disappointed in the band.

KG
Houston
1 review
Dined on June 16, 2019
Overall 3food 1service 4ambience 5

Would refer to a friend if they want a good location downtown to meet friends for a drink; however, the food leaves a lot to be desired.

BP
1 review
Dined on June 15, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 3ambience 3

My wife and I had our anniversary dinner here at 7:30pm on the June 15h. Fish plate that I had was something I feel I could have made my self for way cheaper. It was dry and had a bland taste. My wives shrimp pasta was good though. The involvement was not as nice as I had envisioned looking at the website. The waiter that we had was very nice and was attentive. On the notes for our reservation I let the club know that it was our anniversary and I would like to have a table maybe with something special like rose pedals or something different. I let them know to contact me and we could discuss it. There was never a phone call or email made. Also I will say everyone was very nice except for a weird vibe with one Caucasian gentleman with a waitress that seemed that maybe she was in training that would come by and ask if we were going to have more drinks. When we would tell him not at the moment, he gave off a vibe like what are you doing here. So you know we stayed for about 2:15 mins and drank our drinks the whole time ate and danced. I just was not impressed with the overall quality of the food, not accommodating my request for something special at the table which I had no problem paying for, and the lack of romantic atmosphere that the place provides for the price. I will not be going back and would not recommended this place to anyone else.

M
Houston
1 review
Dined on June 14, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

We thoroughly enjoyed our lunch at Sambuca. The music was a little loud at first to enjoy conversation with our guests but that was quickly remedied. We asked for the music to be turned down and there was no issue. The food was delicious. The service was fabulous. The restrooms were clean.

LI
Houston
16 reviews
Dined on June 12, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

Sambuca's is always on our list to have dinner and see a show when we are downtown Houston.
The wait staff could have been a little more attentive.
The presentation, quality and flavor of the meal was good.
The entertainment was good, though they started late.
We'll be back.

OT
1 review
Dined on June 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food and awesome wait staff. Drinks are delicious and perfect way to spend an evening out

F
Pittsburgh
50 reviews
Dined on June 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Started with a cock n bull drink. It was very good!!! The dressing for the house salad was a balsamic vinaigrette, slightly sweet, just the way I like it. The main course was the miso sea bass. Served over jasmine rice, grilled apples and vegetables. Very, very good!!! Somewhere along the way I had another cock n bull.
I finished the night with the toffee bread pudding, more like a cake, with ice cream and strawberries and a coffee.
The band started mid sea bass. All and all a delightful night!!!

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