Charming Clementines Restaurant in Northwest Houston
Clementines Restaurant & Banquet Facility
This charming restaurant called Clementines has been around since 1979.
Hundreds of new restaurants open annually in the Houston metropolitan area. Some make it and some do not. So for those which have survived many decades…obviously something is being done right to have so much staying power!
A person would have to dine out for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day of the year for slightly over ten years in order to dine at the roughly 11,000 restaurants in the Houston area.
I had discovered Clementines many years ago and always enjoyed the ambiance and the food. It is not exactly in our neighborhood and probably for that reason I had forgotten about it.
The exterior of this family owned and operated restaurant is not particularly eye catching. Its location is at the end of an older strip shopping center at the corner of Champions Drive and Cypress Creek Parkway (formerly known by locals as FM 1960).
There is an available small outdoor dining area overlooking the parking lot in the front of the building. Large potted plants soften the look and add some greenery to the otherwise plain appearance.
It is upon entering the restaurant that one is struck with its old world charm.
The entrance room is set up as a bar where diners can enjoy food and drink. It is bright and inviting with a painted red ceiling, yellow ochre painted walls and a wide planked brown toned wooden floor. A large screen television set is mounted above the bar.
With an “It’s all good” sign at the top of a wooden facade, restaurant patrons enter into what is reminiscent of street scenery in many a European village.
The patterned floor could make one think of cobblestoned streets. Roof lines with shuddered windows and window boxes filled with artificial blooming flowers and greenery add to the ambiance.
Much of this dining space while light enough to easily read menus is slightly darkened to give the effect of a street scene at night. The actual ceiling above is black simulating a night sky.
Recently my husband and I had lunch there and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
Our waitress let us choose where we wished to be seated.
After looking it over we chose a room at the back which is built up by two steps giving us a great overview of the restaurant looking from the back to the front.
Seating choices include booths and also tables and chairs. We normally prefer the latter.
While looking over the rather extensive menu we decided to try an appetizer of their calamari fritti served with spicy marinara sauce.
For many years my husband and I have rated restaurants by how well their chefs prepare and serve fried calamari (squid). Obviously it must be fresh. It must also be cooked for just the right amount of time or the consistency becomes rubbery.
A good sauce is a plus but if the fried calamari is light and delectable, a squeeze of fresh lemon is all it truly needs.
The marinara sauce was served separately in a bowl on the side. We did request some fresh lemon on the side as well. A large plate of light and crispy calamari had both my husband and me in agreement that this was as good a fried calamari as we had ever eaten. At $7.95 it is quite a bargain!
As his main entrée my husband chose Veal Milanese. It was described as a Panko crusted Veal Fillets Grilled with Artichoke Butter. He got to choose an accompaniment of either grilled potatoes, steak fries, grilled vegetables or garlic mashed potatoes. He chose the garlic mashed potatoes as a side dish.
The Panko crusted veal fillet was crispy and well seasoned. Instead of ruining the effect of its crunchy exterior the artichoke butter sauce was served in a dish on the side to be added by the diner at his or her discretion.
A basket of garlic bread was brought to the table as an accompaniment to our meal. It was as good as it appeared!
My choice of an entrée that day was the Artichoke Snapper. It was described as a grilled snapper fillet topped with artichoke hearts, roasted peppers & shrimp with lemon butter. As a side I chose the grilled mixed vegetables.
The fish was delicious and the vegetables were still crisp tender…just the way I like them! I would certainly order that again sometime.
Our friendly waitress told us that everything in the kitchen is fresh and preferably locally sourced. They do not freeze anything! That certainly accounts for the flavors and textures of what we both experienced.
Their lunch menu is large and menu choices can be made from these general categories:
- Seafood & Pasta
- Steak & Veal
A banquet room in the back is bright and cheerful. According to their brochure it can accommodate up to 77 people.
On the day of our visit a couple of the tables were being utilized by some ladies playing the card game of Bridge. Just the day prior the entire restaurant was filled to the brim for a special event.
In the evenings from Tuesday through Saturday (according to their brochure) there is live entertainment at Clementines.
Check out the Clementine’s website by clicking here to find out more information about their hours, menu and special events.
We give this restaurant a definite “thumbs up” and will be returning in the future to enjoy more of that scrumptious calamari as well as other items on the menu.
Analyzing Clementines and comparing it to clothing…this restaurant has the feel of a favorite pair of comfortable slippers or a cherished and best-loved sweater. My husband and I can see why this is a neighborhood favorite and why patrons keep returning to it decade after decade.