Announced last summer, El Tiempo has added new location that is opening for lunch tomorrow, Monday, February 11, on Navigation, directly across the street from Ninfa’s, which is where the Laurenzo family’s restaurant business and reputation began in the early 1970s.
This will be the fifth El Tiempo, a fourth opened in far northwest Houston earlier this year, and the first to be build from scratch. I went to a media luncheon on Saturday, and even though nearly deserted, the feel of the place is very similar to the other locations. The difference is that this one is obviously better designed, better laid out. It feels like a proficient, upscale Tex-Mex restaurant, and a little less hokey than is typical for the genre. It is also larger, seating well over 200 with expansive patios. It is a nice place.
The food, the fajitas, even from a steam table for the buffet lunch, was excellent, as were the margaritas. If you have not noticed, El Tiempo’s house margaritas have become a little less sweet in the past six months or so. We were told that the reformulation was intentional, and a success, in my opinion. I prefer a balance between the sweet and the tart, probably erring on the latter, so I definitely like the change. The margaritas on Saturday were quite tasty, and still packing the expected El Tiempo punch. There is something else quite interesting about their margaritas, which I hope to get to in the future.
The El Tiempo locations and its new neighbor, the original Ninfa’s, have long been the two best local Tex-Mex restaurants, in my opinion. I hope that the new Navigation El Tiempo succeeds, and I hope for continued success for Ninfa’s. With Houstonians love for meat-centric Laurenzo family-style Tex-Mex and the growth of the areas immediately east of downtown, there is plenty of reason to believe both will be often crowded.
2814 Navigation, 77003, (713) 222-6800