Safina- InterContinental Hotel Houston Medical Center
Seafarers ruled the Mediterranean bringing riches to empires. Coastal towns established fame for luxuries and for mercantilism that continue to exist to today. Without seafaring vessels, this would not have been possible. It is the simple invention of boats and ships that created the bounty of the Mediterranean and it is there we find inspiration in our name, Safina. Safina is Lebanese for “boat.” Beautifully humble in its simplicity, confidently assured in its purpose. This mix of humbleness and confidence is found in our food, service, and experience
Great food and ambiance. My first time to dine there, but the poor service seemed out of character. Felt like our wait-staff may have been having a bad night as we felt ignored most of the night and they got one of our orders wrong.
Good to know and taste the difference of Sarina from other Mediterranean cuisine.
Still a good meal choice for the Texas Medical Center, but they have lost a couple steps since their opening (this was by fourth visit).
Nice space, pleasant waitress, awful food, poor value. Mussels were dry and tasteless, clearly reheated frozen. Pasta bolognese was mushy spaghetti with tasteless meat sauce, just like Chef Boyardi from the can. No bolognese taste in evidence. Food server would appear suddenly and drop the dishes in front of you and disappear. Waitress managed to find a passable Malbec when no Chianti was available. Her courtesy avoids all zeros in my rating. After dinner I felt ill.
Confusion +, at 1:30p we were one of two dining parties and the staff seemed totally perplexed as to why we were there. The seating station showed a Christmas menu priced per person with offerings (on which I believe the items were individually priced) so I asked if it was a buffet and was told yes. When I viewed the buffet it was breakfast and in no way represented the Christmas menu so we requested menus to order from after confirming they were serving menu items. Once we ordered from the menu we were told we had received the dinner menu and my wife’s selection was not available and were given the lunch menu. All the while staff which outnumbered us 4 to 1 were moving around with no particular place to go. We ordered and received the food (which was interesting and flavorful.) During the meal someone who appeared to be the manager passed our table three times without inquiring about or satisfaction or even an acknowledgement. Glad we reserved or I doubt we would have been seated.
The food was simply amazing! It made for an amazing date night!
Guter Service und gutes Essen
Gorgeous interior. The restaurant is to the right when you walk into the hotel lobby. The ceilings are really high and the restaurant has a themed Mediterranean decor. Service was exceptionally fast and the food was delicious. I got the cavatelli pasta and added chicken. The noise level in the restaurant was very low. I think the restaurant lights could have been dimmed a bit for ambiance but overall, great place for dinner.
Good place near med center to go for work related dinner
Wait service seems slow. Has potential to be more than hotel diner. Wait staff does not accommodate for business/work meetings if service remains slow. I will try again.
Just a place to grab a bite if you are in a business trip maybe but not a culinary experience
The food was very good and the server was nice too but it took a long time for the service and the place was not even full.
Middle of Imelda and roads were flooded. Food hadn’t been delivered so meal was a buffet.
Delicious options, but I sat for 20 minutes before anyone told me it was buffet only.
My husband and I found the service and ambience very good. While these components are important, we expect the food to be as good as the environment. We found the food to be pretty...meh...
For example the cheese and charcuterie tray was boring; cheddar (with mold), smoked gouda and something hard white and bland with 2 types of salami. Yes there were olives and raisins and bit of honeycomb accompanied by plain water crackers. The fish (snapper?) was dry and tasteless but on the positive side, the roasted veggies were good but served at room temperature. And lastly, our first wine choice was not available. All that said, I hope this new eatery can get its act together and become the fine restruant I feel it has the potential to be.
The beef short rib my wife had was good, the risotto was not so great. As for my dish, I ordered the Beef Kafta which was very overpriced for the quality. The beef patties were so basic that I can make at home in a few minutes...Hummus was good and the kids enjoyed their burger and chicken tenders...
The first and 2nd courses were fantastic and the servers were pleasant and attentive. However, the cocktails could have been made better and the desert was not goo at all. Overall I would recommend this restaurant and would go back again but I would not eat desert and if I want a drink I'll order wine.
Delicious food and outstanding service in a beautiful setting! I look forward to returning again soon.
Came for HRW lunch and was not disappointed! The anchovy honey butter added to crispy brussel sprouts is a game changer. I mean mouthwatering, spoon licking, and bowl licking good. I couldn't eat it all because I got full so fast but I'm already dreaming about eating it for lunch tomorrow. Of course I boxed it up to go! Not letting any of it go to waste. Green asaparagua risotto was delicious. If you love asaparagua and risotto then you won't be let down with this dish! They only thing that was mis-leading is that in the HRW menu it shows 3 courses you can choose from but in reality you can only choose 2 courses out of 3. We didn't see on the menu but unless we are blind as bats and didn't see it then it probably should be added on.
Safina provides a phenomenal dining experience. The decor is lovely, the service is excellent (Renier was our primary server and fantastic), and the food was exquisite! It was a welcoming experience from the first minute. From the appetizers (we had hummus and brussel sprouts) to the salads (arugula grapefruit salad and roasted beet salad) and the entrees (winter squash ravioli, short ribs, and lamb chops), every bite was DELECTABLE! And make sure to save room for dessert! The pecan sorbet was excellent. I cannot say enough good things about Safina. It is a dining jewel in the Houston Medical Center!!!
The decor and atmosphere are simply beautiful, upscale and quiet. The wait staff is very nice however not very knowledgeable about the menu nor the bar drinks. We basically educated our waiter on their own food selection, what it was and where it comes from, yes that's right. Now onto the food; pricey but good portion, lovely presentation but lacking in "wow" factor, tasty but nothing special, spicy yet lacking flavor somehow. We were told the chef is from Portugal, which probably explains why the mediterranean dishes we ordered were seriously lacking in staple ingredients. For example Hummus must have garlic and lemon and not just a chickpea and tahini mixture. Taboule is not a bulghur salad but has bulghur to compliment it, it also needs parsley and tomatoes and most definitely lemon. The Kafta spicy with foreign flavors hinting to more Indian than MIddle Eastern. The couscous and the spicy chicken were Moroccan dishes with spicy heat that overwhelmed the flavor. On special was the "red snapper" at $40 which arrived covered with vegetables, legumes and other ingredients, where is the fish? It wasn't red snapper either, nor was it worth $40. We did have an enjoyable dinner however we were not impressed with the food too much.
First time to go to Safina, and I was not disappointed. The layout to the restaurant was very open and light, and the food was excellent. I would recommend the caprese shortbread, the Brussel sprouts and the Power bowl with prawns. My favorite part of the meal however was the dessert, which was intricate and delicious. Will definitely be going back as a top option in the medical center, which has been lacking good food options.
It was perfect!
What an esthetically pleasing restaurant! The service was excellent and the food very good. I would definitely go back again.
I had breakfast at Safina. Instead of the nice, but fairly typical hotel buffet, I had the Lebanese breakfast off the menu, which was outstanding (and a better buy for the amount of food compared to the buffet). Warm pita, lebneh, za’atar, onions, mint, tomatoes, cucumber, and feta. I also had the very good overnight oats with nuts and currants. Overall, an outstanding breakfast in an area with limited choices.
The place was great! It's a hidden gem in the Medical Center. The food and service was fantastic!
We had a magnificent meal at Safina last night. The lentil soup as an appetizer was so delectable. The soup just brimmed with flavors and warmth. So comforting after a day at the medical center if that's where you've been. My wife had a salmon entree and I had the short rib brisket. The salmon was delicate and suffused with flavor. It couldn't have been better presented. My short rib brisket was so soft you could eat it with a spoon. The taste was outstanding. Chef Wicks came to speak with us during our meal. You could tell that this man was dedicated to helming this restaurant to continued greatness.
Food is delicious!! Customer service is one of the BEST in the Houston area! You MUST try the brussel sprouts... a must appetizer with lunch and dinner.
Howard, their Dir of F&B was very gracious and the waitress, Andrea, very knowledgeable about the menu choices and was spot-on with her suggestions.
The food is amazing! Presentation is one of a kind and service is top notch!
Beautiful place for breakfast or lunch, not so great for dinner. We enjoyed two breakfasts here and one dinner. We went for dinner because our first breakfast was good and had good service (don't miss the Eggs Benedict or Overnight Oats). Dinner was O.K. but the atmosphere was much like one was dining at a breakfast place (this is the ONLY place to dine in the hotel): brightly lit, not at all intimate and the service was not as good as one would expect at a neighborhood breakfast place and clearly NOT at an Intercontinental Hotel level. The server was unscrewing the top on the wine (nice $50 bottle priced at 4 times retail) as he was approaching the table. He then poured a testing glass first for the husband then another, unsolicited, for the wife. At one point with my wife's fork in-hand poised over her entree to get another bite, the waiter literally whisked the plate from under her fork and returned it when politely informed that she was not through dining. Throughout the meal at least five different people were involved with us--on one occasion we were interrupted by a lady who was apparently some sort of management person who asked how things were and yet another time by the hostess with the same sort of inquiry. After this second visit for dinner we decided to again enjoy a good breakfast. Our second breakfast was very different from our first. After confirming our orders (we both ordered toast) the food was prepared and delivered. We received no toast. When we inquired, he server said that it was on its way--it was; there was a 5 minute interlude while they prepared it. When they delivered it they placed one order between the two of us (one diner on each side of the booth). When informed that we EACH ordered toast another interlude while it was prepared. In all three visits, I was surprised when the bill was presented face up so both diners could see the amounts. Maybe this is the stylish method but not terribly discreet.
This was our first experience with Safina and it was very good. The food was delicious - the humus was very fresh and the braised short ribs and mushroom risotto were superb. We will come back again the next time we are in Houston.
What a gem! It’s so nice to have a nice option convenient to the med center that’s so bright and open. Lovely ambiance, first rate service and amazing food.
After making the reservation on Open Table several hours earlier and requesting standard seating, we arrived to the restaurant with the table not ready despite the main restaurant looking about 50% empty. it took only a few minutes until we were seated at a high top table. There was a large party in the not so private dining area which contributed to a very loud noise level. I can only imagine the noise level when the restaurant is full.
Although very friendly, the waitstaff was slow. Not one dish was delivered to the person who ordered it. My salad never arrived. The wine list is very limited and on the expensive side for the amount of wine per glass.
The food was delicious. Our party of six had salmon, short ribs, and the ravioli. No one had a speck of leftover on their plate. Desserts were equally tasty and beautifully presented.
Throughout the meal several staff dropped by the table to see how things were going. This did not improve the overall service.
Seated by the very large windows overlooking Main street, by the end of the evening it was quite chilly requiring coats.
When leaving I asked several staff if the valet parking was validated for the restaurant and no one knew the answer. However there was no charge for the parking which was a nice surprise. I hope this is policy and not a mistake.
Its new, but they need to do some work on their presentation and atmosphere. We shared Brussels sprouts and they were very good. My colleague had a pasta dish that was OK. I had Branzinno that was actually well prepared and tasty. However, the wait staff didn't seem to be on point, kept forgetting things and the wine list is VERY weak - no significant variety in bottles.
Again, its new, but I expect better from restaurants in Intercontinental Hotels...
Such a beautiful setting and regardless where you are seated you will have a perfect 360 view. The decor is so clean and crisp. I had the pleasure to dine in for lunch with 9 colleagues today. I had the braised short ribs with risotto and requested added spinach. It was pretty good, very lite in seasoned but fulfilling. The hummus trio was a nice appetizer to try if you like chickpeas. Cute presentation and I recommend it.
Flavors and presentation out of this world!
BEST Mediterranean food in Houston!
It was absolutely fabulous! I loved the risotto. The ambiance and interiors are amazing. Can’t wait to go back.
WOW!! Talk about a stylish and seductive celebration of fine Mediterranean cuisine and culture... amidst tastefully appointed decor. Perfect for weekend brunch, lunch, dinner or having a drink at their beautiful sleek marble bar!
The scallops dish was just perfect!! GM Menno and staff made us feel welcome right away, and the attention to detail was incredible!
Beautiful Hotel! Congrats!
Safina- InterContinental Hotel Houston Medical Center is rated 4.2 stars by 40 OpenTable diners.
Yes, you can generally book this restaurant by choosing the date, time and party size on OpenTable. Due to local restrictions, this restaurant may not be accepting reservations at the moment.