Amber Garcia, co-owner of Ambriza Social Kitchen, said she strives to serve authentic Mexican dishes that reflect the diverse culture and food of Mexico. Garcia, who was born in Texas, and her husband, Julio, who immigrated from Mexico, opened Ambriza in October 2016 as a jointly owned business.
The menu features made-from-scratch Mexican dishes, which Garcia describes as a modern twist on traditional food. She also said she steers away from Tex-Mex items commonly found in other restaurants that are not native to Mexico.
“We don’t—we won’t—sell chile con queso,” she said, referring to the popular melted cheese dish.
The duo draws inspiration for the menu from their travels to Mexico, where they frequent places like Veracruz, Oaxaca and Mexico City.
“When we go to Mexico, we are looking for something different,” Garcia said. “[Most Mexican restaurants] always have the same thing … our menu is very diverse.”
Garcia said quality and presentation is also key to standing out in dishes like the cochinita pibil open tamal, which is a pork shank decoratively wrapped in a plantain leaf. Ambriza’s margaritas, she added, use top-shelf tequila and freshly squeezed juice.
The restaurant is decorated with Day of the Dead-themed paintings and skulls of La Calavera Catrina, known as Mexico’s Grand Dame of Death, adorning the walls. Day of the Dead, or Día de los Muertos, is a Mexican holiday that celebrates life and has significant cultural and historical significance. Through this theme, Garcia said she wants to send a message of hope and welcome to patrons as well as staff.
“We give our staff a lot of encouragement. If you look at the host stand, there are a lot of words of wisdom, commitment and passion [written on there],” she said. “Our staff is so passionate and [very supportive of]this concept.”
Ambriza Social Mexican Kitchen
10115 Louetta Road, Ste. 400, Houston.
Hours: Mon.-Thu. 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Fri. 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-11 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m.-10 p.m.