We Love Food

Our 100 favorite dishes in Houston.

No. 88: Frank the ­Pretzel from Eatsie Boys


The pretzel bun comes from Slow Dough Bread Co., and the chicken sausage frank inside it — mixed with poblano peppers, parsley, feta and parmesan — is made by the Eatsie Boys themselves, served out of their mobile food truck. Keeping it in the family, it's topped with homemade Chardonnay mustard from Al Marcus of Grateful Bread, the father of Eatsie Boy Matt Marcus.

No. 70: Moules frites at the Broken Spoke Cafe
Allison McPhail
No. 70: Moules frites at the Broken Spoke Cafe
No. 47: Pho ga at Pho Ga Dakao
Katharine Shilcutt
No. 47: Pho ga at Pho Ga Dakao

No. 87: Caldo Tlalpeño from Tacos del Julio

8203 Long Point, 832-358-1500

Thick pieces of white-meat chicken, pulled straight off the bone, fill a citrus-tinged broth along with hunks of carrot, potato, avocado and white squares of panela cheese. The best part is dosing your soup with the plastic tub of smoky chipotle chiles in dark red adobo sauce on the side.

No. 86: English pea soup at Brasserie 19

1962 W. Gray, 713-524-1919

Sweetly vegetal and tasting of springtime on a miserably hot summer day, Brasserie 19's pea soup is lightly chilled, and the peas' simple sweetness further complemented by an island of jumbo lump crab meat in the middle of the bowl.

No. 85: Falafel from Zabak's Mediterranean Cafe

5901 Westheimer, 713-977-7676

The little discs are lightly crispy on the outside and softly crumbly on the inside, with a fine texture that's not too compact nor too loose — a textural rarity in this town. The dark brown exterior of the falafel parts to reveal an interior of green, thanks to parsley and fresh jalapeños among the ground chickpeas.

No. 84: Buttermilk-fried pork loin with fried eggs at Canopy

3939 Montrose, 713-528-6848

The pork loin is tender enough to cut with a fork as the crispy exterior shatters softly underneath. On top is a jalapeño-sausage pan gravy that yields a smoky, complex flavor that snaps with bites of fresh peppers. Use the golden yolks as additional "gravy" for the potatoes if the jalapeño gravy gets too hot.

No. 83: Grillades and grits from BB's Cajun Cafe

2710 Montrose, 713-524-4499

This traditional Cajun creation uses slow-cooked cuts of beef (the grillades, pronounced "gree-yahdz") in a dark, roux-like gravy served over grits. At BB's, it's served with a flaky, fluffy biscuit that you'll want to use to sop up every last drop of gravy.

No. 82: Haemul dolsot from Seoul House

10603 Bellaire, 281-575-8077

Wait for your bowl to cool down before mixing all of the ingredients — octopus, squid, crawfish and various vegetables — or else you'll lose the crisping effect the hot stone bowl imparts. The resulting dish is a playful heap of flavors and textures: crunchy rice mixed with soft vegetables, chewy squid, sweet seafood and a spicy, vinegar-based red sauce.

No. 81: Pandan waffles at Parisian Bakery III

8300 W. Sam Houston Pkwy. S. #176, 281-776-0503

The waffle has the same sweet, eggy taste and texture as a regular waffle, but with fascinating tropical notes from the pandan grass itself. The result is a waffle colored green from the pandan's chlorophyll and sweetened with a very light, clean coconut flavor.

No. 80: Pita bread and hummus at Phoenicia Specialty Foods

12141 Westheimer, 281-558-8225

The hummus here is smooth and silky, without being so soft as to render its primary ingredient unrecognizable. There's still that tiny bit of chunkiness to the tangy, tahini-laced hummus, which clings perfectly to the hot, homemade pita that's also made in-house.

No. 79: Goat pepper soup at Peppersoup Cafe

10010 Bissonnet, 713-776-8989

Pepper soup packs a fun punch if you're game. Its dusky, goat-filled broth is seasoned with garlic, chile peppers and a variety of Nigerian spices, then further kicked up by the addition of a thick red paste called "alligator spice" for its ferocious bite.

No. 78: Melon and Texas feta salad from Beaver's

2310 Decatur, 713-864-2328

Honeydew melon at its greenest and sweetest is accented with fat white peaks of Brazos Valley raw feta. The salad is also topped with diced bacon, thin slices of fresh jalapeño, pumpkin seeds and pickled red onions that pack a tart little punch with each bite, all finished with a serrano-based vinaigrette.

No. 77: Hot Italian beef from BB's Beef & Hot Dog


No. 76: Bacon-avocado burger from Facundo Cafe

3103 Ella, 713-880-0898

It's not just the burgers at Facundo Cafe that make this place special; it's the cafe itself, located improbably inside a car wash at Ella and Loop 610. Here, you can get your car detailed and your oil changed, all while you watch Chef Danny Harper work the grill in his tiny space. Fresh, crunchy spinach functions far better than iceberg lettuce and buttery slices of avocado work their magic in the same way that an oozing slice of cheese would in this burger. The slightly sweet sourdough bun mirrors the salty sweetness of the applewood-smoked bacon, and Harper happily cooks the meat to order.

No. 75: Pancakes from Fountain View Cafe

1842 Fountainview, 713-785-9060

The pancakes here are impossibly thin, straddling the line between pancake and crepe, with lacy, delicate edges and a rich, buttery taste. If you're wondering about that softly sweet flavor underneath, it's the vanilla in the batter.

No. 74: Hobnobs from Fluff Bake Bar


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Thanks for the 2012 dining guide!