We Love Food

Our 100 favorite dishes in Houston.

No. 46: Sicilia salad at Trevisio

6550 Bertner, 713-749-0400

This elegant, highly civilized Sicilia salad features frisée topped with juicy oranges, delicate white anchovies, tangy Castelvetrano olives, fennel and heirloom tomatoes: a salad with thought behind it, existing as a showcase instead of a repository for kitchen scraps. No. 45: Dahi puri at Sweet 'n' Namkin

No. 89: Eggs El Salvador from Brasil
Katharine Shilcutt
No. 89: Eggs El Salvador from Brasil
No. 76: Bacon-avocado burger from Facundo Cafe
Allison McPhail
No. 76: Bacon-avocado burger from Facundo Cafe


No. 44: Hot dogs at Moon Tower Inn

3004 Canal, 832-266-0105

Moon Tower Inn is a restaurant unto itself, existing in a hazy gray area between food stand, icehouse and fancy-schmancy artisanal sausage joint. You'll want to "Shut Up and Wait" for its constantly shifting rotation of hot dogs/sausages-in-a-bun served on soft Slow Dough pretzel bread, like the hopped-up "Talilamb" with cumin and caraway. Note: Moon Tower Inn is temporarily closed but is expected to reopen this summer.

No. 43: Real guacamole at Yelapa Playa Mexicana


No. 42: Akaushi short ribs at Soma Sushi

4820 Washington, 713-861-2726

Truffle-glazed American wagyu short ribs, topped with a Boucheron goat cheese mousse, scallions, sesame seeds and cilantro, sounds decadent. But the meat quickly melts on the tongue, like butter on a hot skillet, vanishing with a terrifically clean flavor.

No. 41: Country-fried chicken livers at Haven

2502 Algerian Way, 713-581-6101

Fried up like gizzards from a highway gas station, the livers have a thick, crunchy outer coating that manages not to crush the delicate liver inside — a feat in and of itself. Underneath are small coins of buttered biscuits covered with an andouille sausage-studded gravy.

No. 40: Seafood gumbo at Cajun Town Cafe

6476 W. Little York, 832-467-3360

Filled with okra, oysters, crab and shrimp in a dark roux, it's a standard Cajun classic. And sticking closely to tradition that states your meats should never be mixed, this gumbo is all seafood — no sausage or chicken found here.

No. 39: Tacos at Karanchos

620 Sheldon, 281-862-9968

These spicy tacos — like the flame-colored tacos de chicharron or trompo — have a tendency to creep up on you just like a karancho, a sneaky little devil. So does the velvety green sauce on the tables at this charming outdoor taco truck/picnic area near Channelview.

No. 38: Crepes at Melange Creperie

403 Westheimer, 832-724-9464

Whether it's a savory crepe of ham, eggs, goat cheese, cheddar and spinach; a sweet crepe of bananas and Nutella; or a combination of savory and sweet like goat cheese and fig, owner Buffalo Sean knows how to pair his flavors for maximum impact, just like you'd get on the streets of Paris.

No. 37: Gua bao at Yummy Kitchen

9326 Bellaire, 713-541-4420

This finger food comes with a hulking piece of fatty pork belly tucked inside a soft bun. On top are pickled mustard greens — a necessary element to keep the fattiness of the belly in check — and a dusting of crushed peanuts and brown sugar that make the pork taste almost like pig candy, save for a bright bite of cilantro at the end.

No. 36: Guanciale burger at Plonk Beer & Wine Bistro

1214 W. 43rd, 713-290-1070

In place of the bacon, Plonk uses thick slices of cured guanciale as the pork product atop a grandstanding, hand-formed patty that's covered with caramelized onions and a thick coat of salty Gruyère cheese, served with delicious house-cut sweet potato fries.

No. 35: Snapper al cilantro at Teotihuacán Mexican Cafe

1511 Airline, 713-426-4420

The egg-battered snapper is always cooked to a nice medium-well and covered in a butter-based sauce that's slightly tart from a generous amount of lemon juice and white wine. The sauce takes the soapy edge off the cilantro and enhances its sweet, vegetal flavor.

No. 34: The Houstonian at James Coney Island

3607 S. Shepherd, 713-524-7400

As a Texan hot dog should, JCI's comes topped with chili in addition to cheese and minced onions. You can get two Texan dogs on a plate with tater tots and a drink. It's called The Houstonian, and it's a bargain for a slice of Houston history at less than $7.

No. 33: The Montrose at Amy's Ice Creams

3816 Farnham, 713-526-2697

A bowl of Amy's own sweet cream ice cream is mixed with two of my favorite toppings — sliced bananas and miniature marshmallows — as well as rainbow sprinkles. I shouldn't have to explain why this last touch is exactly what makes it The Montrose.

No. 32: Lobster bisque at Philippe

1800 Post Oak, 713-439-1000

This is not your standard bowl of bisque: Witness the tamale-size cod quenelle on top, or the fact that the bisque itself is primarily lobster and lobster stock, emulsified with only a touch of cream into a frothy bowl of pure lobster bliss.

No. 31: Tacos de cabeza y ­orejas at El Ultimo Taco Truck

7403 Long Point, 713-859-6706

Cabeza is exactly what it sounds like: fatty meat scraped from the head of the cow, much like barbacoa. And orejas are slices of pig ears, a delicacy any fan of Chinese food will be familiar with. Ordering both presents a brilliant textural contrast: soft, decadently greasy cabeza and chewy, tripe-like orejas.

No. 30: Oyster stew at Danton's Gulf Coast Seafood Kitchen

4611 Montrose, 713-807-8883

The smoky, slightly spicy tasso that Danton's tosses into its oyster stew is vital because it can easily be too creamy otherwise. The smoke of the meat cuts through that cream and enhances the sweet, briny flavor of the fat oysters inside.

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Thanks for the 2012 dining guide!