Best of Houston®

Best Of 2008

Neighborhoods

  • + Addison
  • + Austin
  • + Baytown
  • + Braeswood
  • + California
  • + Clear Lake
  • + Conroe
  • + Corpus Christi
  • + Cypress
  • + Dallas
  • + Denton
  • + Downtown/ Midtown
  • + East End
  • + El Paso
  • + Forney
  • + Fort Worth
  • + Frisco
  • + Gainesville
  • + Galleria
  • + Galveston
  • + Greenway Plaza
  • + Heights
  • + Humble/Kingwood
  • + Inner Loop - NE
  • + Inner Loop - SW
  • + Jersey Village
  • + Katy
  • + Kaufman
  • + Kirby-West U
  • + Lake Dallas
  • + Lewisville
  • + Louisiana
  • + Lower Shepherd-Kirby
  • + Memorial
  • + Missouri
  • + Montgomery
  • + Montrose
  • + North-Northwest
  • + Out of Town
  • + Outer Loop - NE
  • + Outer Loop - NW
  • + Outer Loop - SE
  • + Outer Loop - SW
  • + Outside Houston
  • + Pasadena
  • + Pearland
  • + Plano
  • + Richmond/Rosenberg
  • + River Oaks
  • + Royse City
  • + San Antonio
  • + Third Ward
  • + Unknown
  • + Wylie
Map It

Arts & Entertainment

Food & Drink

People & Places

Shopping & Services

MORE

Best Of :: Food & Drink

Best Onion Rings
Raven Grill

When you try the onion rings at Raven grill, you suddenly realize that the prefab stuff you've been eating at Wendy's isn't so good. People actually still hand-make these things to order? Turns out there are still restaurants that create food with heart and soul, like they actually care what you're putting in your mouth. Raven's "tower o' rings" puts a twist on the classic with a stack of onion and poblano pepper rings — hand-battered and fried to order, hot and not too greasy — and a handmade ranch dipping sauce. You could easily ruin the rest of your meal with these thick rings.

1916 Bissonnet, Houston, 77005
MAP
713-521-2027
Best All-You-Can-Eat Buffet
V Star Restaurant
Jeff Balke

When it comes to stuff-your-face gluttony, no one does it better than the Asian-inspired all-you-can-eat buffet at V Star. Located in a strip mall just off of I-45, this place almost literally has it all. A fruit bar, salad makings, a soup station and a seafood bar overflowing with oysters on the half shell, shrimp, king crab legs and spicy crawfish get your engine revved. Next, choose from more than a dozen types of sushi before ambling over to the two long buffet carts continuously refilled with more than 30 entrées. Selections range from fried chicken wings and pizza to typical Chinese fare you'd expect to see at a buffet, such as General Tso's chicken, Szechuan beef, egg foo young and lo mein. Oh, and don't forget dessert. While gluttony can quickly turn to sloth, diners will feel light and virtuous having paid only $9.25 for this belly-busting treat.

6969 Gulf Freeway N., Houston, 77087
MAP
713-645-8886
Best Atmosphere
The Grove

Sure, the food is good, but at The Grove, it's all about ambience. Patrons walk through the entrance and face a soaring wall of windows that look out onto the oak trees and lawns in Discovery Green Park. The dark wood floors and ceiling add a homey touch to this otherwise sleek and modern-looking restaurant that bleeds almost seamlessly into its tranquil park surroundings. Essentially one large room, the restaurant has an open, airy feel; it's a great place to relax on a Sunday afternoon or be seen amongst the well-heeled formal diners at night. If a full meal is too much, then take the elevator up to the Tree House, a bar and wooden balcony/patio ensconced within the city skyline that offers one of the most relaxing views around.

1611 Lamar St., Houston, 77010
MAP
713-337-7314
Best Barbecue Restaurant
Pierson & Company Bar-B-Que
Troy+Fields
Pierson%27s+pork+has+a+big%2C+smoky+flavor.

Friendly, accommodating and spotlessly clean, this top-notch barbecue joint has recently opened in Acres Homes not far from the ashes of the late great William's Smokehouse. Owner Clarence Pierson is a bear of a man who knows his smoked meats. He cooks on an honest-to-God, wood-fueled, Houston-made Klose barbecue pit — not one of those gas-fired stainless steel virtual barbecue pits that burn a little wood every now and then. Pierson's deeply smoked brisket is remarkable, and his pork ribs are tender yet chewy. The Louisiana-style beans are mixed with meat and lots of seasonings so they resemble a cross between baked beans and chili. Desserts include homemade peach cobbler and bread pudding. There's one big family-style table in the middle of the dining room — pull up a chair and make some new friends.

5110 W. T.C. Jester, Houston, 77091
MAP
713-683-6997
Best Beer Selection
The Stag's Head

If the downtown sausage-fest or the jock-stock in the village are not your cup of tea, the Stag's Head and their quality-over-quantity beer selection can be a haven for hopheads. Rather than trying to carry as many beers as possible or using gimmicks, they put some thought into the beers they pour, including Belhaven, Full Sail Pale Ale and Fuller's ESB. With plenty of beer specials and good food, they even make a decent cocktail. Unlike many beer joints around town, the Stag does more than just pull a beer into a pint glass and charge you more for it than a gallon of gas.

2128 Portsmouth, Houston, 77098
MAP
713-533-1199
Best Bloody Mary
Houston's Restaurant

Sure, Houston's is part of a national chain, but boy do they know how to mix one hell of a Bloody. Located on Kirby just south of 59, the upscale eatery doesn't hammer its customers with too much pepper and heat, opting for a less spicy and more flavorful approach to one of America's favorite weekend hangover cures. In addition to tomato juice, their recipe includes homemade cocktail sauce, lots of horseradish and just the perfect hint of Worcester. Many mixes unfortunately don't have enough horseradish, but luckily, that's not a problem at Houston's. Here, a straw is almost useless because of the delicious bits floating throughout the Bloody Mary that for only $7.50 will leave you feeling like you just had the perfect meal.

4848 Kirby, Houston, 77098
MAP
713-529-2385
Brasserie Max & Julie Critics' Pick
Best Brasserie
Brasserie Max & Julie

Owners Laurence and Chris Paul of Café Rabelais fame have managed to create an authentic brasserie experience in the heart of Montrose with their Brasserie Max & Julie. With not too much imagination, you'll be transported to Paris in an instant, and not just by the decor. They have Kronenbourg on tap and an excellent selection of French wines that won't break the bank. Now all that's left is to select from the extensive menu of traditional brasserie favorites like soupe à l'oignon, escargots, foie gras or pâté as a starter. For your main course, you can't go wrong with the steak tartare et frites, the boeuf bourguignon or the cassoulet. Finish with a soufflé. All of these classic dishes are prepared perfectly, and you won't find a more charming place than this one.

4315 Montrose Blvd., Houston, 77006
MAP
713-524-0070
Best Bread
French Riviera Bakery & Cafe
Photo by Catherine Gillespie

The farmhouse loaf made by brothers Louis and Robert Wu is a dense loaf of bread, about 15 inches long, in the shape of an elongated football that is dusted with flour, which makes everything it comes into contact with white. And it is so crunchy that taking a bite may cause scratches in your mouth. This loaf is served in many of the finest Italian restaurants in town and is absolutely the best for dipping in olive oil. Served with nothing but butter, it is addictive, whether it's the day it's purchased or the next day and, once it has begun to harden a little, as toast. There's only one thing wrong with this loaf, and that's that it sells out quickly.

3100 Chimney Rock Rd., Houston, 77056
MAP
713-783-3264
Best Breakfast
Goode Company ­Taqueria

It's a good thing this taqueria is a weekend-only breakfast spot. If not, we'd be sinking our teeth into the migas seven days a week. You might have to wait in line to place your order, but once you have, sit back and have some of Goode Company Taqueria's fresh-squeezed orange juice on the relaxing patio or the funky indoor area, and soon enough, your name will be called. Hot plates of gorgeous pecan waffles are light with real homemade flavor. Savory egg dishes are all over the menu; have them with meats mixed in, or go for a succulent side of quail. The coffee's great, but with Taqueria's laid-back vibe, no one will look twice if you insist on getting one of the thick cinnamon chocolate shakes to start your morning right.

4902 Kirby Dr., Houston, 77098
MAP
713-520-9153
Best Breakfast Tacos
Huarache Azteca ­Express
Troy+Fields
For+more+authentic+huaraches%2C+you%27ll+have+to+travel+to+Mexico+City.

The meat used for the barbacoa de Borrego is lamb, and it's lighter in color and slightly sweeter than the traditional beef used in most barbacoa found in the finest taco joints in Houston. It makes for a great taco, whatever the time of day. The lamb is slow-cooked in traditional Mexican spices until it falls apart. In a homemade corn tortilla smeared with refried beans and topped with nothing but chopped onions, cilantro and hot sauce, it is one of the best tacos you'll ever eat — and at $2, one of the cheapest, as well. Pity it's available only on weekends. Readers' Choice: Taco's a Go-Go

109 Avenue F, Stafford, 77477
MAP
281-261-8282
Best Brunch
Seco's
Jeff Balke

Apart from the fabulous food served here every Sunday, it's also the best bargain in Houston with a sumptuous buffet priced at an incredible $12.99 per person. And as if that weren't enough, bottomless mimosas go for $7.99 and bottomless sangria for $8.99. Start out with a warming bowl of sopa de camarones, a cream-based soup that is as chock-full of seafood as it is with veggies. Skip the made-to-order omelets and waffles — unless you just have to have them — and try the shrimp-stuffed jalapeños, the Salvadoran pupusas wrapped in banana leaves, the migas or the corn or spinach enchiladas. End with the chipotle beef or the pan-fried tilapia. But make sure you try the unbelievable desserts, which include a flan, an incredible tres leches and a bread pudding with whisky sauce.

2536 Nottingham, Houston, 77005
MAP
713-942-0001
Best Burger
105 Grocery & Deli
Photo by Houston Press Staff

The 105 Grocery & Deli is located in the rural hamlet of Washington, not far from Washington-on-the-Brazos State Park. Inside, there are a lot of cold drink cases and about six tables scattered around the interior. The burgers are made on a griddle behind the cash register. They come wrapped in tissue paper in a paper-lined blue plastic basket full of golden fries. The meat bulges out of the bun. It is unevenly shaped, with a lot of charred crispy areas along the edges. Each patty appears to be around two-thirds of a pound. A round piece of iceberg and two tomato slices are positioned underneath the burger in the "upside down" configuration with a modest sprinkling of chopped onions and a couple of pickle slices. The puffy oversize bun is well toasted and spread with yellow mustard and Miracle Whip. If they switched from salad dressing to real mayo, it would probably be the best burger in Texas.

17255 Highway 105, Conroe, 77306
MAP
936-878-2273
X

Best Onion Rings: Raven Grill

Newsletters

All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories
    Send:

Newsletters

All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >