Best of Houston®

Best Of 2013


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Food & Drink

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Best Of :: Food & Drink

Best Bistro

There's something about Roost that resonates with Houston's dining public. Maybe it's the unpretentiousness of the setting, with its low ceilings and unassuming, simple furnishings. Or perhaps it's the fact that the restaurant is located smack-dab in the middle of a residential neighborhood, within walking distance of people's homes in the 'Trose. The excellent food by chef and owner Kevin Naderi is definitely one of the reasons Roost has been such a hit since it opened. There's the Slow Dough bread service, which varies from week to week, with a hunk of sourdough one week and a shiny challah the next, served with a choice of flavored butters that includes everything from foie gras to beet. There's that already-famous creamy cauliflower that's insanely delicious. And then there are all those comfortable dishes that eat so well — a simple chicken and dumplings, a well-executed steak frites, a blackened fish over Southern-style greens — dishes that are good and wholesome, uncomplicated and yet gourmet in spirit. From the casual ambience to the consistently great food, Roost definitely deserves the title of Best Bistro.

1972 Fairview St., Houston, 77019
Best Banh Mi
Cafe TH
Photo by Troy Fields

No neighborhood Vietnamese spot is complete without some amazing banh mi...and Cafe TH has just that. The cozy cafe's trademark sandwiches are just as vibrant as Houston's favorite front-house man, chef and owner Minh Nguyen. While the crusty, freshly baked baguettes that Nguyen sources are almost reason enough to try a sandwich, it's the perfectly executed fillings, both traditional and non, that truly take his banh mi to the next level. Come in for the classic xiu mai, with luscious pork meatballs and French butter, or the "Heart Throb," made with double pork, double chicken, two eggs and bacon. Or if you're of the more daring variety, try the Zombie Banh Mi, made with, well, everything.

2108 Pease St., Houston, 77003
Best Neighborhood Spot in Midtown

Piola is one of those spots that are fun and hip yet comfortable. You can come here with your family or friends or by yourself when you're in a hurry. Primarily a pizza joint, this is not your run-of-the-mill fast-food pizza but true Neopolitan-style thin-crust pizza made from recipes handed down by masters in Italy. The classic margherita, with nothing more than fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and basil, is always superb. Pizzas like the Capricciosa, with ham, sautéed mushrooms and artichokes, are subtle but fantastic as well. Many pizzas are named after cities: Firenze (Florence) comes with porcini mushrooms and sausage; Napoli comes with anchovies and olives; Brooklyn with chicken breast and gorgonzola; and Houston with jalapeños, fresh avocado and diced tomatoes. The happy hour is one of the best in town, with discounted pizzas and drinks, and free finger foods are passed out at the bar. But the great thing about Piola, the reason it's such a great neighborhood spot, is that it encourages community. Language students gather monthly to practice Italian. Gnocchi day is celebrated on the 29th of every month. The pizzas are also light enough that you can eat them regularly without the guilt — perfect for takeout on your way home from work.

3201 Louisiana St., Houston, 77006
Best Doughnuts
Revival Market

If you're going to start your Saturday with a doughnut, Revival Market's fried delights are the way to go. The grocer's upscale creations include flavors like Meyer Lemon & Sour Cream-Filled, Valhrona Chocolate & Malted Milk, and Apple Pecan. The doughnuts are a perfect marriage of delicateness and decadence. The only problem is that Revival bakes them only on occasional Saturdays. But that just makes them taste all the sweeter.

550 Heights Blvd, Houston, 77007
Best Drive-Through
Taqueria El Rey
Jeff Balke

El Rey is not your typical fast-food joint. Sure, the food comes out fast, but what we have here is a full-fledged Mexican-Cuban restaurant. Where else can you pick up a succulent, golden-skinned rotisserie chicken and a three-taco meal, complete with Mexican rice and pork-laced charro beans, at a drive-through window? Not to mention, they do breakfast. Drive-through Cuban coffee, anyone?

910 Shepherd, Houston, 77007
Best Greek Restaurant
Niko Niko's

Every time you visit Niko Niko's, you quickly realize you're not the only one who had the same idea. This Greek restaurant is always packed with loyal customers trying to satisfy their gyro and falafel cravings. There's nothing fancy about this family-owned place, and there doesn't need to be. Whatever you order, whether it's the lamb shank, the Greek salad, or a chopped lamb and beef gyro sandwich, you know you'll get the same quality and flavor each time.

2520 Montrose Blvd., Houston, 77006

Best Bistro: Roost


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