Best of Houston®

Best Of 2013


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Food & Drink

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Best Of :: Food & Drink

Best Salsa

A good salsa adds life and flavor to a taco, but a great salsa makes that combination spectacular. This is true of the spicy smooth tomatillo and avocado salsa that accompanies your order of tacos or quesadillas at the Taconazo truck located in the heart of the north side. The fajita tacos from this unassuming food truck in the parking lot of a vulcanizadora (or tire-repair shop) are served hot and delicious but a bit dry. Open it up, douse it with green goodness, eat and enjoy. You'll be hard-pressed to find a more satisfying combination of meat, tortilla and salsa this side of the Mexican border.

4003 Fulton, Houston, 77009
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 Salsa: Taconazo


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