Best of Houston®

Best Of 2015

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Best Of :: Food & Drink

Best Soup Dumplings

Tucked away in the corner of a strip mall on Bellaire in Chinatown, One Dragon Restaurant is as unassuming as it is special. This one-room hole-in-the-wall with no more than ten tables is presided over by a husband and wife who barely speak English but whose mission is to serve up Shanghai cuisine like you'd find in China. You can have an entirely solid family meal here made up of several family-style entrées, and it will be excellent, but the thing that everyone comes here for — the reason there's often a one-hour wait during the lunch hour on weekends — is that One Dragon has mastered the delicate and mysterious craft of making the most delicious xiao long bao, or soup dumplings. Not a single table goes without an order or two or three of these beauties. They come six to an order, the outer dumpling wrapper elastic but ultra-thin. Grab one softly with your chopstick, and it will sag with the weight of the soup inside. Bite into the dumpling and it will gush pleasantly with flavorful broth before you bite into the small pork patty inside. It's an absolute thing of beauty that is well worth the wait.

9310 Bellaire Blvd., Houston, 77036-4504
MAP
713-995-6545
Best Comfort Food
Urban Eats

Classic comfort foods get a refresh at this hot Washington Ave bistro-market hybrid. The energized, urban vibe of the exposed brick and art-filled space makes its way into the menu through things like duck fat camper's hash, buttermilk beignets and fried chicken, and "3 Pig" truffled mac and cheese — that cheesy and gooey skillet loaded with smoked bacon, pancetta and honey-glazed ham just may be the epitome of comfort. But if you're still on edge, Urban Eats's laundry list of poutine-style frites and craveworthy signature sliders (featuring everything from the pot roast- and gravy-loaded Sunday Dinner slider to a Fried Green Tomato BLT) should help.

READERS' CHOICE: the breakfast klub

3414 Washington Ave., Houston, 77007
MAP
832-834-4417
Best Bloody Mary
Down House

Life is too short to drink bad Bloody Marys. And if you're going to get your morning boost through tomato juice and vodka, you may as well tack on a crispy and tender fried chicken wing and beer backer, right? The peppery Big Ol' Bloody Mary at this packed-for-good-reason Heights haunt will give you just that. It'll also give you a perfectly tart, seriously spicy house mix and a foolproof cure for your hangover­.

READERS' CHOICE: Liberty Kitchen & Oysterette

1801 Yale, Houston, 77008
MAP
713-864-3696
Best Cafeteria
Cleburne Cafeteria

Though the cash-only spot has been around awhile — in various forms since 1941, to be exact — this isn't some tired cafeteria. The unassuming eatery brings in fresh farmers' market produce daily and has an inhouse butcher. It isn't your school cafeteria, either. Here, "hot lunch" means you're getting scratch-made chicken and dumplings with a side of beautifully charred Brussels sprouts, flaky poached salmon with tomato and feta salad, and bigger-than-your-head chicken-fried steak with gooey mac and cheese. Just save room for the daily baked bread pudding and lemon chess pies. Oh, and don't forget that cash.

3606 Bissonnet, Houston, 77005
MAP
713-667-2386
Best Family Restaurant
Bernie's Burger Bus
Photo courtesy of Bernie's Burger Bus

This messy burger-slinging truck already had good grades on its report card, but when it turned brick-and-mortar last year, the king of beef earned honor roll status. And with air conditioning, plenty of seating and an expanded menu featuring things like salad, poutine fries and boozy milkshakes, it's the kind of place the entire family can get down with. Recess grilled cheese sandwiches and mini burgers are perfect for the little ones, while those with growing appetites can smash stacked burgers made with daily-ground Black Angus beef, addicting inhouse condiments, and buttery, scratch-made buns. Trust us — this is one time your family won't mind taking the school bus.

5407 Bellaire Blvd, Bellaire, 77401
MAP
Best Greasy Spoon
Triple A Restaurant

This greasy spoon next to Canino's Produce may be old school (you may get called "honey" or "darlin'"), but that just makes it taste all the better. The family-owned and operated diner has been keeping Houstonians happy and full since 1942. With new, self-proclaimed "comfort food" concepts popping up all over the city, it's reassuring to know that you can stop by old faithful to fill up on grade A diner classics. Head here for the huge and cheap breakfast plates, blue plate specials and a cream-gravy-smothered CFS just like your mawmaw made.

2526 Airline Dr., Houston, 77009
MAP
713-861-3422
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Best Soup Dumplings: One Dragon Restaurant

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