Best Neighborhood Spot in the Galleria Area Houston 2001 - La Vista
The Friends crowd that inhabits the apartments along Fountainview, as well as their more established neighbors in Tanglewood and Briargrove, pack this tiny sidewalk cafe, which is as casual as a backyard barbecue and about as economical. The gimmick here is BYOB, with a small corking fee, but fortunately a liquor store is located right next door. Don't be surprised when a perky hostess pours your wine right there in the strip-center parking lot, before directing you to have a seat in the lounge -- actually two rows of plastic lawn chairs lined up in a parking space! The menu boasts an affinity for Italian dishes, as well as some good Latin American specialties, but the most pleasant surprises are in comforting modern American specials like grilled pork chops braised in a hearty brandy broth, and beef tenderloin in a port wine, apricot and cherry sauce. Desserts also are good, but don't expect an espresso on the side. As the waiters say, La Vista doesn't do coffee. No coffee and no booze? Good thing it's so charming -- and so cheap.