Food & Drinks

  • Best Barbecued Veal

    Kozy Kitchen

    Kozy Kitchen opened in 1946, during the era of segregation. Back then, it was one of many Fifth Ward barbecue restaurants for blacks. The brisket is juicy and tender here, and the beef links are the best in the city. But it's the veal that makes this place worth a detour. The veal sandwich is stuffed with a large pile… More >>
  • Best Bibim Bap

    Green Pine Tree Bar & Grill

    Bibim means "mixed" and bap means "rice" in Korean. So bibim bap means "rice hash." Bibim bap is all the rage lately because it's light and healthy. And the Green Pine Tree is the place to eat it. Their version includes carrots, zucchini, cucumbers and sprouts, all of them marinated in a ginger dressing. The idea is to dump a… More >>
  • Best Doughnuts

    Christy's Donuts

    Everyone goes on and on about Krispy Kreme, but its down-home vibe feels a little bit forced now that the chain is taking over America. So why not go for the real thing? Christy's Donuts on the corner of Montrose and West Gray is a Houston institution. You can't miss its very ugly yellow and red sign out front --… More >>
  • Best Drink List

    The Davenport

    Don't ask the bartenders at the Davenport if they have any suggestions, or you'll be drinking Barbie's Bathwater before the guy next to you makes his first move with his silicone date. Luckily, you don't need to ask for help, because the drink menu at your fingertips offers a long list of hilariously named cocktails. Where else can you find… More >>
  • Best Drink Name

    The Boat at 3 Cheers' Slow Comfortable Screw Against the Wall

    To name a drink is to love a drink. Harvey Wallbangers are for old geezers, Sex On the Beach is not all it's cracked up to be, and having a Screaming Orgasm is what life's all about. But why not just say it like it is? A rainy night at The Boat at 3 Cheers produced this dizzying little number… More >>
  • Best Margarita

    Noche Cocina y Bar

    Your boss has been giving you a hard time. Your lower back's giving you grief. And your girlfriend's not giving it up. Well, the top-shelf margarita at Noche won't get you a promotion, it probably won't heal those aching vertebrae, and it sure won't get you laid. But once you've ordered this delicious concoction, you won't care about any of… More >>
  • Best Frozen Margarita

    Azteca's Margarita Bar & Grill - CLOSED

    Okay, here's the situation: There's this spot near Shepherd Plaza that serves delicious fruit-flavored margaritas that are way too easy to get hooked on. Half the joy comes from watching the fiery señorita behind the bar make them. She puts the flavored syrup (strawberry, raspberry, cranberry, Halle Berry, Ken Berry, Boo Berry, Berry Gordy -- whatever kind of berry suits… More >>
  • Best Mojito

    Florida's Seafood Grill

    Floridita, Florida's, whatever. Management can change the name as often as they like, just as long as they don't change the recipe on the dark rum mojitos. Sweetened lime juice, club soda and fresh mint mingle with dark rum in a tropical paradise. One will get you humming like the overhead ceiling fans; two and you'll swear you can write… More >>
  • Best Martini

    CharBar's Tuxedo Martini

    The folks at CharBar take martini-making seriously, precisely measuring their cocktails as if they were fitting a new suit. And that makes sense, since this bar shares space and ownership with the Duke of Hollywood tailor shop. In fact, about the only thing missing from the fabulous chocolate Tuxedo Martini is owner Mike Shapiro's favorite prop, the tape measure. The… More >>
  • Best Hurricane

    Floyd's

    Hurricanes come and hurricanes go, but the question is which one did the most damage? Floyd's takes no prisoners with its off-the-cuff version, and it pleases us to no end that the drinks are not served in regulation Pat O'Brien hurricane glasses. Grab yourself a seat at the bar, order up a couple dozen oysters and some spicy Cajun fare,… More >>
  • Best Empanada

    Marine's Empanadas Delicias Colombianas

    The menu at Marine's lists 46 different empanadas. The rest of the menu items play second fiddle to these little pockets, filled with delicious delicacies. On the savory side of the menu, the Chuck Wagon ($2) is the way to go. It consists of chopped sirloin steak with mushrooms in a red wine sauce, all neatly packed in a pastry… More >>
  • Best Fried Chicken

    Pollo Campero

    "Tierno! Jugoso! Crujiente!" reads the slogan on the outside of the chicken box. And "Tender! Juicy! Crunchy!" is a pretty fair description of the chicken at Pollo Campero, the fast food fried chicken chain that recently invaded Houston from Guatemala. The crust, formed by a simple flour dip, is very crisp. And the meat is marinated before it's cooked, so… More >>
  • Best Bourbon Drink

    The Twelve Spot's Bourbon Challenger

    Drinking bourbon at the Twelve Spot is a celebration of both the new and the old. The bar is one of Houston's newest hip spots, but its sexy decor is made up of wood as old as the casks that distill this sweetest of whiskeys. The Bourbon Challenger is a fancy name for Wild Turkey with a splash of orange… More >>
  • Best Fried Shrimp

    Barbecue Inn

    Remember the carousel of toppings you used to get with your baked potato at fancy restaurants? Well, you'll still find the old sour cream-go-round at Barbecue Inn. Opened in 1946, this place is a time capsule, and as the long lines at lunch attest, it's also one of Houston's most beloved restaurants. The barbecue is good, but it isn't really… More >>
  • Best Gelato

    Nundini Food Store

    This place started as a wholesale showroom for an Italian food wholesaler. Nundini makes most of the gelati and sorbetti you see in local Italian restaurants. The front of the warehouse doubles as a retail store and Italian deli. The gelati are very good, and the sorbetti are absolutely outrageous. The unbelievably intense raspberry ties with the snow white peach… More >>
  • Best Green Beans

    Kam's Chinese garlic beans

    The first time a friend ordered the L-2 lunch special of garlic string beans at Kam's, we thought she was insane. Maybe all the hot yoga she was doing was melting her mind. Who would order just a plate of green beans for lunch? Have one, she said, as we munched on our lemon chicken. We ate one. Then another.… More >>
  • Best Homemade Organic Cookies

    Ariell's Gourmet Treats

    If you go to the Third Ward community convenience store Reggae Bodega, you'll find Ariell's cookies all laid out on the counter just waiting for you. They come in several scrumptious flavors: oatmeal raisin, cocoa butter, Belgian chocolate chunk, organic rolled oat and, let's not forget the mutha of them all, Ali's Carrot Cake. With their all-natural, made-from-the-finest-ingredients aesthetic, these… More >>
  • Best Hot Dog

    Naturally Yours Café

    It's surprising, but the best-tasting dog comes from a veg joint. Yes, we realize how insane it sounds to pick a vegetarian Best Hot Dog, but tasting is believing. Whether you choose the soy or the vegan dog (served on a whole wheat bun with chips or excellent fries), this pup will leave you panting for more. We like it… More >>
  • Best Ice Cream Flavor

    The Chocolate Bar's Creamy Dreamy Truffle

    Any of The Chocolate Bar's homemade ice creams could be in contention for this award (Root Beer Float and Orange Blossom leap to mind), but their most popular concoction, Creamy Dreamy Truffle, made from triple-chocolate ice cream and chocolate truffles, is to a chocoholic what water is to a fish. (Okay, not exactly: You can't actually swim in the stuff,… More >>
  • Best Italian Sausage

    Candelari's Pizzeria

    Candelari's owner Michael Mays calls himself "The King of Sausages." He even has the slogan curving across the top of the pizzeria's logo. His sausage pizza is very good, but Mays could put his Italian sausage on Wonder bread and still draw raves. As the story goes, Mays founded Candelari Sausage with his Grandpa Candelari's sausage recipe. It is boldly… More >>
  • Best Meatball Sub

    Zinnante's Delicatessen

    When you get a meatball sub to go at Zinnante's, get the sauce on the side so you can heat it up yourself at home. Not only will this keep the sandwich from getting soggy, it also prevents the flying meatball problem. See, the meatballs, bread and red sauce on Zinnante's sub are all outstanding, but when you bite one… More >>
  • Best Mussels

    Café Montrose - CLOSED

    Full of Francophobia but still want good mussels? Switch from French to Flemish at the only Belgian restaurant in town, Café Montrose. When you do, there are four things you need to know. First, even though they list many varieties of mussels on the menu, the best and most traditional are called moules frites, spoken all in one word (that's… More >>
  • Best Noodles

    Lucky Pot

    The house special noodle soup at Lucky Pot comes with big chunks of Chinese bacon, shiitake mushrooms, black mushrooms and dried tofu in a thick brown broth. The sublimely flavored bowl of noodles will remind you of fresh, rough-cut pasta in a mushroom and bacon sauce. But hey, if that doesn't appeal, don't worry. This is only one bowl of… More >>
  • Best Bread

    KraftsMen Baking's Pain Biologique

    Steeped in the old-world European tradition of bread-baking, the folks at KraftsMen Baking produce one of the only organic breads in the city. There's nothing light, airy or dainty about their pain biologique. It's dense and heavy, laden with lots of different kinds of seeds -- like hemp, flax, pumpkin and sunflower. A loaf costs between $4 and $6.50, depending… More >>
  • Best Onion Rings

    Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar

    You may not want, or need, to order anything else after polishing off the tower o' rings at Fleming's. The stack of lightly battered, perfectly fried, giant white onion rings is a full foot tall. Japanese bread crumbs, garlic, salt, peppercorns and parsley make up the lighter-than-air batter that clings without clumping, and the rings are served with a fresh… More >>
  • Best Pasta

    Annabelle's Avocado Pasta

    When a dish that started out as a daily special makes it to the regular menu, it's got to be good. The avocado pasta at Annabelle's is just such a dish. A whole avocado is pitted and stuffed with a delicious, cheesy crawfish mixture. It's then reassembled and rolled in some spicy bread crumbs before being quickly fried and placed… More >>
  • Best Pie

    Flying Saucer Pie Company

    A long, long time ago, Publius Syrus said that to do two things at once is to do neither. Sorry, Pub, but having visited the Flying Saucer Pie Company, we strongly disagree. Since 1967, co-owners Bill Leeson and Marilyn Smith have been doing at least a dozen things at once, each one of them brilliantly. Cherry, coconut cream, pecan, fresh… More >>
  • Best Plantains

    Churrascos

    In Latin America, plantains -- raw, mashed or fried -- are what's for breakfast, lunch and dinner. So it's no surprise that they show up all over South American menus in Houston. One of the best uses for the banana's big brother is the plantain chips at Churrascos. Known for its tender steaks and divine tres leches, Churrascos secures its… More >>
  • Best Poor Boy

    Original New Orleans Po' Boy

    In their definitive rendition of the oyster poor boy, the humble Main Street dive called Original New Orleans Po' Boy approaches greatness. They start with a toasted skinny roll, a spatula-full of tartar sauce, a bed of lettuce and a couple of tomato slices. Then come the six golden oysters fresh from the fryer. They fit the bread perfectly. If… More >>
  • Best Road Kill Pork

    Daniel Wong's Kitchen

    Never thought you'd ever eat anything that had the words "road kill" in its description? Think again. Daniel Wong's Road Kill Pork is good, really good. It's basically the same dish as the restaurant's garlic pork, but with fewer vegetables and more meat. We recommend starting off with some dumplings and an order of Sparkling Chicken (chicken wrapped in aluminum… More >>
  • Best Pupusas

    El Pupusodromo

    Any late-night Inner Looper knows what a taqueria is. But a pupuseria? Ask a Salvadoran and they'll tell you that's where you go to get pupusas. These delicious little treats are thick, soft, corn masa tortillas stuffed with cheese, refried beans, chicharrones (pork cracklings) or any combination thereof. Eaten with cortido, a spicy Salvadoran pickled cabbage-and-carrot side dish (like kimchi… More >>
  • Best Ravioli

    Romano's Pizza

    Who in their right mind would go to Romano's and not order the pizza? This shopping center spot is known for its thin, crispy, delicious pies, but if you never try the portobello ravioli, you're denying yourself an insanely indulgent pleasure. The Queens, New York, transplants at Romano's make this daily special from scratch, and you can taste it in… More >>
  • Best Salsa

    La Jaliscience

    The way we see it, if a Mexican restaurant doesn't make its chips and salsa in its own kitchen every day, then it's not worth your time. There's nothing like dipping one of La Jaliscience's hot, greasy chips into their smoky, spicy, tomato souplike salsa. Served steaming hot -- if someone gets lazy and brings it cold, just ask for… More >>
  • Best Sangria

    Otilia's - CLOSED

    Finding good sangria at a restaurant is as difficult as predicting summer rain. Don't fool around with commercial, store-bought knockoffs when you can have the real thing made with love by the owners of Otilia's. A former hamburger stand, this family-owned Mexican eatery concocts a sangria that would make Jerry Jeff Walker pick up his guitar and sing it for… More >>
  • Best Cheap Sandwich

    Original Givral's Sandwich Shop

    Pass on the $6 panini. Decline the $8 deli sandwich. Instead, visit the original Givral's sandwich shop and try a banh mi thit for between $1.50 and $2 each. At Givral's, they use time-honored methods for making these Vietnamese hunger-busters. They start by heating an eight-inch-long French roll until it's super-crispy. Then they cut it lengthwise, scooping out all of… More >>
  • Best Tofu for Carnivores

    Vung Thai Cafe's cashew ginger tofu

    There are many reasons to like tofu: It's good for you, and it's versatile. But there are some people who think tofu basically tastes like nothing -- no matter how many spices you put on it or how much soy sauce you drown it in. These are people who could never imagine the phrase "Can I please have some more… More >>
  • Best Tropical Drink

    Hotel Galvez's Tidal Wave

    Tropical drinks just seem to taste better when they're served in proximity to a large body of water. And it's almost too appropriate to order a drink called a Tidal Wave -- rum, pineapple juice and blue curaçao -- within spitting distance of Seawall Boulevard. Most bars have 'em (tropical drinks, that is), but few can offer a setting like… More >>
  • Best Tuna This Side of the Atlantic

    Solero's yellowfin tuna Mediterranean

    Leave it to master chef Arturo Boada to turn a healthy fish into a sheer taste delight. His yellowfin tuna Mediterranean stands out even among several stellar offerings on the menu of this downtown restaurant and bar. Boada takes primo sashimi-grade tuna, sears it in the skillet and piles on the ultimate in pleasure foods: fresh artichokes, garlic, olives, peeled… More >>
  • Best Use of Asparagus

    Canton Seafood's chicken-wrapped asparagus

    Asparagus doesn't make its way onto most beef- and broccoli-laden Chinese restaurant menus. But at Canton Seafood, they've got a dish that puts the stalk center stage. They take a chicken breast, pound it flat and wrap it around thick shoots of asparagus. Then they drown it all in a tasty, sticky-sweet sauce. You may think to yourself that it's… More >>
  • Best Veggie Burger

    Houston's Restaurant - CLOSED

    There's an open grill right by the hostess stand, shamelessly charring the flesh of a variety of animals. Then there's the low lighting, leather banquettes and black-clad servers. It's enough to make a vegetarian think, "There's nothing for me here." But don't despair. Houston's just so happens to make the most delicious veggie burger ($8) in its namesake town. The… More >>
  • Best Breakfast Tacos

    La Flor Taqueria - CLOSED

    What can you get for less than a dollar these days? One heck of a breakfast taco at La Flor Taqueria. You'll find a line every morning as the cooks ladle out taco after taco. The standard fare on the steam table includes eggs with potatoes, eggs with sausage and eggs with bacon. But the real finds are the fajitas… More >>
  • Best Breakfast

    The Breakfast Klub

    Mmm, butter. From the neatly folded three-egg omelettes to the crisp Texas toast to the mess o' fluffy grits, The Breakfast Klub's grub is saturated with it. And what's not dripping with butter is perfectly fried, which is what makes the wings-and-waffle breakfast plate and the catfish and grits so popular. This little joint, housed in a former convenience store… More >>
  • Best Ceviche

    Anthony's

    It's hard to find something great to say about Anthony's since it moved into Vallone's old spot on Kirby, but their seafood martini wins Best Ceviche hands down. This is no watery, frozen-fish-tomato-goo dish. Instead, it's all about fresh mangos with Asian cabbage in a lemon vinaigrette. You want crustaceans in that ceviche? You can't miss the big chunks of… More >>
  • Best Chicken-Fried Steak

    Ouisie's Table

    Ouisie's Table serves a world-class chicken-fried steak -- without a doubt, one of the best in Texas. But it's available only on Tuesdays, when the Southern-fried specialist makes her weekly appearance. The sides are usually mashed potatoes, a vegetable such as mustard greens and custardy corn pudding. The undulating golden-brown crust is so perfect that the cream gravy is astutely… More >>
  • Best Chicken Soup for the Soul

    Niko Niko's lemon chicken soup

    So your sinuses are stuffed and you can't breathe. You feel like hell, and don't want to cook. Call Niko Niko's and order some lemon chicken soup to go. The steam will clear up your sinuses. The strips of chicken will make you feel like you're getting some protein. The rice in the soup will fill you up. And the… More >>
  • Best Restaurant

    Hugo's

    Houston is a Mexican food town. And Hugo's Mexican food is among the best in the nation. Rick Bayless in Chicago and Zarela Martinez in New York are chef Hugo Ortega's main competitors -- few others come close. As a native of Puebla who received his culinary training here, Ortega has a big advantage. His grasp of Mexican flavors is… More >>
  • Best New Restaurant

    Artista

    Michael Cordúa's best dishes are shockingly imaginative combinations of bold flavors presented in wild new ways. And there has never been a better stage for Cordúa's brilliance than Artista, his extraordinary new restaurant in the Hobby Center. The location in the performing arts center has inspired everything about the restaurant, from the name to the menu design to the theatricality… More >>
  • Best Cajun Restaurant

    Joyce's Seafood and Steaks

    Joyce's is a rarity: a high-end restaurant with great Cajun food. There's lots of grilled fish and a couple of steaks on the menu, but the Louisiana cuisine is the real attraction. The awesome shrimp poor boy is made with shrimp that have been butterflied and dipped in a spicy batter before being deep-fried and dressed on a crusty roll.… More >>
  • Best Chinese Restaurant

    Fung's Kitchen

    Like fresh fish? Pick out a ling cod swimming in one of the aquariums up front and Fung's Kitchen will rush it to the stove, steam it and serve it up in a minimalist soy and ginger sauce for you. It is the purest fish flavor you will ever taste. But if fish isn't your favorite, don't worry -- you're… More >>
  • Best Comfort Food Restaurant

    Lankford Grocery and Market

    Eydie Prior's parents opened Lankford as a grocery in 1939. After a while, Eydie took over and started serving food. It was well received, so in 1977 she decided to turn the place into a restaurant. Since then, generations of regulars have filled the rickety joint to the gills nearly every day. Anyone who's ever heard of Lankford will ask… More >>
  • Best Cuban Restaurant

    Latina Cafe

    This is the place for home-style Cuban food. The restaurant could never be considered fancy, but the food, that's another story. The mariquitas con mojo make a great starter. Thin plantain chips are covered with an onion, garlic, olive oil and lime sauce that will have your taste buds singing. Entrées include many classic Cuban dishes like ropa vieja, vaca… More >>
  • Best Deli

    Kahn's Deli

    Alfred's in the Village was once Houston's favorite New York Jewish deli -- legendary for its overstuffed sandwiches, kosher-style pickles and box lunches. Today, Alfred Kahn's son, Michael Kahn, carries on the tradition at Kahn's Deli in Rice Village, not far from his father's original location. The walls are decorated with old photos of Alfred and Houston celebrities of yore… More >>
  • Best Dim Sum Restaurant

    Kim Son

    On the weekend, Kim Son's carts carry an average of 70 dim sum items. Don't miss the velvety eggplant stuffed with shrimp paste, mushroom-capped meatballs, Chinese broccoli, golden-fried turnip cakes, slurpy rice noodle rolls, cylinders of shrimp paste wrapped in seaweed and deep-fried in tempura batter, pork dumplings with quail eggs inside, or the sweet taro roll covered with almonds.… More >>
  • Best Ethiopian Restaurant

    Blue Nile Ethiopian Cuisine

    Resist the temptation to ask for a knife and fork. When you eat Ethiopian-style, the spongy flatbread called injera serves as both your plate and your eating utensil. You pull off a chunk of bread and wrap it around the food, turning everything into an injera taco. There's even Ethiopian salsa, not that you need it -- the food at… More >>
  • Best Expense-Account Restaurant

    Capital Grille

    Capital Grille is the perfect place for you, if: a) you are male, b) you like a clubby atmosphere, c) you like your meat well hung, and d) you're spending $100 of someone else's money. Start out with the Grille's steak tartare ($9.95), which is the best there is. Skip the soup or salad and head straight for the dry-aged,… More >>
  • Best French Restaurant

    Café Rabelais

    François Rabelais's writings were known for combining earthy humor and sophisticated themes. And this tiny French cafe honors its namesake with delicious irony. Though located in a sophisticated urban shopping center in Rice Village, Café Rabelais features rustic peasant dishes from the French countryside. Try the astonishing mussels in cream sauce, the merguez et frites (lamb sausage and french fries)… More >>
  • Best Indian Restaurant

    Restaurant Indika

    Grilled mustard shrimp with tomato chutney and a sensational seafood mulligatawny are just a couple of the new Bombay-on-the-Gulf of Mexico seafood dishes you'll find here. All of the food is remarkably innovative. Owner and head chef Anita Jaisinghani once worked as a pastry chef at Cafe Annie, and the sensibility shows. This isn't a typical Indian restaurant with a… More >>
  • Best Chef

    Scott Tycer

    Among the smiling faces on the cover of July's Food & Wine magazine is Scott Tycer, the chef and co-owner of Aries restaurant. Tycer and nine other young chefs were chosen by the magazine as "America's Best New Chefs 2003." According to the magazine, Tycer's work at Aries fits in with a movement going strong in New York, Chicago, San… More >>
  • Best Italian Restaurant

    Da Marco

    When The New York Times reviewed San Domenico, a restaurant thought by many to serve the best Italian food in Manhattan, the critic raved about an incomparable pasta dish that was so good it was unfair to the competition. It was a giant ravioli stuffed with a poached egg yolk and drenched in truffle butter. Sound good? Well, you're in… More >>
  • Best Late-Night Restaurant

    Cosmos Cafe

    You're out having fun. You've had a few. You get the munchies. But you want to keep partying (or a member of your party wants to keep partying). Cosmos Cafe will keep everyone happy. The bar/live music venue/eatery serves food until midnight Mondays through Thursdays, until 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and until 10 p.m. on Sundays. And we're… More >>
  • Best Long Lunch

    Rainbow Lodge

    The wine room at the Rainbow Lodge will seat six, but to enjoy a really long lunch, it's better to go just as a pair. The cozy room is actually the wine steward's office, so you'll be luxuriating next to some of the all-time great bottles of wine. (Don't be tempted to lift one, since any suspicious-looking packages may be… More >>
  • Best-Looking Restaurant Staff

    Istanbul Grill and Deli

    We should be up front and say that there are plenty of other reasons to visit Istanbul Grill and Deli besides the fine-looking staff. They have amazing stuffed mushrooms, soft bread that melts in your mouth and a wonderful Rice Village setting that includes outdoor dining. But what's wrong with wanting a little something nice for the eyes to digest… More >>
  • Best Mexican Restaurant

    El Hidalguense

    When you walk in the front door, the scent of mutton commands your attention. Or is it goat? The restaurant's specialties are barbacoa de borrego estilo Hidalgo (Hidalgo-style lamb "barbecued" in maguey leaves) and chivito asado al pastor (charcoal-roasted kid goat). For a weekday lunch try the fabulously decadent tulancigueñas, three thick flautas stuffed with ham, jalapeños and mayonnaise, sprinkled… More >>
  • Best Mom-and-Pop Restaurant

    Tex Chick

    The mom-and-pop team of Teo and Carmen Gonzales has been running the funky-looking Tex Chick restaurant since 1982. The food is a schizoid mix of burgers, chicken-fried steaks, tacos and other Tex-Mex dishes, along with the only Puerto Rican food to be found in Houston. The mix owes itself to some shrewd thinking on the part of the owners, who… More >>
  • Best Pakistani Restaurant

    La Sani Restaurant & Banquet Hall

    You expect fiery curries and hot masalas in the Little Karachi neighborhood around Bissonnet and U.S. 59, but La Sani is something special. The food here is spicy in every sense of the word. Whole ginger, fenugreek seeds, chiles, garlic, cumin seeds and coriander come blaring at you in concentrations so intense that you can barely tell what you're eating.… More >>
  • Best Patio

    El Pueblito Place

    When you sit outside at El Pueblito Place, you'll start believing you're on vacation in a foreign land -- especially after a couple of margaritas. Palm trees with Christmas lights, tiki torches and candles give the expansive patio a romantic feel, and there's always live music, usually Latin. If you're with your harem, you can sit in one of the… More >>
  • Best Pizzeria

    Pizza Bella

    Frozen dough, machine sheeters and conveyor belt ovens long ago took over the pizza business. Thanks to the miracle of technology, Houston pizzerias can now turn out crappy pizzas in under five minutes! But compared to most pizzerias in Houston, Pizza Bella is making perfect pies. They use a stainless-steel Blodget brand pizza oven with a brick floor -- one… More >>
  • Best Place to Feed Five People for $5

    Lai Lai Dumpling House

    The General Tso's chicken comes to the table in a heaping portion. There's enough for five people -- five big people. If you order it by yourself, the leftovers will last a week. The chicken seems to be a favorite here, as it's almost always on every table. But it's not the only thing that's super-sized: The dumplings are the… More >>
  • Best Hostess with the Mostess

    Maeve Pesquera

    Maeve Pesquera may have graduated from hostess at Anthony's to operating partner of the new Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, but she hasn't lost her touch with diners. Like children following the Pied Piper, the in-crowd flocked to Fleming's right along with her. While running a restaurant keeps her busy, she still spends time on the floor meeting and… More >>
  • Best Place to Skip Dinner and Go Straight to Dessert

    Dessert Gallery Bakery & Café

    There are two kinds of people in the world: dessert people and people who do not even bat an eyelid when dessert is mentioned. The former can get more excited about a piece of Chocolate Decadence than any appetizer or entrée. The Dessert Gallery was created especially for these people. There is so much to choose from that you almost… More >>
  • Best Portuguese Restaurant

    A Taste of Portugal

    Owner Jorge Fife is the chef, bartender and occasionally the waiter. He also provides the entertainment at this wacky little joint in the northern suburbs. Fife isn't from Portugal -- he grew up in Mozambique, one of its former colonies. So while there's Portuguese chourico and feijoada on the menu, you'll also find curry from Goa, a Portuguese colony in… More >>
  • Best Pre- or Post-Theater Restaurant

    Bistro Lancaster

    Dim the lights and let the show begin. The cast of characters in this cozy nook of The Lancaster Hotel ranges from the elegant to the occasionally eccentric. The richly hued set reflects the intimate, refined taste of a real Broadway in the heart of the Theater District. While the city shells out millions in tax breaks for hotel and… More >>
  • Best Retro Mexican Food

    Maria Selma

    Besides the fact that the orange building with hammered-tin ceiling and yellow-stucco interior is pretty retro in itself, the food at Maria Selma harks back to bygone times. Traditional enchilada dishes feature the meat and sauce on top of the tortillas, not rolled up inside. And the old-style Mexican flavors mingle in such soft tacos as carne asada con nopales… More >>
  • Best Russian Restaurant

    Russian Bear - CLOSED

    The Russian Bear is actually two dining establishments in one. The front room is a charming little cafe with excellent Russian food -- a wonderful place to take the kids. But on the other side of the room divider, there's an exotic-looking nightclub with red velvet curtains, huge mirrors and crystal chandeliers that serves up dinner and Russian entertainment on… More >>
  • Best Seafood Restaurant

    Goode Co. Texas Seafood

    Jim Goode is a fisherman. If you don't believe it, check out the photos on the wall. Goode is the intense-looking character in the flowing ZZ Top beard and the chef's pants decorated with skulls. And he seems to have been photographed holding up a string of nearly every variety of fish that swims in the Gulf of Mexico. Goode… More >>
  • Best Steak House

    Brenner's Steakhouse

    Brenner's was well loved by several generations of Houstonians, and there were a lot of moans and groans when it closed its doors last year. But the place has reopened after a complete renovation by its new owner. Landry's Restaurants Inc. CEO Tilman Fertitta had fond memories of eating here when he was growing up, and he gave the place… More >>
  • Best Transylvanian Restaurant

    Charivari

    An intense-looking man with very short dark hair and a Bela Lugosi accent, Charivari chef and co-owner John Schuster grew up in the Transylvanian region of Romania. He worked as a chef in Vienna and Budapest before opening his first restaurant in the Black Forest of Germany. So as you might expect, Schuster's shredded veal "Zurich-style," as well as all… More >>
  • Best Sushi Bar

    Sasaki Japanese Restaurant

    If you're bored with the minimalistic architecture and uncluttered decor of Japanese restaurants, you'll find Sasaki refreshingly bizarre. The place goes overboard on goofy serving contraptions and Japanese tchotchkes. But Sasaki is on the opposite end of the hipness spectrum from popular sushi restaurants like Coco's and The Fish. There aren't many guys with piercings or babes in little black… More >>
  • Best Tex-Mex Restaurant

    Molina's Mexican Restaurant

    The two-plate Mexico City dinner at Molina's is a classic of the genre. The salad plate includes a beef taco, a bean tostada, a puffy tortilla with queso and a guacamole salad. And on the hot plate, there are gooey cheese enchiladas in chili gravy with onions, a tamale with chili con carne, and rice and beans. A pecan praline… More >>
  • Best Atmosphere

    Vic & Anthony's Steakhouse

    The martini is icy, the club chair is plush, and Frank Sinatra is crooning on the sound system in the cushy lounge at Vic & Anthony's, the opulent new steak house across the street from Minute Maid Park. On the back wall of the bar is a small black-and-white photo of a smiling Old Blue Eyes posing with owner Tilman… More >>
  • Best Turkish Restaurant

    Empire Turkish Grill

    Some say Turkish food is the mother of all Middle Eastern cuisines. The overloaded mezeler plate at Empire Turkish Grill proves the point. The dish includes foods from many different regions, few of which lie within present-day Turkey. But it was the Turkish sultans who first brought Asian eggplant and okra, Persian spinach and caviar, Arabic hummus and tabbouleh, and… More >>
  • Best Vegetarian Restaurant

    Soya Cafe

    This new Spring Valley strip mall spot offers a surprising multiculti take on vegetarian food -- from its steamed veggie dumplings to soy sausage hot dogs to roasted eggplant Parmesan. Although Soya Cafe exudes the antiseptic aesthetic typical of vegetarian restaurants, the food here is much tastier than what you get at the old standbys. The stir-fried rice, loaded with… More >>
  • Best Vegetarian Indian Buffet

    Bombay Sweets & Pure Vegetarian Restaurant

    In the Indian community, Bombay Sweets is known for its huge candy case and elaborate selection of chaat, the popular Bombay snacks made with crunchy stuff that tastes like breakfast cereal. For everyone else, the buffet is the main attraction. Try the awesome chickpea curry called chana masala and the spicy fire-roasted eggplant stew called bengan bhurta. Lots of other… More >>
  • Best Vietnamese Restaurant

    A Dong

    This is no tourist joint, so don't expect anybody to explain things in English for you. But if you're looking for exotic Vietnamese specialties, you can't beat A Dong. Muc rang muoi, hot fried cuttlefish over a cold watercress salad, is the No. 1 thing to order here. "Summer delight," a tossed salad of pork, shrimp and jellyfish over salad,… More >>
  • Best Service

    Tony's

    Oh, come on. You knew it was still Tony's, right? The Post Oak institution is the white-glove, cork-waving place to dine if you want to really be waited on. And it's not just about being surrounded by help -- it's the feeling that you're somebody. If Cheers is the place where everybody knows your name, then Tony's is the place… More >>
  • Best Afghani Restaurant

    Kabul Restaurant

    According to the sign in the window of this no-frills grill on Hillcroft, Kabul serves such traditional Afghani foods as tekka kebab, shami kebab and the ever-popular qaduiy pulow. But don't worry about the weird names: Everything ends up being highly spiced ground lamb or ground beef shaped onto kebabs and grilled. The green chutney is made with jalapeños and… More >>
  • Best Brazilian Restaurant

    Emporio Brazilian Café

    Most Americans seem to think that Brazilians are all cowboys, like the gaucho waiters at Fogo de Chão. But if you want to experience the African-inspired home cooking that represents Brazil's true cuisine, you have to go a little farther down Westheimer. Emporio Brazilian Café is a homey affair. The modest, 18-table restaurant is equipped with folding chairs and a… More >>
  • Best Barbecue Restaurant

    Thelma's Bar-B-Que

    Thelma's might best be described as a joint. It's a joint, however, that serves terrific barbecue. When brisket is cooked to perfection, the outside is black and a little charred. Underneath the char should be a thin layer of pinkish-red meat. The meat should have a deep, smoky flavor, but it should not overpower. It should be slightly moist, never… More >>
  • Best Burger Joint

    Adrian's Burger Bar

    How can a Fifth Ward hole-in-the-wall with a burned-out TV and a bunch of falling-apart chrome dinettes be considered the city's best burger joint? Tradition. Adrian Cooper may run this place, but it isn't really his hamburger -- it's his grandmother's. Vivian Wilson started serving it at Vivian's Lounge on Market Street 40 years ago. Today, the menu on the… More >>

Search Best Of Awards

Best of Award Graphics

Loading...