Food & Drinks

  • Best Sushi

    Osaka Japanese Restaurant

    Nestled into a small Montrose-area strip mall, this place has been a favorite of neighborhood patrons for some time. Osaka serves up some of the largest and freshest pieces of sashimi a person can find in the city. The salmon is always so magically fresh, you can't believe it's served at a sushi restaurant in Houston. But if you prefer… More >>
  • Best Milk Shake

    Cricket's Creamery and Caffe - CLOSED

    Next time you're on 19th Street riding your bike and window-­shopping with your best friend, stop into Cricket's Creamery and have a strawberry shake. Cricket's makes its own ice cream and gelato, so that's a good start for a really good shake. Ask for it to be extra-thick and with whipped cream on top. The whipped cream is real —… More >>
  • Best Cheap Sandwich

    Hoang Sandwich - CLOSED

    In the middle of the "food court" of the Kim Hung Mall is a Vietnamese sandwich shop that sells super­delicious sandwiches for $1.75. Sure, you can find a limp little burger at your local chain for 99 cents, but it won't have near the quality this sandwich does. First, Hoang uses a really kick-ass French baguette, crunchy on the outside… More >>
  • Best Onion Rings

    Little Hip's Diner

    Little Hip's pays homage to a now-defunct diner once located in San Antonio. Among its standout classic Texas-style (by way of Louisiana) dishes is the homemade onion rings. While most local diners settle for the frozen bag of prefab rings, Little Hip's shows the love by breading every one of these flaky grease-soaked halos to order. There are plenty of… More >>
  • Best Mac and Cheese

    T'afia - CLOSED

    We all know everything Monica Pope touches turns to gold: food, cocktails, locations, even her wait staff. Take her simple-but-elegant mac and cheese. On any given Tuesday, you can walk into T'afia and order a side of mac and cheese just like mom used to make — that's if your mom used bow tie pasta and powdered cheddar to make… More >>
  • Best Pizza

    Antonio's Flying Pizza

    The gourmet pizzas at Dolce Vita on Westheimer are fine — if they cook them long enough to get them crisp. But if you find yourself craving a plain old-fashioned cheese pie, it's time to go to Antonio's Flying Pizza. Antonio Rosa really throws his crusts. Normally, he caters to Houstonians, loading the pies with too much cheese and too… More >>
  • Best Sangria

    Tio Pepe

    Sangria is translated from a Latin word meaning "thin out your blood before sex in the sun near the sea." Yeah, we know you and your older brother used to mix all of your dad's cheap wine with a bunch of fruit and booze and get totally shit-faced every summer. Grow up and head over to Tio Pepe and let… More >>
  • Best Taco

    Taco Verde, Tacos a Go-Go

    Sure, they might not be the most authentic tacos in town — and heck, the entire establishment is puro bolillo — but we can't get enough of the tacos verde at Tacos a Go-Go, and we're not just talking about the times we stumble over there drunk from a night of carousing at the Mink or the Big Top. Filled… More >>
  • Best Guacamole

    Mucho Mexico Restaurante and Seafood Bar

    There are no secret ingredients to Mucho Mexico's guacamole — it's just avocado, onion and tomato smashed into a creamy dip that sits on top of a mound of lettuce. It isn't made in a showy tableside performance or served on any special dish, but Mucho Mexico's back-to-basics approach delivers what is easily the tastiest guacamole in town. Made daily… More >>
  • Best Enchiladas

    La Guadalupana Bakery and Café

    Ah, enchiladas, the cornerstone of all Tex-Mex combo plates. Most are good in the sidekick position, but there are a very few that can take center stage and demand the spotlight for themselves. The mole enchiladas at La Guadalupana are among them. A little different from the ordinary rolled tortilla topped with cheese and a chili sauce, these enchiladas are… More >>
  • Best Martini

    McCormick & Schmick's

    McCormick & Schmick's intriguing vibe and fantastic service don't begin and end with the restaurant portion of the building. One part Casablanca, one part fully stocked bar, this Uptown seafood restaurant enjoys paying homage to the history of the cocktail. Their "gin delicious" martini is a classic in itself, a modern twist on an old recipe that hints at a… More >>
  • Best Fried Chicken

    Barbecue Inn

    For the best fried chicken in town, there's nothing like homemade. But if mama's isn't available, there's always the Barbecue Inn. I know, you're thinking, BBQ Inn? Yep, BBQ Inn. When you order the Southern fried chicken, you will face two problems. The first is that it takes 25 minutes, because it's made from scratch. The wait is somewhat alleviated… More >>
  • Best Bread

    Central Market

    Duomo means dome in Italian, as in the top of a cathedral. It is also the name of a loaf of bread and, as its name suggests, it is big and round. It is also so crusty that it hurts the inside of your mouth when you bite into it. It's not soft and squishy or limp and lifeless like… More >>
  • Best Cheesecake

    Cheesecake Factory

    If you ate one slice of cheesecake every day, it would take you more than a month to make your way through the offerings here — not counting special holiday offerings, which might add a couple more days to your adventure. Of course, no one is suggesting you do that, unless you a) would like death by chocolate, b) plan… More >>
  • Best Mollejas

    Taqueria Tacambaro Taco Truck

    Maria Rojas serves her mollejas (sweetbreads) on two griddle-heated corn tortillas with caramelized onion and chopped cilantro on top. She puts the sweetbread tacos and a half of a lime on a Styrofoam plate and sets out a little stone molcajete full of dark hot sauce beside it. The sweetbreads have a delightfully mild flavor and a lovely fluffy texture… More >>
  • Best Desserts

    Dacapo's Pastry Deli

    If you have even the slightest sweet tooth, you will find this place irresistible, not only for the sheer quantity of desserts, but the way they remind you of homemade cooking — you know, the kind that happened before the microwave. If you're yearning for an old-fashioned raspberry and blackberry pie, then the "wild berry blast pie" is for you.… More >>
  • Best Kebabs

    Darband Shish Kabob

    Chances are, if you do only one thing, you're gonna do it right. At Darband, all they do is kebabs and, yes, they do 'em right, every time. This is a no-nonsense place, where six bucks buys you a kebab plate like no other. Here, you get in line, review the menu on the wall above the cash register (there… More >>
  • Best Ice Cream

    Hank's

    In many ice cream shops, the choices are so overwhelming that most people either take forever to order or just order vanilla, chocolate or strawberry so as not to hold up the line. At Hank's, the choices are not overwhelming — there's a manageable 16 flavors in all, which they rotate based on the availability of seasonal fruit, and every… More >>
  • Best Oysters

    Jimmy G's

    The oyster bar is the first thing you see when you walk in the front door of this Cajun seafood restaurant near Bush Intercontinental Airport. Belly up to the bar and get a couple dozen on the half shell and a cold beer. They serve half-shell oysters all year round, but if you're playing it safe you'll order the cooked… More >>
  • Best Rum Drinks

    Slider's Bar & Daiquiris

    This Montrose-area hipster pool hall has a creative array of frozen daiquiris featuring our favorite Caribbean invention. Concoctions like the Slippery Climax and the Force Field go heavy on the rum and light on the everything else, including price. Their use of Bacardi 151 and Malibu rums makes the mixes enjoyable and doesn't leave your face too puckered by a… More >>
  • Best Mussels

    Café Montrose - CLOSED

    'Twas a brave soul that first ate an oyster, and the same can be said of mussels. When it comes to mussels, or moules as they are called in French, no country does more with them than Belgium, where moules frites (mussels and fries), pronounced as one word, has become the national dish. At Café Montrose, you can enjoy mussels… More >>
  • Best Tamales

    La Mexicana

    Decent Tex-Mex may be as plentiful as traffic jams here in Houston, but when it comes to authentic Mexican tamales, one need look no further than 25-year-old La Mexicana. Their homemade tamales are nothing short of spectacular. They always taste fresh and have generous doses of pepper and chile powder. Calling these "kinda spicy" is like calling Beyoncé Knowles "kinda… More >>
  • Best Lasagna

    Patrenella's

    Eating lasagna at Patrenella's is like eating lasagna at the home of a kind Italian family. Wait a minute – that's exactly what this is. Sammy Patrenella welcomes guests to his home in the Heights, which his father built in 1938 and where the family has lived ever since. He's expanded it a few times, but patrons get to eat… More >>
  • Best Pork Chop

    Perry's Steakhouse

    The pork chop at Perry's ain't no ordinary pork chop, it's a damn roast. It's known as the Seven Finger Pork Chop, 'cause when it stands tall on your plate, it's a full seven fingers high. Before carving it, your server will inform you that this cut has an eyelash, ribs and tenderloin and that it takes a full five… More >>
  • Best Pho

    Pho Binh

    There's a ritual to eating the Vietnamese beef noodle soup known as pho that makes each bowl as individual as you are. It involves adding leafy vegetables and herbs such as cilantro, sweet basil and bean sprouts, an element of heat from jalapeños or Sriracha sauce, plus additional flavoring from Hoisin, fish and soy sauces, as well as lime juice.… More >>
  • Best Hero Sandwich

    Jersey Mike's Subs

    You go up north, you can get in some pretty heated arguments about where to get the best hero. Hell, you can get into heated arguments about whether to call the thing a hero, a sub or a grinder. Here in Houston, though, the choice is pretty simple: Jersey Mike's. A national chain, it started out as a single store… More >>
  • Best Fried Shrimp

    Café Annie

    "Chicken-fried shrimp" on the bar menu at Café Annie is one of the best fried-shrimp creations you will ever put in your mouth. Half a dozen big shrimp are butterflied and skewered together to form a "patty" which is then dipped in batter, deep-fried and served flat on a plate like a chicken-fried shrimp steak. The batter is light and… More >>
  • Best Salsa

    Chuy's Comida Deluxe

    Though Chuy's serves pretty good salsas all year long, during the month of September, their green chile salsa is the best in town. The vibrant New Mexican-style green chile salsa served up during their annual "Green Chile Festival" is made with chiles roasted fresh in the parking lot for the occasion. They bring in giant propane roasters on wheels with… More >>
  • Best Dumplings

    Fu Fu Cafe

    Fu Fu's awesome soup dumplings appear on the menu disguised as "A26 Steam Pork Bun (4) $2.50." The only way to appreciate the true genius of the soup dumpling is to burst the whole thing in your mouth. That way, the soup combines with the soft dough and the loose meatball to form a wonderfully slurpy bite of soup, meat… More >>
  • Best Dim Sum

    Kim Son (Stafford location only)

    The Hong Kong-trained chef at Kim Son's Southwest Freeway location in Stafford turns out more than 100 different dim sum dishes. His green-skinned xiu mai is gorgeous, and his shrimp-stuffed eggplant is divine. Ask for the photo-illustrated dim sum menu at the front desk; it will help you figure out what you are seeing rolling by on the carts, since… More >>
  • Best Chicken-Fried Steak

    Lankford Grocery and Market

    Lankford Grocery and Market started out as a grocery store, but it became so famous for hamburgers that at some point, it morphed into a restaurant. Today, this funky country-style café in an inner-city neighborhood is a Houston civic treasure. The breakfasts are excellent, the hamburgers are stellar and they have the best chicken-fried steak in the city. Unfortunately, it's… More >>
  • Best Drink Special

    The Concert Pub

    While the heyday of the Richmond Strip has gone the way of slap bracelets and grunge, The Concert Pub's Industry Night Mondays are the best way to get drinks that are typically expensive on the cheap. With their $2 Kamikazes and $4 Bull Blasters, you can pull an Elvis and combine uppers with downers all night long without worrying whether… More >>
  • Best Cheeseburger

    Max's Wine Dive

    The city's best cheeseburger starts with a half pound of juicy ground Kobe cooked medium-rare. The cheese is nothing less than triple cream brie, troweled on extra thick. The bun is a ­custom-baked brioche fashioned by the artisan crew at Kraftsmen Bakery. Once the burger is mounted on the roll, it is topped with the chef's own house-pickled jalapeños. The… More >>
  • Best Baklava

    Phoenicia Specialty Foods

    They bake seven varieties of baklava fresh every day at Phoenicia. There are Turkish ground-walnut triangles that ooze honey with every bite. And then there are the large Turkish cream and orange blossom syrup-filled baklava that taste a little like phyllo dough éclairs. The Persian baklava is layered with a heavenly filling of aromatic ground cardamom. And the richest of… More >>
  • Best Burger

    T-Bone Tom's Steakhouse Restaurant

    T-Bone Tom's is a Kemah meat market that morphed into a restaurant. The burgers are exceptional, thanks in large part to the quality of the hamburger meat, which is ground fresh daily on the premises. The meat is formed into a distinctive square patty in your choice of a quarter-pound or half-pound size. Both are cooked to order and served… More >>
  • Best Empanadas

    Venetian Bistro & Pastry Shop

    Houston is well-endowed in the empanada department. There are Colombian, Argentinean and Central American empanadas to choose from. But the richest, flakiest, tastiest in town are served at this Venezuelan pastry shop in Braes Heights. The half-moon-shaped meat pies come with a delicate yellow crust and your choice of a minced chicken or beef filling. They taste like a cross… More >>
  • Best Fish and Chips

    Wild Kitchen

    "Wild Kitchen, London and Cajun Style" reads the confusing sign in front of this wacky fish-and-chip stand. The Korean-American owner, Joon, explains that he moved to Houston from Northern California, where he had a 14-store chain of London-style fish-and-chip restaurants. But when he tried to serve London-style fish and chips in Houston, everybody asked for spicy Cajun-style seafood instead. So… More >>
  • Best Cheese Plate

    13 Celsius Wine Bar

    Cheese plates are popping up as fast as the wine bars that carry them, and the one at 13 Celsius is particularly delicious. Served with mostarda di prugne (plum mustard), apples and a piece of fig cake, the plate comes with a variety of local and foreign cheeses. The waitstaff is knowledgeable and happy to help if you're not well versed… More >>
  • Best Shot

    The G.R.A.B.

    Featuring a healthy dose of self-deprecating humor and an army of oversexed twentysomething beauties on both sides of the bar, The G.R.A.B. manages to fit into a niche so many Houston bars have failed to grab hold of: the gap between the bohemian hipsters of Montrose and the gel-haired yuppies of Midtown. Their signature shot, Alexa's Sweet Kiss, embodies the… More >>
  • Best French Fries

    Laurier Café & Wine - CLOSED

    Laurier Café is a modern neighborhood bistro with some seriously addictive fries. Shoestring cut, they are always crispy, golden and piled high. Whether you choose the traditional steak frites, the steamed mussels and fries with a side of aioli, or one of the many outstanding sandwiches with fries offered at lunch, there won't be any left on the plate when… More >>
  • Best BLT

    Brasil

    Bacon is sacred. And there's no reason to go messing with the time-honored formula of the classic BLT...unless you're going to do it right. The BLT at Brasil treats bacon with the respect it deserves. The addition of blue cheese, herbed aioli and red onion does good things for this sandwich, as does the choice of fresh focaccia or ciabatta.… More >>
  • Best House-Made Pasta

    Divino Italian Restaurant

    The house-made Emily's goat cheese ravioli at Divino is heavenly. A fresh sage and brown-butter sauce with pine nuts and fresh parmesan nicely complements the sharp goat cheese and is well worth soaking up with a piece of bread after the ravioli is gone. Perfectly paired with a crisp white from Divino's enticing wine list, the dish comes in a… More >>
  • Best Crawfish

    The Concert Pub

    Ask any native Louisianan and they'll tell you: Anyone can do crawfish, but not anyone can season and prepare them like a true Cajun. Fortunately, The Concert Pub manages to do both — and it doesn't skimp on the size. While others might cut corners with the seasoning or mix in some imported runts with the batch, the pub's mudbugs… More >>
  • Best Risotto

    Gravitas - CLOSED

    The risotto at Gravitas is full of contrasts. Although the ingredients change with the menu, there's always a balance between textures, flavors and temperatures. Recently, the risotto had English peas and was topped with lightly dressed greens, red onion and a pecorino crisp. The acidity of the dressing cut some of the richness of the risotto, and the result was… More >>
  • Best Calamari

    Mi Luna

    The menu at Mi Luna tapas restaurant in the Village has no shortage of things to choose from. It's helpful to have a glass of sangria in hand before even trying to make a decision. On this impressive list, there are two calamari dishes, one fried and one grilled. The fried calamari comes with a spicy tomato sauce that has… More >>
  • Best Nachos

    Pico's Mex-Mex - CLOSED

    Pico's is known for many things, but Nachos Jorge should be near the top of the list. Piled high with savory cochinita pibil (Yucatan-style roasted pork), pickled onions, refried black beans, Chihuahua cheese, guacamole and jalapeños, these nachos are exceptional. More than enough for a meal, they're hard to stop eating until you have hunted down every last shred of… More >>
  • Best Veggie Burger

    Rudyard's

    Rudyard's has some of the best bar food in Houston, and their veggie burger with cheese is no exception. The patty is not of the homemade variety, but on a toasted bun with cheddar and honey mustard, it's really quite tasty. The fries have something about them, too, especially when accompanied by a side of honey mustard. Wait, there's a… More >>
  • Best Breakfast Tacos

    El Ultimo Taco Truck

    Look for a shiny taco truck parked in front of a do-it-yourself car wash. The big fat breakfast tacos are $1 a piece and you get your choice of scrambled eggs with bacon, ham, potatoes, nopalitos, machacado (shredded beef), chorizo or roasted peppers on a corn or flour tortilla. The flour tortillas are handmade, and the chorizo is truly exceptional.… More >>
  • Best Doughnuts

    Shipley Do-Nut Shops, several locations

    As with Dunkin' Donuts fans in the Northeast, there's something about Shipley's that Texans can't get enough of. Started in 1936 in Houston, Shipley's is in just about every Texas town and throughout the South. The offerings here are always fresh and, if your timing is good, the hot glazed "do-nuts" will go straight from the cooling tray to your… More >>
  • Best Japanese Snack Food

    Takoyaki Tea House

    Houston is long on sushi restaurants, but Japanese street food is hard to come by. The expanse of Asian-melting-pot strip malls that are popping up seemingly overnight in Bellaire Chinatown seem to have forgotten about the Japanese entirely. Takoyaki Tea House is one of the exceptions. The menu here is limited, but it includes a variety of takoyaki, panfried balls… More >>
  • Best Mojito

    The Flat

    Don't let the dentist's office exterior fool you — The Flat is open for business, and contains one of the city's best-kept secrets: Their signature frozen mojito manages to improve upon perfection, taking a mojito and making it even more enticing through the miracle of osmosis. The delectable combination of crushed fresh mint, rum and a hint of lime is… More >>
  • Best Ceviche

    Amazon Grill

    Take raw fish, in this case tilapia, and marinate it in lime juice until it is "cooked," add finely diced hot peppers, shrimp, avocado, tomatoes, onions, cilantro and pineapple. Toss it all together and pile it high on a bed of shredded red cabbage and carrots and you have ceviche, a simple, tasty and very colorful dish. The pineapple adds… More >>
  • Best Margarita

    Tony's Mexican Restaurant

    The margaritas at Tony's Mexican Restaurant always seem to stir up an endless series of questions, including, "What the hell is this secret ingredient?" and "Where the hell did you put my car keys, you asshat!?" This family establishment never seems to be anything less than packed, and for good reason: It's one of the Heights's best-kept and most-cherished Tex-Mex… More >>
  • Best Croissants

    Croissant Brioche French Bakery

    In the heart of Rice Village is a little French bakery that serves an almond-crusted monster of a croissant. These things are huge. Somebody had the ingenious idea of making an almond sandwich out of a croissant and almond paste. The croissant is big, buttery, flaky and a rich dark color. Almond paste is slathered on the top and on… More >>
  • Best Late-Night Restaurant

    Spanish Flowers

    Generally speaking, anyone out at 4:30 a.m. is up to no good. Be they druggie, thief, insomniac or just seriously craving some queso, night owls can direct themselves to this eclectic Heights establishment. Spanish Flowers dishes up authentic Mexican cuisine for an impressively affordable price. Sure, it's no Taco Bell, but as everyone knows, coke hangovers and fast food do… More >>
  • Best Greasy Spoon

    Poppa Burger

    Late-night gangsters, early morning landscapers and afternoon hangovers have all come to depend on Poppa's grease. Grease can be like a starter for sourdough bread: A little is carried over from the previous batch to increase flavor. Poppa must have, like, heirloom grease or something. There's genuine flavor in every little greasy item they push through the little greasy security-barred… More >>
  • Best Gay-Friendly Restaurant

    Baba Yega

    Many members of Houston's gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered communities consider Baba Yega to be the heart of Montrose. Just a few feet away from hotspots JR's and The Mining Company, Baba Yega certainly sits in the middle of everything Montrose. But more than that, the restaurant has embraced its GLBT guests, offering them not only great food but a… More >>
  • Best Family Restaurant

    Cavatore Italian Restaurant

    Cavatore's has been serving Houston families for generations. A warm, friendly staff, excellent food, reasonable prices and Michaelangelo on piano make this one of the most popular Italian restaurants in town. (Folks drive in from the suburbs to dine on Cavatore's scrumptious spaghetti and handmade meatballs.) The restaurant is still owned and managed by the Cavatore family, who keep the… More >>
  • Best Drive-Thru Seafood

    Baytown Seafood

    Can't wait for your seafood? Then order ahead and use the drive-thru at Baytown Seafood. Here you'll find glorious gumbo, sensational shrimp (both grilled and fried), fresh oysters, catfish and red snapper, to mention but a few of the items on the extensive menu. Need a quick lunch? Try the oyster or shrimp po' boy without leaving the confines of… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Spot Outside the Loop

    Burn's BBQ

    Why would you pick a place where you can't actually sit down and eat? Because of the food, the people-watching and the atmosphere. Besides, there's always the trunk of your car or, for most people, take-out. And there's one or two picnic tables, too. Finding the place is difficult, because it's located in an old house off the beaten path… More >>
  • Best Middle Eastern Restaurant

    Café Rita - CLOSED

    If you've ever wanted to eat in a Middle Eastern home, now you can: at Rita's. This small, one-of-a-kind neighborhood spot is owned and operated by the husband-and-wife team known to all as George and Rita, an elderly Armenian couple who are eager to display their natural hospitality as well as their home cooking. There's nothing they enjoy more than… More >>
  • Best Pre- or Post-Theater Restaurant

    Damian's

    One of the great things about dining at Damian's — in addition to the fact that it's one of the best Italian restaurants in town, with service to match — is its shuttle service. When you make a reservation, let them know you'll be attending the theater, symphony or any other show downtown. They will not only take you to… More >>
  • Best Filipino

    Gold Ribbon Bake Shop

    Buffets can be a wonderful way to sample the cuisine of a particular country, especially if you're not familiar with it. At Gold Ribbon, names of dishes appear above each item on the buffet, which helps to identify the choices. White rice and fried rice anchor the buffet offerings, where you will find such dishes as green beans in coconut… More >>
  • Best Brunch

    Hugo's

    Forget nachos, tacos and Tex-Mex in general. At Hugo's, the brunch features regional Mexican cuisine at its finest. Set the scene with Bloody Marias or a pomegranate mimosa and enjoy the live music coming from the upstairs balcony before venturing to the elaborately decorated buffet. It contains an incredible variety of delectable dishes not found in your average cantina. Start… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Spot in Sugar Land

    Amici - CLOSED

    Jeff Vallone is following in his father's footsteps with his new restaurant in the 'burbs. Now southwest suburbanites don't need to trek into town to enjoy the Vallones' legendary food and service. Whether it's on the expansive patio or in the nicely appointed dining room, you will enjoy fine Italian cuisine without the stuck-up attitude (or prices) of some of… More >>
  • Best Cheap Seafood Restaurant

    Captain Benny's Half Shell Oyster Bar

    Want to vary your fare from hardtack and salmagundi but don't want to reach too deep into your chest of doubloons? Climb aboard this old-school Houston survivor. Housed in what looks like a shrimp boat broken from its moorings and marooned on South Main, Captain Benny's serves raw oysters that are always juicy and flavorful, and the cold boiled shrimp… More >>
  • Best Vietnamese Restaurant

    Kim Son

    If you turn your nose up at buffets, stop here. The newest Kim Son has over 150 feet of buffet space devoted to serious Asian food. It all centers on the "hot pot" concept, where a pan of steaming broth is placed on a personal hot plate situated on every table. To this broth you add any number of raw… More >>
  • Best Cuban Restaurant

    La Vina

    If you're looking for atmosphere, don't go here. You will be disappointed in this hole in the wall, whose only wall decorations are pictures of Cuba. However, if you want simple, authentic, homemade Cuban food, and lots of it, you won't find any finer or any cheaper. Start out with mariquitas, crispy plantain chips smothered in garlic sauce, or try… More >>
  • Best South American Restaurant

    Nelore

    Nelore is the name of Brazil's most famous breed of cattle, so it's no wonder that it's all about the meat here, and lots of it. Oh sure, there's a fabulous salad bar with copious amounts of smoked salmon, extra-large shrimp, huge asparagus stalks and Brazilian cheese puffs galore. But why bother? It's about the meat. This churrascaria has waiters… More >>
  • Best Soul Food

    Soul on the Bayeaux

    At this small, colorful, converted old house, you're bound to get personalized service because there are but a few tables. Here, they churn out crispy catfish, glorious gumbo, sensational smothered pork chops and exciting étouffées, all of which will make you want to hug yo' mama — not to mention an oyster or gator po' boy that will remind you… More >>
  • Best Deli

    Kahn's Delicatessen

    Kahn's Deli is a Houston institution, and as you sit and wait for your sandwich you'll soon figure out why. This old-school deli in the Village makes one hell of an amazing Reuben sandwich, and almost everyone in line will be ordering the original or some variation of it. The rye bread is homemade and remains soft on the inside… More >>
  • Best Expense Account Restaurant

    Tony's

    Everything about Tony's exudes class, and if you're entertaining an important client, you'll want everything to be executed flawlessly from the moment you arrive to the moment you leave. That's precisely what you'll get here. If you're into "over the top" and have a limitless expense account, open with a magnum of 1995 Perrier Jouet for $550; nothing says celebration… More >>
  • Best Sommelier

    Andrea Lazar - CLOSED

    Andrea Lazar prefers the title of "beverage director" to sommelier, but whatever you call her, she has changed the way Houston drinks. Lazar is a firm believer in the naturalistic notion of terroir, and a champion of underappreciated wines. One page of her wine list is devoted entirely to overlooked and underloved rosés. She is also an innovator. The restaurant's… More >>
  • Best Steakhouse

    Bob's Steak & Chop House

    The wet-aged USDA Prime porterhouse here is one of the best steaks in the city. But it's the lack of snobbery that puts Bob's ahead of the steakhouse pack. The Houston Bob's is a clone of the original Bob's in Dallas, where the bar always seems to be crowded with flirty blonds and Bubbas in cowboy boots who laugh real… More >>
  • Best Vegetarian

    Baba Yega

    The menu may not be strictly vegetarian, but most of the second page of Baba Yega's menu is devoted to meat-free fare. It's not all soy protein, either, although the veggie club, stacked with provolone and fake bacon and turkey, is one of the best choices. If actual vegetables are what you're after, there's plenty of pastas, sandwiches and even… More >>
  • Best Wine List

    Catalan Food & Wine Bar - CLOSED

    The best thing about Catalan's wine list is the prices. They aren't much higher than what you pay at a retail store. But good luck finding most of these rare, highly allocated wines at the local bottle shop. Charles Clark and Grant Cooper from Ibiza, former Brennan's chef and sommelier Chris Shepherd and former Da Marco sommelier Antonio Gianola have… More >>
  • Best Burger Joint

    Armadillo Palace

    The walls are covered with buffalo heads, cowboy memorabilia and giant photos of Jim Goode's chuck-wagon cooking team. The live music comes from Texas singer/songwriters, and the ice-cold draft comes in frozen cannonball schooners. The bar stools are shaped like saddles, and the bartenders spin the longnecks around one finger before they open them, just like Buffalo Bill used to… More >>
  • Best Comeback

    Armandos

    The new Armandos is even better than the original. That's because it's been reincarnated in the former location of the River Oaks Grill. What a place to dunk tortilla chips in chili con queso! The walls are elegantly paneled, the doorways are set off by lavish carved arches and the main dining room is decorated with huge framed mirrors. The… More >>
  • Best Atmosphere

    Brennan's of Houston

    Brennan's of Houston calls its cuisine "Texas Creole," and seldom do you find a cooking style and a restaurant atmosphere so perfectly in sync. When people walk into the old mansion on Smith Street, they look at the dark wooden bar and the magnificent brick courtyard outside and remark, "It looks just like New Orleans." The Brennan's building was constructed… More >>
  • Best Restaurant

    Da Marco

    Year after year, meal after meal, plate after plate, no chef in Houston is as consistently brilliant as Marco Wiles. Try his velvety eggplant soup with a bruschetta crouton, his meaty braised duck ravioli served in a pile of wild mushrooms or his simple shaved celery salad topped with a slice of roasted beet and wafer of pecorino — each… More >>
  • Best Chinese Restaurant

    Fung's Kitchen

    There's lots to choose from on the 400-item menu, but don't confuse this with your average Chinese take-out joint. Chef and owner Hoi Fung comes from a long line of Hong Kong chefs. He is also a pillar of the Houston Asian community. When visiting Asian royalty comes to Houston, they eat at Fung's. Live ling cod, live lobsters and… More >>
  • Best Indian Restaurant

    Indika

    Hidebound types sputter and fume, "That's not Indian food!" when confronted with Indika's innovative cooking. There's no chicken tikka masala here. But they do have foie gras with fig preserves and trout stuffed with nuts. If this isn't what you usually think of as Indian food, then it's time to broaden your horizons. Indika's owner, Indian-born Anita Jaisinghani, doesn't feel… More >>
  • Best Taco Truck

    Jarro Cafe - CLOSED

    The bistek taco and the cochinita pibil taco at the Jarro taco trailer are transcendental. After the cook in the Jarro uniform passes your taco through the window, the real fun begins. On the stainless-steel counter that runs along the front of the trailer, there are assorted salsas and condiments in decorative Mexican three-legged bowls. There's a green salsa of… More >>
  • Best Persian

    Kasra Persian Grill

    It's the intensity of the flavors that sets Kasra apart. Take Kasra's khorake bademjan, a long-cooked lamb shank, for instance. The meat falls apart at the touch of a fork, but it's the tart sour grape and tomato sauce with the gooey eggplant slices that makes it shine. Even the rice is amazing. There's zereshk polo, which is basmati rice… More >>
  • Best Tex-Mex

    La Fiesta Mexican Restaurant - CLOSED

    There's a Schlitz beer poster with a photo of a caballero in a huge sombrero astride his horse hanging above La Fiesta's front door. (When was the last time you saw a Schlitz ad?) And then there's a mural of a Mexican village on the back wall. The original La Fiesta at Katy Freeway and Bunker Hill Road is one… More >>
  • Best Dry Restaurant

    Dry Creek

    Sure, you can't drink here — but beer and wine will only fill you up, and you want to have plenty of room for all the delicious menu items at Dry Creek. Try a flavored limeade instead of a mixed drink as you dip into their fried goodies, tasty ­burgers and a great salad (order it with the creamy serrano… More >>
  • Best Taqueria

    Matamoros Meat Market #4

    Matamoros Meat Market used to sell the best carnitas and barbacoa in the city, but you could only get them by the pound to go. Then they added the taqueria a few years ago, so now you can get your barbacoa or carnitas on a taco and then sit down and eat it. The dining area consists of six high… More >>
  • Best Mexican

    Mexico's Deli Tortas & Tacos

    Mexico's Deli on Dairy Ashford is a humble little eatery with walk-up counter service and exceptional food. The tacos al pastor are made with marinated pork and bits of pineapple carved from a trompo (a cone of meat on a vertical roaster) on display beside the grill. The tangy pork is served on three small tortillas with a garnish of… More >>
  • Best Bistro

    Mockingbird Bistro

    After an up-and-down career in the fine-dining arena, Chef John Sheely has found a home in the more relaxed bistro category. Mockingbird Bistro is a perfect example of what a bistro is supposed to be — a place that's both comfortable enough to get a beer and a burger while dressed in blue jeans, yet sophisticated enough to take a… More >>
  • Best New Restaurant

    Reef

    Chef Bryan Caswell, formerly of Bank by Jean Georges in the Hotel Icon, has struck out on his own with this hip new eatery in Midtown. The seafood is not only local, it's unique. Where else can you get triple tail and croaker? Dishes like crispy-skinned snapper and pompano a la plancha are spectacular. And then there are casual offerings… More >>
  • Best Barbecue Restaurant

    Pizzitola's Bar-B-Cue

    Originally known as Shepherd Drive Barbecue, this is the restaurant where the legendary John Davis once presided as owner and pit boss. When John Davis died in 1983, the current owner, Jerry Pizzitola, bought the place from the Davis family so he could preserve it. The old-fashioned pit burns hickory, just like it did in John Davis's day. The sausage… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Spot in Galveston

    Sonny's Place

    This quintessential neighborhood hangout is a longtime favorite of island folk. Larry Puccetti has been tending bar at Sonny's Place for 30 years. His dad, Lawrence "Junior" Puccetti, has been there almost 60 years. He inherited the place from his father Lawrence "Pappa" Puccetti, who opened the bar and restaurant in 1944. Junior grinds his own meat because that's the… More >>
  • Best Italian Restaurant

    Damian's Cucina Italiana

    This time-honored Tuscan-style restaurant has been purring along for decades, turning out classic Italian cuisine. The grilled seasonal vegetables are a favorite appetizer, and there's a wide variety of antipasti. The pasta with seafood in cream sauce is stellar, and the veal chops are legendary. But in the last few months, Damian's has gone from good to great, thanks to… More >>
  • Best Service

    Oceanaire Seafood Room

    The restaurant is designed to resemble an art deco ocean liner, and the pampering service fits right into the theme. The staff is extremely well-trained. They know the oyster list and can explain the differences among every variety of fish on the menu. The waiter will select a white or black napkin for you based on the color of your… More >>
  • Best Seafood Restaurant

    Jimmy Wilson's

    Try a cup of the dark brown crawfish bisque — you couldn't finish a whole bowl. The flavor of Lafayette, Louisiana, lingers on in Houston at Jimmy Wilson's. Denis Wilson and his partner Jimmy Jard swapped first and last names to rechristen the old Denis's Seafood on Westheimer. It's either a business reorganization or some kind of piracy — don't… More >>
  • Best Greek Restaurant

    Biba's One's a Meal Restaurant

    There's so much more to Biba's than the food — the retro-trash decor, for instance, and the fact that it's open 24 hours. Sometimes, when you're drunkenly stumbling across the street from Cecil's and you just have to have a delicious gyro, it's nice to know that someone's got your back. Other reasons to go to Biba's are the Greek… More >>
  • Best Bang for the Buck

    Kim Hung Market - CLOSED

    In the corner of the Kim Hung Market is a gem of a to-go counter filled with Asian-style barbecue ribs, fried rice and pig stomach. Really, you could feed an entire village for about 18 bucks! The deals here include an entire roasted duck for $12 or the barbecue lunch special, which includes fried rice, one veg and one meat… More >>
  • Best Breakfast

    New York Coffee Shop

    The location next door to New York Bagels, the best bagel bakery in town, gives this New York-style coffee shop a major advantage over other breakfast venues — if you like bagels. These bagels at New York Coffee Shop aren't just fresh, they're hot out of the oven. And they come in such favorite flavors as onion, sesame, poppy, salt… More >>
  • Best Wine Bar Food

    Cova Hand-Selected Wines - CLOSED

    Cova is one of many wine bars that have quickly populated the Houston bar scene over the last couple of years. What sets it apart is the food. Cova's menu is always fresh, inventive and delicious. In addition to the typical cheese-and-meat plates that other wine bars offer, Cova's seasonal menu has items that range from foie gras to braised… More >>
  • Best Korean Restaurant

    Seoul House

    Seoul House is the laid-back little brother of the huge cook-your-own-food Korean restaurants that populate Spring Branch and parts of Bellaire Chinatown. It's less of an ordeal to eat here (they cook the food for you and, consequently, you don't walk out smelling like a short rib), and the food is delicious. The bulgogi and galbi are as good as… More >>
  • Best Comfort Food

    Mama's Oven

    Comfort food can be a lot of things to a lot of different people, depending on their childhood. However, if your idea of familiar fare is oxtail, rice, cornbread, macaroni and cheese with sweetened ice tea, then welcome to Mama's Oven. A hole-in-the-strip-mall kinda place, Mama's offers meat and two sides. Items include oxtail, meat loaf, smothered pork chops and… More >>
  • Best Tapas

    Oporto Cafe

    If you're looking for a swanky wine bar that'll impress a date, Oporto is your place. The tapas here aren't snacks; they're huge. There's nothing better to nibble on while quaffing a glass of wine than the "Oportobello." It's a marinated portobello mushroom topped with spinach and artichoke gratin and finished with white truffle oil. If you're still hungry after… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Spot Downtown

    The Flying Saucer

    Ask any downtown dweller where you can get a cold beer and a sandwich at any time of the day or week, and they will tell you The Flying Saucer. Said dweller may or may not mention the waitresses in short skirts, the wide selection of beer, the tasty bar food and the fact that it's open late on Sundays,… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Spot in Bellaire

    Yia Yia's Roadster Grill

    The Roadster is a family-owned burger joint with a Greek twist. ("Yia Yia" is Greek for "granny.") A lot of times, hybrid restaurants fall flat on one side of the equation or the other — think of all those barbecue/burger joints with great burgers but lame 'cue. Not the Roadster; not only are their burgers juicy and delicious, but they… More >>
  • Best Hot Dog

    Katz's Deli and Bar

    Let's start with the buns here. Katz's uses a rich, yellow, brioche-style bun to hold an all-beef wiener that snaps when you bite it. Cover that with a wad of caramelized onions and sauerkraut, and you have the makings of a damn good hot dog. If you're a purist, you can order the dog plain and squeeze mustard on it.… More >>
  • Best Bloody Mary

    Mugsy's

    You might not expect to find a kick-ass Bloody Mary at a mini-mall, but Mugsy's, an Upper Kirby staple, offers just that. Sandwiched between a tanning salon and a drive-through bank, Mugsy's serves its Bloody Mary as a perfect blend of spicy and hot, with a kick that will leave you gasping for a glass of water and feeling like… More >>
  • Best Chain

    Chili's Grill and Bar

    Chili's is the kind of place where you can take anyone — grandma, fussy kids, your golfing buddies, a date. Okay, maybe not a date, but the menu is so wide and varied, and the food so predictable, there's something for everyone to enjoy. Chili's is a casual restaurant with a great bar. Or, put another way, Chili's is a… More >>
  • Best Thai Restaurant

    Kanomwan

    Kanomwan has a cult following that speaks for itself. Sometimes the people who eat here communicate with each other using menu item numbers like a secret code. They also insist that the owner puts an addictive substance in the food that keeps them coming back at least once a week. There's a healthy dose of heat in just about everything,… More >>

Search Best Of Awards

Best of Award Graphics

Loading...