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Food & Drinks

  • Best Beer Selection

    BRC Gastropub

    One of a host of recent "gastropubs" to pop up around Houston, BRC is the only one that truly hits the nail on the head of this culinary trend. BRC — which, yes, stands for Big Red Cock — serves up not only a small but stunning menu of "pub" food (if a traditional pub were located in the Deep… More >>
  • Best Breakfast

    Alma Latina No. 5

    Beware: Not all Alma Latina restaurants are created equal. But if you make it to the correct one — the location on Telephone Road in the Second Ward — your journey will be richly rewarded. Stay away from the breakfast tacos and instead focus on dishes like the hot, vividly flavored menudo or the hearty huevos rancheros. Both will either… More >>
  • Best Risotto

    Vinoteca Poscol

    Marco Wiles's latest Italian eatery is linger-worthy. The darkened dining room and menu of small plates feel perfectly authentic, despite the fact that Westheimer in all of its local color is whizzing by outside. Poscol does many things right, but its risottos are the best of all, creamy and decadent without being heavy, simple to look at but complex at… More >>
  • Best Milk Shake

    REEF

    After a lovely meal featuring some of Houston's best seafood, go ahead and indulge that aching sweet tooth with REEF's "No Minors" milk shake.This is not your grandfather's milk shake, nor is it fit for the children. Here, the age-old milk shake gets a kick in the pants, adding brandy and Kahlúa to its delicious ice cream base. Yowzah! It's… More >>
  • Best Ceviche

    Ocean's - CLOSED

    One thing should be perfectly clear when ordering a dish of ceviche at Ocean's, the new restaurant that has taken over the old Bistro Vino space with panache: This is not the ceviche to which you are probably accustomed. The plates that come out at Ocean's are immense platters, artfully decorated with a few spare pieces of raw fish. The… More >>
  • Best Pizza

    The Bombay Pizza Co.

    What could be more Houston than an amalgamation of Italian, American and Indian concepts into one fantastic dish? At Bombay Pizza, located on the ground floor of the Commerce Towers, owner Viral Patel has combined his Indian background with an affinity for making great pies, and the result is dazzling. The Saag Paneer is exactly what it sounds like: a… More >>
  • Best Empanadas

    Ruggles Green

    When you think of empanadas, you may not immediately think of the first Houston restaurant to be certified by the Green Restaurant Association, but the folks at Ruggles Green are churning out a delicious new twist on the classic South American dish. Cleverly named "Hempenadas," this version is made with high-protein hemp flour and a stuffing of golden raisins, nutty… More >>
  • Best Shot

    Under the Volcano

    If Under the Volcano seems like an unlikely place to order a shot, that's because it is. Most of the time, you'll see most regulars at this classic Rice Village bar drinking frozen screwdrivers, frozen rum and Cokes or just a plain old draft beer. But if you're feeling capricious, order a Pineapple Upside-Down Cake at the bar and prepare… More >>
  • Best Burger

    Block 7 Wine Co. - CLOSED

    At Block 7, dry-aged beef is topped with well-melted Gruyère and a bacon relish that adds a hint of smoke and edge to the already flavorful meat. The kitchen keeps additions to a minimum (arugula, Dijon aioli), and this restraint, plus an excellent bun from local Slow Dough bakers, keeps what could be an over-the-top burger from becoming pretentious. Block… More >>
  • Best Chicken-Fried Steak

    Beaver's Ice House

    This isn't your mama's chicken-fried steak — it's an obscene tower of goodness, impaled with a wood-handled steak knife, daring you to defeat it. Unlike many other CF steaks in town, the accompaniments at Beaver's are just as good as the main event: mashed sweet potatoes and Southern-style greens, all swaddled in a rich mushroom gravy with a side of… More >>
  • Best Crawfish

    Hank's Crawfish

    There's nothing pretty about Hank's — it's a dive in a strip mall way the heck out on Bellaire, but man can these folks boil some crawfish. Big, fat mudbugs are served up for some of the lowest prices per pound in town, but the tail meat is sweet and tender, the spice blend perfect. You can order at four… More >>
  • Best Mom and Pop Restaurant

    Luigi's Pizzeria

    At Luigi's, the owner works in the kitchen, the wife takes your order and the daughter brings you your food. In a fast-food culture, this kind of business is few and far between. Luigi's just has plain good food and service. The pizza is thin-crust, with mounds of toppings and piping-hot cheese. The menu is written on a dry-erase board… More >>
  • Best Oysters

    Little Pappas Seafood House

    Little Pappas Seafood House might not be an oyster bar specifically, but it's still an excellent place to down a dozen on the half-shell. The Pappas Restaurants, even though they are a chain, make everything from the mayo to the bread, so quality control is peak at every restaurant. Little Pappas is the best of the best — it is… More >>
  • Best Indian Restaurant

    Shri Balaji Bhavan

    Like most restaurants in Little India — the section of town that straddles Hillcroft where it meets Highway 59 — Shri Balaji Bhavan is a hole in the wall, and it's enticingly inexpensive. But what sets Shri Balaji Bhavan apart from all its neighbors are two things: spice and authenticity. In the great eternal debate over which is more important… More >>
  • Best Po-Boys

    Calliope's Po-Boy

    Any Louisianan would tell you that some of the best po-boys are served up in unsuspecting holes-in-the-wall. Calliope's holds true to this tradition. Nestled in an unassuming strip mall, Calliope's serves up po-boys that have been praised by Louisianans and Houstonians alike. Try the sliced roast beef po-boy covered in brown gravy or the oyster po-boy bursting with crispy battered… More >>
  • Best Soul Food Restaurant

    Zydeco Louisiana Diner

    Although it bills itself as Cajun food from southern Louisiana, there's quite a bit of soul to this downtown institution. Since 1986, Zydeco has served up classic steam-table fare and Cajun favorites to a wide variety of downtown denizens: Cops, lawyers, construction workers and bankers all line up at lunch to get heaping portions of stewed okra, mashed potatoes, smothered… More >>
  • Best Pita Bread

    Phoenicia

    The proprietors call it Phoenicia, but we like to refer to it as "heaven." With aisle upon aisle of international goodies, this grocery warehouse is the kind of place where one can easily spend half a day and drop a lot of cash. But the pita bread (or pideh, as you'll see it labeled here) is alone worth making the… More >>
  • Best Comfort Food Restaurant

    Zelko Bistro

    Located in an airy little house in the Heights, the newly minted Zelko Bistro has taken a concept we readily adore — comfort food — and added an upmarket spin. Are you one of those naysayers who think comfort food and white linen don't jibe? Fried chicken breaded with Cap'n Crunch, an outstanding Reuben and the city's best fried green… More >>
  • Best Ice Cream

    The Chocolate Bar

    With flavors like Chocolate Banana Pudding and Brownie Supreme, the aptly named The Chocolate Bar is a chocoholic's paradise. Try the Candylicious Junkyard, which takes six classic candy bars and mixes them into a luscious white chocolate ice cream, transforming them into the ultimate nostalgic treat. The most popular choice is the Creamy Dreamy Truffle, which blends chocolate truffles into… More >>
  • Best Vegetarian-Friendly Restaurant

    Udipi

    You don't get much more vegetarian-friendly than a restaurant whose menu doesn't contain a shred of meat on it. The southern Indian cuisine at Udipi is entirely meat-free, but that doesn't mean it's boring or won't fill you up. Offering everything from playful, light-hearted fare like creamy, sweet mango lassis and springy idlis to more substantial dishes like fragrant aloo… More >>
  • Best Shrimp Dish

    Fins' Salt and Pepper Shrimp - CLOSED

    Fins' salt and pepper shrimp may sound like a simple dish, but what it lacks in complexity, it makes up for in its flawless execution. All the ingredients are very fresh and flavorful. Plump, juicy shrimp are very lightly battered and fried until perfectly crispy outside and succulent within. The generous grinding of pepper adds a nice hint of spice,… More >>
  • Best Gay-Friendly Restaurant

    Jenni's Noodle House

    When Jenni's Noodles moved to South Shepherd and West Alabama, gay smiles filled the 'Trose. Now the gay-friendly eatery offers its Dream Rolls and Angry Udon inside the sacred Loop. Jenni's is famous for serving traditional Vietnamese dishes with interesting names and plenty of culinary twists that are tasty and fun. And the service is always friendly. This is a… More >>
  • Best Guacamole

    Irma's

    Irma's has been a Houston institution for years, holding court in a cramped but festive building almost directly underneath 59 South. The crowd is full of regulars, who know not to ask for menus (a list of available items will be delivered orally). This is the place to fill up on the fine frozen margaritas, fresh lemonade and crisp, salty… More >>
  • Best Brunch Restaurant

    Stella Sola - CLOSED

    Yes, Stella Sola is owned by local celebrity chef Bryan Caswell, and yes, Stella Sola can be a bit pricey for dinner and wine, but brunch is its great egalitarian offering. Served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Sunday, brunch brings nothing less than this "Texas-Tuscan" restaurant's spot-on food at far more reasonable rates. Knock down a "toad in… More >>
  • Best Pho

    Pho Binh

    Tucked into a nondescript block of Beamer well south of Hobby Airport lies the Pho Binh trailer and the best soup in Houston. That's right, it's a trailer: a temporary building with a weensy kitchen and two tiny rooms packed with tables. The gracious staff turns out bowl upon bowl filled with broth so pure, you want to bathe in… More >>
  • Best Wine Bar

    Cha Champagne and Wine Bar - CLOSED

    Cha has an amazing selection of reds and whites, plus an excellent list of Champagnes. Though you can pop a $400 bottle of bubbly here, you can also purchase a delightful glass for less than $10. Cha also has a small menu of delicious nibbles, including perfectly baked flatbread pizzas adorned with truffle oil and sea salt, cheese plates, and… More >>
  • Best Desserts

    Canopy

    With its smooth, velvety chocolate filling, crunchy hazelnut tart shell and rich and flavorful Nutella sorbet, the chocolate hazelnut tart at Canopy is to die for. The combination of flavors is classic, but the textures are what really make this dessert luxurious. One will never be enough. If any recipe has ever been worth stealing, this is it. And, as… More >>
  • Best Chain Restaurant

    Frenchy's

    Since its humble beginnings as a sandwich shop in 1969 near the University of Houston, Frenchy's has been churning out the best Creole chicken in town. Moist meat underneath crispy, seasoned skin, Frenchy's golden bird always comes fresh from the fryer. And those sides, those sides! Fluffy, buttery biscuits, flavorful greens and spicy red beans and rice with a hunk… More >>
  • Best Cheap Sandwich

    Les Givral's Kahve

    Every college student knows the best place to stretch your dollar is at a Vietnamese sandwich shop. Where else can you get three meals for the price of a single dish at most sit-down places? Les Givral's clean, trendy interior isn't all hype — there's a reason there are now three of them in the city. Sure, prices have gone… More >>
  • Best Pancakes

    Fountain View Cafe

    They're the size of your face, but not cakey at all. They're slender and buttery, with a shot of sweetness. They're not quite a crepe, and they are the best damn pancakes in Houston. Come on down to this homey, unpretentious diner just outside the Loop near the corner of San Felipe and Fountain View, and feast on these addictive… More >>
  • Best Falafel

    Zabak's Mediterranean Cafe

    The area near Hillcroft and Westheimer is packed with Middle Eastern joints — from humble delis to jam-packed markets to fancier cafes — offering large portions of hearty delicacies at distinctly affordable prices. Our favorite is Zabak's, a small, bright, family-run restaurant. The falafel there is moist, lightly crunchy on the outside and bright, parsley green on the inside. The… More >>
  • Best Martini

    The Davenport

    The Davenport is a dinosaur in the ever-changing nightlife world. And there's a reason for its longevity — the killer martini. Beyond the purist's gin martini, there are around 30 other varieties, many considered martinis only because of the glass in which they're served. The Davenport's gin martini is sheer perfection: crisp, a little bitter and potent. For a nice… More >>
  • Best Whiskey Selection

    Branch Water Tavern - CLOSED

    Branch Water Tavern has a wall of rare and expensive whiskeys behind the bar that will make any sour mash head drool. The bartenders serving your straight Kentucky, Tennessee or experimental whiskeys are knowledgeable and professional. The list of all-American bourbons reads like an erotic novel — we suggest perusing it while sipping an eight-year-old Buffalo Trace bourbon, neat. Don't… More >>
  • Best Croissants

    French Riviera Bakery & Cafe

    The French Riviera Bakery feels like a slice of Paris just outside the Loop. Any time of day, devotees sit huddled around tiny outdoor tables sipping espresso and feasting on that most French creation, the croissant. The golden-brown bread starts off crispy and flaky at the ends, and slowly turns into a buttery, doughy center, where French baking dreams become… More >>
  • Best Mojito

    Taco Milagro - CLOSED

    Taco Milagro may be nestled in River Oaks and surrounded by fine establishments, but it's not pretentious, especially when skirts start swinging to the live salsa band. The place is a nice combination of fun and fun to look at. And what better way to people-watch than by sipping one of Taco Milagro's fabulous mojitos? Many bars never seem to… More >>
  • Best Mac and Cheese

    BRC Gastropub

    If you're going to call yourself a gastropub, you better have some damn good mac and cheese. And if you're going to call yourself an American gastropub, it better be hella great. BRC hits the mark with its mac and cheese of the day. Whether it's made with Tillamook cheddar and broccoli or steak and blue cheese, it's always piping-hot… More >>
  • Best Bloody Mary

    Beaver's

    The folks at Beaver's begin their tantalizing Sunday brunch cocktail with a zesty blend of tomato juice, bruised celery, lime, garlic, Worcestershire, salt and pepper. They spice it up with both wasabi and their own special Ex-Wife Hot Sauce (a kick-you-in-the-pants blend of chipotle and red and green Tabasco). The tomato juice is infused with all of these savory ingredients… More >>
  • Best Kolaches

    Shipley Do-Nuts on North Main

    Most cities don't have the incredible diversity of food that we as Houstonians enjoy. Try finding a kolache in Seattle, for example. Fortunately, our fair city is filled with kolache makers — big and small, new and old, authentic and non. Our favorite? We drool over the boudin kolaches from the Shipley Do-Nuts on North Main near I-45. Every week… More >>
  • Best Red Snapper

    Escalante's

    Not every Escalante's serves local red snapper. It is usually done as a special, and you have to ask about it. But when it's available, it's some of the freshest snapper we have ever tasted — firm and mild, with the taste of salt water. The skin is extra-crispy, and when you squeeze the lime over the top, the snapper… More >>
  • Best Sushi

    Osaka

    It's refreshing when you find a place that's as genuinely comfortable as it is delicious, and that's exactly our experience at Osaka. The menu at this diminutive Japanese joint isn't mind-blowing, but it's consistently refreshing, with delicious salmon, shrimp, eel and tuna offered in creative combinations, all at reasonable prices. You'll find the standbys on the sushi list, plus a… More >>
  • Best Cheese Plate

    Mockingbird Bistro

    Mockingbird is one of those rare bastions of civility that's open on a Monday night, all the better to enjoy a glass of wine and a carefully constructed cheese plate at the restaurant's stately bar, under the whimsical and watchful eyes of a ceiling full of gargoyles. Of course, you can order the cheese plate at your table, with your… More >>
  • Best Fried Chicken

    Randalls on Westheimer and Shepherd

    Necessity is the mother of discovery. You might expect the fried chicken at Randalls to be mediocre, but someone there has a love for crispy, golden-brown, juicy country-fried bliss that cannot be denied. On a bad day, it is better than most chains. Paula Dean would agree: The eight-piece combo of Southern delight is greasy finger-licking good.… More >>
  • Best Dumplings

    Fu Fu Cafe

    The soup dumplings, or "steamed pork buns," as indicated on Fu Fu's menus, are small, doughy bags of concentrated broth and meat eagerly waiting to erupt in your mouth. These meaty morsels are both amazingly delicious and amazingly hot. If you're not careful, you'll scorch your lips, tongue, gums and anything else the molten inner liquids come into contact with.… More >>
  • Best Breakfast Tacos

    El Rey - CLOSED

    El Rey may cater mostly to weekend partiers and yuppies looking to get their Mexican or Cuban fix, but when it comes to slinging breakfast tacos, the chain taqueria is tops. The jam-packed flour or corn tortillas come with fluffy eggs and choice of potato, bacon, ham or a mix of onion, chile pepper and tomato hunks. Off-menu, spicy chorizo… More >>
  • Best Dim Sum

    Dim Sum King

    What's better than a truly authentic, Hong Kong-style meal of dim sum? Being able to get that meal nearly any time of day or night. Unlike most establishments, Dim Sum King serves the traditionally Sunday afternoon meal all day long, six days a week (no dim sum for you on Tuesdays), so you can quell that craving for yum cha… More >>
  • Best Margarita

    Sugarcane - CLOSED

    Sugarcane is quickly becoming Houston's best option for an organic cocktail, and one sip of its unique take on the margarita will explain why. It's called a "Skinny Margarita" because it only has about 100 calories, but the real treat is how good it tastes. The bartender starts with an organic tequila (ask for Dulce Vida Blanco), then mixes in… More >>
  • Best Enchiladas

    Sylvia's Enchilada Kitchen

    Busting out of a strip mall on Woodway, Sylvia's Enchilada Kitchen is a true Texican kitchen. Sylvia herself roams the place, checking on tables as her enormous turquoise earrings sway delicately along with her nonstop motion. She is the center of this colorful universe, where she mimics the flavors of her youth in the Rio Grande Valley. The enchiladas, of… More >>
  • Best Fish and Chips

    Red Lion Pub

    Rumor has it that visiting Englishmen will get off the plane from London and hop a cab directly to the Red Lion for its fish and chips. Whether or not there's truth in this rumor, the delicious fish is undeniable. The fresh cod fillets are fried in a light, crispy batter that seems to magically adhere to the moist, flaky… More >>
  • Best Seafood Pancake

    Arirang Restaurant

    This Korean restaurant's seafood pancake, or hae-mool pah-jun, is a force to be reckoned with. Diners often make the mistake of assuming this pancake to be less filling than it truly is while becoming addicted to its taste — it's presented as an appetizer but is the size of a medium pizza. The batter houses shrimp, octopus, oysters and chives… More >>
  • Best Cheeseburger

    Hubcap Grill

    Hubcap Grill is a relative newcomer to the Houston burger scene, yet its influence is undeniable: Come lunchtime, the teensy downtown eatery is packed with suits, families, athletes, hipsters, youngsters, old folks, Americans and multinationals, all eating contentedly in close comfort. Among creative menu options like the Frito Pie Burger and the Peanut Butter Sticky Burger sits the Philly Cheese… More >>
  • Best Japanese Snack Food

    Nippon Japanese Restaurant

    Nippon's simple and traditional sushi is but a grain of sand in this culinary pearl. Before the hostess leads you to your table, request the Japanese menu. Sure, you might not be able to read Japanese, but that's part of the fun. With tapas-style dishes, most of the Japanese menu is intended for sharing over your favorite sake. Ask your… More >>
  • Best French Fries

    The Broken Spoke - CLOSED

    How good are the fries — or frites, as they're appropriately called here — at Broken Spoke? So good that you won't even think twice about recommending them as Houston's best fries to all of your friends once you've tasted Catherine Duwez's miraculous, double-fried, truly Belgian frites. Duwez, who was once part of the team that ran the late, lamented… More >>
  • Best Salad

    Mission Burrito

    Despite all the fabulous burgers and enchiladas Houston has to offer, sometimes you just gotta sneak in a salad. Our go-to place for salads is none other than Mission Burrito, where we just can't quit that Que Mas salad. For any of you Yankees, youngsters and nonnatives, "que más" means "what more," and the salad is a veritable treasure chest… More >>
  • Best Calamari

    Pesce - CLOSED

    Pesce doesn't get the respect it deserves among foodies because it's part of the Landry's chain, and though it is a bit pricey, it does fish right. The Spicy Buffalo Calamari is a standout. For $10 you get a heaping portion of golden, fried calamari which can best be described as little ringlets of spicy goodness. Spiked with a dash… More >>
  • Best Bread

    Slow Dough

    Enjoy the bread at places like Da Marco and Branch Water Tavern? That's because it's baked locally by Slow Dough, an artisanal bakery run by Heath Wendell and Marlo Evans. Like the talented folks at Feast — which Slow Dough supplies with loaves of fresh sourdough — Wendell has taken up the craft of his ancestors. The fifth-generation baker started… More >>
  • Best Hot Dog

    Barnaby's Cafe

    Never atop any list of health foods, hot dogs seem to get a bad rap these days. But if you feel the urge to splurge and gobble down a dog, you won't find a better option than the all-natural foot-long at Barnaby's Cafe. Served on a toasted bun and sliced down the middle into two meaty halves, this hot dog… More >>
  • Best Carne Asada

    Tecate Mexican Restaurant

    From the outside, the place doesn't look like much — just a typical near-Northwest Side Mexican joint that has just about evolved from a taqueria into a full-fledged restaurant. And once you are inside, you will see that there are few frills and the prices are still nice. But one bite of Tecate's carne asada will melt your soul. Wrapped… More >>
  • Best Quiche

    JS Desserts

    Joe Steelhammer is cranking out some of the most luscious gourmet cakes, pies and cheesecakes in town, but it's his ethereal quiches that are beyond impressive. His motto is "Real Men Eat Quiche," and he takes this very seriously. It all starts with a decadently buttery, flaky crust which he fills with farmers' market-fresh ingredients that rotate weekly. Recent offerings… More >>
  • Best Mom and Pop Restaurant

    Luigi's Pizzeria

    At Luigi's, the owner works in the kitchen, the wife takes your order and the daughter brings you your food. In a fast-food culture, this kind of business is few and far between. Luigi's just has plain good food and service. The pizza is thin-crust, with mounds of toppings and piping-hot cheese. The menu is written on a dry-erase board… More >>
  • Best Pizzeria

    Bombay Pizza Co.

    Bombay Pizza Co. is worth visiting for its sheer originality. It only helps that every pizza made here is fantastically scrumptious. The pie starts on a thin, crispy crust studded with sesame seeds, unlike any crust you have tried before. Next comes an unprecedented array of toppings. The saag paneer version features spiced greens, paneer, fontina, goat cheese and mozzarella.… More >>
  • Best Vietnamese Restaurant

    Huynh

    Huynh is an easy spot to love — this family-owned-and-operated restaurant serves up fresh, authentic Vietnamese in a casual dining room in east Downtown. Favorites like char-grilled pork noodle bowls and spicy bun bo hue are lined up alongside some of the best tofu in town (No. 82, tofu with curry, coconut and peanut) on a cheaply priced menu. Thoughtful… More >>
  • Best Cuban Restaurant

    Flor de Cuba

    Flor de Cuba never skimps on authentic flavor or Latin flair while serving up all of the best traditional Cuban dishes. Start your day off with a tortilla abuelita (omelet with fried plantains) and one of the most authentic cups of café cubano you'll find outside of Havana. Or stop by for dinner and feast on chuletas de puerco, garlicky… More >>
  • Best Service

    Istanbul

    For more than 12 years, the friendly folks at Istanbul have been serving Turkish food with a smile and a helpful hand in Rice Village. Even if the rest of the Village is entirely different these days from the quiet shops and restaurants that once populated Times and University, Istanbul hasn't changed at all. It's still the same welcoming, low-key… More >>
  • Best Taqueria

    Taqueria del Sol

    Seeing how the lunch rush starts darn near breakfast time, finding a quiet time at Taqueria del Sol is next to impossible. And once you begin your meal, you'll see why. Your food will arrive fast and furious and all kinds of delicious. Gorditas are thick and picante, packed with your choice of meat or nopales. Quesadillas and enchiladas are… More >>
  • Best Mexican Restaurant

    Yelapa Playa Mexicana - CLOSED

    Yelapa is not your run-of-the-mill Mexican joint. In fact, it offers more of a postmodern spin on traditional Mexican cuisine. Chef L.J. Wiley uses local ingredients in breathtaking ways, creating dishes that are as pleasing to the eye as they are to the palate. You won't want to miss the innovative ceviches, flash-marinated in lime juice; ingredients rotate according to… More >>
  • Best Atmosphere

    Brennan's

    Although we all miss the old Brennan's, which was destroyed by fire during the ferocity of Hurricane Ike, the new incarnation of one of the Bayou City's crown jewels has taken our breath away. Gone is the old, shaded courtyard and slightly fussy ladies-who-lunch interior. In their place is a stunning two-story tribute to modernism with highly retro and elegantly… More >>
  • Best Pakistani Restaurant

    Royal Restaurant

    For an all-around authentic Indian/Pakistani experience, you can't beat Royal. You will get the royal treatment here, not to mention some really outstanding food. The goat champ is reason enough to come here, but you must also try the chicken korma, which will send your taste buds to nirvana. The menu is straightforward, and if you can't decide, the owners… More >>
  • Best Greasy Spoon

    Annie's Hamburgers

    After eating breakfast at Annie's — the gigantic, fluffy biscuits with sausage gravy will put you into a carb coma — you'll want to come back the same day for a cheeseburger, double meat, double cheese, extra bacon and a side of fries. This is a neighborhood classic offering food of high quality and consistency. Breakfast is simple and to… More >>
  • Best New Restaurant

    Kata Robata

    It says a lot about the changing palates of Houston diners that a highly modern sushi restaurant with a strong undertone of French fusion should be chosen as 2010's best new restaurant. But the food at Kata Robata (and the casual atmosphere that belies some of the menu prices) is truly the biggest draw of any place that's opened in… More >>
  • Best Chinese Restaurant

    Shanghai Chinese Restaurant

    The family that owns this Chinatown eatery knows what it's doing. The salted pork ribs are a must-try here. Also get the wonton soup, a flavorful broth holding fresh dumplings packed full of ground pork. The noodle soup with brisket is too good to pass up, so you might have to make a choice to eat one dish here and… More >>
  • Best Cajun Restaurant

    Beaucoup Bar & Grill

    You can't go to Beaucoup and not get the crawfish bread — it would be wrong to do so. It is that good. Imagine the best crawfish dish you have ever put in your mouth times ten, with crunchy, butter-soaked French bread covered with crawfish meat and smothered in cheese and sauce. Ask for some hot sauce, and you will… More >>
  • Best Restaurant

    Catalan - CLOSED

    Catalan is the restaurant that's setting the bar for every other dining establishment in Houston; there's a reason executive chef Chris Shepherd is referred to as "The Godfather" by his peers, after all. Just-off-the-truck fresh meat and produce from local farmers, carefully selected wines and a killer wine list by sommelier Antonio Gianola, a stunning dining room with partially open… More >>
  • Best Brasserie

    Brasserie Max & Julie

    "Brasserie" means "brewery," and the folks at Max & Julie's have captured the lively spirit of the iconic French experience here in the heart of Montrose. Dive in with a bowl of Soup à l'Oignon, freshly made foie gras or roasted bone marrow, and then hit up traditional favorites such as the Alsatian sauerkraut dish, choucroute, the steak tartar with… More >>
  • Best Omnivore's Dilemma Restaurant

    Haven

    Want to eat ethically and locally without giving up your nice dinners? Chef Randy Evans makes it possible at his new restaurant Haven. With menus printed daily, Haven carefully notes all of the local ingredients used in its dishes, from tomatoes to eggs to cheeses. Everything about the atmosphere of Haven is in line with a commitment to cook the… More >>
  • Best All-You-Can-Eat Buffet

    Georgia's Farm to Market

    Located nearly 15 miles west of downtown, Georgia's Farm to Market food store may be one of the area's greatest secret treasures. And its weekend all-you-can-eat brunch is even more so. Served from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday, Georgia's offers up a rotating menu of delicious, farm-fresh, organic delights. Visit the omelet station for an egg-white… More >>
  • Best Taco Truck

    Taqueria Jalisco

    Nestled in the Spring Branch area of Houston lies gleaming-clean Taqueria Jalisco. Pick your meat and how you want it — in a torta, taco, etc. — from the posted menu on the side and wait to be wowed. The cooks do not skimp on your servings, and each plate comes with thin-sliced radishes to help kill the heat and… More >>
  • Best Delivery

    Auntie Chang's Dumpling House

    Sometimes a night in is better than a night out. When reheating frozen foods just isn't cutting it, call on Auntie Chang's Dumpling House to kick those hunger pangs. The place will deliver its awesome steamed dumplings, lo mein, veggie and other classics straight to your door. Don't have a menu and can't remember what you want? The wait staff… More >>
  • Best Wine Bar Food

    Sonoma Retail Wine Bar & Restaurant

    Sonoma could beat out its competition in selection size alone, but it doesn't stop there. For the traditionalist, there are elegant cheese and Italian meat platters with fruit and nuts. For the more adventurous, there's lobster risotto with asparagus or the chicken satay skewers. The Sonoma Pizza is another great option, with its thin, crispy crust topped with toasted gruyère,… More >>
  • Best Steakhouse

    Vic & Anthony's

    With a space that epitomizes Texas-size luxury and a Sinatra soundtrack to boot, Vic & Anthony's would be easy to write off as nothing more than a downtown power lunch/expense account destination. But here's the thing: The steaks are really, really good. Like the 22-ounce bone-in rib eye, which you can get with a side of bone marrow bordelaise. Or… More >>
  • Best Jewish Deli

    New York Bagels Shop & Deli

    New York Bagels is a Houston institution and a hot spot for Meyerland locals. It's a place where both college kids and bubbes can nosh and sip coffee. Perhaps it doesn't have the glitz of other local delis, but it makes up for that in quality. The cafe serves traditional food like salads (chicken, whitefish, egg), liver, pickled herring and… More >>
  • Best Greek Restaurant

    Alexander the Great Greek

    Alexander the Great Greek has certain dishes that people come back for again and again. It has the best whole charbroiled snapper in town, reason enough to stop here. Only if you took a boat out in Galveston Bay, caught a snapper and grilled it on the beach yourself could you get a fresher option. The calamari and the spanakopita… More >>
  • Best South American Restaurant

    Manena's

    There is no more authentic Argentinean restaurant in Houston than Manena's, despite the presence of other empanada purveyors or churrascarias scattered about the city. To experience a culinary mini-vacation, simply set aside an afternoon to drive out to the west side, order some humita and jamón y queso empanadas to start, a few sandwiches de miga if you're in the… More >>
  • Best Filipino Restaurant

    Godo

    Tucked away in a decrepit-looking strip center south of the Medical Center, Godo is not the sort of place that has what could be called "curb appeal." But it keeps the small Filipino bakery and cafe blissfully authentic and down to earth. The lunch buffet is the restaurant's greatest draw, groaning under the weight of at least 20 different items… More >>
  • Best Seafood Restaurant

    Sinh Sinh Restaurant

    Sinh Sinh is the go-to seafood restaurant in Chinatown. Open till 2 a.m., it offers a list of traditional favorites that reaches into the hundreds, offering hot pots full of crab or lobster, softshell crabs with pepper, congee with mixed seafood, Dungeness crabs with beer, lobster baked with cheese and even blue crabs baked in butter. The list goes on.… More >>
  • Best Expense-Account Restaurant

    The Coronado Club

    The days of oil company executives spending a grand on lunch are over. Thanks to big auto execs taking private jets to big-bank bailout meetings and the whole Enron fiasco, downtown offices are spending more time at Café Express than places like The Coronado. To step inside this place is like stepping back into another era. Started in '56, The… More >>
  • Best Late-Night Restaurant

    Chapultepec

    When it's three o'clock in the morning and you have somehow managed to talk your designated driver into taking you to get something to eat to save your life, Chapultepec is your Tex-Mex ace in the hole, offering the cheapest breakfast in town. You can get huevos rancheros that may be some of the best in town and a cup… More >>
  • Best Barbecue Restaurant

    Gatlin's BBQ

    As much as Houston loves barbecue, it's hard to find a consistently great spot for it. After all, it's fairly easy to mess it up. It's gotta be moist and tender with a smoky flavor, nice smoke ring and solid fat cap. Lose any of those components, and your smoker is sunk. Fortunately, Gatlin's BBQ is off the charts in… More >>
  • Best Burger Joint

    Sam's Deli Diner

    The 35 years that Sam's Deli Diner has been in business have only served to make this neighborhood burger joint more authentic and more beloved as time goes by. Since moving from its old location across the Katy Freeway a few years back, Sam's has spiffed up a bit but hasn't lost that scruffy charm that has always encouraged kids… More >>
  • Best Middle Eastern Restaurant

    Zabak's Mediterranean Cafe

    Not only does Zabak's serve some of the best Middle Eastern in town, the little Galleria-area restaurant also has some of the best service in the entire city. Run by the Zabak family, which originally hails from Lebanon, the restaurant specializes in the kind of light, crispy, savory falafel that will turn you from a falafel neophyte into a falafel… More >>
  • Best Italian Restaurant

    Ristorante Cavour

    With a new executive chef at the helm, Cavour has become the place where Houstonians can experience a true Italian meal without dusting off our passports. With its ingredients shipped directly from Italy in the hands of Chef Renato De Pirro, Cavour offers diners meals typically found in Italy. This place offers great food, lovely decor and impeccable service.… More >>
  • Best Thai Restaurant

    Ginger Thai

    The collection of old houses and other charmingly rag-tag buildings that lie hidden off a road near the Katy Freeway and Highway 6 is a surprising enough find in and of itself if you aren't a veteran west-sider. But the discovery of some of the city's best Thai food in the midst of all this is equally surprising. The young… More >>
  • Best Tex-Mex Restaurant

    Pico's Mex-Mex

    In the heart of old Bellaire lies one of the city's best restaurants, for Tex-Mex and for interior and coastal Mexican as well. Although Pico's, headed up by the venerated Arnaldo Richards, has been serving the neighborhood since 1984, the restaurant has always managed to fly just under the radar. It's never too full or too empty, the food is… More >>
  • Best Pre- or Post-Theater Restaurant

    The Grove

    If there was ever a restaurant more fitted to a beautiful night out than The Grove, Houston hasn't built it yet. The rustic yet modern restaurant — in both design and menu — from Robert Del Grande and Lonnie Schiller, is the crown jewel of downtown's Discovery Green, with immense windows that overlook the verdant park and grand, cathedral-like ceilings.… More >>
  • Tour the world at four-table Montrose restaurant Tex-Chick

    Puerto Rico and Beyond

    Tour the world at four-table Montrose restaurant Tex-Chick

    by Katharine Shilcutt The bacalao y mofongo on my plate at Tex-Chick is a brilliant jumble of fall colors: ruby red, auburn, burnt orange and bright gold. A dish originating in Portugal, the bacalao — chipped pieces of salted and dried codfish — ring the mound of mofongo like Matisse's colorful dancers. And the sturdy mofongo, that pile of yellow plantains… More >>
  • A distinctly Houston cuisine is emerging

    Catalan and the Bayou City

    A distinctly Houston cuisine is emerging - CLOSED

    by Nishta J. Mehra When Chris Shepherd first took the helm at Washington Avenue's Catalan, he kept his menu closely aligned with the region for which the restaurant was named, Spain's Catalonia. "I felt I needed to focus on doing Spanish-influenced items," he says. The decision earned him a lukewarm response from diners and critics. Sure, the dining room was lovely,… More >>
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