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Food & Drinks

  • Best Banh Mi

    Cafe TH

    No neighborhood Vietnamese spot is complete without some amazing banh mi...and Cafe TH has just that. The cozy cafe's trademark sandwiches are just as vibrant as Houston's favorite front-house man, chef and owner Minh Nguyen. While the crusty, freshly baked baguettes that Nguyen sources are almost reason enough to try a sandwich, it's the perfectly executed fillings, both traditional and… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Spot in Midtown

    Piola

    Piola is one of those spots that are fun and hip yet comfortable. You can come here with your family or friends or by yourself when you're in a hurry. Primarily a pizza joint, this is not your run-of-the-mill fast-food pizza but true Neopolitan-style thin-crust pizza made from recipes handed down by masters in Italy. The classic margherita, with nothing… More >>
  • Best Doughnuts

    Revival Market

    If you're going to start your Saturday with a doughnut, Revival Market's fried delights are the way to go. The grocer's upscale creations include flavors like Meyer Lemon & Sour Cream-Filled, Valhrona Chocolate & Malted Milk, and Apple Pecan. The doughnuts are a perfect marriage of delicateness and decadence. The only problem is that Revival bakes them only on occasional… More >>
  • Best Drive-Through

    Taqueria El Rey

    El Rey is not your typical fast-food joint. Sure, the food comes out fast, but what we have here is a full-fledged Mexican-Cuban restaurant. Where else can you pick up a succulent, golden-skinned rotisserie chicken and a three-taco meal, complete with Mexican rice and pork-laced charro beans, at a drive-through window? Not to mention, they do breakfast. Drive-through Cuban coffee,… More >>
  • Best Greek Restaurant

    Niko Niko's

    Every time you visit Niko Niko's, you quickly realize you're not the only one who had the same idea. This Greek restaurant is always packed with loyal customers trying to satisfy their gyro and falafel cravings. There's nothing fancy about this family-owned place, and there doesn't need to be. Whatever you order, whether it's the lamb shank, the Greek salad,… More >>
  • Best Veggie Burger

    CRISP

    One of Houston's newest places, Crisp is nestled in the Shady Acres neighborhood, hidden away enough that you feel as if you've stumbled upon a secret gem. In addition to their extensive beer and wine selection and stone-deck fired pizzas, the menu features the best chickpea burger you've ever tasted. Crispy on the outside with a soft and inviting middle,… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Spot in the Galleria

    Adair Kitchen

    It's so easy to stop by McDonald's on the way home and pick up fast food. But with a place like Adair Kitchen in the neighborhood, it's just as easy to stop there and get a healthy, fresh meal to go. Brother-and-sister team Nick and Katie Adair, whose family owns both the Skeeters and Los Tios local restaurant chains, wanted… More >>
  • Best Breakfast Tacos

    Taqueria La Macro

    This cute, modern taqueria just north of downtown takes call-in and to-go orders for its breakfast tacos, but that's not the only reason we love La Macro. Owner Saul Obregon is always present with a warm smile, his staff ready to dish out heaps of chorizo (or potato if you're vegetarian) and eggs into hot, fluffy flour tortillas that never… More >>
  • Best Family Restaurant

    Mandola's Deli

    This family-run neighborhood restaurant located near the University of Houston has been serving classic Italian fare since 1975. The space itself may be little, but the family? Not so much. You may have heard of the Mandolas — that is, unless you've been living under a rock. Stop by for a meatball po-boy, a traditional red-sauced chicken parmesan, and a… More >>
  • Best Ice Cream/Gelato

    Fat Cat Creamery

    While the storefront is new to the scene, Fat Cat Creamery is no stranger to serving its crave-inducing homemade ice cream all over town. Using fine-quality local ingredients, these cats dream up and scoop out flavors like Maple and Candied Bacon, the eggnog-flavored Railean Rum and Brandy, and the not-so-old-fashioned Cat's Meow Mexican Vanilla. No matter what you get, it'll… More >>
  • Best Late-Night Restaurant

    Pi Pizza Truck

    Good news! You don't have to make it to your car for outstanding late-night grub; Pi Pizza Truck has got you covered. The truck, available for delivery till 3:30 a.m., is slinging some serious pies, from the wild-game-topped Outdoorsman — with venison sausage and port-wine-syrup-coated cherries — to the massive bacon-mac-and-cheese-topped Who's the Mac. Of course, it's not just available… More >>
  • Best Carrot Cake

    Dessert Gallery Bakery & Cafe

    You can debate ad infinitum as to the "proper" composition of carrot cake (is coconut really always necessary?), but it's hard to argue that Dessert Gallery's version is anything but absolutely spectacular. Alternating layers of moist spiced cake (chock-full of raisins and pecans) and dense cream cheese frosting make for the sweetest striations found on this side of the Mississippi.… More >>
  • Best Wine Store

    Trader Joe's

    When Trader Joe's opened up in the old Alabama Theater in September 2012, foodies, hipster parents and bargain shoppers squealed with delight. Not only is the store known for its good deals and unique eats, it has an amazing wine selection — and it's cheap as all get-out. Its famous Charles Shaw wines, more commonly known as Two-Buck Chucks, are… More >>
  • Best Sushi

    Kata Robata

    You're always in for a treat when you dine at Kata Robata. There's a reason this restaurant is a two-time winner for Best Sushi in Houston. Chef Hori doles out spectacular and stunning sushi masterpieces each day (he's a 2011 James Beard Award semi-finalist for Best Chef: Southwest, after all). Sure, the menu items aren't the cheapest, but they are… More >>
  • Best Breakfast

    Fountain View Cafe

    The pancakes at Fountain View Cafe are the stuff of legend: as thin as crepes, with a wispy lace of a crust on the outer ring and a soft, dense, vanilla-scented middle that requires neither butter nor syrup (which doesn't stop us from slathering them on anyway). This is one reason there's always a line at the 1980s throwback cafe… More >>
  • Best Chicken Salad

    Hobbit Cafe

    Despite the fact that chicken salad isn't a staple food of the Shire, the Hobbit Cafe's version is one of the best things on their menu. Thanks to a hearty infusion of curry powder, their salad sports a sunny hue and a slightly spicy flavor that's further complemented by big slices of almonds and crisp red grapes. Such a diversity… More >>
  • Best Burger

    Brooklyn Athletic Club

    Brooklyn Athletic Club doesn't mess around when it comes to burgers, though your juice-soaked chin and hands may disagree. The restaurant's moderately seasoned, loosely packed patty, best enjoyed in pure, medium-rare form, is entirely juicy without being greasy. Along with the simple trio of lettuce, tomato and red onion, a healthy smear of house-made jalapeño and tomato jam brings the… More >>
  • Best Chinese Restaurant

    Shanghai Restaurant

    Shanghai Restaurant is possibly one of Houston's best-kept secrets. Owned and operated by the Ng family, this is your classic mom-and-pop Chinese restaurant. Mom and Dad met while she was a waitress and he was a cook. Mom is usually at the cash register or waiting tables. Son and daughter often come in to help out. Dad is in the… More >>
  • Best Vegan Restaurant

    Doshi House

    Vegan restaurants aren't the easiest places to find in Houston, but there is a bevy of excellent eateries spread across the city — often in undertraveled and underserved neighborhoods. Doshi House, owned by Deepak Doshi and settled in the southwest corner of the Third Ward, is the best among them. Functioning as a neighborhood coffee bar (with coffee program overseen… More >>
  • Best French Fries

    Fat Bao

    Come to Fat Bao for the bao, but stay for the fries. The signature steamed Chinese dumplings are good, but the french fries are out of this world: hand-cut, perfectly fried and excellent all on their own. We recommend dipping them in Fat Bao's homemade kimchi mayonnaise if you're feeling fancy, or ordering the Yummy Fries for a couple of… More >>
  • Best Restaurant

    Uchi

    No two dining experiences at Uchi are exactly the same, because every meal reveals a previously unknown ingredient or a newly conceptualized dish straight out of the imaginations of talented and creative chefs Tyson Cole, Philip Speer and Kaz Edwards. Speer's delicate desserts bursting with combinations of familiar and exotic flavors and textures are miniature works of art, while every… More >>
  • Best Ethiopian Restaurant

    Lucy Ethiopian Restaurant & Lounge

    Ethiopian restaurants are not often described as places "to see and be seen," but at Lucy it's hard not to scan the energetic dining room decorated in deep shadowy reds and soft lighting in hopes of spotting a celebrity (or being mistaken for one). You don't have to go hungry or broke while you stargaze, however, because this isn't some… More >>
  • Best Delivery

    Pizza L'Vino

    A pizza place that delivers hand-selected, reasonably priced bottles of wine and craft beer. Need we say more? Not only does Pizza L'Vino deliver booze, but they also crank out some fantastic hot and fresh pizza pies. Select whole-wheat, white or gluten-free dough and pick from three kinds of crust. Then fight your roommate over the plethora of toppings. We… More >>
  • Lola

    Best Milkshake

    Lola

    We're not entirely sure about that URL, but we certainly know a preposterously fine milkshake when we taste one. While the options aren't as plentiful as Amy's or as boozy as Little Big's, Lola sticks with an unfailingly simple recipe. Served up in a chic diner atmosphere — think greasy spoon meets urban farm — the milkshakes at Lola are… More >>
  • Best Cheap Sandwich

    Bocca Deli

    The sandwiches at Bocca Deli aren't fancy — but they're just fancy enough to make you wonder how the family-run shop in Lindale Park manages to sell them so cheap. Grilled chicken is diced and tossed with roasted red peppers, then topped with melting Provolone cheese. Ham sandwiches are kicked up with mango-habanero sauce and crunchy cucumber. And none of… More >>
  • Best Atmosphere

    Artisans

    "It feels like Joel Robuchon's restaurant in Vegas," one might say when dining at Artisans. With its open kitchen and curved 28-seat bar, diners who want to can watch all the kitchen action right as it's happening. From the big whoosh of flames that go up while they're making the steak au poivre (pepper steak) to the meticulous plating of… More >>
  • Best Enchiladas

    El Real Tex-Mex Cafe

    Of all the menu items offered at this wonderful Tex-Mex restaurant, the enchiladas are far and away superior to any others anywhere in Houston. There is something special about the combination of tortilla, meat and cheese that El Real bakes to delicious perfection, with each bite seemingly better than your last. Try the bacon enchiladas for brunch, or el gallo… More >>
  • Best Clams

    Liberty Kitchen

    Okay, the phrase "best clams" in conjunction with "oyster bar" inspires a certain amount of cognitive dissonance. Get over it. Oysters may be center stage at Liberty Kitchen, but littleneck clams are getting increasing attention for their supporting role at dinnertime. Shipped farm-fresh from Mattawoman Creek, Virginia, the steamed clams are immersed in a bath of the restaurant's own wheat… More >>
  • Best Pakistani Restaurant

    Bismillah Cafe

    Hot french fries and a burger, chicken wings, pizza — there's just something everyone loves about good old-fashioned comfort food. Now take those favorites and imagine them with a distinctly Pakistani twist. That's exactly what second-generation restaurateur Inam Moghul is doing at Bismillah Cafe. Located just doors down from the original — and much larger — Bismillah Restaurant, the small… More >>
  • Best Turkish

    Nazif's Turkish Grill & Deli

    Nestled in one of the hundreds of shockingly similar patchwork strip centers on Westheimer, Nazif's stands out by offering exceptional authentic Turkish fare that goes beyond the simple Americanized kebabs and hummus you may be used to. With a focus on baked goods, Nazif's serves up Turkish-style pizza called pide topped with scrambled eggs, meats and cheese as well as… More >>
  • Best Barbecue

    Gatlin's BBQ

    People rave about the brisket at Gatlin's, but then again, they rave about just about everything offered by this humble mom-and-pop shop in the Heights, run by owner Greg Gatlin and his parents. The tiny storefront with just enough room inside for three small tables sells consistently delicious barbecue that's made fresh and runs out daily. Ribs are charred with… More >>
  • Best Bang for the Buck

    Aladdin Mediterranean Cuisine

    Located on the corner of Westheimer and Montrose, Aladdin Mediterranean Cuisine is one of those places to go when you feel hungry and don't have a lot of cash. For less than $12 (most entrées are $10.99-$11.99), you get a choice of entrée, choice of three side dishes and fresh-out-of-the-oven pita bread. Entrées are usually some type of meat: chicken… More >>
  • Seth Siegel-Gardner and Terrence Gallivan of The Pass & Provisions

    Best Chef

    Seth Siegel-Gardner and Terrence Gallivan of The Pass & Provisions

    Though Best Chef is technically awarded to one person, in the case of Seth Siegel-Gardner and Terrence Gallivan of The Pass & Provisions, it would be impossible to choose between them because these two chefs do just about everything as a team. Together, they've created one of the most inspired restaurants to hit the scene in years. "Restaurant" is actually… More >>
  • Pho Dien

    Best Pho

    Pho Dien

    Pho, or Vietnamese noodle soup, is available at just about every Vietnamese restaurant around town. What separates the good from the bad are the broth and the meats, and at Pho Dien, a tiny strip-mall hole in the wall on Bellaire Boulevard outside of Beltway 8, they are the reasons why discerning Vietnamese diners will line up outside the tiny… More >>
  • Best Bistro

    Roost

    There's something about Roost that resonates with Houston's dining public. Maybe it's the unpretentiousness of the setting, with its low ceilings and unassuming, simple furnishings. Or perhaps it's the fact that the restaurant is located smack-dab in the middle of a residential neighborhood, within walking distance of people's homes in the 'Trose. The excellent food by chef and owner Kevin… More >>
  • Best Bone Marrow

    Brasserie Max & Julie

    Bone marrow used to be a delicacy. It was something you'd have to fly to France or French Canada to get a taste of, but not so anymore. Bone marrow dishes abound in all flavors around Houston, many in the shape of a long bone cut in half and sprinkled with this or that. At Brasserie Max & Julie, their… More >>
  • Best Fried Chicken

    Uchi

    The Japanese term agemono refers to the selection of deep-fried dishes that are often available alongside traditional raw seafood dishes at sushi restaurants. Add tempura, or light batter, to chicken, and you're presented with karaage, the Japanese version of the wonderful soul food we know as fried chicken. Uchi is perhaps the best sushi restaurant in Houston, but their fried… More >>
  • Best Dumplings

    E-Tao Asian Eatery

    You'd think that the best dumplings in Houston would come from somewhere in Chinatown, but you'd be mistaken. Go to The Galleria, park near Nord­strom and go to the small food court just outside of that store on the second floor. There, through a small front-facing window, watch in amazement as white-clothed Chinese staff make quick work of everything from… More >>
  • Best Burger Joint

    Christian's Tailgate

    There's no dearth of good burger joints in Houston. Christian's Tailgate just happens to be one of the best. Whether it's their "small" one-third-pound burger, "large" half-pounder or their "giant" one-pound burger, the classic burgers with lettuce and tomato are the very word on what an American burger should taste like. The thick-cut patties and soft, white, toasted-on-the-grill bun combine… More >>
  • Best Club Sandwich

    DaCapo's Pastry Cafe

    Though perhaps more famous for its zesty egg salad (Best of Houston® 2012), DaCapo's also garners much repeat business because of its tantalizing, towering club sandwich. With alternating stories of slightly sweet baked ham, juicy marinated turkey breast, cheddar and provolone cheeses, lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise and herb bread, the "Big Club" is a skyscraper of a sammie that you almost,… More >>
  • Best Coffee

    Blacksmith

    Fancy a hot cup of joe? How about an espresso, cortado, iced coffee, mocha, hot tea or hot cocoa? Whatever you need to get your fix, Blacksmith on Westheimer is ready to serve you. Why settle for coffee from a drive-through when you can sit inside the newly renovated building that once housed Mary's, enjoying breakfast as the sun pours… More >>
  • Latin Bites Cafe

    Best Ceviche

    Latin Bites Cafe

    When it comes to ceviche, there is no match for Latin Bites. Chef Roberto Castre delivers authentic gourmet Peruvian-style ceviche (known in Peru as "cebiche") that can easily go head-to-head with the best in Lima. His cebiche de mercado is absolutely inspired. A mixture of seasonal fish and octopus, the tangy rocoto pepper leche de tigre (tiger's milk marinade) is… More >>
  • Best Caesar Salad

    Barnaby's Cafe

    At Barnaby's, the Caesar salad is not just something you order to warm up your appetite for a larger, more tantalizing entrée. The Caesar is the main course and not just because it's served in a bowl that would easily feed a family of four. This half-bushel (seemingly) of crisp romaine lettuce; crunchy, buttery French bread croutons; and parmesan cheese… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Spot in the Heights

    Down House

    This comfy upscale Heights haunt, housed in a refurbished bank, has one of the coziest atmospheres in the city. Linger over a cappuccino and chicken and waffles on the patio at brunch or grab a couple of pints and a juicy kimchi- and fried egg-topped burger after a bike ride on a gorgeous day. In the evenings, the friendly restaurant… More >>
  • Best Dim Sum

    Arco Seafood Restaurant

    Arco Seafood is smaller than your traditional dim sum restaurant. In fact, it's so small that there is room only for tables and not for pushcarts. No matter. When you order from their dim sum menu (offered daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.), you'll receive piping-hot, fresh-off-the-steamer har gow or xiu mai dumplings; pan-fried turnip cakes with crispy edges;… More >>
  • Best Brunch

    Pondicheri Cafe

    If you want to impress your dining companion, suggest Pondicheri for brunch. The Upper Kirby hotspot offers a modern take on classic Indian fare and a whole lot of baked treats for good measure. For a little taste of everything, try the Morning Thali, a traditional Indian variety plate filled with delights like spiced beef keema; saffron-laced yogurt; carrot paratha;… More >>
  • Best Cheap Seafood Restaurant

    Mambo Seafood

    Mambo's Seafood is the classic "You buy, we fry" restaurant, a place where you can pick out your seafood before you order, selecting whole fresh fish, lobster, scallops, shrimp and other seafood by the pound to be prepared to your personal preferences. Seafood purchased to order is usually market price, but the prices are never steep. A regular fish platter,… More >>
  • Best Pasta

    Coppa Ristorante Italiano

    If pasta is your thing, Coppa is the way to go. The kitchen turns out incredible upscale takes on Italian classics with flair — like their porcini-flavored pappardelle with slightly sweet braised brisket sugo or the supremely delicate house-made gnocchi, swimming in a rich broth with notes of fresh sage and dollops of ricotta. Not to mention the bright-yolk-topped spaghetti… More >>
  • The Hay Merchant

    Best Neighborhood Spot in Montrose

    The Hay Merchant

    With about 80 beers on tap and five cask selections each day, this hip Montrose joint is a craft beer lover's dream. But it's oh so much more than that. Grab a cold pint with friends and munch on bar snacks like the sweet and spicy fried pig ears and the sticky Vietnamese chicken wings. Come in for Tuesday Steak… More >>
  • Best Taqueria

    La Macro

    "Tacos" is the answer to many of life's important questions. And if one of those questions is "Where am I going to eat my next plate of delicious tacos?" then La Macro is the ideal spot for you. This small taco shop just north of downtown offers real trompo tacos, complete with grilled pineapple chunks on top and your choice… More >>
  • Best Crawfish

    Crawfish & Noodles

    There's perhaps nothing that says Houston more than a Vietnamese crawfish restaurant. And while there are plenty of places that serve them, Crawfish & Noodles' Cajun-spiced, garlic-­butter-soaked critters take the cake. The mudbugs don't soak in their own juices for too long, allowing you to experience the true crawfish flavor of the fresh, tender meat inside the spice-dusted shells. Enjoy… More >>
  • Rocket Fizz Soda Pop and Candy Shops

    Best Soda Selection

    Rocket Fizz Soda Pop and Candy Shops

    Addicted to carbonated drinks? Your next fix (and the next one and the next one and the next one) can be found at the newly opened Rocket Fizz Soda Pop and Candy Shop, where almost every variety of sweet sparkling beverage imaginable is available in singles and six-packs. There's Cheerwine for North Carolina natives, British ginger beer for Anglophiles and… More >>
  • Best Lobster

    Jonathan's The Rub

    Is anything as good as lobster steamed with a spritz of lemon and a splash of butter? The answer is "yes" and "yes" at Jonathan's The Rub, where executive chef Jonathan Levine defies tradition and impresses even the most ardent lobster purists with his innovative crustacean creations. Lovers of lobster rolls will find themselves swooning over the open-face lobster sliders… More >>
  • Fountain View Cafe

    Best Greasy Spoon

    Fountain View Cafe

    When a restaurant serves all-day breakfast, you know it's legit. Walk up to the counter at this old-timey cafe and order up a heaping breakfast plate with all the fixin's or, better yet, a build-your-own omelette with fillings like jalapeño, cream cheese and house-made chili. Also a must? A short stack of some of the best pancakes in town. They're… More >>
  • Best Deli

    Kenny & Ziggy's

    Kenny & Ziggy's has won for Best Deli before. But it speaks to quality and consistency when a restaurant keeps on winning, and that's what Kenny & Ziggy's always offers: quality. Just spend an hour with Ziggy Gruber and you'll lose count of the number of times people come up to him to thank him for his food. It's your… More >>
  • Best Empanadas

    Artista

    Empanadas. The South American equivalent of American pot pies, the hand-size, crescent-shaped meat-filled pies are considered common street food throughout South America. The secret to a good empanada, whether it's fried or baked, lies not only in the dough used to make the crust but in the filling. At Artista in downtown, the empanadas are a master class in what… More >>
  • Best Foie Gras Dish

    Charivari

    Most fine-dining restaurants around town serve some sort of foie gras on their menu, but in size, style and execution, Charivari's is totally awesome. At some places, the foie gras portion is so small that you're finished eating it almost as soon as you start. Not so at Charivari, where the serving is generous enough for two. Each slice is… More >>
  • Best Pizza

    Dolce Vita

    There are few things in life as enjoyable as that perfect slice of right-out-of-the-oven, bubbling-hot pizza. At Dolce Vita, it's happening every day. Their Neapolitan-style crust — light as air, super-thin yet almost fluffy — is a thing of beauty, something you'll be loath to leave on your plate once you've finished the pizza's innards. You can stick with something… More >>
  • Best Martini

    The Davenport

    This isn't the first year The Davenport has won "Best Martini," and it probably won't be the last, either, so long as they continue to serve incredibly well-balanced cocktails in frosty, finger-numbing glasses. Classic gin and vodka martinis are straight-up successes, as are the more creative variations such as the Lady in Red, Mango Tango and Dear Old Cranny. Fussy… More >>
  • Moon Tower Inn

    Best Restaurant Comeback

    Moon Tower Inn

    "Damn good food. Cold ass beer." That's Moon Tower Inn's motto. And it's spot-on. Loyal fans of the East End dive were heartbroken when it shut its doors for renovations in late 2011. But no worries: Houston's favorite beer-and-hot-dog yard is now back...and with a vengeance. Gone are the old amenities, making way for a shipping container-enclosed service counter, a… More >>
  • Best Fajitas

    The Original Ninfa's on Navigation

    We've all eaten fajitas. They are available at every Mexican restaurant and taco truck in Houston, of which there are thousands. But what if I told you that not all fajitas were actual, real fajitas. Sometimes you get ungraded sirloin or some other type of beef, disguised as fajitas. For the real thing, turn to the source, Ninfa's on Navigation.… More >>
  • Ciao Bello

    Best Italian Restaurant

    Ciao Bello

    It was bound to happen. Ciao Bello, the younger sibling of River Oaks staple Tony's, just needed some time to rise to its full potential. This year, it's turning out the kind of food that people talk about, return for, tweet about and remember. Under Executive Chef Bobby Matos, a simple burrata salad of grilled peaches and arugula is amazing.… More >>
  • Best Pop-Up Dining Series

    Yaki-Snack Attack

    Pop-up dinners tend to be exclusionary: Not only can they be cost-prohibitive, but by their very nature — limited seating and temporary life­spans — they can be hard for the casual diner to experience. Austin King's series of pop-up dinners eschewed tradition by offering his dinner service in popular Midtown and Montrose bars like Grand Prize and Glitter Karaoke. With… More >>
  • Best Cajun

    Beaucoup Bar & Grill

    You can tell a lot about a Cajun joint by the service, and both the service and the atmosphere at Beaucoup are about as laid-back and casual as it gets, which by our estimation is a good sign. Wedged just south of the Texas Medical Center and 288 off Old Spanish Trail, Beaucoup Bar & Grill cranks out great standard… More >>
  • Best Long Lunch

    Monarch at Hotel ZaZa

    Picture this: It's mid-afternoon. You're lounging in the shade of a luxurious, lush patio, a glass of chilled rosé in hand, overlooking the picturesque Museum District as a fountain gently dances in the background. It feels like vacation, so you relax and take your time. You laugh with friends and nosh on the feast before you: tequila-and-coconut-milk-soaked mussels; bonito-flaked fried… More >>
  • Best Kebabs

    Bijan

    When you're looking for kebabs, Bijan offers a menu full of them. There are chicken kebabs and lamb kebabs, beef kebabs and salmon kebabs. There are kebab combinations and ground meat (koobideh) kebabs, Cornish game hen kebabs and vegetarian kebabs. At this staple Persian restaurant that's been on Hillcroft for many years, meats come right off the grill and to… More >>
  • Best Bloody Mary

    Hearsay Gastro Lounge

    Bloody Marys are serious business. And trust us, during Sunday brunch, Hearsay Gastro Lounge means business. The restaurant infuses its vodka with jalapeños in-house, resulting in a cocktail that has the perfect amount of heat to balance out the acidity of the drink. It provides just enough spice to simultaneously wake you up and kill that Sunday morning hangover, the… More >>
  • Best Chicken-Fried Steak

    Hickory Hollow

    As Texan as The Alamo or Friday night football, finding and devouring a great chicken-fried steak is a tradition. A big, fat, artery-clogging tradition. And once you find your favorite, forget about ordering it anyplace else. Such is the case with the chicken-fried steak at Hickory Hollow. This hand-battered monstrosity of a steak is so perfectly seasoned and cooked, there… More >>
  • MKT Bar

    Best Downtown Neighborhood Bar

    MKT Bar

    MKT Bar may be a wormhole into an alternate reality — a reality where downtown Houston actually achieved and maintained its full potential as an entertainment and shopping district. A long marble bar fronts an Italian espresso machine, well-stocked wine refrigerators and a long bank of draft beer taps that range from local craft brews to unusual imports. The hard-surfaced… More >>
  • Best Nachos

    Refresquería Tampico

    Nachos can be so complicated these days. By the time the toppings are piled onto the tortilla chips, they look less like nachos and more like a crazy salad with an explosion of Tex-Mex on top. Take a trip down memory lane with the simple yet delicious nachos at Tampico in the East End. This snack shop across the street… More >>
  • Best Vegetarian-Friendly Restaurant

    Radical Eats

    Radical Eats is not your typical Mexican restaurant. In fact, up until this year, the restaurant, complete with a backyard garden and a killer Sunday brunch, served only vegan and vegetarian food. But with a move to Montrose and a bigger kitchen, Radical Eats did something, well, radical, and decided to increase its menu to include free-range and locally raised… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Spot in Chinatown

    House of Bowls

    Chinatown is awash in restaurants, but there are those you go to sometimes and those you can go to just about anytime, any day. House of Bowls fits into the second category. The unassuming restaurant, located in a strip mall off the main Bellaire drag in Chinatown, serves delicious, no-nonsense Hong Kong-style food that's great for takeout, dine-in, a quick… More >>
  • Best Tex-Mex Restaurant

    El Real

    A little bit of Mexico and a lotta bit of Texas, the national food of the state is represented at its best inside the restored Tower Theater in the heart of Houston's Montrose neighborhood. El Real offers all the hits: cheesy enchiladas, fat puffy tacos, sizzling fajitas and thirst-quenching margaritas, all of which rival the best offered by any restaurant… More >>
  • Best Expense-Account Restaurant

    Eddie V's, West Ave

    Here's the thing about expense accounts: They are meant to allow you to entertain, and at Eddie V's in West Ave, from the moment you step in the doors, it's like entering a world where money is no object, where the whole point of being there is to wine and dine. Guests and colleagues will want to start their indulgences… More >>
  • Best Bread

    Provisions

    The bread service at Provisions is must-try, each freshly baked loaf mindfully paired with a mouthwatering spread and fine-quality cheese. Our suggestion? Dine with friends so you can try each and every one. After all, you wouldn't want to miss the pretzel bread with black garlic mostarda and nutty cow's-milk Gruyère, or the bone-marrow brioche alongside tomato jam and goat's-milk… More >>
  • Best Brisket

    CorkScrew BBQ

    While CorkScrew BBQ has been making waves with locals up north and among barbecue enthusiasts for some time now, we like to consider this year's inaugural Houston BBQ Fest to be CorkScrew's coming-out party. The relatively new outfit from husband-and-wife team Will and Nichole Buckman is in the process of making the move to a permanent brick-and-mortar setup. In the… More >>
  • Best Margarita

    Bodegas Taco Shop

    The margarita seems like such a simple drink, it's a wonder so many places get it wrong. Whether it's too sweet or too sour or too light on the tequila, we have all experienced a margarita gone south. But at Bodegas, you'll find an almost perfect concoction of the Tex-Mex favorite, whether frozen or on the rocks. The taste, temperature… More >>
  • Best Comfort Food

    Max's Wine Dive

    If some of the best jalapeño- and buttermilk-soaked fried chicken in town isn't the ultimate comfort food, we don't know what is. Perhaps it's Gulf Coast oyster-topped wontons, dancing playfully with habanero salsa and garlic aioli, or a roasted red-pepper-laced grilled cheese dipped into a cup of tomato soup. Or how about a rich-as-all-hell veal bolognese lasagna, complete with creamy… More >>
  • Best Food Truck

    Koagie Hots

    Wouldn't it be great if your favorite food truck was always there when you needed it to be? At Koagie Hots, you can trust that they'll be parked outside of Boondocks late at night when you're totally drunk off your you-know-what and need grub quickly. Like Old Faithful, they'll be there for you from around 8 p.m. to 3 a.m.,… More >>
  • Best Mexican Restaurant

    Hugo's

    When we talk about Mexican food in Houston, Hugo Ortega is not just one of the most highly regarded pioneers in town, but also the most recognized. For two consecutive years, he has been a semifinalist for the prestigious James Beard Foundation award for Best Chef Southwest. At his eponymous restaurant, the menu is a celebration of the regional cuisines… More >>
  • Liberty Kitchen

    Best Oysters

    Liberty Kitchen

    Liberty Kitchen Oyster Bar may offer a full menu of comfort food that includes burgers and hot dogs and mac and cheese, but the star is definitely the oysters. On the chalkboard menu, you'll find fresh daily selections ranging from Gulf oysters to those flown in from New England. The list changes almost daily, and the quality is superb —… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Spot in the Village

    Local Foods

    The clientele of Local Foods testifies to its broad appeal: Multigenerational families nosh on house-made chips and sandwiches, graduate students laze over organic soups, and young couples chatter in between sips of lemonade and bits of "Mom's" chocolate cupcakes. Eating local is easy, inexpensive, relaxing and, most important, delicious, thanks to Local Foods, where house specialties include the truffled egg… More >>
  • Best Cabrito

    El Hidalguense

    Sooner or later on the journey of Mexican food you're required to travel as a Houstonian, you will want to indulge in cabrito. Beef and pork are king, but eating the meat off a well-prepared and grilled goat will make you dream of being a vaquero in the Mexican countryside, wondering why it took you so long to try this… More >>
  • Best Steakhouse

    Killen's

    Did you ever hear of the little engine that could? Killen's Steakhouse in Pearland is like that little engine. A total underdog located in a suburb outside Houston, the low-key, humble restaurant has emerged as the de facto best steakhouse in Houston, and it deserves every single accolade it gets. Consider chef and owner Ronnie Killen, who graduated top of… More >>
  • Best Onion Rings

    Christian's Tailgate

    When your server at Christian's Tailgate asks if you want fries or onion rings, there's only one defensible reply. The rings, giant circles of sweet white onion coated with a batter so dense you might think it was savory cookie dough, are deep-fried but never greasy, crisp but not crumbly. And with a luscious oily brown sheen and rich consistency,… More >>
  • Best Belgian Cafe

    Café Brussels

    If the entire restaurant smells like frites, you know you're in for an outstanding Belgian meal. Café Brussels offers all the authentic and classic Belgian dishes, including the best selection of Belgian beers. Whether you're in the mood for mussels and frites paired with flights of wine or beer, or just want a simple croque madame or savory potato, sausage… More >>
  • MF Sushi

    Best New Restaurant

    MF Sushi

    MF Sushi arrived quietly on the Houston food scene. Located in a nondescript strip mall, with nothing more than a modest black awning to signal its presence, it's a place that's easily overlooked. Step inside on a busy Friday or Saturday night, however, and you'll find aficionados taking up every single seat in front of the sushi bar, groaning in… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Spot in Tanglewood

    Latin Bites Cafe

    Like the little engine that could, the Castre family started from modest means, struggling to open a catering company that would go on to become a small 30-seat restaurant. They later upgraded to a newer, swankier location in Tanglewood, which is now one of the best dining spots in that neighborhood. In the evening, guests can indulge in chef Roberto… More >>
  • Best Pastry Chef

    Chris Leung

    "Chris Leung is a freak genius," says L.J. Wiley, one of Leung's executive chefs from back in the day, before Leung went to Tomball to work with Randy Rucker at Bootsie's, before he took on a position as pastry chef to Azuma and Kata Robata, and before he decided to open his own ice cream shop. Though Leung isn't making… More >>
  • Best Pre-Theater Restaurant

    Perbacco

    Perbacco is a magnet for the downtown lunch set. The place gets filled to the brim with Italian-seeking diners during the midday rush, but come dinnertime, it's the place to be for pre-theater-goers. Located conveniently across the street from Jones Hall, Perbacco is two blocks away from the Alley, two and a half blocks from the Wortham and about four… More >>
  • Perry\'s Steakhouse & Grille

    Best Pork Chop

    Perry's Steakhouse & Grille

    There are great pork chops in Houston, and then there's Perry's Famous Pork Chop. There's nothing else around that can top this seven-finger pork chop, so called because its height is the width of seven fingers put together. The hunk of beautiful meat comes to the table sizzling on a cast-iron platter, where it's broken down table-side into three parts:… More >>
  • Danton\'s Gulf Coast Seafood Kitchen

    Best Seafood

    Danton's Gulf Coast Seafood Kitchen

    Danton's Gulf Coast Seafood Kitchen is like one of those seafood places you'll find up in New England. Fresh oysters are served at the oyster bar. Fried clams, boiled shrimp, steamed crab and fried fish are offered aplenty. But what separates it from those New England establishments are the Southern influences that chef and owner Danton Nix incorporates into his… More >>
  • Del Frisco\'s

    Best Service

    Del Frisco's

    Del Frisco's is not a small, intimate restaurant. And yet it's the type of place where everyone knows your name, where you're made to feel like a VIP from the minute you step through its doors. It starts with a genuinely warm greeting by the hostess, who might accompany you upstairs as you're led to your table. It continues with… More >>
  • Best Korean Restaurant

    Bon Ga

    Entering Bon Ga from the steamy beige concrete of its strip-mall home is like the Korean version of stepping through C.S. Lewis's wardrobe; you emerge in another world, one that seems increasingly preferable to your own. Consistently attentive service; an inviting assortment of banchan; and fresh, straightforward takes on classics such as bibimbap, tofu stews and beef gui are enough… More >>
  • Best Sommelier

    Adele Corrigan of 13 Celsius

    13 Celsius is a favorite among restaurant industry employees, and especially among sommeliers, not just because it's a cool place to hang out but because of sommelier Adele Corrigan, who serves as the bar manager and co-curator of the wines served there. With a penchant for selecting wines that are not well known, Corrigan has the innate ability to choose… More >>
  • Churrascos Sugar Land

    Best South American Restaurant

    Churrascos Sugar Land

    Their signature Churrasco steak will always be a home run, but dine at Churrascos in Sugar Land and you get so much more. You get the gorgeous ambience created by design guru Jordan Mozer, who juxtaposed looming wooden trees against softly glowing chandeliers to make diners feel as if they're sitting in the middle of a magically lit tropical jungle.… More >>
  • Best Mac and Cheese

    BRC Gastropub

    BRC Gastropub's classic mac and cheese has garnered many accolades and die-hard fans over the years, but the traditional golden noodles recently got a revamp that makes them the undeniable best in town. The foie gras macaroni and cheese is made with Swiss raclette, which melts into a thick, creamy coating and duck fat to give the crescent-shaped pasta an… More >>
  • Best Tasting Menu

    Uchi

    There are few places in Houston that can consistently deliver a mind-blowing experience. Uchi Houston is one of them. The avant-garde style of elevated Japanese is artistic, composed, and complex and is designed to hit your senses from every direction, from sight to taste, smell to touch. Consider something as simple as a leaf of hydroponic baby romaine. Each verdant… More >>
  • Taconazo

    Best Salsa

    Taconazo

    A good salsa adds life and flavor to a taco, but a great salsa makes that combination spectacular. This is true of the spicy smooth tomatillo and avocado salsa that accompanies your order of tacos or quesadillas at the Taconazo truck located in the heart of the north side. The fajita tacos from this unassuming food truck in the parking… More >>
  • Tony Thai

    Best Thai Restaurant

    Tony Thai

    Tony Thai, located on Bellaire Boulevard in the Saigon Houston Plaza, is definitely one of the most well-appointed Thai restaurants in town. But the ambience is just one part of the equation at this place, where both the front and the back of the house are Thai in origin. What that means is that you get the full experience —… More >>
  • Best Whiskey Selection

    Reserve 101

    Despite the fact that Texas retains some of the most antiquated liquor laws in the country, Houston is not hurting for good whiskey bars. The Four Seasons offers curated whiskey flights starting at just $10 while places like Poison Girl and Downing Street have some of the widest selections in Texas if not America. All are trumped, however, by the… More >>
  • Best Place to Skip Dinner and Get to Dessert

    Ruggles Cafe Bakery

    This counter-service restaurant in Rice Village may offer a solid menu of fast-casual items. It may be BYOB, and it may also have a great little patio, but the real killer here, the reason you just have to swing by whenever you're in the neighborhood, is the dessert case. For dessert lovers, it's riveting, with a mouthwatering selection of huge… More >>
  • Best Vietnamese Restaurant

    Jasmine Asian Cuisine

    It's called Jasmine Asian Cuisine, and indeed the menu offers a mix of Chinese and Vietnamese options. Get Peking spareribs or toasted salted calamari for your Chinese fix, but save room for Vietnamese food, which is the real star at this restaurant. Maybe you'll want to order the bo nuong vi, strips of beef marinated in lemongrass and spices, which… More >>
  • Best Salad

    MKT Bar at Phoenicia Specialty Foods

    There are places where the bowls are huge, where the number of ingredients in the salad makes it seem more like an entrée than a mix of vegetables, but when you order the MKT salad at MKT Bar at Phoenicia Specialty Foods downtown, you get a real salad. Crisp, hyper-fresh romaine and cucumber tossed with mint, feta, red grapes and… More >>
  • Best Wine List

    Philippe Restaurant + Lounge

    The wine list at Philippe Restaurant + Lounge is not the most expensive, nor does it try to impress you with big-name labels (though it offers those if you want them). What it does possess is character and a breadth of choices that marry seamlessly with Philippe Schmit's Texan-French cuisine, a credit to Sommelier Vanessa Treviño-Boyd, our 2012 Best Of… More >>
  • Alamo Tamale & Taco #1

    Best Tamales

    Alamo Tamale & Taco #1

    You don't have to wait until Christmas to experience the best tamales in Houston; just take a short trip up to the north side and visit Alamo Tamale's recently renovated lunch counter and taqueria. There you will find an assortment of authentic tamales to choose from. They're available in pork, chicken, bean and queso con jalapeño. Choose from the casero… More >>
  • Best Croissants

    Croissant Brioche French Bakery and Cafe

    The perfectly buttery and flaky croissant is hard to find, unless you're in Paris, of course. However, Croissant Brioche in West University makes you feel as if you just stepped inside a little Parisian cafe. While you can't go wrong with a plain croissant, the almond is where it's at; it's a specialty at Croissant Brioche. Thin slices of toasted… More >>
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