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  • Article

    Best Salvadoran Restaurant - Variedades

    You will not find iced tea at Variedades. Instead, you can slake your thirst with wonderfully refreshing aguas -- tall glasses of melon and other fresh-fruit drinks with bits of pulp. Set in a large room with off-white walls and burgundy tablecloths,...

    on September 20, 2001
  • Article

    Best Cajun Restaurant - Zydeco Louisiana Diner

    'Taint nothing fancy about the cafeteria-style serving line, nothing surprising about the coon-ass doodads hanging on the wall, and nothing progressive about green beans swimming in cream of mushroom soup or fried catfish and stuffed pork chops. But ...

    on September 20, 2001
  • Article

    Best Barbecue Restaurant - Drexler's Bar-B-Que

    The old barbecue pit on Dowling Street that is now called Drexler's has a remarkable pedigree. Part of the current restaurant as well as the original barbecue pit were built by legendary barbecue man Harry Green in 1952. Green sold the place to an ol...

    on September 20, 2001
  • Article

    Best Neighborhood Spot in the Village - El Meson

    West U soccer teams, Rice students needing a study break, and preparty revelers all converge at El Meson for top-notch Latin American cuisine. And while the Mexican dishes are solid, the Cuban entres are the real reason to visit this neon-lit spot a...

    on September 20, 2001
  • Article

    Best Hole-in-the-Wall Burger Joint - Champ Burger

    This eastside eatery serves up real-deal burgers for the blue-collar crowd that comes for lunch from the surrounding factories and plants, and they'll do it for you, too. From the basic Champ Burger to the Texas-sized steak sandwich to the double-dec...

    on September 20, 2001
  • Article

    Best Disco Restaurant - Zula

    Even though the quasi-Southern food threatens to steal the show, Zula's decor really dances with over-the-top whimsy. The deco design is a sleek palette of shimmery chartreuse, plum and gold that serves as a modest backdrop to the 20-foot torchre la...

    on September 20, 2001
  • Article

    Best Socio-Anthropological Study - The Big Easy Social and Pleasure Club

    A rare but boisterous black-leathered-biker eruption over by the 50-cent pool tables sends the timid scattering toward the bar, but seasoned Big Easy patrons look up to ensure no bottles are flying in their direction and continue their conversations,...

    on September 20, 2001
  • Article

    Best Tex-Mex Restaurant - Felix Mexican Restaurant

    Former waitress Geneva Harper was here when Felix's flagship location at Westheimer and Montrose opened in 1948. "The cheese enchiladas with chili gravy on the Mexican Dinner haven't changed at all since the place opened," she says. "Except that a Me...

    on September 20, 2001
  • Article

    Best Old Downtown Restaurant That's Still There - China Garden

    Around noon on most days, influential veterans of Houston -- judges, top cops, city administrators, elite lawyers and the like -- start a quiet southern migration away from the ever-expanding zone of trendy eateries on the north side of downtown. The...

    on September 20, 2001
  • Article

    Best Vietnamese/ Mexican Restaurant - Matt's Fast Foods

    New York may have a lock on the Chinese/Cuban restaurant thing, but Houston is leading in the Vietnamese/Mexican category. Well, actually, Matt's Fast Foods on 43rd Street may be the only Vietnamese/ Mexican restaurant, here or anywhere. There's a go...

    on September 20, 2001
  • Article

    Best Example of Starbucks World Domination - River Oaks locations

    Exhibit one: The Starbucks on the corner of Shepherd and West Gray. Exhibit two: The Starbucks on the corner of Shepherd and West Gray. When the chain built the drive-thru version on the northeast corner, we were sure the version inhabiting the shopp...

    on September 20, 2001
  • Article

    Best Deli - Katz's Deli

    Houston's hankering for international status took a subtle stride when the crazy Katz's crew branched out from Austin. World-class credentials will ever be debated, but one indisputable definition is that a particular urban area must have a full-serv...

    on September 20, 2001
  • Article

    Best Italian Restaurant - Damian's Cucina Italiana

    It is overwhelming to walk in the front door of this dark and clubby old haunt. To your left, there's the reception stand, where you are offered an uncommonly gracious greeting. Right in front of you, a fabulous array of antipasti plates is spread ou...

    on September 20, 2001
  • Article

    Best Middle Eastern Restaurant - Fadi's

    The splashes of different colors in the serving line that greet customers when they open the door of Fadi's look like an overworked artist's palette, but it's a Middle Eastern palate that will appreciate the expansive array of foods served there. Mod...

    on September 20, 2001
  • Article

    Best Cheap Seafood Restaurant - Barnacle's Seafood

    The exterior of Barnacle's doesn't even scrape the surface of what's in store inside. This deceivingly decrepit place is downright cheery, with high ceilings, loads of plants (okay, so they're fake) and the expected seaside motif of netting and ancho...

    on September 20, 2001
  • Article

    Best Late-Night Restaurant - Tan Tan Fast Food

    So good, you've got to say it twice, Tan Tan Fast Food is everything a late-night venue should be: big, cheap and fast fast. This Chinatown diner serves mostly Vietnamese dishes with some Cantonese options, but be forewarned: There are over 400 dishe...

    on September 20, 2001
  • Article

    Best Neighborhood Spot in the Galleria Area - La Vista

    The Friends crowd that inhabits the apartments along Fountainview, as well as their more established neighbors in Tanglewood and Briargrove, pack this tiny sidewalk cafe, which is as casual as a backyard barbecue and about as economical. The gimmick ...

    on September 20, 2001
  • Article

    Best Atmosphere - Lankford Grocery and Market

    Remember when you used to go home for lunch in the middle of the school day, and Mom would greet you with a hot meal and -- oh, wait a minute. Few of us, if any, lived that 1950s Leave It to Beaver ideal. But with Lankford Grocery and Market, you can...

    on September 20, 2001
  • Article

    Best Greasy Spoon - Alice's Diner

    For 25 years Alice Lee and her family members have been running this little diner, which sits across Loop 610 from Meyerland Plaza. It's a little place, a place that's easy to miss in its nondescript strip mall. The booths are old and lumpy, the deco...

    on September 20, 2001
  • Article

    Best Burger/Chinese Food Fusion - Lucky Burger

    It's nothing short of a stroke of luck to be able to satisfy two strong cravings at once. Lucky Burger's name makes it clear that it dishes up burgers, and it's retro root-beer-barrel design offers a hint that these are old-fashioned versions (read: ...

    on September 20, 2001
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