All 52 Restaurant Reviews of 2012, Broken Down and Mapped Out

View 2012 Restaurant Reviews in a larger map.

In 2012, I reviewed 50 restaurants. Jeremy Parzen and Mai Pham graciously stepped in when I went on vacation two weeks, filling in for me and each writing a full restaurant review of their own. Together, the three of us wrote one restaurant review for every week of the year.

The restaurants we reviewed this year ranged wildly in price, cuisine, location and even the traditional definition of a restaurant. I reviewed Tandoori Nite, a food truck in far west Houston that serves dhaba-style Indian cuisine under the stars, and Facundo Cafe, a tiny speck of a cafe inside a car wash on Ella.

Middle Eastern chicken at Al Aseel, the first restaurant to be reviewed in 2012
Middle Eastern chicken at Al Aseel, the first restaurant to be reviewed in 2012
Photo by Gary R. Wise

We covered all cuisines, too: Portugese and Angolan at Portugallia, German and Austrian at King's Biergarten, Korean hwe at Dadami, Argentinean at Pampa Grill, Malaysian at Banana Leaf, Salvadoran at El Petate, Palestinian at Al Aseel, Singaporean at Straits, Cajun at The Rouxpour and Indian-Italian fusion at Bombay Pizza.

We covered the heavy-hitters, from Underbelly to Uchi, and the smaller yet no less exciting gems of 2012: Peña's Donut Heaven in Pearland, where the kolaches are stuffed with chorizo in true South Texas, Czech-Mex fashion; Arturo Boada Cuisine, where a longtime chef still dazzles with dishes like pizzas topped with carnitas, cilantro and asadero cheese; Doshi House, where each evening meal in the transitional Third Ward neighborhood is vegan, egalitarian and purposefully affordable; City Cafe in South Houston, a time capsule of a restaurant where men still take their morning coffee and cigarettes at the diner counter.

An Ethiopian feast at Lucy, the first restaurant to be reviewed in 2013.
An Ethiopian feast at Lucy, the first restaurant to be reviewed in 2013.
Photo by Katharine Shilcutt

Jeremy Parzen took on the Italian food and wine at the newly-expanded Nundini's while Mai Pham used her sushi skills to assess the rolls at The Blue Fish. And we even hit a few places that have since closed: Samba Grille, Vida and Nabi. And thanks to Houston's constantly expanding dining scene, we can't wait to see what's in store for 2013.

See the full list of this year's reviews, in order of oldest to most recent:

Al Aseel Samba Grille (closed) City Cafe Jus' Mac Portugallia Los Corrales Vida (now closed) Facundo Cafe Pampa Grill Nabi (now closed) The Seafood Shoppe Arturo Boada Cuisine Roost Shepherd Park Draught House Sorrel Urban Bistro El Petate Peña's Donut Heaven Aldo's Cucinia Italiana The Blue Fish Liberty Kitchen Lankford Grocery Banana Leaf Lucio's La Fisheria Roots Underbelly Local Foods That Pizza Place on Ella Tandoori Nite Dadami BlackFinn American Grille Sushi Tora Maggie Rita's Taqueria La Macro Bombay Pizza Uchi Nundini's Torchy's Tacos N'Joy Thai Straits The Rouxpour King's Biergarten Kraftsmen Cafe Hearsay Doshi House The Refinery Guru Burgers & Crepes Sparrow Bar + Cookshop Lucille's Cuchara 1252 Tapas Triniti (coming this week) Lucy (coming next week)

What restaurants would you like to see reviewed in the coming year? Let us know in the comments section; readers steered me to some of my favorites finds in the last year, after all.

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