Cheap & Good Eats: Top 5 Budget Lunch Spots in the Galleria

Look out for the upcoming lunch specials at our No. 5 pick.
Look out for the upcoming lunch specials at our No. 5 pick.
Photo by Troy Fields

We've been rounding up our favorite budget lunch spots in different neighborhoods around town. So far, we've covered Montrose, River Oaks, Midtown, Upper Kirby, EaDo, Rice Village and the East End. But we're not done yet.

This week, it's the upscale Galleria neighborhood that gets a closer look. Here's our list of the best cheap (less than $10) lunch spots that this area has to offer:

Note: For purposes of this list, the Galleria is defined as anything west of Loop 610, south of Woodway, east of South Voss/Hillcroft and north of Richmond Avenue.

Honorable Mention: Fountain View Fish Market, for their fresh fried fish and shrimp baskets; Argentina Cafe, for their hand-formed empanadas and choripán (Argentinian sausage) sandwiches; and Bubba's Texas Burger Shack, for their succulent beef and buffalo burgers.

5. Cafe Mawal

This Middle Eastern restaurant is one of our favorite places for al fresco dining. And rightfully so -- it's not every day that you get to eat inside a traditional Bedouin tent. It sits perched outside the single-story home that the restaurant is housed in, and there is also an equally as pleasant oak-tree-lined deck.

Find a seat and enjoy the backyard grill, wafting scents of paprika-and-turmeric-spiced butterflied chicken, kafta kebabs and makanek, links of a lamb sausage flavored with clove and chile. Served with rice, vegetables and fresh salads, the grill plates are more than enough for lunch. Though roughly 40 percent of the menu is under $10, you can keep the prices of the more expensive entrées low by splitting one and an appetizer with a friend. But soon enough, you won't have to -- the owners are currently working on a special-priced lunch menu.

You may want to add chili cheese fries to your order at our No. 4 pick. Just sayin'.
You may want to add chili cheese fries to your order at our No. 4 pick. Just sayin'.
Photo by Katharine Shilcutt

4. James Coney Island

It just doesn't get better than a good ol'-fashioned hot dog. Oh, wait, yes it does. How about a Chicago-style dog ($2.79), with mustard, relish, hot peppers, celery salt and a pickle spear in a poppy seed bun; or a gourmet Baja dog ($4.99), smothered in chipotle mayo, guacamole and red onions.

Earlier this year, the 90-year-old hot dog institution started hosting a Houston Chefs and Show Dog series; each month a local chef creates an over-the-top hot dog, and a portion of the proceeds from the sales of the hot dogs is donated to that chef's charity of choice. The series will come to a close at the end of this month, so get Hugo Ortega's Holy Molé ($8.49) -- featuring smoked chicken andouille sausage, tinga, mole sauce, queso fresco and crema fresca in a Slow Dough pretzel bun -- while you can.

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