The Rest of the Best: Houston's Top 10 Salads

The super-summery Sicilia salad at our No. 2 pick.
The super-summery Sicilia salad at our No. 2 pick.
Photos by Katharine Shilcutt

We've come a long way from the days when salads were considered simply "rabbit food" or fare for picky girls attempting to slim down. I often anticipate a salad in a restaurant as much as I do the main course thanks to the extra attention that many restaurants pay their leafy greens. And just as frequently, I'll go to a restaurant specifically for a salad -- something I certainly never did 20 or even 10 years ago.

So on this first day of summer, here's a celebration of our favorite fresh and refreshing salads in town.

10. Salad bar at Georgia's Market Downtown

Although I prefer a salad that's thoughtfully constructed for me, there are times when all I really want to do is crash madly through a salad bar and hurricane together a mad mixture of vegetables on a plate. Georgia's has long been my favorite place to do so, mostly because you always know that the vegetables, fruits, dressings and other accompaniments are organic and as fresh as Georgia's can get them.

9. Som tam at Vieng Thai

Green papaya salad isn't for everyone, but those who enjoy the stuff will find the best version of it in Houston at Vieng Thai. I love the apt description that the Fearless Critic team gives of Vieng Thai's version in its Houston guide:

Som tam is made with green papaya (which has nothing to do with the sweet orange version of the fruit; it's crisp and sour, somewhere closer to cabbage or jicama). It also involves fiery chiles, palm sugar, salt, garlic, dried shrimp, peanuts, fish sauce, lime and often other ingredients, ground together with a mortar and pestle.

The Rest of the Best: Houston's Top 10 Salads
Photo by Christina Uticone

8. Salade Max & Julie at Brasserie Max & Julie

This delicate but tasty French salad from Houston's most adorably French brasserie comes with shaved celeriac, toasted fennel, hazelnuts and orange slices all on top of a huge bed of mixed greens. In keeping with the orange slices, it's dressed with an orange vinaigrette that -- while actually a winter fruit -- always tastes like summer to me.

7. Que Más salad at Mission Burrito

The phrase "que más" means "what more," and the Que Más salad at Mission Burrito is a veritable treasure chest of ingredients -- greens, potatoes, corn, roasted red peppers, jicama, tortilla strips, cheese and the meat of your choice (although it's just as good without). It's an eclectic mix, yet somehow it works; it's hearty, healthy and tasty. Try the low-fat buttermilk dressing if you're a health nut, but the salad is truly best with Mission Burrito's signature cilantro-ranch dressing.

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