Top 10 Restaurants in Far Northwest Houston

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First off, it is important that I define what I mean by "far Northwest Houston." It is not Spring, Cypress or The Woodlands. It is bordered on the north by Tomball and to the south by Beltway 8. To the east, I've used Kuykendahl Road to divide north and northwest and to the east, it stops at the eastern border of Cypress. Those areas all deserve to be covered independently.

Now that some boundaries are defined, I am happy to say that despite what many seem to think, this suburban area is not completely ruled by chain restaurants. I live out here, so I've always got my ear to the ground for unique places. There are decent representatives of most cuisines in this area these days, too, so whether you need a green curry fix or a good bowl of phở, this guide should be able to help.

10. Peli Peli

Also considered: Perry's Steakhouse, Texas Land & Cattle

This is the hot bimbo of this competition because it made into my list almost on looks alone. Peli Peli is a gorgeous restaurant that I think everyone needs to see...once. It has a 12 Tribes theme that lends itself to some stunning and ornate carved walls. There's a giant acacia tree in the center of the restaurant. I was mightily intrigued to find out what South African cuisine was like. It turns out that it's a little like Malaysian cuisine, but here's the problem: I don't want a steak covered in sweet sauce. However, the dried beef and sausage are good bets, and the bizarre thing is that I had a very tasty chicken-fried steak here that was a lunch special. Go figure. Don't be surprised if the chef shows up to tell you off-color jokes. That's part of the appeal.

The sushi counter and chef at Waza
The sushi counter and chef at Waza
Phaedra Cook

9. Waza Sushi & Robata Grill

Contender: Hido

I fully expected Hido to make it into this list. I've had a few successful business lunches there and found the sushi, sashimi and miso to be the best in the area (although, granted, they are no Kata Robata). On a repeat visit with friends, we had stellar appetizers and then Hido totally blew it with rolls rendered almost inedible with too much sauce, mayonnaise and other unnecessary accoutrements dumped on top. It was just gross.

Waza has a few flaws of its own. For example, I thought the tuna sashimi had an "in the refrigerator with the veggies" off-flavor. What put Waza over the top? The service is not just good; it's warm and friendly. The restaurant is beautiful. Salmon here was especially rich, soft and buttery and I had dobin mushi for the first time. It's a soup with seafood and chicken served in a little teapot and while the meats got a bit tough, the dark dashi was a tastebud teaser.

The cocktail menus at both places are just goofy...full of cutesy names, vodka and syrups. Stick with sake and hot tea.

8. Redfish Seafood Grill (249 location)

Contender: Bonefish Grill

Alas, I'm not sure there are any great sushi rolls in this part of Houston. Redfish Grill has some gigantic ones for a great price, but they also suffer from too-much-sauce-and-stuff-on-top syndrome. However, I had the best fried shrimp in my life here. It's super-fresh and butterflied. The fish here is also very fresh and I like the dishes that have low-key preparations. Just a little lemon, butter and herbs can sometimes elevate good ingredients to greatness. For your pals that aren't in a fishy mood, there is grilled duck, steak and veal.

Cypress residents might be happy to know that there's another Redfish Seafood Grill just off of 290. With that being said, new kid down the block Bonefish Grill also has great fish dishes and is breathing a bit on Redfish Grill's heels. Competition is good for us consumers.

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