Top 10 Restaurants in the Galleria Area

Stocking up on salsas at Chacho's.
Stocking up on salsas at Chacho's.
Photo by Erika Ray

The Galleria has more than 26 million visitors per year. While a significant amount of those people are tourists -- what wouldn't we give to visit a city just to shop there! -- many are Houstonians who gravitate toward the Uptown Park area of town for an afternoon of walking the halls of the enormous mall, people watching and conspicuous consumption.

The bad news is that after all that shopping, you're going to be hungry. And The Galleria itself doesn't exactly offer a wealth of excellent dining options. There's the food court on the ice rink level. The Cheesecake Factory, which we're not even going to discuss in any further detail. And the overpriced restaurants like Gigi's and The Oceanaire, which -- while good -- are so tough on the wallet that they're better left to the tourists who can afford it.

Below are our favorite restaurants in the Galleria area that aren't in the mall itself. Take a few extra minutes to get out of the parking garage and to one of these spots for your post-shopping dining and relaxation; you'll be better off for it.

10. Chacho's, 6006 Westheimer

If you have teenagers in tow, or you're just a fan of quick and easy Tex-Mex, this is the place to go. But just because it's cheap and cheerful doesn't mean it isn't good. The fluffy flour tortillas at the massive, neon-painted, 24-hour Chacho's rival Chiloso's Taco House as some of the best in town, and -- hey -- even Robb Walsh likes it.

9. Bayou City Seafood, 4730 Richmond

This little seafood restaurant often gets overlooked in favor of Ragin Cajun right down the street or more overpriced options closer to the mall. But we love the unassuming exterior, the cozy interior, the wealth of parking spaces and -- most importantly -- the food. Don't let the name fool you: Some of the city's best Cajun food is right at Bayou City Seafood, from the excellent gumbo to the unexpected blueberry bread pudding.

Falafel plate at Zabak's.
Falafel plate at Zabak's.
Photo by Gary R. Wise

8. Zabak's, 5901 Westheimer

There is a wealth of excellent Middle Eastern options in this part of town (Cafe Lili and Mint among them), and Zabak's is one of our favorites. What puts Zabak's over the top isn't just the food, but the extraordinary customer service. This family-run restaurant always makes you feel right at home, with friendly and helpful staff who are always eager to please. Can't-miss dishes here include the perfectly spiced gyros and the honey-saturated baklava.

7. Pete's Fine Meats, 5509 Richmond

One of the best things about finishing up a delicious and inexpensive lunch at Pete's is skipping over to the butcher counter and picking out a fat, red steak or bundle of fresh jerky to take home with you. Pete's has been butchering meat for half a century, and it shows in the outstanding cuts of meat available to take back to your own grill and in the juicy burgers they cook up at lunch.

Top 10 Restaurants in the Galleria Area

6. The Rockwood Room, 5709 Woodway

This restaurant is considerably younger than Pete's (by about 50 years), but has the same aesthetic when it comes to food: good meat in an old-school setting -- even if The Rockwood Room's version of old-school is quite a bit more upscale. Enjoy a Manhattan or a glass of red wine with your ribeye and you'll suddenly feel like you're dining with Don Draper.

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