Photo by Mai Pham
This is "moist" brisket at Killen's Barbecue.

You won't find ribs just in pig form at this barbecue mecca. Chef Ronnie Killen is serving up bones of the mighty cow, too. Large enough to make even Fred Flintstone swoon, the beef ribs are rich, smoky and full-on beefy with a lustrous cap of charred and rendered fat. One hefty rib comes in at around one and a half to two pounds, but don't worry; they're easy (and meaty) enough to share. The simply seasoned beef practically shreds itself at the touch. You'll likely find a line of 'cue enthusiasts looking for their next hit of these addicting sticks of meat candy. Trust us when we say you'll want to wait in said line.

Not only do the fine folks at this Heights spot offer locally made cheese and heritage-breed pork, lamb and chicken raised from their own farms, they also make their own charcuterie, available at the deli counter by the pound. Head here for fiery salumis, pecan-studded mortadella, lamb pastrami and special treats, including fresh corn johnnycakes and sweet and savory kolaches, that can't be rivaled. And while you're at it, pick up some house-made pickles, jams and condiments, too.

When it comes to business dining, we say, "Go big or go home." And there's no better place to do that than the classy, always impeccable Tony's on Richmond. Even though this fine dining establishment has been around for nearly 50 years, it continues to wow Houston crowds. Where else can you indulge in seared foie gras, light and airy white truffle soufflé, and melt-in-your-mouth Kobe beef — alongside one of the best wine programs in town? Just put it on the corporate card. Your clients will love you.

Dawn McGee

When it comes to dining with kids, there are few things greater than a restaurant with a playground. And at this casual lakeside eatery, that playground is the always-popping Discovery Green. The menu is simple, with something for everyone. Enjoy plump and juicy smokehouse burgers and dogs alongside grilled salmon salad, chicken and beef tacos, crisp fish sandwiches, and more. Kids will love the soft-serve ice cream, while adults will appreciate the selection of local beer and wine — and the ice cream, too.

Downtown's historic district is once again becoming the place to be, and you could say it was this popular charity bar that spawned the 'hood's party-scene revival. Stop by the striking, always-bustling saloon for a selection of classic cocktails, local beer and wine, as well as top-notch bar bites. We loveOKRA's cornmeal-crusted, pickled and fried okra and three — count 'em, three — kinds of waffle fries just as much as we love the house panini. Each crispy sandwich is named after a different partner of the Organized Kollaboration on Restaurant Affairs,such as the salami, olive salad and mozz-stuffed Hay Merchant, or the succulent smoked pork, mustard and Gruyère-smothered Revival. You should probably finish the night with some freshly baked cookies and$3 shots of Fernet. It is for charity, after all.

Photo by Troy Fields

It takes only one step into this spunky Rice Village eatery to feel that Southern charm, so you sort of already know the fried chicken's going to be good. But you'd still be surprised by just how good it actually is. Piled high on an old-fashioned tray with paper to soak up any excess grease, the fried bird comes craggly, crisp as all hell and fall-off-the-bone tender. That's because it's brined before being dunked in buttermilk and lightly dredged in an expertly seasoned flour mixture — meaning each piece will be juicy and flavorful all the way through. Come with friends to share half or a full bird alongside hot buttermilk biscuits, mashed taters and collard greens.

With a big back patio and stage for live music on the weekends, there's never a shortage of good times at this down-home neighborhood hangout. It's the kind of place where you can grab a punch, sit back and waste the day away. Come for Southern cooking just like your ma made, from all-day breakfast and some of the best fried pickles in town to hand-spanked burgers and red gravy-smothered meat loaf. All ages, and even dogs, are welcome.

Photo by Troy Fields

Scorched Neapolitan-style pies are the name of the game at this Upper Kirby 'za joint. The slightly charred crust — cooked in a 900-degree wood-fired oven in a matter of minutes — reaches that ideal balance between thin and crisp and soft and chewy, with just enough bite to hold up a slathering of high-end toppings. Get the Parma 600, a pizza bianca (white pie) with creamy and milky fior di lattemozzarella, 600-day-aged prosciutto, fresh arugula and a drizzle of truffle oil for good measure. Of course, classic pies like the margherita or sweet sausage are just as enthralling. An impressive wine list and selection of local beer make this one pizzeria not to be missed.

With offerings both Mediterranean and Middle Eastern, Fadi's has the veggie-centric dishes and mounds of meat to please people of any dietary persuasion. Though the restaurant is set up like a cafeteria with buffet lines and plastic trays, the food goes far beyond typical cafeteria fare. From the hummus to the juicy rotisserie chicken to the flaky baklava, everything is prepared fresh daily. With a huge range of options, there are dishes for everyone from the connoisseur of Mediterranean food to the newbie. Those craving traditional items like falafel and tabbouleh will be just as delighted as those seeking more unusual moghrabieh or molokhia.

Just a short walk from Houston's best performance halls, this stunning, dark and sultry speakeasy nestled in the historic Foley building is the perfect pregame for a night of theater. Sit under downtown's prettiest chandelier as you munch on starters like Peruvian ceviche and a bright ginger beet salad before moving on to more indulgent entrées such as goat cheese-stuffed chicken and center-cut filet in a shiitake and port wine reduction. A few classic craft cocktails will only further enhance the drama.

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