Mikki's Soul Food Cafe is in the back of a sketchy-looking strip center next to a gym, but this place is one of Houston's hidden gems. Service is very real in a no-bull kind of way and ranges from "Here's your food" to "How you doing, hon?" Food is served cafeteria-style and it's important to check out all the steam counters before deciding on an order. No one should risk missing out on homemade-style meatloaf in tomato gravy or silky oxtails. There are big squares of strawberry, German chocolate and coconut frosted cake next to the register (buy one just to take home, if nothing else) and if someone asks if you would like cornbread, the answer is yes. Dine here and be in good company. Customers have included singers Usher and Patti LaBelle.
READERS' CHOICE: Frenchy's Chicken