It's not located in Houston's Koreatown area off Long Point, and it may not be as traditional or authentic as some might like, but one visit to Republic Diner in the Heights, and you can't help loving the retro-hip vibe of the place as well as the food. Appetizers like the haemuljeon seafood pancake and mandu dumplings, not to mention the kimchi fries and the Korean-style hot wings, are delicious. Sizzling dolsot bibimbap hot-stone rice bowls are colorful specimens filled to the brim with high-quality toppings and juicy bulgogi (marinated beef). In fact, the menu is full of Korean classics, from the sundubu-jjigae silken hot tofu pot to japchae glass noodles, and the banchan side dishes are made from the owner's Korean mother's recipes. And let's not forget about the drinks. Billing itself as a soju bar as well as a diner, Republic offers shots of infused soju (a sake-like distilled beverage) and soju cocktails that are not mandatory, but are highly recommended.