As more development and activity pushes consumers north of the Katy Freeway -- such as the giant new shopping center and mega H-E-B at Bunker Hill, the push from MetroNational to create a "Memorial City"-branded area around Gessner, the eternally popular IKEA at Antoine and the soon-to-be-facelifted Marq*E Entertainment Center at Silber -- people are rediscovering the neighborhoods and restaurants of Spring Branch.
Below are ten of our favorite spots when we're in the area. And the best thing about these restaurants? Not only are they diverse, exciting and delicious, they're some of the cheapest spots in town.
10. Nam Gang
What to try there: Korean barbecue with a side of Jinro, the most popular brand of soju (distilled liquor similar to, but sweeter than, vodka) in Korea.
9. Seoul Garden 9446 Long Point
What to try there: Bulgogi, kimchee and hae-do-bop. Although they also offer sushi and sashimi, there's better in town. Stick with the Korean food.
8. Flea Market in the Long Point Plaza Shopping Center
Pech at Long Point
What to try there: Work your way to the very back and get one of the best micheladas in town. Pick up a few $4 bootleg copies of Avatar and Sherlock Holmes on your way out.
7. La Pupusa Loca 8559 Long Point
What to try there: It's in the name. Pupusas. The revueltas or de loroco are our favorite, but the empanadas are pretty good too.
6. Pollo Campero
8358 Long Point
What to try there: Chicken, obviously. There's a reason Robb Walsh named Pollo Campero as one of the top 11 restaurant openings of the last decade.
5. Korea House
10078 Long Point
What to try there: Kalbi, bulgogi, haemul pajun and whole grilled fish. Just about everything is good here -- and more authentic than any other Korean restaurant in the city.
4. Otilia's 7710 Long Point
What to try: At this interior Mexican joint (no Tex-Mex here), focus on the chicken flautas, chile rellenos, enchiladas verde and the pitch-perfect chiles en nogada.
3. Tacos del Julio
8203 Long Point
What to try: More interior Mexican at its best, this time straight from Monterrey. Tacos del trompo are king here, but don't miss the taquitos de vapor, enchiladas del Julio and the one-two punch of a pirata taco and a gringa taco.
2. Taqueria El Ultimo Antoine at Long Point
What to try there: This taco truck stationed in a car wash parking lot is the best on Long Point and our second favorite in the city (behind El Tacambaro on Airline). It's also one of the few with a waitress (on busy weekends only). The tacos de barbacoa and de chicharron never disappoint. The adventurous should try the truly tasty cabeza de res and the orejas.
1. Vieng Thai
6929 Long Point
What to try there: Our favorites are the pad see ew, som tum, tom yum, pad prik paow and massamun curry. Widely recognized as the best Thai restaurant in town, there isn't an item on the menu that's not amazing.