Well, friends, more than 1,300 of you voted on the most underrated restaurant in Houston. Thanks for letting your opinion be known. Some of you weren't happy with the poll choices, but remember, those came from you, not me. So you have only yourselves to blame.
But really, I thought all of the options were pretty solid.
Only five of the choices got more than seven percent of your votes, but they're pretty darn good choices in my opinion. Here are your top five most underrated restaurants in Houston.
5. Brothers Pizza Commenter Anse wrote, "If one is looking for a pizza joint that doesn't get enough attention, I would suggest Brothers Pizza on N. Shepherd. Good basic pizza, nothing fancy about it but consistently good." While many Houston pizzerias are jumping on the Neapolitan bandwagon and rolling out thin crusts fired in wood ovens, Brothers is content to serve pies with a thick, doughy crust and toppings piled high. The local chain also serves basic but hearty pasta dishes and fresh salads. It's no Dolce Vita, but it's certainly nothing to turn your nose up.
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4. Vinoteca Poscol Many people think of Vinoteca Poscol as a wine bar first and foremost, but it's also a mecca for lovers of Italian food. The ambiance is crowded but in a cozy way, and the selection of Italian meats and cured cheeses rivals the great selection of wine. The tapas-style dishes are small enough to make a meal out of a few, or order several and share with the table. People love Poscol so much, in fact, that when our wine writer, Jeremy Parzen, didn't mention the wine bar in his list of the 10 Best Houston Destinations For Wine, readers went berserk that Poscol wasn't on there. Situation rectified?
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3. The Original Carrabba's Commenter HTownChowDown noted, "The two original Carrabba's locations aren't part of the nationwide chain. The food is considerably better; the menu is different. Why? Because these two locations are still owned and run by the family. (The stores are the one on Kirby and the one on Voss, which is my favorite.)" Indeed, the original Carrabba's on Kirby is still a fine restaurant, and it's packed every evening with diners who've been coming since the restaurant first opened back in the mid-80s. Johnny Carrabba is still there (or at the recently opened Grace's next door) nearly every day ensuring the same quality as when the restaurant was a small family establishment.
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2. Giacomo's Cibo e Vino I'm not sure that I'd call Giacomo's underrated, but perhaps it is under-hyped. I don't know anyone who thinks Giacomo's isn't wonderful, and rightly so. The pasta is made fresh every day, and the small plates are ideal for mixing and matching and sharing with a friend. The owner, Lynette Hawkins, spent some time during her childhood in Italy, and she brought her favorite recipes back here to Houston for our eating pleasure. Commenter LaurenK wrote, "My vote is for Giacamo's Cibo et Vino. Fantastic small plates, great homemade pastas, and all for an astonishingly reasonable price. They also have a decent wine selection and a pleasant outdoor area. I swear their pasta is better than what I've had at Da Marco, and most entrees are under $15."
1. Aladdin Commenter cukatero pretty much wrote this summary for me: "Aladdin on Westheimer near Uchi is the most under-appreciated restaurant in Houston. Let me count the ways: its a BYOB located by Valero that sells beer/wine. You feast like a king on a budget that Aladdin AND his pet monkey Abu could totes afford. The fluffy pita bread. The plate-sized free pita chips. The eclectic randos that assemble happily. Easy parking, by Montrose standards. What's the downside? Now I'm hungry." I'll add to that one of the best and most diverse mezze platters in town, wonderful smoky baba ghanouj and exotic décor that will transport you to the Middle East while you feast in the middle of Montrose.