Dining Deals

Cheap & Good Eats: Top 5 Budget Lunch Spots in Garden Oaks/Oak Forest

We've been rounding up our favorite budget lunch spots in different neighborhoods around town. So far, we've covered Montrose, River Oaks, Midtown, Upper Kirby, EaDo, Rice Village, the East End, and the Galleria. But we're not done yet ...

Today, we're moving just outside the loop to the neighborhoods of Garden Oaks and Oak Forest. Young families have been flocking to the area ... and a booming restaurant and bar scene has followed. With area favorites Petrol Station, Cottonwood, and Plonk Bistro, there are plenty of places to get your dinner-and-drink on. But that doesn't mean there aren't tons of great places for lunch, too.

Here's our list of the best cheap (less than $10) lunch spots that this area has to offer:

Note: For purposes of this post, Garden Oaks / Oak Forest is defined as north of Loop 610, east of Highway 290, south of Tidwell and west of Shepherd.

Honorable Mention: Mi Sombrero for their vintage Tex-Mex and all-day weekend breakfast, Miller's Café for old-fashioned burgers on poppy seed buns, and El Rey Taqueria for the superb tacos and sides (look out for a different location on an upcoming neighborhood list).

5. Shepherd Park Draught House

This local craft-beer house serves upscale pub grub at its best. Though not every item on the menu fits the bill, there are enough $10-and-under items for it to warrant a spot on our list. Like Texas Red's Chili ($6), a crock of spicy short rib stock, lean Akaushi beef, and shredded Cheddar that will knock your socks off; the hearty Black Bean Veggie Burger ($10), a teriyaki-smothered black bean patty topped with avocado, pepper jack, and sprouts and served with fresh-cut fries; or the Thai Curry Chicken ($10), a sweet-and-spicy coconut curry served over coconut rice. A pint of local brew may throw you over the limit, but some days you just need it.

4. Pho Dalat

This family-owned gem lies tucked away in a strip mall off of Tidwell and 290. Come for authentic home-style Vietnamese cuisine. A "small' bowl of beef pho will cost you just $6.50, but it's anything but small. Even better than the pho are the rice and vermicelli bowls ($7 to $8), loaded with shredded and char-grilled pork, lemongrass chicken, and shrimp. There's a $10 minimum for credit card transactions, so bring cash or come with a friend to keep your lunch on the cheap.

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Brooke Viggiano is a contributing writer who is always looking to share Houston's coolest and tastiest happenings with the Houston Press readers.
Contact: Brooke Viggiano