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Top 10 Places to Eat in Rice Village

10. Croissant Brioche 2435 Rice Blvd., 713-526-9188 While the café is cluttered with tightly packed tables and the service can be somewhat, ahem, European, the pastries, soups and sandwiches are delicious. The truly amazing coffee alone is worth a visit.

9. Chicken Kitchen 2516 Rice Blvd., 713-523-2323 Fresh rotisserie chicken is the star here, whether in a wrap, on a salad, in the signature "chop-chop" or served up on a platter. The side of plantains is an awesome nod to Chicken Kitchen's Cuban (via Miami) roots, and the mustard curry sauce is a must on whatever you order.

8. Brown Bag Deli 2540 Amherst St., 713-520-6100 This is the best place to be when you're so hungover, human interaction is not recommended. It doesn't have the meat selection of more traditional delis, but the vegetarian options are good, and the potato salad is fresh, dill-y and delicious.

7. Bombay Brasserie 2414 University Blvd., 713-355-2000 At dinner the food doesn't quite match up to the white-tablecloth prices, but at lunch Bombay Brasserie's buffet offers better quality and variety than Village competitor Shiva. The tandoori options are particularly tasty, and the naan is always fluffy and light.

6. Ruggles Café Bakery 2365 Rice Blvd., 713-520-6662 The huge menu of flavorful, creative salads, sandwiches and wraps is great for a healthy lunch, and the buffalo burger is hands-down the best in Houston. But beware, there is no escaping the pull of the dessert case, full of rich, yummy cakes and pies -- the chocolate tres leches and white chocolate bread pudding are not to be missed.

5. D'Amico Italian Market Café 5510 Morningside Dr., 713-526-3400 Nothing fancy here, just relaxed Italian favorites with unbelievable service and a sweet little patio. You can never go wrong with the linguine diavolo, mezzaluna, or wild mushroom and walnut tortellini.

4. Kubo's Sushi Bar & Grill 2414 University Dr., 713-528-7878 The departure of acclaimed chef Hori-san for Kata Robata is quite a blow, but Kubo's still has one of the best sushi menus in Houston, offering everything from the basics to some truly unique flavor combos and ingredients. Plus, it's probably the sexiest dining room in the Village.

3. Pasha 2325 University Dr., 713-592-0020 The food here is almost too much of a good thing, since the small appetizer plate of hummus, ezme, baba ghanoush, tabouli, eggplant salad, dolma and lebni is too good not to order and could by itself feed a table of four. And yet, to skip the kebabs, especially the doner kebab, with gyro-style sliced lamb and beef, would be a shame. Our solution: show up hungry or be prepared to eat Turkish for days.

2. Benjy's 2424 Dunstan St., 713-522-7602 Benjy's can be a bit too much of a scene some nights, but unless being too popular is a crime, we can't find much to fault here. Benjy Levit's vision of modern Southern/American/Asian fusion has been consistently strong for a decade, whether you're in for drinks on the Lounge (try a Citrus Blossom), dinner (the wood-oven pizzas are safe bets, as is the crunchy chicken) or the packed brunch (four words: prosciutto-mascarpone Monte Cristo).

1. Café Rabelais 2442 Times Blvd., 713-520-8841 The pocket-size French bistro wows with its wine list, with casks stuck in every corner of the room. A chalkboard menu announces the dozen or so daily offerings, which are authentic French and uniformly excellent, with sauces so good you'll be dipping bread, fingers, etc. to get every last drop. For awesome French flavor and a cheaper price tag, order one of the huge sandwiches, stuffed with deliciousness, for under $10.

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