Top 10 Restaurants in Greenway Plaza

Last week, we took a look at the 10 best restaurants in Upper Kirby, a part of town that abuts this week's spotlighted neighborhood: Greenway Plaza.

While it's considerably more difficult to define Greenway Plaza than Upper Kirby -- which has strictly set boundaries, unlike the area around the master-planned mixed-use development developed by Kenneth Schnitzer in the 1970s -- the Greenway Plaza neighborhood can loosely be defined as such: south of West Alabama, west of Buffalo Speedway, north of Highway 59 and east of Loop 610.

And although some Greenway Plaza office workers frequently bemoan the lack of good dining options in the area, I cheerfully disagree with them. Between hosting one of the absolute, all-time best restaurants in town (our No. 1 pick, naturally) and some excellent, inexpensive lunch and dinner options, Greenway Plaza offers more than meets the eye.

Honorable Mention: Greenway Coffee & Tea

Although it's not a restaurant, we'd be remiss not to mention the little office coffee shop that spurred Houston's current love affair with serious coffee programs. Not only do owners David Buehrer and Ecky Prabanto roast their own beans and help other restaurants/coffee shops to get their own coffee programs in place, the pair is also opening a new shop in Montrose this month: the hugely anticipated Blacksmith.

10. Skewers

A good choice for either lunch or dinner, Skewers smartly caters to both crowds independently. At lunch, you'll get a quick and filling meal with quality food -- baked chicken or gyros are both great choices -- for a low price. And at night, with full service and live entertainment (on the weekends), it's a lovely spot for a post-work drink (you must try the Lebanese wine) or a dinner date over silky hummus and fragrant kafta kebabs. As a bonus, the Edwards Greenway Plaza movie theater is right around the corner.

9. Oishii

Oshii is a fun and funky sushi diner. Most regular sushi is a dollar apiece, with rolls starting around $5. During its famous happy hours on weekdays from 3 to 7 p.m. and on Saturdays from 3 to 6 p.m., domestic beer is $1.25, imported is $1.75, hot sake is $3 and all of the $4 appetizers are buy one, get one free. There is free wi-fi, and much of the scruffy, multi-cultural crowd is usually taking advantage of it.

8. Pepper Tree

Pepper Tree is best known for its buffet, which features vegetarian Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese and Western cuisines. Typical dishes made with meat are reimagined as vegetarian here: Tofu versions of Peking duck, General Tso's chicken and kung pao chicken all come out tasting delicious. The modern, calming decor, spotless interior and friendly, knowledgeable staff make this the place for the novice or the experienced vegan.

7. Nielsen's Delicatessen

Unstinting applications of a good, snowy mayonnaise make this Danish hole-in-the-wall's old-fashioned chicken and potato salads among the very best in town. Other treats: corned beef and Swiss on rye with a pale, homemade liver paté and devastating Danish butter cookies by the sack. Take your food to-go, unless you enjoy dining in closetlike quarters.

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Katharine Shilcutt