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Top 10 Restaurants in Pearland

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When we think of great dining, we think Pearland, right? Well...probably not. But if you happen to live there, you know there are plenty of places to get a good bite.

10) Gringos Mexican Café, 2202 Broadway

Yes, we know that this place isn't what it used to be, but we remember Gringos from long before it expanded into a monstrous juggernaut of corporate hell. Back in its heyday, the original Gringo's was the best place to take visiting relatives wanting some traditional, fattening, gooey Tex-Mex. And maybe it's just the nostalgia, but we still get the occasional craving for some crispy chicken taquitos served with that unerringly delicious and creamy salsa verde.

9) Mongo: The Mongolian Fire Pit, 11200 Broadway, Suite 400

Upcoming city that it is, Pearland now has its own outdoor shopping "experience" called Pearland Town Center, or PTC to the locals. Most of this is just your fairly standard mall shops and chain eateries, but Mongo has emerged as something a little different. With its cool neon-blue lights and large leather booths, the place has a modern, slightly upscale feel, but since it is the PTC you can still tote the kids here while wearing sweatpants. Once inside, you will find a friendly staff ready to help you fill up your silver bowl with an array of fresh goodies. Once you've handed it to the probably-not- Mongolian cook, prepare yourself for a lot of eating. We got two filling meals out of one bowl that only cost about $11.

8) The Pear Tree Tea Room, 5103 Broadway, Suite 101

This cute little tea room was originally located in a small house on Main St. but has since relocated to a nondescript shopping center. Despite the lack of originality in the new digs, Pear Tree still offers some yummy tea sandwiches (try the pimiento cheese) and an array of daily specials like chicken enchiladas or quiche Lorraine. The servers who call you "honey" and bring you hot spiced tea as soon as you sit down. It's a fun lunch spot.

7) Center Court Pizza & Brew, 9721 Broadway, Suite 101

Located in yet another shopping strip, Center Court pizza is a good family place and sports bar. We also remember it fondly as a great place to get totally buzzed at three in the afternoon on cheap pitchers of Blue Moon. The pizza is good, with a crisp crust and wide variety of toppings. There's a selection of salads that aren't half bad either. Check the website for daily drink specials, such as an all-day happy hour on Tuesday or $4 Grey Goose for ladies on Thursdays.

6) Santa Barbara Italian Café, 5012 W. Broadway

This tiny little café has only a handful of tables and is still BYOB even though two more locations recently opened up. The cuisine is described as "Italian food with a Croation and a French touch." If that doesn't intrigue you, just know that despite the occasional lapse in service, the food has always been superb. Try the ricotta-stuffed fried ravioli, and make sure to dip it in the honey mustard sauce. Follow it up with a big dish of the spicy penne Calabrese, which is topped with a creamy pepper sauce and blackened chicken. So good.

5) Lila's Mexican Kitchen, 2704 South Main St.

Pronounced "Lee-lahs," this tiny Mexican hole-in-the-wall is unpretentious, cheap and plain good. There's nothing fancy or particularly original about the menu, but it does what it does well. Think crispy beefy tacos, cheddar cheese enchiladas and creamy, fresh guacamole. Two people can pig out for about $10, which is always a plus.

4) Little Tokyo, 8201 Broadway, Suite 101

Started in Pasadena in 2002, Little Tokyo opened a Pearland location five years later. The fresh ingredients and innovative menu are popular -- this place gets packed, so plan accordingly. The friendly servers, fully stocked bar and novel-like menu make for a pleasant weekend dinner. Start with some shumai (shrimp dumplings) and crisp vegetable tempura before embarking on the daunting list of maki. There are way too many to list, but if you'd like a suggestion as to where to start, we suggest the Cleopatra Roll with salmon, crab, avocado, apple and shrimp tempura all wrapped in soy paper.

3) D'Caribbean Curry Spot, 2548 Broadway

In a town of fast food burger joints and Mexican dives, D'Carribean is a breath of fresh air. Friends of ours that are actually from the Caribbean like this place and eat there frequently, so that's a good start. With an array of roti, from veggie to duck, and a dinner menu heavy on seafood but also featuring standard favorites like jerk chicken, D' Carribean is just the place to go when you want something out of the ordinary.

2) Thanh Phuong, 3236 Broadway

There's is a wide variety of Vietnamese options in P-Town, but this place is the best. With a courteously efficient wait staff and large menu of well-made, fresh options to choose from, Thanh Phuong distinguishes itself from the crowd. The cuisine here is actually described as Chinese and Vietnamese, so you can order your crab Rangoon right alongside freshly made chicken spring rolls. The large selection of tofu dishes is vegetarian-friendly, and there's also a good array of healthier steamed protein and vegetable options.

1) Central Texas Style BBQ, 4110 Broadway

Described by some as the best barbecue in town, Central Texas BBQ has lines that stretch out the door almost every day at lunch and dinner. Owned and operated by a local Cuban family, Central Texas offers up traditional barbecue favorites like tender brisket and smoky, spicy sausage. Central Texas offers excellent, bigger-than-your-head baked potatoes that come dressed to the max and filled with your choice of amazing meats. We have a hard time choosing between the grilled chicken or chopped beef versions. And the sides are so scrumptious that they actually hold their own against all that wonderful meat. Try the oh-so-deliciously cheesy broccoli casserole and check out the Cuban influence with black beans and Spanish rice.

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