Top 10 Restaurants in Rice Village

We're tackling the city's neighborhoods one by one now that the Best of Houston issue is out. First was Montrose, then the Heights and now Rice Village, an area that's absolutely saturated with great restaurants.

One of the best things about the saturation in Rice Village is how easy it is to park your car and spend an afternoon walking (imagine that!) around one of the most charming, idiosyncratic areas of Houston. Some of the shops in Rice Village -- like G&G Model Shop -- feel like stepping back in time, while others -- such as British Isles -- take you to a different part of the world entirely.

You can also accomplish this sense of departure by dining at some of the diverse restaurants all packed into this small area: Spanish tapas at Mi Luna, Indian food at Shiva or Bombay Brasserie, Vietnamese at Miss Saigon, Turkish at Pasha, British at Baker Street Pub, Thai at Thai Spice or Thai Village.

You can even get grab a round of drinks Irish-style at Brian O'Neill's, Scottish-style at The Kelvin Arms or English-style at The Ginger Man. And that's just the beginning of the breadth of charming establishments that Rice Village has to explore.

10. Yum Yum Cha

Rice Village has the distinction of having the only dim sum restaurant inside the Loop. It's not the best dim sum in the city, but it's still very good and its standards from the 50-item menu are very reliable stuff: dishes like pork-and-shrimp shiu mai, shrimp dumplings, shrimp rice rolls and warm sesame rolls for dessert. And although dim sum is traditionally a brunch affair, you can even get dim sum at Yum Yum Cha in the evenings.

9. Sweet Paris

This utterly adorable creperie just opened, and with time I feel it may move higher up on the list. For now, it's an ideal spot for a layover between hitting the boutiques along Rice Boulevard -- split a simple lemon crepe with a couple of espressos, for example -- but also makes a cute dinner destination if you get one of the more filling crepes. Sweet Paris just started serving breakfast too, opening at 8 a.m.

8. Bistro des Amis

Bistro des Amis looks like the sort of small-town cafe where you stop to get a coffee and a pastry or an ice cream while shopping in a French village -- right here in Rice Village. And with good reason: The owners, Odile de Maindreville and her brother Bernard Cuillier, are from Biarritz, a town in the Basque region of France. Because of this, you'll find more non-traditional dishes like a slightly spicy "beef paprika," their version of goulash, and slices of moist gâteau Basque. Lunch and dinner specials are very reasonable and the soups, stews and pastries (the latter of which are always well-stocked in the pastry case) are made in-house.

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Katharine Shilcutt