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Nov 12, 2006 03:47 PM

a week in houston: restos near rice, & restos near hilton downtown?

I will be spending a week in Houston, part of the time near Rice univ. and part of the time downtown. I will have a car.

As my first impression of food in Houston - could people please suggest places to eat in both locations? I am looking for excellent food, but it can vary from the $5 fantastic pho place (or tacos, or spicy thai/lao papaya salad etc.), to excellent 3 course meals in a dining room. If this question has already been broached, please point me to the link on chowhound.


p.s. a few good bars/gastro pubs (good draft; or wines by the glass) would be helpful too!

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  1. Welcome to Houston!

    Cali sandwich is in the downtown area. Cheap and good lunch, I would vote it as the best bahn mi in town. 3030 Travis St.

    El Meson in Rice Village is one of my favorites as well.

    1. I don't know much about downtown, but here are some of my favorites in the Rice Village area (and a little north, on Westheimer near Montrose):

      Cheaper in Rice Village
      - Morningside Thai (on Morningside, slightly outside Rice Village)
      - Yum Yum Cha (a la carte dim sum)
      - Bombay Brasserie (Indian)
      - D'Amico (Italian)

      Pricier in Rice Village
      - Prego (Italian)
      - Cafe Rabelais (French)

      Cheaper on Westheimer
      - Empire Cafe (American/dessert)
      - Cafe Montrose (Belgian)
      - Dolce Vita (Italian)

      Pricier on Westheimer
      - Rouge (American?)
      - Hugo's (Mexican, NOT Tex-Mex)
      - Indika (Indian fusion)

      Also, the Davenport in Shepherd Plaza makes excellent martinis.

      1. Welcome to Houston tatitraveler. The Village, just west of Rice and often referred to as Rice Village, has lots of eateries. I’ll second those above but there are many others. There are 2 Indian restaurants, Shiva and Bombay Brasserie. Both have luncheon buffets but table service is available. I’ve only eaten at Shiva’s but in a recent thread here on Chowhound several suggested Bombay is better.

        For a great deli it’s Kahn’s; awesome reuben and other sandwiches at this hole-in-the-wall.

        Another sandwich place to consider especially if you’re in a hurry is Antone’s on Dunstan on the northern edge of the Village. It’s Houston’s original po-boy place and this location is still owned by the founding family. About 9 kinds of poboys ready made but you can always have them make one from scratch.

        There’s a good middle eastern buffet, Dimassi’s. I’ve never eaten at the one in the Village but do all the time at the one on Richmond.

        Another possibility is Istanbul Grill, another tiny hole-in-the-wall:

        A note about parking in the Village - it’s tight; be mindful of signs about being towed. Parking at Istanbul is 3 deep.

        For imbibing there’s Two Rows and the Ginger Man. At the latter try the cask conditioned local brews from St. Arnold’s.

        I’ve never lived or worked downtown so have never eaten much there; many eateries are open only for lunch weekdays and there are others here with more knowledge. You will be very close to Vic and Anthony’s Steakhouse. For bbq there’s Thelma’s, across 59 a few blocks on Lamar @ Live Oak.

        You can check out more user reviews of any of these on Note Thelma’s has a reputation for an attitude and long lines but I’ve never encountered any of that. It is a total dive, however.

        1. There is a great wine bar/small plates place in Rice Village, on Kirby, called Cova. It's lots of fun. They have a great selection of flights and the food is very good, especially the oxtails and the cheese plates. Cova can be expensive, though.

          For Italian in the Village I prefer D'Amico's Italian Market Cafe to Prego. I haven't been to Prego in years, though. As PPPPP pointed out, D'Amico's is less expensive than Prego.