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Jul 18, 2007 03:09 PM

New to Houston, what's your favorite restaurant in town

I'm moving to Houston from Los Angeles and could use recommendations for basically every type of food. So, where do you guys like to eat?

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  1. As a native Houstonian there are tons of restaurants to check out. Here are a few of my favorites that are reasonably priced.

    Los Cucos - great tex-mex with wonderful salsa
    Miako's - fresh sushi and after 9pm Monday-Friday all sushi is 30% off
    Ciro's - fairly quick and well priced Italian
    Cafe Meza - quick,great portions for reasonable price medaterainian. I haven't been disappointed yet.
    Hugo's - the oil industry's place to be and be seen.
    Lucky Dragon - Chinatown on bellaire. no MSG used and the place is always full of Chinese speakers, good price, good food.
    Mai's - great downtown Vietnamese after club food
    House of Pies - Houston's response to IHOP open 24/7

    Hope that helped

    2 Replies
    1. re: Arora1st

      Catalan - Spanish influenced menu - don't miss the pork belly appetizer - award winning wine list
      Ibiza - Same owners as Catalan - Mediterranean cuisine - good wine list
      Reef - Seafood with Gulf Coast, Mediterranean and Asian influences
      Hugo's - Don't miss the lobster tacos
      Nidda Thai
      Indika – Indian fusion
      Kiran’s – Indian
      Lupe Tortilla - family friendly - great beef fajitas
      Tiny Boxwoods - Cafe like you'd find in the South of France (breakfast/lunch)
      Swirll - Frozen Yogurt (same concept as Pink Berry & Red Mango)

      Those are just a few suggestions.


      1. re: Arora1st

        Mai's Burned today - 2/15/2010. Hope it will reopen. In meantime- while you're waiting, try Thien An on Travis. Wonderful duck salad and crepes. Also wide selection on Pho.

      2. Himalaya for incredible pakistani food and my favorite naan.
        Maryz med food for great mezza's like the baba ganoush, kibbi's, grape leaves and hummus.
        Airarang Korean
        Vieng Thai on longpoint for very good thai and BYOB.
        Cafe Rebelaise for french bistro.
        Indika for contemporary indian food in a hipish atmosphere.
        Lopez for great cheap fast texmex.
        Gorditas Aquascaliente for Huaraches, sopes and gorditas.
        Tampico for fresh mexican seafood. The grileed snapper is one of houstons finest pieces of fish.

        3 Replies
        1. re: jscarbor

          Hi Scar, agree with you as usual on your fine recommendations for some great restaurants. Are you talking about Lopez on S. Wilcrest exit of the Southwest Freeway? Never tried it...what do you order there?

          1. re: texnosh

            Pretty much anything old school tex mex but the big combo dinners with any one of the enchiladas, the fajitas and the mexican chili rellenos are all good.

          2. re: jscarbor

            Yes, Lopez is on Wilcrest and I must say, it's GREAT - right over by my office and and a real hot spot for the business lunch - give it a try and you won't be disappointed - good Margaritas and great service too

          3. Don't miss Cafe Montrose on Westheimerr for Belgian food

            8 Replies
            1. re: caliban

              Great recs above! Have to put a plug in for some others:
              Dolce Vita -- Really excellent pizza with high-end ingredients (think Mozza if you are from LA). Would also recommend Da Marco the higher end sister restaurant.
              T'afia - previous F&W best new chef Monica Pope -- excellent New American cuisine focusing on local ingredients -- excellent cocktails and some excellent valued Texas wines.
              100% taquito -- love this inexpensive taqueria. Great tortas. Get one almost every time I am in town from Dallas.
              Goode Company BBQ-- the most renowned bbq in Houston (and many would argue the best though you could get some serious debate on that issue)

              1. re: Bhutani

                You've got some great recommendations listed above. I’m glad to see 100% Taquito among them! For a tasty inexpensive meal, quick polite service, It’s one of my favorites too. I love their spicy tinga tacos. However, their chicken mole tacos are not so good –mole is too bland & thin (IMO). I also love their spicy pickled carrots and tres leches cake. Hey! What about that other place that is near by… maybe even in the same strip mall as 100% Taquito? It’s called Rustika Bakey & Café. I love that place too. Excellent breakfast and coffee. They sell average-everyday pastries like cheese danish & apple strudel, but they also bake a lot of South American pastries and cookies – things you do not see in every bakery around town. Its all pretty good. For a savory bite, I like their chicken mole empanadas.

                1. re: Bhutani

                  i cant believe i left dolce vita and cafe montrose off my list, these are two of my absolute faves!

                  1. re: Bhutani

                    Monica Pope is also one of the chefs on Top Chef Masters season 2.

                  2. re: caliban

                    Native Houstonian also.

                    My favorite: La Griglia (amazing food + great value)
                    Another favorite: Benjy's
                    Very good sushi: Osaka
                    Very good cheap sushi: Oishii
                    Mediterranean: Fadi's
                    Best Vietnamese pho: Tau Bay (on Bellaire Blvd) or Pho Saigon (midtown)
                    Vietnamese sandwich: Les Givral
                    Thai: Thai Gourmet
                    Pizza/Italian/Wine: Dolce Vita
                    Indian: Bombay Brasserie

                    Dacapo's (sandwiches, salads, soups, bakery)
                    El Rey (Cuban, fast & cheap)
                    Cava Bistro
                    Clebourne's (cafeteria)

                    1. re: jespar

                      Definitely recommend Oishii, great cheap sushi.

                    2. re: caliban

                      Cafe Montrose has closed. The owners divorced. Try Broken Spoke on Washington (where the wife went) or Bistro Jeannie on Westheimer near DT (where the husband went). Both are good!

                      1. re: caliban

                        Is defunct. Jeanine's Bistro and Broken Spoke are remnants of original owners.

                      2. I second the recommendation of Cafe Mezza-everything they serve is good, I especially love the buns on the hamburgers.

                        1. Is Lupe Tortilla's stll around? I moved from Houston a while ago and went to Lupe Tortillas on Hwy 59 last time I visited. Very yummy!

                          7 Replies
                          1. re: bards4

                            I'd disagree with you regarding Lupe, it's extremely overrated. The service is extremely hit or miss, and so is the quality of the food.

                            1. re: air

                              That's too bad. The food was good -- and they had friendly service -- last time I was there.

                              1. re: bards4

                                I disagree with air. We regularly go to Lupe Tortilla off of 59, and the fajitas taste the same as they did years ago when we went to Lupe's out off Hwy 6. We have occasionally had some trouble with service, but nothing worth not going again. I don't think it is overrated at all. You get a lot of food for the price.

                                1. re: danhole

                                  I'm particularly talking about the Stafford St. location near Hwy 6/I-10. I wouldn't go out of the way to eat at any of their locations around town, but there are still plenty of reports about how bad they are.

                                  Before you even get seated, the first thing you'll see is a sign at the hostess station that says "If you don't want to wait, come between 2-5:30 M-Th," or something to that effect. I can't remember, but nontheless, it's there, and that's just one piece of proof of the chain's inflated ego due to success. Why wait an hour when you can get that kind of Tex-Mex food anywhere in Houston, and on top of that, it'll probably be better.

                                  There's a lot of hype going around that they've got such amazing fajitas, and I don't understand why such poor quality beef is being praised. It's like eating jerky. The salsa they serve is also extremely watery and it's no better than anything you can get at a grocery. As soon as you're finished being served your entrees, the only other time you'll be helped is when you ask for the check. No drink refills or anything.

                                  Bottom line: long waits and bad service overshadow "good" food. They were an amazing place in the past, but they've gotten so big that they've quit caring about the quality of food and service. If I'm ever forced to go here, I just stick to the margaritas, at least they've got that right.

                                  1. re: air

                                    My favorite for best fajitas in Houston is the original Ninfa's on Navigation Blvd.

                                    1. re: air

                                      I could not agree more! The fajitas are mushy over marinated nasty pieces of meat. About the only decent thing at Lupes is the beans they serve with the chips. And whats with those 12" tortillas? I can make 1 skinny taco with that thing.

                              2. re: bards4

                                There are several locations all over town. The service is hit or miss but you cant beat those fajitas.