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Jan 2, 2010 01:29 PM

Best Restaurants in Clear Lake Area (HOU)

What are your votes for the best restaurants in the Clear Lake area of Houston?

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  1. I've lived just north of Clear Lake for decades and never tried T-Bone Tom's but I'm going to soon. I've heard mixed reviews about it. I used to like Tommy's Patio Cafe on Bay Area Blvd but haven't been there in a number of years. Miller's Cafe has great burgers. Crazy Cajun on Nasa Road 1 was excellent but I haven't been there in years either. It may not even be there any longer. The one place that I have eaten at recently that I really love is Floyd's on I-45 at Nasa Road 1. I love fried frog legs and they are the best I've ever found in the Houston area. I used to have to drive to Winnie to get decent ones but Floyd's has changed that for me. They are actually in Webster but it's just a hop, skip and jump away from Clear Lake. Since Landry's bought Babin's and Pappadeaux's on the Kemah Boardwalk, I haven't been back down there at all. It's a huge headache finding parking unless you go at off hours on a week day. It's not worth it anymore because they changed up the recipes a bit and it's not good anymore. I think Pappadeaux's is still closed anyway. A lot of people like Frenchie's Italian Restaurant in Clear Lake but I never saw the attraction.

    13 Replies
    1. re: texasredtop

      Pappadeaux is not on the Kemah Boardwalk, it's in Seabrook. Also I don't believe Landry's bought them, it's not listed on the Landry's web site. According to the Pappadeaux website. it's re-opened.

      1. re: James Cristinian

        You're right, it's across the water from the Boardwalk. The parking there is not near as bad as the Boardwalk. I had heard Landry's bought it too but am hoping they didn't. I liked Babin's a lot and after Landry's bought them I tried it twice and that was it for me. Just not good anymore.

        I just checked the website and it says it's still closed. Drat, I was ready to make plans to go eat there.

        1. re: texasredtop

          I checked a different Pappadeaux website and it didn't say anything about them being closed. I must say your link looks more cuurrent.You might try Outriggers at the end of the same street. It's got the waterfront view the boardwalk has, without the hassle. I've been a couple of times, it's been a while, I don't really remember what I had, it obviously didn't blow me away, but it didn't turn me off, and the view can't be beat, you are even closer to the water than Kemah. I second Floyd's, although I have not been to that location. Another place that is a bit of a drive but lose enough is Monument Inn on the ship channel.

          1. re: James Cristinian

            We eat at Monument Inn quite a bit. It's very close to home for me. I only like a few things they have. The scallops as long as they aren't fried are usually good but you have to tell them not to overpower them with seasoning. The oysters are very good. I don't care for their regular fried shrimp but they have a "pan fried" shrimp dish that is very good. Their crawfish are good too. The cinnamon rolls are excellent if you can get them fresh. They have quit bringing them out by the basketful and only give you one for two people. You have to ask for more. The waiter told me they were throwing too many out.

            The Floyd's on 45S and Nasa 1 is very good and their lunch menu is a great bargain. But I mostly go for the fried frog legs :-)

            So what do you know about T-Bone Tom's?

            1. re: texasredtop

              I lived in Clear Lake years ago, and only went to T-Bone Tom's a couple of times. All I had were burgers and they were delicious. I read good things about their fried shrimp, but beware, it was on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, so I'd expect a wait at peak times. I uses to like Joe Lee's when it was on the boardwalk before Landry's ruined it. They've moved and I read on b4 u eat that they really jacked up the prices, a shame.

              1. re: James Cristinian

                Joe Lee's was my favorite at Kemah but I haven't heard anything good about them since they moved so I haven't been to their new location. We used to book all of our company outings there because everyone really liked them. Guess it went to their head. When Babin's came it made me forget about Joe Lee's but after Landry's bought them out and I had two bad experiences there with food and service, I just skip the Boardwalk altogether.

                I just took a look at Joe Lee's menu and it seems that their prices may have doubled but it only brought them in line with other area restaurants. I don't think they are asking too much if they are still as good as they used to be. You'll pay even more at most places and it won't be that good.

                1. re: James Cristinian

                  The Pappadeauxs is gone - not even a building remains. We ate at T-Bone Tom's a few months ago and were not so impressed except for the Armadillo Eggs - those were great. We just saw the episode on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and we may go again to try the items they had on there.

                  1. re: Cookie Baker

                    I don't count the demise of Pappadeaux as a major loss. I've been to Gilhooley's in San Leon and they had good grilled oysters. I'm pretty sure they've re-opened. I've also heard good things about Top Water Grill, but I'm not sure of their status. Cookie Baker, do you know about world class dive bar Merribelle's on the Seabrook strip? I heard they were flattened like everything else. Also what about the seafood shops? I heard Rose's was open, but I usually bought at Mai's across the street. How is the rest of the area? I feel a small roadie for some oysters now that the water is cold.

                    1. re: James Cristinian

                      I've been to Top Water Grill 5-6 times. It's lots of fun to watch the pelicans and the Monk Parakeets. The experience is great but the food, well, just so so. We've tried a wide variety of things from there but nothing was enough to go there for the food alone. I know we're the only ones that think it's average, if that, in the food department but that's just our experience. I hear they are rebuilding.

                      At Pappadeaux's I loved two items on the menu. The Blackened Shrimp and Crawfish Fondeaux (you have to pay extra now to get the oysters in it - which is a must) and the Creme Brulee. I've tried lots of items on their menu but those two things were my favorites.

                      The oysters at Monument Inn are some of my favorites.

                      1. re: texasredtop

                        We hit T-Bone Tom's today and the armadillo eggs are awesome. I had the marinated ribeye which was good and my husband had the double cheeseburger which he liked very much. Once I was there, I remembered having gone in there several times decades ago when it was a meat market. They sold tenderized flank steak and I used it for chicken fried steak. It was very good. We'll go back but I'll get something other than the ribeye next time. It was a lot for lunch.

                      2. re: James Cristinian

                        Top Water Grill's phone message says they will be open late January 2010. Before Ike we went regularly and will return once they reopen. Their fresh oysters were delicious. I wasn't a fan of their crabcakes but it had more to do with them being too spicy for me. We would also order the grilled fish or fried shrimp.

                        1. re: James Cristinian

                          Gilhooleys reopened and is as great as ever. Topwater reopened but it just doesnt seem as great as it was before the storm.

            2. re: texasredtop

              this restaurant was taken by ike and is no longer there. just an empty parking lot now. sad and missed.

            3. The ones we go to regularly are Greek Cafe, Mamacita's (for fajitas), and Seafood Market.

              3 Replies
              1. re: tlegray

                We also go to 888 on El Camino for american chinese especially for their vegetable trio in garlic sauce. The mango chicken in garlic sauce is suppose to be good too.

                Korean BBQ on El Dorado for spicy tofu soup and korean pancakes.

                Seabrook's Classic Cafe; I go for fish or shrimp tacos. They are also suppose to have good breakfast but I haven't tried it yet.

                For burgers we prefer to make our own but will go to BJ's Brewery or Fuddruckers. BJ's has good fried onion strings.

                For pizza we like Angelo's margherita pizza

                I don't know that these are "the best" but we like them and these are the items I don't make at home.

                1. re: tlegray

                  since I posted the above we have tried Perry's Meat Market on Scarsdale and Miller's Cafe on Bay Area for burgers....I'm on a burger quest at the moment. So far I prefer the cheeseburger at Miller's Cafe. Perry's was good but not as juicey as the Miller's burger, plus Miller's grilled the bun on the same part of the grill as the pattys were cooked. Perrys may toast the bun but it didn't have the flavor that the Miller's bun had.

                  I still want to try the cheeseburger at T-Bone Tom's and I want to revisit the burger at Carlos' Beer Garden on Hwy 3. I remember it being very good.

                  and as a side note. My husband had the rib eye sandwich at Perry's Meat Market on Scarsdale. It was delicious. I'm going back for that.

                  1. re: tlegray

                    Another place we go to regularly is Los Ramirez but only for breakfast. I like their eggs and chorizo. My daughter likes their nopales and eggs, and my husband likes their chilaquiles. We've also sampled their menudo and while it can be a little greasy, I'll take it home, put it in the frig, then the next morning skim off the oil. It's so good. Flavors are right and the tripe is cooked well. We've tried their lunch and dinner items but so far have not hit on anything worth going back.

                2. Classic Cafe in Seabrook was near the top of my list for CFS ten years ago.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: waistedinkerrville

                    Just tried Classic's CFS and was not impressed. It's the first time so we may try them again to see if it was an off day. Delicious gravy though.

                    Hubby likes their Fried Cat Fish Po-boy which is now an off menu item.

                    1. re: George T.

                      Waels on Space Center and Bay Area is a good spot for Mediterranean food. Also Outriggers in Kemah for fish tacos.

                      Anyone know of where I can get the best pulled pork sandwich in the area ?

                      1. re: haji1096

                        Well if ya'll are looking for a good seafood place thats not going to put a massive hole in your wallet, might I recomend The Fishplace, on Bay Area. For fish its pretty reasonable. I bet their fish tacos are way better then Outriggers. And they recently put pork chops on the menu that are worth a try. The dinning room is nice and cozy, a bit cold sometimes but cozy. The service is good, hard to understand the cashiers at times though. However once you get your food it all makes sense as to why anybody would be there. The food is GREAT! I believe its on the corner of Bay area and Dianna. In the Cash america pawn parking lot.

                    2. Reviving this post just to say we saw T-Bone Tom's on Diner's Drive-In's and Dives tonight, and it did look delicious. We whiz by the Kemah exit on I-10 every week, but we'll be stopping in soon. Too bad Kemah has the Landry-locked rep. I shoulda paid more attention to TexasRedTop's posts here.

                      Another place I want to try that is nearby is another meat market turned restaurant, the original Perry's: Perry & Sons Market and Grille meat market/casual restaurant at the Scarsdale exit. Anyone been there?

                      18 Replies
                      1. re: Lambowner

                        I can hear DDD on in the other room. Bet hubby is watching too. The armadillo eggs at T-Bone Tom's are stuffed with brisket and they are so good. Best I've had. I haven't been to the Perry's on Scarsdale in many years but it was always good when I went. They have that huge pork chop just like they serve in the steakhouse. It's very casual and only a few tables. You sit right in front of the meat cases. But I've always been able to get a seat right away. Next time I go I'm getting the burger. I always come away with some roasts and other items because I sit there and pick out the ones I want while I'm waiting on my food. I would recommend it. It's not fabulous but it's solid. Try Cullen's hamburgers sometime when you're down this way.

                        Also, I just remembered, Perry's Meat Mkt has a new location in Friendswood too. But Scarsdale is much more convenient to I-45.

                        1. re: texasredtop

                          Oops, yes, I meant I-45, not I-10. Don't want to get people lost. Looking forward to trying the original Perry's.

                          1. re: Lambowner


                            Take a chair with your back to the meat case or you'll be bringing home lots of beef!!

                          2. re: texasredtop

                            TRT, we went to Perry's on Scarsdale recently and thoroughly enjoyed it. White cloth tables surrounded by cases of meats, what's not to like? The owners/staff were incredibly friendly. We went with the idea of trying their burger, but got enticed by the steak. A truly enjoyable meal, and affordable wine prices.

                            1. re: Lambowner

                              I think I'm going there today. Haven't been in several years. You're making me hungry!!

                              1. re: Lambowner

                                Thanks for posting this today and the timing was perfect as I read it right before we headed out for lunch. Hubby got the burger as always and loved it as much as he has in the past, it looked really good, really meaty. I got the rib-eye sandwich after reading tlegray's post and boy was it good. The steak was so juicy and cooked so perfect. Maybe even the slightest bit underdone which is okay by me. I just don't want anything more cooked than a medium rare and so many people overcook it. We got the stuffed jalapenos and onion rings. Jalapenos were not worth the $7 (more than the burger). Not even slightly spicy. The onion rings were good. I cut my sandwich in half and ate half and pulled the steak off the other half and ate it without the bread. The steak did not need the bread detracting from it. Next time I will get the steak and the roasted vegetables. Had a piece of key lime pie which was delicious. Glad I worked out 2 hours this morning :-) We'll start going back there more often.

                                1. re: texasredtop

                                  so glad you liked the ribeye sandwich

                                  1. re: texasredtop

                                    Next time I'll get that rib-eye sandich! Sorry to hear about the jalapenos, I love all things jalapeno. If you like them as much, stop in any Willie's Icehouse and order the fried ones (sometimes an off the menu item). Or 1/2 jal. and 1/2 pickles. With ranch and queso on the side. Best fried jalapenos in town, and enough for a bunch of people.

                                    1. re: Lambowner

                                      I've had those and they are good. We usually get them anytime they are offered on a menu. But none of them are as good as T-Bone Tom's armadillo eggs. You really need to try those. Jalapenos stuffed with chopped beef brisket. So good!! And huge!

                                      Hubby said the jalapenos on his burger were very good and spicy so I don't know why the stuffed ones were so bland, no spice, no flavor. Maybe they are frozen? And way way too expensive for 6 little peppers that aren't any good.

                                    2. re: texasredtop

                                      Texasredtp, we just got back from a quickie one nighter in Galveston, (more on a Galveston thread), and we hit Perry's Scarsdale on the way down. I think I found the problem with the jalapenos, they have Sysco written all over them. Wanting an appetizer, I asked the two girls there about the crab stuffed mushrooms, was the crab real or not. They exchanged puzzled looks and said what is fake crab? Ok, does it have red flakes? I don''t know, it comes out of a can. All right forget the apps, it was between the mushrooms and jalapenos, which I didn't ask about. We did have an excellent crab stuffed jalapeno at Red Snapper Inn in Surfside on the way home, the seeds and ribs were left in and they were spicy, really good, and we got five for the same seven dollar price. Anyway, back to Perry's. I'd read about pork chop Wednesday on B4ueat and how crowded it got. We got there right at 11 am, and I'm craving chiken fried steak, which I had read about, and ordered it, the meat was tender, but it was cooked in bread crumbs, I'm more of a flour guy, mixed with bread crumbs ok. I really can't complain, it was good enough, and I ate every bite, just not my favorite style of cooking. The wife got the three inch bone in chop, for 8.99, and sewing up in one word, "memorable", the highest praise she will give, and since we always share, I can concur. I had a view of the food coming out, we were numbers one and two, and when we left they were on number forty three, and everyone except me got the pork chop. Forty two chops and one chicken fried steak. Next time, I'm going for that ribeye steak sandwhich tlegray suggests, and she and the other forty two get the chops. I'll play my trump card, I can feed on my wife's chop.

                                      1. re: James Cristinian

                                        I just cannot wrap my mind around how anyone can make a jalapeno so bland. I've NEVER experienced that. Sure some are not very hot but they always had great taste. I love them stuffed with crab but found I love the ones at T-Bone Tom's even more. They are stuffed with chopped bbq brisket. I wouldn't have dreamed they would be so delicious. But I am a huge fan of hot and sweet.

                                        I've had the pork chop, never again. Way way way too much meat for me. It was good but my husband ate 2/3 of it. I like a lot of little servings, a lot of variety. That pork chop was as big as my head. The rib-eye sandwich was good, I had it the last time I went after reading tlegray's post. In fact I think we went that very day or the next, don't remember but it was soon after reading that. I ate half as a sandwich and got tired of fighting the bread and ate the other half of the meat solo. It was better without the bread. Next time I think I will try one of their steaks. The pork chop is the same as the hoity toity Perry's in Clear Lake so I'm assuming the filet might be too. I've had the filet at the fancy Perry's and it was delicious. And at the fancy Perry's they give you the steak and about 5 tiny servings of sides. Maybe 3 Tablespoons each and they were all wonderful. That's how I like to eat a meal but you rarely find anyone that serves a plate like that.

                                        Next time you head that way, stop in League City (just south of the main drag but only a few blocks off of I-45, at Little Daddy's Gumbo Bar. Yum!!! Their gumbo is some of the best restaurant gumbo in town. I got the small serving and it was too much for me. I love their fries too.

                                        1. re: James Cristinian

                                          Hard to believe 43 diners fit in that dining room!

                                  2. re: Lambowner

                                    There's a Kemah exit on I-10? I don't think so. You probably mean I-45 (Gulf Freeway). And just for clarification - EVERYTHING in the Kemah Boardwalk complex is owned by Landry's, whose sole owner is Tilman Fertitta. This is the same company that is tearing down the Flagship Hotel in Galveston, in preparation for building another Boardwalk-style amusement venue there.

                                    I have to agree with all the posters here who mentioned Perrys - I've been eating in their restaurants for over 15 years and have NEVER been disappointed. Yes, that pork shop is as big as your head -- every bite tender and delicious. Back in the early 90s, when I still lived in the Clear Lake area, spouse and I were regulars at the Italian Cafe on Nasa 1. I've heard that its not quite what it used to be, but back in the day I needed almost a weekly "fix" of their ravioli in rose cream sauce. The BYOB policy with no corkage fee was a big draw too.

                                    1. re: Cheflambo

                                      I liked the Italian Cafe - was never disappointed. Haven't been in many years though. Perry's also has an upperscale Italian place that was also good but much more expensive than the Italian Cafe. While everyone raves about Frenchie's, I never liked it.

                                      1. re: Cheflambo

                                        Fertitta ruined the Kemah boardwalk. I am fortunate to have gone way back when you had everthing from super casual Joe Lee's to the original, real Flying Dutchman and Jimmie Walker's. I won't go near the place now. I have mixed feelings about what he is doing in Galveston..The Flagship was an old dog that needed to be put down before Ike heavily damaged it. I was thinking about staying there and checked it out, it was very run down. Galveston can use the revenues an amusement type park would bring, and I don't see it being on a large scale like Kemah. He tried to make the Corpus Christi waterfront another Kemah, and the good folks down there told him to stick it.

                                        1. re: James Cristinian

                                          I stayed at the Flagship one New Years Eve about 25 years ago and it was awful then. The shower from the room above us leaked down into our bathroom. It had mildew on the ceiling too. Gross. I never considered staying there again.

                                          1. re: James Cristinian

                                            AGREE!! I live 5 minutes from Kemah and NEVER go to the boardwalk. It used to be so quaint!

                                            And those Armadillo Eggs at T-Bone Tom's are wonderful!

                                        2. re: Lambowner

                                          Finally made it to T-Bone Tom's and had a wonderful meal there. The Armadillo eggs were all they are cracked up to be, and more....delicious. And nearly every table ordered them. DH had the marinated steak topped with mushrooms, the green beans and cole slaw. He loved every bit of it. He's a cole slaw geek and thought it was some of the best he's had. The bacony green beans also drew comment and the steak was cooked rare as requested. I had the two meat plate with pulled pork topped with grilled onions and jalapenos ("the pig") and sausage with BBQ sauce on the side, potato salad and pintos. Best potato salad outside of my kitchen. Seriously, no Sysco truck in this lot. The pulled pork was tender and juicy and deeply colored and flavored...outstanding. The sausage was good, but I'm not a huge fan of sausage so I don't know why I even ordered it! We waited 15 minutes on a Sunday late lunch time. Service was swift and friendly. Awesome outing. We will definitely do it again.