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4 days in H-town

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Going to Houston for the first time for 4 days next week; staying near the Museum District and looking to sample Vietnamese, Thai, Indian, Mexican, Texican and anything distinctively Houston. I'm coming from New Orleans so won't really be looking for Gulf seafood or the like but would welcome suggestions on anything and everything else. Many thanks.

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  1. Hugo's for wonderful interior Mexican (not Tex-Mex) in an attractive setting. I've only been for dinner and weekday lunch, but their Sunday brunch has a great reputation. Their mole dishes and chocolate drinks and desserts are special; they start with the cacao beans and process those themselves.

    In Rice Village, not too far from where you'll be, are two good Indian restaurants, Shiva and Bombay Brasserie. I prefer BB's buffet, but both are good.

    You will be close to a number of Vietnamese places, but I hope someone else will make suggestions because my favorite, Mai's, recently burned. :(

    1. You are very close to some very good eating in the Village, Montrose, along Washington and Near Town.

      The Village is SW of the Museums and includes dozens of eateries including some mentioned by Zorra. Here's a reference site: http://www.ricevillageonline.com/dini...

      That is out of ate, some of those are no longer in operation. I like Istanbul Grill a lot. Used to like Kahn's, which used to be our best deli, but it has changed hands and I haven't been but some reports have been disappointing.. Up Kirby, on the west side of the Village, is a cluster of Goode Co. restaurants. Goode Co. BBQ doesn't get any love here on CH; the only one I would recommend would be Armadillo Palace. Especially try the venison chili.

      The museums are just on the southern edge of Montrose. Along Westheimer are several of the best restaurants in the city including several that have garnered national acclaim specifically Feast (snout to tail rustic European fare), Da Marco's and Hugo's, but there are also Pizzeria Enoteca, Indika (cutting edge Indian), Jeannine's Bistro (Belgian), Poscol (same owner as Enoteca and Da Marco). A little further west past Hugo's and a few blocks north is La Guadalupana, a family run interior Mexican hole in the wall that is excellent.

      North on Montrose is 1308 Cantina, another Laurenzo family's place (El TIempo Cantinas) for top notch Tex-Mex. I would avoid Katz's deli and Niko Nikos, which has always entailed a long wait and it's even worse after being profiled on DD&D (apparently there were some Houstonians who hadn't heard of it yet).

      On the NE side of Montrose is Lankford Grocery for great burgers and plate lunches but it's probably a mad house since also being profiled on DD&D.

      In the Washington corridor area several of special note including Beaver's (upscale ice house), El Tiempo and Catalan, but there are many others, some very new. For some typical Texas fare that's not so pricey try the chicken fried steak at Hickory Hollow.

      For Thai I recommend V's Thai out on Dairy Ashford. Our China town is on the far west side and offers literally hundreds of Chinese and Vietnamese.

      Little India is around US 59 S and Hillcroft and includes Indian, Pakistani, Persian and Afghan. Himalaya is excellent Pakistani. Udipi offers southern Indian vegetarian.

      Most of these have websites; for general reference purposes, reviews and links to maps, see b4-u-eat.com.

      Oh, and if you get homesick, Brennan's of Houston is not far from the Museum district; it just reopened after being destroyed by a fire during Ike.

      Houston is a very inexpensive town for dining out; these include some pricier ones. If you have a need for inexpensive fare let us know.

      1 Reply
      1. re: dexmat

        Great post. Count me in as a hater of Goode Co. bbq, but I like the hamburger and taqueria place across the street. They do mesquite grilling, while I've only had the burger and fajitas, I hear the quail is good, and I also like the salsa. I agree on El Tiempo for Tex Mex, really good grilling and crab dishes, plus the margaritas make my wife goofy. I go to the one on Washington, and it always ends with a stop at nearby Wabash Feed Store, an old fashioned antique, feed store, and gardening supply place with lots of veggies ready to plant.

      2. Here's another thought, go to the livestock show at the rodeo for lots of animal exhibits, shopping, and eating, smoked meats, jerky, and anything and everything fried. I'm going today. It's not necessary to spend a lot of time there, two or three hours will do it. I'll get there around 11, and be out by two. Discounted parking is available until three, when you need to leave for rodeo parking. It's a real shot of Texana, with some magnificent animals. Google it at Rodeo Houston for parking and information. I always go on a weekday, weekends are crowded, especially if there is a matinee rodeo.

        6 Replies
        1. re: James Cristinian

          James, please let us know about all the goodies at the rodeo. We're going on the 16th early and leaving before the rodeo crowd arrives. I saw some of the mini fried cheeseburgers in the chronicle. WOW!

          1. re: texasredtop

            We didn't eat anything as my wife is observing Lent, so we just glanced at the food. We're going back on the 16th as well, and will hit om of the places. Several places had chicken fried bacon, and I'm going to try that. The Houston Press had an article on some of the best food. We did eat at my favorite Chinese hole in the wall, Hong Kong Chef in Bellaire, and had shrimp kew, fried shrimp in brown sauce and veggies. After the show we went to Captain Benny's on S. Main for good fried oysters and raw ones, some the size of my hand.

            1. re: James Cristinian

              Ah, Hong Kong Chef!! Love it. Best Chinese food in town. Cheapest too I think.

              1. re: texasredtop

                Got to be. Six bucks something for 14 perfectly fried shrimp, a steal. They also have a tremondous won ton soup, 3.95 for a bowl for more than two, lots of veggies and pork, not the typical bowl with one miserable pork won ton with a few scallions , plus great, crispy egg rolls.

                1. re: texasredtop

                  We went on Tuesday, but it seems most of the food during the day could have been from the previous night. We looked at some chicken fried bacon that was swimming in oil, and saw some dried out turkey legs. We did see one place with fresh legs, and another grilling burgers. All was not lost however, we got a ribeye sandwich at Burton's inside the lobby that was very tasty. I also got a pork tenderloin from Holme's Smokehouse that was also good. Any luck from your visit?

                  1. re: James Cristinian

                    I had a corn dog and curly loaf from somewhere under the tents and they were really good. We got a bag of the fried oreos later and I ate two of them and could have eaten the whole bag without a problem. They were so good. We never saw the chicken fried bacon because we wanted to try it. Maybe it's better we didn't see it :-)

          2. Cali Cafe at 3030 Milam, not far from where you're staying, has wonderful, cheap Vietnamese food.

            1. In case you're not checking out other threads see valvechick's post on the Moving to Houston thread. Looks like some good advice.

              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/684172

              1 Reply
              1. re: dexmat

                Welcome to Houston! I don't think anyone's yet mentioned Les Givrals in Midtown - nice Vietnamese sandwiches (and cheap!).

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                Les Givral's
                801 Congress St Ste 101, Houston, TX 77002

              2. A bunch of friends went to Lankford's Grocery this past week. It was beyond good. I had the Grim Burger with mac & cheese, bacon, jalepenos--wonderful. Based on this visit I would try anything on the menu.