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Feb 4, 2011 10:17 AM

New to Houston staying in the Northwest (Willowbrook) area


I am in Houston for a couple of weeks at least on a work assignment. I am staying at a hotel very close to the Willow Brook mall, in Houston Northwest (77070).

I have a car and can commute.

I am looking for recommendations on places to eat, since I usually eat dinner independently, and sometimes meals on weekends.

I am not a wine drinker. I ate chicken and all vegetables, dairy, eggs, fruits etc. I do not eat other meats due to personal preferences. I love all styles of cooking.

Any suggestions please? Tex Mex? Chinese? Korean? Japanese? Italian? American Grill? BBQ? African? Middle Eastern? Indian? Others?

All suggestions are welcome.

Bon Appetit


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  1. Hmm, chicken? That kind of narrows it down. Try Barbecue Inn at 116 W Crosstimbers. I don't think they have a website. Great fried chicken but it's at least a 30 minute wait after you order it. They don't prepare it in advance. You have to wait another 10 minutes or so when you get it so you don't get blisters from eating it too hot. But it's real good.

    Nothing else comes to mind because chicken is about the last thing I eat when dining out.

    Barbecue Inn
    116 W Crosstimbers St, Houston, TX 77018

    1. Hi friends,
      Thanks for reading. I just wanted to clarify that I am open to visiting ALL restaurants, not only those that specialize in Chicken.
      So please suggest all those that come to your mind.

      3 Replies
      1. re: desidude

        Go to the search function and type in Tomball and see what you get. There's a new restaurant there I've heard good things about but can't remember the name of it. Bootsie's maybe? There's another home-cooking style restaurant there that some rave about but I ate there and wasn't impressed. It wasn't bad, just average. I think it's called Goodson's.

        Tomball is fairly close to where you are. Also, there is a Rao's Bakery in that area somewhere. They are wonderful for pasties and sweets.

        1. re: texasredtop

          Red, it's Bootsie's Heritage Cafe, owned by quasi bad boy/genius chef Randy Rucker. I have not been there yet, but he is committed to local sources. Give it a try desidude, and let us know.

          1. re: James Cristinian

            I have eaten at Bootsie's several times, and I highly recommend it. Go for the 3rd coast tasting menu - its a bargain for $35. Let them know your dislikes, the chef has always asked us (when we've done the tasting). The menu is small, and it changes daily - but everything is as local as it gets. they have some nice microbrews, too - if you like beer.

      2. There's tons of restaurants around the mall, mostly chains. Try Willie's Ice House on 249, it's a chain, but locally owned. Order the fried pickles and jalapenos! Jalapenos are off the menu, but they have em. Rib Tickler in Tomball proper is home style country cooking that is good. As Texasredtop suggested, Bootsie's Heritage Cafe has made quite a splash in Tomball. Creative and fresh locally sourced menu by chef Randy Rucker. Upscale food without the need to dress up. As I recall, a bakery also recently opened at the location. For fast food, they have a Steak and Shake, one of only 2 in Houston, and the only Cheeburger Cheeburger location that I know of.

        Tomball sports a very large Los Cucos that is beyond popular there. It has adequate Tex-Mex. Have fun.

        Los Cucos
        5831 Highway Blvd, Katy, TX 77494

        Cheeburger Cheeburger
        106 Vintage Park Blvd, Houston, TX 77070

        8 Replies
        1. re: Lambowner

          Lambowner, I responded to Texasredtop without reading your post. I hate it when people do that. Say,,,,,,Didn't you run over my cat? Do you know anything about Goodson's chicken fried steak? I have heard good and bad things. They had a location at I10 and Gessner years ago, I ate there once and didn't go back, but I can't remember the food.

          1. re: James Cristinian

            I think I only clipped the cat. I've seen Goodson's featured on the Food Network, but never been there since I'm not a CFS fan, but I hear they are bigger than your head.

            1. re: James Cristinian

              We had Goodson's cfs on the way to pick up our new truck in Tomball about 10 months ago. It was uneventful. Not bad but nothing that would make me stop in again even if I was going to Tomball. Like you said, it wasn't memorable at all.

              Ok, I hate to be a ditz but I don't get the cat remark.

              1. re: texasredtop

                I was a bit harsh on a couple of Lambowner's post within a short time frame, not trying to be, but somehow that's how I come across, ask my coworkers. The Lamb asked correctly,"What did I do, run over your cat?" I'm really a pussy cat. just ask my wife, or not. I went to Goodson's the one time, and since I never went back, it could not have been memorable.

            2. re: Lambowner

              Didn't know there were two Steak and Shakes here. Just looked it up, thanks for the info!! I like Steak and Shake. I wouldn't drive that far to eat there but we go that way quite often.

              1. re: texasredtop

                James the Gentleman promptly offered a plausible explanation, and all is well, even the cat. The second Steak n' Shake opened just recently in Katy on I-10 at the Westgreen exit in a "food court" area that has developed there. It is always packed with a line out the door at lunch and dinner and cars wrapped around the parking lot for the take out window. That one is reasonably close to me, but I'm waiting for the hysteria to subside. I don't want a Frisco Melt that bad, even though it comes highly recommended.

                1. re: Lambowner

                  There are hundreds of better burgers and the meat is sometimes so thin you can see through it. The only thinner burger meat I've ever see is Freddie's in SATX. But they are still consistently good and I like their fries too. It's fast, cheap and a decent burger. I always eat there in Branson and stopped somewhere in OK on the way home from Alberta a few months ago and ate at one there. I never have a problem pulling into one because I've never had a bad burger there. I NEVER get a double meat except for Steak and Shake.

              2. re: Lambowner

                Bakery is not open yet. His other restaurant, 'Restaurant Connate' is set to open in a month or two, though.

              3. Welcome to Houston. If you're looking for desi food I know of two places in that general area (Houston is so dang spread out), Lazeeza Grill (Pakistani) and Udipi Cafe, both somewhere along FM 1960. I have never eaten at those locations but have eaten at both in our part of town called Little India, officially the Mahatma Ghandi DIstrict, which is around the Southwest Freeway, US 59 S and Hillcroft. For the best selection of good places you would need to come all the way down there, which is probably about a 40 minute drive each way utilizing the beltway (toll road).

                My recs in that neighborhood, in order, would be Himalaya - Northern Indian Pakistani - often included as one of the best restaurants in the city for the food, Shri Balaji Bhavan, Southern Indian vegetarian, which may be the best of that genre, Shiv Sagar, anotther vegetarian place, the original location of Udipi Cafe, Krishna Chaat and Bombay Sweets. Udipi and Bombay are buffets. There is also the other location of Lazeeza Grill a few blocks away.

                If you want to sample some chef-drive Indian fare, Indika, in the Montrose area, and Great W'kana, in the little town of Meadows Place on the SW side.

                You can find websites for Udipi, Indika, W'kana and Lazeeza I think.

                I don't know the area of town you're in at all but here is a local reference site with probably the most complete listings; you can search by zip, part of town and type of cuisine.


                516 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77006

                Lazeeza Restaurant
                3991 Fm 1960 Rd W, Houston, TX 77068

                Shiv Sagar
                6662 Southwest Fwy, Houston, TX 77074

                Udipi Cafe
                4632 Fm 1960 Rd W, Houston, TX 77069

                1. I grew up in this area of town, and now I live nearby with my family. Yes, there are a multitude of chain restaurants, but there are a few gems. As I said in previous reply, I 2nd the Bootsie's recommendation. I would also recommend Matsu for Japanese food (on FM 1960 between Stuebner Airline & Champion Forest Dr). I have tried nearly every Tex-Mex place in this immediate area, and have yet to find one I can recommend; I will have to say the same for Chinese food. If you like Thai - try Anothai Cuisine - on FM1960, right past Jones Rd. Their Shrimp & Pineapple curry is heavenly. If you are looking to drive a few miles - Dolce Vita in the Woodlands is my pick for Italian. Their specials are wonderful, and the pizzas are crusty and perfect. Victor's is a delicatessen on FM1960, they have a great breakfast, and make some nice soups, too. As far as Middle Eastern, if you like Falafel and Chicken Shawarma sandwiches, there is a place called 'Anthonies' on the corner of FM1960 & Stuebner (behind burger King). Its changed names a couple of times, but the food and owner has stayed the same. They also sell pita and hummus, good for snacking. Let us know what you've been eating! :)

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: geegeeTX

                    desidude, if you're Indian then skip Indika - it is very mediocre for an Indian palate, highly over-rated, but exciting for folks who are new to Indian cuisine. The Hillcroft suggestion is great for days when you need to eat some Indian food to reorient yourself or are feeling homesick.

                    Definitely try Bhojan for dinner - very tasty Gujarati buffet. They walk around and dish out hot puris, rotis, and puran poli as you eat. It is the best veg indian restaurant i have eaten at in the US.

                    If you are feeling adventurous, then go to the Chinatown area on Bellaire Blvd. Very different from Indian Chinese, but some very good places. Try Banana leaf for Malaysian food, East Wall, and Tofu Village to name a few. The mall at 9889 Bellaire Blvd is full of great places. Also try Fu Fu Cafe, HK Dim Sum. Not in 9889, but try Peking Cuisine as well, at 8332 Southwest Freeway - get the Peking Duck. You will need to call ahead and reserve both the table and the duck as they often run out.

                    Many good recs have been given above. Houston is truly a great foodie town with tons of different cuisines available, so have a blast!

                    Peking Cuisine Restaurant
                    8332 Southwest Fwy, Houston, TX 77074

                    Fu Fu Cafe
                    9889 Bellaire Blvd, Houston, TX 77036

                    516 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77006

                    Tofu Village
                    9889 Bellaire Blvd Ste 303, Houston, TX 77036

                    1. re: caliking

                      caliking thanks for bringing up bhojan. I hesitated to mention it because the last couple of times I went, in the last couple of months, I thought the food had gone downhill. The older woman who was such a wonderful hostess is no longer there apparently and they are certainly not as generous with the rotis and puris. I have only been for lunch; perhaps I have caught them on bad days? what do you think compared to what you got a year or so ago?