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Houston Food advice... for a first Timer!!!

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Hello everyone...

I am looking for an advice about where to eat in Houston I am going to stay in the Westin Oaks but I will have a car... and I don´t mind to drive.

My personal preferences:
One good Chinese...
A good steak house.
A good Italian Restaurant.
Fast food for the hurry days.
If you also have any favorite place for breakfast, lunch or a most go in Houston please mention it.
Mhhh also a good place to buy some desert

I am a big fan of the public markets with food...If you have any good choices please let me know.

As always I am open to suggestions by locals all the counseling and advice is welcome and truly appreciated.

Thank you all.

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  1. Can't help you with Italian or steak - never touch the stuff (lol), also never leave the house for breakfast.

    Re: Chinese - scads of choices, any preference - upscale, hole-in-the-wall, dim sum, Sichuan, Hong Kong style, etc?

    Fast Food - hmm - Houston specialties would include Frenchy's Fried Chicken - the original on Scott near UH/TSU is always the best but the long lines negate the concept of fast food. Other locations vary. James Coney Island, all over town, w/drive-thrus. Chili-cheese coney with onions is a very popular local fav; these are not gourmet dogs, though. Also the Sonorran dog if it's still on the menu. Antone's Po-Boys - a local take-off on the New Orleans po-boy, several shops around town where you can get them freshly made but available at supermarkets, gas stations, convenience stores ready-made. 2 meats, cheese, chow-chow, mayo but not so much they get soggy from sitting around. Another 'signature' local food like a Philly from Pat's or Geno's but not as famous nor necessarily the best po-boys in town. There are tons of banh mi shops - usually counter service and fast except maybe for the wait in line.

    public markets with food? not sure what you mean - Central Market? HEB also has Mi Tienda, a CM for the Hispanic market, way over in Pasadena/South Houston. Wonderful, colorful food court. I'd rather eat at Mi Tienda than CM, myself, but it's a long way over there. Of course most carnicerias have taquerias inside but I can't think of any that are destinations. Many small ethnic eateries have grocery sections (or maybe it is that many small ethnic groceries have eat-in facilities). Asia Market on Cavalcade is a Thai/Lao grocery with a small cafe and menu of Thai and Chinese. Gerardo's on Patton is a convenience store that mostly functions as a taqueria now; go on Fri/Sat/Sun for awesome borrego. Look for an old report in the Press by Robb Walsh if it hasn't been deleted since he left the paper. Phoenicia Specialty foods on Westheimer is our best 'international' market, very impressive with an in-store deli and another one around the corner in the same center. Worth the drive for any foodie in town just to browse if not to eat. Spec's Liquor Whse and Deli downtown has good sandwiches and other fare, open only when it's legal for a liquor store to be open in Texas and the kitchen closes around 7pm.

    -----
    Hong Kong Cafe
    9108 Bellaire Blvd Ste A, Houston, TX 77036

    3 Replies
    1. re: brucesw

      Great choices, I am taking notes.
      In relation of the chinesse I am a fan of the Szechuan cuisine.

      Thanks for your help and advice.

      :)

      1. re: josephml1

        I have just been getting in to Sichuan lately so I’m far from an expert. I’ve found 5 restaurants with Sichuan in the name and one other which has dishes ‘in spicy Szechuan sauce’ in many entrees on the menu and have been to each just once.

        Here’s an old thread from 4 and a half years ago about a local place if you want to take the trouble to read it.

        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/325997

        This place has been I guess the foodie favorite ever since but the name and phone number have changed which I presume means a change of ownership so maybe a change in the kitchen? I didn’t go back then so I can’t compare. It’s now called Sichuan King and you’ll find it under both names on various review websites.

        Another one is China Sichuan Cuisine, 3758 Gessner at Westpark, just a little outside China Town. Here’s a rave review in the Chron 4 years ago by Alison Cook:

        http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/d...

        These will be, respectively, #s 3 and 2 that I will revisit; I thought both were promising, based on one visit. The best meal that I had, however,, and by far the spiciest dish, the only one I got any significant numbing from the Sichuan peppercorns, was at Chinese Sichuan Cuisine, 9896A Bellaire. That will be the first place I revisit.

        The least impressive meal was at Spicy Sichuan, 9688 Bellaire. Ironically, it was the busiest of any of them, packed, and out of maybe 50 people in the room, there were only three non-Asians besides myself that I saw, so maybe I just ordered wrong?

        Then there’s Mala Sichuan Bistro, open less than a month, which I posted about on this board and QQ Cuisine, 9889 Bellaire, # 106, which has a number of dishes ‘in spicy Szechuan sauce’ on the menu. While the Dan Dan Noodles I had there were very good they were completely lacking any heat; they tried to tell me I wouldn’t like it and should go for the Lo Mein so they may have toned down the spices thinking I couldn’t handle it. They kept asking if I needed more water but I didn’t even finish one glass.

        All of these except Mala are listed on Urbanspoon for maps, hours, etc. Only China Sichuan has a website and the link is on Urbanspoon. All the others have menu scans there so you can look over the menu if there’s some particular dish you’re looking for.

        I can’t recall any recent threads on Sichuan on this board but like I said I’m far from an expert..

        -----
        Sichuan Cuisine
        9114 Bellaire Blvd, Houston, TX 77036

        Spicy Sichuan
        9888 Bellaire Blvd, Houston, TX 77036

        1. re: brucesw

          Absolute excellent advice and very helpful by the way.
          thanks again :)

    2. I always enjoy the breakfast at Harry's Restaurant Cafe on Tuam. The French omelet is very good.

      1. for Steak; Killens but it's in Pearland
        http://www.killenssteakhouse.com/
        Pappas Bros. Steakhouse won Texas Monthly's No.1 spot for the best steakhouses in TX
        http://pappasbros.com/location/?id=91
        Friends go on and on about Taste of Texas
        http://tasteoftexas.com/restaurant.php
        I've only been to Killen's and it was very good and I'm not really a steak eater, but it's about 30 min drive without traffic from the Westin Oaks area.

        for Italian we like Dolce Vita actually it's my favorite Italian restaurant in Houston but it's Italian like I find in Rome. http://www.dolcevitahouston.com/
        They have a sister restaurant called Da Marco's that is high end and we only go for special occasions. http://www.damarcohouston.com/

        Phoenicia Specialty Foods is a market that also has food and a deli in store and also a restaurant just around the building from the food store (as already mentioned) I hit this up anytime I'm on that side of town. I like thier chicken shwarma and their lamb kefka. The baklava in the store is delicious.
        http://www.phoeniciafoods.com/index.html
        http://www.phoenicia-deli.com/

        -----
        Da Marco
        1520 Westheimer, Houston, TX 77006

        Taste of Texas
        10505 Katy Fwy, Houston, TX 77024

        9 Replies
        1. re: tlegray

          Great choices, I am printing it right now :)
          also thanks for the links very useful.
          I truly appreciate the help and advice.

          :)

          1. re: tlegray

            I went to Taste of Texas once, never again. Awful!

            For Italian I love the shrimp scampi at Grotto on Westheimer. They have lots of other good dishes too but the scampi is some of the best I've ever had.

            For steak, I'd agree with Pappa's Bros. Steakhouse or Americas.

            For good burgers we love Pappa's Burgers on Westheimer or across the street from there at Beck's Prime. Beck's has a drive-thru if you're in a hurry.

            For a really wonderful margarita, try El Patio on Westheimer. Be careful though, they are potent.

            -----
            Taste of Texas
            10505 Katy Fwy, Houston, TX 77024

            1. re: texasredtop

              Mhhh a good shrimp scampi. Great!!! Thanks for the advice.

              A good Margarita some salsa and guacamole...sounds good yummy!!!
              thanks again for sharing and for taking the time to post in this thread.

              1. re: josephml1

                I haven't been to El Patio in awhile but their queso was some of my favorite. They have been pretty consistent over the years. I've been eating there since the 70's.

                1. re: texasredtop

                  Escalantes & Casablanca Dominguez are great too.

                  -----
                  Escalantes
                  15933 City Walk, Sugar Land, TX 77479

                  1. re: DaTulip

                    Do you mean Casa Dominguez on Bissonnett? If so, I love it, old school TexMex, they used to bring butter with chips, but now you have to ask for it.

                    1. re: James Cristinian

                      That's the one!

                      1. re: James Cristinian

                        Haha! Butter with the chips. I wonder how that got started. I remember it well.

                        1. re: Lambowner

                          The heart attack factor just wasn't enough without it. Mantiqua please!

            2. Feast, Dolce Vita, Little Barnaby's, Cyclone Anayas, Laredo Taqueria, Tacos-a-go-go, el rey taqueria, backstreet cafe, tiny boxwood, korea garden, kim son, magic wok, pf changs, mo mungs.

              -----
              Cyclone Anaya's
              1710 Durham Dr, Houston, TX 77007

              1. I would also like to know where to get good food in Houston. As an employee of a certain company I really need food that's on the go and yummy. :)

                Virtual Administration

                1. If you like the chicken & waffles thing, try The Breakfast Club, but be prepared to wait in line on the weekend. http://www.thebreakfastklub.com

                  1. Any opinion about a good Brazilian steak house "rodizio"

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: josephml1

                      Don't do the chains. I like Nelore and Tradicao.

                      http://www.b4-u-eat.com/houston/resta...

                      1. re: josephml1

                        Fogo de Chao is my favorite.

                      2. a good deli.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: josephml1

                          Kenny & Ziggy's on Post Oak at Westheimer in the Galleria area.

                          Here's the menu:

                          http://www.kennyandziggys.com/K&Z...

                          It ain't cheap and has its detractors, but it's one of my favorite places in the world.

                          1. re: josephml1

                            What do you mean by the term deli? Means different things to different people. If you mean something like a NY style deli, Kenny and Ziggy's is the best. There is also Katz's, on lower Westheimer and in the Woodlands., NOT affiliated with Katz's of NYC. I've never been and it's been only occasionally mentioned on this board, I think.

                            If you mean a place to get sliced deli meats and cheeses other than the prepackaged Armour, Bryan, Oscar Mayer, etc., then all the Kroger Signature stores have Boar's Head delis. They also have some decent breads but I don't think they serve sandwiches, per se. Some larger HEB's also have Boar's Head delis.

                            Spec's Liquor Whse and Deli downtown serves and sells Dietz and Watson meats, plus a wide variety of other deli meats including much more expensive imported varieties and they serve sandwiches (there are tables in the front of the store) and lots of people do takeout. Their sandwiches are not the humongous creations you'll find at K&Z or Katz's. Every Houston Chowhound needs to become familiar with Spec's.

                            The same can be said for the deli section at Central Market, lots of imported meats and they do have a sandwich bar.

                            On the the other hand, around here lots of sandwich shops call themselves delis, make and serve sandwiches but don't sell sliced meats over the counter. If that's what you mean, suggest which part of town as there are many.