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Houston's Best Ethnic Restaurants

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A query on another board asked for Houston's Best Ethnic.

I offered:

Rice Bowl II - Indonesian
Lemon Tree - Peruvian
Blue Nile - Ethiopian
Rita's - Lebanese

Also offered:

Polonia - Polish
Cafe Pita + - Bosnian
Bismillah - Pakistani
Mama's Oven - Soul food
Fadi's - Lebanese
Seoul Garden - Korean
Niko Niko's - Greek
Cafe Lili - Lebanese
Kasra - Persian
Saffron - Afghani

I suggested the poster ask here, but apparently he/she is just too shy, so Chowhounds, whatcha got?

Anything else? Comments on these?

-----
Seoul Garden Restaurant
9446 Long Point Rd, Houston, TX 77055

Mama's Oven
9295 S Main St, Houston, TX 77025

Bismillah Cafe
5696 Hillcroft St, Houston, TX 77036

Niko Niko's
2520 Montrose Blvd, Houston, TX 77006

Lemon Tree Restaurant
12591 Whittington Dr, Houston, TX 77077

Cafe Lili
5757 Westheimer Rd Ste 112, Houston, TX 77057

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  1. I prefer Maryz for Lebanese.

    7 Replies
    1. re: cinquiemepeche

      BBQ Tonite for Pakistani: 14617 Beechnut Street Houston, TX 77083-4436
      (832) 328-0786

      Banana Leaf -Malaysian: 9889 Bellaire

      Ocean Palace - good place to start for Dim Sum.

      9116 Bellaire (can't remember the name) for Chinese and hot pot.

      All Bengal for Bengali/Bangladeshi food

      Peking Cuisine

      A Ly: 11360 Bellaire Blvd; Houston, TX 77072 - great Peking duck with those little steamed flat bun kind of things.

      These are kind of all over the place (a few are in Chinatown on Bellaire), but each one is a stellar eatery in my opinion.

      -----
      Ocean Palace Restaurant
      11215 Bellaire Blvd Ste D-01, Houston, TX 77072

      Peking Cuisine Restaurant
      8332 Southwest Fwy, Houston, TX 77074

      Banana Leaf
      9889 Bellaire Blvd, Houston, TX 77036

      1. re: caliking

        Thanks to you both.

        I've heard of Maryz but never been there. Fadi's is a little too sterile for me, but I admit I liked the food. I just love the folks at Rita's. As I've said before, they're like the grandparents you wish you'd had.

        caliking, tell me more about Malaysian food, if you don't mind. What would I order? Any tricks or tips we should know about. I'm intrigued.

        1. re: DoobieWah

          For Maryz, their fried cauliflower is astounding. I usually pick around their appetizers because they have good kibbi, foul moudammas, pies, etc. but their kafta and other kabobs are really good as well.

          I'm still relatively new to Houston, but I've had better dim sum at Fungs Kitchen than at Ocean Palace. I guess it depends on what you get.

          For Chinese BBQ, there's this place behind HK Mart that is really good. Not sure if it has an English name though...lol.

          -----
          Ocean Palace Restaurant
          11215 Bellaire Blvd Ste D-01, Houston, TX 77072

          1. re: cinquiemepeche

            Another vote for Maryz.

            I love that place.

            And, out in Katy, there's a new Mediterranean Cafe: Saltena's. Locations in Moscow, Istanbul, and Katy, Texas.

            The real deal Middle Eastern food. It's a buffet, and everything we've tried is terrific. I was actually in Turkey not that long ago, and the food at Saltena's is right up there with what I had in Istanbul. No booze, though, as these folks take Islam seriously.

            Here's a link to the yelp reviews:

            http://www.yelp.com/biz/saltenas-medi...

            1. re: Jaymes

              There is definitely better dimsum available than Ocean Palace, but I said it was a good place to start if one is new to dim sum in Houston. My personal preference is for the smaller a la carte dim sum places, since things are made to order and taste much better. Fung's is a good place, especially if one does not feel like driving to Bellaire.

              @ Doobiewah: Malaysian food rocks! One of my fav cuisines sine it is such a melting pot of cultures (Chinese/Malay/Indian). Its like Chinese food with an Indian slant (not Indo-Chinese which is a whole different beast when done well). One signature dish is Roti Canai (different spellings abound) which is an appetizer of some chicken curry, with a soft dosa-like bread. Some dishes use shrimp paste which I love.

              If you haven't been to Banana Leaf, I strongly recommend it. I think there used to be another Malaysian place in town, but it closed some time ago.

              They won't win any awards for service, but it goes with the territory, and I'm willing to look beyond that for tasty grub.

              -----
              Ocean Palace Restaurant
              11215 Bellaire Blvd Ste D-01, Houston, TX 77072

              Banana Leaf
              9889 Bellaire Blvd, Houston, TX 77036

              1. re: caliking

                Thanks for the reply. I'm looking forward to it.

                And I'm not worried about service. As long as its reasonably clean, I'm willing to wait.

                BTW, I love Ocean Palace. It was my first experience with dim sum and remains close to my heart. I haven't been to Fung's yet, but it's also on the "To Do " list.

                -----
                Ocean Palace Restaurant
                11215 Bellaire Blvd Ste D-01, Houston, TX 77072

                1. re: DoobieWah

                  Ok here's another one, again OTL but really good.

                  Heritage India Cuisine's Sunday lunch buffet, out in Stafford. Traditional Kerala (Southern India) grub, not the dosas and idli that folks usually associate with Southern indian food. Get there when they open, so the food will be hot and fresh. You'll find duck curry, pork fry, a few different veg items and other things. Its out of the way, the owners are nice, and they cook great food. The Sat buffet is not as good.

                  -----
                  Heritage India
                  3201 S Main St, Stafford, TX 77477

    2. For Thai there's Kanomwon a.k.a. the Telephone Thai out on Telephone Road - best Thai in Houston. Pakistani/Indian I've always been partial to Sabri Nihari out near 59 and Hillcroft.

      1. No mention of Bon Ga Garden on Long Point?

        I've been several times, including for lunch a couple of hours ago, and think it's terrific. I usually get the bulgogi, because it's literally one of my favorite dishes on the planet, but am determined to get the Bibibap next time, now that what passes for winter in Houston is almost upon us. I've been told that "bibibap" loosely translates to "this and that," and the dish is a stew/soup, something of a hodgepodge, similar to pho. They put a blazing hot stone into the pot to keep it warm, and to cook the fresh egg that is dropped into the bowl just before they bring it to the table.

        There's a photo of it, and a great review by Allison Cook here: http://www.29-95.com/alison-cook/stor...

        It's also Fearless Critic's number two best all-around Korean in Houston, second to Korean Noodle House. And although I don't read Korean and have to take somebody else's word for it, I was told that Bon Ga's bibibap was named the best single Korean dish in Houston in a recent Korean version of Fearless Critic. http://www.fearlesscritic.com/houston...

        I haven't read much about it here, though, and don't know why not. It's absolutely wonderful.

        1. Good list.

          British - Bull & Bear Tavern; it's real ordinary pub/drinking food, not what you "think" Brits eat.
          Vietnamese - Que Huong
          South American - Samba Grille or Latin Bites
          Mexican - Hugos
          Afghani - Chatkhara Grill
          Japanese - Kata Robata
          Thai - Vieng Thai or Asia Market
          Nigerian - Peppersoup
          German - Rudi Lechner's

          @ kagemusha49 - Kanomwon is always bloody closed when I get over there....

          -----
          Chatkhara Grill
          14625 Beechnut St, Houston, TX 77083

          The Bull & Bear
          11980 Westheimer Rd Ste A, Houston, TX 77077

          Que Huong Restaurant
          8200 Wilcrest Dr Ste 27, Houston, TX 77072

          Kata Robata
          3600 Kirby Drive, Houston, TX 77098

          Vieng Thai
          6929 Long Point Rd, Houston, TX 77055

          3 Replies
          1. re: garyrwise

            Welcome to Chowhounds and thanks for the input.

            Sounds like you're an adventurous eater. Hope you stick around.

            Also let me take this opportunity to add Rioja (Spanish tapas) to our growing list. It's at the opposite end of the same center as The Bull and Bear.

            -----
            Rioja
            11920 Westheimer Rd Ste J, Houston, TX 77077

            1. re: garyrwise

              if you like Que Huong , try Pho Ngon on Bellaire & Wilcrest. North side.

              the menu is not as extensive as QH, but i find the execution often times much much better

              1. re: paleogeek

                Tried Que Huong for the first time last weekend. Had a great chicken/sticky rice and fried flat noodle dish there.

            2. Himalayas for Pakistani (Hillcroft & 59)

              Kirans for upscale british-indian (Westheimer near rail road tracks)

              1. Phoenicia Deli, Lebanese/Armenian: http://phoeniciafoods.com/locations/a...
                Cafe Caspian, Persian: http://www.cafecaspian.com/menu.htm
                Rioja, Spanish: http://www.riojarestaurant.com/
                Bistro Le Cep, French: http://www.bistro-lecep.com/

                1. How about a decent French restaurant? That's ethnic, no?

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Mike C. Miller

                    I like Brasserie 19 and Le Mistral

                    1. re: Mike C. Miller

                      We like Bistro Provence and lately, L'Olivier for French food. Bistro Le Cep has disappointed us the past couple of visits and we won't be back soon. Phillipe is good TexiFrench, as is (I hear) Brasserie 19. I visited Vieng Thai at long last after hearing about it from you hounds for years. I had the Panang Curry which was very good, tender chicken, spicy coconut milk sauce. The chicken wing appetizer was not as good IMO as the wings at Thai Cottage but still very good in their sauceless state. The youngster serving us was impatient with our questions and anxious to see us leave, perhaps because they were setting up for a large party of about 30. Probably you hounds meeting up again! Ha!

                      1. re: Lambowner

                        The Houston Chowhounds are regulars at Vieng Thai .... if you see a large party of non-Thais, its probably us.

                        1. re: Cheflambo

                          Here is my list:

                          Mi Pueblito -- Colombian
                          Thai Gourmet - Thai
                          Himalaya-Indian/Pakistani
                          Thien - An - Vietnamese
                          Myung Dong - Korean
                          Au Petit Paris - French