Food & Drink

The Best Restaurant for Every Cuisine in Houston

Published On 08/19/2015 Published On 08/19/2015
Mala Sichuan Bistro
Etoile Cuisine et Bar
BCN Taste & Tradition
Saigon Pagolac
B&B Butchers
Flickr/Adam Baker
Green Seed Vegan
Marco Orozco/Telwink Grill
Killen's BBQ
The Original Ninfas
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1. Pax Americana 4319 Montrose Blvd, Houston, TX 77006

Small plates and high-concept cocktails are the name of the game at this progressive, modern American restaurant in Montrose. The menu constantly changes, but expect a selection of shareables and large plates with a seasonal influence. Their all-American, small producer wine list represents many European varietals and the beer and cocktails lists are equally well-curated. The restaurant usually feels full but service is noticeably attentive.

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2. Mala Sichuan Bistro 9348 Bellaire Blvd, Houston, TX 77036

Inner-loopers can also get their fill of authentic, Szechuan-style Chinese thanks to the second location of this Chinatown cult classic. Prepare yourself (and your mouth) for tongue-scorching, intense flavors in the form of water-boiled beef and pot-roasted fish, all swimming with chiles and Sichuan peppercorns. Our advice: bring friends and get adventurous.

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3. Étoile Cuisine et Bar 1101-11 Uptown Park Blvd, Houston, TX 77056

This Uptown restaurant is the place to get quality, authentic, French cuisine in Houston. They offer modern takes on classic dishes like ruby-red coq au vin and duck à l’orange.

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4. Coltivare Pizza & Garden 3320 White Oak Dr, Houston, TX 77007

From Revival Market's Ryan Pera & Morgan Weber, Coltivare is a seasonally-inspired eatery that puts a fresh spin on traditional Italian foodstuffs. Think small plates & charcuterie, whole-roasted fish, pastas, and wood-fired pies. The kitchen picks every bit of fruit, veg, and greenery straight from its 3,000sqft garden. They don’t take reservations, so you’ll need to elbow your way to the bar and sip on a few of Weber’s classically inspired tinctures while you wait for your table.

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5. Uchi 904 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77006

Located in Montrose, from acclaimed Austin Chef Tyson Cole, Uchi is Houston’s outpost of the Austin-based Japanese hot spot. The intimate, upscale restaurant is constantly bustling with sushi- and sake-craving diners, and because reservations are hard to come by, be prepared to wait for a taste of the inventive Japanese cuisine. Or, beat the crowd and arrive early for their daily Sake Social, where for an hour and a half, you can sample the highlights of the menu, accompanied by copious amounts of sake (or beer, or wine), at a fraction of the cost.

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6. Dosi Restaurant & Soju Bar 2802 S Shepherd Dr, Houston, TX 77098

Children aren’t “recommended” after 7 at this modern eatery. And we’re totally cool with that; because we plan on going “Gangnam Style” on some soju – the slightly sweet, rice-based spirit that is like the Korean version of vodka – all night long. Take it down with shareable plates of wagyu beef jerky, pork belly street dumplings, and hot and sweet gochujang-glazed fried chicken.

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7. Asia Market Thai Lao Food 1010 West Cavalcade St Unit D, Houston, TX 77009

This spot is serving real-deal Thai food at incredible prices in Northside Village. Their menu includes super hot spicy curries, sticky rice with mango, and lime-marinated meats.

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8. Indika 516 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77006

Chef-Owner Anita Jaisinghani opened this spot more than a decade ago, and since then it's become a staple in the Montrose community. The menu has been updated over the years to include street-food inspired dishes and local ingredients, but the classic Indian flavors have stayed the same. You'll find lots of vegetarian dishes in the form of progressive Indian eats, like saffron-laced red beet soup, sweet potato samosa chaat, cashew masala stuffed egg plant, and black bean biryani.

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9. Aladdin's Mediterranean Cuisine 912 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77006

Aladdin offers up a delicious hybrid of Greek and Mediterranean food, including lamb kabobs that are meltingly tender. It's not just kabobs that keep Houstonians pouring into this Montrose cafeteria-style spot, though -- there's also fall-off-the-bone lamb shank, and it's BYOB. You'll be greeted by a colorful Mediterranean spread when you enter, which includes plenty of meatless dishes that'll more than satisfy the vegetarians in your group, such as spicy hummus and cream baba ghanoush, tabouli, and falafel.

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10. Hugo's 1600 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77006

At this Montrose hotspot, authentic Mexican cuisine is served up in a 1925 building designed by Joseph Finger, the same architect responsible for Houston’s City Hall. Chef tktktkkt’s menu is centered on traditional regional dishes, like lime-cured snapper ceviche with cherry tomatoes, cilantro, cucumber, jalapeno, and olives, bacon-wrapped quail stuffed with chorizo, tomatillo salsa, butternut squash, ayocote beans, and quinoa, and sautéed shrimp in garlic and lime-infused oil with chipotle pepper, arroz blanco, and nopales salad. The real gem at Hugo’s, though, is the Sunday brunch, where you can fill and refill your plate with all the chilaquiles, carnitas, tamales, braised brisket, chorizo ancho chiles, ceviche, tres leches, and Mexican hot chocolate churros that your heart desires.

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11. BCN Taste & Tradition 4210 Roseland St, Houston, TX 77006

When a fine dining restaurant with an El Bulli-trained chef opens the first Spanish fine dining restaurant in Houston, people take notice. And for good reason. Taking in the artwork of BCN’s (short for Barcelona) intimate 54-seat (plus another 10 at the bar) space is just the start of your epic dining experience. Get a few small plates, we’d go for boquerones, clams con sofrito de tomate, and some jamón ibérico de Bellota, a cured ham that is hard to score elsewhere in town. Of course, you’ll need to save room for the lobster bouillabaisse, 16 oz bone-in ribeye and frites, and rum raisin Catalán brûlée, too.

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12. Saigon Pagolac 9600 Bellaire Blvd #119, Houston, TX 77036

This Chinatown spot's Vietnamese cuisine is authentic, with hot pot, skillets, and whole roasted fish all included on the menu. The local favorite is the bò 7 món, or beef seven ways.

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13. B&B Butchers 1814 Washington Ave, Houston, TX 77007

You can’t get more Texas than in-house dry-aged USDA Prime and Texas Wagyu served in cuts larger than your head. Or a chicken-fried pork chop with sausage. Or a Carpet Bagger on the Half Shell, a filet with bacon, blue cheese, and a fried oyster on top, all housed in an oyster shell. Fill up on all this and a couple of superb cocktails, like the Blood Orange Sky or the French Diplomat at Houston’s B&B Butchers & Restaurants, a butcher shop-steakhouse hybrid in the Sixth Ward. While we suggest hunkering down at a table in the elegant, exposed brick dining room, the antsy among you will head to the deli counter, where you can grab the same delicious meats, either by the pound or stacked in a sandwich.

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14. Hubcap Grill 1133 W 19th St, Houston, TX 77008

Hubcap Grill, which has a couple of locations across Texas, is known for its burgers and sandwiches. When faced with one of its incredibly juicy, crispy seared patties, the logical next step is to get another. The counter-serve also pours craft beer, which you order at the window before taking your food out to the massive, colorful patio. The space features games like ping pong and horseshoes so you can burn off all that grease to the tune of the outdoor jukebox.

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15. Green Seed Vegan 4320 Almeda Rd, Houston, TX 77004

This vegan (sometimes raw) restaurant is located right in the Museum District, and is serving up scrumptious and unique dishes that are so filling you won't even notice the lack of meat in your bistro-style sandwich or kale & quinoa bowl. It also boasts hand-cut dill fries you can stuff inside loaded veggie burgers and portobello mushroom “cheesesteaks,” plus crispy cauliflower nuggets that are perfect for dipping in hot sauce.

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16. Tel-Wink Grill 4318 Telephone Rd, Houston, TX 77087

Dmitri and Peggy Bokos brought their restaurant industry knowledge with them from Chicago, and Tel-Wink is now a legendary fixture on Telephone Road.

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17. Killen's BBQ 3613 Broadway St, Pearland, TX 77581

Killen's BBQ is a Pearland brick-and-mortar barbecue joint born from the success of Chef Ronnie Killen's immensely popular pop-up. It delivers mouth-watering Texas-style barbecue like slabs of smoked brisket, pulled pork, and homemade sausages. Killen trained at Le Cordon Bleu and his Texas classics far exceed the Lone Star state's standards of size and taste. Be sure to desserts like banana pudding, carrot cake, and buttermilk pie.

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18. Ninfa's on Navigation 2704 Navigation Blvd, Houston, TX 77003

The fajitas at the original Tex-Mex outpost on Navigation earn their cook the title of Mexican fare experts. Alongside the fajitas, staples like mole enchiladas, Oaxacan-style pork tamales, and jalapeño-stuffed Shrimp Diablo (not to mention the head-sized frozen margaritas) take some serious culinary chops, which means these dishes go far above and beyond Houston's other Tex-Mex eateries.