Houston visit upcoming weekend: input on my picks?

Hi Houston,

I’m coming to your city next weekend and have spent much time researching (lots of Houston Chronicle articles, Hungry Onion and Reddit threads, assorted food blogs, Texas Monthly articles, Houstonia lists et al!) where I’d like to eat while I’m there. I’m in on Friday morning and leaving Tuesday around dinner time. I have one day I’m at Rice + the art museum, another day that’ll be spent at the Menil Collection and Bayou Bend and a third day I’m planning to spend largely in Asiatown. (Is there anything to do in Asiatown besides go to restaurants?)

I’ve looked at things I think I should be eating in Houston and have narrowed my choices down to…well, like a whole lot more restaurants than I can ever get to. So I figured I’d just post my ridiculous list and see if anyone wants to chime in on where they’d go if they only had a few days, or if maybe I’ve gone wrong somewhere, or if you’ve got a strong opinion on any of this.

I have left crawfish off my list of necessaries because I think I’m missing the season. Same for oysters. If there’s any essential you think I’m missing, please let me know!

In any case, here’s the text of the printout I’m bringing along as a cheat sheet for my visit. Any input appreciated!



( Killen’s , Pit Room, Blood Brothers are top picks. Also possible: Pinkerton’s , Fege’s , Gatlin’s, Pappas, Ray’s BBQ Shack, Roegel’s, Tejas Chocolate + Barbecue )

Killen’s —brisket, house made sausage, creamed corn

Pit Room­— house made sausage (Czech or venison), house-made jalapeño and vinegar potato chips, brisket

Blood Brothers— sausages, brisket fried rice, thai green chile boudin (Friday only?)


( Lankford’s, Burger-Chan, Bernie’s Burger Bus are top picks. Also possible— Hay Merchant, Beck’s Prime, Hubcap Grille, Speedy’s Burger, Cream Burger et al. See list. There’s also always Whatburger. )

Burger-Chan —5 oz burger w/ cheddar, bacon, guac, pickled jalapeno. Hand cut fries w/ sambal mayo).

Bernie’s Burger Bus —Principal classic cheeseburger w/ slow roasted garlic tomatoes. Regular fries.


( Teotihuacan, Lopez, Irma’s Original are top picks. Also possible— Molina’s , El Patio , El Tiempo, Sylvia’s Enchilada Kitchen, Original ninfa’s on Navigation . See also queso section.)

Lopez --chicken fajita quesadillas or chicken fajita enchiladas. Carnitas, beef rib tacos.

Irma’s— cheeze enchiladas w/ red-chile sauce served plaza style. Spinach enchiladas, tamale with mole sauce.

Teotihuacan— handmade corn tortillas, carnitas, fajitas, charro beans


(top picks: La Grange, Molina’s, Pappasito’s.

Molina’s : Jose’s Dip.


( Antone’s Famous, BB’s Tex-Orleans, Liberty Kitchen + Oysterette). Also possible—see Eater top 16 map.

Note: all three of these top picks are within range of hotel. Anton’s is especially close.

One high end meal

( Caracol, Brennan’s, Yauatcha).

Caracol— grilled oyster, ceviches, infladita de jaiba, ostiones asados.

Brennan’s­— turtle soup. Mesquite grilled redfish, wild shrimp remoulade

Yauatcha —Wagyu beef puff, shrimp and gai lan cheung fun, crispy duck roll, morel crystal dumpling, lobster dumpling with tobiko caviar


(top picks: Mambo’s, Pastry War, Connie’s Seafood. Also possible: Teotihuacan­ )


(top picks: Kolache Shoppe, Original Kolache Shoppe, Olde Towne Kolache. Also possible: El Bolillo, Shipley’s, Christy’s Donuts).

Note: Shipley’s has a boudin kolache on weekends?


(top picks: Tacos Tierras Caliente, Picos, La Macro. Also possible: Taco Keto, Tacos la Bala, Taconazo, Noemi’s + many others)

Picos— Sinaloa style chilorio tacos, classic Mexican tacos

Tacos Tierra Caliente —barbacoa, al pastor

La Macro —trompo

Breakfast Tacos

(Top picks: Laredo Tacqueria #4, Tacos a Go Go, Villa Arcos. Also possible: many others.

Tacos a Go Go­— tacos verde

Villa Arcos —bacon super taco with egg, chicharrones and egg taco


(Top picks: Rieu Ca, Bun Mang Vit Thanh Da, Nam Giao, Bun Bo Hue Duc Chuong, Phanh Ky. Also possible: Huynh, Saigon Pacolac, Thien Thanh, One Hot Pot & Grill

Rieu Ca— bun rieu oc. Note: Northern Vietnamese

Bun Mang Vit Thanh Da— bamboo and duck noodle soup

Nam Giao— Happy Crispy rice pancake, bahn loc, banh beo chen, baby clam salad with rice, shrimp rice cakes wrapped in banana leaf. Note: regional cooking of Hue.

Bun Bo Hue Duc Chuong­— Bun Bo Hue

Phanh Ky— Phanh Ky Hu Tieu Mi My Tho . Note: specialties are the dry noodle dishes (hu tieu mi kho) from Mỹ Tho

Bahn mi

(top picks: Roostar, Don Café, Lee’s Sandwiches. Also possible: Cali Sandwich, Les Givral’s, Thien Anh , many others).

Roostar —chopped ribeye bahn mi with house pate, special bahn mi, green papaya salad

Don Café —shredded chicken bahn mi

Lee’s sandwiches —special combination #11. Note: bakes its own bread.


(Top picks: Pho Binh, Pho Ve Dem, Pho Dien . Also possible: Saigon House, Pho Duy, Pho Saigon ).

Pho Binh: Pho dac biet (house special) with tai uop rare marinated filet mignon on the side.

Pho va dem : Pho with hand-cut filet mignon and bo vien (meatballs), and a side bowl of fall-off-the-bone duoi bo (oxtails).

Pho dien: dac biet specialty bowl with the tai uop on the side.

Gulf Coast Seafood

(Top picks: Christie’s Seafood & Steaks, Reef & 3rd Bar, Fountainview Fish Market. Also possible: Connies, Goode Co. ).

Christie’s Seafood & Steaks: fried shrimp with remoulade

Reef & 3rd Bar —grilled octopus

Fountainview Fish Market­— fried fish sandwiches


(Top picks: Magnolia Ice Cream and More, Tampico Refrescaria, Treats of Mexico. Also possible: Friohana Shave Ice, Flamingo Chill ).

Magnolia Ice Cream and More: picoyadas with Kool Aid pickles, fresh fruit sorbet, frito pie, mangonada

Tampico Refrescaria : shaved ice, aguas naturales

Treats of Mexico: small batch nieve and helado


(Top picks: Jose’s Roasted Corn, Refrescaria Cancun, Tarascos Ice Cream. Also possible: places outside of Fiestas Markets ).


oh, one other note: I’m staying in the Galeria area (yeah, i know it’s congested and touristy! what can I say, I got a nice hotel for cheap)., so that’s informed some of my choices given how huge your city is…


That’s quite a list! I think for my comment, it’s easiest to eliminate that which you shouldn’t waste your time on rather than recommend, because there are so many options that are great in different ways.


Skip Pappas, it’s serviceable, but not at the same level as the others. Killen’s is in the suburb of Pearland, and Tejas is in the 'burb of Tomball, so hope you have a car.


Lankford is way overrated imo. Take Beck’s Prime off your list, it’s a local chain, not a great one. My fav burger (pictured in my name here) is at Christian’s Tailgate (several locations). We are currently mad at Whataburger for selling out to a Chicago concern. :slight_smile:


Lopez is 20 mins out the SW freeway (69) from the Galleria. Irma’s is pricey. I like to take guests to the Original Ninfa’s for the experience. The crab dishes, any of them, at El Tiempo are great. I would take Sylvia’s out of the running for your precious time. Teo is an old classic.


Take Antone’s off your list, it’s not Cajun, it’s an Italian sub. The original family no longer owns any of the stores and it’s not the same quality. BB’s does a good job on Cajun. You can get a decent po-boy at any Pappadeaux also.


I’m not familiar with Yauatcha. Brennan’s is classic Houston. At lunch they have .25 martinis and very reasonable lunch specials. Make a reservation there.


Christie’s has seen it’s best days a couple of decades ago, IMO. I like Tony Mandola’s Gulf Coast Kitchen and Pappadeaux for Gulf seafood.

Can’t go wrong with the rest of your options, Vietnamese is plentiful and wonderful here.

Can’t wait to hear where you ended up! Please give us a trip report when you’ve recovered!


Lambsy is giving good advice especially as concerns :

Christians and Whataburger
Lopez and Irmas, Sylvias and Teotihuacan
Antones and BBs
Brennans, (most definitely Brennans)
Christies and Mandolas

(And just to be clear, I’m not recommending those places, I’m recommending following Lambsy’s advice regarding those places.)

Additionally, I like Roegel’s BBQ and it’s a short ride from the Galleria.

For Gulf Coast Seafood, nearby the Galleria, look into Goode Company Seafood on Westpark at Kirby , (Campechana!), and/or Bayou City (Pasta dishes) but whatever you do, do NOT venture into Luling City BBQ next door! It’s a whole scandalous “thing”.

I’ll also second Lambsy’s request for a detailed trip report. You’ve listed a bunch of places I’ve never heard of.


From today’s feed…

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Thanks for the input! Very helpful.

I’m here now and was at Killens 45 minutes after touching down. Loved the brisket and the creamed corn.

I’ll def. write up a recap trip report when I get back to Massachusetts. There’s gonna be a lot to write about!


Thanks for the tips!

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That’s a culture shock squared!
I’m betting you’re in Paradise.

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I am. This is a helluva food town.


I’m now bearish on the crab at El Tiempo. We went 3 weeks ago and it’s not Gulf blue crab, just not sure what it was.

All other grilled meats and seafoods are still outstanding.



Let’s have it!