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Eater's "38 Essential Houston Restaurants"

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Josh, please feel free to agree or disagree with this list - I'd love to hear your thoughts (to be honest, I haven't read it, but I just saw that it exists, and I know that people may be interested in what you have to say).

In general, I'm not a fan of "Top X Lists," but hell, until we get a stronger Houston member base, why not discuss it?

Apr 10, 2018 - "38 Essential Houston Restaurants" by Amy McCarthy on houston.eater.com

PS - To our Houston readers: We live by word-of-mouth, and offer this community as a free service without any revenue. If you believe in supporting small businesses - especially ones who aren't trying to gouge or take advantage of you - the greatest gift you could give us would be to sign up and participate.

Cheers, Rocks

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I've been back in Houston about 2 years now, and I have to acknowledge that the food scene here is so huge and varied that I could eat out somewhere different every night for a year and still not feel able to wrap my arms around it.  So I'm hesitant to criticize this list too much, because honestly, I couldn't make a "better" one, whatever "better" means.

But that's no fun, so I'll criticize anyway.

Leaving off Theodore Rex makes absolutely zero sense.  They have Justin Yu represented on the list for Better Luck Tomorrow (which is appropriate), but he's the most exciting chef in Houston in the past few years.  T-Rex has to be on there.

Nobie's would be a no-brainer for my list.

I would rank Fadi's over Aladdin for Lebanese, though I like them both.

Benjy's is certainly popular, but it's not a terribly unique place.  I'd replace it with Local Foods.

I can't imagine why Lee's Fried Chicken & Donuts is on the list.  It's good, and in my neighborhood, but is not even close to being an "essential" place to dine if you're in town.

I get wanting to have a pizza place on there, but Pizaro's hasn't been consistently great when I've gone.  Wouldn't be on my list. If you absolutely want a pizza place (& don't want a regional chain like Cane Rosso), I'd go with Pi Pizzeria.  Inventive pies and great cocktails. Same locally-owned restaurant group as Lee's Fried Chicken, so no harm no foul. 

I am biased, coming from DC, but Houston is not known for its Ethiopian cuisine, so including Blue Nile is a head-scratcher.  We ARE known for our Vietnamese community, so I'd add the amazing Nam Giao, and probably list Pho Saigon instead of Pho Binh (though I love both). I kind of want to put a banh mi shop on there too...either Les Givrales or Cali Sandwich. (Probably Cali Sandwich.)

Sri Balaji Bhavan or maybe Shiv Sagar would be on my list in addition to Himalaya.

Killen's is great BBQ, but there's room for another place, and I'd probably go with Pinkerton's. (Corkscrew is amazing, but I don't count Spring as Houston).

Paulie's is a neighborhood institution, but I don't know that it's "essential" in the sense that it's a "don't miss" place in Houston. 

Mexican is well-represented on the list, but I'd consider Cuchara.

I'd want a Cajun place on there, and while it may not be the "best" in Houston, The Boot wins my vote for solid food in a very Houston Ice House kind of location.  Eight Row Flint might have to make it too as another example of a place that embraces the Ice House thing.


Those are my thoughts for today.  What an amazing assortment of places to eat & drink we have to choose from in Houston.

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