We've spotlighted 15 local eateries that offer an iconic taste of Houston, each representing unique flavors found in our big urban stew.
The Breakfast Klub
Wings and Waffles
Nothing screams Southern quite like chicken and waffles. The signature six pieces surrounding a fluffy Belgian waffle draws a crowd, so be prepared to wait in line before you can get your hands on this soulful staple.
After nearly 50 years as a Houston landmark, the restaurant continues to stay on top with classics such as handmade pansoti--a decedent squash-filled pasta topped with an airy parmesan puff.
Goode Company Seafood
Start your meal off right with this Cajun riff on ceviche. Served in a cocktail glass with a mix of shrimp, crab, avocado, salsa and jalapeños (we ask for extra) paired with a ton of fresh tortilla chips.
In the beginning (of the Cordua restaurant empire, that is), there was grilled meat. Stop by the family's namesake Churrascos restaurant and try the parrillada—a mixed-grill plate highlighting the restaurant's most-loved meats.
Tacos a Go Go AND Shipley's
Breakfast Tacos AND Kolaches
Can't make up your mind? Neither could we. Choosing between the chorizo, egg and cheese breakfast taco at Tacos a Go Go or Shipley's sausage and cheese kolache seemed nearly impossible, which is why we're leaving the difficult decision up to you.
Long lines and the calorie count do nothing to dissuade fans of this hometown favorite. The local gem sends out peppery, hot pans of crispy fried chicken that draws loyal crowds. Plan to take out.
Weekend crowds don't lie: This Hong Kong-style dimsum menu has everything from steamed shrimp dumplings for the uninitiated to more esoteric selections for seasoned dim sum enthusiasts.
Gatlin's BBQ Ribs
This Heights hideaway is ranking supreme amongst contenders in the Texas BBQ arena. Grab a seat on the patio, roll up your sleeves and prepare to get messy as you treat yourself to a down home favorite.
A thick, juicy, delightfully non-round (read: hand-rolled and smashed) patty and plentiful toppings are served up at this red-and-white shack with saggy floors. Go early to avoid the lines and bring cash.
Those in the know stop at Les Givral's for fabulous banh mi (Vietnamese baguette sandwiches) at freakishly low prices. Vegetarians love the tofu (add a dash of sriracha), but the barbecue pork is also a standout.
Ninfa's on Navigation
Sure, there are plenty of great places to get fajitas in town, but only Ninfa's can take credit for inventing the original Tex-Mex favorite back in 1973. Go for the steak variety, paired with a frozen Ninfarita.
Crawfish and Noodles
Every January, Houstonians start pinching tails and sucking heads. Grab a cold beer and order a couple pounds for a Vietnamese spin on a Cajun classic. We like our bugs "regular spicy" for all the garlic and buttery goodness with a kick of heat.
Braised Goat Dumplings
Any dish at Underbelly is sure to delight. But it's the delicious, Korean-braised goat meat (yes, goat meat), gnocci-style dumplings and spicy chili sauce that brings people back.
The pho-nomenal Vietnamese-style soup has worked its way into our hearts (and stomachs). Get there before lunch or you're likely to leave empty handed. Our favorite: pho with rare steak.
Pappas Bros. Steakhouse
Bone-in or bone-out, you can't go wrong. The perfectly seasoned, in-house dry aged ribeye is available in portions fit for a cowboy. Call ahead for reservations.
Now that you've sampled some of the best dishes Houston has to offer, you might be in the mood for a cocktail. You're in luck. Here are three uniquely Houston libations.
Almost every restaurant claims to have the best margarita in town, but Hugo's actually does. The self-named Hugorita is our number one. Looking for a twist on this Mexican classic? Try the El Sueño Profundo with smoked mezcal.
Anvil Bar and Refuge
Houstonian's are no stranger to heat, so it's not surprising that Pliny's Tonic made our list. Try out this refreshing handcrafted cocktail made up of dry gin, lime, cucumber, mint and habanero tincture for an unexpected zing.
Any *Strong* Drink on the Rocks
Don't order a beer here. Known for serving ‘em up stiff, you'll be sure to get your money's worth (and then some) no matter which drink you pick. Our suggestion--a classic dirty martini.
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