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Restaurants within walking distance
Restaurants worth driving to


Map of restaurants within walking distance (pdf) (gmap)

A. Torchy’s Tacos (Tex-Mex – Rice Village – $)
2400 Times Blvd; Houston, TX 77005; 713.487.0067
Local chain serving Mexican-street-food-style tacos in inventive varieties, including for breakfast.

B. Chipotle Mexican Grill (Tex-Mex – Medical Center – $)
6600 Fannin St; Houston, TX 77030; 713.792.9390
Fast-food chain offering Mexican fare, including design-your-own burritos, tacos & bowls.

C. NAM – Noodles and More (Vietnamese – Rice Village – $)
2512 Rice Blvd; Houston, TX 77005; 713.533.1188
Classic Vietnamese & Southeast Asian dishes in a casual, counter-serve setting with modern touches.

D. Jersey Mike’s Subs (Sandwiches & Burgers – Rice Village – $)
5819 Kirby Dr; Houston, TX 77005; 713.523.3151
New Jersey-based counter-serve sandwich chain serving jumbo subs filled with cold cuts & toppings.

E. Pasha Restaurant (Turkish – Rice Village – $$)
2325 University Blvd; Houston, TX 77005; 713.592.0020
Turkish & Mediterranean dishes are served up inside this cozy old house with colorful walls.

F. Café Rabelais (French – Rice Village – $$)
2442 Times Blvd; Houston, TX 77005; 713.520.8841
This quaint bistro serves a market-based menu of traditional French fare & over 600 wines.

G. Benjy’s (American – Rice Village – $$)
2424 Dunstan Rd; Houston, TX 77005; 713.522.7602
Trendy joint serving innovative New American dishes along with a bustling happy hour & brunch.

H. D’Amico’s Italian Market Cafe (Italian – Rice Village – $$)
5510 Morningside Dr #140; Houston, TX 77005; 713.526.3400
Casual cafe & grocery featuring housemade pastas & Italian food in intimate, family-friendly digs.

I. Istanbul Grill & Deli (Turkish – Rice Village – $$)
5613 Morningside Dr; Houston, TX 77005; 713.526.2800
Turkish standards, with vegetarian choices, served in a casual setting with outdoor seating.

J. Pinewood Cafe (Sandwiches & Burgers – Medical Center – $$)
6104 Hermann Park Dr.; Houston, TX 77030; 713.429.5238
Casual spot by the Houston Zoo entrance offering salads, wraps, burgers & build-your-own sandwiches.

K. Black Walnut Café (American – Rice Village – $$)
5510 Morningside Dr.; Houston, TX 77005; 713.526.5551
Branch of a warm, casual chain offering American fare for breakfast, lunch & dinner & a full bar.

L. El Meson Restaurant (Spanish – Rice Village – $$)
2425 University Blvd; Houston, TX 77005; 713.522.9306
Homey Spanish eatery with Cuban flair presenting tapas, paella & an extensive wine list since 1981.

M. Thai Spice Restaurant (Thai – Rice Village – $$)
5117 Kelvin Dr; Houston, TX 77005; 713.522.5100
Branch of a local chain offering classic Thai food in a colorful, casual space.

N. Hungry’s (American – Rice Village – $$)
2356 Rice Blvd; Houston, TX 77005; 713.523.8652
Sandwiches, simple entrees & brunch fare make up the menu of this family-friendly New American cafe.

O. Prego (Italian – Rice Village – $$$)
2520 Amherst St; Houston, TX 77005; 713.529.2420
Stylish neighborhood eatery offering classic Italian dishes with an extensive wine list since 1983.

P. Antica Osteria (Italian – Rice Village – $$$)
2311 Bissonnet St; Houston, TX 77005; 713.521.1155
Homey Italian fare is served amid a romantic atmosphere inside a quaint old house.

Q. Rice Coffeehouse (Cafe – Rice Uni – $)
6100 Main St; Houston, TX 77005; 713.348.8073
Student-operated coffeehouse on the Rice campus serving espresso drinks plus bagels & pastries.

R. Droubi’s Mediterranean Grill (Mediterranean – Rice Uni – $)
6100 Main St; Houston, TX 77005;
Mediterranean grill serving hummus, tabouli, wraps, and more.

S. Valhalla (Bar – Rice Uni – $)
6100 Main Street, Houston, TX 77005; 713.348.3258
The graduate student-operated bar on the Rice campus serving a variety of beer, both on tap and bottled.

T. dak & bop (Korean – Museum District – $)
1801 Binz St #120 Houston, TX 77004; 713.528.0280
Laid-back spot for twice-fried Korean fried chicken, plus craft beer & a casual atmosphere.


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Map of restaurants worth driving to (pdf) (gmap)

A. Barnaby’s (Sandwiches & Burgers – Montrose – $$)
604 Fairview St; Houston, TX 77006; 713.522.0106
Barnaby’s is a Houston institution (if you come don’t be surprised by the dog art on the walls … Barnaby was the owner’s beloved dog).  Known for huge salads, a wide selection of burgers and perfect fries.  There are several locations in town; this is the original.  They also serve great breakfast next door at “Baby Barnaby’s”.

B. BCN Taste & Tradition (Spanish – Montrose – $$$)
4210 Roseland St; Houston, TX 77006; 832.834.3411
Upscale take on Spanish classics by a recently arrived Catalonian chef.  While not a tapas restaurant, all appetizers stand out as exquisite.  Try the octopus or jamón Ibérico croquettes.  Reservations recommended.

C. Brennan’s of Houston (Creole – Midtown – $$$)
3300 Smith St; Houston, TX 77006; 713.522.9711
The world famous Brennan’s in New Orleans’ French Quarter opened this Houston location over 40 years ago and it has long been a fine dining staple in town.  Famous for their gumbo and turtle soup.  Reservations recommended, jackets request of men in the dining room.  Their Courtyard Bar is a little more casual.

D. Dolce Vita (Italian – Montrose – $$)
500 Westheimer Rd; Houston, TX 77006; 713.520.8222
Wood-fired pizzeria offering traditional and updated Neopolitan classics.  Try a sampling selection of small bites with your pizza (the fritto is a favorite).

E. Georges Bistro (French – Montrose – $$)
219 Westheimer Rd; Houston, TX 77006; 832.831.0921
Husband and wife team Georges and Monique offer French country dishes at this  residential house in Montrose.  In addition to the set menu, Georges prepares a daily menu with seasonal items – check the chalkboard.

F. Goode Company BBQ (Texas BBQ – West U – $$)
5109 Kirby Dr; Houston, TX 77098; 713.522.2530
Serving Texas BBQ to Central Houston since 1977, this location’s patio is full of meat lovers most evenings.  Try a combo plate, and include a portion of smoked duck.

G. Hugos (Mex-Mex – Montrose – $$$)
1600 Westheimer Rd; Houston, TX 77006; 713.524.7744
Upscale regional dishes from the more southern parts of Mexico (molés from Oaxaca, seafood from Veracruz).  Popular among Mexican businessmen visiting Houston.  Weekend brunch is outstanding, as is their tequila selection.

H. Huynh (Vietnamese – EaDo – $$)
912 St. Emanuel St; Houston, TX 77003; 713.224.8964
Started by a group of Vietnamese sisters paying homage to their grandmother’s cooking.  Items marked with a “smiley face” on the menu denote their childhood favorites.  Try the gỏi vịt (fresh herb, ginger and duck salad) and cởm phủợng hoảng (“Phoenix chicken”).

I. Mala Sichuan Bistro (Chinese – Montrose – $$)
1201 Westheimer Rd, Suite B; Houston, TX 77006; 713.995.1889
Authentic Sichuan staples.  Try the water boiled fish with green Sichuan peppercorns.

J. Max’s Wine Dive (Southern US Cuisine – Montrose – $$)
214 Fairview St; Houston, TX 77006; 713.528.9200
Max’s puts a modern take on traditional Southern food with innovative wine pairings.  Their very fitting motto is “Fried Chicken and Champagne … Why the Hell not?”

K. Nidda Thai Cuisine (Thai – Montrose – $$)
1226 Westheimer Rd; Houston, TX 77006; 713.522.8895
Try the chef recommended “Fish in the Garden” or chu-chee eggplant.

L. Ninfa’s Original on Navigation (Tex-Mex – EaDo – $$)
2704 Navigation Blvd; Houston, TX 77003; 713.228.1175
The original location of a chain of Tex-Mex restaurants loved all over Texas.  Mama Ninfa opened this spot in 1973 and quickly gained celebrity status (rumor has it that John Travolta stops his plane in Houston when flying across country to pick up Ninfa’s to-go! George Bush Sr. and family also frequently eat here).  She created the avocado-tomatillo salsa known affectionately as “Houston’s Green Sauce” around the state.  Must begin with the queso flameado con chorizo.

M. Pax Americana (American – Montrose – $$$)
4319 Montrose Blvd; Houston, TX 77006; 713.239.0228
An eclectic menu full of small plates (all are very good) made for sharing.  Order the whole roasted hog’s head for the table if they have it.

N. Pondicheri (Indian – Upper Kirby – $$)
2800 Kirby Dr; Houston, TX 77098; 713.522.2022
Modern update of thalis and rotis are served in this hip café setting.  Do not leave without sampling some of their baked goods (pistachio-cardamom cookies are a standout).

O. Reef (Seafood – Midtown – $$$)
2600 Travis St; Houston, TX 77006; 713.526.8282
Named the #1 Seafood Restaurant in America by Bon Appétit magazine in 2008, Reef offers a modern presentation of simply prepared seafood dishes.  Side dishes are ordered separately; best to order several and split them among your group.

P. Uchi (Japanese – Montrose – $$$$)
904 Westheimer Rd; Houston, TX 77006; 713.522.4808
Chef Tyson Cole won a James Beard Foundation award for his modern take on traditional omakase-style sushi and other Japanese fare.  Try the Waiter’s Tasting Menu (not on the menu explicitly); your server will discuss your likes and dislikes with you and, in consultation with the chef, bring a series of small dishes throughout the evening combining your taste with chef recommendations.  Reservations usually required.

Q. El Tiempo (Tex-Mex – EaDo – $$)
2814 Navigation Blvd; Houston, TX 77003; 713.222.6800
This is the location of the conference dinner.
Started by Mama Ninfa’s husband and sons after her death, El Tiempo has multiple locations across the city.  The selection is larger than Ninfa’s Original, including the must-try parrilladas mixtas:  a huge platter (to share!) of mesquite-grilled beef, chicken, pork, quail, jalapeño sausage, lobster, baby back ribs, shrimp and carnitas.


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