The nation’s economy may be floundering, but hit the Houston streets on a Friday night and it’s evident our city is still thriving. We boast shopping fit for the most stylish fashionista, incomparable cuisine, and neighborhood hangouts “where everybody knows your name.” Houstonians know how to work hard and play harder. After hours of intense debating and many sleepless nights spent whittling down our absolute favorites, it’s finally here … H Texas’ list of the best of the best in the town we’re proud to call our home.
Most Addictive Piece of Poultry
Dimassi’s Marinated Chicken
5160 Richmond Ave, (713) 439-7481
1640 Lake Woodlands Drive, (281) 363-0200 www.dimassisbuffet.com
Calling all chicken aficionados! Head to Dimassi’s, the unassuming Mediterranean buffet near the Galleria. We can’t put our finger on what makes these mouthwatering morsels of chicken so delicious, but we’re forever grateful that after polishing off the first plate, you can hop back in line for seconds … and thirds … and … you get the point.
1403 Heights Blvd, (713) 864-PINK
710 W. Gray St, (713) 521-PINK
The Double Down and Magnifico are among Pinks standout pies, but nothing beats the Bada Bing—prosciutto, bacon, pepperoni, provolone, mozzarella, Roma tomatoes, spinach, and mushrooms delicately cooked upon warm, flakey crust. With names like Hawaii Five O and Lazy Lasagna, it’s easy to mistake Pink’s for a cheesy (and we’re not talking cheddar) chain restaurant. But step into the modest pizzeria and there are no corny slogans or bad uniforms in sight. When you feel like being a couch potato, Pink’s has take-out and delivery.
With today’s emphasis on health, fast food restaurants are vilified for their tasty yet calorie-laden treats. But no one should be deprived of a Whataburger milkshake. Surrender to the Blue Bell ice cream and sweet syrup of your choice … just don’t let your yoga instructor know your secret.
Best Place for a Brimming Bowl of Greens
604 Fairview St, (713) 522-0106
1701 S. Shepherd Drive, (713) 520-5131
414 W. Gray St, (713) 522-8898
5750 Woodway Drive, (713) 266-0046
They say everything is big in Texas, but when it comes to salads at Barnaby’s that’s not true—everything is HUGE. The colossal salads include the Lebanese Chicken Fattoush –overflowing with crisp lettuce, fresh veggies, grilled chicken, and spiced pita chips. We also love the Hearts of Romaine Ceasar. Ask for it topped with salmon for a heart-healthy treat.
Best Italian Panini
Nundini Italian Market
500 N. Shepherd Drive, (713) 861-6331
As you nosh on your warm ciabatta-encrusted panini and sip your Italian macchiato, for a split second you might think you are sitting at a sidewalk café in Rome. Alas, you’ll hear the rush of traffic on Shepherd and your spaghetti dreams will come tumbling down. But fret not, your Parma panini, complete with prosciutto and mozzarella is just as heavenly in Houston.
Best Place to Randomly Find Indian Food
Red Lion Pub
2316 S. Shepherd Drive, (713) Pub-3030 www.redlionhouston.com
At English pubs, chicken tikka masala curry is the equivalent of hot wings and French fries. Thankfully, we have our very own authentic English Pub—Red Lion. A piping hot bowl of rice swimming in spicy, red curry is a Red Lion favorite; you may be tempted to see if your aunt from Bombay is in the kitchen. Wednesday is curry and pint night—a huge helping of curry and a pint of brew for $15. Cheers!
Best Place to Eat Cake When It’s Not Your Birthday
1732 Westheimer Rd, (713) 528-4176
This Montrose coffee shop is a local hangout for hipsters and sorority girls alike. The second you enter, your eyes will bulge at the sight of these delicious cakes. From lemon poppy seed to Tollhouse cookie crunch, the choice is yours. The signature hummingbird cake is a real treat. Start your week on a sweet note: on Mondays the cake is half-price.