Top 5: Food Streets

Categories: Top Five

LaiLai.jpg
Photo by Kevin Shalin
Lai Lai Dumpling House
When it comes to food, all streets are not created equal. These are the five best in Houston.

5. Airline
I really wanted to put Airline higher on the list, but truth is, it just edged out Montrose to land in the top five. Granted, this street is top-heavy, with powerhouses such as Tampico Seafood and Cocina Mexicana and Teotihuacan Mexican Cafe. But look deeper, and you'll find lesser-known stars like Connie's Seafood and Mambo Seafood. Toss in the Farmer's Market for your fruits and veggies, Triple A for a great breakfast, and Arandas Bakery for your cakes and breads, and you've got the makings for one of the best food streets in all of Houston.

4. Washington
Relax, yuppies. Put down that mini-cupcake you were just about to throw at me. Take your foot off your BMW's gas pedal. Life is still good I know you wanted Washington higher on the list, but coolness alone doesn't get you the best ranking. Truth is, there are some wonderful eateries on this street. One little problem, Washington isn't all that lengthy and it's still a tremendous work in progress. That said, it's hard to argue its impact on the Houston dining scene. Max's Wine Dive serves up some great meatloaf, amongst many other heavy-portioned comfort foods. Catalan Food & Wine Bar (soon to change name and concept) is one of the best restaurants in all of Houston, and benjy's is quickly becoming one of my top spots. Are there many more awesome spots on Washington? Yes. But if you're reading this, you probably already know them.

3. Bellaire
We are getting into some serious eating territory with our top three. The sheer number of Asian restaurants, bakeries, tea houses, tiny grocery stores, mega grocery stores and complete hole-in-the-walls make Bellaire a great food destination. When it comes to restaurants, some of my favorites include Lai Lai Dumpling Houseand Lucky Pot. Please let me know if you find a better fried dumpling in this city than the one Lai Lai churns out. We are so fortunate to have a culinary street like Bellaire. Just pick a spot, any spot, and try it out.

2. Long Point
On Long Point, it's all about diversity. So many cuisines are represented on this street, and quite well, might I add. Here are a few: Vieng Thai, El Hidalguense, Otilia's, Beef and Bun, Casa de Leon, Seoul Garden and Korea House. I could write a book documenting my wonderful culinary experiences on Long Point. Instead, I'll condense it into this small paragraph. Just head down Long Point, duck into a parking lot, choose a spot, and eat well.

caffebello.jpg
Photo by Kevin Shalin
Caffe Bello
1. Westheimer
I guess this is a no-brainer and a little anti-climatic, but Westheimer really has it all--for a variety of reasons. First, it's a very long street. Second, every type of cuisine and size of restaurant is heavily represented. Mentioning even a few seems ridiculous, but I'll give it a shot. You can't go wrong with Mark's American Cuisine, nor Hugo's. And although my Feast experience wasn't a good one, I'll chalk it up to a bad night. I've enjoyed my time at Caffe Bello, and the new El Real Tex-Mex Cafe is delightful. Coffee houses abound, and so do dessert spots.



Follow Eating Our Words on Facebook and on Twitter @EatingOurWords
My Voice Nation Help
39 comments
Sort: Newest | Oldest
dumplingdolly
dumplingdolly

I love dumplings! and grew up eating at LaiLai's but I think I like The Dumpling King better. So if you like dumplings, then you must try The Dumpling King at 9715 Bellaire Blvd, Houston, TX 77036I think they are better than Lai Lai in variety, quality and taste, but not much English spoken or written. Even the sign is in Chinese! If you can find this place, it's worth a visit... really!

Kevin Shalin
Kevin Shalin

Wonderful suggestion dumplingdolly. I've never been to The Dumpling King, but based on your recommendation, I will check it out. Thank you!

TQro
TQro

I luuurves livin' in Houston!

ec
ec

the new El Real Tex-Mex Cafe is delightful.-------------------I don't think this place is a plus for Westheimer.

Tim
Tim

So, what are the two furthest restaurants apart on the same street that anyone has eaten at (no fair counting highways like I-10)? It looks like it would be something like Jeanine's and Sylvia's on Westheimer. I've eaten at Jeanine's, but only made it out as far as Kasra (although I tried to eat at Burger Guys once).

Sean Whittaker
Sean Whittaker

Feast and Colombia restaurant (it's in a strip mall next to a paint store, darn-nigh to HWY 6, on the right side as you are heading out west. I've had some lovely pork belly at both!)

Kevin Shalin
Kevin Shalin

I think we may have a winner for this contest.

Haggler312
Haggler312

Caffe Bello?As one of the best on lower Westheimer?

Not. It's inconsistent and even on good days not as good as Dolce Vita, or Poscol up the street. I would have mentioned Indika, Da Marco, Jeannine's.

Kevin Shalin
Kevin Shalin

Who said it was the best? I didn't. I wrote "I've enjoyed my time".

Brian Poirier
Brian Poirier

For Bellaire also consider Roadster Grill (although it's actually on Bissonnet where Bellaire & Bissonnet cross). Greek Meatball Hoagie with Onion Straws. Nom Nom.(now I know where I think I'll head for dinner tonight)

Brian Poirier
Brian Poirier

Another Longpoinr institution is Otillia's (in an old Whataburger or Weinerschnitzel building for at least 15 years). Famous for their Quatres Leches.

Kevin Shalin
Kevin Shalin

Not to seem like an ass, but I mentioned Otilia's.

Stacy
Stacy

You just haaaaad to put a picture of Lai Lai's dumplings up, didn't you? Me so hungry.

Aghastronome
Aghastronome

I am so happy to see Lai Lai getting the love. I've been addicted to their pork fried dumplings, onion pie and triple meat chow mein for 21 years. AND, now I have to order lunch from there.....I need a fix, bad.

DC
DC

I like that you had Longpoint on the list but you must mention Hollister Grill with the other places you listed for this stretch of road.

Kevin Shalin
Kevin Shalin

Thank you for reading. I didn't mention Hollister Grill because it's not on Long Point. It's on Hollister.

Nikki
Nikki

1. Airline is also home to Flores Spice, El Bolillo and the Houston Dairymaids. And not technically on Airline but about a block away, Asia Market. Airline > Washington after all?!?2. Santong/Sandong is a much better, cleaner alternative to Lai Lai for my money.

LW
LW

3rded about Sandong snacks.

Lucy
Lucy

I agree about Sandong... but also think Elephant Garden (which was once on LongPoint, I think under a different name) waaaayyy out on Hwy 6 in Sugarland makes the best fried dumplings I've had outside of Taiwan.

kylejack
kylejack

re: 1. and Buey Y Vaca, elote en vasos at Sunny's, etc.

Tim
Tim

Just because the Heights never gets any love, I'll throw out nineteenth as an honorable mention even though it's not going to scare off any of the top five.

It's got, among others, Gatlin's, Shade, Carter & Cooley, Oh My Pocket Pie (on many days), and Hubcap Grill coming soon.

Also, for Bellaire, Pico's is worth a mention.

KP
KP

I can't even hear the name Gatlin's without needing a bib.

Kevin Shalin
Kevin Shalin

19th was very high on my list. Would have made a top 10 list but not quite in the top 5 just yet.

Nicholas L. Hall
Nicholas L. Hall

Hillcroft, anoyne?

Kevin Shalin
Kevin Shalin

Come on Nick, Katharine, kylejack, and Chuck...if you think Hillcroft belongs on the list, then back up your claim with a few places. I'm all ears.

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

Everything Chuck said, plus Hot Breads, Raja Sweets, Udipi, London Sizzler, Bismillah, Shiv Sagar and, randomly, Pollo Bravo.

Nicholas L. Hall
Nicholas L. Hall

I think it would be safe to include Himalaya in that list. Let's alsogive a nod to Hot Breads. I'd also add New York Bagels, if you'reworried about ethnic saturation. If we can all agree that Voss isstill basically Hillcroft, let's say Baker's Ribs, too. Shall wecontinue?

Chuck
Chuck

Bombay Sweets, Balaji Bhavan, India Grocers, Shawarma King, Droubi's...

Tilfigger1
Tilfigger1

tell me, you're just *playing* dumb, please!

Kevin Shalin
Kevin Shalin

Just trying to stir the pot a bit. I just want them to back their claim up a little.

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

I would argue that all of Westheimer and all of Bellaire are the city's two best food streets, for every possible cuisine you could imagine.

But for the purposes of this article, I'd like to suggest Bissonnet as a recipient for very honorable mention.

JB
JB

You should do a quality of restaurant battle fight between Lower Westheimer and Upper Westheimer. Just because it's always fun to assert Montrose's superiority to the Galleria and Westchase (so I've heard; I've never actually traveled west of Central Market).

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

Loading...