The Rest of the Best: Houston's Top 10 BYOBs
This is the second week in a row that I've [inadvertently] reviewed a terrific restaurant that also happens to encourage BYOB. Banana Leaf -- the subject of last week's cafe review -- offers Malaysian and Singaporean food with a fantastic $0 corkage fee. And Lucio's BYOB -- the subject of this week's cafe review -- is so encouraging of your party bringing their own bottles of wine that "BYOB" is in the very name of the restaurant.
Photo by Troy Fields
Spoiler alert time: After I visited Lucio's three times, it's rocketed to the top of my personal list of favorite BYOB establishments in town, for reasons which are expounded upon below. But there are also plenty of other great spots around town for you to post up with a few bottles of wine or a six-pack of beer -- especially great for those nights when you want to enjoy something special from your own private collection with friends or for when you just want to split a cheap bottle of wine over dinner.
It's not about the food at Collina's; it's about sharing bottles of inexpensive wine among friends over checkered tablecloth Italian in a laid-back environment where your kids won't be shunned by other diners for being a bit too loud or rowdy. Collina's isn't for everyone, but those who like it love it.
9. Cafe Pita +
Photo by Troy Fields Cafe Pita + offers fun pairing challenges with its array of Balkan foods.
Cafe Pita's new space -- greatly expanded from its old location a few doors down -- offers even more of an incentive to stay and relax over a bottle of interesting Old World wine to pair with its Bosnian cuisine. Meats like lamb, cevapcici and pljeskavice beg for fun pairing options, so go nuts and break out the big wines.
On the other hand, the super-spicy Indian and Pakistani food at Himalaya wants to be partnered with some big, bold beers like hoppy IPAs or even some sours -- yes, sours. Of course, you can always keep it simple with a six-pack of pilsner to pair with your chicken chargha or gola kabab.