Top 10 Restaurants in Rice Village

Categories: Top 10

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Photo by BrianPotterVideo
We're tackling the city's neighborhoods one by one now that the Best of Houston issue is out. First was Montrose, then the Heights and now Rice Village, an area that's absolutely saturated with great restaurants.

One of the best things about the saturation in Rice Village is how easy it is to park your car and spend an afternoon walking (imagine that!) around one of the most charming, idiosyncratic areas of Houston. Some of the shops in Rice Village -- like G&G Model Shop -- feel like stepping back in time, while others -- such as British Isles -- take you to a different part of the world entirely.

You can also accomplish this sense of departure by dining at some of the diverse restaurants all packed into this small area: Spanish tapas at Mi Luna, Indian food at Shiva or Bombay Brasserie, Vietnamese at Miss Saigon, Turkish at Pasha, British at Baker Street Pub, Thai at Thai Spice or Thai Village.

You can even get grab a round of drinks Irish-style at Brian O'Neill's, Scottish-style at The Kelvin Arms or English-style at The Ginger Man. And that's just the beginning of the breadth of charming establishments that Rice Village has to explore.

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Photo by Robert Z. Easley
10. Yum Yum Cha

Rice Village has the distinction of having the only dim sum restaurant inside the Loop. It's not the best dim sum in the city, but it's still very good and its standards from the 50-item menu are very reliable stuff: dishes like pork-and-shrimp shiu mai, shrimp dumplings, shrimp rice rolls and warm sesame rolls for dessert. And although dim sum is traditionally a brunch affair, you can even get dim sum at Yum Yum Cha in the evenings.

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Photo by Katharine Shilcutt
9. Sweet Paris

This utterly adorable creperie just opened, and with time I feel it may move higher up on the list. For now, it's an ideal spot for a layover between hitting the boutiques along Rice Boulevard -- split a simple lemon crepe with a couple of espressos, for example -- but also makes a cute dinner destination if you get one of the more filling crepes. Sweet Paris just started serving breakfast too, opening at 8 a.m.

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Photo by Alain Harvey
8. Bistro des Amis

Bistro des Amis looks like the sort of small-town cafe where you stop to get a coffee and a pastry or an ice cream while shopping in a French village -- right here in Rice Village. And with good reason: The owners, Odile de Maindreville and her brother Bernard Cuillier, are from Biarritz, a town in the Basque region of France. Because of this, you'll find more non-traditional dishes like a slightly spicy "beef paprika," their version of goulash, and slices of moist gâteau Basque. Lunch and dinner specials are very reasonable and the soups, stews and pastries (the latter of which are always well-stocked in the pastry case) are made in-house.

Location Info

Yum Yum Cha Cafe

2435 Times Blvd., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Sweet Paris Creperie and Cafe

2420 Rice Blvd., Houston, TX

Category: General

Bistro Des Amis

2347 University Blvd., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

D'Amico's Italian Market Cafe

5510 Morningside, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Local Foods

2424 Dunstan Road, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

El Meson

2425 University Blvd., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Kubo's Sushi Bar & Grill

2414 University Blvd., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Istanbul Grill & Deli

5613 Morningside, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Prego

2520 Amherst, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Benjy's

2424 Dunstan, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant


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43 comments
daddy1995
daddy1995

Error Cafe Rabelais--still great after all these years.

Analog Girl
Analog Girl

Katharine, you've apologized above and beyond need; this vitriol is ludicrous. Everyone is an "expert" in their own preferences. In addition, you poll friends & more to round out your personal experiences quite extensively. There will Always be someone who disagrees, but I just don't understand why they can't express their different opinion **respectfully** and without Anger. Why on Earth take offense?? Palates are developed and trained differently for every single person!! Good grief, find something truly Worthy of offense, for it belongs not in this region! Aside from that, I love seeing any lists because it may point out a place I've missed or forgotten, or a new adventure - for even the dislikes & differences adds to my knowledge. Keep at it & hope high water washes the Trolls down river, LOL

WineLush
WineLush

Plus anytime there's a top whatever list, SOMEONE'S personally offended even though they probably only go to that restaurant maybe once a year.  Whatever, fuck em.

WineLush
WineLush

Yes the best restaurant as far as I'm concerned on that list is El Meson.  Yea, Yea, she left off Rabelais, well I'm sure Christophe isn't slitting his wrists over it.  People chill out, bloody hyperbole.  Katherine, if you feel your overloaded you got to tell your bosses, take out a article here and there.  Don't admit as a reporter to being overloaded.  You goofed, thats it, no explanation needed.  Your human. 

TexMexGirl
TexMexGirl

Lighten up folks. Everyone makes mistakes.  Cafe Rabelais will survive this day, and so will Katherine. 

luckydog1967
luckydog1967

I appreciate anyone willing to admit a mistake.  Amazing how many people find it difficult to do so.

We all do it. 

slumpville
slumpville

Making a mistake sucks. I never make a mistake at work. I am perfect. How could you, Katherine? (;

Hungry_Houston
Hungry_Houston

@HoustonPress Yes!! YumYumCha, best eggplant! Want to try local foods. mmm!

vydakinfo
vydakinfo

Katharine, you might remember me from the recent sushi top 10.  I disagreed with you there. 

 

I think the problem is that you are attempting to write so many articles and sample so much food that you, regrettably, can't be a master of them all.  So, when someone else (with more experience in one field of cuisine) notices a glaring oversight, they take offense.  In their mind, it's probably a grave error that a worthy, hardworking restaurant isn't being noticed.  And although it IS totally unfair, it makes you 'appear' as if you aren't qualified.  It's a catch-22 for you but it's reality.  My husband and I clearly enjoy what you do and we applaud your continual efforts to write articles but you're always going to be 'slammed' when someone else (who has greater experience in one field) notices a crucial oversight.  Just my two cents. 

Nathan
Nathan

That is a very bad omission, Katharine. Café Rabelais is the #1 restaurant in the Rice Village and one of the city's best French restaurants. 

 

Another omission is Shiva on Times.

Gibonno
Gibonno

Here is the only thing that matters most to any restaurant in Rice Village.  People in the seats!  Not making any sort of opinionated top whatever list.  It never has nor ever will pay the bills.

brent2own
brent2own

@EatingOurWords Where would it have landed on your list?

Turd_Ferguson
Turd_Ferguson

Dear Trolls,

 

I remember when I used to sit around all day being pissed off at the world, reading blogs & Alt-Tabbing quickly before my boss would see it.  Then, I would snipe a post from my cubical.  Splattering it with an angry comment that demonstrated my "superiority" to others.  Unfortunately, I never realized that it made me look like a monkey flinging poo.  At first glance, the monkey seems cool and coordinated, but in the end.  It's playing with shit and smells worse.  

 

Perhaps a quick walk outside or a trip to the gym/therapist/coffee shop/strip club would do you some good.

 

Take a break from being an asshole, and try to smile once an hour.

helliemaes
helliemaes

@EatingOurWords I remember eating at El Meson what, 20 years ago? Man their food was good.

prich2004
prich2004

Wow, how could you not include Cafe Rabelais on this list?

schooner22
schooner22

How in the world can you leave off Cafe Rebelais?

kshilcutt
kshilcutt moderator editor

 @vydakinfo I do, and welcome back!  :)

 

I'll say the same thing I did to Nathan below - which is that I write a lot, every week, and I do unfortunately make mistakes from time to time as a result of my heavy load. I always try to apologize for them and I feel that I have done so a bit excessively in this case.

 

As for these neighborhood posts, they were requested by our readers (we did them a few years back and they were very popular back then, but have since become out-dated) and my editors. I'm just doing my job and happy to do so. I do eat out in Rice Village pretty frequently and have done so for many years, so I feel like I'm well-acquainted with the area. The Cafe Rabelais oversight was just an honest mistake. But when we come to a neighborhood that I just don't know very well, I hope that one of our awesome EOW bloggers can step in for me and tell us all about the Top 10 Restaurants in, say, Pearland. (And I hope that Thanh Phuong and King's Biergarten and Killen's all make that list.)

iMidget
iMidget

@Nathan Shiva may have been good once but it needs a solid updating and many years (a decade even?) belated Spring cleaning. It's quite gross.

Megan
Megan

@Nathan Shiva went downhill in the six years I lived in Houston. When I first moved there in 2004, it was delicious; we liked it so much, my husband and I had our rehearsal dinner there. By the time I moved away in 2010, it was a shadow of its former self. My husband and I were dismayed the last time we ate there, right before we moved him to Iowa. The food was bland, greasy (yes, I know that ghee is used regularly in Indian cuisine, but I shouldn't see it pooling on the food) and the service was atrocious. They're coasting on fumes, sad to say.

kshilcutt
kshilcutt moderator editor

 @Nathan I know it's a bad omission and I acknowledged that. I wish that I could go back and fix it. Honestly, when you write as much as I do a week, you do miss things every once in a while. I'm just a human being, as much as I wish that I was part computer sometimes.

 

I do disagree with the Shiva nod, however. It's been ages since that place was any good - and I used to eat there pretty regularly.

Jalapeno
Jalapeno

 @Nathan See, that just shows that reasonable minds can differ.  Shiva makes me shiver.  Gaaaahg. 

gentian
gentian

 @Gibonno Honestly, this is not written for 'any restaurant in Rice Village'. It's written for readers who might want to dine in Rice Village for the first time. Or those who are looking to expand beyond their current faves in RV.

But yes, one stipulate would that money matters to restaurant owners.

EatingOurWords
EatingOurWords

@brent2own Probably at No. 3, moving Istanbul Grill to No. 4 and so on.

iMidget
iMidget

@Turd_Ferguson Monkey poo = Mi Luna. Just saying. :)

EatingOurWords
EatingOurWords

@helliemaes It's still good! El Meson still has it, even if it's now the new hotness anymore. :)

kshilcutt
kshilcutt moderator editor

 @prich2004 No, you're completely right. I've had a lot going on this week and I goofed up, big time. Cafe Rabelais deserves to be on there around the No. 3 or No. 4 spot. I'm really sorry, guys.

WYATT
WYATT

 @JaneMo CAPS LOCK VERY EFFECTIVE YOU SEEM LIKE A SMART PERSON

gentian
gentian

 @JaneMo You seem angry still that you were punked last week. Sweat it off, it happens to us all.

Analog Girl
Analog Girl

 @kshilcutt  @vydakinfo Katharine, You've apologized above and beyond need; this vitriol is ludicrous. Everyone is an "expert" in their own preferences and you poll friends & more to round out your personal experiences quite extensively. There will always be someone who disagrees, but I just don't understand why they can't express their different opinion **respectfully** and without Anger. Why on Earth take offense?? Palates are trained & developed differently!! Good grief, find something Worthy of offense for it belongs not in this region! 

vydakinfo
vydakinfo

 @kshilcutt I understand and I'm sure that most people do understand.  You write a tremendous amount and it's going to be very hard for you to become remarkably well-versed enough in French, Italian, Japanese and Mongolian food to make local experts happy.  It's also going to be very hard to make the best recommendations about neighborhoods that you aren't very familiar with.  I think most of us understand that.  But some people, regrettably, take this stuff seriously.  I do at times.  When they believe they see a 'flaw,' they take it personal.

Nathan
Nathan

 @kshilcutt You are right, you did acknowledge the mistake.

 

I would edit the original post and give Café Rabelais an honorable mention at least.

Nathan
Nathan

 @kshilcutt Perhaps I am being too charitable with Shiva. I do agree with Megan that the curries have gotten greasier in the last couple years. However, (i) I do really enjoy Indian comfort food, which is what Shiva is, (ii) there are very few affordable Indian restaurants within the loop, (iii) it is near my house, and (iv) and the take out is ready quickly. 

 

If Alison Cook can put Spanish Village on in the top 100, I am entitled to one dubious choice as well.

 

Anyway, I'm making another trip to India later this month, so I will get to reassess against the real thing soon.

Analog Girl
Analog Girl

 @vydakinfo I fully agree there was no need. I admire that she did so anyway to appease the offended, and in a respectful manner. Now for lunch - and anyone daring to dislike my choices can eat theirs, wink 'n grin.

vydakinfo
vydakinfo

Analog Girl, I don't think that Katharine should apologize at all.  I was merely explaining why I believe that some people take it so seriously.  Not that I condone their angst just clarifying where it comes from.  We've all blundered.  I don't believe she should have to apologize for it.

vydakinfo
vydakinfo

 @Chris5980  @kshilcutt Strange?  I respectfully disagree.  I'll give you a good example.  Perhaps there's a restaurant/cafe owner that works very hard to promote their business.  According to their patrons, they deserve very high marks.  But they can't get press.  So, the Houston Press puts out a list that either overlooks the business or makes a mistake by not adding them.  You can bet the business owner's spouse will be on this message board...and taking it quite personal. LOL  My humble opinion, of course.

Wunderkind
Wunderkind

 @Nathan  @kshilcutt "Indian Comfort Food"?

Please. WTF does that even mean? Please don't start using 'comfort' interchangeably with 'thoroughly mediocre tending toward bad'. Goofy trend. I'd think comfort food might be snacks or chaat, which they don't even serve last time I looked.

Megan
Megan

@Nathan @kshilcutt I don't think it's dubious, and everyone is entitled to their "WTF?" restaurant - a place that you love and can't live without, but others don't understand why you love it so much. Once upon a time, Shiva was it for us. (Hence the rehearsal dinner there - we wanted to share it with our families. My brother-in-law still gives us grief for having dinner there.) It broke our hearts that the quality started to slide - that was our date-night restaurant, the first place I took him when he visited me in Houston after we started dating, the place we went to eat after he proposed. I agree with iMidget - a good cleaning/carpet replacement/fresh coat of paint, maybe a bit more focus on the dishes, and it could be great again. That's the problem with the area - there are so many good places that are fighting for diners' dollars. A place like Shiva can get lost in the shuffle and not have enough cash flow to be able to make capital improvements, or their landlord won't make them for whatever reason.

bradg
bradg

 @JaneMo  @kshilcutt  @prich2004 Why don't you all calm the fuck down.  In the grand scheme of things, is this really THAT important???  JaneMo, you in particular I hope have something serious in your life that shows you just how ridiculous this is...complaining about forgetting a restaurant!?  Go spend a day at M.D. Anderson watching cancer patients and their families THEN tell us how the world is ending because someone left a restaurant off a list.  Stupid bitch.  (Oh, are you Alison Cook with a non de plume???)

JaneMo
JaneMo

 @kshilcutt  @prich2004 In fact when one of the top writers at the WALL STREET JOURNAL calls her out PERSONALLY....you know this clown doesn't have what it takes

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