Top 10 Restaurants in the Galleria
7. Oceanaire Seafood Room
Photo courtesy of Oceanaire
The Oceanaire -- a sleek seafood palace that anchors "restaurant row" in the Galleria -- is designed to resemble an art deco ocean liner, and the pampering service fits right into the theme. The staff is extremely well-trained, with spot-on knowledge of every oyster and fish variety on the menu and the attention to detail that means getting a white or black napkin based on the color of your clothing. Tell them it's your birthday or anniversary when you make your reservation and you'll get a specially printed menu and a congratulatory card when you sit down at your table. And that's really where the Oceanaire shines; it's a special-occasion sort of place that really does make the occasion feel special. The Oceanaire was also one of the first places in Houston to carry so-called Gulf appellation oysters -- so you know it's on-trend with its dishes -- but it also carries old standbys that most places have done away with, like Baked Alaska.
6. The Tasting Room
The Tasting Room at Uptown Park features a big, inviting, wrap-around patio.
This is not your typical wine bar food, between small bites like miniature grilled cheese sandwiches on Slow Dough pretzel baguettes with chèvre and sweet tomato jam and entrées like a pizza topped with house-made Broken Arrow Ranch venison sausage,
Gruyère, caramelized onions and roasted red peppers. Sunday brunches with a distinctly Southern twist are hugely popular events, as are the occasional crawfish boils thrown on the patio in the summer. And while you normally wouldn't consider a weekday lunch at a wine bar, the menu of gourmet sandwiches and dishes is so alluring that you'll even forget they serve wine.
5. Kenny & Ziggy's
Photo by Katharine Shilcutt The Fiddler on the Roof of Your Mouth at Kenny & Ziggy's.
Homesick New Yorkers make lunch and weekend breakfasts a standing-room-only affair at Kenny & Ziggy's, widely hailed as the best New York deli in the country -- despite being located in Houston. Local customers scarf down the fluffy, delicious matzo balls, the legendary three-inch-thick deli sandwiches (served with Hebrew National mustard, flown in from New York), the Hungarian-style stuffed cabbage, the Hungarian goulash or big bowls of barley-based kasha varnishkas -- total Jewish comfort food. A bowl of delightfully crisp and tangy pickles is delivered to the table as soon as you sit down, and they're almost as much of a draw as the knishes and blintzes. The slices of New York cheesecake are nearly as big as the sandwiches, with a dense exterior that gives way to a fluffy inside. Jovial owner and chef Ziggy Gruber was recently featured in a documentary, Deli Man, as he's "the only third generation Jewish deli man who is still actively running a restaurant," according to former Houston Press food critic Robb Walsh.
This contemporary, multi-space restaurant sits in the newly built two-story mall on Post Oak near San Felipe that also houses fancy French restaurant Philippe and retail boutiques such as Hermes. The restaurant is broken up into three main sections: the Grill Room (upstairs), Bar Annie (also upstairs) and Blvd Lounge (downstairs). The Grill Room is the most upscale of the three, serving the same gourmet, French-influenced Southwestern cuisine that first made owner and chef Robert del Grande famous. Bar Annie is a step down from the Grill Room, price-wise, and Blvd Lounge is the most casual of the three, serving bar food and cocktails. Thanks to chef del Grande's celebrity status, this is a destination restaurant. Most diners come in with high expectations, and those expectations are usually met or even exceeded.