Top 10 Restaurants in the Galleria

Categories: Top 10

Thumbnail image for pappardelle bolognese.jpg
Photo by Mai Pham
Pappardelle alla Bolognese at Ciao Bello.
3. Ciao Bello

Sitting on the more casual end of the Tony Vallone empire, Ciao Bello plays up Italian classics under California transplant Bobby Matos, who took over as executive chef two years ago. Having worked under farm-to-table pioneers like Trey Foshee back in California, Matos has made Ciao Bello into one of the can't-miss restaurants of the area with dishes such as a rich, buttery Bolognese over handmade pappardelle, corn pansoti with black truffles, Gulf flounder amatriciana and porchetta glazed with saba.

Photo by Michael Shum
Beef short rib ravioli at Philippe.
2. Philippe

The eponymous Philippe belongs to one of Houston's most enduringly popular chefs, the French-born Philippe Schmit, who chose the glitzy area for his upscale French-esque brasserie. Schmit is fond of both his French roots and his adopted home in Texas, which shows in the menu: It ranges between the French and the Texan, with frequent layovers around the Mediterranean basin. The two-story restaurant itself is similarly tumultuous, a charmingly jumbled mix of old-world glamour and steely industrial flare. Try Schmit's twists on old favorites like "pigs in a blanket" and drunken foie gras to see the restaurant really shine, or indulge in a Cowboy burger during the extremely affordable weekday lunches. Downstairs, sommelier extraordinaire Vanessa Treviño Boyd has turned the casual lounge space into one of the better wine bars in town, with a staggering 80 selections by the glass.

Photo courtesy of Pappas Bros. Steakhouse
1. Pappas Bros. Steakhouse

Impress your clients with massive USDA Prime, dry-aged steaks, a plush atmosphere and a special cigar lounge where you can enjoy expensive cognacs and big fat stogies after dinner. There is really very little else in town that can compare when it comes to smooth, old-school charm and elegance than Pappas Bros. Steakhouse. The steakhouse prides itself on a wine list loaded with rare old wines, such as an 1811 Château d'Yquem listed for $30,000, but you can find a decent vintage of Bordeaux or Burgundy for a couple hundred dollars thanks to talented sommelier Steven McDonald (whose top pick for a bargain wine is an $80 bottle of La Pialade Côtes-du-Rhône 2007 by Chateau Rayas). Bring a big appetite and an even bigger expense account -- the cheapest steak on the menu is $43.

Check out our other Top 10 neighborhood lists:

Top 10 in Montrose
Top 10 in the Heights
Top 10 in Rice Village
Top 10 on Washington Avenue
Top 10 in the East End
Top 10 in Midtown
Top 10 in Memorial
Top 10 in Upper Kirby
Top 10 in Greenway Plaza
Top 10 in The Woodlands
Top 10 in Spring Branch
Top 10 in Little India
Top 10 in Far Northwest Houston
Top 10 in Chinatown

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Location Info

1252 Tapas - CLOSED

1101 Uptown Park Blvd., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Tango & Malbec

2800 Sage, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant


5135 W. Alabama St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Oceanaire Seafood Room

5061 Westheimer, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Tasting Room -- Uptown

1101 Uptown Park Blvd., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Kenny & Ziggy's Delicatessen Restaurant

2327 Post Oak Blvd., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

RDG + Bar Annie

1800 Post Oak Blvd., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Ciao Bello

5161 San Felipe St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Philippe - CLOSED

1800 Post Oak Blvd., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Pappas Bros. Steakhouse

5839 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

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My Voice Nation Help

Jenni's wasn't really on the list, just mentioned as part of the previous list. Good thing, since both it and Jake's Philly Steaks just aren't good anymore. And I think Chacho's was a joke to see who was paying attention.


Pho Binh, Chama Gaucha, and Burger Palace are all great. Mayuri and India's are good. Sylvia's and Cafe Lili are good, albeit overpriced for what they serve. And a certain sushi place that will go unnamed because I don't want a bunch of hipster innerloopers ruining it.

gossamersixteen topcommenter

Chinese Cafe should be on this list; it sure isn't fancy but it is delicious and consistently so. Jenni's PTOOEY.; the post oak location is by far the worst...


Latin Bites technically falls in your border, but that probably is more Tanglewood.


The dining options sure look better than when I worked in the area 5 years ago.

del.martinis topcommenter

People complain about the congestion, but I'm all for densely populated built up areas of town..or what should have been our downtown.  The best neighborhoods and cities I've lived in have that feeling of everything being close and packed in.  Having said that, great list!  


I avoid the congested Galleria area at all cost, so it's not surprising that I've never been to or even heard of some of these places.  But I would point out that you included Oceanaire which is Landry's owned and therefore should not be on here IMO.  I dined there before the sale and it was good.  Natch though, the menu changed after the sale.

Occupy Food
Occupy Food

If they are not organic what is the point?


$80 for a bottle of wine is a "bargain"? Excuse me but LOL

kshilcutt moderator editor

 @Jalapeno I've eaten at Oceanaire before and after the changeover and I honestly can't say I noticed a difference.

kshilcutt moderator editor

 @overmatt It's a bargain considering the rest of the wine list, for sure.  :)


 @Salvie  @del.martinis Nope. Oishii is already overcrowded and Sage 400 isn't so much of a sushi place as a "let's see what we can roll up in rice & seaweed and call it 'sushi' " place. Like Ra and Uptown.

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