Top 10 Restaurants in the Galleria
3. Ciao Bello
Photo by Mai Pham Pappardelle alla Bolognese at 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.
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.
1. Pappas Bros. Steakhouse
Photo courtesy of 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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1101 Uptown Park Blvd., Houston, TX