Top 10 Restaurants in Garden Oaks/Oak Forest

Categories: Top 10

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Photo by Troy Fields
Spaghetti and meatballs at Doyle's.
7. Doyle's

Opened in 1954, Doyle's is a vintage Houston institution where many Houstonians ate their first spaghetti and pizza. As befitting its legacy, spaghetti and meatballs are the house specialty; Robb Walsh even called the dish "the kind of spaghetti dinner that once defined Italian food in America." The time capsule atmosphere is great -- and so are the lasagna and the oven-baked sausage po-boy with red gravy and mozzarella. And in keeping with the neighborhood, this is a very family-friendly joint, so bring the kids with you.

6. Cafe Red Onion

The last of the Cafe Red Onions that once dotted the city, this Highway 290 location was always the best spot anyway. Chef Rafael Galindo's cuisine is still as good as it ever was, with dishes such as his signature Chicken Brazil (marinated in beer, jalapeño and honey before being grilled and served with queso and fried eggplant) drawing rave reviews.

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Photo by Katharine Shilcutt
Whole fried catfish at Pho Dalat.
5. Pho Dalat

You don't go to Pho Dalat for the pho. You go for everything else: the head-on shrimp hot pot, the crispy whole-fried catfish, the bun with chargrilled pork and the welcoming atmosphere tucked into an unlikely strip center location just off Tidwell and 290. Pho Dalat is BYOB and the friendly service encourages you to pack a cooler of beers, unwind and enjoy your Vietnamese feast at a leisurely pace (and for a low price).

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Photo by Troy Fields
Shepherd Park Draught House serves food late into the night.
4. Shepherd Park Draught House

Shepherd Park Draught House specializes in above-average pub grub and local craft beers, which is becoming a welcome trend in the GOOF area. Happy hour specials let you enjoy beer and wine on the cheap, while late-night hours ensure that locals don't have to venture inside the Loop to find something good to eat on a weekend evening. Burgers are your best bet here, as is the Sunday morning brunch that's perfect for fighting rock star-size hangovers. The walls are covered in rock paraphernalia, including a section plastered in classic punk and hardcore flyers, some from Houston's own sweaty shows.


Location Info

El Rey Taqueria

3330 Ella Blvd., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Roznovsky's Hamburgers

3401 W. T C Jester, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Facundo Cafe - CLOSED

3103 Ella, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Cottonwood

3422 N. Shepherd Drive, Houston, TX

Category: Music

Doyle's Restaurant

2136 W. 34th St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Shepherd Park Draught House

3402 N. Shepherd Drive, Houston, TX

Category: Music

Little Bitty Burger Barn

5503 Pinemont Drive, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

The Petrol Station

985 Wakefield, Houston, TX

Category: Music

Plonk Beer & Wine Bistro

1214 W. 43rd St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant


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17 comments
kingofbongo
kingofbongo

Everyone is clearly entitled to their own opinion and I very much respect the author's; however, to me, it is sad and surprising that Plonk is ranked as #1. Service is terrible. Unless you are part of the "regular crowd" you are in for a disappointing evening. The food is OK but does not make up for the lack of luster in service. This is known fact among area residents.

It is also surprising that Doyle's made it to the list (although t is almost an institution considering how long it has been open) but Cavatore's and Rainbow Lodge were left out. Granted they are a bit further out of the Garden Oaks/Oak Forest neighborhood area (or the "hood" as ReginaDupuis would have it) but, they are much better restaurants.

@ReginaDupuis - I would like to think you are kidding (your comment is kind of funny). If not, you really missed the target on the city, you should move to Dallas. You'll fit right in!

Ryan Johnson
Ryan Johnson

Frida Mexican kitchen is solid traditional mex.

Lizzy Alcala
Lizzy Alcala

I was wondering what that cottonwood place was...yes it is always packed good thing it has lots of space for parking

Houstess
Houstess

Rosnovsky's was a destination back in the 80s.  I loved the buttery griddled buns.  I wonder if it's the same ownership?

ReginaDupuis
ReginaDupuis

That entire area is far too run-down and dangerous to contemplate eating anywhere. My driver won't even venture into those neighborhoods. 

Bruce_Are
Bruce_Are topcommenter

Yo Shilcutt, at some point you will be covering the Clear Lake area.  I'm generally a fan of yours, but the last time you made a Clear Lake list you really phoned it in. So before you publish a new Clear Lake list, here are some things to consider:

Korean BBQ needs to be on the list.  And one of the Indian places like Cuisine of India; their lunch buffet is excellent. King Chicken is a must.  Seabrook Classic Cafe is worth considering.  Maybe NASA Fast Food.  Maybe Boondoggle's.  Nobi Public House has great beer and decent sandwiches.

And don't include Sudie's or Egg & I (really?) , or places like Gilhooley's that are not even in the Clear Lake area.

aguilar.charlotte
aguilar.charlotte

Your report of the death of Mytiburger is premature. Although it did close briefly last summer, Shawn Salyers, who owns the Baskin-Robbins franchise down the block on 43rd Street in Oak Forest, rescued it. He spruced up the place, added special events and kids-eat-free nights, home delivers during big football games -- and the place is thriving. --Charlotte Aguilar, Editor, The Leader News

kshilcutt
kshilcutt moderator editor

@kingofbongo Cavatore's and Rainbow Lodge were simply outside the boundaries we used for this post, although I do especially love Rainbow Lodge.

H_e_x
H_e_x

@ReginaDupuisDriver? How pedestrian. I only travel on top of war elephants. No amount of danger is too great for my mighty pachyderm.

kshilcutt
kshilcutt moderator editor

@Bruce_Are Hehehe. I heard that quite a bit last time. Truthfully, I don't get down to Clear Lake as often as I'd like to, so I'm really hoping that one of our more well-traveled EOW bloggers will pick that post up because it's definitely an interesting culinary landscape down there. Either that or I'll have to commit to a two-day food crawl in Clear Lake one of these weekends...

Bruce_Are
Bruce_Are topcommenter

@FattyFatBastard @Bruce_Are  

Sure, Tookies qualifies as Clear Lake.  And a lot of people would put them in the top 10 in Clear Lake.  I haven't been there since they reopened under new owners so I can't offer an opinion.

T-Bone Tom's was featured on Diner's and Dives.  So maybe they warrant a look as well.

Spitzberg
Spitzberg

@FattyFatBastard @Bruce_Are 

 Let's just call it the South Plain and be done with silly designations. There are probably some good restaurants there, as it was settled by the Cajun Dutch

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