Top 10 Restaurants in Houston's Little India
As we enter the new year, I'm trying to make good on a few resolutions starting on the very first day of 2013. And one of those is to get outside the Loop a bit more -- even though a great bounty of amazing restaurants have opened inside the Loop in the last 12 months -- and back to exploring the rest of Houston's rich food scene.
Photo by Groovehouse
On last week's post rounding up all of our restaurant reviews from 2012, commenter kevin818 wrote: "I would like to see more reviews of restaurants along the Hillcroft strip."
To kevin818's point, it had been far too long since I spent an afternoon in Little India -- the subject of a feature I wrote on the Mahatma Gandhi District back in May 2011 (my God, how time flies...). So I took a few friends this past Sunday to visit some old favorites and get acquainted with some new ones.
10. Bombay Sweets
Photo by therubadu
Dessert is always on your mind at Bombay Sweets because the place is foremost a candy store and the dining room is right next to the display case. But it's the $4.50 all-you-can-eat vegetarian buffet that's the main attraction. Don't miss the awesome chickpea masala and the eggplant stew called bengan bhurta. Other dishes rotate in and out of the lineup. But you can hardly go wrong with any of the featured items.
Shiv Sagar has an all-vegetarian, chaat-style menu that allows you to build a meal of smaller Indian dishes, and is very often my go-to Sunday brunch destination for a recuperative meal of dahi puri, spicy samosas and a thick, cumin-laced salt lassi. Sagar, its little sister, also offers chaat -- but there's so much more to the menu, including Indo-Chinese dishes, Mumbai-style street tood, Gujarati thalis and Punjabi treats. Sagar has everything from Hakka noodles and Kati rolls to bhel puri and mango lassis, and at the same low prices as its big sister.
8. Raja Sweets
Photo by Groovehouse
It's hard to pass up the festive trays of Indian pastries on display, but the steam table on your right yields a bountiful bargain at Raja Sweets, one of the first Indian restaurants in the Mahatmah Gandhi District and still one of the most popular. As to what's underneath all the stainless-steel lids, and the sari-clad server will whisk them off, revealing chickpeas, curry, lentils and goat meat with your choice of rice or naan. There's an even lower price for this extra-spicy plate lunch if you skip the goat meat. Raja offers superb samosas and vegetable pakoras as well, and you don't want to pass up dessert, of course. Owner Sharan Gahunia and her family -- who started Raja Sweets in 1985 -- are known for making the best gulab jamun and Chenna Juli in town.
5827 Hillcroft, Houston, TX