Top 10 Restaurants in Houston's Little India
7. London Sizzler
Photo by Katharine Shilcutt
Unlike most places in Little India that are BYOB or completely alcohol-free, London Sizzler has a full bar and a festive, pub-like atmosphere. That's because owner (and nonresident Indian) Ajay Patel was born in Zambia and raised in England, and brought British-Indian food to Houston when he opened London Sizzler. Here you'll find more British-influenced Indian dishes like chicken tikka masala (CTM) served with ice-cold pints of Boddingtons. London Sizzler is a popular stop on the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau's Where the Chefs Eat tours for dishes such as goat biryani, jeera wings and fluffy naan, which are beloved by chefs like Chris Shepherd.
6. Bismillah Chaat / Bismillah Restaurant (tie)
Photo by Katharine Shilcutt
If you want a full sit-down Pakistani meal, head to Bismillah Restaurant. If you want a quick, counter-service meal of Pakistani snack food, head to Bismillah Chaat. You can't go wrong either way. The two restaurants are only separated by Indian bakery Hot Breads between them, and hitting all three is one of my favorite ways to spend an afternoon in the Mahatma Gandhi District. At the chaat house, you'll find traditional dishes like sev puri and chicken samosas mixed in with more updated fusion dishes reflective of younger Pakistani culture: lamb sliders, fries and tater tots covered with garlic mayonnaise and masala spices, peri peri-spiced chicken wings and Bismillah's best-seller: a "ten chicken sandwich" that features chicken breast coated in ten different spices, served on a ladi pav bun with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and a yogurt-chutney sauce. (Bismillah also serves my second-favorite dahi puri in town.)
Photo by Geri Maria Harris
The southern Indian cuisine at Udipi is entirely meat-free, but that doesn't mean it's boring or won't fill you up. Offering everything from playful, lighthearted fare like creamy, sweet mango lassis and springy idlis to more substantial dishes like fragrant aloo gobi, thick palak paneer and navratan korma over tamarind rice, Udipi encourages you to experiment with vegetable-based dishes in an easygoing environment with reasonable prices. And although there's no booze on the menu, you can always BYOB here.
Photo by Groovehouse
Himalaya Restaurant & Catering is a classic Hillcroft hole-in-the-wall where exotic meat dishes keep company with Pakistani cheeseburgers (and owner Kaiser Lashkari's desk in the middle of the dining room). Ask for reduced oil in the vegetable dishes if you don't like to see a puddle of ghee in your saag paneer. The affable Lashkari -- who attended medical school in Pakistan before getting his bachelor's and master's degrees at the University of Houston -- will gladly suggest which Indian and Pakistani dishes he thinks you should order, in case you can't make your mind up. Can't-miss dishes include the chicken hara masala, aloo tikka and absolutely anything with lamb.
5827 Hillcroft, Houston, TX