Top 10 Restaurants in the Third Ward
7. Bobbie Que's
Photo by Troy Fields Ribs in Bobbie Patterson's famous sauce at Bobbie Que's.
Chef Bobbie Patterson moved to Houston from Akron, Ohio in 2006, but despite his Yankee pedigree knows plenty about meat. His barbecue sauce line has won awards at food shows and barbecue conventions and sells very well at retail stores and online. Patterson opened the barbecue restaurant on Scott as a sideline to the sauce business. The creamy potato salad, homemade coleslaw, macaroni and cheese and fluffy cornbread are all outstanding. Patterson also prides himself on his fried catfish and his fresh-ground, hand-formed hamburger, but it's his ribs that we like most.
6. Spanish Village
Photo by Katharine Shilcutt Enchiladas a la Taylor at Spanish Village.
Spanish Village evokes everything people love about the comfort of Tex-Mex cuisine: a sprawling but cozy set of dining rooms that reminds you of your aunt's house at Christmas with all the cousins and the noise and family photos and the tacky colored lights strung from room to room; gooey cheese that wraps your stomach and your heart in warmth (and perhaps cholesterol, but who cares?); simply constructed guacamole salad without any fuss or pomp, served with idiosyncratic bits of carrot and celery stuck on top; a hot plate of enchiladas with nothing else but ground beef, plenty of cheese and raw white onions telling you that even if everything else in the world is in a state of disarray and chaos, this one thing will always be here and always be the same and you'll be okay.
5. This Is It
Photo courtesy of This Is It Catfish and grits for breakfast at This Is It.
This Is It, one of Houston's oldest and most recognizable soul food restaurants, started in Midtown but has since picked up and moved down the street from Texas Southern University. Originally opened in 1959 under Frank and Mattie Jones, This Is It is run today by grandson Craig Joseph Sr. and his wife. The family-run restaurant still turns out classic Southern comfort food and still makes my favorite plate of oxtails in town, stewed until the tender, fatty meat falls from the bones with a breath. It's packed to the plate glass windows at lunch, and good luck finding a parking spot along Blodgett. My advice: Wait until the lunch rush is over around 1 p.m., or head out early and get there when it first starts serving at 11 a.m.
4. Doshi House
Photo by Troy Fields Vegetable sandwich at Doshi House.
This Third Ward coffeehouse/art space also offers breakfast, lunch and dinner, most of it vegetarian and all of it delicious. Along with Conscious Cafe and Green Seed Vegan, it's one of the increasing number of vegan or vegetarian options in a part of town not historically known for such granola pursuits. Breakfast at Doshi features Greenway coffee, pastries and other goods from local bakers (including gluten-free options), while lunch offers a small selection of panini, soups and salads. Dinner offers a rotating selection of one filling, vegetarian meal per night -- a Thai red curry one night or Indian butter "chicken" the next -- and is always inexpensive. Fresh juices and smoothies are available throughout the day, and the cozy space invites you to kick back, relax and enjoy the calm, quiet atmosphere.
5204 Live Oak St., Houston, TX