Top 10 Restaurants in Westchase

Categories: Top 10

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Photo by Tom Haymes
One of the many office buildings found throughout Westchase.
Westchase -- for its relatively small boundaries -- is a poster child for the breadth of ethnic cuisines available in Houston. Far from simply an area saturated with mid-rise office buildings and chain restaurant's, it's also a microcosm of the Bayou City. The neighborhood offers Cajun, Persian, Bosnian, Argentinean, French, Vietnamese, Spanish, Cajun, German, Mexican, British, Japanese, Portuguese, Brazilian and much, much more...if you just know where to look.

Along with Chinatown, Westchase was my destination of choice at lunch when I worked on the west side. If I still worked over there, I'd still be trekking up and down Westheimer and Bellaire each day on the hunt for great little holes-in-the-wall. If I missed your favorite, let us know about it in the comments section below.

Note: For the purposes of this post, Westchase is defined as bounded by Westheimer on the north, Gessner on the east, Dairy Ashford (not Wilcrest) on the west and the Westpark Tollway on the south.

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Photo by Troy Fields
Boiled crawfish at The Seafood Shoppe.
Honorable mention:

Suzy Wong's for its spicy Sichuan dishes, Churrasco's for its South American pedigree and sheer longevity, Loving Hut for its radical vegan specialties, The Seafood Shoppe for its lip-burning batches of crawfish, The Bull & Bear for its well-pulled pints and cottage pies and Rudi Lechner's (although it's slightly outside the boundaries) for its schnitzel and sauerkraut.

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10. Bistro Le Cep

This charming French bistro can be a bit long on the long-in-the-tooth crowd -- think Luby's at 4 p.m., but upscale -- although the food isn't entirely reflective of the crowd. It's charmingly old-school, always fresh and consistently delicious. My favorite dishes here include the pan-roasted calf's liver with apples, bacon and potatoes and the coq au vin that's ideal on a cold day.

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9. Marini's Empanada House

You can go all-authentic at Marini's and stick to Argentinean classics like humita and beef "gaucho," complete with hard-boiled eggs and olives tucked inside the flaky dough. Or you can pick from Marini's wide, wild menu of fusion empanadas: Hawaiian, eggplant parmigiana, English or even Texas barbecue. Either way, the empanadas are consistently great. (And it was one of the wild empanadas -- filled with bananas, Ghiradelli chocolate chips and dulce de leche -- which made the list of former Houston Press food critic Robb Walsh's 100 Favorite Dishes.

8. Rioja

One of the city's best Spanish restaurants is outside the Loop -- way outside the Loop. But the trip to this oddly located Spanish paradise is entirely worth it. You'd never know once you're inside that Rioja is bordered by some rough apartments and a Fuddrucker's -- it's a little slice of Alicante in Houston. And while the paella here is very good (not stupendous, but better than you'll get anywhere else in town), the real treat is the tapas menu. On weekdays, Rioja offers a phenomenal lunch deal: three tapas for $13.95. The patatas bravas and the jamon serrano will make you feel as if you're right back on the Costa Blanca.


Location Info

Bistro Le Cep

11112 Westheimer, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

The Original Marini's Empanada House

10001 Westheimer, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Rioja

11920 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Kasra Persian Grill

9741 Westheimer, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Manena's Pastry Shop and Deli

11018 Westheimer, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Rio Ranch

9999 Westheimer, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Pho One

11148 Westheimer Road, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Arpi's Phoenicia Deli & Coffee House

12151 Westheimer Drive, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Cafe Pita +

5506 Richmond Ave., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

The Burger Guys - CLOSED

12225 Westheimer Road, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant


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15 comments
timblack2
timblack2 topcommenter

Another good list. What about the area between the Galleria and Westchase (tanglewildewood?)...say between Woodway and Richmond and Fountain View to Gessner. La Vista, Biyrani Pot, Latin Bites, etc. 

Elizabeth
Elizabeth

I work in the area, and I'd vote for Thai Bistro on Westheimer and Alicia's Mexican on Kirkwood. Also, we drive out from Katy just about every weekend to eat at the Fadi's on Westheimer just before Dairy Ashford.

Dunstan
Dunstan

How about that oddity called Suzie Wong's World? 

Mouth-numbing Sichuan, drinks from a full bar, house-blended teas, newly arrived girls from mainland China looking for nice  American man friends. What more could a Westchaser want?

mattmadeiro1987
mattmadeiro1987

Don't forget Pollo Bravo! Of all the locations I've tried, the one on Richmond is the only one worth raving about.

Jalapeno
Jalapeno

I would add V's Thai Restaurant on Dairy Ashford.  Looks like someone already did below.  Also, I guess Mexico's Deli is outside the parameters....

twaynewren
twaynewren

Living in the area, I have visited most of the restaurants listed.  My wife and I visit Pho One weekly when the weather is cool/cold.  I would have found spots for Rudi Lechner's and Churrasco's, but that's what makes these lists fun.

H_e_x
H_e_x

There is also a Japanese store next to Pho One that has a lot of neat products.

DFenster
DFenster

V's Thai is on Dairy Ashford and Westheimer and easily cooks some of Houston's best Thai. Not to mention a great bar scene

UrbanSwank
UrbanSwank

I received mixed reviews about Rioja, but it's worth a try now and Rio Ranch does have one of the best Sunday brunches in the city! ~ UG #MyHood

Santorini
Santorini

@Elizabeth  

Fadi's all the way--- that was an oversight I think. Thai Bistro is better than Nit Noi across the street, but doesn't compare to V's Thai as far as the cooking, though the atmosphere is nicer.

Dunstan
Dunstan

C'mon Dunstan...it was an honorable mention, for chrissakes

kshilcutt
kshilcutt moderator editor

@twaynewren The problem I run into with areas this rich in restaurants is fitting only 10 on the list. To be honest, I think that most of the Honorable Mention spots are fairly interchangeable with the top half of the list...

kshilcutt
kshilcutt moderator editor

@UrbanSwank I have such fond memories of post-church Rio Ranch brunches from my high school days...

Elizabeth
Elizabeth

Cool, I might have to try it. I'm partial to Thai Bistro though. The staff there is so wonderful and they always remember us when we come in. It doesn't hurt that there's a Baskin Robbins next door :)

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