The Rest of the Best: Houston's Top 10 Bistros

Categories: Top 10

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Photo by Troy Fields
3. Giacomo's Cibo e Vino

Just as Nosh is the South Asian version of a bistro, if a classic French bistro was born and raised in Italy, the result would be Giacomo's Cibo e Vino. This casual Italian restaurant and wine bar off Lower Shepherd near River Oaks captures the essence of Italian city life and the spirit of the slow food movement. Giacomo's snack-sized plates of rustic Italian food, its cheap, easy-drinking wines, great espresso and top-shelf gelato are the main draws -- and there's also a big, comfortable patio that's beckoning in this spring weather.


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Photo by Alain Harvey
2. Bistro des Amis

Perhaps the most "authentic" bistro in Houston, this Rice Village favorite offers classic bistro fare and charm. Bistro des Amis looks like the sort of small-town cafe where you stop to get a coffee and a pastry or an ice cream while shopping in a French village. And with good reason: The owners, Odile de Maindreville and her brother Bernard Cuillier, are from Biarritz, a town in the Basque region of France. Because of this, you'll find more non-traditional dishes like a slightly spicy "beef paprika," their version of goulash, and slices of moist gâteau Basque. Lunch and dinner specials are very reasonable and the soups, stews and pastries (the latter of which are always well-stocked in the pastry case) are made in-house.


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Photo by Troy Fields
1. Roost

The epitome of a cozy, welcoming neighborhood bistro, Roost hosts local residents -- many of whom walk or ride their bikes -- in its comfortable, low-slung dining room while they nosh on whatever weekly specials chef Kevin Naderi has whipped up. Whether it's whole roasted Cornish game hen with grilled lemon and duck confit Lady Creamer peas one night or crispy Galveston by-catch shrimp with masago mayonnaise the next, Naderi's multiethnic food shows off Houston's melting pot of cuisines with a subtle Southern touch, and the selection of intelligently chosen wines and local beers is terrific for washing it all down.



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Location Info

Venue

Map

Roost

1972 Fairview St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Bistro Des Amis

2347 University Blvd., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Giacomo's Cibo e Vino

3215 Westheimer, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Nosh Bistro

3983 Kirby Drive, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Bistro Provence

13616 Memorial Dr., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Plonk Beer & Wine Bistro

1214 W. 43rd St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Canopy

3939 Montrose, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Shade

250 W. 19th St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Mockingbird Bistro Wine Bar

1985 Welch St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Arturo Boada Cuisine

6510 Del Monte Dr., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Zelko Bistro

705 E. 11th St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

My Voice Nation Help
15 comments
David Rosas Jr.
David Rosas Jr.

Seems like a great list sans the moderate prices you quote at the beginning of your article.

badfish
badfish

Sad to see Cafe Rabelais didn't make the list.

gustafsonD
gustafsonD

I would add L'Olivier and some others, Poscol maybe. I mean if you include places like Mockingbird Bistro, which largely entertains older, suburban folks from the Memorial Villages, how could you pass on L'Olivier and Poscol? Both are more rooted in the neighborhood. Hell, so is Cuchara for that matter if you want to go outside the Francophile traditiion.

Jay Francis
Jay Francis

Surprised you didn't mention the interesting history of the word bistro.

FRL713
FRL713

La Tapatia (Chimney Rock) serves as my local bistro with a great staff and consistently useful food/drink.  Shandy's Cafe in Rice Military is another spot that comes to mind.

Melia Hughes
Melia Hughes

I think I've only tried half of them, and that's not nearly enough. The ones I have tried have all been great, but that's some camera magic to make Zelko look almost roomy. That is one of the tightest dining rooms in town!

Kyle King
Kyle King

Zelko, Shade, and Canopy have served me some great food. Now to try the others! :)

Tina Marie
Tina Marie

nope, don't know how these became "Best"

Dragana Arezina Harris
Dragana Arezina Harris

Kris Bistro - delicious food, great service, pleasant ambiance, reasonable prices.

Michael Myers
Michael Myers

"Unpretentious" may not be the right word for a few of these. Zelko has great food, but that floor... the servers stomp on the floor back and forth during the entire meal and shake the table.

kipsook
kipsook

@gustafsonD  I'd say several of these places on the list consider themselves 'destination restaurants' where people would brave snowstorms and traffic to eat with them. Agree with your point about Mockingbird and the older sports-coat set. Good list overall!

piscosour
piscosour

@Jay Francis Surprised you're not telling us now, Jay. That's not like you.

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