Top 10 Restaurants in Downtown Houston

Categories: Top 10

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Photo by Troy Fields
Get your face fed at The Burger Guys.
7. The Burger Guys / Bombay Pizza

Separated by just two blocks, these two independently owned lunchtime favorites on Main Street are proof that downtown's office workers will emerge from the tunnels onto the streets if the food is good enough. The Burger Guys took its successful gourmet burger concept from far West Houston and transplanted it into a much larger space, with duck fat French fries and Vietnamese iced coffee-flavored milkshakes intact. Bombay Pizza offers intriguing and inexpensive Italian-Indian fusion at lunch and dinner, as well as delivery to downtown offices and high-rises.

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Get gussied up and take on the town at Vic & Anthony's.
6. Vic & Anthony's

Downtown's premier steakhouse is all glitz, all glam, all the time -- even during its popular Burger Fridays, when chef Carlos Hernandez pulls out all the stops to create hits like the Bone Marrow and Bacon Burger topped with bone marrow custard, smoked Gouda, pickled shallots, Thai chili and (of course) bacon. By night, the glittering dining rooms offer some of the city's best steaks and service while the murky piano bar is full of "dark corners for doing dark deeds."

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Photo by Katharine Shilcutt
Hubcap's helpful Hangover Burger.
5. Hubcap Grill

Ask any burger fan to list his five favorite burgers in Houston, and Hubcap Grill will inevitably fall somewhere on that list. Owner Ricky Craig is famous for his fusion burgers (Philly cheesesteaks and muffalettas are just two sandwiches he's transformed into fantastic burgers), his colorful personality and the long lines at the tiny, cash-only joint he runs with the help of his family. Hubcap's downtown location is only open at lunch; head to the Heights if you want Craig's burgers (and some ice cold beer) for dinner.

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Photo by Stephanie Meza
Irma Galvan at her namesake restaurant.
4. Irma's

This enormously popular Tex-Mex spot on the edge of downtown keeps accreting like some whimsical urban coral reef. Take in the irrepressible Irma Galvan's folksy decor, politically wired clientele and enormously comforting Mexican mom-food: landmark cheese enchiladas, real mole, chiles rellenos, pork ribs in home-style tomatillo sauce. Don't sweat the lack of menus, and instead sip some of Irma's lemonade while you wait. Although it used to be lunch-only, Irma's now serves dinner on Thursdays through Saturdays.


Location Info

Goro & Gun

306 Main St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Batanga

908 Congress Ave., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

MKT BAR

1001 Austin St., Houston, TX

Category: Music

The Grove

1611 Lamar St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

The Grove

1611 Lamar St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

The Burger Guys - CLOSED

706 Main St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Bombay Pizza Co.

914 Main St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Vic & Anthony's Steakhouse

1510 Texas St., Houston, TX

Category: Music

Hubcap Grill

1111 Prairie St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Irma's

22 N. Chenevert St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Line & Lariat

220 Main St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Quattro

1300 Lamar St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Oxheart

1302 Nance St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

My Voice Nation Help
32 comments
Nojusticenopiece
Nojusticenopiece

I hope the next critic doesn't feel the need to mention 20 restaurants on his or her TOP TEN LIST!

Kylejack
Kylejack topcommenter

I love the atmosphere at Grove, and that's where the love ends. The food is a real drag and feels like a waste of money. Lake House is alright, but I'd replace with Perbacco.


Bombay Pizza is at the top of my tentative shit-list, pending resolution of the wage theft lawsuit against them.

FattyFatBastard
FattyFatBastard topcommenter

Irma's over Vic & Anthony's is just silly.

texmex01
texmex01 topcommenter

Lets have any of these places that will still be in business in a year take a step forward...whoa whoa Goro & Gun/Batanga , not so fast......

Joshua Justice
Joshua Justice

Les grivals is closed and Stanton's isn't downtown.

Lauriston Brewster
Lauriston Brewster

Frank's pizza, Zero's (across the from HPD HQ), Stanton's city bites, any bahn mi place in mid-town

DominicWalsh
DominicWalsh

Can't disagree with Oxheart or the Grove.  Great choices.  I can't agree with Goro & Gun/Batanga already on the top 10 for the best downtown.  I believe it's way too early for such a distinction.

jeffbalke
jeffbalke topcommenter

The Goro & Gun/Batanga choice seems very premature. Macando really deserves to be in the top 10.

vonTafeldienst
vonTafeldienst

17 at the Sam Houston Hotel has some pretty good grub

tinyhands
tinyhands

I count 13, not including honorable mentions.

Matthew
Matthew

so with you leaving, what will become of the traditional summer event: top 100 dishes?!?

DominicWalsh
DominicWalsh

@texmex01While I believe that Goro & Gun/Batanga will be around in a year, I find it almost unimaginable that so many other establishments weren't worthy of the top 10 while they are/were.  I believe it is way too early for Goro & Gun/Batanga to be considered worthy of such a list while other restaurants must be scratching their heads, thinking - "We've been around 4, 6, 8 years.  How do we not get consideration and this brand new spot makes the list???" 

kshilcutt
kshilcutt moderator editortopcommenter

@DominicWalsh @jeffbalke  Yeah, I knew there'd be some dissent there. But the two restaurants are also far too interesting to disregard entirely. And I honestly feel that with time, they'll be working their way up this list -- which is why I went with a No. 10 slot instead of an honorable mention.

DominicWalsh
DominicWalsh

@kshilcutt @DominicWalsh @jeffbalke Thank you for replying.  Perhaps if the list was about the '10 Most Interesting Restaurants Downtown' I might consider agreeing with you.  But regardless if they are interesting or not, I don't understand how that qualifies them to be legitimately listed as one of the 'Top 10.'  Regardless, it's your list...not mine.

Bruce_Are
Bruce_Are topcommenter

@DominicWalsh @Kylejack  

And the winner is ... Kylejack. As he said, there is no time component in this.  Although the restaurants mentioned haven't been around long, they've been around long enough for a diner to make repeat visits and consider them Top 10.

DominicWalsh
DominicWalsh

@Kylejack OK.  Gotcha.  Even by Katharine's writing 'the city's first full scale ramen shop' doesn't need to have great ramen. Makes perfect sense.  So the top 10 best bakeries can sell mediocre pastries. The top 10 steakhouses can have awful beef.  And if the best overall doesn't require a time component at all, I'd like to see how we'd all react if one of the restaurants would make the list before they even open their doors for business.  If you make the overall top 10 list, you have to be the best overall.  I'm quite confident that I'm understanding the nature of the rating.  It's pretty simple.

Kylejack
Kylejack topcommenter

@DominicWalsh @Kylejack @kshilcutt @jeffbalke Now you're getting hyper-sensitive and offensive. "Very best overall downtown" has no time component. It is the very best overall downtown.

There are many delicious things at Goro that aren't ramen at all, such as the squid ink gnocchi, the shishito peppers, and the brussel sprouts.

DominicWalsh
DominicWalsh

@Kylejack @DominicWalsh @kshilcutt @jeffbalke If you think that I'm being hyper-technical, then I feel sorry for you.  Maybe I can explain this with sock puppets and a chalkboard.  The Top 10 most expensive restaurants would related to price.  The Top 10 most beautiful restaurants would relate to decor.  The Top 10 friendliest would relate to customer service.  So the Top 10 restaurants downtown would mean that these spots are the very best you can find (overall) downtown.  And my point is - if a restaurant opens in March and makes the 'very best list' by May, it's premature...especially when we all know they opened before their ramen was really ready for the masses.

Kylejack
Kylejack topcommenter

@DominicWalsh @kshilcutt @jeffbalke If you want to be hyper-technical about the title, then what does time have to do with it at all? The top 10 are the top 10, even if they've just arrived.

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