Cheap & Good Eats: Top 5 Budget Lunch Spots in the Galleria

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Photo by Troy Fields
Look out for the upcoming lunch specials at our No. 5 pick.
We've been rounding up our favorite budget lunch spots in different neighborhoods around town. So far, we've covered Montrose, River Oaks, Midtown, Upper Kirby, EaDo, Rice Village and the East End. But we're not done yet.

This week, it's the upscale Galleria neighborhood that gets a closer look. Here's our list of the best cheap (less than $10) lunch spots that this area has to offer:

Note: For purposes of this list, the Galleria is defined as anything west of Loop 610, south of Woodway, east of South Voss/Hillcroft and north of Richmond Avenue.

Honorable Mention: Fountain View Fish Market, for their fresh fried fish and shrimp baskets; Argentina Cafe, for their hand-formed empanadas and choripán (Argentinian sausage) sandwiches; and Bubba's Texas Burger Shack, for their succulent beef and buffalo burgers.

5. Cafe Mawal

This Middle Eastern restaurant is one of our favorite places for al fresco dining. And rightfully so -- it's not every day that you get to eat inside a traditional Bedouin tent. It sits perched outside the single-story home that the restaurant is housed in, and there is also an equally as pleasant oak-tree-lined deck.

Find a seat and enjoy the backyard grill, wafting scents of paprika-and-turmeric-spiced butterflied chicken, kafta kebabs and makanek, links of a lamb sausage flavored with clove and chile. Served with rice, vegetables and fresh salads, the grill plates are more than enough for lunch. Though roughly 40 percent of the menu is under $10, you can keep the prices of the more expensive entrées low by splitting one and an appetizer with a friend. But soon enough, you won't have to -- the owners are currently working on a special-priced lunch menu.

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Photo by Katharine Shilcutt
You may want to add chili cheese fries to your order at our No. 4 pick. Just sayin'.
4. James Coney Island

It just doesn't get better than a good ol'-fashioned hot dog. Oh, wait, yes it does. How about a Chicago-style dog ($2.79), with mustard, relish, hot peppers, celery salt and a pickle spear in a poppy seed bun; or a gourmet Baja dog ($4.99), smothered in chipotle mayo, guacamole and red onions.

Earlier this year, the 90-year-old hot dog institution started hosting a Houston Chefs and Show Dog series; each month a local chef creates an over-the-top hot dog, and a portion of the proceeds from the sales of the hot dogs is donated to that chef's charity of choice. The series will come to a close at the end of this month, so get Hugo Ortega's Holy Molé ($8.49) -- featuring smoked chicken andouille sausage, tinga, mole sauce, queso fresco and crema fresca in a Slow Dough pretzel bun -- while you can.


Location Info

Bubba's Texas Burger Shack

5230 Westpark, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Fountain View Fish Market

2912 Fountain View Drive, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Argentina Cafe

3055 Sage, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Fountain View Cafe

1842 Fountainview, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Cafe Mawal

6006 Fairdale, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Zabak's Mediterranean Cafe

5901 Westheimer, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Cafe Pita +

5506 Richmond Ave., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant


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21 comments
Justin Montez
Justin Montez

Antonio 'TONE' Martinez y'all need to try #3... Off the chain bro!

frankenreich
frankenreich

Dumpling King, Indias, Thai Gourmet, House of Kebab way way better than Mawal or Zabak's, Biryani Pot.

Zabak's is pretty average, more Americanized than the good middle eastern places in the area...they don't even use a vertical spit for beef shawarma, but pressed beef like stuff they buy in sheets.

gossamersixteen
gossamersixteen topcommenter

Good list but Chinese cafe' should be on the list, I adore their weird school lunch tray smorgasbord lunches, and the double spicy chicken is legendary..

Eddie Brito
Eddie Brito

And now these five places will have their rent increased. (With the exception of the JCI) Mentioning JCI is rediculous. Might as well mention MC Donalds too.

Sharyar San
Sharyar San

I need to try couple of them. Zabak?

Michelle Balch
Michelle Balch

Zabak's is one of my favs. Best falafel in town! It used to be Mama's Po-Boys.

Nate
Nate

You nailed number one.  Zabaks is so, so good.

Kathy Stabe
Kathy Stabe

Do one on cheap and good eats near Market Square next

JayPFrancis
JayPFrancis

In the same shopping center as Pho Binh: newly opened in what had been an all you can eat, a new restaurant with a chef / owner from Chengdu called Chuan's. Not cheap but I believe their interpretation of MaPo tofu on the lunch menu is one of the most balanced and perfect ones in Houston.

kjstravel
kjstravel

Zabak's also has some incredible art on its walls. The artist lives in the Galleria area so keep an eye out for her. She is known to drop in whenever she chooses.

Come for lunch and enjoy Art by Cherisse!

tinyhands
tinyhands

Pho Binh instead of JCI (or any of the others, for that matter). It's expensive for pho, but still a cheap lunch without driving outside the belt.

JayPFrancis
JayPFrancis

And, of course, French Riviera Bakery on Chimney Rock.

johnnybench
johnnybench topcommenter

@tinyhands If you replace JCI for Pho Binh they will basically have identified my lunch rotation. 

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