The 25 Best New Restaurants In Houston in 2014

Categories: Best of Houston

Photo by Troy Fields
These spicy, smoky, sticky ribs coated in morita chile sauce came from our No. 24 pick.

Houston, you had a banner year for new restaurant openings. It was a delightful struggle to rank the best and most significant openings of the year. Quality has become the name of the game in Houston and competition is fierce.

2014 provided a wealth of restaurant riches over a broad span of cuisines. It feels like a golden age. Southern, nouveau Korean, burgers, Texas barbeque and New American are just a few of the areas represented by the new crowd of establishments.

To compile this list, we considered restaurants with opening dates as early as December 1, 2013 to have a full year's worth of coverage.

See if your favorites made our list of The 25 Best New Restaurants in Houston.

This story continues on the next page.

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It's Wingtoberfest Time Once Again, Time to Vote for Your Favorite Chicken Wing

It's time to once again line up to be among the first 200 people who'll get to taste and rate the wings from six Houston restaurants in this year's Houston Press Wingtoberfest -- for free.

On Wednesday, October 22, the following restaurants will battle for the honor of being named this year's Octoberfest winner: Dosi, Bonfire Wings, Sticky's Chicken, H-Town StrEATs, Dry Creek Cafe and Little Bitty Burger Barn.

And just to make things even nicer, we've gone ahead and paired the wings with a specific Saint Arnold beer.

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Caracol: Doubling Down on Family and Ceviche

Categories: Best of Houston

Houston is a rambling, gambling town and this year Best of Houston celebrates those in the community who are taking a chance.

Hugo Ortega's story is truly one of rags to riches.

"In Mexico, we have a saying," he says. "'If you're born poor, you'll die poor.' I knew I wanted more from my life."

Otega moved to Houston from Mexico in 1984 and shared a small apartment with some friends, finding work as a dishwasher at a local bar and nightclub and slowly learning English. Things were looking up for the recent immigrant until his buddies decided to move to California at the same time he found himself out of work. With luck and the help of another friend, he found his way to Backstreet Cafe, a four-year-old restaurant owned by Tracy Vaught, a geologist turned restaurateur.

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The Five Best Underrated Fried Chickens (According to You)

Categories: Best of Houston

Photo by Krista
This delectable fried bird is from our No. 2 pick. Can you guess what it is?
Y'all Facebooked and Tweeted your little hearts out about fried chicken and for that, we thank you!

It was a tight race, with Spanish Village and Jones Fried Chicken just barely missing out on the top 5. And though reader Deborah Swanson was campaigning for her "mama's" fried chicken, she just didn't have enough pull to get her pick into the top 10.

After narrowing down the results, we tallied the votes to come up with five of Houston's most badass, under-the-radar birds, according to you.

Let us know if your favorite made the cut and check out our other Most Underrated winners at the end of this post.

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The 2014 Best of Houston® Readers' Poll: Vote Now for the Best of Houston Food!

Categories: Best of Houston

Live somewhere long enough and you develop a collection of favorite locations, places you can always count on to deliver a good times or good service. You have your favorite margarita, your favorite spot for a sandwich, your favorite barbecue, so on and so forth.

In a few weeks, our Best of Houston® 2014 issue is going to drop and we'll have our list of favorites for you to read and check out. Of course, we also know that you feel very passionate about some of the subjects, which is why we're giving you the chance to let us know what your favorite spots are.

That's right, it's time for the 2014 Best of Houston® Readers' Poll.

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The 10 Best Places for Desserts in Houston

Dolce Delights 011.jpg
Photo by Katharine Shilcutt
You better believe these cakes from Dolce Delights made our list.
Sometimes you just want something sweet and when you get that sugar craving, you have to satisfy it right then and there. Baking cookies or brownies takes too long and that small piece of chocolate you have in your pantry just won't do it for you. But, there are multiple places around town serving up killer desserts. You just have to walk inside, choose your poison, sit down and enjoy it. How easy is that?

We are aware that a multitude of restaurants offer quality desserts, like the chocolate coconut shell, el coco, at Caracol, the banana's foster at
Brennan's of Houston and the tres leches at the Cordua restaurants. However, we want to share with you the ten best places that specialize in just desserts. These are the places you want to visit and know you're going to indulge in something sweet. These are the places where sugar is the common denominator. And these are the places you can count on to always satisfy your sweet tooth.

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Things to Consider When Looking for Your Perfect Health Food Store

Categories: Best of Houston

Photo by Mike Mozart
Heaven or Hell depending on your budget.
Not all health food stores are created equal. As we've mentioned before, a lot of the stuff that a person will find lining the shelves of most of them isn't healthy at all. But surely, some types of health food stores are better than others? How does the average consumer separate the great places from the not so great ones? Let's take a closer look.

5. Decide what kinds of specialty grocery items are most important to you.

This may seem like an obvious thing to figure out, but a lot of customers coming through the health food store I work at seem to think that our shop will be able to supply them with everything they have on their shopping list. While that may sound like a reasonable thing to expect, no store can carry every "healthy" item in the world, and most of the better ones seem to excel in some areas and less so in others. For instance, the place I work at has a great organic produce section, but a not very amazing bulk goods department. So a person who came in looking for organic kale or apples will usually rave about the store, while the old hippie dude that comes in expecting to find several different varieties of organic oats in big bins might be disappointed. I often get asked why such an injustice has occurred, and the answer is usually something basic like "we don't have enough space" or "we don't have a vendor that carries that anymore."

And another shop might have made different choices regarding which items they focus on, and what suppliers they buy from.

Revival Market in The Heights is a fantastic small grocery store that carries local beef, pork, and poultry, produce from regional farms, and even locally-grown grains and seasonings. Co-owner Morgan Weber founded Revival Meats to cultivate heritage breed meats, raised in a humane environment on a small, sustainable family farm.

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Houston's Best Cafeterias: Hearken Back to the Good Old Days

Photo courtesy Luby's
This is a little fancier than I remember it being...
I haven't always been a food snob.

When I was little and my mom would teach night classes at the local university, my dad and I were left to our own devices for dinner. Because the man can do little more in a kitchen than boil water for pasta or make a cup of coffee, we often found ourselves at Luby's Cafeteria. I'd get macaroni and cheese and jello. He'd get the fried fish filet with tartar sauce. We'd always sit in the same seat, and the same servers would always greet us as we walked in and out of the bustling cafeteria.

Before I left home for college when I was 18, my dad and I shared one last meal at Luby's. It wasn't as good as I remembered, but there's a nostalgia attached to it--for me, at least--that makes the food that much better. Back in December, Katharine Shilcutt of Houstonia made a similar assertion about Luby's and the fact that most Houstonians remember dining at the chain at some point in their lives. And most Houstonians really liked it.

While I'm now much more inclined to seek out a hearty bowl of traditional pasta or pho when I want comfort food these days, there is something about the old fashioned cafeteria that I enjoy, that I miss, that I think others should give another chance.

Here's to the Houston cafeteria, in all its glory.

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The Five Best Underrated Greasy Spoons (According to You)

Categories: Best of Houston

Photo courtesy Frank's Grill
Go to Frank's on Mangum for the best greasy spoon experience.
After reading your comments and tallying your votes for the most underrated greasy spoons in Houston, I've come to a conclusion: We don't have enough greasy spoons here. There are several big ones that get all the credit and a few lesser-known ones with small but devoted contingents of fans.

So here's the plan: Some of you need to get together and open some new diners around town. The greasier, the better. Then, maybe, in 30 to 40 years, said diners will have enough history and enough of a fan base to be counted among the best greasy spoons in town. You have a while, but this is no easy task, so I suggest you start soon.

In the meantime, here are the spots in town that you think are the most underrated--and the greasiest.

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Rest of the Best 2014: Houston's Top 10 Sandwiches

Categories: Best of Houston

Photo courtesy Max's Wine Dive
This sandwich is trendy thanks to the fried eggs, but it's destined to be a classic.
Our 2013 Best of Houston® winners were announced a while back, but in many cases, picking the best item in any category was no easy task. In order to show off all the culinary greatness Houston has to offer, we're continuing to round up the "rest of the best" in some of our favorite categories. Bon appétit!

Last week, we did a little griping about what we feel the Houston food scene is missing. Among our wishes for this fair city: Moroccan food, more downtown nightlife, great sandwiches from real delis.

Many agreed with us on the whole sandwiches thing. Sure, there are plenty of places in town to get a decent sandwich, but not many of them are true delis, and for a city of more than 2 million, we need more than a handful of killer sammies.

That said, we aren't completely lacking. In fact, I had trouble narrowing this list down to just ten great sandwiches, because the more I thought about it, the more I realized that Houston's cultural diversity also makes for a great diversity in the sandwich realm. From bánh mì to po'boys to Italian hoagies, we've got at least one wonderful spot for each of them.

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