Houston is the most dynamic culinary destination in the country. It's also a city that is close to my heart. It opens your mind, challenges your thoughts, and humbles your soul—all through food. Many cultures thrive here: Vietnamese, Thai, Salvadorian, Nigerian, you name it.
I am asked all the time, "Did you grow up traveling a lot?" And the answer is no—instead I got to experience global flavors by exploring the streets of my own city. Some of my best moments in Houston have happened when I got off of the beaten path and headed for family-run restaurants, where people were willing to show me what they know. Many of those places are listed here. I hope that you come and visit them, and enjoy seeing Houston the way I see it.
1. Saigon Pagolac
This classic Vietnamese place is hard to find, but it's worth it. Try the beef seven ways and the whole catfish. In a city where there is a large population of Vietnamese, these guys never seem to disappoint.
9600 Bellaire Blvd
2. Asia Market
At Asia Market, you'll be served up some of the best Thai food in the city by some of the nicest people you'll ever meet. You pull up to this little grocery store, grab a table, sit back and relax. I order the papaya salad, kee mao noodle, and whatever else they recommend.
1010 W Cavalcade Street
3. Atkinson Farms
Now open to the public seven days a week, Atkinson is our largest supplier of local vegetables. You can visit them in Spring, Texas or at any one of our local farmers markets.
3217 Spring Cypress Road
4. Anvil Bar & Refuge
Anvil Bar serves up amazing, innovative cocktails. I never order off the menu, I just ask them to make me something and I've never been disappointed.
Anvil Bar & Refuge
1424 Westheimer Road
5. Gatlin's BBQ
Nicest family in the business, not to mention the best barbecue around. Just get there early because they are bound to run out.
1221 W 19th Street
6. El Hidalguense
One of the truly authentic Mexican restaurants in Houston. Visit on weekend, and try their slow roasted goat and lamb barbacoa.
6917 Long Point Road
7. Lucky Pot
With a name like Lucky Pot, you would think the item to order would be a hot pot, but go for the crispy duck wings or the Peking duck instead.
9888 Bellaire Blvd
8. HK Dim Sum
This family-owned place is always packed. They have classic, fresh dim sum, but don't expect cart service. Try the steamed shrimp dumplings and the pork ribs
HK Dim Sum
9889 Bellaire Blvd
9. Pho Binh by Night
Bone marrow pho. Enough said.
Pho Binh by Night
12148 Bellaire Blvd #101
10. Revival Market
These guys set the bar when it comes to cooking sustainably with local ingredients. They have amazing meats (they raise their own pigs) and are all around good guys—ask for Morgan or Ryan.
550 Heights Blvd
11. London Sizzler
London Sizzler has the best Indian food in the city and is run by some of the nicest people—my adopted Indian family, the Patels. Just go in and tell them to order what Chris gets.
6690 Southwest Freeway
12. Houston Culinary Tours
If you're planning a trip to Houston, look into these chef-led tours: you get a ticket, and then see the city through our eyes.
Houston Culinary Tours
Midwest-raised Chef Chris Shepherd, a graduate of the Art Institute of Houston, opened his restaurant, Underbelly in March 2012, to feature locally-sourced food inspired by the ethnic diversity of Houston.
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