$ = inexpensive   $$ = moderate   $$$+ = expensive

Arthur – 1111 Studewood (832-582-7146) www.arthuravehou.com
From the Helen Greek folks, a nicely modern twist on Italian-American food we all remember, such as lasagna and red sauces. $$‑$$$

Azuma Sushi & Robata Bar – 5600 Kirby Dr (713-432-9649) www.azumakirby.com
Start with a robata (which translates as "by the fireside") selection: black peppered scallops with shitake mushrooms. The spicy "Polo Roll" wrappped in rice paper and stuffed with deep fried oysters, avocado, and white fish, is also good. Pretty setting $$

Backstreet Cafe – 1103 S. Shepherd (713-521-2239) www.backstreetcafe.net
Best patio in town. Comfort food, including meat loaf tower. $$

BCN – 4210 Roseland Street (832-834-3411) www.bcnhouston.com
Hot spot in Montrose. BCN are the airline call letters for Barcelona tablecloths, nice food, civilized. $$$‑$$$$

Bernadine’s – 1801 N. Shepherd Dr (713-864-2565) www.bernadines.com
Handsome setting with good Southern cuisine, seafood and a fine brunch. A fav. $$‑$$$

Benjy’s on Washington – 5922 Washington Ave (713-868-1131) www.benjys.com
Larger and probably better than the Rice Village version, Benjy’s on Washington is packing them in. Pan seared pork dumplings and rare tuna with soy vinaigrette are favorites. $$

Brandani’s – In Missouri City (832-987-1313) www.brandanis.com
This Italian restaurant and wine bar is drawing crowds. Nicely done seafood, fried chicken, and burgers as well. $$‑$$$

Breakfast Klub – 3711 Travis (713-528-8561) www.thebreakfastklub.com
Chicken wings or pork chops with breakfast eggs? They taste just fine. Also a hearty rendition of Eggs Benedict and great waffle. Funky interior with good people watching. $

Caracol – 2200 Post Oak Blvd. #160 (713-622-9996) www.caracol.net
Hugo Ortega's new spot, strong on seafood. Nice front patio. Very noisy during peak hours. Post Oak Blvd. $$‑$$$

Coltivare – 3320 White Oak Dr. (713-637-4095) www.coltivarehouston.com
From Revival Market folks, this Heights Italian place is terrific, but they take no reservations. $$‑$$$

Cooking Girl – 315 Fairview (832-649-7175) www.thecookinggirls.com
Really hot and good Szechuan food and they just opened a second spot, Pepper Twins that we also like based on one visit. $‑$$

dak & bop – 1801 Binz (713-528-0280) www.dakandbop.com
Korean hot fried chicken wings, strips, and drums, plus great corn on the cob. Industrial, casual setting on Binz. $$

DaMarco – 1520 Westheimer (713-807-8857) www.damarcohouston.com
Westheimer west of Montrose Blvd. Still one of the best Italian spots in town. Great lamb chops and burrata cheese. Book. $$$

Dolce Vita – 500 Westheimer (713-520-8222) www.dolcevitahouston.com
A casual Italian bistro from the folks at DaMarco–how could it be bad? We especially like the pizzas (arugula, cheese, and pear is an unusual winner) and the pastas. Expect crowds and noise. $$

Etoile – 1101-11 Uptown Park Blvd. (832-668-5808) www.etoilecuisine.com
Among the best in French food in Uptown Park. Pretty interior. $$$

Foreign Correspondents – 4721 N Main (713-864-8424) www.treadsack.com/foreigncorrespondents/
Northern Thai food, well prepared and served. $$‑$$$

Glass Wall – 933 Studewood (713-868-7930) www.glasswalltherestaurant.com
A stylish, casual setting in the Heights makes a good backdrop for ambitious food, including good pork dishes. $$

Helen Greek Food & Wine – 2429 Rice Blvd. (832-831-7133) www.helengreekfoodandwine.com
A welcome addition to Rice Village offers great gyros, dips, and wines, plus other classic dishes. $$‑$$$

Hugo's – 1600 Westheimer at Mandell (713-524-7744) www.hugosrestaurant.net
Still very good, yet a bit noisy, for Mex Mex fare. Great Sunday brunch buffet. $$

Indika – 516 Westheimer (713-984-1725) www.indikausa.com
A top Indian spot with imaginative food. Inner Westheimer. $$‑$$$

Izakaya Wa – 12665 Memorial Dr. (713-461-0155) www.izakayawa.com
From the Kata Robata folks, this new Japanese spot is packing ‘em in. Imaginative rolls and other seafood dishes. $$‑$$$

Kata Robata – 3600 Kirby Dr. (713-526-8858) www.m.katarobata.com
Terrific Japanese in a pretty setting with fine service. Kirby at Richmond. $$$

Kitchen 713 – new location coming soon. (713-239-2498) www.kitchen713.com
Soul satisfying food in a simple setting. Fried chicken, crawfish boudin, and shrimp and grits are all fine. $$

Killen's Barbeque – 3613 E. Broadway, Pearland Tx. (281-485-2272) www.killensbarbecue.com
Great barbecue! They open in morning and serve until they run out. Expect lines, but worth it. $‑$$

Killen's Steakhouse – is nearby. 6425 W. Broadway, Pearland Tx. (281-485-0844) www.killenssteakhouse.com $$$$

La Table Chateau – 6 BLVD Place, 1800 Post Oak Blvd (713-439-1000) www.latablehouston.com
Good French food in a posh setting that allows for conversation – prices aren’t bad, either, nor is the view of Post Oak. $$$‑$$$$

Le Mistral – 1420 Eldridge Pkwy (832-379-8322) www.lemistralhouston.com
Relaxed, pretty spot way out west, with French speaking servers forgiving of our faux pas in pronunciation. Terrific tarragon spiced chicken potpie, good garlicky escargots, and spinach and veal ravioli with pesto sauce. $$‑$$$

Mala Sichuan – 1201 Westheimer Rd. near Montrose (832-767-0911) www.yelp.com/biz/mala‑sichuan‑bistro‑houston‑2
Some like it hot and Mala delivers heat. Interesting dishes. $$

Mein – 630 Clarewood Dr (713-923-7488) www.eatmein.com
Cantonese hotspot out west. Dozens of house made noodle dishes. $$‑$$$

Lucille's – 5512 La Branch St. (713-568-2505) www.lucilleshouston.com
African American roots and good Southern food. An old house close to Binz. $$‑$$$

Mockingbird Bistro Wine Bar – 1985 Welch at McDuffie (713-533-0200) www.mockingbirdbistro.com
Riviera Grill folks bring us this one. The interior is a bit cavernous and gothic, and the food fine. Wonderful roasted beet salad with goat cheese and spicy walnuts. Ditto the roast chicken with mashed potatoes, not to mention the salmon with potato purée and red wine reduction. $$‑$$$

MF Sushi – 1401 Binz (713-637-4587) www.mfsushiusa.com/portfolio/m-sushi-atlanta/
Reopened in a new location after fire. Very fine Japanese food. $$‑$$$

Niko Niko's – 2520 Montrose (713-528-4976) www.nikonikos.com
This bustling place in the Montrose dishes up a good gyro plate, mousaka, and souvlaki. $‑$$

Oporto Fooding – 125 W. Gray (713-528-0115) www.oportomidtown.us
Silly name but pretty darn good food, Portuguese style. Exotic setting. $$‑$$$

Oxheart – 1302 Nance St. (832-830-8592) www.oxhearthouston.com
Tiny place in an iffy deep downtown location. Fixed price meals—some folks really like. Jason Wu is the chef. He's had James Beard nominations. Book way ahead. $$$‑$$$$

Pass & Provisions – 807 Taft St. off Allen Parkway (713-628-9020) www.passandprovisions.com
Two restaurants in one, Provisions casual and crowded and Pass v. upscale (among the two or three best places in town) with a set menu and imaginative fare. You enter through a hidden wall opening! $$‑$$$‑$$$$

Pax Americana – 4319 Montrose Blvd. (713-239-0228) www.paxamericanahtx.com
Pax delivers very interesting food, with constantly changing options. Very fresh ingredients. $$‑$$$

Pondicheri – 2800 Kirby Dr. In West Ave (713-522-2022) www.pondichericafe.com
Indika's little brother, more casual Indian "street food." Good food and really interesting breakfasts. $$‑$$$

Quattro Four Seasons Hotel – 1300 Lamar (713-276-4700) www.quattrorestauranthouston.com
Cozier and more contemporary than the earlier Deville, with prices a bit lower, too. Still the same fine chef, Tim Keating. Recommended: double pork chop on corn tomatoes, and shelling beans and peppered, sushi grade tuna. $$$‑$$$$

Reef – 2600 Travis, at McGowen (713-526-8282) www.reefhouston.com
Seafood in mid town. Good but not as good as it used to be. $$$

Revival Market – 550 Heights Blvd. at White Oak (713-880-8463) www.revivalmarket.com
This fav market/coffee/lunch stop in the Heights now serves dinner, too. Buttermilk biscuits Texas peach salad are recent standouts. $‑$$$

Saltair – 3029 Kirby (713-521-3333) www.saltairhouston.com
Very popular new seafood spot in the old Pesce digs. Also does non seafood dishes well. $$‑$$$$

Shade – 250 W. 19th St (713-863-7500) www.shadeandcanopy.com/Shade/
In the heart of the Heights, Claire Smith's spot is sleek and spare—with fine food. Crab stuffed squid, fine red snapper and grilled salmon with rosemary skewered grilled shrimp are all fine. Reservations recommended. She also runs Canopy on Montrose Blvd. $$‑$$$

Southern Goods – 632 19th St (346-980-8150) www.southerngoodshouston.com
If you like fried, head for this casual spot in the depths of the Heights. $$

State of Grace – 3258 Westheimer (832-942-5080) www.stateofgracetx.com
Nice oysters, dishes from Houston’s past, and lively bar. $$‑$$$

Third Coast – (Formerly occupied by Trevisio) 6550 Bertner Ave, 6th floor parking garage (713-749-0400) www.thirdcoasthouston.com/
This Med Center spot has terrific views of the nearby hospitals and beyond. We recommend the steaks, followed by apple crisp a la mode. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. $$$

Tony's – 3755 Richmond at Timmons (713-622-6778) www.tonyshouston.com
Posh setting—still very good and not as packed as it used to be. $$$‑$$$$

Triniti – 2815 S. Shephard at Kipling – (713-527-9090) www.trinitirestaurant.com
Not new, but still serving good food with imagination. $$‑$$$$

Uchi – 904 Westheimer (713-522-4808) www.uchirestaurants.com/houston
Really interesting Japanese inspired food with expert service. Westheimer near Montrose. Book ahead, though they take some walk ins. $$‑$$$

Underbelly – 1100 Westheimer near Montrose (713-528-9800) www.underbellyhouston.com
Chef Chris Shepard just won the regional James Beard award—lots of meat. Book ahead. $$‑$$$

Vic & Anthony's – 1510 Texas Ave (713-228-1111) www.vicandanthonys.com
Good steakhouse, with very fine crab cake, too. Downtown. $$$

Weights + Measures – 2808 Caroline St. (713-228-1111) www.weights-measures.com
Erratic, but capable of great dishes—salmon, peppercorn truffle butter served with the house bread from the adjoining bakery. $$‑$$$