AAA Travel Tips / Houston, Culinarily Speaking

Houston, Culinarily Speaking

AAA/Laurie Sterbens
By AAA Travel Editor Laurie Sterbens
July 05, 2019
Chances are, if you're planning a trip to Texas, the first thing you think of when it comes to dining is Tex-Mex, barbecue or maybe freshly caught Gulf seafood. Houston has all of these things, of course. But it's also one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the United States, and this is reflected in its restaurant offerings. It would take much more than one vacation to sample all of the different cuisines—and fusions of cuisines—you'll find here. Here are just a few to get you started.
Rockdale Redfish at the Briargrove location of BB's Tex-Orleans in Houston.
AAA/Laurie Sterbens
BB’s Tex-Orleans
3139 Richmond Ave.
713 -807-1632
The name says it all: BB's Tex-Orleans serves traditional New Orleans fare "with a Texas twist." Traditional New Orleans? A menu featuring a variety of po’ boys—fried Gulf shrimp, oysters, catfish and roast beef—served on Leidenheimer French bread. The Texas twist? The "South Texas Fire" po’ boy with fajita beef, pepper jack cheese, avocado, jalapenos, onions and a spicy cheese sauce. Traditional New Orleans: gumbo, red beans and rice, and crawfish etouffée. The Texas twist: Fish tacos with blackened catfish and chipotle remoulade. Whether you choose to stick with tradition or a try a Texas twist for your meal, finish it up with Maw-Maw's Bread Pudding.
Chicken enchiladas with mole sauce at The Original Ninfa's on Navigation in Houston
AAA/Laurie Sterbens
The Original Ninfa's on Navigation
2704 Navigation Blvd.
AAA Inspector Rating
(713) 228-1175
The Original Ninfa's on Navigation, opened by "Mama" Ninfa Laurenzo in 1973, is credited with popularizing fajitas, originally known as tacos al carbon. So, this seems a logical place to start when choosing an entrée, but the menu also offers a tempting variety of Mexican and Tex-Mex specialties including handmade tamales, tacos with house-made corn tortillas and a variety of enchiladas in richly flavorful sauces. Get your Gulf seafood fix here with Texas redfish, shrimp diablo and shrimp tampico. Dessert choices include Kahlua flan, tres leches and Mexican chocolate cake.
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Bobotie at Peli Peli Galleria in Houston.
AAA/Laurie Sterbens
Peli Peli Galleria
5085 Westheimer St.
AAA Inspector Rating
(281) 257-9500
British, Dutch, Indian and Portuguese are among the influences found in the flavors of South Africa, the focus of the menu at Peli Peli Galleria. Start off with an assortment of appetizers including boerewors (a South African sausage), biltong (a dried, cured meat), chicken sosaties (skewers), bobotie (a dish featuring curried ground beef in a pastry crust) and stuffed pappadews (a South African pepper). Entréees include grilled meats with a variety of sauces, as well as chicken and seafood. For dessert, try the melktart brûlée, Peli Peli's version of a traditional South African sweet.
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Butter chicken and tumeric rice at Pondicheri in Houston.
AAA/Laurie Sterbens
Pondicheri
2800 Kirby Dr, Suite B132
AAA Inspector Rating
(713) 522-2022
Indian and Indian-inspired fare is the focus at Pondicheri, a sunny café serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus snacks and sweets in the Bake Lab + Shop upstairs. The dinner menu offers a variety of thalis (sampler platters) and shareable plates of vegetables, meats and seafood with vegetarian and gluten-free offerings, so it's a great option if you're looking for fun places to eat with friends. The Vishnu thali includes avival (a vegetable curry), grilled asparagus, beet soup, smoked eggplant and avocado masala. Non-vegetarians will enjoy the Rancher, featuring butter chicken, lamb keema, egg kofta and an assortment of sides. Finish your feast with the Bake Lab's signature dessert, chai pie.
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Good Breed
AAA/Laurie Sterbens
State of Grace
3258 Westheimer Rd.
AAA Inspector Rating
(832) 942-5080
Flavors of Texas take the lead at State of Grace. The American cuisine here, like the state itself, includes Latin, German and Asian influences, along with a little Gulf Coast Cajun. Dinner entrées include blackened mahi with a coconut lime broth and charred Texas citrus; pork schnitzel with sour cream spaetzle and mustard vinaigrette; duck caritas; and "Sticky, Smoky Beef Rib" with a Vietnamese herb salad. For dessert, dig into a sticky toffee pudding or a slice of chocolate cake with cappuccino ice cream and espresso caramel.
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