Restaurant Guide–San Antonio

Restaurant Guide Main Index


Texas

Austin | Dallas/Fort Worth | El Paso | Houston


  • Date indicates the most recent update of the restaurants listed
  • Bold indicates my recommendations; others come from what I consider to be good sources (see bottom of page for further explanation)

Castroville

Dziuk Meat Market–608 US 90 W (Meat Market) Open Daily.  This is a meat market that specializes in Alsatian style products (jerky, sausage, etc.). (Takeout only 9-23-20)

Haby’s Alsatian Bakery–207 US 90 E (Bakery) Open 5:30 am to 7 pm (closed Sun).  Has a wide variety of baked goodies, including European style pastries. Kolaches are available, but there are so many good choices you might want to try some of the ones that are not available elsewhere. (In store shopping 9-23-20)

New Braunfels

Alpine Haus–251 S. Seguin Ave. (German) Open daily (open for lunch & dinner).  Highest rated German in NB on Zomato (Urbanspoon)–Jagerschnitzel, potato dumplings, red cabbage (owned by Germans). Some reviewers say some of the dishes are not completely authentic, and they do not have German beer on tap. The schnitzel gets good reviews, and where you might like it better than other German restaurants is that the menu is varied and you might see items that are not in other restaurants, or that you did not even know were German. (Dining room is open 9-23-20)

Fork and Spoon–651 N. Business IH-35 (German) Breakfast & lunch only (open daily); dinner served on Fri.  Breakfast is very popular (crepes, pancakes).  Jagerschnitzel is good, but there is a small menu–very good bakery inside the restaurant. The consensus seems to be that breakfast is good but go to Alpine Haus for a German lunch or dinner. (Dining room is open 9-23-20)

Gristmill–1287 Gruene Rd. (Steakhouse) Open Daily. Located in historic Gruene. Chicken fried steak, chicken fried chicken. Has other dishes as well, and reviews are not universally glowing for these or the CFS, but the historic ambiance helps make this a place where many enjoy stopping. (Dining room is open 9-23-20)

San Antonio

Acenar–146 E. Houston St. (Mexican) Open Daily.  Located on the River Walk, this seems to be definitely oriented to tourists. Tex-Mex style (serves chips and salsa–enchiladas are very cheesy). This is not one of the city’s old style Tex-Mex restaurants, though–it was founded in 2005 and serves “innovative contemporary” food. Has good reviews. (4-22-19)

Azuca Nuevo Latino–709 S. Alamo (Latin American) Open daily except Sun lunch.  Serves food from South and Central America as well as the Caribbean. Even though the best restaurants are usually those which specialize in a certain cuisine, this one seems to do several cuisines very well. From the photos the food looks very fresh, and it seems to be more authentic than the typical Latin American restaurants found throughout the US. (4-22-19)

Big Bib–104 Lanark Dr. (BBQ) Closed Sun night & Mon.  Many say this is the best BBQ you can get if you can’t make it to Luling or Lockhart. Brisket is the specialty. (4-22-19)

Cascabel–1000 S. St. Marys (Mexican) Lunch only (closed Sun).  Authentic Mexican food with Oaxacan mole and other dishes from the Mexican interior. It is a little pricey–only go if you are in the mood for an upscale meal. (2-19-19)

Chris Madrid’s–1900 Blanco Rd. (Burgers) Closed Sun.  One of the most popular burger places in town. Reviewers recommend the tostada burger (a hamburger combined with a bean chalupa). Note: restaurant had a fire and it is currently operating out of a tent across the street. (4-22-19)

Garcia’s–842 Fredericksburg Rd. (Tex-Mex) Open 7 am to 2:30 pm (closed Sun).  Operating since 1962, this is one of the oldest Tex-Mex restaurants in the city, and certainly one of the best (according to reviews). This is the Tex-Mex recommended in the Eater.com article. It is not open for dinner, though. (Takeout only 6-15-20)

Gold Rose Cafe–11318 Perrin Beitel Rd. (Thai).  Used to be the Thai Cafe, which served authentic Thai food. Now has a new owner who is from Burma, but still serves Thai food (which reviewers say is not as good as before). For me the question is whether you can get Burmese food here, and I cannot tell from the reviews. Perhaps it would be worth a try. Located east of the airport. (6-5-19)

Guajillo’s–1001 NW Loop 410 (Mexican) Open Daily.  Upscale Mexican (to me it looks better than Acenar). Authentic interior style food. Some reviewers say this is the best mole in town. (Dining room is open 6-15-20)

Kungfu Noodle–6733 Bandera Rd. (Chinese) Closed Mon.  Features hand made noodles, buns, dumplings, and regular Chinese style dishes. Reviews say it is very good. (2-19-19)

Lula’s Mexican Cafe–115 E. Travis St. (Mexican) Breakfast & lunch only (open Mon-Fri).  Located in a downtown office building, this is not oriented to tourists, although some manage to find it and write rave reviews. Has authentic and flavorful food such as mole enchiladas and poblano chicken (with a green poblano sauce). (6-5-19)

Lulu’s Bakery–918 N. Main Ave. (American) Open 24 hours every day.  Many people would consider trying a chicken fried steak a must when they are in Texas, and Lulu’s has one of the most acclaimed ones in San Antonio. Also on the “must try” list is the cinnamon roll. (6-5-19)

Mi Tierra–218 Produce Row (Tex-Mex) Open Daily.  I didn’t think this was the best Tex-Mex in SA, but it was good. It’s probably best to get a combination plate with several items (to get a sample of SA Mexican food). Probably most notable for its very good Mexican bakery. (Takeout only 6-15-20)

Pho Hong Phat–6180 Wurzbach Rd. (Vietnamese) Closed Tue (other days open until 9:30 pm).  More than a pho place–vermicelli with lemongrass is recommended. Has a large menu of other items with some more obscure authentic items. (4-22-19)

Rosario’s–910 S. Alamo St. (Tex-Mex) Closed Mon.  Doesn’t seem to have as good reviews as the now closed El Mirador had, but still a solid choice for Tex-Mex (some dishes appear to be south of the border style but with a SA influence). Has mole enchiladas (which reviewers like). Puffy tacos with chicken are also recommended. (Dining room is open 6-15-20)

Sichuan House–3505 Wurzbach Rd. (Chinese) Closed Tue (Yelp says it is open daily).  Authentic Chinese food (something hard to find in SA). Reviewers have so many recommended dishes I would say just look at the menu and take your pick. (2-19-19)

Susie’s Lumpia House–7914 Culebra Rd. (Filipino) Closed Mon; closed Sat & Sun evenings (closes at 7 pm other evenings).  Small restaurant in a Filipino grocery store, but reviewers say you get the real deal. Some people prefer Deco Cafe Filipiniana at 1933 Fredericksburg Rd. because it has a buffet (you can try several items) but it is only open for lunch except Fri & Sat, and overall the reviews are better for Susie’s. (6-5-19)

Thai Chili–2950 Thousand Oaks Dr. (Thai) Open Daily.  This is supposedly where the Thai people go for authentic food (or at least the main place). I don’t know if you have to ask for it to be Thai style or if it comes this way by default. (6-5-19)

Thai Taste–5520 Evers Rd. (Thai) Closed Sun. (and closed daily from 2:45 PM to 5:00 PM).  In trying to find a good Asian restaurant in SA, this looked like a good bet. Reviewers give it high marks, but at least one says it is better if they know you want it Thai style (otherwise it is somewhat Americanized). Sketchy on the outside but reviewers say not to be concerned–the food is good. (2-19-19)

Wild Goji–7115 Blanco Rd. (Japanese) Closed Tue.  Said to be an excellent restaurant for both sushi and cooked Japanese dishes. Rated as $$ on Yelp, but based on descriptions of the food it is probably more expensive or at least would be worth it if you did have to pay more. (2-19-19)

 

Notes About This List:

This is a “master list” of restaurants that I have seen on the Internet or other sources and would like to try, or that I think would be of interest to others.  I do not mean for this to be an exhaustive list of every good place to eat, but it should represent a good sample of the most interesting or unique restaurants, along with a few that best represent an area’s regional cuisine.  My own recommendations are in Bold.

I am not looking to include:

  • Fine dining (unless they are unique because of regional specialties)
  • Low end restaurants that are popular with locals but may not be of much interest to travelers or people in general (everyone will have to use their judgment on this one)

Extra consideration for the following:

  • The food is organic, fresh, healthy, or farm to table
  • The restaurant serves a relatively hard to find type of ethnic food and reviews are good

In addition to the regular guidelines I try to include:

  • The best Asian restaurants in the area even if they are not totally authentic
  • Particularly good Mexican restaurants (this usually means the food is from a particular state in Mexico or it is one of the best examples of a U.S. regional style)

Please feel free to leave your own comments or suggestions.

Sources:

Chowhound (San Antonio)

Eater (San Antonio)

Texas Country Reporter (Texas Best Food)

Texas Monthly, Jan. 2013

TripAdvisor (Regional foods to try)

Urbanspoon.com (former web site which I used for preliminary research)

Yelp (San Antonio)

Zomato (San Antonio)

 

Restaurant Guide–Houston

Restaurant Guide Main Index


Texas

Austin | Dallas/Fort Worth | El Paso | San Antonio


  • Date indicates the most recent update of the restaurants listed
  • Bold indicates my recommendations; others come from what I consider to be good sources (see bottom of page for further explanation)

Clear Lake City

NASA Fast Food–18059 Point Lookout (Vietnamese) Open 11 am to 7 pm (closed Sun).  Most recommended Vietnamese in SE Houston. Pho, noodles with char-grilled meat. (Dining room is open 9-5-20)

Viola & Agnes’ Neo Soul Cafe–18091 Upper Bay Rd. (Soul Food) Closed Sun evening & Mon.  A highly recommended soul food restaurant, which along with Mary Lou’s has an expert chef who puts this restaurant on a higher level than most. (Dining room is open 9-5-20)

Houston

Afghan Village–6413 Hillcroft St. (Afghan) Open daily 11 am to 10 pm.  There are several good Middle Eastern restaurants in Houston (including Afghan). Probably the main reason to come here is that you get excellent food at lower prices (but also in a fairly small building in an older strip mall). (Dining room is open 8-1-20)

Asia Market–3620 N. Main St. (Lao) Open daily-last order taken at 8:30 pm (7:30 pm on Sun).  Serves Thai and Lao, but Lao is the specialty. Formerly inside the market, but it has now moved into its own building nearby. (Dining room is open with reduced seating 6-25-20)

Banana Leaf–9889 Bellaire Blvd. (Malaysian) Open daily to 9:30 (10:00 Fri & Sat).  In same strip center as Mamak, and these are the two highest rated Malaysian restaurants (Banana Leaf was recommended by Malaysian people I know in OKC, so would be my first choice).  Also a very good rest. for Indonesian food. (Dining room is open 6-25-20)

Bombay Sweets–5827 Hillcroft Ave. (Indian) Open Daily.  South Indian vegetarian, very good & very cheap (about $7 for the buffet). Better reviews than Udipi Cafe. (Dining room is open 8-1-20)

Brisket House–5775 Woodway Dr. (BBQ) Open daily except Sun night.  Owner worked at Tom’s BBQ in College Station, and serves the famous “Aggie Special” (served on butcher paper with a lump of cheddar cheese and a white onion). (Takeout only 6-25-20)

Cafe Caspian–12126 Westheimer Rd. (Persian) Closed Mon.  A highly recommended and upscale Persian/ Iranian restaurant. It looks more expensive than the others and that you are paying for the atmosphere, but the food definitely looks high quality. (some reviewers say they spend $40 on a meal). They also report having some of the best meals of their life. (Dining room is open 6-25-20)

Crawfish & Noodles–11360 Bellaire Blvd. (Vietnamese) Dinner only but has lunch on Sat & Sun (closed Tue).  This is on my list because of the reviews, and not because the concept sounds very intriguing. It seems, though, that they have real Vietnamese food (pho, hot pots, and lesser known items), real Cajun food (shrimp, crawfish, etc.), and a small number of fusion dishes. (Dining room is open 8-1-20)

Dolce Vita–500 Westheimer Rd. (Pizza) Dinner Tue-Sun; lunch Sat & Sun.  Known for its authentic Neapolitan style pizza. Has other dishes that are Italian style (a big change from typical Americanized Italian food). (Restaurant’s web site indicates that you can dine in, but it is best to make reservations 6-25-20)

Gatlin’s BBQ–3510 Ella Blvd. (BBQ) Open 7 am to 6 pm (closed Sun).  Maybe the best BBQ in Houston (also see Killen’s in Pearland). Brisket, pulled pork, turkey. The wait in line usually lasts from about 10 to 30 min. at lunch (this is less than at most other good BBQ places). (Dining room is open 6-25-20)

Hong Kong Food Street–9750 Bellaire Blvd. (Chinese) Open daily 11 am to 9 pm.  Authentic Cantonese. Specializes in inexpensive, everyday type of food. Congee is good. Also has upscale food such as roast duck. Open until 2:00 AM every day. (Dining room is open 6-25-20)

Hugo’s–1600 Westheimer Rd. (Mexican) Dinner daily; lunch on Fri & Sat.  Authentic alta cocina Mexican food. Expect to pay about $25 to $30 for a dinner (but you get the real deal). Mole is one of the specialties. (Dining room is open 6-25-20)

Huynh–912 St. Emanuel St. (Vietnamese) Open 11 am t 9 pm (closed Sun).  This seems to be a consensus choice as one of the two best Vietnamese restaurants in the city to “explore the menu” (banh xeo, bun bo hue, etc.). (Nam Giao is the other restaurant to check out). (Dining room is open 6-25-20)

Kasra Persian–9741 Westheimer Rd. (Persian) Open Daily. Looks like it has an extensive menu with items not served in other cities. Chicken barg is recommended. Everything on the menu gets good reviews. Not as expensive as Cafe Caspian but is still very good (the food here more like you would have at a typical Persian meal. (Dining room is open 6-25-20)

Lankford Grocery–88 Dennis St. (Hamburgers) Open 7 am to 3 pm (closed Sun).  This is supposed to be the best place in Houston for hamburgers. Hubcap also gets good reviews (Hubcap is located downtown, 1133 W. 19th St., and Kemah). (Takeout only 6-25-20)

Mi Bella Honduras–1806 Wirt Rd. (Honduran) Open daily (serves breakfast).  Good place to try authentic Honduran dishes (there are other Honduran restaurants in the city but this looks like a good bet if you can only try one). (Dining room is open 8-1-20)

Nam Giao–6938 Wilcrest Dr. (Vietnamese) Open 9 am to 9 pm (closed Thu).  This and Huynh are supposed to be the best “full menu” Vietnamese restaurants in the city. As far as which one to go to–this is on the west side and Huynh is downtown, they are closed on different days, and this apparently has central Vietnamese food while Huynh has southern Vietnamese food (but I am not certain about the cuisines). (Takeout only 8-1-20)

Niko Niko’s–2520 Montrose Blvd. (Greek) Open Daily.  Just about everyone says this is the best Greek in town. Has a fairly extensive menu. Has 2 other locations. (Takeout only 8-1-20)

Ninfa’s–2704 Navigation Blvd. (Tex-Mex) Open Daily to 9 pm (10 Fri & Sat).  Many say this is the best Tex-Mex in Houston (but some say it only used to be the best). Recommended are enchiladas suizas, homemade tortillas, tacos al carbon. (Dining room is open 6-25-20)

Oporto–125 W. Gray St. (Portuguese) Open Daily. Portuguese tapas restaurant. The food is described as primarily seafood cooked in an olive oil base. Food and wine are both good–it’s a little upscale, but ordering a few items is not expensive. It may be best to go with a group to sample more items. (Dining room is open 8-1-20)

Parrilla Colombiana–6053 Bissonnet St. (Colombian) Open daily to 7 pm (closes at 6 pm on Sun). There are at least three dozen Colombian restaurants in Houston. This one has good reviews and is authentic–one reviewers says this is the only place that is exactly like it is in Colombia. Empanadas are recommended. Lunch specials are very cheap. (Takeout and delivery only 8-1-20)

Pasha–2325 University Blvd. (Turkish) Open 11 am to 10 pm (closed Mon).  This looks like one of the better Middle Eastern restaurants in Houston. Menu consists of Turkish items (seems to give you a feast at dinner but smaller dinners at a good price at lunch). (Dining room is open 8-1-20)

Peking Cuisine–8332 SW Freeway (Chinese) Open Daily 11am to 9pm.  Authentic Beijing style food (also has Sichuan dishes). Serves duck, but Peking duck must be ordered in advance. (Dining room is open 6-25-20)

Pho Binh Trailer–10928 Beamer Rd. (Vietnamese) Open 8 am to 4 pm (closed Mon).  This is not a trailer but a real restaurant, and some of the city’s food writers who have tried every known Vietnamese restaurant say this one has the best pho. (Temporarily closed 9-5-20)

Polonia–1780 Blalock Rd. (Polish) Open 11 am to 9 pm (closed Mon).  Pierogi, cabbage roll, roast pork, soup, kielbasa. (Takeout only 8-1-20)

Que Huong–13438 Bellaire Blvd. (Vietnamese) Closed Tue.  Reviewers recommend it for a large selection of Vietnamese dishes (non-pho). Regular menu items are pricey because they are large–meant for family style dining (but lunch specials are cheap). (Dining room is open 6-25-20)

Revival Market–550 Heights Blvd. (Cafe) Open to 4 pm (closed Mon).  Has a wide range of food, and all of it is locally sourced. This means that the menu is not always the same because they only serve things that are fresh (this includes fresh shrimp from the Gulf when it is available). Breakfast seems to be the most popular meal at the restaurant, and it looks very good. (Dining room is open 8-1-20)

Rice Bowl–11324 Fondren Rd. (Indonesian) Closed Sun.  Reviewers on Chowhound indicate that there isn’t much Indonesian food on the menu (so may be disappointing to some).  However, it does have telor balado (deep fried eggs), beef rendang, ayam goreng, etc. (Takeout only 8-1-20)

San Dong Noodle House–9938 Bellaire Blvd. (Chinese) Closed Mon.  Has excellent Chinese dumplings. #20 (leek pork dumplings) in broth is suggested. Small, casual place with cheap prices. (Takeout only 6-25-20)

Shanghai–9116 Bellaire Blvd. (Chinese) Closed Wed.  Reviewers say this is one of the few truly authentic Chinese rests. in Houston. Chef tofu special is popular. (Takeout only 9-5-20)

Shri Balaji Bhavan–5655 Hillcroft Ave. (Indian) Closed Tue.  Authentic South Indian–supposedly the best place in town for dosa. Food is all vegetarian. (Dining room is open 8-1-20)

Street Food Thai Market–1010 W. Cavalcade St. (Thai) Open daily (closes at 8:30 weekdays).  Maybe the most authentic Thai restaurant in Houston, although it appears to have some Lao dishes as well. People who have traveled to Thailand say the flavor here is the real deal. One person recommends khao mun gai as a good thing to try for first time diners because the ginger sauce is so delicious (but almost everything here is reported as being excellent by the people who review them). (Takeout only 8-1-20)

Tan Tan–6816 Ranchester Dr. (Vietnamese) Open daily 11 am to 10 pm.  Very large menu–seems to be good food. Known for the hot pot. Open until midnight daily. (Dining room is open 6-25-20)

Taqueria Aguascalientes–2809 Broadway St. (Mexican) Open daily (serves breakfast-open until 10 pm).  The most popular Mexican food in Houston seems to be street tacos. This is the place that looks best to me, and has the best reviews (but there are many others that look very good also). (Takeout only 6-25-20)

Udipi Cafe–5959 Hillcroft Ave. (Indian) Closed Mon. Vegetarian South Indian. Has thali (but reviewers say chutneys are below par). Good variety of dosa. Also in Sugar Land (3551 Hwy. 6). (Dining room is open 8-1-20)

Vieng Thai–6929 Long Point Rd. (Thai) Open daily (dinner only).  Authentic and flavorful.  One advantage over many others is that they do not use MSG. Some say the owners have made the food somewhat less authentic because it has gotten so popular they’ve had to streamline their operation (but I think if you want the most authentic version they can still do it). (Takeout only 8-1-20)

Note: The City-Data discussion on Houston’s most underrated cuisine is mainly about the best cuisines (underrated or not). These include Barbecue, Seafood, Cajun, Soul Food, Greek, Persian, Turkish, Mexican, Tex-Mex, Colombian, Venezuelan, Caribbean, Cuban, Puerto Rican, Vietnamese, Chinese

Pearland

Killen’s BBQ–3613 E. Broadway St. (BBQ) Closed Mon.  Many rate it as the best barbecue in the Houston area. Brisket, beef ribs, pork ribs, turkey, pulled pork (but it looks as if brisket is their best item). Sides are very good also. There is usually a wait (which I think involves standing in line waiting for a table). After 2015 they expanded the hours to 8 pm (9 pm on weekends), so this seems to have reduced the rush they had at noon when wait times were very long (and they frequently ran out of certain items). (Dining room is open 9-5-20)

T J Filipino–1826 Country Place Pkwy. (Filipino) Open 10:30 am to 7 pm (closed Sun dinner).  Filipino people say this restaurant has a better taste than others (normally they do not like restaurants–just cooking at home). Is a buffet, but it doesn’t seem to cost more than if you got one or two items from a menu. (Takeout only 6-25-20)

Rosenberg

Schulze’s BBQ–1214 1st St. (BBQ) Open daily except Sun evening.  A popular place for “Brazos Valley” style BBQ (cooked with pecan wood). (Dining room is open 6-25-20)

Witt Pit–2516 1st St. (BBQ) Open 11 am to 8 pm (closed Sun & Mon).  A well known place for “Brazos Valley” style BBQ (uses pecan wood for cooking). Maybe the better of the two Rosenberg BBQ places, based on reviews. (Takeout only 6-25-20)

 

Notes About This List:

This is a “master list” of restaurants that I have seen on the Internet or other sources and would like to try, or that I think would be of interest to others.  I do not mean for this to be an exhaustive list of every good place to eat, but it should represent a good sample of the most interesting or unique restaurants, along with a few that best represent an area’s regional cuisine.  My own recommendations are in Bold.

I am not looking to include:

  • Fine dining (unless they are unique because of regional specialties)
  • Low end restaurants that are popular with locals but may not be of much interest to travelers or people in general (everyone will have to use their judgment on this one)

Extra consideration for the following:

  • The food is organic, fresh, healthy, or farm to table
  • The restaurant serves a relatively hard to find type of ethnic food and reviews are good

In addition to the regular guidelines I try to include:

  • The best Asian restaurants in the area even if they are not totally authentic
  • Particularly good Mexican restaurants (this usually means the food is from a particular state in Mexico or it is one of the best examples of a U.S. regional style)

Please feel free to leave your own comments or suggestions.
Sources:

Chowhound (Houston)

City-Data (Houston BBQ)

City-Data (Most Underrated Cuisine of Houston)

Houston Matters (Houston Vietnamese Food)

Trip Advisor (Houston BBQ)

Urbanspoon.com (former web site which I used for preliminary research)

Yelp (Houston)

Zomato (Houston)

Restaurant Guide–El Paso

Restaurant Guide Main Index


Texas

Austin | Dallas/Fort Worth | Houston | San Antonio


  • Date indicates the most recent update of the restaurants listed
  • Bold indicates my recommendations; others come from what I consider to be good sources (see bottom of page for further explanation)

Note: Effective Oct 30, 2020 the El Paso County Judge has banned all indoor dining for a period of two weeks. However, the Governor’s office and State Attorney General have stated that the Judge had no authority to implement this ban, and the matter is in dispute. For now it may be a matter of contacting each restaurant directly concerning whether they have takeout, indoor dining, etc.


Canutillo

Flautas Tepalca–6994 Doniphan Dr. (Mexican) Open Daily. One of the best flautas in the El Paso area (or really anywhere in the U.S. I have tried them).  However, this and a couple of other items are the entire menu except for “nieves” (ice cream) and aguas frescas. (Now has two locations in El Paso–5198 Doniphan and 500 N. Zaragoza Rd.) (Takeout only 8-22-20)

Little Diner–7209 7th St. (Mexican) Closed Wed.  Has New Mexico style enchiladas (spicy). Chiles rellenos are very good. Gorditas are some of the best anywhere. Another favorite item is Christmas tamales (order a few days ahead of time and pick up on Christmas eve). (Dining room is open 7-19-20)

Lupita’s Tamales–6860 Doniphan Dr. (Mexican) Open Daily.  Take out only. Red chile tamal is excellent. Chile con queso tamal and tamal dulce are very good to go with it. (Takeout only 7-19-20)

Maracas–900 Talbot Ave. (Puerto Rican) Closes at 6 pm (closed Sun & Mon).  OK, it’s a novelty in El Paso to find Latin American food that is not Mexican, but reviewers say this place is really good (especially the Cuban and Philly sandwiches). (Takeout only 8-22-20)

Peppe’s–6761 Doniphan Dr. (New Mexican) Open daily (lunch only). This is one of the Griggs family restaurants (the others are La Posta in Mesilla, NM and El Pinto in Albuquerque). Peppe’s is small and not a tourist attraction like the other restaurants, and I believe the food is more true to the Griggs family recipes. My favorite items include the tostada compuesta, green enchiladas, chile relleno, and cole slaw. (Dining room is open 6-18-20)

El Paso

Amigos–2000 Montana Ave. (Mexican) Open daily except Mon dinner.  I think this is one of the top Mexican restaurants in El Paso (the recipes and cooks are from the old La Hacienda Restaurant). My only caution is that it is spicier than most places in town (if you do not like it this spicy, avoid items with red chile). Chile relleno is excellent and I think not too spicy. Red enchilada is also excellent but more spicy. Many other items on the menu are excellent (and they have a more extensive menu than most restaurants). (Yelp says it may be closed 8-22-20)

Cafe Central–109 N. Oregon St. (Fine Dining) Closed Sun.  More expensive than I usually put on this list, but I think their Mexican dishes are really worth the money (such as the puntas de filete). (Dining room is open 7-19-20)

Cafe Italia–6705 N. Mesa St. (Pizza) Closed Sun-Mon.  Wood fired pizza that is literally the best I’ve ever had. (Dining room is open 6-18-20)

Cafe Mayapan–2000 Texas Ave. (Mexican) Lunch only (closed Sun).  Authentic Mexican from different regions of Mexico. I am impressed not only by the variety of food, but also the quality. (Takeout only 8-22-20)

El Jacalito–2130 Myrtle Ave. (Mexican) Breakfast and lunch only (closed Sun). Probably the definitive place in El Paso for inexpensive, real Mexican style lunches (I like the Mexican plate or the chile verde). El Jacalito is one of the best places in town for Lent specials (Fridays during Lent and the Thursday before Easter). (Dining room is open 6-18-20)

Forti’s–321 Chelsea St. (Mexican) Closed Sun.  A local favorite, but I find it to be a little inconsistent (my tip is to go during their busiest times because I think these are when their best cooks are on duty). Tampiquena and red enchiladas are my favorites here, but for first time visitors I would recommend the combination plate. The red sauce may be the best in El Paso (and I have tried a lot of them). (Dining room is open 6-18-20)

Han Il Gwan–9477 Dyer St. (Korean) Closed Sun (open daily according to Yelp).  El Paso has several good Korean restaurants, but this is my favorite. Has a good selection of items, and I don’t have problems with MSG. (Dining room is apparently open 8-22-20)

Hello Pizza–1071 Country Club Rd. (Pizza) Dinner Tue-Sat; lunch Sat & Sun.  New York style, that people have told me is as good or better than in NY (and it is so good I believe them). (I don’t know if dining room is open 8-22-20)

H&H Car Wash–701 E. Yandell (Mexican) Breakfast & lunch only (closed Sun).  Breakfasts are excellent (I like the huevos rancheros). I don’t care for the lunches so much. (I don’t know if dining room is open 8-22-20)

Julio’s Cafe Corona–8050 Gateway Blvd. East (Mexican) Open daily (breakfast on Sat & Sun).  Originated in Ciudad Juarez, and many things here are more authentic Mexican than El Paso style. Everything here, though, is among the best in the city. (Dining room is open 6-18-20)

L&J Cafe–3622 E. Missouri Ave. (Mexican) Closed Sun evening & Mon. Open since the 1920’s, it is famous for being located across the street from the graveyard. Some good items include the red enchilada, green enchilada, caldillo, salsa, and lemonade. Lately, though, it has become very popular and I think it has lost some of its “kick” (it is not as spicy as it once was and some items I tried recently were not as flavorful as before). A combination plate, though, will probably be the best bet here. (Dining room is open 6-18-20)

Las Palmas–1605 George Dieter Dr. (Mexican) Open daily (breakfast on Sat & Sun).  This is a relatively new discovery for me, but I think the Mexican food here rivals anywhere in town (enchiladas, chiles rellenos, etc.). (Dining room is open 7-27-20)

Marina’s German Bakery–2033 Trawood Dr. (Bakery) Closed Sun.  This is my number one spot in town for freshly baked bread. Also serves bratwurst for lunch, and I particularly like the one here. (Dining room is open but it is self service 7-27-20)

Matsuharu–4886 Hercules Ave. (Japanese) Dinner only (Open Tue-Fri only).  All around excellent Japanese food, but I especially like the ramen, tempura udon, salmon teriyaki, and fish specials (the specials change in accordance with what can be flown in). (Takeout only & reviewers say right now they don’t have sushi 7-27-20)

Mi Piaci–5411 N. Mesa St. (Italian) Closed Sun. Upscale Italian with very good food, prepared properly. (Italian and Middle Eastern have traditionally been the two best ethnic foods in El Paso besides Mexican food). (Dining room is open 7-27-20)

Peter’s German Grill–255 Shadow Mountain (German) Open 10 am to 8 pm (closed Sun).  The menu is small and it specializes in schnitzel and bratwurst. It also has very good German pastries and bread. My favorites of these are the Black Forest and the cranberry and walnut bread. (Takeout and delivery only 8-22-20)

Red Lantern–1841 N. Zaragoza Rd. (Chinese) Open Daily.  A good proportion of their customers want authentic Cantonese food, so they tend to have more selection than other restaurants. Prices are reasonable also. (Dining room is open 7-27-20)

Saigon Taste–6940 N. Mesa St. (Vietnamese) Closed Mon.  This is one of El Paso’s very good authentic Asian restaurants. My favorite items include the banh xeo and clay pot tofu. (Takeout only 7-27-20)

Santa Cecilia–5500 El Paso Dr. (Mexican) Open daily (dinner on Fri & Sat only). To me these are almost unbelievably good tacos al carbon (the ones that should be the pattern for all other restaurants). Located at the intersection of Paisano Dr. & El Paso Dr., just north of Alameda Ave. (Dining room is open 7-27-20)

Su Casa–2030 E. Yandell Dr. (Mexican) Lunch only (closed Sun).  These are some of my favorite red enchiladas in town. Also available are several Middle Eastern items (my favorites are the spinach pie and tabouli). (Dining room is open 7-27-20)

Sun Garden–6600 N. Mesa St. (Chinese) Open Daily.  Authentic Cantonese food is available from the menu. I like the ma po tofu and Szechuan pork (neither of these are Cantonese but they are very good). You can special order some authentic Cantonese dishes such as tomato and scrambled egg. (Takeout only 7-27-20)

Tabla–115 S. Durango (Spanish) Closed Sun.  Tapas. (Temporarily closed 8-22-20)

Tara Thai–2606 N. Mesa St. (Thai) Closed Sun.  This is some of the best Thai food I have had anywhere in terms of flavor (I am very impressed with the way they do Thai food). There are some down sides, though–parking is terrible, the dinner menu is a little too expensive for me, and the lunch menu is a little limited (but the food here is really worth it if you want high quality Thai). (Takeout only 8-22-20)

Tasty Kabob–6110 N. Mesa St. (Persian) Closed Tue & closed Sun evening.  Very good ghormeh sabzi, and I am anxious to try other items as well. (Dining room is open 7-27-20)

Viet–1700 N. Zaragoza Rd. (Vietnamese) Open Daily.  Very good Vietnamese food on the east side. The only problem is that you have to request mint with the vermicelli dishes (they will give it to you, but you have to know to ask for it). Still, though, the food is very good (just ask for it to be Vietnamese style and assume that otherwise it might be somewhat Americanized). (Dining room is open 7-27-20)

Villa del Mar–7988 Gateway Blvd. East (Mexican) Open Daily.  I think it’s the best in town for Mexican style seafood. (Dining room is open 6-18-20)

Zino’s–7040 N. Mesa St. (Greek) Closed Mon.  I have only gone once but it was one of my best experiences for Mediterranean/ Middle Eastern food in El Paso. (Takeout and delivery only 8-22-20)

Fabens

Cattleman’s Steakhouse–Ranch Road 793 about 4 mi. north of IH-10 (Steakhouse) Dinner daily; lunch Sat & Sun.  Nationally famous destination restaurant. I think the steaks were not quite up to par for a while, but many people report that they are now as they were before. (Dining room is open 6-18-20)

Socorro

Sofia’s–11800 Glorietta Rd. (Mexican) Closed Mon.  The address of this restaurant is in San Elizario but it is actually located in Socorro. This is one of the few remaining “old time” Lower Valley restaurants with the traditional flavor I have loved since I have been here. Mexican plate is a good place to start. For enchiladas it goes against the general trend in El Paso in that the green enchiladas are best (at most restaurants it is the red). (Takeout only 6-18-20)

 

Notes About This List:

This is a “master list” of restaurants that I have seen on the Internet or other sources and would like to try, or that I think would be of interest to others.  I do not mean for this to be an exhaustive list of every good place to eat, but it should represent a good sample of the most interesting or unique restaurants, along with a few that best represent an area’s regional cuisine.  My own recommendations are in Bold.

I am not looking to include:

  • Fine dining (unless they are unique because of regional specialties)
  • Low end restaurants that are popular with locals but may not be of much interest to travelers or people in general (everyone will have to use their judgment on this one)

Extra consideration for the following:

  • The food is organic, fresh, healthy, or farm to table
  • The restaurant serves a relatively hard to find type of ethnic food and reviews are good

In addition to the regular guidelines I try to include:

  • The best Asian restaurants in the area even if they are not totally authentic
  • Particularly good Mexican restaurants (this usually means the food is from a particular state in Mexico or it is one of the best examples of a U.S. regional style)

Please feel free to leave your own comments or suggestions.

Sources:

Chowhound (El Paso)

Culture Trip (El Paso)

Urbanspoon.com (former web site which I used for preliminary research)

Yelp (El Paso)

Zomato (El Paso)

 

Restaurant Guide–Dallas/Fort Worth

Restaurant Guide Main Index


Texas

Austin | El Paso | Houston | San Antonio


  • Date indicates the most recent update of the restaurants listed
  • Bold indicates my recommendations; others come from what I consider to be good sources (see bottom of page for further explanation)

Addison

Butcher Block–4930 Belt Line Rd. (International) Closed Sun.  The food is locally sourced, but the recipes are international with emphasis on Sweden and Japan/Korea (which I think are the native countries of the two chefs at the restaurant). Prices are good for the type of food you get (it is less expensive than Kenny’s). Yelp gives it a full five stars with over 150 reviews. (Temporarily closed 8-15-20)

Kenny’s Wood Fired Grill–5000 Belt Line Rd. (Steakhouse) Open Daily. The reviews here are excellent, and it is not over the top in price (steaks are about $35 and other entrees, such as salmon, are about $25). Has other choices besides steak, such as a Seattle style smoked salmon. Both lunch and dinner menus start at about $15 for entrees. Side dishes are very good, as are the complimentary popovers. This looks like a worthy special occasion restaurant. (Dining room is open 7-27-20)

Allen

A Bite of China–945 W. Stacy Rd. (Chinese) Closed Tue (and closed from 2:30 to 4:30 pm).  This is a suburban restaurant that is trying to introduce the public to authentic Chinese food (it seems that the authentic dishes here are Sichuan style). Also has Americanized dishes (which have mediocre reviews). (Takeout only 6-12-20)

Arlington

Fork in the Road–1821 S. Fielder Rd. (American) Open 11 am to 7 pm (closed Sun & Mon).  Positive reviews, and people especially like the burgers, sandwiches (such as Ruben) and mac and cheese. Many people say these items are the best they have ever tasted. (Takeout only 8-15-20)

Halo Hawaiian BBQ & Poke–2613 W. Park Row Dr. (Hawaiian) Closed Mon.  Reviewers say the food is very good, and the choice of items seems to be very large compared to the typical Hawaiian restaurant. (Takeout only 7-5-20)

Havana Bar & Grill–3701 Cooper St. (Cuban) Open daily (late night Sat).  Reviewers say this is legit Cuban food, and is a very good place to get a Cuban sandwich. The setting is very downscale, though (too much for some)–this happens mainly after 8 pm when they turn down the lights and go into “night club mode” with Spanish language TV playing. (Dining room is open 8-15-20)

Ocean Chinese Seafood–1510 New York Ave. (Chinese) Closed Mon.  Seems to be the best choice in the Mid-Cities for authentic Chinese food (also has Americanized items on the menu). Is a little bit fusion with Vietnamese fire pot and Vietnamese coffee. (Dining room is open 7-5-20)

Taste of Europe–1901 W. Pioneer Pkwy. (Russian) Lunch Sat & Sun; Dinner Fri-Sun.  I was looking for German restaurants, but this one had better ratings, and seems worth a visit.  All food is made from scratch, and takes a while to prepare. (Dining room is open 7-5-20)

Thai Basil Leaf–805 W. Park Row Dr. (Thai) Closed Sun (and closed from 3 to 5 pm).  Seems to be an authentic Thai restaurant in an area where authentic food is less well known or appreciated, but local people do appreciate how delicious it is (according to most reviews).  For very spicy items they warn you about it and give you a chance to order it less spicy. (Dining room is open 6-12-20)

Carrollton

A1 Chinese BBQ–1927 E. Belt Line Rd. (Chinese) Open daily to 9:30 pm. Formerly First Chinese BBQ-reviews indicate that the new restaurant is even better. Authentic Cantonese style food. Roast duck and roast pork are a couple of the biggest sellers, but it has a full menu of Cantonese food. (Takeout and delivery only 7-27-20)

Cuban Dulceria–2662 N. Josey Ln. (Cuban) Open Tue-Sat 9 am to 5 pm. One of several good Cuban restaurants in the city, but reviewers especially like this one.  It is a hole in the wall market and grocery with limited hours, but sandwiches and guava pastry are especially good (the food menu is limited to sandwiches). (Takeout and delivery only 7-5-20)

Taste of Chengdu–2532 Old Denton Rd. (Chinese) Open daily 11 am to 9:30 pm.  This appears to be authentic Sichuanese food. Most really like the food provided they can find the right spice level. This is a relatively new restaurant with only a few reviews, but it appears that a good approach is to find an interesting looking dish (all of them seem to be good) and be very conservative on the spice level until you know you would be comfortable with it being higher (which would require return visits). (Takeout and delivery only 7-5-20)

Dallas

Avila’s–4714 Maple Ave. (Tex-Mex) Open Daily.  Very popular Tex-Mex (but you can get authentic items also). (Dining room is open 7-27-20)

Baboush–3636 McKinney Ave. (Moroccan) Open daily 11 am to 9 pm.  Very good reviews. Tajine is recommended. (Dining room is open 6-12-20)

Banana Leaf–17370 Preston Rd. (Thai) Open Daily.  Many say it’s the best Thai in Dallas (I am suspicious of this because it is located in an upscale neighborhood, while the authentic places are usually hole-in-the-wall places). Nevertheless, it gets very good reviews. (Takeout and delivery only 8-15-20)

Caribbean Cabana–920 S. Harwood St. (Trinidad and Tobago) Open daily 10 am to 6 pm (closes 7 pm Wed-Sat).  With all the other Caribben restaurants in town, there is still room to put this on the list because the food is so good (according to reviewers, and I would say based on the photos also). Located in the Farmers Market, it has some tables but all orders are served in to-go containers. People say the price is a little steep, though. (Takeout and delivery only 7-27-20)

Celebration–4503 W. Lovers Ln. (American) Open daily (closed from 2:30 to 5:30 pm).  Good southern style food. Chicken fried steak, chicken fried chicken, rosemary chicken, banana pudding. Farm to table restaurant–open since 1971. (Dining room is open 7-27-20)

Cuzco–9220 Skillman St. (Peruvian) Closed Mon. Said to be authentic and very good Peruvian food. Photos indicate that it has a very large variety of dishes. (Dining room is open 7-27-20)

El Fenix–1601 McKinney Ave. (Tex-Mex) Open daily 11 am to 8 pm.  This is a sentimental favorite of mine because it is where I went for Tex-Mex when I lived in Dallas. Reviewers say the food has not changed (for better or worse), but I’m glad one of the original Tex-Mex restaurants is still serving the same food. (Dining room is open 7-27-20)

Havana Cafe–1152 N. Buckner Blvd. (Cuban) Open Daily.  High priced for what you get, but this seems to be the place to come in Dallas where you will be assured of getting food as it would be served in Miami. (Dining room is open 7-5-20)

Highland Park Cafeteria–1200 N. Buckner Blvd. (American) Open daily 11 am to 8 pm.  Home cooked taste in food. It is like the old-time cafeterias because it has been around since the 1920’s. Chicken & dumplings, fried chicken. Chicken fried steak is also popular. (Temporarily closed 8-15-20)

Meso Maya–1611 McKinney Ave. (Mexican) Open daily 11 am to 9 pm. Authentic Yucatan food (reviews are very good). Prices are over $20 for their special dishes, but plenty of choices are available that are less expensive. Has several locations in the Metroplex (including Ft. Worth). The one on McKinney has the best reviews on Yelp. (Dining room is open 6-12-20)

Nazca Kitchen–8041 Walnut Hill Ln. (Latin American) Dinner only (closed Sun & Mon). Upscale South American food (from Peru, Brazil, and other countries). I usually find this kind of fusion restaurant to be a bust, but reviewers say the flavors are excellent. Prices in the upper portion of $$ if you get a steak, etc., but has less expensive choices. (Takeout and delivery only 7-27-20)

Pecan Lodge–2702 Main St. (BBQ) Open daily 11 am to 8 pm.  There seems to be a consensus that this is the best BBQ in Dallas. Many people stand in line and wait for it to open at 11 am. Brisket, pork ribs, mac & cheese, hot mess potato. Food seems to be more consistent than at many BBQ restaurants. Sausage is German/Czech style. Warning: may have to use pay parking to find a parking spot. Another warning: they often sell out of some items before the closing time. (Takeout only 6-12-20)

Pink Magnolia–642 W. Davis St. (Modern American) Closed Mon; Dinner Tue-Sat; Brunch Sat & Sun.  Serves American favorites, but they will probably be more healthy and better tasting here than at other restaurants. Has a good selection of drinks and cocktails. (Yelp says it’s closed; Google Maps says it’s open 8-15-20)

Pupuseria Los Gemelos-116 S. Carrol Ave. (El Salvadoran) Open Daily. According to reviews, is a great place to get authentic El Salvadoran food and also a great place to save money compared to other Latin American restaurants. (Takeout only 7-27-20)

Veracruz Cafe–408 N. Bishop Ave. (Mexican) Open Daily. Authentic food of good quality–a nice change from typical Tex-Mex food. Food comes from various towns in Veracruz. Pipian chicken, mole, adobo de puerco, and pescado veracruzano are some of the specialties. Prices I have seen are by far the best of the Dallas authentic Mexican restaurants. (Dining room is open 6-12-20)

Denton

Boca 31–207 S. Bell Ave. (Latin American) Closed Sun.  According to Yelp reviewers this is one of the best restaurants in Denton, and in the entire DFW area. Empanadas are especially popular, but has other items (and they are good as well). (6-5-19)

Thai Square–209 W. Hickory (Thai) Closed Mon (and closed from 3 to 5 pm).  Good reviews, especially for the curries and noodle dishes. Sometimes I think Thai restaurants get good reviews because they make the food sweet for American tastes. I could not tell if that was the case here, but someone said the Thai tea was not too sweet, so I am assuming that the food is the same way. In any case, it looks like a good choice for Denton dining. Some say the panang and masaman curry are best (better than red or green). (Takeout and delivery only 7-5-20)

Fate

Four Czechs Bakery–104 E. Fate Main Pl. (Czech) Open until noon (1 pm on weekends) Closed Mon & Tue.  Reviewers say these are some of the best kolaches they have ever had. Located between Rockwall and Royce City. (3-20-19)

Flower Mound

Currys Indian Cafe–1901 Long Prairie Rd. (Indian) Closed Mon.  Authentic South Indian food (dosa, biryani, etc.). Also has northern food such as chicken tikka masala (reviewers like this as well). (Takeout only 6-12-20)

Forney

Stiky Ribz BBQ–9705 Helms Trail (BBQ) Open 11 am to 7 pm (closed Mon, Tue, Wed).  Good reviews in an area of the country where people are very particular about BBQ. Brisket and beef ribs are particularly recommended. Mac & cheese and banana pudding are said to be excellent. (Takeout only 8-15-20)

Fort Worth

Billy’s Oak Acres BBQ–7709 Camp Bowie Blvd. W. (BBQ) Closed Mon; closed Sun evening.  Known for its brisket, but the chicken fried steak is said to be possibly the best in Fort Worth (it is tenderized and breaded the right way). (Temporarily closed 7-5-20)

Cannon Chinese Kitchen–304 W. Cannon St. (Chinese) Dinner only (closed Sun).  Said to be authentic in its cooking style (but some say they don’t do it as well as in Houston). There is some reference to it being Taiwanese style. Dumplings, pork ribs, and duck fried rice are popular. (Dining room is open 7-5-20)

Cousin’s BBQ–6262 McCart Ave. (BBQ) Closed Sun.  Winner of the Red River BBQ Shootout. Brisket, ribs, chicken. 2 other locations in SW Ft Worth. (Takeout only 6-12-20)

El Merendero–3000 South Freeway (Honduran) Open Daily.  I’m reluctant to put this on the list because it has so few reviews, but how they describe the food is why it’s on the list. Serves traditional Honduran food (several items look like food that is not typical of any other Central American country). Not spicy like Mexican food, but reviewers say it tastes good. (Takeout only 6-12-20)

Enchiladas Ole–2418 Forest Park Blvd. (Tex-Mex) Open daily except Sun lunch.  From the reviews I gather that this is very good Tex-Mex (good quality with good flavors), and is known for the beef (the beef is actually from a friend’s barbecue restaurant). Serves mole enchiladas (which reviewers say has an excellent flavor). (Dining room is open 8-30-20)

Esperanza’s–2122 N. Main St. (Mexican) Open daily 6:30 am to 6 pm.  Down home style Mexican restaurant that is known for its breakfasts. It is also a bakery, so pan dulce is popular. Lunch items (enchiladas, etc.) appear to be Tex-Mex style. (Dining room is open 7-5-20)

Gia Phu–913 E. Berry St. (Vietnamese) Closed Sun.  Normally people think of the best Vietnamese restaurants as being in Haltom City, but this one is very good, located on the south side of town, and has a varied menu which includes pho, vermicelli bowls, and pork chop. It’s in a small bldg. with a divey atmosphere, but the food looks as good as anyplace. (Takeout only 6-12-20)

Heim Barbecue–1109 W. Magnolia Ave. (BBQ) Open daily 11 am to 9 pm.  One of the highest rated barbecue restaurants by Yelp reviewers. This is traditional Texas BBQ. Many people like the meat combo, but brisket and ribs are particularly recommended. (Dining room is open 8-30-20)

Joe T. Garcia’s–2201 N. Commerce St. (Tex-Mex) Open daily (closed from 2:30 to 5 pm weekdays). Good food, but maybe not up to level of the best places in San Antonio and Houston. Very long running restaurant, and I assume it still has old style Tex-Mex. (Dining room is open 8-30-20)

Little Germany–6737 Camp Bowie Blvd. (German) Open Daily.  Seems to be the highest rated German food in the Ft Worth area. Small restaurant where you are paying for the food and not the atmosphere or the “show” they sometimes have in German restaurants. (Dining room is open–every other table is blocked off, and food is served in “take home” containers which you can take home or eat it in the restaurant 6-12-20)

Los Asaderos–1535 N. Main St. (Tex-Mex) Closed Tue.  Reviewers say it’s as good as Joe T’s at half the price. Enchiladas poblanas, asado de puerco, fajitas (I think it is Tex-Mex combined with some traditional items). (Dining room is open 7-5-20)

Ol’ South Pancake House–1509 S. University Dr. (American) Open daily (open 24 hours on Fri & Sat).  An independent pancake house (not a chain) that has been around for as long as I can remember. German pancakes are recommended by reviewers. (Dining room is open 7-5-20)

Reata–310 Houston St. (Steaks) Open Daily.  Normally I don’t list steakhouses, but considering this is “Cowtown” and is so highly rated, it’s probably worth trying. Has a number of Mexican or Mexican-inspired dishes such as tamales, tortilla soup, etc. (these are recommended). (Dining room is open 7-5-20)

Swiss Pastry Shop–3936 W. Vickery Blvd. (Sandwiches) Food served to 3:30 but bakery is apparently open until 5 pm (closed Sun & Mon).  German themed sandwiches and hamburgers are served for lunch. Most people, though, especially like the pastries. The black forest is popular. (Dining room is open 6-12-20)

Frisco

Chennai Cafe–3301 Preston Rd. (Indian) Open Daily (closed from 2:30 to 5:30 pm).  South Indian (spicy). Dosa is the specialty. Thali is good (available at lunch and on weekends). I’m impressed by the variety on the menu. (Dining room is open 6-12-20)

Platia–2995 Preston Rd. (Greek) Open Daily. Reviewers say the Greek food here is the same as can be found in Chicago (which to them is a very good thing). Prices are reasonable, and menu runs from gyros to more elaborate dishes. (Dining room is open 8-15-20)

Sweet Rice–252 W. Stonebrook Pkwy. (Lao) Open Daily.  Seems to have the real deal Lao food. Curry is a favorite (as it has been with me when when I have gone to Lao restaurants). Also in Allen TX and Auburn WA. (Dining room is open 8-15-20)

Garland

Gloria’s Indian Kitchen–1546 Rowlett Rd. (Indian) Open daily 9 am to 8 pm.  Small family run business and Indian market that serves South Indian food from Kerala province. Not much on decor but you get the “real deal” Indian food. (Takeout only 7-27-20)

Meshack’s BBQ–240 E. Ave. B (BBQ) Open 10:30 am to 5 pm (closed Sun & Mon). Some of the best barbecue in Dallas, according to locals. The down sides are that it is take-out only (this is not an actual restaurant), the lines are long, they usually run out of food before closing time, and side dishes (such as potato salad) do not always get good ratings. Ribs and beef are recommended (my rule of thumb is to get chopped beef if you like lots of sauce and sliced beef otherwise). (Takeout only 7-27-20)

Mi Pueblito Colombiano–2030 W. Buckingham Rd. (Colombian) Closed Mon & closed Sun evening.  Small restaurant that is not well known, but reviewers say they put out excellent food. (Dining room is open 7-5-20)

Grapevine

Cafe Italia–2647 Ira E. Woods Ave. (Italian) Open Daily.  Based on the reviews I think both this and Ristorante Mulino in Southlake are excellent, but this seems to be a little more upscale. (Dining room is open 8-15-20)

Tommy Tamale–1689 W. Northwest Hwy. (Mexican) Open 10 am to 7 pm (closed Sun).  Has several menu items, but tamales are what reviewers say are best. Located inside a shopping center–has both a restaurant and a market where they sell tamales by the dozen. (Dining room is open 8-15-20)

Weinberger’s Deli–601 S. Main St. (Sandwiches) Open 11 am to 7 pm (closes at 3 pm on Sun).  Northeastern style deli with a wide selection of excellent sandwiches. (Dining room is open 7-5-20)

Haltom City

Bun Dong Ba–4023 E. Belknap St. (Vietnamese) Closed Tue.  This seems to be a Vietnamese restaurant for the adventurous eater–to get things you can’t find in other places. For pho, reviewers recommend the spicy pho with spices you can’t find anywhere else. Banh xeo is especially recommended. (Dining room is open 6-12-20)

My Lan–4015 E. Belknap St. (Vietnamese) Open 9 am to 9 pm (closed Wed).  There are a lot of good Vietnamese restaurants in Haltom City and the surrounding area, but this is one of the most popular. People say to get the vermicelli noodle dishes, egg rolls, and boba drinks. Also can get hard to find items such as banh hoi and tau hu ky (bean curd skin). (Takeout only 6-12-20)

Sikhay–3301 NE 28th St. (Lao) Open Daily.  Seems to be good and authentic Lao food. (Dining room is open 6-12-20)

Hurst

Sweet Basil Thai–977 Melbourne Rd. (Thai) Open daily (closed from 2:30 to 5 pm weekdays).  Reviewers say this is one of the top tier Thai restaurants in the Metroplex. Reviewers like the curry, stir-fried, soups, and noodle dishes equally (it’s good across the menu). (Dining room is open 7-5-20)

Irving

Empa Mundo–3977 N. Belt Line Rd. (Argentinian) Open Daily.  Argentinian style empanadas with various fillings. Some say the best ones are the daily specials (check the board behind the cash register). (Takeout only 8-15-20)

Fortune House–8150 N. MacArthur Blvd. (Chinese) Open daily (closed from 3 to 5 pm).  Google Maps says it has Shanghai style dim sum. Specializes in soup dumplings, other dumplings, buns, etc. Does not look as good as the restaurants in Richardson, but reviews are good. (Dining room is open 7-27-20)

Nalinh Market–1716 E. State Hwy. 356 (Lao) Open 10:30 am to 7 pm (closed Mon). Small hole in the wall with very Lao food that is said to be very good. When eating in the restaurant it appears to be serve yourself and sit at a long table. (Delivery and takeout only 7-5-20)

Via Real–4020 N. MacArthur Blvd. (Mexican) Open daily except Sat lunch.  $$ on Yelp, but I think it’s more expensive than this. This is upscale with “Santa Fe” style food. Some dishes look authentic, but they are things like steak, adobo shrimp enchiladas, pork tenderloin, etc (expensive items).  The “Tex-Mex” portion of the menu has items such as squash enchiladas (at a very reasonable price). The food may not be totally authentic, but it appears to be a very big player in the list of upscale Dallas Mexican restaurants (with good reviews of the food). (Dining room is open 7-27-20)

Lewisville

Pho One–2305 S. SH 121 (Vietnamese) Open Daily.  Good pho and banh mi. Menu is not as large as in the Dallas restaurants, but quality is similar. Reviewers say it’s popular with people from Denton who want to get good food without driving into Dallas. (Dining room is open 7-5-20)

Note: Addresses on SH 121 are on Business 121–not the new SH 121

McKinney

Hutchins BBQ–1301 N. Tennessee St. (BBQ) Open Daily. One of the best BBQ restaurants in the Metroplex, but one thing that makes it special is that it is an actual restaurant (and is open until at least 9 pm every day). Long list of good meats–brisket seems to be the most popular. Burnt ends get very good reviews. Another location in Frisco but in Jun 2020 it is takeout only. (Dining room is open 6-12-20)

Noodle Wave–2775 S. Central Expwy. (Thai) Open daily (closed from 3 to 4:30 pm weekdays). High quality Thai food, although some are not impressed by the fried rice. Reviewers mentioned that there is no alcohol, and they do not allow BYOB. There are 4 locations in the north Dallas area. (Dining room is open 6-12-20)

Plano

Kumar’s–1301 Custer Rd. (Indian) Open daily (closed from 3 to 5:30pm). South Indian–has both vegetarian and meat items. Thali for weekend lunch, but I’m not sure if it’s served at other times. Also in Coppell and Frisco. (Dining room is open 6-12-20)

Latin Pig–3131 Custer Rd. (Cuban) Open daily 11:30 am to 8:30 pm.  Good reviews, and people say it is authentic. Some swear by Havana Cafe in Dallas, but this looks good also (and I believe it’s cheaper–has more of a sandwich shop atmosphere). (Takeout only 8-15-20)

Little Sichuan–240 Legacy Dr. (Chinese) Open Daily 11 am to 9:30 pm. Authentic. Get a white board special. Has a picture menu to show you what you are ordering. (Takeout and delivery only 8-15-20)

Oceanic Thai–1501 Preston Rd. (Thai) Open daily (closed from 3 to 5 pm weekdays). People say it is authentic, very good, and reasonably priced (by Dallas standards). Everything is good–there is nothing reviewers say to skip or is not as good as the other dishes. (Dining room is open 8-15-20)

Secret Recipe–2304 Coit Rd.. (Malaysian) Open daily to 9:30 pm (closed from 3 to 4:45 pm). Seems to be the best place in Dallas for Malaysian food. Menu is very large and it may be hard to know what to order or whether you are ordering one of the best dishes (my experience in Seattle is that there is no such thing as a bad dish when it comes to Malaysian food). Note: there is also a location at 1404 W. Hebron Pkwy. in Carrollton. (Takeout and delivery only 7-5-20)

Wu Wei Din–2909 W. 15th St. (Chinese) Closed Mon.  Authentic Sichuan style food. Some recommended items are mapo tofu, Singapore noodles, dan dan noodles. Some say it is Taiwanese, but if true this goes along with the spicy Chinese food they serve. (Takeout and delivery only 7-5-20)

Richardson

Bambu–1930 N. Coit Rd. (Thai) Closed Sun (and closed from 2:30 to 5:00 pm).  Isan style Thai. I think this is the real deal. Check out the blackboard specials. (Dining room is open 6-12-20)

Jeng Chi–400 N. Greenville Ave. (Chinese) Open daily (closed from 3 to 4 pm).  Soup dumplings (xiao long bao).  Ask server which dumplings are the best seller. Pork with garlic sauce is also an excellent choice. (Dining room is open 8-30-20)

Kirin Court–221 W. Polk St. (Chinese) Open Daily. Dim sum all day, 7 days a week (but the “special” dim sum is Sun. until 3 PM). People say dim sum is not west coast quality, but it is good. Also serves menu items (I liked the tofu and assorted meat hot pot). (Dining room is open 7-5-20)

Vegvana–100 S. Central Expressway (Indian) Closed Mon.  Vegetarian Indian food. Menu includes dosa, and has Indian style Chinese food. Reviews say it has very good food. (Dining room is open 7-27-20)

Rockwall

Curry Express–2014 S. Goliad St. (Indian) Closed Mon (and closed from 2:30 to 5 pm).  Reviews are so good, I get the impression it is worth the drive from other parts of the Dallas metro. Prices are good (they have a lunch special with limited choices but especially good prices). It is small and seems to be basic (I don’t know if they have Indian pickle for added flavor to the food) but reviewers say the food is so flavorful you don’t need anything else. (Takeout and delivery only 8-15-20)

Rowlett

Sabaidee Lao & Thai–5701 President George Bush Hwy. (Lao) Open daily 11 am to 10 pm.  This is a Lao & Thai restaurant, but the word “Sabaidee” is a greeting in the Lao language, and this tells me which type of food is really the specialty here (although reviewers like both of them). Small restaurant with limited table space (it might be best to go during the “off” hours). It is said to be “street food,” but if you order curry, pad thai, etc. the orders are full size. Also at 5200 Lemmon Ave. in Dallas. (Takeout and delivery only 7-5-20)

Southlake

Pho B.A.E.–2120 E. Southlake Blvd. (Vietnamese) Open daily (closes at 7 pm Sun).  Pho, banh mi, and vermicelli bowls with very good reviews. (Dining room is open 7-5-20)

Ristorante Mulino–1125 Davis Blvd. (Italian) Closed Mon.  Reviewers say it is authentic and very delicious, but BYOB. (Dining room is open 7-5-20)

University Park

Bubba’s–6617 Hillcrest Ave. (American) Open daily 6:30 am to 10 pm. Known for its fried chicken (which is almost universally praised, although some say it is too salty). The owner of this restaurant also has Babe’s (with several locations throughout the Metroplex), but Bubba’s stands out because the side dishes are better (although at Babe’s you get all the sides you can eat).  Some say the chicken and dumplings are the best dish here. Banana pudding is good for dessert. (Dining room is open 7-5-20)

 

Notes About This List:

This is a “master list” of restaurants that I have seen on the Internet or other sources and would like to try, or that I think would be of interest to others.  I do not mean for this to be an exhaustive list of every good place to eat, but it should represent a good sample of the most interesting or unique restaurants, along with a few that best represent an area’s regional cuisine.  My own recommendations are in Bold.

I am not looking to include:

  • Fine dining (unless they are unique because of regional specialties)
  • Low end restaurants that are popular with locals but may not be of much interest to travelers or people in general (everyone will have to use their judgment on this one)

Extra consideration for the following:

  • The food is organic, fresh, healthy, or farm to table
  • The restaurant serves a relatively hard to find type of ethnic food and reviews are good

In addition to the regular guidelines I try to include:

  • The best Asian restaurants in the area even if they are not totally authentic
  • Particularly good Mexican restaurants (this usually means the food is from a particular state in Mexico or it is one of the best examples of a U.S. regional style)

Please feel free to leave your own comments or suggestions.

 

Sources:

Chowhound (Dallas-Fort Worth)

City-Data (Dallas)

Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Urbanspoon.com (former web site which I used for preliminary research)

Yelp (Dallas)

Zomato (Dallas)

 

Restaurant Guide–Austin

Restaurant Guide Main Index


Texas

Dallas/Ft Worth | El Paso | Houston | San Antonio


  • Date indicates the most recent update of the restaurants listed
  • Bold indicates my recommendations; others come from what I consider to be good sources (see bottom of page for further explanation)

Austin

Balkan Cafe–11800 N. Lamar Blvd. (Serbian) Open daily (open to 11pm on weekends).  Sampler plate is good for first time visitors, or order something from the menu (gulash or the kabobs are a good choice). (Dining room is open 6-13-20)

Chen’s Noodle House–8650 Spicewood Springs (Chinese) Closed Tue.  Go for hand shaved noodles and scallion pancakes (and a lot of other good stuff). Home cooking style of food. (Takeout only 6-13-20)

China Palace–6605 Airport Blvd. (Chinese) Open Daily except Sun lunch.  Ask for the Chinese menu which has authentic Taiwanese dishes (but the regular menu is good also). (Takeout only 6-13-20)

Chinatown–3407 Greystone Dr. (Chinese) Open daily 11am to 9:30pm.  I have always been very impressed with this restaurant, and I understand it has gotten even better by adding dim sum and other authentic items.  When I went the best items were the spicy Szechuan style dishes.  Reviewers say it now offers authentic and Americanized dishes, and all of them are good. (Dining room is open 6-13-20)

Din Ho Chinese BBQ–8557 Research Blvd. (Chinese) Wed-Sun 11am to 8:30 pm.  Sounds like it would be one of my favorite places for authentic Chinese food. Chinese BBQ is the specialty of the restaurant. Also has hot pot dishes. (Takeout only 6-13-20)

El Naranjo–2717 S. Lamar Blvd. (Mexican) Dinner only (closed Sun & Mon). Mexican with chef from Oaxaca City. Along with Fonda San Miguel, it is supposed to be the best authentic Mexican food in Austin. (Dining room is open-reservations seem like a good idea 6-13-20)

Fat Dragon–8650 Spicewood Springs Rd. (Chinese) Closed Mon.  Serves soup dumplings (xiao long bao). Has a number of other authentic dishes, and some (but not all) look Sichuanese or other types of spicy dishes. Food looks very good but it is mainly dinners (you are not going to get lunch specials here although some dishes are no more expensive than a typical Chinese lunch). (Takeout and delivery only 7-18-20)

Fonda San Miguel–2330 W. North Loop Blvd. (Mexican) Dinner only Mon-Sat; Brunch Sun.  This is the type of upscale, authentic Mexican food I would like to see in every city, but it has been in Austin for 30 years. There are so many good items here it is hard to pick a favorite, but you can try several of them if you go for Sunday brunch. (Google says it is takeout only but web site says they have brunch on Sun, so I think one of these sites has to have the wrong information 6-13-20)

Franklin BBQ–900 E. 11th St. (BBQ) Open 11 am to 3 pm (closed Mon). Reputed to be the best BBQ in Austin (and maybe in Texas). Standing in line for the food seems to be the norm. Restaurant opens at 11:00 AM, and many people start standing in line well before this time. (Takeout only 6-13-20)

Hoover’s–2002 Manor Rd. (Southern) Open daily 11 am to 10 pm.  Discussion boards indicate that it has the best chicken fried steak in Austin (and that Threadgill’s is a close second). This is a meat plus three restaurant and apparently not everything served here is great, but when I lived in Austin the meat + 3 concept provided some of my best meals there. Chicken fried chicken is also popular here. (Takeout only 7-9-20)

Iron Works BBQ–100 Red River St. (BBQ) Open 11 am to 9 pm (closed Sun). Reviewers recommend Beef ribs, brisket, banana pudding, and say the sauce is excellent. I mostly remember it for the chopped brisket. (Dining room is open 6-13-20)

Kerbey Lane Cafe–3704 Kerbey Ln. (Cafe) Open daily 7 am to 10 pm. Good for late night eating (much healthier than most of the alternatives). This is a farm to market restaurant and does serve meat, but I knew it as one of the best places for vegetarian food. (Dining room is open 7-9-20)

Licha’s Cantina–1306 E. 6th St. (Mexican) Dinner Tue-Sat; lunch Sat & Sun.  Authentic Puebla and Oaxaca style Mexican food according to reviews and looking at the dishes served. In a bar and patio setting (the food is fairly upscale but the atmosphere is not). (Takeout only 7-18-20)

Madam Mam’s–9911 Brodie Ln. (Thai) Open Daily. I read that Austin has over 70 Thai restaurants, and this is on the top of my list to try because of its reviews (also I liked the Thai rest. that was the predecessor of Madam Mam’s on Guadalupe). MM’s has two other locations, but the one on Guadalupe is closed. This location has the best reviews. (Takeout only 7-9-20)

Matt’s El Rancho–2613 S. Lamar Blvd. (Tex-Mex) Open Daily.  This is one of Austin’s longest running Tex-Mex restaurants, and one of its most popular. Has a large menu that will give a good “Austin Tex-Mex experience” (it may be especially good for those who have never had Austin Tex-Mex food before). (Dining room is open 6-13-20)

Mother’s Cafe–4215 Duval St. (Vegetarian) Open daily except Sat lunch & Sun lunch. Soups are good, and I liked a lot of the dishes. The mushroom stroganoff was disappointing, though (usually my favorite vegetarian dish). (Takeout and delivery only 7-9-20)

Mrs. Johnson’s Bakery–4909 Airport Rd. (Bakery) Open daily midnight to noon and 8 pm to midnight. Get donuts fresh out of the oven. The glazed donuts coming off the conveyor belt are the best I have ever had (seriously!). A good time to go is about 9:00 PM. (Takeout and delivery only 7-9-20)

Ramen Tatsu Ya–8557 Research Blvd. (Japanese) Open daily 11 am to 10 pm. Specialty is tonkotsu ramen. This is probably one of the best ramen places in the Southwest, if not the country. Also at 1234 S. Lamar. (Takeout and delivery only 7-9-20)

Rice Bowl–11220 N. Lamar Blvd. (Taiwanese) Open daily (closed 2:30 to 4:30 pm).  Authentic food has good reviews, although they mention that there is also an Americanized menu. Onion pancake and three cup chicken are favorites. Vegetarian food is popular here. (Takeout and delivery only 7-18-20)

Sao Paulo’s–2809 San Jacinto Blvd. (Brazilian) Lunch Mon-Sat; dinner Thu-Sat. The most recommended place in town for Brazilian food other than a steakhouse or food truck (in other words, you can sit down and enjoy a traditional Brazilian meal here). (Takeout only 7-9-20)

Sichuan River–4534 West Gate Blvd. (Chinese) Open daily 11 am to 9:30 pm.  Reviewers say this is authentic Sichuanese food. Photos of the food posted on line convince me that this is the real deal. (Takeout and delivery only 6-13-20)

Wu Chow–500 W. 5th St. (Chinese) Dinner only (closed Sun & Mon).  Shanghai style noodles. Dim sum and steamed dumplings on menu. Reviewers say the food has a home made flavor. (Takeout only and menu seems to have changed-I think the dim sum selection is smaller than it used to be-also they have changed hours to dinner only 6-13-20)

Xian–1801 E. 51st St. (Chinese) Open daily (closed from 2:45 to 5 pm).  Hand pulled noodles and dumplings are good. (Takeout only 6-13-20)

Driftwood

Hays City Store–8989 FM 150 W (American) Open Daily.  This is said to be one of the top places in the Austin area for chicken fried steak. The menu is varied, though, and other items such as crab cakes also get good reviews. (Dining room is open but they are not serving brunch 7-9-20)

Salt Lick BBQ–18300 FM 1826 (BBQ) Open daily 11 am to 8 pm. Get ribs first, then brisket (ribs are best).  Has both beef and pork ribs. Sides seem to be a weakness of this place. Customarily has long lines waiting to get in. (Takeout only 7-9-20)

Lakeway

Pao’s Mandarin House–2300 Lohmans Spur (Taiwanese) Closed Tue (and closed from 3 to 4:30 pm).  Ask for the Chinese menu to get authentic food. Some say the tofu dishes are especially good. Most dishes look like they are good sized (meant to be served family style in order to share). (Dining room is open 6-13-20)

Santa Catarina–1310 Ranch Rd. 620 S. (Mexican) Open Daily. Authentic Oaxacan style food that is upscale and somewhat expensive, but worth it. Looks very good from reviews and photos, but some say it is not better than comparable places in Austin. (Dining room is open 6-13-20)

Pflugerville

Taste of Ethiopia–1100 Grand Ave. Parkway (Ethiopian) Open daily noon to 9 pm.  One of the better Ethiopian restaurants in the Austin area. For first time visitors the lunch buffet gives you a good taste of the different foods (available at lunch Mon-Fri). Also at 3801 S. Congress in Austin. (Dining room is open 7-9-20)

Round Rock

Pho Lee–2601 S. IH-35 (Vietnamese) Open daily 11 am to 10 pm.  Pho and vermicelli bowls are both very good. (Dining room is open 7-9-20)

Pho Viet–603 Louis Henna Blvd. (Vietnamese) Open daily 11 am to 9 pm.  One of the better Viet. rests. in the Austin area. This is the place to go to “explore the menu” (try items other than pho). Clay pots are especially good. Banh xeo is also recommended. (Dining room is open 7-9-20)

Thai Spoon–3720 Gattis School Rd. (Thai) Open daily except Sun lunch.  Very good reviews. Green curry, Panang curry, drunken noodles, chicken pad thai are recommended. (Dining room is open at 50 percent capacity 7-9-20)

Veracruz All Natural–2711 La Frontera Blvd. (Mexican) Breakfast and lunch only (open daily).  Authentic Mexican food, but you only get the healthy stuff. Specializes in tacos. (Takeout only 7-9-20)

Taylor

Louie Mueller BBQ–206 W. 2nd St. (BBQ) Lunch only (closed Sun).  This is supposedly one of the best BBQ places around. Ribs, brisket, and sausage are recommended. (Dining room is open at reduced capacity 7-9-20)

 

Special Note About Mexican Food (Feb 2017):

There are really three types of Mexican food that are of note in Austin: (1) Tex-Mex, (2) tacos and street food and (3) authentic food from the Mexican interior, particularly alta cocina. I have listed a little bit of Tex-Mex on this list simply because I think Austin and San Antonio are the best places for it. For tacos I have seen so many recommendations that I really could not pick out one or two places to list here (but when I start to see a consensus about certain places I will add them).

For this list I concentrate mainly on authentic restaurants (the ones at which I have eaten are in bold). Most of the restaurants on this list were found using the old Urbanspoon web site, and I have confirmed that they are good choices with Yelp. This does not mean they are the best Mexican restaurants in Austin, but I do believe the ones identified as “Mexican” (as opposed to Tex-Mex) are authentic.

There was a discussion on City-Data about authentic Mexican food that I think adds excellent recommendations to the ones I already have. These are some of the recommendations for which I think there is a pretty good consensus:

  • Fonda San Miguel (very good-already on my list)
  • Sazon (1816 S. Lamar–Open Daily) Has mole and pozole, but the conchita pibil is a favorite
  • Santa Catarina (on my list, in Lakeway, but there is another location in Cedar Park). Rellenos en nogada is recommended

The C-D discussion also made a point about restaurants that should not be recommended as authentic, with Trudy’s being mentioned. I would add Chuy’s to the list.

 

Notes About This List:

This is a “master list” of restaurants that I have seen on the Internet or other sources and would like to try, or that I think would be of interest to others.  I do not mean for this to be an exhaustive list of every good place to eat, but it should represent a good sample of the most interesting or unique restaurants, along with a few that best represent an area’s regional cuisine.  My own recommendations are in Bold.

I am not looking to include:

  • Fine dining (unless they are unique because of regional specialties)
  • Low end restaurants that are popular with locals but may not be of much interest to travelers or people in general (everyone will have to use their judgment on this one)

Extra consideration for the following:

  • The food is organic, fresh, healthy, or farm to table
  • The restaurant serves a relatively hard to find type of ethnic food and reviews are good

In addition to the regular guidelines I try to include:

  • The best Asian restaurants in the area even if they are not totally authentic
  • Particularly good Mexican restaurants (this usually means the food is from a particular state in Mexico or it is one of the best examples of a U.S. regional style)

Please feel free to leave your own comments or suggestions.

 

Sources:

Chowhound (Austin)

City Data (Authentic Mexican Food)

Google Maps

TripAdvisor (Chicken Fried Steak Rec’s)

Urbanspoon.com (former web site which I used for preliminary research)

Yelp (Austin)

Zomato (Austin)

 

Restaurant Guide–Texas

Restaurant Guide Main Index


Austin Metro Area

Dallas/Fort Worth Metro Area

El Paso Metro Area

Houston Metro Area

San Antonio Metro Area


  • Date indicates the most recent update of the restaurants listed
  • Bold indicates my recommendations; others come from what I consider to be good sources (see bottom of page for further explanation)

Abilene

Belle’s Chicken Dinner House–2002 N. Clack St. (American) Lunch Thu-Sun, dinner Thu-Sat.  Primarily serves fried chicken and chicken fried steak with bottomless sides. (Takeout only 6-23-20)

Don Luis Cafe–3370 N. 1st St. (Cuban) Open daily.  Also serves Mexican food, but the Cuban is what most reviewers like. (Takeout only 6-23-20)

Krua Thai–790 S. Leggett (Thai) Open Daily.  Reviewers think it is excellent. (Takeout only 6-23-20)

Mian Bistro–6410 Buffalo Gap Rd. (Chinese) Open 11 am to 9 pm (closed Mon).  Said to be authentic (Szechuan has authentic dishes but much of the menu is not). This is also more home style while Szechuan is more upscale. (Takeout only 6-23-20)

Stillwater Barbeque–3365 S. 14th St. (BBQ) Lunch Tue-Sat; dinner Tue-Fri. Good reviews–get brisket, ribs, or turkey. Unique sauces (different kinds) that are made specifically for the different meats served. Reviews are a little better for The Shed, but Stillwater is said to be excellent also and is open all day to 8 pm (3 pm on Sat). (Takeout only 6-23-20)

Szechuan–3425 S. 1st St. (Chinese) Open daily until 9:30 pm (9 pm on Sun).  Very good Chinese, but it’s even better if you get one of the authentic dishes. Szechuan chicken with black bean sauce is very good. (Dining room is open 6-23-20)

The Shed Market–6382 Buffalo Gap Rd. (BBQ) Lunch only (closed Sun & Mon).  This is said to be a top tier barbecue restaurant (it is primarily a meat market but they sell BBQ for lunch until they run out). They open at 11 am but I don’t know what time you need to get there for the BBQ. Brisket is probably the most popular meat, but everything is said to be good. (Takeout only 6-23-20)

Note: Also see listing for Buffalo Gap

Alamo

Jalisco Mexico Taqueria–707 N. Alamo Rd. (Mexican) Open daily 7am to 11pm.  Great place for street tacos, tortas, etc. (1-21-19)

Albany

Fort Griffin–525 US 180 W (Steakhouse) Closed Sun & Mon.  Known for its steaks and chicken fried steak, but has chicken, seafood, sandwiches, etc. that reviewers say have good flavors. Note: Perini Ranch in Buffalo Gap is generally regarded as being better if you are just going for the steaks. (5-28-19)

Alice

El Jalisiense–1915 E. Main St. (Mexican) Open daily 6 am to 10 pm.  Authentic taqueria style Mexican food, but has a very diverse menu. Some say for breakfast, though, go to Juanita’s. (1-21-19)

Evant Cafe–202 N. US 281 (American).  Reviewers say it has very good home cooked style meals. They have recently added Mexican food, and this is said to be good as well. (1-21-19)

Alpine

Alicia’s–708 E. Gallego Ave. (Mexican) Breakfast & lunch only.  Breakfast burritos are very popular. Green chile is spicy. (5-28-19)

Reata–203 N. 5th St. (Steakhouse) Closed Sun (and closed from 2 pm to 5 pm).  Steakhouse that also has some Mexican dishes. This is a branch of Reata in Fort Worth–this one is not executed quite as well but is still worthwhile (according to reviewers). (5-28-19)

Thai-Way–100 N. 5th St. (Thai) Closed Sun & Mon (and closed from 2 to 4 pm).  Food seems to be very authentic, but it is served from a food truck with picnic tables outside where you can eat. Located across the street from the Amtrak station. (5-28-19)

Amarillo

Bangkok–5901 E. Amarillo Blvd. (Thai) Closed Wed.  Very good Thai food, and some describe it as “home style” Thai (I think this is a good description). The building is old, so go for the food and not the ambiance. Cash only (no checks or credit cards). (Takeout only 6-11-20)

Calico County–2410 Paramount Blvd. (American) Open daily 7 am to 9 pm.  Older reviews said this was a good place for steaks. Current reviews say it is an American restaurant with an interesting menu and good food (it may have steaks but the reviews do not say). Chicken fried steak, turkey and dressing (special on Sundays), chicken pot pie, catfish are some of the choices. (Dining room is open 6-11-20)

El Tejavan–3801 E. Interstate 40 (Mexican) Open daily except Sun evening.  Authentic Mexican (not Tex-Mex). I highly recommend it for breakfast, except for the fact that it does not open until 8:30 am (Yelp says it is now 10:30 am, but the location at 3420 W. Interstate 40 opens at 8:00 am). (Takeout only 6-11-20)

Hoffbrau–7203 W. Interstate 40 (Steaks) Open Daily.  This is not a fancy or high end steak house, but it is steak with real flavor and which I believe comes from local sources. (Dining room is open 6-11-20)

Ly’s Cafe–5615 E. Amarillo Blvd. (Lao) Closed Mon.  I like this because it is exclusively Lao, and seems to be authentic. Two other restaurants in the same shopping center have some Lao dishes on the menu, though (Super Bowl Noodles and Thai House). (Takeout only 6-11-20)

Sabaidee–3318 S. Georgia St. (Lao) Closed Sun.  Reviewers like the Thai food, but has Lao food (and sticky rice). (Takeout only 6-11-20)

Tyler’s BBQ–3301 Olsen Blvd. (BBQ) Open Tue-Sat 11 am to 6 pm.  Well regarded BBQ. Ribs are recommended. (Takeout only 6-11-20)

Andrews

A Little Taste of Heaven–600 S. Main St. (American) Closed Sun).  Diner food, but not everything is greasy spoon food (has some healthy options). Burger, chicken salad, and strawberry shortcake are recommended. (2-15-19)

Buddy’s Drive In–106 E. Broadway St. (American) Closed Mon.  Featured on the “Texas Bucket List” as a place that is very popular with locals and about which multiple generations have fond memories. Steak fingers are the specialty. (2-15-19)

La Morena–500 S. Main St. (Mexican).  Reviewers say the food goes well beyond the typical small town Mexican food–it is authentic and delicious. They particularly like the salsas–red (mild) and green (hot). Burritos are recommended. (2-15-19)

Taqueria Los Gavanes–105 NE Ave. F (Mexican) Closed Sun.  Basic but very good taco restaurant (authentic Mexican style). (2-15-19)

Beeville

Gasthaus Berliner Bear–2510 N. St. Marys Rd. (German) Lunch Tue-Sat; dinner Fri & Sat.  Authentic German food (owner is from Germany). Schnitzel is the specialty (and very good). (Dining room is open 7-22-20)

Belton

Miller’s Smokehouse–300 E. Central Ave. (BBQ) Open 11 am to 3 pm (closes 9 pm on Fri & Sat).  This is generally considered to be one of the best barbecue restaurants in Texas. Brisket is especially popular, but ribs and pulled pork are also said to be excellent. Banana pudding is another must try. (5-12-19)

Bonham

Bamboo House–413 N. Main St. (Asian) Closed Tue & closed Sun evening.  Like many small town Asian restaurants, this place serves Chinese, sushi, Thai, Vietnamese, and probably some other types of food. Unlike many of its counterparts, though, Bamboo House apparently does all of these very well. It sounds as if the owners are actually Thai, and people were particularly complimenting the Thai food, but many other things receive compliments as well. (5-28-19)

Brady

Mac’s BBQ–1903 S. Bridge St. (BBQ).  This was the “other” BBQ joint in town (The Spread, which is now closed, was considered along with Mac’s to be the two top contenders). Compared to The Spread Mac’s was said to have less choice of meats, a better choice of side dishes, good desserts (banana pudding), and more choices other than BBQ (such as chicken fried steak). Some say the sauce is weak here (thin and not very tasty). I would say, though, that in Texas the sauce is of lesser importance than with other types of BBQ. Mac’s changed owners in about 2015, and since then the reviews have been good (I think better than before). (4-29-19)

Brownsville

3 Marias–3231 Pablo Kisel Blvd. (Mexican) Open daily except Sun evening.  Known for its quesadillas, but reviewers say all the food is fresh and authentic. Has mole. (Dining room is open 7-22-20)

Mr. Taco–1034 McDavitt Blvd. (Mexican) Open Daily.  Authentic street tacos. Cheese is Mexican white cheese (not American style). Very good reviews for the tacos. (I don’t know if dining room is open 7-22-20)

Pho and Chinese–2155 Ruben Torres Blvd. (Vietnamese and Chinese) Open Daily.  Reviewers say this is the best Asian restaurant in the valley, and that both Vietnamese and Chinese food are good. (Takeout only 7-22-20)

The best fish dinner I ever had was in Matamoros, so consider crossing the border if the security situation permits. For seafood restaurants in the U.S., it seems to be best to go to Port Isabel or South Padre Island.

Bryan

Bavarian Brauhaus–109 N. Main St. (German) Dinner only (closed Sun).  Specializes in schnitzel (comes in various variations with different sauces). Reviewers say it is very good. (Dining room is open 7-7-20)

Chicken Oil Co.–3600 S. College Ave. (Burgers) Open Daily 11 am to 8 pm.  Good hamburgers, but I think the main attraction is the building (good college ambiance). (I believe the dining room is open 7-7-20)

El Sol de Mexico–705 N. Texas Ave. (Mexican) Open Daily.  Authentic (serves aguas frescas). Reviewers say food is excellent. (I don’t know if the dining room is open 7-7-20)

J Cody’s Steaks and BBQ–3610 S. College Ave. (Steaks & BBQ) Open daily except Sun evening.  I have read that this is the successor to Tom’s Bar-B-Que (a BCS institution for barbecue which I was able to try). BBQ ribs, t-bone and rib eye steaks, and cornbread are particularly recommended. There are mixed reviews on the brisket (I think it depends on when you go). (Dining room is open 7-7-20)

Kluay Kluay Thai–3203 Freedom Blvd. (Thai) Open Daily.  Reviewers say it is high quality Thai (like food served in big cities) and that lunch specials are a very good deal. (Dining room open at 25 percent capacity 7-7-20)

Taqueria Poblana–3200 Boonville Rd. (Mexican) Closed Sun.  Real deal Mexican food that specializes in tacos al pastor. (I don’t know if the dining room is open 7-7-20)

Buffalo Gap

Perini Ranch–3002 FM 89 (Steakhouse) Lunch Fri-Sun; dinner Tue-Sun.  Winner of multiple awards and recommendations for its steak (the atmosphere of being on a ranch also helps). About 1 mi. w. of Buffalo Gap. (Dining room is open 9-10-20)

Cameron

Dutch Towne Deli & Cafe–412 W. Batte St. (Sandwiches) Open 7 am to 3 pm daily.  This is not the typical sandwich shop–food is more toward the gourmet end. Also has daily specials such as meat loaf and chicken and dumplings. (Takeout only 7-7-20)

Hayashi–1607 N. Travis Ave. (Japanese) Closed Sat.  Big city style Japanese food (owner used to have a restaurant in Houston). Will prepare items off the menu for an authentic meal. (Takeout only 7-7-20)

Canyon

Ranch House Cafe–810 23rd St. (American) Open daily 8 am to 2 pm (temporary hours).  Most popular for breakfast, where you get the standards you would expect in West Texas (pancakes, chicken fried steak, omelets, etc.). Most reviewers say the weak point is the coffee. (Takeout only-they bring it outside to you in the parking lot 6-11-20)

Sayakomarn Thai & Lao–419 16th St. (Thai) Closed Sun (and closed from 3 to 5 pm).  Green curry is a favorite of reviewers. (Takeout only 6-11-20)

College Station

555 Grill–2501 S. Texas Ave. (Chinese) Dinner Tue-Sun; lunch Sat & Sun.  Good reviews–at least some of the dishes seem to be authentic (Sichuan style). (I don’t know if the dining room is currently open 7-7-20)

Conway

Thai and Chinese–299 Texas Hwy 207 (Thai) Closed Sun. I’m working with limited information about the name of the restaurant, the address, and the hours.  What I believe is correct is that it is located just off of Interstate 40 Exit 96 (the Conway exit east of Amarillo) and that the Thai food is good (according to the one review I have seen). Located on the south side of Interstate 40. (2-26-19)

Copperas Cove

Yongs–310 Cove Terrace Shopping Center (Korean) Closed Mon. This is a market and restaurant (comments are very good for their Korean food). Everything is made from scratch, and the owners say if you want vegetarian they can put tofu instead of meat in some dishes. It sounds as if other special requests can be honored as well. Bulgogi (beef) is their most popular item. (Takeout only 9-5-20)

Yum Yum Thai–107 Cove Terrace Shopping Center (Thai) Closed Mon.  Reviewers say the food tastes like a “Thai mom” would make in her own home. (Takeout only 9-5-20)

Note: C & H Hawaiian Grill at 105 E. Ave. E is also highly rated–see Killeen listings for info. on their sister restaurant.

Corpus Christi

Ginger Cafe–7009 S. Staples St. (Middle Eastern) Open daily except Sun evening. Lebanese cuisine. Menu has vegan and vegetarian dinners. Reviews seem to be best for the meat items, but they also seem to do the small things right such as the hummus. (Dining room is open 6-23-20)

Linda’s–4033 Gollihar Rd. (Tex-Mex) Open daily except Sun evening.  Breakfast tacos, puffy tacos, enchiladas with green sauce, carne guisada are very popular. This seems to be a favorite place with locals. Has freshly made flour tortillas which are particularly popular. (Takeout only 6-23-20)

Little Manila Lumpia House–2124 Waldron Rd. (Filipino) Closed Sun.  Pancit and Shanghai lumpias are recommended. Very cheap, but since it is a small family run business the service is slow when there are a lot of customers. (Takeout only 6-23-20)

Salt Water Grill–2401 Cimarron Blvd. (Seafood) Open daily 11 am to 10 pm. Popular place for fried fish and seafood. Ask for the fresh catch of the day. (Dining room is open 6-23-20)

Snoopy’s Pier–13313 S. Padre Island Dr. (Seafood) Open daily to 10 pm. Popular for fried fish, fried shrimp, fish & chips. Many recommend the mahi mahi. On the waterfront with a good view. (Dining room is open 6-23-20)

Thai Cottage–5830 McArdle Rd. (Thai) Closed Sun (and closed from 2 to 5 pm). Reviewers recommend ginger chicken and stir fried dishes. Most say the curries are not as good. Downscale atmosphere (tables are crowded, etc.). (Dining room is open 6-23-20)

The Blue Clove–5884 Everhart Rd. (Seafood) Dinner only (closed Mon).  Recommended items include snapper with pesto sauce, pecan crusted snapper, butterfly shrimp, mahi mahi. Also has Mexican food and Mexican style seafood. Some say it is as good as the upscale restaurants at less than half the price. (Dining room is open 6-23-20)

Vietnam–701 N. Water St. (Vietnamese) Closed Sun, closed Sat lunch. Good pho, but most other things on the menu seem to be better (or at least more popular). Lemongrass chicken is recommended. Seems to have a lot of menu items you don’t find elsewhere (such as hot pot). Called a “quiet restaurant with a nice wine collection.” (Dining room is open 6-23-20)

Z Counter–1220 Airline Rd. (Asian Fusion) Open Daily.  Mainly Filipino and Korean food (the fusion seems to be serving different national cuisines together rather than making them non-authentic or Americanized). Green onion pancakes are quite popular. For Filipino food the pancit is especially recommended. (Takeout only 6-23-20)

Note: for Mexican seafood it looks as if the best bet is La Playa in Port Aransas

Corsicana

Collin St. Bakery–401 W. 7th Ave. (Bakery) Open Daily.  Known for their fruitcake. Has cookies–cherry icebox, cinnamon vanilla. Their locations on I-45 and Bellmead (Waco) serve sandwiches but reviewers say the bakery is the main reason to come. (Dining room is open 9-10-20)

Corsicana Garden–111 Northwood Blvd. (Chinese) Closed Sat evening & Sun.  Some indicate they have authentic dishes–dumplings are available and the menu includes salty fish (but I don’t know if it is the Chinese style salty fish). What is obvious, though, is that the food is fresh and flavorful, so it looks worthwhile whether authentic or not. (I don’t know if the dining room is open 9-10-20)

Del Rio

El Patio–1206 E. Gibbs St. (Mexican) Open daily including breakfast. The specialty is enchiladas suizas (which in my experience have always been good when they are done the right way, and reviews say they are). It is pretty clear, though, that this is not authentic Mexican food, but Tex-Mex. (5-11-19)

La Hacienda–330 Pecan St. (Mexican) Open daily to 7 pm (9 pm on Fri, 6 pm on Sun).  Has consistently good reviews. Mole is popular. Many items seem to be Tex-Mex style, but people say they are better than at the other restaurants. (5-11-19)

Pho Rio–321 S. Main St. (Vietnamese) Closed Sun.  Reviewers say the pho is fine but you do not get basil with it. They do like the fact that there is some decent Asian food in town. (5-11-19)

Denison

Cotton Patch Cafe–500 N. US 75 (Southern) Open Daily.  Has all the Southern favorites including chicken and dumplings (which seems to be particularly recommended). Note: this is a local chain in the north Texas area. (9-10-20)

Dickinson

Flippers Coastal Seafood–628 FM 517 W (Seafood) Open Daily.  Has Cajun style seafood, which reviewers say is very good. (5-28-19)

Pho 20–2251 FM 646 W. (Vietnamese) Closed Sun.  For quality it is similar to Houston restaurants, but not as many menu options (the menu is large, though, for the Galveston-Texas City area). Sushi is also said to be quite good. (5-28-19)

Dublin

Dr. Pepper Museum–105 E. Elm St. (Soda Shop) Closed Mon. Serves pure cane sugar Dr. Pepper (the way it was originally made). Note: The Soda Shop is actually next door to the museum (both have the same address). (5-11-19)

Dumas

Hoggs BBQ–5928 US 87 (BBQ) Closed Mon.  Located at the airport west of town, the reviews are very good for brisket, pulled pork, and others. Open at 8 am Sat & Sun, when breakfast is available (pancakes are popular). BBQ is served after 11 am. (5-8-19)

Eastland

Circle M BBQ–345 IH-20 E (BBQ) Open 11 am to 9 pm (closed Sun & Mon). Reviewers say this is worthy of being called Texas BBQ (brisket and ribs are noteworthy). Chicken fried steak and hamburgers, though, are equally good. (5-28-19)

Edinburg

Lebanese Bistro–3832 S. McColl Rd. (Lebanese) Open daily except Sun evening.  Many people (who have traveled to many other cities) say the falafel here is the best they have ever eaten (when it was previously in McAllen). (Dining room is open 7-22-20)

El Campo

Prasek’s Hillje Smokehouse–29714 US 59 (BBQ) Open Daily. Chopped beef sandwich, chicken, kolaches, homemade pies. Reviewers say the selection and quality of kolaches is second to none. For smoked meats the selection here is also very impressive. Junior’s in Wharton also has a Czech-Texas combination of food, but seems to specialize in sausage. (3-25-19)

Ellinger

Hruska’s Bakery–109 W. Hwy 71 (Kolaches) Open Daily.  Many say this is the best place to stop for kolaches between Houston and Austin. (5-28-19)

Fannin

McMillan’s Bar-B-Que–9913 US Hwy 59 N (BBQ) Open daily–lunch only (open to 7 pm Thu-Sun).  Many say this is the best BBQ they have found in Texas, even if they have been to Franklin’s, City Market, or Black’s. Ribs and brisket are the most popular meats (but the owner likes to recommend brisket or the rib eye steak). This is in a small town east of Goliad, though, so it doesn’t have the following that the other places do (not all reviewers agree that it would be deserved, but many do, and it is interesting that they make the comparison to these icons of Texas BBQ). Meat is cooked with a combination of mesquite, pecan and oak. (3-25-19)

Flint

Purple Pig–19785 Hwy 155 S. (BBQ) Open Daily.  Brisket and pulled pork sandwiches are good. Also has catfish. (2-26-19)

Fort Stockton

Mi Casita–405 E. Dickinson Blvd. (Tex-Mex) Open Tue-Fri (lunch & dinner).  Not authentic Mexican food, but gives a good taste of Tex-Mex. (5-11-19)

Fredericksburg

Auslander–323 E. Main St. (German) Closed Wed.  Reviewers say it is not as good as Der Lindenbaum, but has a better beer selection. Many people get steak. Side dishes are good. For German food most people recommend the sausages, Reuben, or other sandwiches. (Dining room is open 7-22-20)

Der Lindenbaum–312 E. Main St. (German) Closed Tue (this schedule is seasonal).  Jagerschnitzel is recommended. Visa and Mastercard are not accepted (most people pay cash). (Dining room is open 7-22-20)

Hill Top Cafe–10661 N. US 87 (Southwest & Greek) Closed Mon and closed from 2 to 5 pm.  Locally run–popular but can have problems with service when there are too many customers. People like to get a mixture of Greek and Cajun influenced dishes. (Dining room is open 7-22-20)

Otto’s–316 E. Austin St. (German) Dinner daily (4 pm to 10 pm).  Doesn’t take reservations and there is a frequent wait to get in. Upscale food–German, but modern style. Come here for what some say is the best food experience (not necessarily traditional German style, and particularly not “tourist style” German). Duck schnitzel is an example of the nontraditional dishes served. (Dining room is open 7-22-20)

Galveston

BLVD Seafood–28th & Seawall Blvd. (Seafood) Open daily (open until 9 pm-10pm on weekends). Good reviews for a wide variety of seafood. Bar atmosphere (loud) but good food. Reservations recommended for dinner. Some say you can get the same food for half the price at other places, but the good thing about this restaurant is that you know the seafood is locally sourced. (Apparently the dining room is open 6-23-20)

Darlene’s Shrimp Shack–1727 61st St. (Seafood) Closed Mon & Tue.  Sells shrimp out of a food truck and you eat it on picnic tables or take it with you (it is not a restaurant). This is the place to go, though, if you want fresh fried shrimp (I do not know if some of the restaurants get their shrimp fresh every morning as Darlene’s does). (Takeout only but they have picnic tables 6-23-20)

Gaido’s–3828 Seawall Blvd. (Seafood) Open daily (open until 9 pm-10 pm weekends).  Upscale, has fresh seafood. May be a little hyped, but the sports bar (Nick’s) is cheaper and has the same chef (this may be a good alternative). Reviewers report that it is dated, though, as opposed to BLVD which serves “New American” style. (Dining room is open 6-23-20)

Happy Coffee Shop–5102 Broadway St. (Cambodian) Open daily (breakfast & lunch only–open until 3 pm weekdays).  Juice bar and smoothies. Serves Cambodian lunch specials (menu changes daily). Several people recommend the red curry over rice. Cambodian bread pudding is recommended for dessert. (2-27-19)

Pho 18–704 Holiday Dr. (Vietnamese) Closed Sun.  Reviewers say it is more expensive than the other pho restaurants in town, but also better (compares to the Houston restaurants). (Takeout only 6-23-20)

Rudy & Paco–2028 Post Office St. (Seafood) Lunch Mon-Fri; dinner Mon-Sat.  Upscale restaurant with Central American style seafood. Has fried shrimp, but it’s better known for things such as pistachio crusted sea bass. (Dining room is open 6-23-20)

Shrimp N Stuff–3901 Ave. O (Seafood) Open Daily. Fried shrimp, cole slaw, gumbo. Has large crowds but they can handle it. This is a neighborhood place (downscale). There is a second location at 216 23rd St. (Dining room is open at 25 percent capacity 6-23-20)

Gonzales

Baker Boys BBQ–1404 N. Sarah Dewitt Rd. (BBQ) Lunch only (closed Sun) open to 6 pm weekdays.  On the Texas Monthly list of the top 50 barbecue restaurants in Texas, and reviews support this designation. People like all of the meats served (brisket, ribs, turkey, etc.). Some say the brisket and ribs are the best they have ever had and some find minor imperfections in them, but I think this would be true of any top quality barbecue. (Takeout only 7-22-20)

Gonzales Food Market–311 St. Lawrence St. (BBQ) Open 9 am to 7 pm (closed Sun).  Some say this is better barbecue than in Luling. The brisket here is not what most people recommend, though (because it does not have a heavy rub). Many say get the ribs, chicken or sausage. Has lamb but some find it gamey. (I don’t know if the dining room is open 7-22-20)

Harlingen

Las Vegas–1101 W. Harrison Ave. (Mexican) Open 6 am to 9 pm (closed Sun). The food is said to be good in general, but best items are the daily specials (chile relleno on Mon, enchiladas suizas on Tue, etc.). Serves breakfast starting 6 am. Enchiladas appear to be Tex-Mex style. (Dining room is open 7-22-20)

Pacific Island Kitchen–2224 S. 77 Sunshine Strip (Filipino) Open 8 am to 6 pm (closed Sun).  Filipino plate is recommended (pancit, lumpia, and adobo). (Takeout only 7-22-20)

Hempstead

Hill Country BBQ–27004 Hwy. 6 (BBQ) Open Tue-Sun (lunch only Tue, Wed, Sun).  Real Texas BBQ. Brisket and banana pudding are said to be the best items. (5-28-19)

Hillsboro

R & K Cafe–103 N. Waco St. (American) Open daily except Sun evening.  This is one of the highest rated restaurants in town on Yelp–known for the meat with 3 sides. Spanish omelette is recommended for breakfast. Note: this is a local chain in the north Texas area. (Dining room is open 9-10-20)

Huntsville

Carbonero–1524 11th St. (El Salvadorian) Open daily except Sun evening.  One of the highest rated restaurants in Huntsville. Rotisserie chicken is said to be very good (and pupusas). (6-23-19)

Farmhouse Cafe–1004 14th St. (Southern) Closed Sun.  Those who like it say it is a very good place for chicken fried steak, fried chicken, and other home cooking style food. Those who don’t like it still actually like it, but say it is not any better than many other places. (6-23-19)

New Zion Missionary Baptist–2601 Montgomery Rd. (BBQ) Open Thu-Sat lunch & dinner.  Ribs, Sweet Potato pie (McKenzie’s may be better for brisket). (6-23-19)

Jasper

Senor Bill’s–N. Wheeler St. (BBQ).  Small BBQ joint that is the real deal. (5-28-19)

Son Asian Bistro–610 W. Gibson St. (Asian) Open Daily.  Serves several Asian cuisines. Reviews are good for Thai and Vietnamese, but not so good for the Chinese food. (5-28-19)

Jefferson

Joseph’s Riverport BBQ–201 N. Polk St. (BBQ) Lunch only (closed Mon).  Said to be one of the best BBQ places in TX. Ribs, brisket, sausage. Brisket seems to be especially good. (Takeout only 9-10-20)

Kerrville

Mary’s Tacos–1616 Broadway St. (Mexican) Breakfast & lunch only (open daily).  Taco restaurant that does not have an extensive menu, but it has good meats, authentic sauces, and home made tortillas. Breakfast tacos, burritos, and carne guisada are recommended. (Takeout only-this is the way they always operate 7-22-20)

Thai O’cha–417 Water St. (Thai) Open daily (closed from 2:30 to 5 pm). People say it is Thai food that is comparable to the restaurants in Austin or Houston. More dishes are recommended on the reviews than many Thai restaurants have on their whole menu. (Dining room is open 7-22-20)

Yeo-Bo’s Cafe–804 Water St. (Korean) Lunch only (closed Sat & Sun).  Stone bowl, bulgogi, and beef soup are said to be good choices. (Takeout only 7-22-20)

Kilgore

Country Tavern–1526 FM 2767 (BBQ) Closed Sun. Ribs are specialty, but brisket & turkey are also outstanding. West of town toward Tyler. Many say this is one of the best or the best BBQ place in Texas. (Dining room is open 9-10-20)

Killeen

C & H Hawaiian Grill–412 N. Ft. Hood St. (Hawaiian) Closed Sun. Reviewers say it is excellent Hawaiian food. For many the chicken is their favorite (katsu or teriyaki). Kalua pork and ribs are also very good. Note: also has a location in Copperas Cove. (I think it is takeout only 9-5-20)

Peking–1310 W. Stan Schlueter Loop (Korean) Closed Sun.  The most positive reviews are from people from Asia or who have been to Asia and say the food here is the same. It really specializes in Korean food, but also has Chinese food on the menu (which people say is pretty good as well). (Takeout and delivery only 9-5-20)

Tex-Rican–1026 S. Fort Hood St. (Puerto Rican) Lunch Wed-Sat; dinner Fri & Sat).  Reviewers say it is “down to earth home cooked food,” and “excellent with true Boricura flavor” (along with a number of similar comments).  Note: Hierba Fresca is another highly rated Puerto Rican restaurant in town. (I think it is takeout only 9-5-20)

Note: this list seems to be just scratching the surface of the ethnic food available in Killeen and the area around Fort Hood.

Kingsville

El Dorado–704 N. 14th St. (Mexican) Open daily except Sun evening (opens at 6 am).  Highly rated Mexican restaurant that serves plate dinners (is not a taco place or hole in the wall). (Takeout only 7-22-20)

Spice Station–809 W. King Ave. (Indian) Closed Sat evening & Sun.  Indian food in a gas station that reviewers say is authentic, flavorful, and spiced just right (but served on paper plates with plastic forks). (Dining room is open 7-22-20)

La Grange

Prause Meat Market–253 W. Travis St. (BBQ) Breakfast & lunch only (closed Sat & Sun).  Very popular Texas style BBQ. Ribs and brisket are recommended. (6-23-19)

Weikel’s Bakery–2247 W. Hwy 71 (Kolaches) Open Daily.  Cherry kolaches are recommended. (6-23-19)

Lampasas

Eve’s Cafe–521 E. 3rd St. (German) Lunch Mon-Sat; dinner Thu-Sat. Good schnitzel, reuben, & pastries. Side dishes are said to be of equal quality as the main items. (5-12-19)

Laredo

Comida Caribena–2819 San Bernardo Ave. (Cuban) Closed Sun dinner & Mon.  Reviewers say it has authentic Cuban food. (5-26-19)

Danny’s–4320 McPherson Ave. (Mexican).  Serves typical Mexican food representative of the Laredo area (this is one of multiple locations). Mole is probably the best bet. I think this is probably not the best food in Laredo, just the best example of the “old style” Tex-Mex Laredo food. Many like it mainly for breakfast. (5-26-19)

El Meson de San Augustin–908 Grant St. (Mexican) Lunch only–closes at 4:30 pm (closed Sun).  Pechuga de pollo rellena. From the photos this looks authentic and is a place I would want to try. (5-26-19)

Las Kekas–3914 McPherson Ave. (Mexican) Closed Sun evening & Mon.  Specializes in keka, a Mayan dish like a gordita. Authentic food from a region of Mexico not often represented by US restaurants. (5-26-19)

Palenque Grill–7220 NE Bob Bullock Loop (Mexican) Open Daily (open until midnight).  Authentic north Mexican style food in an upscale setting. (5-26-19)

Pho Oi–2348 Monarch Dr. (Vietnamese) Open Daily.  Laredo is not known for Asian food, but reviewers say this is authentic and good flavored. Vermicelli bowls are recommended. (5-26-19)

Lexington

Snow’s BBQ–516 Main St. (BBQ) Sat. only (open 8 AM until the meat runs out).  Reputed to be some of the best BBQ you can get. Ribs are the favorite, but some say the turkey is equally good. Beans are a good side dish. (2-10-19)

Llano

Cooper’s BBQ–604 W. Young St. (BBQ) Open Daily. Meat cooked in pits–select what you want. Many consider the brisket to be best (but all meats are popular). (5-12-19)

Lockhart

Black’s BBQ–215 N. Main St. (BBQ) Open daily 10 am to 8 pm.  Beef ribs & brisket are best, chicken is good, burnt ends are excellent, cherry cobbler and slaw are excellent (prob. better than Smitty’s). (6-23-19)

Smitty’s Market–208 S. Commerce St. (BBQ) Open daily until 6 pm.  Brisket, ribs, sausage. (6-23-19)

Longview

Bodacious Bar-B-Q–2227 S. Mobberly Ave. (BBQ) Lunch only (closed Sun & Mon).  Reviewers say this is excellent BBQ. Comments say most items here are better than at other places they know, but there is little consensus about what is the best thing to order here (everything is good). (I don’t have information about whether the dining room is open 9-10-20)

Lil Thai House–212 N. Fredonia St. (Thai) Lunch Tue-Fri; dinner Fri.  Reviewers say the food is authentic and delicious (it’s worth seeking out despite the restaurant’s limited hours). (I don’t have information about whether the dining room is open 9-10-20)

Ramen Saikou–1426 McCann Rd. (Japanese).  Good reviews (it may not be up to Dallas standards but it seems to be close). Good variety of ramen. Also has bao. (Dining room is open 9-10-20)

Lubbock

Abuelo’s–4401 82nd St. (Tex-Mex) Open daily 11 am to 10 pm.  I remember eating at what I think was the original Abuelo’s at about 50th and Slide near the Mall. It has since grown into a multi-state chain, and is no longer at the original location (or at least the old location), but I think they are giving us plenty of reasons to come back. I am impressed with the way it has progressed past just being a Tex-Mex restaurant– it offers several very authentic styled Mexican dishes that are very good (try the carnitas tacos). I also liked their New Mexico green sauce. Note: the OKC Abuelo’s has dropped the NM green sauce and other items from the menu after the Corona virus shutdown. (Dining room is open 6-11-20)

Aloha BBQ–9810 Indiana Ave. (Hawaiian) Closed Mon. Casual, fast food style rest. with Hawaiian plate lunches (the one in El Paso is very good). (Takeout only 6-11-20)

Cagle Steaks–8732 4th St. (Steaks) Dinner only (closed Sun & Mon).  Only serves rib eyes, but they are excellent.  One of the few steaks I have tried in west Texas that lives up to the hype. (Dining room is open 6-11-20)

Choochai Thai–2330 19th St. (Thai) Closed Sat evening & Sun. Very small hole in the wall with very good curries. When you order it spicy they are not shy in making it that way. (Takeout only 6-11-20)

Joel’s–3116 Amherst St. (Tex-Mex) Breakfast & lunch only (closed Mon).  Small neighborhood rest. that is the “go to” place for many locals. (Takeout only 6-11-20)

La Sirena–2610 Salem Ave. (Latin American) Dinner only (closed Sun & Mon).  This is supposed to be a more healthy version of Mexican food, and the menu changes according to what is fresh and in season. Has mole and other Mexican food, but the food is prepared differently than in a typical Mexican restaurant. Some items may be from other Latin American countries, but I am not sure. They majority of reviewers say this works and they enjoy the food. (Dining room is open 6-11-20)

Market Street–3405 50th St. (Deli) Open Daily. Located inside United Supermarket.  This is a fantastic place for take-home, or you can eat it in the store. Has a soup bar, salad bar, sandwiches, pizza, etc. (4-17-19)

Rain Cafe–2708 50th St. (American) Open daily 5:30 am to 9 pm. Diner type food that is very popular, buy they say service is not always good.  Get hamburger, chicken fried steak, etc. Note: Rain Uptown is also on many “best of” lists but serves Italian food and seems to be upscale. (Dining room is open 6-11-20)

Saigon Cafe–4515 50th St. (Vietnamese) Open 11 am to 8:30 pm (closed Sun).  This place has been consistently good for a number of years.  Good place for Vietnamese food novices (as I was when I first went) because they have pictures of all the dishes on the wall (and there is a quite large selection of dishes). (Takeout only 6-11-20)

Thai Kitchen–2302 Texas Ave. (Thai) Open 10:30 am to 9 pm (closed Tue).  A new place that opened in 2016, and which many say has replaced their previous favorite Thai restaurant. Pad thai is recommended, but also green curry and a variety of soups and noodle dishes. People say the flavors here are especially good. (Takeout only 6-11-20)

Vizo’s–4930 S. Loop 389 (African) Closed Mon.  Good reviews for a type of food that was not available in Lubbock previously but opened in 2019. I don’t think it matters what you order–everything gets good reviews. (Takeout only 6-11-20)

Note: Lubbock has many good eats, some of them in unexpected places (such as United Supermarket). Most Mexican, Chinese, and Italian that locals have said are good have been disappointing to me. I think there are good steaks other than Cagle’s, but I haven’t tried them and can’t recommend a specific one. Tokyo Japanese Steakhouse is not listed on “Steve’s List,” but it was interesting because you can talk to the other people around the table. It is hard to go wrong with any sandwich or lunch places in Lubbock. Josie’s was good for breakfast burritos. I found some really good smoothies near the Texas Tech campus, but I don’t know the names of specific ones. Lubbock had the last remaining Harrigan’s that I knew about–it is now gone but it shows that Lubbock keeps good restaurants going long after they fail in other cities.

Luling

City Market–633 E. Davis St. (BBQ) Closes at 6 pm (closed Sun).  Many say it’s better than Lockhart. Brisket, ribs, & sausage. (6-29-19)

Marble Falls

Blue Bonnet Cafe–211 US 281 (American) Open daily except Sun dinner (open for breakfast).  Chicken & dumplings (served as a special), chicken fried steak, pot roast, pie. Regular menu seems to have better reviews than breakfast. (6-29-19)

Marfa

Capri Kitchen–603 W. San Antonio (International).  Eclectic food that mostly has good reviews. Older reviews said they had Filipino food on Sunday and Monday (I don’t know if they still do). Specializes in local cuisine (and sometimes runs out of items in the early afternoon). (6-29-19)

Cochineal–107 W. San Antonio (International) Open 5 pm to 10 pm (closed Tue & Wed).  Serves “modern” style food. Web site says it is casual fine dining. Has a seasonal menu. Has good reviews. Probably too expensive for my list, but this is probably a destination restaurant that many will think is worth the money. (6-29-19)

Convenience West–1411 W. San Antonio St. (BBQ) Open 5 pm to 9 pm Fri-Sun only.  A less expensive alternative to the upscale restaurants that has very good reviews (brisket seems to be its specialty). Has a veggie option that people also say is good. (6-29-19)

Stellina–103 Highland St. (Italian) Open 5 pm to 9:30 pm (closed Sun-Tue).  Serves small plates (so you don’t pay for food you’re not going to eat). This seems to have consistently good reviews for both the food and the service. (6-29-19)

Marlin

Big Creek Butcher Shop–606 N. Business Hwy. 6 (BBQ) Closed Sun.  Known for its brisket and other BBQ, but a hidden gem here is the sausage made with a recipe handed down from Germany. (1-15-20)

Marshall

Best of Texas BBQ–323 Bailey Cut-Off Rd. (BBQ) Open Thu-Sat only (lunch only).  Reviewers say brisket is excellent (but go to Bodacious for ribs). (Takeout only 9-10-20)

Bodacious BBQ–2018 Victory Dr. (BBQ) Open Daily.  Ribs are excellent, many like the chopped beef. Many think the sides are excellent. (I think the dining room is open 9-10-20)

Central Perks–211 N. Washington Ave. (Sandwiches) Lunch only (closed Sat & Sun).  Healthy food–has a vegan menu.  Specializes in wraps & lunch plates. (Dining room is open 9-10-20)

Medina’s–510 S. Alamo Blvd. (Mexican) Closed Sat evening & Sun.  Authentic and home made. Enchiladas have red or green sauce (this is not Tex-Mex food). (Dining room is open 9-10-20)

Taste of India–304 I-20 E. (Indian) Open Daily.  Punjabi style Indian food that is said to be authentic and very good. (Dining room is open 9-10-20)

McAllen

Delia’s–4800 S. 23rd St. (Mexican) Open daily except Sun evening.  Only serves tamales, but reviewers say these are the best you will find outside of Mexico. (Takeout only 7-22-20)

Hop Tung–4200 N. 10th St. (Vietnamese) Open Daily.  Serves both Vietnamese & Chinese food, but Chinese food is American style.  Most people like the food–the issues people have is usually with the service, though. (Takeout only 7-22-20)

Schneider’s–5507 N. Ware Rd. (German) Dinner only (closed Sun).  Large menu & good food. Many say it compares with New Braunfels or Fredericksburg. (Dining room is open 7-22-20)

Meridian

Zur Autobahn–10666 State Highway 22 (about 5 mi. west of town)  (German) Dinner Wed-Sat; lunch Fri & Sat.  Reviews are consistent, saying that the food tastes authentic and home made. Only seats about 22 people, but because of its location it is not likely to be full. (1-15-20)

Midland

Cafe Unique–3303 N. Midkiff Rd. (Venezuelan) Lunch Mon-Sat; dinner Fri & Sat.  Reviews say this gives a true taste of Venezuela, and doesn’t just serve some of the more popular dishes such as arepas. Flavors are said to be bold but not spicy. (Takeout only 6-11-20)

I Luv Pho–3303 N. Midkiff Rd. (Vietnamese) Open daily 10 am to 9 pm.  Has excellent reviews if you are looking for Asian food. (Dining room is open 6-11-20)

King and I–801 N. Big Spring St. (Thai) Closed Sun (and closed from 2 to 5 pm).  Good Thai food, cheap prices, friendly staff. Building looks like an old Taco Bell. It’s small and gets crowded at lunch (but it’s worth the wait). I liked the pad thai better than the curry, though. (Dining room is open 6-11-20)

Noodle House–3200 Andrews Hwy. (Chinese) Open Daily.  Specializes in noodles, dumplings, pot stickers, and spicy broth beef soup. Reviewers say, though, to stick with the Chinese food (pho, ramen, etc. do not have reviews that are as good). (Takeout only 6-11-20)

Strawberry Fields Cafe–2311 W. Wadley Ave. (Organic) Open until 7 pm (closed Sun).  In addition to obviously healthy food, it also has some very good brownies. (Located inside Natural Foods Market). (6-29-19)

Taqueria El Gallo de Jalisco–1422 Rankin Hwy. (Mexican).  Has Mexican style (authentic) tacos. I have looked at the reviews for some of the fancy Mexican restaurants in town, and it looks as if this restaurant is more worthwhile than the others (tacos seem simple, but reviewers say a lot goes into the ones here). Serves enchiladas with green salsa. Traditionally Odessa has been considered a better city for Mexican food, but this is one place in Midland I would try. (6-29-19)

Mission

Pho Le Lai–2307 E. Griffin Pkwy. (Vietnamese) Closed Sun.  Very good pho. Has other Vietnamese items on the menu–they are southern Cal. quality, but probably the selection here is much more limited. (Takeout only 9-5-20)

Odessa

Ajuua’s–2100 Andrews Hwy. (Mexican) Open daily (open late).  Reviewers like the food but do not like the service. Hoping that this can be fixed, I think it would be worth a shot. Upscale Mexican food. I don’t know if it is related to Ajuua’s in Ciudad Juarez, but if so this would be even more reason to try it. (Dining room is open 6-11-20)

Elva’s Taco Casa–807 Royalty Ave. (Mexican) Open Mon-Fri 9:30 am to 4:00 pm.  Small place with about 4 tables that everyone says is great (salsas are very good also). Chicken taco is recommended. (6-29-19)

Odessa Donuts & Deli–1520 N. Grant Ave. (Cambodian) Open 5 am to 7 pm (6pm on Sat; 2pm on Sun). Hours probably refer to the donut shop. Cambodian food is available for lunch and is said to be very good. (Takeout only 6-11-20)

Taqueria Guadalupana–1255 S. Grant Ave. (Mexican) Open 8 am to 6 pm (closed Mon).  There are two reasons I think this is a good place: (1) I have seen the reviews and photos on Yelp, and (2) it is located south of the Interstate. (Takeout only 6-11-20)

Pampa

Mejia’s Bakery–319 W. Foster Ave. (Mexican) Open Mon-Sat 6:30 am to 7 pm; Sun breakfast & lunch. Authentic Mexican food–specializes in street tacos. Has some interesting looking plate lunches (with red or green sauce). Also has fresh bakery items. (5-8-19)

Pecos

La Norteña Tortilla Factory–211 E. 3rd St. (Mexican) Breakfast & lunch only (closed Mon). Tamales are excellent (worth a detour from the Interstate). However, it is not a restaurant, but take-out only. (5-11-19)

Permian Cafe–495 FM 1450 (American) Open daily (begins serving breakfast at 3 am).  Reviewers say it has fresh tasting American food, but the menu changes daily (people like the Wed. night steak night). (5-11-19)

Pharr

Snowbite–500 N. Jackson Rd. (Vietnamese) Closed Sun evening & closed Tue.  In addition to a regular Vietnamese menu, it also has Vietnamese-Mexican fusion food (such as Mexican meats in a banh mi sandwich). Formerly in Edinburg. (Takeout only 7-22-20)

Plainview

Taqueria Jalisco–1001 N. Interstate 27 (Mexican).  Mexican style street tacos, enchiladas verdes, etc. Restaurant seems to be very authentic with very little American influence (except that they have good quality ingredients and good flavor). (5-8-19)

Port Aransas

La Playa–222 Beach Ave. (Mexican) Dinner only (closed Mon).  Specializes in seafood dishes. Crab and shrimp enchiladas, ceviche, Island Pepper (I couldn’t find out what it was but reviewers say it is excellent). The food is Tex-Mex, but it looks as if you have the option of getting more traditional Mexican style (such as if you order green sauce enchiladas). (1-15-20)

Phoenix–3500 Island Moorings Pkwy. (Seafood) Dinner only (open Wed-Sun).  Ahi tuna is recommended (Yelp reviewers say get the “tuna stack,” which may be the same thing). Get grilled fish here (not the fried). Some say Roosevelt is more upscale and better (and I suspect more expensive). Reviewers say Phoenix is the most upscale place in town that allows casual attire. (1-15-20)

Port Isabel

Chef House–313 E. Queen Isabella Blvd. (New American) Breakfast & lunch only.  Upscale Amer. food & seafood, but also has good moles and other Mexican food. (7-7-19)

Joe’s Oyster Bar–207 E. Maxan St. (Seafood) Open daily 11 am to 7 pm.  Good and cheap fried shrimp if you’re not looking for an upscale setting (just good food). (7-7-19)

Manuel’s–313 E. Maxan St. (Mexican) Breakfast & lunch only (Closed Mon).  Mexican style breakfast is the specialty. (7-7-19)

Rockport

Latitude 28’02–105 N. Austin St. (Seafood) Dinner only (closed Sun). Upscale seafood. Some of the things people recommend are oysters rockefeller, crab stuffed mushrooms, and fish oscar. (3-25-19)

Old Fulton Seafood–2828 Hwy 35 N (Seafood) Closed Sun & Mon.  The recommended items here are the local specialties such as flounder and fried shrimp. This is not a romantic, upscale restaurant next to the water, but they do seem to have good food. (3-25-19)

Note: Flower’s Shrimp Market seems to be highly recommended if you want to buy shrimp and take it home to cook.

Rowena

Lowake Steak House–12143 US Hwy 67 (Steakhouse) Closed Mon.  Known for very good steaks in a country setting. Note: it moved from Lowake to Rowena and has new owners. Most say the steaks are still as good as before, but some do not like the other items (including salad and chicken fried steak). (6-26-19)

Salt Flat

Cornudas Cafe–Hwy 62 (American) Breakfast & lunch only (closed Mon & Tue).  Located between El Paso and the Guadalupe Mountains National Park, and it may be the only place to eat on this stretch of road. I have passed by many times and it looked closed, but it must have been because it was past its closing time of 3 pm (4 pm on Sat & Sun). Reviewers on Yelp say very good things about the food, although the menu is pretty simple (sandwiches, burgers, burritos, eggs and omelettes). (Temporarily closed 9-10-20)

San Angelo

Armenta’s Cafe–1325 S. Oakes St. (Mexican) Open daily except Sun evening (open for breakfast).  Reviews indicate that it is authentic and very good (but I think it also has Tex-Mex for those who want it). (Takeout only 6-11-20)

Ban Moon–405 W. Ave. N (Lao) Open 11 am to 9 pm (closed Sun).  Reviewers say this is the best Asian food in San Angelo. Spicy pad thai, red curry, drunken noodles are recommended. Many dishes here are familiar to those who know Thai food, but the style seems to be northern Thai or Lao. (Takeout only 6-11-20)

Donutopia–2563 Sunset Dr. (Cambodian) Breakfast and lunch only (closed Sun).  Cambodian BBQ plate lunch or pho are recommended. Also has a good variety of donuts. Note: closes at noon Mon & Sat, 1:00 pm Tue-Fri. (Takeout only 6-11-20)

Western Sky Steakhouse–2024 N. Chadbourne St. (Steaks) Open daily except Sun evening.  Recommended for steaks by reviewers (but other items such as chicken fried steak are not as popular). (Dining room is open 6-11-20)

Sherman

La Placita–1015 W. Houston St. (El Salvador) Closed Sun.  Both Yelp and the old Urbanspoon site rated this a top place in town with consistently excellent food. Pupusas, tamales, plantains, etc. are popular. (I believe the dining room is open 9-10-20)

Somerville

Freedom Ranch–10180 Park Rd. 57 (American) Open daily (breakfast, lunch & dinner).  Mainly a burger place, but has other items such as chicken fried steak, traditional breakfasts, and even black bean veggie burgers (and reviewers say all of these are excellent). (2-10-19)

South Padre Island

Cap’n Roy’s–1313 Padre Blvd. (Seafood) Open Daily.  Shrimp, fish tacos (serves a variety of Mexican food). Fish tacos seem to be the specialty. (Takeout only 7-22-20)

F&B–3109 Padre Blvd. (Seafood) Open daily (dinner only but brunch & dinner on Sun).  Upscale food that specializes in seafood, but this is not all they have (another specialty is Italian, but this seems to be mostly for side dishes). Costs about $40 per person. If someone has made a special trip to SPI and they want the best seafood possible, this seems to be a good bet. (Dining room is open 7-22-20)

Gabriella’s–700 Padre Blvd. (Italian) Open daily (dinner only).  I think this has a connection with Gabriella’s in Oklahoma City and Isle of Capri in Krebs, OK. The reason I’m including it, though, is because it has good reviews. However, reviews are very skewed between 5 stars and 1 or 2 stars. (Dining room is open 7-22-20)

Pier 19–1 Padre Blvd. (Seafood) Open daily (opens at 7 am).  Tourist place with a view, but not a tourist trap (many say the food is some of the best). Fried shrimp, coconut shrimp, blackened fish, ceviche, oysters Rockefeller are recommended. (Dining room is open 7-22-20)

Stephenville

Bangkok Thai–2101 W. Washington St. (Thai) Open Daily.  Seems like pretty solid Thai food (yellow curry and Panang curry are recommended). Has papaya salad. Also has Japanese food. (4-22-19)

Greer’s Ranch Cafe–190 W. College St. (American) Open daily except Sun evening.  Has rather upscale, healthy entrees as well as the standard chicken fried steak and similar items (but these are also high quality). (4-22-19)

Hard Eight BBQ–1091 Glen Rose Rd. (BBQ) Open Daily. Most people like the ribs best, but brisket, chicken, and turkey are also good. This is a good example of real pit BBQ. (4-22-19)

Jake & Dorothy’s Cafe–406 E. Washington St. (American) Open daily 5:30 am to midnight.  Known for its chicken fried steak, and has been featured on many travel shows as being an iconic example of CFS. Also well known for its breakfast. (4-22-19)

Strawn

Mary’s Cafe–119 Grant Ave. (American) Open daily 11 am to 11 pm. Chicken fried steak is the specialty. One order is likely enough to feed two people (if you are budget conscious). (4-22-19)

Temple

Mee Mee’s Thai–2807 W. Adams Ave. (Thai) Closed Sun & Mon. Most Thai restaurants have their best reviews either for the curries or the noodle dishes. Here, though, it looks as if some of the best items are fried rice, tom yum soup, and steamed dumplings. Fried tilapia in garlic pepper sauce also looks good. (5-12-19)

Pit Stop Barbeque–502 S. 1st St. (BBQ) Lunch only (closed Sun & Mon).  Reviewers say this is legit Texas BBQ (with brisket that is good plain without the sauce, although there is nothing wrong with the sauce). This place is interesting because it also has Korean food (many like to get kimchee with the BBQ). (5-12-19)

Saigon Cafe–220 SW HK Dodgen Loop (Asian) Open Daily.  Has several types of Asian food, but the specialty seems to be Malaysian. The down side seems to be that the food is not always prepared properly (undercooked, etc.). If you eat in the restaurant, though (don’t get take-out) any problems can be corrected. (5-12-19)

Thai Cafe–107 W. Central Ave. (Thai) Closed Mon.  Thai restaurant best known for its curry, and is highly rated. (4-12-18)

Texarkana

Eden Bubble Tea–3003 Richmond Rd. (Chinese) Open 11 am to 9:30 pm (closed Sun). In addition to bubble tea, it has authentic Chinese food (and yes, this seems to be for real). I call this the home cooking type of Chinese food (napa cabbage with meat, noodles, twice cooked bacon, etc.) rather than the more expensive “banquet food.” Located a few blocks north of Interstate 30. (Takeout only 9-10-20)

Naaman’s BBQ–5309 N. State Line Ave. (BBQ) Closed Sun.  Located in an old gas station. People recommend the brisket very highly. (Dining room is open 9-10-20)

Tyler

Athena–1592 W. Southwest Loop 323 (Greek) Open Daily.  Gyros is the most popular item, but also has chicken, etc. Vegetables are prepared Greek style. (Dining room is open 9-10-20)

Mikoto Ramen–6611 S. Broadway (Japanese) Open Daily.  Some say it is not as good as Houston restaurants, but most say it is good. Tonkatsu is the most popular ramen. Also serves sushi. (Dining room is open 9-10-20)

Pho Hot–4903 S. Broadway Ave. (Vietnamese) Closed Mon.  Commenters say it has a huge menu, yet most people order the pho (and a few get pad thai). I think it does have other items, though. Some say skip the Thai tea (it is not very good). (Dining room is open 9-10-20)

Stanley’s–525 S. Beckham Ave. (BBQ) Closed Sun. Famous for its brisket (you get a choice of lean, fatty, crispy, or burnt ends). Sausage is probably the second most popular item. (Dining room is open 9-10-20)

Villa Montez–3324 Old Henderson Hwy. (Latin American) Dinner only (closed Sun). Reviewers say it is Latin American and not Mexican, although dinners include chips and salsa (something not normally found in Latin America, including Mexico). I’m including it because it is upscale and is supposed to have very good food. However, I think this is more because they use good ingredients (such as high quality shrimp and Chilean sea bass) than because the recipes are authentically Latin American (however, anything is possible, and it may be very authentic also). (Dining room is open 9-10-20)

For other BBQ options, see listings for Flint, Kilgore and Longview

Valera

Rancho Loma–2969 CR 422 (Steaks) Fri & Sat nights only. A destination steakhouse out in the middle of the country. Located about 6 mi. w. of Coleman (and about 2 mi. n. of the town of Valera). (4-22-19)

Van Horn

Chuy’s–1200 W. Broadway St. (Mexican) Open Daily.  Famous for its John Madden memorabilia (John Madden has stopped here several times on his cross country trips). Serves El Paso style red enchiladas (which I think are better than the Tex-Mex enchiladas to the east, but not quite as good as if you continue west to El Paso). (I believe the dining room is open 9-10-20)

Note: El Capitan Hotel in town also gets good reviews but it is expensive–mostly known for steaks (I’m not sure about the prices but it is not a quick place to eat if time is a concern). (9-10-20)

Vega

Hickory Inn Cafe–1004 Vega Blvd. (American) Breakfast & lunch Mon-Sat; dinner Thu & Fri. Diner style food with a home cooking taste. Breakfast with chicken fried steak is popular, biscuits and gravy are very good, and it seems that breakfast is the most popular meal. For lunch or dinner they have burgers and chicken, among other things (chicken fried chicken is popular). Peach cobbler is good for dessert. Hickory Inn is on old US 66 at the intersection of US 385. (5-8-19)

Vernon

Toro Japanese–3110 US 287 Bus. (Japanese) Closed Mon (closed from 2:30 to 4:30 pm).  Food apparently is better than other Asian options, and I don’t see American restaurants in town with a higher rating than this place. Some say the problem is that they use MSG even when you ask them not to (but I am not sure if this is the truth). Sushi is popular but they have other items also. Note: the Japanese steakhouse in town with excellent reviews seems to have close about the time Toro opened. (6-26-19)

Victoria

Mumphord’s Place BBQ–1202 E. Juan Linn St. (BBQ) Lunch only (dinner on Fri).  One of the highest rated barbecue restaurants in Victoria. Brisket is said to be the star but some say it is inconsistent (sometimes dry). Many recommend getting the three meat plate because they like everything served here. Cooker uses a combination of mesquite and oak. (3-24-19)

Noot’s Thai–6360 N. Navarro St. (Thai) Closed Mon. Good green & red curry. Pad thai does not get good reviews. (3-24-19)

Waco

Clay Pot–416 Franklin Ave. (Vietnamese) Closed Mon.  Seems to be the best choice in town for Asian food served in a restaurant (not a food truck). Good reviews for the pho, but has other items such as Vietnamese pork chop. (4-12-18)

Magnolia Table–2132 S. Valley Mills Dr. (American) Open breakfast & lunch only (closed Sun.).  A project of Chip and Joanna Gaines–frequently has a waiting line to get a table (wait can be up to 2 hours). Some say the food was not really that special, but certain items such as the gravy makes it worth it. (4-12-18)

Rufi’s Cocina–1801 N. 25th St. (Mexican) Lunch daily except Tue; dinner Fri & Sat only.  Based on the photos on Yelp this is the place I would most like to try, although there are several other Mexican restaurants in Waco that also look good (and are traditional Mexican style–not Tex Mex). (4-12-18)

The Blasian Asian–202 S. University Parks Dr. (Cambodian) Closed Mon.  This is a food truck but seems to be the place to go if you want authentic southeast Asian food. Food may have MSG which may already be mixed in and cannot be omitted, but I doubt that all items served would have MSG. (4-12-18)

Weslaco

Mi Pueblo Bakery–1504 W. Pike Blvd. (Bakery).  Very popular Mexican bakery. Some say the restaurant next door (Ciro’s) is also very good. A local on Chowhound said the best hole-in-the-wall Mexican place was Mi Taqueria Jalisco. (1-21-19)

Note: Reviewers on Chowhound recommend the following places in Nuevo Progreso, Mexico: Arturo’s (well known, more upscale restaurant) and La Fogata.  You can park in a pay parking lot on the Texas side of the river–it is about a quarter mile walk to Arturo’s.

West

Picha’s Czech-American–220 N. Main (Czech) Lunch Mon-Sat; dinner Wed-Sat.  When I ate here it may have had different owners, but it was so good it started my search for Czech restaurants wherever I could find them. This place still serves Czech food, and reviewers say the Czech dinner is recommended (particularly the cabbage rolls, combo plate, etc). What I liked most was the goulash, but I’m not sure it is on the menu any more. (Dining room is open 9-10-20)

Note: There are also some kolache stores along Interstate 35 that are quite popular (but they are not full Czech restaurants).

Wharton

Junior’s Smokehouse–164 Co. Rd. 467 (BBQ) Open Daily.  Has good reviews for both its old world specialties (sausage and kolaches) and the local favorites of brisket and jerky. Similar to Prasek’s in El Campo in that it gives you a combination of Czech and Texas flavors, but reviewers say Prasek’s has a larger variety of smoked meats and a particularly good selection of kolaches. (3-25-19)

Wichita Falls

El Norteno–110 N. Burnett St. (Mexican) Breakfast & lunch daily; dinner Fri & Sat.  Mexican street tacos, house made tortillas, gorditas, green enchiladas, breakfast burritos. Taco Tuesdays are popular. (Takeout and delivery only 7-7-20)

Highlander Public House–726 Scott Ave. (Irish) Closed Sun evening & Mon.  Irish pub where the food has very good reviews (shepherd’s pie, fish and chips with malt vinegar, pork chop are recommended). (6-26-19)

Hunan–4516 Maplewood Ave. (Chinese) Open Daily.  In reading reviews of other restaurants I believe there is no Chinese restaurant in WF better than Hunan. I enjoyed the family style bean curd (this is an American style dish, but done very well). The service was very good, the tea was good, and prices were cheap. (Dining room is open according to restaurant’s web site–I think it still has the buffet. 7-7-20)

Jasten’s Ice & Banh Mi–3401 Kemp Blvd. (Vietnamese) Open 10 am to 8 pm (closed Sun).  Fresh food–people eat here because the sandwiches are good (it’s not just a novelty in a town otherwise mostly devoid of Asian food). (I think dining room is open 7-7-20)

Opa’s Schnitzel Haus–2611 Plaza Parkway (German) Dinner Tue-Sat; lunch Thu-Sat.  Jagerschnitzel, strudel for dessert (seems to be known for its schnitzels). (Dining room is open 7-7-20)

Prine’s Barbecue–1209 13th St. (BBQ) Open Tue-Sat 8 am to 6:30  pm.  Most people agree that this is good barbecue–true Texas style. Many types of meat are recommended, including turkey. (Takeout only 7-7-20)

 

Notes About This List:

This is a “master list” of restaurants that I have seen on the Internet or other sources and would like to try, or that I think would be of interest to others.  I do not mean for this to be an exhaustive list of every good place to eat, but it should represent a good sample of the most interesting or unique restaurants, along with a few that best represent an area’s regional cuisine.  My own recommendations are in Bold.

I am not looking to include:

  • Fine dining (unless they are unique because of regional specialties)
  • Low end restaurants that are popular with locals but may not be of much interest to travelers or people in general (everyone will have to use their judgment on this one)

Extra consideration for the following:

  • The food is organic, fresh, healthy, or farm to table
  • The restaurant serves a relatively hard to find type of ethnic food and reviews are good

In addition to the regular guidelines I try to include:

  • The best Asian restaurants in the area even if they are not totally authentic
  • Particularly good Mexican restaurants (this usually means the food is from a particular state in Mexico or it is one of the best examples of a U.S. regional style)

Please feel free to leave your own comments or suggestions.

 

Sources:

Chowhound (Texas)

City-Data (Texas Barbecue)

Coastal Texas Barbecue Trail (Victoria, Goliad)

Culture Trip (Texas)

eGullet (Texas)

Google Maps

Houstonia (Darlene’s in Galveston)

Houston Press (Galveston seafood)

Urbanspoon.com (former web site which I used for preliminary research)

Yelp (Texas)

Zomato (Lubbock)