Conveniently located right in the middle of Rice Village, Istanbul Grill is a popular lunch spot for the local crowd. Their hearty food will have you rediscovering what you thought were bland, boring staples. The secret is in the freshness, as the entire menu is prepared from scratch each day using authentic Turkish recipes and flavorful ingredients. Try the doner kebab for a classic taste of Turkey, or the pastrami pide for a new twist on pizza. The vegetable kebab is a great option for vegetarians and omnivores alike. Don’t leave without trying the baklava, which is probably the best in all of Houston.
Address and telephone: 5613 Morningside, Houston TX, USA 77005 +1 713 526 2800
Torchy’s is the definition of cool eating in Rice Village. This taco shop makes the most creative breakfast and lunch tacos, and the menu boasts more than 20 varieties. The true highlight is the sauces, which are made daily and go from deliciously mild to devilishly spicy – try the diablo for a fiery treat.
Address and telephone: 2400 Times Blvd. Houston, TX, USA 77005 +1 713 487 0067
Local Foods is at the same time eclectic and traditional, like taking your hometown deli on a trip around the world. The gourmet sandwich shop is decorated in a clean, practical midcentury style, with clusters of lamps and brightly colored furniture that add a creative touch. Their menu is simple and down to earth, as the seemingly small selection lets the dishes shine for their delicious simplicity. Favorites include the crunchy chicken, a pretzel bun sandwich with a potato chip and nut mix that makes it worth its name. The sides are nothing short of imaginative, while the beverage menu includes a good selection of Texas wines.
Address and telephone: 2424 Dunstan Road, Houston, TX, USA 77005 +1 713 521 7800
This restaurant was made for romantic, decadent evening dates. The menu, which is written on boards along the wall, can change during the day but always includes flavorful French classics. The savory escargots are worth a second order, and the daily quiche is always a delightful surprise. Flank steak has never been more tender. Ask for the wine list – or maybe view it online beforehand – as you may have trouble choosing among 600+ wines by the bottle or glass.
Address and telephone: 2442 Times Blvd, Houston, TX, USA 77005 +1 713 520-8841
Yo Yo’s Hot Dogs
Located right in the middle of the Rice Village bar circuit is Yo Yo’s, a hot dog stand that begins serving at 9 pm, only on weekends. You may be tempted to skip because of the line, but you shouldn’t. The line moves fast as hot dogs are served with impressive speed, at $4 a pop. What is also remarkable is the amount of toppings available: there’s cream cheese, spicy ketchup and crunchy fried onions, among many others. Definitely make this a stop after an evening of drinks in the Village.