At Café TH, Minh makes the meal. Besides owning the restaurant, Minh Nguyen acts as the head chef and host. You might expect a harried, frantic fellow sprinting about amid a clatter of broken dishes, but somehow he pulls it off. Not only that, his auteur attitude makes dining out feel more like attending a dinner party. Before he starts folding made-to-order Autumn rolls, he takes the time to learn each guest’s name and their tastes. As local food critic, Alison Cook, has pointed out, “he’s won a loyal following that ranges from tattooed young bicyclists to Asian families to grizzled cops.” Using fresh, local ingredients, Minh crafts classic banh mi sandwiches, and such entrees as Cantonese-styled fried eggs over preserved turnips or vermicelli with chargrilled chicken. He also maintains a section of the menu devoted to vegans, which landed Café TH a spot on the Houston Press ’s Top 10 Vegan Spots.
Cuisine Type: Vegetarian-friendly comfort food
Reservations: Not offered
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Number of Tables: Food court
Parking: Parking garage
Most popular offering: Warm Pear and Goat Cheese Salad
Delivery / Take-out Available: Yes
Outdoor Seating: No
What is one fun, unusual fact about your business?
Our manager juggles on request.
Do you use any family recipes at your restaurant? Whose family do they belong to (the chef, the owner, or someone else)?
Our recipes have all been created in-house by some of the most prestigious chefs in Texas.
In your own words, how would you describe your menu?
The menu at Greenz is diverse. We offer gourmet salads with an emphasis on organic, gluten-free dynamic recipes. Each salad is paired with its own unique dressing to bring out the best flavors. All of our recipes are made in-house daily and we use the freshest ingredients available. Any salad can be made into a wrap or sandwich, and any of our homemade soups can be paired with a salad or sandwich if you're looking for several menu selections.
Sitting inside Bombay Pizza Company, owner Viral Patel watched the Food Network's The Best Thing I Ever Ate, waiting alongside family and friends for a mention of his Slumdog pizza, a fusion of Indian and Italian flavors. After the 30-second spot, the restaurant erupted into a standing ovation.
Patel's journey to that moment first began when he quit his job in restaurant management to travel around India learning how to cook. Hoping to one day open a restaurant of his own, Patel returned to the United States and became interested in pizza, buying his own pizza stone and experimenting with new recipes, which fused Indian flavors with the traditionally Italian pies. He opened Bombay Pizza Company with the help of his mother, Sonali, who also inspired the Sonu's Rita pizza, which combines house-made cilantro-mint chutney with a margarita pizza. Soon after the restaurant opened, it was awarded Houston Press's Best Pizza in 2010. In addition to pizza, the menu features Indian street fare such as the kati roll with tandoori chicken and paneer and traditional Italian dishes such as lasagna and chicken parmagiana.
Today, Bombay Pizza Company has two locations, the original in Houston and a second, larger location in Sugar Land. Both eateries feature saffron-hued walls, the soft glow of Thomas Edison–style filament light bulbs, and photos of Bombay residents performing daily activities including washing clothes, fishing, and playing chess. The Sugar Land location also features an outdoor patio, microbrews on tap, and a private dining area.
Roots Bistro has no menu––at least not a finite one. Each day, executive chef German Mosquera crafts new dishes inspired by the fresh, organic, and locally sourced ingredients available to him. And ingredients aren't the only things that are sourced locally at this Green Certified restaurant. The eatery's décor shifts frequently with paintings for sale by neighborhood artists. Appetizers descend on bright white banquettes with ingredients such as local cilantro pesto, carrots, fire-roasted kale, and bigeye local tuna with spinach salad and a large contact lens. While noshing on house-made entrees of chicken, duck confit, and farm-fresh veggies, patrons can ask for a server's pairing suggestion from Roots's eclectic wine list.
Named in honor of the owner's beloved childhood sheepdog, Barnaby’s Café has five locations around Houston, and all of them compete for the title of friendliest place in town. Pet owners rave about the dog-friendly patios; according to Eater, the staff at the downtown location will even pack a sack lunch for pups to enjoy in the park across the street. Humans will find plenty to love as well, starting with the fact that Barnaby's 9-ounce green chile cheeseburger is crafted from humanely raised, all-natural beef. The same is true for the café’s chicken, which can be grilled and tossed onto a fresh salad or smoked and paired with a honey-barbecue sauce. This trend of high-quality ingredients is also apparent in desserts such as the big carrot cake, which is made exclusively with carrots that have lived a full and meaningful life.
Since opening in 1975, Baba Yega has won a number of "Best Of" awards: best burger, best vegetarian restaurant, and best brunch, to name a few. But in 2011, the Houston Press presented the restaurant with a slightly more interesting award: "Best Place for a He to Be a She." Baba Yega is indeed a favorite hangout for members of the LGBT community, but its cozy, welcoming vibe brings in what the Houston Press describes as "a happy, friendly mix of straight and LGBT couples, groups and families." That might be because the menu offers a bit of something for everyone, from hefty steaks to vegetarian sandwiches to mimosas and bloody marys, which flow freely during Sunday brunch. And, you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who doesn't love the atmosphere––housed in a converted bungalow, the restaurant also features an award-winning patio lined with century-old oak trees.