Chefs at The Village Mediterranean Restaurant & Pastries prepare a full menu of Mediterranean specialties including lamb, beef, and shrimp kebabs and eight kinds of savory pie bundled in housemade dough. But the restaurant is probably most popular for its traditional Middle Eastern pastries. An in-house pastry chef prepares more than 100 different desserts from scratch. Sticky triangles of cashew, walnut, and almond baklava form one pillar of the pastry roster, while maamoul walnut cookies and namoura—squares of semolina cake soaked in sugar syrup and topped with almonds—are available by the platter should you need to host a party or lure a nest of honeybees away from your stuffed Winnie-the-Pooh.
Cold or hot, it's guaranteed to delight if it comes from Palato. Gelato and coffee are the specialties, with hand-written chalkboard menus shouting toothsome options from the cafe's sherbet-colored walls. Their sweet, almond-based cookie sandwiches have a cream filling with specific flavors such as Nutella, Pistachio, White Chocolate Coconut, and Red Velvet. Smoothies and milk shakes blend the sweetness of dessert with the drinking straws, while a range of coffees includes espresso, frappes, and the house signature Palaccino.
The signature sandwiches at Gyroville might be named after Greek Gods—Zeus, Hermes, Athena—but the power to control your mealtime destiny can rest in your hands, if you so choose. The shop's You Build It meals allow you to customize your own dish in just three easy steps. Start by choosing a pita, rice bowl, wheat wrap, or salad, then add one of four proteins, such as gyro meat, pork, or vegetarian falafel. From there, the only thing left to do is top your creation with one of six sauces that are made fresh daily such as tzatziki or Mediterranean relish. Truly herculean appetites can also choose to add one or two of Gyroville's sides, such as spinach pie or hearty tomato vegetable soup.
Just as the name suggests, the dishes at Smitty’s Grille get their flavor from the flickering flames of the eatery’s grill. Smoky barbecued pork and brisket pile onto Smitty’s signature pulled barbecue sandwiches, while chefs fire beef short ribs over the same flame. Famous for their lasagna, Smitty's also flips burgers—Angus beef, turkey, and veggie—and coats wings in seven tasty marinades, including teriyaki, garlic, and hot sauce.
Anthony Russo's parents came to the U.S. from Sicily and Naples with a mind to preserve their family traditions. So, it's no wonder that their son picked up their love for cooking. He studied at their side, learning to craft Italian food and what came to be known as New York–style pizza, though first he had to invent New York. When Anthony left New York to move to Texas, he decided to keep the tradition of his family's pizza alive by opening his own pizza joint, Russo's New York Pizzeria. Houstanians took to the pie, and the business took off. Now, people enjoy Anthony's family recipes in 16 Texas cities, six states, five countries, and multiple realities.