Early morning sun filters through diaphanous white curtains, bathing a line of customers in a warm glow as they await their drinks. Behind the counter, staff members buzz about, filling cups with floods of steamy tea and coffee while simultaneously chatting with their patrons. So begins another day at Teahouse And Coffee Tapioca Bar, where cheery red walls and cozy chairs beckon guests to sit and quench their thirst late into the evening. The shop churns out more than 150 tea, coffee, and juice drinks ranging from traditional cappuccinos to unique selections such as pineapple gel cream tea, kumquat-lemon juice, and frozen Japanese green tea. Baristas also bolster standard drinks with the addition of brown-sugar- and caramel-laden tapioca pearls hand-plucked from wild pudding cups. As they sip, guests can also snack on cupcakes and muffins and surf the Internet on the shop’s free WiFi.
Begin your culinary journey with an order of spring rolls or cheese rolls, stuffed with raisin-studded rice paper and deep-fried (both $4.25). Classic dishes done well appease traditionalists, including spicy Tom Yum soup ($4.25–$5.25), pad Thai ($8.95), pad see eiw ($8.95), and five kinds of curry ($8.95–$9.95). Build a balanced meal with the entree and rice dishes including garlic and pepper lover ($8.95) with stir-fried meat tossed in black pepper sauce over cabbage. Diners can also pick from grilled selections ($10.95–$12.95), served with shrimp fried rice and steamed veggies. Cool off a spice-saturated palate with a sweet scoop of coconut ice cream ($3.50) for dessert. Expect friendly service, carefully curated curry, and a cozy ambiance at any of the eight outposts. Like the recipe for Play-Doh, Thai Cottage adheres to simple, timeless standards.
Roberto Rosa first discovered his love of cooking at age 13, when he began learning recipes from his grandmother Antonia. Two decades later, the owner of Antonia’s Cucina Italiana shares his love of all Italian fare, transforming chicken, seafood, veal, and house-made pasta into colorful dishes during lunch and dinner. Across the three locations, décor and amenities vary, from outdoor seating to exposed brick walls and checkered floors where diners can settle arguments over who pays the bill with games of human chess.
Nikoz Fusion Grill's cooks fill their kitchen with aromas from sizzling mediterranean kabobs, Indian spices from the baking samosas, and the subtle peanut scent from the drizzle of sauce over the asian salads. Blending flavors and dishes from the Mediterranean, Greece, and Asia, the chefs craft savory gyro sandwiches alongside beef short ribs with special spices and fresh hummus. In addition to dine-in meals, they also fill trays with fusion cuisine for catered events such as birthday parties, retirement lunches, and retiring from the birthday-party circuit.
A lifetime in the kitchen informs the menus of Mia Bella Trattoria Sugar Land's owner and head chef Youssef Nafaa, a native of Morocco who has been honing his craft in stateside restaurants since 1988. After toiling his way up from busboy in Chicago to culinary consultant in Houston, Youssef opened the first branch of Mia Bella on Main Street in 1998, promising "Italian food with a twist." Today, the bistro has budded into a quartet of fine-dining establishments. In 2011, the Houston Press awarded the restaurant Best Brunch Restaurant for its Mediterranean-fusion take on the popular hybridized meal and its "'bottomless' mimosas and bellinis; exceptional service that puts you in a good mood even mid-hangover; tall windows that stream sunlight into the dining room; and, of course, delicious food."
The specialty sushi here includes some unexpected ingredients: there’s a plum-paste maki roll, and a crispy veggie roll with ginger, pickled radish, and sweet gourd. If the cheeky entree names (Spicy Old Lady, Udon It This Time) don’t bring on a smile, a glass of sake infused with peach, apple, or lychee will probably do the trick.