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Cookies and coffee at Anonymous Cafe

With exciting new options opening by the day, it was tough to nail down our Fort Bend favorites to a dozen, each an exemplar of its cuisine. 

Anonymous Café 

This Greek bakery has expanded its offerings since opening, from sugary kourambiedes and flaky spanakopita to an eccentric, only-in-Houston menu that runs the gamut from comfort food to Tex-Mex treats. The cute-and-cozy café remains the only place we know of where you can get papoutsakia (eggplant in meat sauce), chicken-and-waffles sandwiches, and tres leches.

Cinnamon’s Bakery

As evidenced by its charmingly retro, ’80s-era signage, this strip center mainstay specializes in just a handful of options. And that’s what we like about it, as you won’t find better pecan sticky buns, sausage-stuffed kolaches or cinnamon buns anywhere in the area. A word of warning: Each treat is roughly the size of a grapefruit.

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Peking duck bao and bulgogi bao at Fat Bao

Fat Bao

This location offers the same line-up of filled bao, or steamed buns, as the Upper Kirby original, with the fried-chicken version with sweet chili Sriracha remaining a favorite at both. What sets this outpost apart is its ramen menu, which features traditional tonkotsu plus unusual iterations like spicy green curry and vegetarian miso, both served with perfectly soft-boiled eggs bobbing in the broth.

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Guru Burger's Japaniero burger

Guru Burgers & Crepes

This perpetually packed madhouse with a mixed-up menu of, yes, American hamburgers and French crepes, remains our favorite among the restaurants owned by the group that also brought Japaneiro’s, Jupiter Pizza & Waffle Co., and The Ginger Mule to Sugar Land’s ever-bustling Town Square. While the crepes are good, the excellent Akaushi beef burgers are great—get the Purple Rain with jalapeños, bacon, queso blanco, sautéed mushrooms and purple cabbage. There’s a creative craft beer list, too.

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The patio at Live Oak Grill

Live Oak Grill

If your favorite, laid-back, quasi-country cousin—you know, the one who always organizes the family reunions and hunting trips—opened a restaurant, this would be it. This casual, take-all-comers spot with a Texas flag painted on the roof offers everything from old-school hamburger steak with brown gravy to the best chicken-fried steak this side of Tomball, though the menu has grown to include healthier options such as salads and grilled seafood. Save room for a slice of buttermilk pie.

Mai Colachi BBQ & Grill

This elegant restaurant promises to deliver “the soul of Karachi” with its cuisine, and deliver it does, although the menu highlights other regions of Pakistan as well. You’ll find southern specialties such as chicken tikka on offer, but it’s northern dishes like Hunzai-style chicken curry and mutton karahi (a spicy tomato-based stew) that truly stand out.

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Sashimi at Mochi Sushi

Mochi Sushi

Studious foodies may recall the tiny tiff that occurred when this eatery first opened in 2014 and was swiftly accused of copying the menu at Kata Robata, arguably Houston’s best Japanese restaurant. Sportsmanlike? No. Illegal? Also no, which is why popular dishes like the cheesy miso lobster mac ‘n’ cheese and spicy soy ramen remain in place over two years later.

New Food Gallery 

In the grand tradition set by spots like Little India’s Bismillah Chaat, this fast-casual Indo-Pak restaurant offers the best of both Desi and American worlds: biryani and burgers. If you can’t choose between the two cuisines, get a burger topped with Pakistani-style hunter’s beef, which is similar to corned beef. On the weekends, breakfast brings a similar quandary: paratha or hash browns? Either will pair nicely with your plate of beef qeema and fried eggs.

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A selection of sushi from Oba Japanese Cuisine

Image: Mai Pham

Oba Japanese Cuisine  

An all-day happy hour, seven days a week, is just one of the draws of this quiet sushi specialist, which took over the spot formerly occupied by Preview Modern Seafood in April. The years of experience under the belt of Chinese-Vietnamese chef-owner Frank Diep—who got his start in Japanese cuisine at Teppay on Westheimer close to 20 years ago—show in every dish, from agedashi tofu to cold-smoked salmon-belly sashimi. Leave room for the excellent coffee-mochi ice cream.

Sara’s Halal Burgers & Gyros

Neither the old-timers at Jones Fried Chicken nor the newcomers at The Halal Guys quite have the market cornered when it comes to street food–style chicken over rice with a garlicky white sauce. Enter Sara’s, which opened last year and is emerging as the third local star of the genre. Chef-owner Shahid Khan's menu doesn’t offer much beyond the classic dish, but the beef gyros stand out on their own merits.

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Roti canai at Singapore Cafe

Image: Alice Levitt

Singapore Café

The cuisine of the tiny country borrows heavily from Chinese, Malaysian and Indian immigrants, and this café devoted to it is no less of a melting pot. Start with chicken satay, then fill up with nasi lemak (fragrant rice cooked in coconut milk and pandan leaf), laksa (a spicy coconut-curry soup) or an inexpensive, extra-large platter of chicken rice.

Vietwich

How Anthony Bourdain didn’t visit this banh mi shop in a gas station near Aliana when he visited town is beyond us, but that just means it remains a hidden gem. Open only on Fridays (9–3) and Saturdays (9–5), the place offers a limited menu of banh mi, teas and smoothies. The juicy pork meatball sandwich is a favorite, and vegetarians will love the enoki tofu option, especially paired with a coconut-banana smoothie.

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