Branzino at Emmaline.

Hopefully you've invested in a good pair of stretchy pants, because Houston Restaurant Weeks is upon us. It's the time when diners across the city and region make reservations for restaurants they may not normally visit, because from Aug. 1 to Sept. 2, more than 220 eateries will offer prix fixe menus for breakfast, lunch, or dinner—all to benefit the Houston Food Bank.

But with so many restaurants, how does one choose? We're here to help.

B.B Italia: $20 lunch

The newest restaurant from Berg Hospitality Group has a few standout, homemade pasta dishes, and you can enjoy one of them during this inexpensive lunch service. Start with an appetizer (we like the roasted beets), then choose aglio e olio (linguine with oil, garlic, chili flakes, parsley, and breadcrumbs), or the comforting Sunday ragù (shells, Italian sausage, mini meatballs, pornodoro).

BCK: $35 dinner

The Heights comfort food restaurant changed up its whole menu recently, with an emphasis on burgers. For $35, you can get one of those burgers (the Rodeo burger with two patties, barbecue short rib, cheese, and crispy onions) while still getting bang for your buck. Opt for a first course of homemade crab cakes, and a dessert of chocolate Belgian waffle. As an alternative entrée, go for the shrimp and crawfish pot pie. 

Emmaline: $20 lunch

Another restaurant that made some big changes, Emmaline has a $20 lunch focusing on light, seafood-forward fare. For a first course go with the scallop crudo with passionfruit habanero dressing, then choose the salmon gravlax salad with mango, cucumber, apple, and yogurt for an entrée (alternatively, try the filet of branzino). But that isn't all—there's a dessert offered here, and I'd go with the buttermilk panna cotta.

Indianola: $20 brunch

Indianola's brunch service is a great way to get settled into Agricole Hospitality's beautiful beige EaDo dining room. Try the seriously delicious charred carrots, followed by the crispy chicken biscuit with smoked cheddar, pickles, spicy mayo, and sour cream and onion potatoes. You'll get a good sense of Indianola's wild Americana with this twosome.

Neyow's Creole Cafe: $20 lunch

The beloved New Orleans Creole restaurant with a new Houston location parties like every day is Mardi Gras. And you can join in with this affordable lunch that includes crawfish balls, Southern fried chicken (with two sides, for an entrée), and beignet sticks. Red beans and rice are also available for an entrée.

Roma: $35 dinner

The former Sud Italia is now a more affordable, casual and modern spot focusing on Roman cuisine, though some Italian favorites are also part of the menu. Start with polpette di manzo, a savory meatball dish, among its first courses, then try one of the restaurant's pasta plates for a second course (we recommend the smoked gnocchi, though the carbanora is a classic Roman dish). For a third course, there's still an entrée awaiting you—we'd go with the short rib stew with carrots and potatoes.

Verandah Progressive Indian Cuisine: $45 dinner

If you want to splurge, go to this splashy River Oaks spot from the folks behind Great W'Kana. There are three courses here; we'd opt for the entrée of moderately spicy subzi ka salan (peanut, sesame, coconut sauce, sautéed vegetables). Appetizers include two kebab dishes, while for third course, the kulfi falooda (traditional Indian ice cream with pistachio and mawa crumble) is calling.

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Verandah Progressive Indian Cuisine

$$$ Indian, Pakistani 3300 Kirby Dr., #7-A

Opening in February, Verandah Progressive Indian Cuisine comes from chef Sumil Srivastava, the owner of the late Great W'Kana. Here, chef Sumil packs a deep ...

Editor’s Pick

Roma

$$ Italian 2347 University Blvd

The former Sud Italia got a changeup in early 2019. With a modernized interior and a menu focusing on Roman-style cuisine (carbonara, veal ossobuco and other...

Neyow's Creole Cafe

$$ Creole 6356 Richmond Ave

Expect Creole cuisine: crawfish balls, stuffed shrimp, Southern fried chicken, shrimp in a dill cream sauce over angel hair pasta, several kinds of po’boys, ...

Indianola

$$ American/New American 1201 Saint Emanuel St.

Editor’s Pick

Emmaline

$$$ American/New American, French, Italian 3210 West Dallas St.

BCK: Kitchen & Cocktail Adventures

$$ American/New American 933 Studewood St.

B.B. Italia

$$$ Italian 14795 Memorial Dr.

Executive chef Daniel Berg, brother of owner Benjamin Berg, makes all his pasta from scratch at B.B. Italia (the former Carmelo's), and once you try it, you ...