Editors' Picks

Our Top 10 Restaurants in Kingwood

The Livable Forest offers a thoroughly edible landscape of another kind

By Katharine Shilcutt October 24, 2016 Published in the November 2016 issue of Houstonia Magazine

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The sleepy, pine-lined streets of this community hide an array of excellent restaurants in the “Livable Forest,” whether you’re in search of waterfront fine dining or old-timey burgers from a roadside ice house.

Akashi Sushi Fusion Cuisine

Though you may wonder why your tuna dumpling is plated on a squiggle of strawberry sauce, or why your Lady GaGa (sic) roll comes with a topping of sweet mango coulis, you won’t have any questions after your first few bites. As its name indicates, this restaurant fuses such elements into its lineup of sushi, sashimi and other Japanese dishes, and it works—evidenced by the perpetually packed dining room. If you’re coming with a group, definitely call ahead.

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A cheeseburger, onion rings and Frito pie at Bill's Cafe

Bill’s Cafe

The well-worn trucker hats lining the walls at this roadside stop are just one reminder of all the customers who’ve enjoyed burgers and Frito pies here since its 1945 opening. Though most eat outside on the ice house–style patio, we prefer the homey comforts of the diner-counter stools inside, where faded spots on the linoleum floors and Formica counters mark the passage of time.

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Image: Chelsea Deli

Chelsea Deli & Cafe

Since opening in 1984, this little shop has been a local favorite for its expertly constructed chicken salad sandwiches, which strike just the right balance of mayo-coated chicken and chewy croissant, though just as many customers favor the roast beef. Whatever you do, get here early; lines at lunch get long, and popular items like egg salad and French bread often sell out.

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Image: Hunan Garden


This Kings Harbor spot is equally praiseworthy for its attractive waterfront setting and its Peruvian-Argentinean cuisine. Dieters will love the light cebiche of shrimp and fish, while carnivores will appreciate the parrillada, a sizzling platter of grilled beef, chicken, pork and chorizo.

Hunan Garden

“Feeding you like family for over 25 years” is the motto at this longtime favorite, where second-generation restaurateur (and founder of foodie group Houston Chowhounds) Jenny Wang is still turning out the same Chinese-American dishes that first popularized her father’s restaurant. We love the dan dan noodles with a spicy plum sauce, while regulars swear by the wonton soup and General Tso’s chicken.

J. Christopher’s Pizza Pasta

It’s hard to imagine a Kingwood without this place and its idiosyncratic “Pizza Pasta” sign, lording over the same Northpark Drive strip center it’s occupied since 1980. Though “new” owners the Swift family purchased it from the founders in 2013, precious little else has changed, including the from-scratch alfredo sauce, Chicago deep dish–style pizza, and burgers—yes, burgers—each named after a Kingwood village.

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A trio of breakfast tacos at Kingwood Meat Market

Kingwood Meat Market

As the sign indicates, this tiny storefront specializes in custom meat processing and prime butcher’s cuts. But it also makes the best breakfast tacos in the area, on fresh flour tortillas that you can (and should) buy by the dozen to take home. Get the barbacoa and don’t skimp on the flavorful green sauce.

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A burger topped with deep fried mac 'n' cheese at Three B's Grill

Three B’s Grill

“Almost home,” read the giant red words painted on the walls at this family-friendly bar and grill—though we don’t know of any home that serves giant burgers topped with deep-fried macaroni and cheese, or chicken-fried-steak tacos topped with queso and jalapeño cream gravy. Maybe we’ll just make this place our new home, then.

Tularosa Southwestern Grill

This “Southwestern comfort food” spot is the newest venture of RC Gallegos, owner of another popular Kingwood joint: RC’s NYC Pizza. As anticipated, it highlights New Mexican specialties such as green chiles and red chile “stacked” enchiladas—even the kids’ menu has cheese enchiladas with a “mild Hatch green sauce.”

Zachary’s Cajun

That this joint is popular with families should come as no surprise, as it courts them with a children-eat-free lunch service on Saturdays and a crowd-pleasing menu that runs the gamut from snappy alligator po-boys and spicy boudin balls to soulful seafood gumbo and heavenly bread pudding.

Zammitti’s Italian Ristorante

Of all the views onto Lake Houston, this may be our favorite. Split a bottle of wine and a giant pan pizza, and you may soon find yourself spending the entire evening here; just make sure it ends with a few scoops of locally made Trentino gelato.

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