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The rice bowl at 7 Bowls.

Everybody's talking about the Yauatchas of the world. But not everyone will tell you where to about the best new place for Vietnamese clam-and-escargot soup. For that, and other less popular finds, read on.

7 Bowls:  Centered around Vietnamese soups, this casual spot offers a short menu of seven “perfect bowls,” each representing fine-tuned recipes passed down from generation to generation.

Al Habeeb Street Food: For those seeking another food truck option in the Spring and Klein area, this is one to check out. This kitchen on wheels offers authentic Indian classics such as biryani, masala entrees, samosas and naan.

Basa’s Mexican Grill: Sizzling fajitas, over-stuffed tortas, enchiladas and more are available at Basa’s Mexican Grill, now open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.—21411 Clay Road, Suite A; Katy

Bò Né By E.T.: The former Ốc N More space at Saigon Houston Plaza now houses this Vietnamese eatery specializing in steak and eggs. Pho and mi oc hen di lan (clam and escargot noodle soup) are among the other items available at this Chinatown spot.

Chef Liu Restaurant: The shuttered Ding Ding Cafe space has flipped to this spicy new replacement in Chinatown. Serving up traditional Szechuan dishes—though most of the menu skews specifically towards Chongqing fare—this new contender features items like sliced fish served in chile oil, fiery mapo tofu and a showstopping grilled pig’s head.

El Sol Restaurant: West Oaks has new neighborhood eatery, where a husband-and-wife team are offering up fajitas and piping hot pupusas, along with more Mexican and Salvadoran classics.

Five Loaves Pizza: This Cypress pizzeria is the latest in a long string of do-it-yourself pie shops continuing to pop up all over town. In addition to pizzas, there are calzones and submarine sandwiches available too. Don’t miss the draught root beer bar, another build-it-yourself option for root beer floats.

Fontenot's Cajun Meats: For those looking for Cajun specialties like turducken, head to this one-stop-shop in Tomball for butchered meats and Louisiana fare. Owner Dennis Hanks offers everything from fresh sausage to fully-prepared stuffed pork chops. Additionally, the shop serves such Cajun favorites as crawfish etouffee and gumbo.

Habanero: Assorted grilled meats is the name of the game at this newly opened Mexican restaurant. The menu touts a wide range of parrilladas, which includes a sampling of skirt steak, shrimp, short ribs and more grilled offerings. Enchiladas, carne asada, and other staples are also on the menu. Situated on Houston’s west side, the eatery replaces Bellissimo Ristorante’s short-lived second outpost in the Calliope Shopping Center.

La Cocina De Roberto: Tacos and super-sized burritos are the main attractions at this casual Mexican eatery. Situated in an unassuming storefront adjacent to a gas station, diners will also find fajitas, posole, and grilled seafood dishes.

Mal De Amor: Now open within the Lakes of Riata Shopping Center is this new Mexican spot, serving breakfast tacos, tortas and burritos.

Miyazaki: Located within the Shoppes at Oak Ridge North strip center, this recently-opened restaurant focuses on traditional Japanese fare and sushi.

My Tastes: A new mom-and-pop boba shop has opened in Sugar Land with a bevy of hot and cold brewed varieties. This Taiwanese tea spot also doles out coffee drinks, as well as banh mi sandwiches and fully-loaded fries.

Ramen Fun: A dedicated ramen shop has finally arrived on Houston’s north side, thanks, in part, to restaurateur Henry Zhu (Atsumi Asian Kitchen and Sushi Bar, Sapporo).  Find tonkotsu ramen with a 24-hour broth, along with a small menu of Japanese pub fare.

Roux House: For Cajun and Creole fare in League City, head to this family-run restaurant from brothers Brent and Beau Leacroy (no affiliation with Baton Rouge’s infamous The Roux House), where dishes range from blackened Gulf oysters to rich seafood-filled gumbos.

Space Lobos: This new roving kitchen specializes in Central American cuisine with a focus on Mexican and Salvadoran street food (think tacos, tortas, and pupusas).

Swamp City:  Located on the northern outskirts of the Garden Oaks/Oak Forest neighborhood, this Cajun eatery serves up fried seafood, spicy boiled shrimp, hearty po’ boys and a variety of chicken wing choices in a casual counter-service setting.

Tandoorz Kabob & Grill:  Find a mix of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern fare at this Katy halal spot cranking out kabobs, curries and naan pizzas.

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There's one more place to get an old fashioned Avalon Diner breakfast.

Newly Opened Expansions of Local Favorites

Avalon Diner: Taking over the old Spicy Pickle space at 11611 Katy Freeway, Suite B, is a new outpost of neighborhood eatery this small chain of diners. Expect standard breakfast fare and comfort food as served at its Memorial Village, Stafford, and original River Oaks locations.
Bubba T's Cajun Kitchen: After operating for seven years in Spring, this family-run restaurant is serving up even more Cajun specialities with a second location in The Woodlands. Situated at 202 Sawdust Road, Suite 110, the seafood-focused spot boasts a line-up of blackened shrimp po’ boys, boudin balls and fried Gulf Coast delicacies, among other dishes.

Cafe Ginger Uptown: This beloved River Oaks spot for Asian cuisine (which is relocating to 1574 West Gray next year) has spawned a second outpost in the Galleria area. The new location is situated in BBVA Compass Plaza, in the space previously occupied by OKA, its sister Japanese concept at 2200 Post Oak Boulevard, Suite 140. Look for familiar American-style Chinese fare, along with traditional sushi offerings.

Catfish Station: Owners Richard Hunter and Tre Thomas have been on a roll as of late as their rapidly-growing Cajun mini-chain takes over the city. With several locations under their belts, the duo have opened two more restaurants, one in Katy at 19221 West Little York and another at 7903 Beechnut in Houston. Menu favorites include fried, hand-battered catfish; chicken-and-sausage gumbo; and crawfish pies.

Dimassi's Mediterranean Kitchen: The Mediterranean cafeteria chain has opened yet another Houston-area restaurant. Find fork-tender broiled lamb shanks, savory feta cheese pies, and kabobs stacked with brightly-colored vegetables on rotation at the newest location in Humble at 20380 Highway 59 North.

Fish and Camarón:  A third outpost of The Woodlands-based Mexican eatery is now open in Tomball at 25219 Kuykendahl. Like the name suggests, offerings include seafood dishes such as ceviche and grilled fish tacos in a fast-casual setting.

Healthy Cow Pizza: For gluten-free pizza, head to this Houston-based pie parlor’s spankin’ new second outpost at 23144 Cinco Ranch Boulevard, Suite C, in Katy. In addition to specialty pizzas, patrons will also find pastas and sandwiches on the menu.

House of Donuts & Kolaches: This aptly named bakery recently opened a second outpost in Cypress (14502 Spring Cypress Road, Suite 300)—the other is in Katy—selling donuts, kolaches, savory klobásníky, and a wide-ranging menu filled with breakfast pastries.

Lucky's Pub: Anthony Wegmann brings his high-spirited sports bar to Katy, along with a new partner in local radio personality Rod Ryan. Situated at 17754 Katy Freeway, the popular go-to spot for sports devotees—which also has locations in EaDo and the Heights (its Cypress outlet closed in late February)—boasts a stellar beer selection and decent pub food with ample outdoor seating.

Sapporo: Chef and operator Henry Zhu (Atsumi Asian Kitchen & Sushi Bar) has opened a second outpost of his hibachi restaurant in Cypress at 14034 Grant Road, Suite 100. Expect noodle and rice dishes, along with a lengthy sushi menu served in a Japanese-inspired setting.

Shogun Japanese Grill & Sushi Bar: The ever-expanding, local hibachi chain brings grilled meats, sushi & Japanese fare to 5921 East Sam Houston Parkway North, located in the North Shore neighborhood.

Vino & Vinyl: A second location of this Missouri City-born wine bar-record shop hybrid has arrived in Sugar Land Town Center. Featuring a curated wine list and small plates from chef Tori Bergersen, the new spot fills the space previously occupied by Aura Brasserie at 15977 City Walk.

The Teahouse: The trendy boba shop has opened its tenth Houston-area outpost. Located at 2810 Business Center Drive, Suite 111, in Pearland, the bubble tea spot offers a slew of cream teas, smoothies, and blended brew options.

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Even more Raising Cane's is flying into Space City.

Image: Alice Levitt

Recently Opened Chain Expansions

Need more Checkers in your life? The Florida-based burger chain, which is expanding like crazy in Houston (over 20 area restaurants are planned for 2017), has opened an outpost in Katy. Find burgers, fries, hot dogs, chicken sandwiches and shakes at 600 Katy Fort Bend Road.

First Watch, a brunch-only chain from California, is now open at 5503 FM 1960, Suite 112, in the Champion Forest neighborhood. It’s the second area location for the breakfast spot (the first opened last year in Katy), which offers scratch-made pancakes, omelets, frittatas, house-made granola, and breakfast bowls. There’s also an in-house juice bar serving a variety of freshly-pressed, health-minded beverages.

El Pollo Loco, the flame-grilled chicken specialist, is setting the city ablaze with several new locations. The casual dining chain recently opened three additional outposts in the Houston area: 2825 Riley Fuzzel Road (Spring), 14124 Cypress Rosehill Road (Cypress), and 481 West Bay Area Boulevard (Webster).

Austin’s beloved burger and brew hub Hopdoddy Burger Bar is now open in the Rice Village District. Taking over the former Baker St. Pub digs at 5510 Morningside Drive, the eco-friendly spot serves up creative burger options, craft beers, cocktails, and spiked milkshakes.

New York-born bubble tea dispensary Kung Fu Tea recently opened two new outposts in the Greater Houston area: 6202 Highway 6, Suite. B (Missouri City) and 3645 FM 1960 West, Suite 238 (Houston), totaling eight local spots to sip teas, slushies and coffee drinks.

Mama Fu’s Asian House, the fast-casual chain from Austin, is serving up its spin on Asian fusion at a newly opened location in Katy (28818 Cinco Ranch Boulevard).

Louisiana import Raising Cane’s opened a new location in the NRG Stadium-area – its 25th overall in Houston –  at 9530 South Main. The fast-casual chain specializes in chicken tender and Texas toast combos.

Houston-based salad merchant Salata has added another Woodlands location to its ever-growing portfolio, this time at 3091 College Park Drive, Suite 290. The health-focused spot offers build-your-own salads, wraps, soups and organic teas.

Following its Houston debut at Baybrook Mall last year, grilled cheese purveyors The Melt have opened a second area outpost. Situated at 10111 Louetta, Suite 800, within Vintage Marketplace Restaurant Village, the menu features varied grilled cheese options, alongside burgers and fries.

Tropical Smoothie Cafe continues to expands its reach in the Houston-area with the opening of its newest location in Shenandoah. Located at 19075 Interstate 45 South, Suite 116C, the fast-casual cafe serves smoothies, salads, wraps, sandwiches and flatbreads.

Self-serve fro-yo chain Yogurtland is now open in Cypress’ Fairfield Town Center at 28404 Northwest Freeway, Suite G15.  

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