Dining Guide

10 Must-Eat Restaurants Inspired from Around the World

The diversity of the city provides Houstonians with such an abundance of food that we often take for granted what is here.

By DeVaughn Douglas March 29, 2022 Published in the Spring 2022 issue of Houstonia Magazine

ChòpnBlọk is located in POST Houston's food market.

Image: ChòpnBlọk

Houston is gradually being revealed to the rest of the world as a place with a variety of cuisines. The diversity of the city provides Houstonians with such an abundance of food that we often take for granted what is here. With the pandemic, many are forgoing traveling and staying at home. Luckily, here in Houston, you can still find food from around the nation as well as the rest of the world. Whether it’s a quick bite or an elaborate meal, Houston has almost too many places to name. Whether you’re an experienced diner who is well versed in a multitude of cuisines or a new foodie trying to expand their palette, the city has a lot of options from which to choose. Here are just a few of the many offerings from Houston restaurants.

Jollof Jambalaya

Image: ChòpnBlọk

ChòpnBlọk’s goal is to share West African culture through foods that reshape society’s daily routine. The brainchild of Ope Amosu, ChòpnBlọk began as a series of pop-ups in Houston and has now found a home at the Post, the creative workspace Downtown. ChòpnBlọk’s main goal is to make West African foods accessible for all to enjoy. Stop by and enjoy their takes on jollof rice, stewed plantains, curry dishes, collards, meat- or vegetable-filled pastries, kale and more cooked in the styles found in Liberia, Nigeria and Ghana. Also offered are coconut- and ajebutter-flavored kettle corn as well as Oga Palmer, a mix of African hibiscus tea and fresh lemonade. 401 Franklin St.

Shabu Zone
There are plenty of places in Houston to eat hot pot, the Chinese dish where patrons cook raw meat and vegetables in boiling flavored broth. Whether you’re an expert at hot pot or just trying to become familiar with the cuisine, Shabu Zone has everything you need. Its all-you-can-eat menu starts off with the diner  selecting from a variety of broths like tonkotsu, miso or spicy original, to name a few. You can then pick from a selection of meats that are brought to your table, as well as pick from a variety of seafood, noodles, vegetables and more at the buffet bar. If you’re looking to up your hot pot game, grab some of the pickled radish and shredded onion at the sauce bar and create your own wraps as you cook your food. 11201 Bellaire Blvd.

Maharaja Bhog
Established in 2012, Maharaja Bhog has been offering traditional Indian food thali-style, with a large selection of dishes served on a large round platter. The restaurant primarily focuses on north Indian cuisine and has a huge vegetarian selection. The menu is fresh and ever-changing, offering mainstays like lentil soups, paneer veg jalfrez and dhokla in its lunch and dinner thali meals. It can be packed on the weekends, but lunch boxes are offered throughout the week for those looking for smaller meals and no crowds. If you’re new to Indian food, try a slow day during the week and let them know. The wait staff is helpful and can offer you visual menus to help explain what you’re getting into. Remember, the menu can change daily, so there is always plenty of variety. 8338 Southwest Frwy.

Dine in style at JOEY Uptown in the Galleria.

Image: JOEY Uptown

Steak Frites, 6oz cut steak topped with garlic butter and served with rocket greens, cherry tomatoes, and fries.

Image: JOEY Uptown

JOEY Uptown
If you’re looking to step out, try JOEY Uptown. The Canadian restaurant chain has expanded into Houston, setting up its first Texas location in the Galleria. The menu offers steakhouse entrées and burgers, but also includes a selection of sushi, salads and other main dishes such as Lobster & Shrimp Ravioli and a crispy tofu bowl. Diners can also enjoy shared plates of roasted corn guacamole, Korean-fried cauliflower and sliders royale. Complimentary champagne is offered upon arrival, so get to your reservation early. 5045 Westheimer Rd.

The Greasy Spoon
Max Bozeman II has been working in the restaurant industry for most of his life, helping with his family’s restaurant and eventually working with other brands as he got older. The Greasy Spoon is the culmination of his training in the business, starting out with a small location on the north side of Houston. While that location might be easy to pass up, word of mouth for Bozeman’s food as well as his service has helped the Greasy Spoon expand with a food truck and brand-new location in Pearland. The menu offers soul food staples like mac and cheese, greens, cabbage, oxtails and fried chicken, but Bozeman also offers his new take on old traditions with dishes like collard green and smoked turkey egg rolls, lamb chops and  grits, and the eye-catching seafood stack. 636 Cypress Station Dr. and 10009 Broadway St.

Margaux Oyster Bar
In March 2020, the team at Margaux Oyster Bar got the funding to open up in Bravery Chef Hall downtown … just in time to close the next day because of the coronavirus pandemic. Since then, Chef Choey Dang kept things afloat, operating in ghost kitchens, running the restaurant on limited hours and sharing kitchens with other chefs. One of the chefs she shared a kitchen with was Sunny Vohra and together, along with Chef Jordan Chambliss, they have created Margaux’s oyster program. The expanding menu focuses on the Gulf Coast oyster market and gradually expands to different coasts. Visit for happy hour where Gulf Coast oysters are $1 for a half shell, taste the selection of East Coast oysters, try out the New Orleans-styled chargrilled oysters or a lobster roll. The French-influenced restaurant has plans to expand  the menu and wants to expose people to the world of oysters through its “Oyster Omakase” program. (Omakase is a Japanese phrase meaning “I’ll leave it up to you,” where the chef selects specialties). If you are new to the cuisine, Margaux is a great place to start out, get a variety of shellfish and ask questions. 409 Travis St.

MF Sushi
The “MF” in MF Sushi stands for magic fingers and is a reference to the care and skill displayed by its chefs when preparing their dishes. Located in the Museum District, it offers favorites like baked scallops, spicy tuna rolls and soft-shelled crab. For those looking for more variety than your average sushi spot, it also offers king salmon belly, duck breast, Tasmanian ocean trout, Japanese black cod and more. They also offer an omakase, but call ahead and request it with your reservation to make sure that it is available. If you do order the omakase, sit by the sushi bar in front of the chef and witness the “MF” in MF Sushi. 1401 Binz St. 

Mico’s Hot Chicken
Nashville hot chicken is seeing a nationwide boom as restaurants throughout the country try and create their take on the spicy dish. Mico saw the boom early on and took her husband and kids to Nashville to learn about the dish at the source. The information they brought back helped launch a food truck in 2019 and eventually a brick-and-mortar for Mico’s Hot Chicken. The menu is simple, offering tenders, chicken sandwiches and loaded fries with sides consisting of fried pickles, milkshakes, coleslaw, hot honey and a few others. The variety comes with the spice levels, starting with no heat, building up through mild, medium and hot, and eventually ending on the almost unbearable (in a good way) extra hot. If you are a fan of spice and want the challenge, then the extra hot is for you. With or without heat, the sauce is flavorful and the reason that there’s usually a line in front of the building. 1603 N. Durham Dr.

Rincon Criollo Restaurant
If you’re looking for a taste of Cuba, then look no farther than Rincon Criollo. Located on Highway 6 on the west side of Houston, the small eatery offers a big menu of Cuban cuisine for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The menu is robust with standouts like a selection of omelets, empanadas, pique, a variety of salads, beef, chicken and seafood dishes, and a huge selection of Cuban sandwiches. If you are looking for the authentic taste of Cuba or want to be exposed to the cuisine, Rincon Criollo is a great place to start. 2150 Highway 6 South

Bahel Ethiopian Mart & Dining
If you’re looking for Ethiopian food, whether prepared cuisine or groceries, then look no farther than Bahel Ethiopian Mart & Dining. When you enter the building, you’re immediately greeted with the smell of incense, and you can shop at the grocery store to your right or take a seat in the restaurant to your left. A selection of breakfast, lunch and dinner dishes is offered. If you’re not familiar with the food, just ask the wait staff for guidance. They can direct you to individual dishes, but it’s your best bet to try out the selections of All Time Favorites, which are various combinations of dishes served on a platter with fresh injera. 6509 Chimney Rock Rd.

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