Independent neighborhood eateries are hard to come by in Houston, which makes Raven Grill compelling, even when its menu is not. Nestled between the museum district and Rice Village, Raven caters to its upscale patrons with a full bar, a muted, low-lit dining room and solidly good food. The smoky, hot-off-the-grill burgers and well-loaded sandwiches are pretty affordable ($8) for such surroundings. Entrees range from good (the cedar-plank salmon) to really, really bad (the pot roast), but most are middle-of-the-road.
Vibe: Have a seat next to a rich lady and listen to her talk about her charity work. You can get away with jeans, but do wear something nicer than a T-shirt with it.