There's no shortage of dining options in Houston's premier shopping district. Unfortunately many are over-rated upscale chains that are as much about eatertainment as food.
Here are restaurants 29-95 recommends:
Haven: Chef Randy Evans showcases his farm-to-table philosophy in this dreamy contemporary dining room. Try the assertive wild boar chili, the comely pork chops with sauerkraut or just a perfectly fried egg. This guy is gifted ... you can just taste it.
2502 Algerian Way, 713-581-6101
Philippe Restaurant + Lounge: Helmed by the self-anointed French Cowboy, Philippe Schmit, this restaurant boasts a striking dining room with a playful menu (duck confit tamales, anyone?). And the bar scene? One word: party. 1800 Post Oak Blvd., 713-439-1000.
The Queen Vic: Craft beers and finely crafted British/Indian fare (the chutney flight alone is worth a stop) make this a pub to seek out. The deep red dining room with its exposed brick and polished woodwork feels flush with promise of a special night.
2712 Richmond, 281-533-0022
RDG + Bar Annie: Got a client or a colleague you want to impress? Robert Del Grande’s dramatic dining room and his upscale comfort fare — roasted pheasant, braised rabbit, rack of lamb — are just the ticket. Or if you’re just looking for a place to chill, try the terrace that overlooks tony Post Oak.
1800 Post Oak Blvd., 713-840-1111
Tony's: Dining is theater at this Houston institution warmly overseen by namesake Tony Vallone. If you’re not wowed with what’s on the plate (and we bet you will be), you’re sure to be dazzled by glitterati in the dining room.
3755 Richmond, 713-622-6778
Ciao Bello: Tony and Jeff Vallone, the father-and-son team behind ultra-upscale Tony’s, have created a casual Italian eatery that keeps the prices reasonable without comprising on the food or service. The house-made pasta deserves respect and the Roman-style pizzas are top-notch.
5161 San Felipe, 713-960-0333
Crave Cupcakes: Got milk? Designer cupcakes, like jewels, line large, glass display cases and range from the completely predictable (vanilla with vanilla icing) to the surprisingly unexpected (peanut butter chocolate or Key lime). Indulgence has a price, though, and in this case it’s around $3.50 a cupcake.
1151 Uptown Park Blvd., 713-622-7283
Jenni's Noodle House: Don’t let the industrial dining room and counter service put you off. The noodle dishes here are visually appealing and damn good. Plenty of vegan and vegetarian options. And did we mention it’s BYOB?
2027 Post Oak Blvd., 713-621-4200
Ragin' Cajun: This casual and often raucus cafe serves up well-seasoned and generous portions of crawfish, boudin and etouffe. It’s like sitting around the family dinner table, if your family sucks heads and drinks Dixie beer. Next door is a more upscale sister, LA Bar.
4302 Richmond Ave., 713-623-6321
Yia Yia Mary's: Colorful Greek restaurant excels at seafood and the gyros -- dripping with rich tzatziki sauce -- are among the best in town. Don’t miss happy hour with appetizers starting at $1.45 and draft beer for $1.95.
4747 San Felipe, 713-840-8665
This story originally was pubbed March 5, 2011; it was updated April 26, 2012.