Oporto Fooding House & Wine - this Portuguese tapas place is gorgeous and perfect for dates or events - I celebrated my Match Day with family and friends here. Try the Bife a Portoguesa, Squid Fried Rice, Polvo con Batatas, and Quiejo de Cabra (baked goat cheese). Pizzete Do Mar and Arroz de Mariscos are good big items.
Local Foods - one of my favorites, enough that I made a copycat recipe of their Roast Beef Sandwich (with curry cauliflower), which sadly isn't available. But their . Sides are fun and delicious - I have a copycat recipe of their Tuscan Kale Salad, acorn squash, and quinoa. and cabbage slaw. Rotisserie Short Rib and Crunchy Chicken are popular. New favorite is - Garden Sammie (add chicken).
Killen's BBQ - this is THE place to get BBQ in Houston. go early and get ready to wait (1.5 hours for us on a Sunday morning arriving 45 min before opening) but it's worth it. Everything is good - we tried the brisket (especially the burnt ends), the beef and pork ribs, pork belly, and sausage by the pound. The sauces - sweet, tangy, and coffee - are addicting. The sides - creamed corn (crunchier and more peppery than Rudy's) and finally the bread pudding to finish it all off. Mr. Killen is super friendly and walks around greeting customers.
Andes Cafe - a mix of latin and south American food (I love how they list each dish's country of origin). Try the Lomo Saltado, Empanadas de Morocho, Arepa Le Puela (corn patty), La Colombiana ( a trio of appatizers), and Bisteck a Cabello. For the more adventurous, they have very authentic options - serving cuy (roast hamster) and anticuchos (skewered hearts), which I had seen in my travels to Peru.
Cooking Girl - Try the Soft Bacon (very slow cooked braised pork belly), Dry Fried Green Bean, and Hot Diving Fish - they're the favorites for a reason. Note that parking can be very limited, so come early.
Houston's - B's dad loved steakouses so this was the first place I took them to when they arrived for my graduation. Try the Thai Steak & Noodle Salad (marinated filet, avocado, mango, noodles), French Dip Au Jus (roasted prime rib french roll sandwich), and Hawaiian Rib-Eye (with a ginger soy pineapple marinade)
Fadi's - Mediterranean at its best. Try the stuffed grape leaves, couscous salad, hummus, and any kabo or schwarma. There's a large variety and served like a buffet/a la carte where everything is displayed and you pick what you want and pay.
Runner ups: Confucious Seafood, Mala Sechuan, Uchi, Himalaya, Dish Society (pictured below), 88 Boiling Crawfish and Seafood