Going out to eat isn't always about cravings. Often enough, mealtimes dictate our choices, limiting restaurant possibilities. When circumstances narrow the options, let 10Best help. We'll direct you to the best Lunch restaurants in Houston and save you the hassle of calling around for business hours. 10Best readers find much to enjoy at Josephine's Italian Ristorante thanks to its all-around good offerings. It's also hard to beat Frenchie's Italian, which serves just what you're looking for when you're in the market for a great Lunch.

Josephine's Italian Ristorante
When you're downtown and trying to score a quick, tasty lunch, Josephine's should be high on your list. While dinnertime patrons are often regaled with seafood main courses and more elegant sit-down fare, lunch-goers can depend on pastas, pizzas, soups, and salads. A midday cafeteria line guarantees that things move quickly, and affordable prices are especially welcome. The restaurant also serves more than a dozen health-conscious items. (713-759-9323)

This Is It
It's hard to go wrong with a family-owned restaurant, and this one has been operating for decades now, so it's obvious that something's being done right. This Is It specializes in downhome soul food, and while the place gives health-minded diners pause, it's more than okay with folks in the mood for scrumptious smothered chicken and pork chops. You'll also find a steam table full of vegetables: everything from sweet potatoes to greens. Delicious! (713-659-1608)

Café Express
Café Express provides fresh, handmade food in a sophisticated, urban setting. A stylish interior features natural stone and recessed lighting; al fresco dining is also an option. Made-to-order dishes can be kicked up with special olive oils, Dijon mustard, fine vinegars, olives, capers, cornichons, and sun-dried tomatoes. For a sweet ending, consider cookies, brownies and other made-fresh desserts. Beverages include beers, wines, and coffee drinks like cappuccinos and espressos. Great for quick, delicious meals or lingering with friends. (713-349-9222)

Frenchie's Italian
This cheery Mediterranean-style café is family-owned and family-operated, and the two Caprisian brothers in charge make special efforts to see that patrons have a wonderful time. Although the intimate tables may be arranged a bit closely, delicious homestyle pasta dishes more than make up for any perceived loss of privacy. Fresh-from-the-Gulf seafood is the specialty and has been for almost 20 years. Friendly, professional service adds to the experience, and reasonable prices make Frenchie's a favorite. Space is limited, so expect long lines on weekends. (281-486-7144)

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Becks Prime
The original location of this local chain promises an imaginative array of mesquite-grilled hamburgers and a spacious patio for outdoor dining. Choices are practically endless, whether you choose one of the specialty burgers or opt for a salad, baked potato, bowl of chili, hot dog, or chicken filet sandwich. Wash your lunch down with a wonderful milkshake, or choose from a variety of beers and wines. Other locations in the Houston area. (713-524-7085)

Bistro Le Cep
Golden-hued pine tables, booths, and wine racks impart a rustic warmth to this engaging bistro, which confidently creates comfort-food dishes in the best French tradition. "Le Cep" is the trunk of a grapevine, the most basic, deep-rooted part of the plant, and it's a worthy metaphor for the restaurant's cuisine. Taste the kitchen's skills in pan-roasted boar medallions, slow-braised short ribs, bouillabaisse, coq au vin, and roasted rabbit in mustard sauce. Ideal for a romantic dinner for two or a lazy lunch. (713-783-3985)

Mockingbird Bistro
A charming dining room with stained glass accents and self-proclaimed "funky gothic" decor welcomes enthusiastic guests to this appealing bistro. Sophistication and comfort mix in the setting and in the food, which is rustic, flavorful, and impeccably prepared. Steak frites is a natural classic, as are roasted chicken with mushroom risotto, grilled ahi tuna, cider-glazed pork chop, and tagliatelle with slow-braised lamb. Desserts keep up the creative theme, and the international wine list is delightfully well priced. A wonderful neighborhood institution. (713-533-0200)

Daily Review Cafe
This small, trendy cafe has earned quite a faithful following, and folks can't seem to get enough of its bistro-inspired dishes. Offerings combine greens, cheeses, fruits, nuts, meats, and seafood to brilliant effect. Although the menu changes frequently to take advantage of what's seasonal, you can expect to find wonderful salads, pizzas and pastas, and items like Thai fish tacos, fried chicken, crab cakes, a hot brown sandwich, and seared red snapper. A lovely brick patio is sublime during good weather. (713-520-9217)

Maps and Directions

Josephine's Italian Ristorante 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: European, Italian
Neighborhood: Downtown
Cost: $
This Is It 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: American, Soul Food
Neighborhood: Downtown
Cost: $
Café Express 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: American, Ethnic
Neighborhood: Houston
Cost: $
Frenchie's Italian 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: European, Italian, Seafood
Neighborhood: Clear Lake
Cost: $$
Becks Prime 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: American, Burger
Neighborhood: Midtown
Cost: $
Bistro Le Cep 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: European, French
Neighborhood: West Houston
Cost: $$
Mockingbird Bistro 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: American, Continental, New American
Neighborhood: River Oaks
Cost: $$$
Daily Review Cafe 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: Ethnic
Neighborhood: Montrose
Cost: $$
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