Take Out


Originally a health food and vitamin store, this restaurant developed from the owners' desire to share the belief that healthy eating tastes great. All dishes are made fresh in-house and never have anything artificial added to them. Special diet? No problem – they "specialize in special requests." The menu offers soups, sandwiches, desserts, breakfast items, and tasty entrées that will surely have you coming back to try what you didn't get to order the first time. A limited selection of beer and wine is available, or you can bring your own.

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River Oaks

Since 1951, this local treasure has been catering to Houston appetites with what may just be "Texas's best BBQ." Outside, Otto's sports the sort of rusticity you'd expect from an eatery that specializes in barbecued beef, ribs, links, pork, and ham – an aluminum roof, weathered wood siding, and plenty of picnic tables on the "front porch." People who don't care for barbecue can opt for a special double-meat burger and an order of crisp French fries. Keep your eyes peeled too – Otto's bills itself as the place where "the President eats beef."

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River Oaks

Serving organic, natural fare, this casual restaurant is “certified green” by the Green Restaurant Association. Walk up and place your order for the likes of an all-natural buffalo burger, quinoa spaghetti and turkey meatballs, a veggie sourdough panini, or a margherita pizza with fresh roma tomatoes. If you have room for dessert, white chocolate bread pudding hits that sweet spot, as does pink velvet cake made with white chocolate and fresh strawberries. The popular eatery has another location at the City Centre (1-10 W at Beltway 8).

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Locals heap high praise on Tony Mandola's awesome fare, including Gulf Coast seafood dishes that reflect the owner's Italian and Cajun roots. The long, narrow dining area has a Mediterranean feel and offers a sleek, casual backdrop ideal for partaking of a unique menu. Kick off your meal with a famous appetizer – perhaps Oysters Buccaneer with spinach or Calamari a la Mama, lightly battered and served with lemon butter sauce. More serious affairs include Louisiana-style fried catfish with seasonal veggies, blackened snapper topped with diced tomatoes and cilantro, and fabulous seafood pasta dishes.

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All organic and all amazingly tasty, the breakfast specialties are praised far and wide. People go well out of their way to eat here, sometimes trekking up from the city several times a week to get their fill of lemon ricotta pancakes, crab cake benedict, and the most creative omelettes and skillets, EVER. Great soups, salads, sandwiches and burgers too!

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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.

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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.

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Recipient of many rave reviews and much well-earned praise, Indika has taken Houston by storm. The airy, clean-lined restaurant, enlivened with sunny hues, attracts a wide range of folks entranced by a menu that combines Texas ingredients and Indian spices and preparations. Kudos go to salmon tikka, duck tandoori, roasted eggplant with paneer, and foie gras with fig chutney. The nan is also a revelation, and you absolutely can't miss the desserts. Chef-owner Anita Jaisinghani was formerly a pastry chef, and she still has a sure, innovative hand with sweets.

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Sleek, airy, and punctuated with top-quality contemporary artwork, Tony's has been a premiere dining destination for many years. All dishes are made fresh daily using the best ingredients, and the kitchen's care is evident in everything from steaks to desserts. Among the options you'll discover are a stuffed, truffled filet of beef, lacquered salmon, roasted boar chop, and osso buco. Offerings listed as 1801s are classics from the restaurant's previous incarnation. The stunning wine cellar focuses on vintages from Italy, France, and California.

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Designed with Las Vegas in mind, Zula is flashy and bold, from its sensual curves to its dramatic carpets, from its strategically placed mirrors to its multi-level dining room. The idea behind it all is conviviality and being able to see what's happening everywhere in the restaurant. Of course, such spectacle serves only to highlight the experience and the food, which includes roasted duck breast with peppered pineapple relish, char-grilled rack of lamb, a veal porterhouse, and sauteed river trout. The wine list is largely American.

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