With a sleek exterior and an Instagrammable-everything interior, Egghaus is proof that simplicity doesn’t have to mean low quality. With the main menu consisting of just breakfast tacos, egg sandwiches and kolaches, owner Philipp Sitter takes these breakfast staples to a whole new level at the counter-service spot just inside the north edge of the Loop. Ordering the steak-and-egg sandwich or El Jefe taco will get you a “nice choice!” at the counter, and the espresso drinks along with the vibrant pastries are an easy way to liven up your breakfast.
BTW: If you’ve never heard of a kolache, it’s a Czech-style pastry usually filled with fruit or cheese, and, since this is Texas, meat like bratwurst and sausage.
EggHaus Gourmet, 2042 East T C Jester Blvd., Houston, Tex. 77008
The Breakfast Klub
Locals are used to seeing this soul-food joint led by chief steward Marcus Davis on a lot of “best of” lists, and for good reason. On weekends, there’s a line around the block just to get in. The Wings & Waffle and Katfish & Grits are hands down the best the city has to offer. Texas-size portions and decent prices should be enough to get anyone in the door, but if you need another seal of approval, it’s reportedly Beyoncé’s favorite spot.
BTW: In a bid to attract the breakfast-for-dinner crowd, the once-breakfast-only restaurant recently started late-night service, which runs from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
The Breakfast Klub, 3711 Travis St., Houston, Tex. 77002
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a brisket better than Truth’s. Over the past five years, Brenham native Leonard Botello IV has earned a name for himself — and a place for Truth BBQ on Texas Monthly’s list of best barbecue places in the state. Meats like brisket, beef ribs (Saturdays only) and sausage are served by the pound, which make the cafeteria-style plates easy to share among a group with a bevy of flavor-rich sides.
BTW: The hours for this location are listed as 11 a.m. until “sold out”; don’t expect to beat the crowd by waiting until later in the day to go.
Truth BBQ, 110 S. Heights Blvd., Houston, Tex. 77007
The Rice Box
Not many food trucks are able to make the leap to bricks-and-mortar establishments, but owner John Peterson has taken his much-beloved Chinese-American fusion to new heights. At the edge of the River Oaks neighborhood, this “new-wave Chinatown” spot has a futuristic atmosphere with a twist on some Chinese American favorites like General Tso chicken and Mongolian beef. If you’re into movies, screens hanging over the bar play a rotating mix of familiar cult classics like “Alien,” “12 Monkeys” and “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”
BTW: The Rice Box serves all of its rice and noodle options in a takeout-style box that staff members will deconstruct if you’re partial to diving in on a flat surface.
The Rice Box, 1111 S. Shepherd Dr., Houston, Tex. 77019
It’s no coincidence that Nancy’s Hustle landed in the fast-growing EaDo neighborhood. Not only did it collect a glowing review from two-time James Beard Award-winning restaurant critic Alison Cook, the stylish, Jason Vaughan-led creation also earned a spot on Esquire’s list of best restaurants in America in 2018. The menu is broken into savory and sweet categories, with items like the Nancy cakes — seriously, get these — and an array of delicious cocktails with names like Nutty by Nature.
BTW: The dining room fills up quickly and service runs only from 5 p.m.-midnight, so definitely get a reservation. And skip Mondays, it’s closed.
Nancy’s Hustle, 2704 Polk St., Ste. A, Houston, Tex. 77003
The Original Ninfa’s
Nestled squarely in the East End on Navigation Boulevard, Ninfa’s has been a staple of Houston’s dining scene for decades. Run by chef Alex Padilla, the James Beard Award semifinalist Ninfa’s has ridden a wave of success to national acclaim, and a second location near Houston’s ritzy Post Oak Plaza. The Tex-Mex offerings feature favorites like fajitas, tamales and enchiladas, and the Ninfarita consistently ranks as one of the best in town. There’s also the East End farmers market that happens right outside every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
BTW: Legend has it Ninfa Rodriguez Laurenzo, or Mama Ninfa, was responsible for popularizing the fajita across the country, so you can never go wrong ordering them.
The Original Ninfa’s, 2704 Navigation Blvd., Houston, Tex. 77003
“We put crack in it,” reads the fifth secret on the menu of how the Asahikawa-style ramen here gets made. This low-key, hole-in-the-wall joint off Washington Avenue brings quality to Houston’s admittedly small ramen scene — the Austin chain Ramen Tatsu-ya is the other power player. Ninja serves bowls that are shoyu-style — a light pork bone broth, soy sauce, long spiral noodles, green onions, pickled bamboo, pork slices and a soft-boiled egg — alongside a fun cocktail menu, and that’s about it. Open until 3 a.m. on weekends — and located across the street from a strip of bars — Ninja Ramen is an almost too-perfect late-night option.
BTW: Ninja boasts one of the largest selections of Japanese whisky in the country. When you ask a bartender about ordering one, they ask, “How much do you want to spend?”
Ninja Ramen, 4219 Washington Ave., Houston, Tex. 77007
A large community of Vietnamese immigrants has given Houston a claim on the title of having the best Vietnamese food in the country. Started in 1978 by Phin and Phac Nguyen as a way to provide for their family of eight children, Mai’s has evolved into a hot spot for clubgoers exiting Midtown after closing time. Although casual, fast-paced dining is their forte, the eight-page menu — with 127 items — has seemingly all the bases covered, with nhung dam (rare beef platters cooked tableside) for seasoned eaters and pho and goi cuon (spring rolls) for the late-night crowd looking to get in and out.
BTW: With a close time of 4 a.m. on weekends, this quickly becomes the only non-drive-through serving the post-bar crowd. Call in an order and skip the line if you don’t like waits or crowds.
Mai’s Restaurant, 3403 Milam St., Houston, Tex. 77002