Yelp Names 5 Houston Restaurants to Top 100 Places to Eat for 2024
Consumer review website Yelp has shared its Top 100 Places to Eat for 2024, and five restaurants in or near Houston made the list. (Click to view the list as a map.) The rankings are based on a combination of user submissions, ratings and the number of reviews. Then, “Yelp further curated the list with the expertise of our Community Managers around the country to finalize the rankings.”
Whatever the methodology, Yelp’s Top 100 list does seem to land on restaurants offering great food at modest price points. Last year, Houston-area restaurants included were Vietwich in Stafford (ranking #15), Crumbville in the Third Ward (#16) and burger-chan (#47) in the Galleria neighborhood.
One of those restaurants is also on this year’s list. burger-chan, located at 5353 West Alabama, is in the #27 spot — 20 places higher than last year. Willet and Diane Feng’s fast-casual eatery, named as one of our Best New Restaurants in 2022, is known for its exceptional smash-patty burgers given an extra boost of flavor thanks to a judicious application of butter, mushroom, soy and Worcestershire sauce. burger-chan was also one of only two restaurants that competed nationally in Good Morning America’s “United States of Burgers” competition, ultimately coming in second to Trill Burgers.
The restaurant in the #38 spot is a name that crops up when people ask, “What place makes great tacos in Houston?” Owner Angel Cabrera poured his life savings into opening Tacos Doña Lena at 8788 Hammerly during the pandemic, and by the following year, accolades started rolling in, including the taqueria’s first appearance on Yelp’s Top 100 Places to Eat in 2021. Some of Cabrera’s offerings are made with his mom’s recipes, including a 30-year-old secret one for salsa. The selection of meats and masa carriers is surprisingly broad for a small shop. Not including a selection exclusively focused on birria, there are 13 meats, such as barbacoa, bistek de puerco (pork), chile negro con carne, pastor and chicharron verde, and examples of how any of those can be served include street tacos, gorditas, sopes, quesadillas, tortas or machetes, which are similar to quesadillas but large and lengthy.
At #61 on the list is Avesta Persian Grill at 11165 Westheimer, which is owned by Zaffar Anvari, who emigrated to the United States from Dushanbe, Tajikistan. A member of a restaurant family in his native country, he worked his way up through Houston restaurants for five years — starting as a dishwasher — before he was able to open Avesta in 2015. The restaurant is known for classic Persian fare, such as tahdig (crispy rice), ghormeh sabzi (beef and kidney bean stew), fesenjoon (chicken in pomegranate and walnut sauce), kabobs with beef, chicken, lamb or seafood and a variety of curries.
Katy has a restaurant on Yelp’s Top 100 list this year. Pappa Gyros, located at 21910 Franz, has a menu that marries Greek cuisine with American classics, exemplified in dishes such as the Philly Cheese Steak and Buffalo Chicken Pita sandwiches. You’ll also find “old-school Greek diner burgers”, specialty burgers such as Pappa Taki’s Burger with a half-pound Angus beef patty topped with Italian beef, sweet peppers, hot giardiniera, melted mozzarella and marinara, and platters of classic Greek fare such as the Pastitsio (Greek-style lasagna) Plate with a Greek salad and pita.
In the #99 spot is a restaurant for craft beer lovers. Southern Yankee Crafthouse, located at 1312 West Alabama in Montrose, is a brewpub making its own unique beers such as Tiny Tim’s Chai Brown Ale, Pineapple King Shake Double Milkshake IPA and Fuzzy Bastard Cream Ale. It also has guest beers on tap from other local breweries and cideries such as Equal Parts Brewing Company, Great Heights Brewing Company and City Orchard.
For food, Southern Yankee Crafthouse specializes in wood-fired Neopolitan-style pizzas that go far afield from traditional toppings in combinations like Brats & Tots with beer-poached bratwurst, grainy mustard Alfredo, mozzarella, roasted fingerling potatoes, caramelized onion, toasted caraway seeds, Parmesan, beer cheese, sauerkraut and fresh dill, and H.B.B.C. with Pomodoro sauce, mozzarella, beer can chicken, bacon, pineapple, red onion, jalapeño and a barbecue sauce drizzle. Other food options include Crispy Smoked Pork Belly with brown butternut purée, cranberry jalapeño chutney, baby arugula, crumbled goat cheese and chili oil, and Das Poutine topped with pastrami, sauerkraut, beer-battered fries, red eye beer gravy, caramelized onions, beer cheese and fresh dill.
It’s easy to go on Yelp and find consumer reviews with which to vehemently disagree. However, the Houston restaurants on its 2024 Top 100 Places to Eat that received accolades are all independently owned and serve burgers, Greek food, Persian fare, tacos and pizza, and it’s hard to argue with that kind of broad appeal.
Phaedra Cook has written about Houston’s restaurant and bar scene since 2010. She was a regular contributor to My Table magazine (now closed) and was the lead restaurant critic for the Houston Press for two years, eventually being promoted to food editor. Cook founded Houston Food Finder in November 2016 and has been its editor and publisher ever since.