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  7. Underbelly


1100 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77006 | (713) 528-9800, United States
Underbelly Restaurant in Houston
Courtesy of Underbelly
Price range
Southern U.S. or soul
Foodie magnet, Notable chef, Exceptional wine list

Even before the national acclaim started rolling in, chef-owner Chris Shepherd had a hit on his hands with this culinary homage to the city's many cultures. Shepherd won Houston's first James Beard Award in 2014 after a two-decade drought, and now the wood-wrapped, modern-farmhouse-style dining room is consistently packed. The diverse menu changes daily, depending on the local bounty, but a few dishes are omnipresent: family-style crispy whole fish from the Gulf posed in a massive cast-iron skillet, Vietnamese Cha Ca style snapper, and cured-in-house charcuterie culled from the whole-animal, on-site butcher shop.

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