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Where to eat right now: 10 hot, must-try restaurants for July

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Chris Leung's modern desserts offer finishing fireworks to an already stellar experience at Kata Robata. Photo by Ruthie Johnson Miller
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Double Trouble offers coffees, cocktails and beers. Photo by Ruthie Johnson Miller
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A lunchtime omelet with caramelized onions and frites at Cafe Brussels Photo by Ruthie Johnson Miller
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Sale Sucre offers a menu of French favorites, including sweet and savory crepes. Photo by Ruthie Johnson Miller
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The ever-fabulous Ceviche Mixto at Latin Bites Cafe Photo by Ruthie Johnson Miller
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The oblong burgers at Mia's are delicious, but are they worth the price tag? Photo by Ruthie Johnson Miller
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The Dan Dan Noodles at Mala Sichuan are always satisfyingly on point. Photo by Ruthie Johnson Miller
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Sliders are the way to go at J. Black's. Stop by for Happy Hour. Photo by Ruthie Johnson Miller
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Ruthie, Double Trouble, menu board.jpg
Ruthie, Cafe Brussels, omelet.jpg
Ruthie, Sale Sucre, crepe, fried egg.jpg
Ruthie, Latin Bites Cafe, Ceviche Mixto.jpg
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Ruthie, J. Blacks, Slider Trio, burger, hamburger.jpg

Houston is hoppin’ these days! Need a lunch or dinner recommendation? Here are 10 hot places to try in July.

Some are new restaurants entirely, while others are seasoned venues with new offerings, but all are well worth a visit. 

Kata Robata
Kata Robata quietly maintains its place as one of Houston’s top restaurants, and recently it's kicked up its offerings even further with the addition of pastry chef Chris Leung. Leung’s creative, modern desserts offer a breathtaking complement to the stellar Japanese menu. Sushi offerings are as brilliant as ever.

Cafe Brussels
The former Dharma Cafe space has been converted to a Belgian delight with brightly colored walls and an enviable display of art. A recent lunchtime visit to Cafe Brussels included a dreamy mushroom soup, as well as an excellent omelet with caramelized onions.

Remember the wonderful mussels and frites at the Broken Spoke Cafe? You’ll find them here, too.

Mia’s, the new fast-casual offering from the Carrabba's group, has family friendly written all over it. Literally. It’s actually painted multiple times on the walls out front.

Burgers dominate the menu, and they’re tasty, though pricey (cheeseburger = $10.50). Milkshakes made with Blue Bell ice cream are delicious, but you might opt for the soft serve offered “free to kids of all ages.”

There’s a new French bistro in town: Salé-Sucré on the new White Oak “restaurant row” in the Heights. Crepes are a specialty, but if that’s not your fancy, there’s a full menu of French favorites to peruse.

Salé-Sucré is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It also boasts a fully stocked bar so you can truly capture the Parisian spirit. Haw haw haw.

J. Black’s
The crowds have already discovered J. Black’s, which has taken over the former Phil’s Barbecue spot on Washington Avenue at Heights Boulevard. Sliders are the star of the menu, and we sure enjoyed the version with Niman Ranch bacon, caramelized onion and sautéed mushrooms.

Pizzas are middling, but the hot wings are worthy. Fun for happy hour.

Trader Joe’s
This upscale California-based market recently opened its first Houston-area location, right in the heart of The Woodlands. Trader Joe’s offers a nice selection of high-quality produce, meats, cheeses and prepared foods.

Prices are decent, but that often means buying in multiples (fruits and vegetables, for example, are often packaged in groups of three).

Double Trouble
Double Trouble, in Midtown near the Continental Club, offers two times the fun with both coffee and cocktails for the taking. There’s a nice craft beer selection too, so perhaps we should dub it Triple Trouble.

The vintage furniture is great for lounging, and Melange Creperie serves crepes out front some nights (check the Twitter feed for updates).

Mala Sichuan
This new Sichuan go-to spot is hot — in both the literal and figurative senses. The meat dishes have been hit-or-miss for me, but the noodles and veggies dishes are consistently excellent. And apparently some of Houston’s top chefs like to dine here as well.

Don’t forget to BYOB, and you’ll get a five-percent discount on your bill if you pay in cash.

Firehouse Tacos
This fiery food truck is owned and operated by a retired Houston fire fighter. Large, fajita-like tacos are the specialty, though you can also find quesadillas and other sundry items. You’ll often find this truck perched in the Museum District, but check its Twitter feed for a daily location.

You can’t miss the truck, a bright ruby red, complete with ladder, fire ax and flashing lights.

Latin Bites Cafe
This Peruvian place has quietly and consistently turned heads in Houston. The place still fills nightly, even in its much larger new space on Woodway in Tanglewood.

The menu features a fantastic selection of ceviches, chifas empanadas, and other South American specialties. Recently it's started offering a Sunday brunch, a weekday happy hour and a Pisco bar.

Need more recs? Try our lists from previous months:


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