As is the tradition at Eater, our closeout of the year is a survey of friends, bloggers, and readers. We're kicking things off by talking about the restaurants people found themselves visiting over and over again. Readers, please add your thoughts to the comments.
The bar at The Pass & Provisions, one of the new standbys of 2012 [Gary R Wise]
Teresa Byrne-Dodge, My Table magazine publisher: I return again and again to Mockingbird Bistro. For me it is the ideal neighborhood restaurant: easy to fall into for a martini and a hamburger on a weeknight, indulgent to three ladies gossiping over Sunday brunch, a place to celebrate birthdays and special occasions. We were married in the wine room at Mockingbird Bistro this past summer. I also spend my own money (not just the magazine's) at Rainbow Lodge, Les Givral's (on Milam), Giacomo's Cibo e Vino, The Original Ninfa's and Uptown Sushi.
Amber Ambrose, former Eater Houston editor, freelance food writer: Pass & Provisions, Uchi, China Doll (in my immediate neighborhood), Les Givrals, Thu Thu, El Tiempo, Paulie's, Poscol, Captain Benny's
Katherine Whaley, KHOU Anchor and reporter: Teotihuacan -- Like any good Texas native, I consume Mexican food at least once a week, and Teotihuacan never leaves my rotation. Sorrel Urban Bistro -- I can walk in any day, any time and enjoy something unique, fresh, and thoughtful. It always feels new, yet familiar. LA Bar gets my vote for grilled oysters while watching the game. This year, Brasserie 19 became a standby for champagne and homemade charcuterie, likewise for Pondicheri and its cookies.
Tyler Horne, Urban Harvest Market Manager: Himalaya is my all time stand by and I frequent it often on my way out to visit family in Southwest Houston. After the Eastside Farmers market on Saturdays, Paulie's is our tradition.
Joshua Justice, Eating Our Words contributor: Darren and Petrol Station's new kitchen doesn't get enough love, i've eaten through that menu 3 times. I eat at the bar at The Pass & Provisions a lot. I live with a food critic, if get to eat somewhere more than 2 or 3 times, I'm stoked.
Albert Nurick, H-Town Chow Down: Corkscrew BBQ, Hubbell & Hudson, Jax Burgers, Barnaby's, Spaghetti Western, El Real, Chuy's
Sarah Tressler, freelance writer and writing instructor: Down House -- primo coffee, expertly executed cocktails, relaxed atmosphere and The New York Times is on the bar every day. I found myself there a lot.
Rachel Brill, Eater Houston contributor: Uchi, Dolce Vita, Hay Merchant, Mia's Table, Carrabbas, El Tiempo
Danny Vara, Southbound Food co-host: Kata Robata, Underbelly, Thanh Phuong, El Gran Malo, Cafe TH, Samba Grille until the bitter end
Catherine Martin, Arbitrary Criticism: My favorite restaurant this year has been Mi Sombrero, located in Oak Forest. To be honest I'm no longer even sure that its the best Mexican restaurant in Houston, but the waitresses all know that I only want the Tommy's tacos and need as many chips and salsa as possible and I love that.
Lauren Barrash, founder and president of The Wave: Star Pizza, Mia's Table
Zerin Dube, Speed:Sport:Life editor: Sorrell Bistro, BBs, Yia Yia Marys, Grotto, Natachees
Gary R Wise, Eater Houston photographer: Mala Sichuan, Le Viet, Al Aseel
Phaedra Cook, My Table magazine contributor: I've been spotted at Provisions so much lately (mostly by you, Eric) that it's embarrassing. I love that place so much that I think I've developed some kind of weird restaurant crush. Is there help for this condition?
I hit up Kata Robata about once a month for either ramen or the sushi bar and I seek comfort at Haven periodically. (There's a lot of comfort to be found in the Fried Chicken Blue Plate Special on Thursdays.) Double Trouble Coffee & Cocktails is a terrific place for me to work on my laptop. I hang out at Underbelly, Grand Prize Bar and The Hay Merchant rather often. I visit Phil's Wine Bar (inside of Philippe) as often as my busy schedule allows. I love Vanessa Treviño Boyd's wine selections and the happy hour deal on open bottles is a tremendous value.
Steph Stradley, Texans blogger: Uchi - For food, people watching. Dessert. Especially dessert. A Moveable Feast - An old standby. Fresh, flavorful, fast food at a good price. It shouldn't be so hard to find healthy food at a good price, so I go here often.
Misha Govshteyn, food enthusiast: Oxheart, Kata Robata, Pizaro's, Bernie's Burger Bus, eTao, Tacos La Bala
Eric Sandler, Eater Houston editor: I eat at Paulie's three or four times a month. The food is delicious and reasonably priced. It's close to home, and I feel comfortable eating there by myself.