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Two Houston Favorites Are Among the Country’s 38 Essential Restaurants

Himalaya and Xochi earned a nod from Eater’s national critic

a table full of curries, rice, and naan at Himalaya.
A bountiful Himalaya spread
Bill Addison/Eater
Amy McCarthy is a staff writer at, focusing on pop culture, policy and labor, and only the weirdest online trends.

Two Houston restaurants have found a coveted spot on Eater national critic Bill Addison’s annual ranking of the country’s most essential dining destinations.

The newly-published list of America’s 38 essential restaurants includes Himalaya, the beloved Indian-Pakistani restaurant known for its unique fusion dishes, like brisket masala and spiced fried chicken. “Numerous curries, including Hyderabadi chicken hara masala coursing with green chiles, evince several regional Indian cuisines, but it’s key to order the gems inspired by Kaiser Lashkari’s native Pakistan,” Addison writes. “He excels in “hunter beef,” a preparation similar to pastrami, best served cold in thick slices with head-clearing mustard.”

Also new to the Eater 38 is Xochi, which graced Addison’s list of the country’s best new restaurants in 2017. After complimenting Houston’s “world-class greatness,” Addison raves about Xochi’s interpretation of Oaxacan cuisine. “Since opening in early 2017, Xochi quickly ascended as the finest of their bellwethers,” Addison gushes. “Ortega and his chefs delve into Oaxaca’s earthy, exhilarating, spicy-sweet cuisine, with its color wheel of moles and its masa-based specialties shaped into irresistible geometries.”

Xochi and Himalaya join San Antonio’s 2M Smokehouse and Franklin Barbecue in Austin as Texas’s entries on the list. The original Brennan’s, a New Orleans institution, also made this year’s ranking.