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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Houston
Food
Feel
Price
7.3
7.0
$15
Middle Eastern, Baked goods
Counter service

Hours
Mon–Sat 8:00am–9:00pm
Sun 8:00am–6:00pm

Features Outdoor dining, veg-friendly
Bar None
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx

Hillcroft Area
3939 Hillcroft Ave.
Houston, TX
(713) 952-4747
Abdallah’s
This friendly grocery and bakery also serves legit Lebanese at low, low prices

Locals in the know love this happy hidden gem in the back of a general store. The huge buffet spread opens daily around 11:30, and it goes fast; get there early to enjoy the fresh dishes like whole grilled fish or tabbouleh. Braised lamb shanks, on the other hand, get better as the day goes on, so perhaps risk them running out and wait a while if this is what you crave. You can also get some made-to-order items until about half an hour before closing.

The building could use some work, but upbeat Middle Eastern pop music adds to the experience, and while you wait, you can pick through bulghur wheat, tahini, myriad pickled vegetables, and of course freshly baked pita bread and pastries. There are also all the necessary ingredients to light up your hookah, including the pipes themselves.

At $4.99, the beef shawarma is one of the cheapest—and best—in Houston. Tender and hearty lamb kebab is also a sound order, with a choice of two sides and rice or lentils. To finish, have a little flaky, almost-too-dry baklava with some Arabic coffee. Every once in a while, the store sells bottles of the family’s first-press olive oil from their orchards in the old country. Unfiltered and cloudy, it’s a steal at $20 a bottle, especially compared to American-made rip-offs that lurk in certain “specialty” stores.

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