You know you've come to a dining hot spot when you're greeted by the cement handprints of local notables outside the front doors of the ebullient La Griglia. Even after all these years (it opened in 1991), no other Houston restaurant can match its buzzy social energy. Dramatic decor, an open kitchen, imaginative and dependable food, and fair prices make this River Oaks favorite a touchstone among those in the know (and in the gossip columns). This place fills by 7 pm,
so arrive early or prepare to enjoy the scenery for a while. Try the seafood cheesecake, maybe the richest appetizer in town and worth every calorie or smooth, silky shrimp bisque. Soft-shell crabs and fillet of red snapper are excellent entrées. La Griglia has open-air dining on a covered side patio.