It's a strange fact of Houston life that many of the city's finest restaurants are found in strip shopping centers, albeit the more glamorous ones. Tony Mandola's, in the art deco–themed River Oaks Shopping Center, is an upscale restaurant that proves, with loads of tastebud-pleasing menu choices, that the concept of a Texas-, Italian-, and (some) Mexican-influenced seafood restaurant is here to stay. Off-the-menu items, such as Calamari a la Mama, lightly battered with
lemon-butter sauce, may make you see stars. You'll see everyone you know at this neighborhood joint, if everyone you know is rich, famous, and well connected. There's open-air dining and a kids' menu.