Central Market is a wonderful big store where you can find gourmet food of all type and provenance. Huge choice of cheeses for example (I am french, sorry, i couldn't help to point that one out!), but also anything "ethnic" or rare or that you could not find anywhere else!!
It is also fun to go shopping there because the presentation of goods is well done, and there are always multiple locations where you can taste delicious food samples!
Although expensive, it is to me the best of the gourmet stores of Houston.
Open 7 days a week
Store: open 8am to 10pm
Central Market Cafe: open 9am to 10 pm
What to buy Ethnic food, bulk spices and all type of rice, grain, nuts..., organic products, cheeses, wines and beers from all over the world, vegetables and fruits, flowers, meat and fish, freshly baked bread and pastries...
What to pay It is expensive. I go there only to buy what I do not find in ordinary supermarkets.
Watch out! Houston is getting progressive...Can you believe it??? There are actually farmer's markets in Houston!!! It started in 2003. It's about time, isn't when you think that California cities have had dozens of them for more than 10 years!! I only went to the one in the neighborhood of the Heights (Sat morning, 8-12). Great relaxed atmosphere, very un-houstonian, very pleasant.
But now, it looks like there are other Farmers Markets in Houston. More later when I know more. Here is the info I have so far:
- Houston Farmers Market Downtown Area
3701 Travis Street
Saturday 8-12 am
- Houston Farmers Market Rice Village Area
Parking lot of Christ the King Lutheran Church
2353 Rice (at Greenbriar), Houston, TX 77005
Tuesday 5-7 pm
- South-East of Houston/Clear Lake area
902 Hardesty, Seabrook, TX 77586
Saturday 12-4 pm
What to buy Local farmers come sell their organic vegetables and fruits, nuts (great pecans!), preserves, home made soaps and all type of stuffs.
What to pay Pay in cash
Specs is the main liquor distributor in Houston with hundreds of stores throughout the area. The particular one I want to describe here is their warehouse, their main big store. It is huge and wonderful with the largest selection of wine and spirits from all over the world you could have dreamed of!! The staff is knowledgeable and friendly. They also have gourmet food (cheese, chocolates,...).
What to buy Wine, beer, liquors of all type, taste and age, for all budgets.
What to pay The large range of selection allows for any budget to shop happily there! For some strange reason, they charge 5% extra if you use a credit card instead of cash.
Whole Foods is similar to Central Market, except smaller in store size and selection range.
I generally go to the store on Bellaire Avenue which is not too crowdy (Northwest corner of Bellaire and Westlayan).
What to buy Ethnic food, bulk spices and all type of rice, grain, nuts..., organic products, cheeses, wines and beers from all over the world, vegetables and fruits, flowers, meat and fish,...
What to pay Expensive, maybe slightly less than Central Market, however. Go there only for what you do not find in ordinary supermarkets.