photo credit: Quit Nguyen

Koffeteria image



East Downtown

$$$$Perfect For:Quick EatsBrunchCoffee & A Light Bite
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If you distilled Houston down into a bakery, it would probably look a little like Koffeteria. This bakery/cafe in EaDo offers baked goods and breakfast plates. There’s an infusion of Cambodian flavors thanks to the owner, but other quintessential Houston cultures are represented, too, like Vietnamese, Mexican, Chinese, and Thai. From the flaky chocolate croissants stacked next to aromatic curry meatball kolaches, to the sweet and savory ube and Thai tea drinks, Koffeteria is a comforting bakery with inventive dishes that you just can’t get anywhere else.

The front counter is always crammed with people craning their necks toward the pastry case. There are always croissants and buns that smell of lemongrass or anise, or stuffed with kimchi, curry, and crab rangoon. The menu changes seasonally. Sometimes you’ll find morning rolls heaped with peaches or passion fruit, other times you’ll find larger dishes like a beef pho benedict, which is a bowl of pho somehow condensed into fatty pho-flavored hollandaise, dense biscuit-like bread, and perfectly poached eggs. The food is whimsical, and unpredictable, but somehow it always works.

Koffeteria image

photo credit: Quit Nguyen

Just like the menu, the space seems to change every few months, with second hand furniture and tchotchkes that rotate in and out. And despite the modern metal exterior having as much charm as a crossfit box, it's more like having breakfast in someone’s aunt's ranch-style kitchen than at a restaurant. Everything at Koffeteria is served on mismatched vintage plates and glassware, but in a scrappy and wholly unprecious way. There’s a couple clusters of armchairs where you can watch your friends struggle to balance plates and coffee, or an outdoor smattering of picnic tables amid a mixed-use dog park with astroturf. 

This is the kind of place you go when you want brunch, but don’t want to deal with going to brunch. You can feel both fancy and satisfied without having to wait very long. Like Houston, Koffeteria is a little unusual and wonderful, especially when it comes to things like a Cambodian chicken curry meatball kolache or a fried Thai omelet croissant sandwich. Oh, and on the weekends, you definitely want to get here early, because they will sell out. 

Food Rundown

Beef Pho Benedict

As advertised, this is a bowl of pho somehow condensed into fatty hollandaise, bread, and eggs. The thick biscuits underneath manage to sop up the sauce and the egg while supporting tender cuts of charred beef. If you didn’t know anything about Houston, and you tasted this dish, you’d probably start to have some idea.
Koffeteria image

photo credit: Quit Nguyen

Cambodian Chicken Curry Meatball Kolache

Somehow when you bite into this thing, it’s still hot. The bottom of the pastry is crisp, the inner doubt has a soft crumb, and the meatball is thick with lemongrass and warm spices.
Koffeteria image

photo credit: Quit Nguyen

Chinese Sausage Taco

Although well-prepared, this felt less inspired than the other items. The combo flour-corn tortilla was undercooked and felt too soft and chewy to properly support both eggs and the generous portion of Chinese sausage. The papaya was spicy, but didn’t really connect.
Koffeteria image

photo credit: Quit Nguyen

Thai Fried Omelet Croissant Sandwich

The arugula to croissant ratio on this sandwich is high, and the fried omelet is delicately laced with fish sauce. It doesn’t really make sense, but it does, and it’s really good.

Pau Bun

We’re not sure how they were able to cram this tasty bun so full of perfectly fluffy scrambled eggs, but we’re really happy they did. And they topped it with melted and crispy cheese.
Koffeteria image

photo credit: Quit Nguyen

London Fog Roll

The Earl Grey obsession continues, which we are OK with in this instance. There was a light touch of tea and bergamot here and soft, sweet bread. Great a go-between when enjoying both savory and sweet.

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