The dining options in Houston are absolutely amazing and affordable to boot. There is a rumor that Houston has more restaurants per capita than any other city in the United States, with the possible exception of NYC. Houston restaurants will impress with quantity, quality, and diversity. Nearby Rice Village is home to a variety of dining establishments, including everything from Mexican, Spanish tapas, bar and grill food, Scottish pub, Turkish, Indian, Chinese, Thai, smoothies and crepes, Mediterranean, and French food. Venture up Kirby or down Montrose for many more nearby options. Chinatown is worth the drive for excellent Asian cuisine or for ever-so-tasty tapioca pearl drinks (a popular snack with Rice students). For higher scale dining, the Galleria district offers some excellent options, although nice restaurants can be found closer to campus, as well.
Of course, Rice's location in Texas means that a good and cheap Tex-Mex restaurant is located every few blocks. However, the diverse population of the large city means that you can also find just about any other type of cuisine that you might be craving, and some you would never even think of! Look around online, ask Houston natives or upperclassmen, or just get in your car and drive until you find a place that catches your eye.