You really never need an excuse to enjoy a perfect slice of pie, but this time of year, it feels especially appropriate. The holiday season is just around the corner, but there's no need to relegate your pie-eating days to November and December — pie is perfect for pretty much every occasion.

But where do you find Houston's best pies? Whether you're looking for a sophisticated tart in a swanky setting or a simple lemon meringue from a cozy diner, Space City offers a bevy of options that can satisfy your hankering for the perfect slice. Perhaps more importantly, many of these shops offer whole pies that you can take home for when the inevitable rebound craving strikes.

It's impossible to shout out every single outstanding pie in Houston, but this baker's dozen of pie-focused shops and restaurant offerings represents the cream of the crop. Go forth, and gorge yourself on the city's best pies.

1 51fifteen Restaurant and Lounge

What could be better than Belgian dark chocolate curd blended with orange zest, set in a brown butter crust and topped with vanilla mascarpone? Not much, that’s what. This treat may be pint-sized but the flavor factor is off the charts.

2 Backstreet Cafe

Guests will swoon for pastry chef Ruben Ortega’s fall-inspired toasted nut pie that combines six kinds of nuts (walnuts, pecans, macadamias, pistachios, almonds, and hazelnuts) with and maple and brown sugar filling in a traditional pie crust and served alongside homemade orange honeycomb brittle ice cream. Available as a whole pile to go or in personal sized versions for dining on site.

3 Brennan's of Houston

Chef Danny Trace gathers Louisiana apples, stews them in NOLA Spice Rum, holiday aromatics, Imperial brown sugar and Poirier’s Cane Syrup and pours the whole shebang into a cheddar cheese crust topped with Tabasco pecan brittle and sea salted caramel ice cream. The resulting apple pie is a real beaut.

4 Flying Saucer Pie Co.

Not to be confused with the beer emporium of a similar name, head to this grab and go establishment for the best strawberry pie this side of 610. Whole berries come surrounded in a sweet filling and topped with whipped cream on a buttery crust. Strawberry Shortcake would be so jealous.

5 Goode Company BBQ

Decades of family tradition go into every slice of this perfectly balanced blend of Texas pecans, sweet filling and flaky crust. Dare we say the Brazos Bottom Pecan Pie is damn Goode?

6 House of Pies

There’s a reason why the Bayou Goo pie is a consistent top seller, lots of reasons in fact. A pie shell is layered with sweet cream cheese filled with chopped pecans, vanilla and chocolate custard, and topped with whipped cream, powdered sugar, and chocolate shavings. Pairs perfectly with the diverse crowd and classic diner ambiance.

7 Killen's Barbecue

Step one: stuff face with amazing barbecue. Step 2: stuff face with scratch made pecan pie, perfect for countering the savory meal and ending the day on a very high note.

8 Ooh La La Dessert Boutique

Warn your dentist now and grab a slice of this over-the-top delight featuring a graham cracker crust layered with chocolate ganache and cheesecake with Snickers pieces folded in. Whipped cream, roasted salted peanuts and a chocolate-caramel sauce round out pastry chef/owner Vanessa O’Donnell’s ode to sugar.

9 Revival Market

As with everything at this nose-to-tail butcher shop, nothing goes to waste, and the buttermilk & whey pie is proof. This slice of goodness brilliantly utilizes a byproduct of making cheese that is rich and dreamy. Eat this seasonal treat from pastry chef Alyssa Dole while you can.

10 Ritual

A dessert as dense and decadent as Ritual's dark chocolate pie should come with a warning label. 85% dark Callebaut cacao, burnt housemade marshmallows drenched in candied bourbon syrup, Luxardo cherries, and a buttery graham cracker crust add up to a ridiculously rich treat.

11 Southern Goods

A perfectly portioned shortbread crust cradles a rich fudgy filling enhanced by crunchy hazelnuts and tempered by slightly tart crème fraiche. You’ll want to eat the edible hazelnut brittle garnish that stands out like stained glass and counters the creamy interior of this hazelnut fudge tart with a lovely crunch.

12 Underbelly

Pastry chef Victoria Dearmond’s version of the 1960s classic (inspired by a recipe in Hillbilly Cookin) combines cane vinegar and double strength apple cider vinegar in the filling topped with salt brittle – a nod to salt and vinegar style potato chips. It’s the most popular dessert on the menu and as such has never left.

13 Urban Eats

It's technically a lemon meringue tart, but who cares? Chef/owner Levi Rollins uses only fresh lemon juice and handcraft crust to create this not-too-sour-not-too-sweet delight that looks almost too good to eat – almost.