Texas and Italian food seem like a curious combination. After all, this is the land of Tex-Mex and barbecue. As it turns out, however, great Italian fare in Houston is not as unusual as you might think. Houston’s large Italian population has a long heritage in the city, which is mostly Sicilian. Some Italian restaurants have been family owned and operated for decades, and a few Italian family names – Petronella, Vallone, and D’Amico – have become synonymous with Houston Italian food. Others, like Arturo Boada and Chef Marco Wiles are also making their marks.
© Dolce Vita
Dolce Vita is the second restaurant owned by Chef Marco Wiles focusing on delicious, authentic, Neapolitan pizza. With a custom designed imported wood burning oven and a casual atmosphere, Dolce Vita is the perfect place to get the quality pizza Italy is known for. Even though pizza is one of his favorite dishes to cook, he couldn’t resist adding a few authentic Italian dishes to the menu, including antipastos, pastas, and pesce and carne specials. For those who come strictly for the pizza, they won’t be disappointed with the Siciliana, Taleggio, Vongole, and Calabrese, topped with tomato, mozzarella, and spicy salami, among others.
500 Westheimer Road, Houston, TX, Phone: 713-520-8222
© Paulie’s Restaurant
Paulie’s Restaurant is a casual, counter-service Italian restaurant that packs a lot of flavor into their dishes. Guests are greeted by giant chalkboards listing all the menu items, which include salads, sandwiches, paninis, pastas, pizzas, main entrees, and desserts. After ordering, diners take a seat and food servers deliver their selections when they’re ready. The extensive menu appeals to any appetite, offering everything from a grilled cheese with fries to a traditional Italian Hoagie with ham, Genoa salami, provolone, lettuce, tomato, pepperoncinis, and oregano. Traditional entrées include Chicken Piccata and Canestri alla Funghi. More Things to Do in Houston
1834 Westheimer Road, Houston, TX, Phone: 713-807-7271
3.Giacomo's Cibo e Vino
© Giacomo’s Cibo e Vino
Giacomo’s is a classic neighborhood-style Italian Café that specializes in small plates of both the hot and cold variety designed to be shared. Every dish is prepared using the best local and imported natural ingredients available and made fresh each day. They focus on providing “big flavors” that give vegetables the opportunity to play the main character with the meats and seafood playing supporting roles. Ratatouille and Tonno e Fagioli are a sample of the cold dishes found on the menu. Hot dishes include Gamberi al Diavola and Salsiccia di Pollo – grilled chicken galantine served over frisée and arugula.
3215 Westheimer Road, Houston, TX, Phone: 713-522-1934
4.Italian Restaurants Houston: Antica Osteria
© Antica Osteria
Antica Osteria transports its guest to the romantic streets of Italy with its Tuscan inspired interior featuring warm aged walls and woodwork, robust colors, and subdued lighting. Whether dining in the main hall or out on the rustic patio lit up with antique light posts, visitors will feel Italian vibes surrounding them. The menu consists of traditional Italian fare including beginnings of Antipasto Rustico, Carpaccio, and Capesante All’Antica – prosciutto wrapped sea scallops that have been pan seared. Primi and secondi dishes include Spaghetti Alla Bolognese Spaghetti Alla Carbonara, and Scaloppine Al Funghi, tender veal sautéed with porcini mushrooms, tomatoes, and fresh basil among other delights.
2311 Bissonnet Street, Houston, TX, Phone: 715-521-1155
5.Arturo Boada Cuisine
© Arturo Boada Cuisine
Arturo Boada Cuisine is a stunning boutique restaurant in Houston created by Bouda himself offering a vibrant ambiance filled with color and a menu full of flavor. Guests will enjoy diverse offerings of pizza, tapas, and signature Italian dishes. Their wood burning oven fires authentic pizzas such as Italian sausage with fresh fennel and spicy diavola sauce. Their eclectic tapas menu features everything from ceviche and calamari to Beef Blue and Papas Bravas. In addition, they boast a selection of pastas, meats, and seafood dishes like their Snapper Al Fresco, sautéed with fresh tomato, basil, garlic, and capers and topped with jumbo lump crab meat.
6510 Del Monte Street, Houston, TX, Phone: 713-782-3011
6.Damian's Cucina Italiana
© Damian’s Cucina Italiana
Damian’s has been open for more than 30 years serving up authentic Italian cuisine that is “so Italian, you almost need a passport.” Their rich Old-World interior coupled with their Old-World tradition has draws in the masses, including the elite from movie stars to all-stars. Damian’s menu is extensive featuring a selection of salads, antipastos, fine meats, homemade pastas, and fresh seafood. Guests can try everything from their Ravioli Vitello made with veal and pomodoro to Shrimp Damian sautéed in garlic, white wine, and butter served with fettuccine alfredo. They even have an onsite bakery that creates fresh breads and desserts each day.
3011 Smith Street, Houston, TX, Phone: 713-522-0439
7.Da Marco Cucina E Vino
© Da Marco Cucina E Vino
Da Marco is an upscale Italian restaurant where patrons indulge in a daring menu created by Chef Marco Wiles. The restaurant is featured in dozens of magazines for his innovative dishes, and guests will find everything from sea urchin to smoky lamb chops on the menu. Every dish utilizes simple elegance from a perfectly plated single ravioli with an egg inside to the house-made headcheese – a jelly texture perfectly complemented by heirloom potatoes. Guests will adore the primis like the Papardelle – wild boar with pecorino toscano, secondis like Fiji Snapper with scallops, pomodorini, and black olives, and desserts like their classic cannoli.
1520 Westheimer Road, Houston, TX, Phone: 713-807-8857
Capri Island native Vittorio Preteroti, who relocated to the United States in 1991, is the owner of Perbacco. He has designed his menu based on the authentic Italian culinary philosophy of the Mediterranean Diet. At Perbacco, guests can choose from a selection of salads, casseroles, pastas, and items from the grill during lunch, and a selection of antipastis al fornos, insalates, chicken, and fish items during dinner. The menu offers everything from Cozze Alla Marinara, which is mussels marinara style, to Vitella Al Marsala, veal in a classic marsala sauce with mushrooms. Entrées are complemented with wines imported from the south of Italy.
700 Milam Street, Houston, TX, Phone: 713-224-2422
9.Italian Restaurants Houston: Sorrento Ristorante
© Sorrento Ristorante
Sorrento Ristorante is an Open Table Diner’s Choice award recipient for Best Romantic Italian Dining in Houston. The neighborhood favorite has earned accolades for its ambiance, service, and quality cuisine. They feature extensive menus for both lunch and dinner, offering antipastis, zuppes, pizza’s, primi piattis, secondi piattis, and dolces. Decadent dishes like soft polenta and jumbo lump crab cakes in a garlic cream sauce and wild mushroom risotto with truffle sauce are tempting starters. Mains consist of innovative dishes such as lobster and arugula tortellini in a lemon cream and caviar and gnocchi with arugula, caramelized onions, and gorgonzola dolce.
415 Westheimer Road, Suite 106, Houston, TX, Phone: 713-527-0609
Tony’s is a world-class fine dining experience created by Tony Vallone, one of the originators responsible for the Italian food and wine renaissance in America over the last five decades. His legendary restaurant has a contemporary chic ambiance, and his menu reflects influences of Naples and Milan. For lunch, guests can savor dishes like Gazpacho Di Mare with crab, shrimp, and polpo and Fire Roasted Hen with rapini and natural jus. Dinner entrées include Tonno Crudo r(ibbons of ahi tuna and avocado in a soy lime vinaigrette) and Fettucine with jumbo lumb crab in a vodka sauce with Vallone sausage.
3755 Richmond Avenue, Houston, TX, Phone: 713-622-6778
© Mandola’s Deli
Mandola’s Deli is a family owned and operated establishment that has been open since 1977 with Frank Mandola and his son Joseph at the helm. Every day this pair stands behind the counter at their Italian deli greeting every customer with their grazie-tude along with their rambunctious staff. The menu offers a wide range of appetizers, soups, salads, Po’Boy sandwiches, Italian specialties, and even an “if you must” section featuring a few burgers and a Rueben. Guests can get everything from a fried shrimp Po’Boy to a classic Chicken Marsala – grilled chicken breast topped with mushroom marsala wine sauce.
4105 Leeland Street, Houston, TX, Phone: 713-223-5186
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12.Italian Restaurants Houston: Mia Bella Trattoria
© Mia Bella Trattoria
Mia Bella Trattoria lives up to its English translation “My Beautiful” from its interior design to its stunning dishes that combine Italian tradition with hints of American flair. Owner and Chef Youssef Nafaa created a provocative menu using imaginative ingredients and daring preparations, expertly taking classic recipes and adding unexpected elements that set them apart. A perfect example is his Mezzaluna, porcini mushroom and goat cheese filled mezzaluna, marsala romano sauce, and a dollop of goat cheese. Main entrees such as his Sicilian Braised Beef Short Ribs with sweet pea risotto and balsamic chipotle glaze simply reinforce his genius.
1201 San Jacinto Street, Houston, TX, Phone: 832-319-6675
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13.Original Napoli Restaurant
© Original Napoli Restaurant
Original Napoli Restaurant provides delectable authentic Italian fare inspired by recipes from both Northern and Southern Italy. The dishes are all prepared family style, making it the perfect atmosphere to share flavorful meals with those you love. They continuously remain innovative by adding new selections all the time to their already extensive menu that features appetizers, salads, pastas, pizzas, traditional entrees, and desserts. Some of the locals’ favorite dishes include the Fried Mozzarella, Chicken Fettucine Alfredo, Chicken Parmigiana, Pasta with Meatballs, and their Colossal New York Cheesecake. For those who like a little extra spice to their dish, try the Linguini Pescatore.
14743 Memorial Drive, Houston, TX, Phone: 281-531-4600
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Quattro Restaurant offers the very best in authentic Italian cuisine thanks to Executive Chef Rafael Gonzalez. He prides himself on providing quality Italian dishes to his customers that also exude the bold flavors Texas is known for. His commitment to excellence can be seen in his handcrafted ravioli’s, house-made gnocchi, and award winning brunch menu. Guests will dine on beautifully assembled gourmet Italian fare from his outstanding Panna Cotta to his Pan Roasted Duck. For a truly special treat, try the Gulf Snapper with sundried tomato-olive crust, fava beans, and asparagus.
1300 Lamar Street, Houston, TX, Phone: 713-276-4700
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© Radio Milano
Radio Milano provides a blend of modern Italian fare with traditional, authentic favorites. Their contemporary ambiance comes through with rich tones, clean lines, and an artistic flair giving guests an elevated dining experience. Their late-night concept provides amazing craft cocktails, and small plates of off-menu items. They proudly support local ranchers, farmers, and fisherman using the highest quality ingredients to create out-of-this-world dishes. Guests can start with a Milano Salad (egg in a hole, pancetta, baby hydro lettuce and cilantro vinaigrette) and move on to a Ribeye topped with crispy shallots, bone marrow sauce, and asparagus.
800 Sorella Court, Houston, TX, Phone: 713-827-3545
16.Ristorante Cavour Houston
© Ristorante Cavour Houston
Ristorante Cavour is a premier Italian restaurant in Houston featuring Northern Italian cuisine in a serene setting beneath stunning Murano chandeliers. Guests are encouraged to savor the traditional Italian classics along with their seasonal house specialties. Each dish can be expertly paired with one of more than 600 bottles of vintage wine chosen from ten countries around the world. Diners can indulge in Zuppe Antipatis such as their Crudo Di Tonno (rae ahi tuna, shaved fennel, pine nuts, raisins, and citrus dressing) before moving on to entrées such as the Cavatelli, an Italian sausage ragout with red onion and roasted bell pepper.
1080 Uptown Park Boulevard, Houston, TX, Phone: 713-418-1004
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© Vinoteca Poscol
Vinoteca Poscol is the third Italian restaurant to be opened by world-renowned Chef Marco Wiles, and it is named after a street in his hometown in Italy. Like the wine bars that dominate the culinary scene in Venice, the restaurant focuses on Italian wine selections and small bites. The menu is simple and elegant, consisting of various meats, finger sandwiches, seafood, salads, flat breads, pastas, risottos, and brushettes. Guests will find a lengthy list of regional cheeses from cow’s milk, sheep’s milk, and mixture milk to pair nicely with their fine meats, as well as a delectable dolce menu that includes tiramisu brûlée.
608 Westheimer Road, Houston, TX, Phone: 713-529-2797
© Courtesy of whitestorm - Fotolia.com
Grotto Ristorante is an authentic Italian restaurant that provides traditional dishes in an Old-World atmosphere. The soulful Neopolitan-inspired menu offers a wide variety of entrées made from scratch pastas and a charming antipasti display. Serving brunch, lunch, and dinner, they offer extensive menus covering everything from flatbreads and pizzas to meatballs and calamari during dinner and three-course business lunches. Diners will appreciate a unique brunch experience on the weekends with items such as Pane Fritto, an Italian-style French toast with Grand Marnier butter, amaretto syrup, bacon, and fruit. For more midday fare, they offer selections like the Linguini Carbonara and Bistecca con Uova.
4715 Westheimer Street, Houston, TX, Phone: 713-622-3663
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19.Coltivare Pizza & Garden
© Coltivare Pizza & Garden
Coltivare is an Agricole Hospitality restaurant where the philosophy is simple, natural, earthy, and unadulterated with everything from the restaurant design to the food and beverages. Coltivare is committed to sustainable food and sports a 3,000-square-foot garden to back it up. The Italian restaurant opened in 2014 and immediately caught media attention after being named on Texas Monthly’s 10 Best New Restaurants list and Bon Appetit’s 50 Best New Restaurants in America list. Diners can expect the unexpected like spicy N’duja salumi with honey on bruschetta, grilled broccoli, pickled kohlrabi, brusssels sprouts salad with walnuts, revival pepperoni pizza with tomato sauce, mozzarella, greens, and parmesan, and other unique offerings.
3320 White Oak Drive, Houston, TX, Phone: 713-637-4095
20 Best Italian Restaurants in Houston
- Dolce Vita, Photo: Dolce Vita
- Paulie's Restaurant, Photo: Paulie’s Restaurant
- Giacomo's Cibo e Vino, Photo: Giacomo’s Cibo e Vino
- Italian Restaurants Houston: Antica Osteria, Photo: Antica Osteria
- Arturo Boada Cuisine, Photo: Arturo Boada Cuisine
- Damian's Cucina Italiana, Photo: Damian’s Cucina Italiana
- Da Marco Cucina E Vino, Photo: Da Marco Cucina E Vino
- Perbacco, Photo: Perbacco
- Italian Restaurants Houston: Sorrento Ristorante, Photo: Sorrento Ristorante
- Tony’s, Photo: Tony’s
- Mandola’s Deli, Photo: Mandola’s Deli
- Italian Restaurants Houston: Mia Bella Trattoria, Photo: Mia Bella Trattoria
- Original Napoli Restaurant, Photo: Original Napoli Restaurant
- Quattro, Photo: Quattro
- Radio Milano, Photo: Radio Milano
- Ristorante Cavour Houston, Photo: Ristorante Cavour Houston
- Vinoteca Poscol, Photo: Vinoteca Poscol
- Grotto Ristorante, Photo: Courtesy of whitestorm - Fotolia.com
- Coltivare Pizza & Garden, Photo: Coltivare Pizza & Garden
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of Joshua Resnick - Fotolia.com