Ciao Bello

Ciao Bello (5161 San Felipe, 713-960-0333) is Tony Vallone's new, moderately priced neighborhood place, just west of the Galleria. "This is an Italian restaurant, not an American-Italian restaurant," says Vallone. "We either make everything in premises, like our fresh pasta, or we import only the finest ingredients from Italy, like San Marzano tomatoes. It's a great family place, and our wine prices are excellent. We serve our antipastos from a special display, and we make our Bolognese sauce right here. Some of the dishes we're really proud of are the veal chop Milanese, the rabbit alla cacciatore and the soft-shell crab in anchovy sauce."

Dish joined the crowds late on opening weekend and found it packed. So powerful is the Vallone name that even with no advertising, the trend­setters had already staked their claim to the best seats in the house. The only table available was on the large patio, and there were some opening-night service gaffes, but with the Vallones at the helm, those will be corrected.

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