Rest of the Best 2014: Houston's Top 10 Italian Restaurants

A decadent dish from the number four spot on our list.
A decadent dish from the number four spot on our list.
Photo by Troy Fields

Our 2013 Best of Houston® winners were announced a while back, but in many cases, picking the best item in any category was no easy task. In order to show off all the culinary greatness Houston has to offer, we're continuing to round up the "rest of the best" in some of our favorite categories. Bon appétit!

"The trouble with Italian food is that five or six days later, you're hungry again."

-Comedian George Miller

Ah, Italian food: One of the most recognizable cuisines in America, encompassing pasta and pizza, arguably two of best culinary inventions ever. Italian food is easy to get horribly wrong, though. Fortunately, for a city so proud of our Tex-Mex and seafood and so wild about barbecue and burgers, Houston has some truly great Italian restaurants.

This is thanks in large part to the port of Galveston, which saw wave after wave of Italian immigrants arrive on its shores and settle in the cities surrounding the east Texas coast. Not knowing what else to do and longing for the food of their homeland, they began to open restaurants. We wrote about some of these pioneering restaurateurs in our First Families of Houston Food feature back in February, detailing their histories and how far they've come.

Their awesome culinary legacy is alive and well in Houston at these top ten Italian eateries.

Honorable mention: Coltivare, which has some truly stellar pasta dishes and pizzas, and Vinoteca Poscol, a wine bar with a great menu of small, carefully crafted plates.

Arturo Boada makes sure that all the food that comes out of his kitchen is how he wants it.
Arturo Boada makes sure that all the food that comes out of his kitchen is how he wants it.
Photo by Troy Fields

10. Arturo Boada Cuisine When Arturo Boada parted ways with his partner at Arturo's Uptown Italiano back in 2011, the ensuing disagreement over recipe and name rights threatened to overshadow Boada's new restaurant as well. But he proved he was back and better than ever when he opened Arturo Boada Cuisine shortly after leaving his original namesake restaurant. The menu contains a medley of Spanish-inspired tapas items and classic Italian dishes, the best of which are the wood-fired, thin-crust pizzas like the "Why Not" Margherita, a near-perfect example of a traditional Italian pie. The Spanish tapas are also pretty great, if you're in the mood for a continental dining experience.

For Italian food with maximum atmosphere, check out Antica Osteria.
For Italian food with maximum atmosphere, check out Antica Osteria.
Photo courtesy Antica Osteria

9. Antica Osteria Antica Osteria gets extra points for atmosphere. The cozy, romantic spot is a little old-fashioned (as is the clientele), but there are some excellent pasta dishes on the menu, which has been the same for a long time now. But why change when the ravioli al sugo de porcini (ravioli in mushroom sauce) or the spaghetti alla puttanesca (spaghetti in a tomato sauce with olives and capers) are consummate hits? The food won't blow anyone's mind, but it will be solid, dependable and just like mama used to make.

This story continues on the next page.


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