Best Italian: Giacomo's Cibo e Vino
Time spent in Italy as a child, and with years after that continuing to mold and develop Italian cuisine in Houston, at Giacomo’s Cibo e Vino, chef-owner Lynette Hawkins clocks in every single day to see to the food, the wine, the business, all of it. It’s in her bones, which translates to fresh pasta; stuffed, baked, al dente, and well-handled. Telefono, bolognese, brodo, vongole, orecchiette, carbonara—yep, the gang's all here. Hawkins sources locally and uses organic ingredients as much as possible. The Affettati salumi platter is a good way to get the party started and her espresso granita is the best this side of the Atlantic. But perhaps it’s in the way she handles a rainbow trout that the essence of Italian cuisine is best expressed. For those who love Italian wine, the hearty list is a blast to peruse with hidden gems easily revealed when asked.