Those who enjoy shopping excursions to Rice Village will find Sud Italia to be a charming, elegant diversion, but don’t wait for that kind of excuse to visit. It’s well worth a special trip and ranks among Houston’s best Southern Italian restaurants. The restaurant takes its concept very seriously and its menu is comprised of classics from the Puglia, Campania and Sicilian regions. At lunchtime, dishes like the ‘Nduja-spread Puccia Puglia Foggia and Orecchiette Con Salsiccia are studies in elegant simplicity. At night, go for a full-fledged, multicourse meal that includes resplendent Costolette d’Agnello, or double-boned lamb chops with confit fingerling potatoes, anchored in light yet sturdy red wine sauce and mounted by perfect, emerald-green spears of asparagus. Is a slice of tart limoncello pie united with a shot of the namesake liquor for dessert too much lemon at once? We think not.