With parents hailing from Sicily and Naples, Anthony Russo enjoyed an Italian upbringing. By age 12, he spent much of his time in the kitchen, learning to prepare Old World recipes with his family and family friends. And from the flurry of Italian phrases and conversation, one quote of his father's stuck with him most: "If you can't make it fresh, don't serve it!" Several decades later, Anthony has hand-tossed his own Italian restaurant franchise and, true to his father's words, employs fresh ingredients in the same family recipes that were passed down to him. Amid exposed brick and walls the warm hue of marinara, skilled chefs craft New York–style brick-oven pizzas with toppings such as spinach, sundried tomatoes, and capers. Servers stand ready to answer questions about the restaurant’s wine lists, letting guests know which wines pair best with the pizzotto sandwich or whether pinot noir can really turn dogs invisible.
Homemade dough soars from the hands of the pizza gurus at DoubleDave's Pizzaworks before it bathes in from-scratch sauce and dresses in gourmet toppings. The menu collects more than 15 toppings to shower over pies, from sliced meatball and smoked ham to crushed garlic. Specialty disk, The Works ($15.99), plays a medley of locally sourced cured meats, mushrooms, and smoked provolone cheese, and the classic veggie ($15.99) takes a stand for sustainable eating and cows' valuable roles as attentive listeners with a hailstorm of black olives, italian sweet peppers, and honey whole-wheat crust. Guests can also craft a salad from the salad bar, where 16 toppings graze freely.
Shmos Italian Bistro teams traditional Italian recipes with modern ingredients, which has earned it praise from the Conroe Courier. Ten pizza options grace the menu, including a margherita pie topped with fresh basil ($13.95 for a 12") and the pesto-chicken flatbread (13.95 for a 12"). Meanwhile, tiger shrimp pounce upon skeins of fettuccine alfredo, batting them into diners' growling stomachs ($12.95); pasta salad benefits from a Polynesian makeover with Hawaiian poke sauce and sashimi-style ahi tuna ($10.95). Shmos also serves piadinas, Italian-style folded flatbread sandwiches with crunchy flour bread shells. And after tasting the club piadina filled with turkey, ham, and Applewood bacon ($8.95), tone-deaf taste buds might find themselves serenading incisors with John Fogerty lyrics.
Voted by KHOU 11 viewers one of the 11 Best Italian Restaurants in the Houston Area, Pallotta's Italian Grill transforms famished throat streams into flourishing culinary canals with a menu stocked with gourmet gondolas of savory Italian cuisine. Start supper with the zuppa and salad ($7.29), which gives gourmands a choice of Pallotta's minestrone or creamy tomato basil soup, as well as either a cut green dinner salad or Ceasar salad. Reminisce about days when the earth was flat and covered in toppings with a selection of pizzas ($8.29-$10.99) or partake in sandwiches ($8.99) for midday snacking. Seafood swarmed dishes such as shrimp marsala with creamy marsala wine sauce, amber butter, portobello mushrooms, and angel-hair pasta ($19.99), convert the stomach into the famously appetizing Italian Barrier Reef, while lasagna Bolognese ($9.99) and eggplant parmesan ($13.99) represent Italian classics. Filling out the menu are decadent desserts with Weight Watcher–friendly entrees for competing over the highly coveted human appetite.
A third-generation Italian family takes the helm at Nicole’s Italian Restaurant, topping the 12 dining tables with homemade lasagna, shrimp tossed with linguini, savory cuts of chicken and veal, and bubbling pizzas. Chefs call on generations-old South Italian recipes as they create dishes forged with low-fat milk and cheeses and free of MSG and preservatives, creating a health-conscious dining experience at the restaurant or at a catered party. On certain nights of the week, Nicole’s Italian Restaurant treats its patrons to entertainment that includes karaoke, live music, and spaghetti-knitting demonstrations.
Italian Cafe transports taste buds to the land of mozzarella and tomatoes with classic Italian dishes, piping hot pizzas, and a chalkboard menu of rotating weekly specials. Wade tentative palates into the bruschetta dip ($6.99) or the fried mozzarella ($5.99) before diving mouth-first into the main event. Pasta lovers can tuck into the cannelloni tasty crêpe-like envelopes stuffed with beef and sealed in a creamy tomato sauce ($9.99). The chicken Leonardo arrives painted in herbed cream sauce on a shard of The Last Supper ($14.99). The pizza list teems with expressions of meaty devotion, such as the meat Amore topped with five variations on the titular protein ($11.99–$17.99), as well as meatless possibilities that range from the garden-begotten veggie Amore ($10.99–$16.99) to the traditional margarita pie ($10.99–$16.99).