History and tradition matter to The Black Olive Restaurant. While the eatery opened in 1989, its chefs are committed to far older culinary traditions. When preparing classic Italian cuisine, the chefs demonstrate this commitment by hand-rolling meatballs, making marinara sauce from scratch, and baking parmesan-tinged focaccia. These touches lend familiar flavors to dishes such as veal parmigiana, spicy sausage and pepper cacciatore, and salmon pesto pasta. Oven-crisped pizzas topped with everything from artichoke and sun-dried tomatoes to pepperoni and bacon help round out the selection.
The dining room exudes a similar Old World charm. Wooden trellises line the ceiling, supporting the copper pots and potted plants that dangle overhead. Decorative utensils?oversized spoons, spatulas, and toothpicks?adorn the walls, as does an impressionistic painting of a Venetian canal. In the evenings, small strands of lights surrounding each window flicker to life, contributing to the cozy, inviting ambiance.
The restaurant industry is truly a family affair for Mr. Souvla. His grandfather owned a restaurant outside of Athens, Greece, where his mother was born on Christmas in 1937. After his mother relocated to the States, she and Mr. Souvla's stepfather ran a Greek cafe in Houston, introducing the beef-loving locals to succulent lamb. Now Mr. Souvla heads up his namesake eatery, where he and his staff craft comfort food in the form of stuffed grape leaves, gyros, and hummus. Many of their ingredients are organic and hail from local sources, while their dishes eschew fancy trappings such as complicated sauces for simple, authentic flavors passed down from Old World family recipes.
Little ones swing beneath palm trees and skip on the grass. Regardless of the weather outside, this is the scene on the bright indoor playground at Twinkle Twinkle Kids' Caf?. Kids climb up to the ceiling on the play structure and careen down the colorful slide, and the education toys across the way keep their minds sharp. Children can break up play time with hands-on classes and activities, such as craft projects and face painting. And when they need to refuel, both parents and kids can enjoy selections from a healthy, Asian-inspired menu.
21 Mini Tapas is pretty much tailor-made for dates and groups of friends. The meals here are designed to share with small plates that include a variety of options, from tuna tartar to spicy chicken wings or pork belly steak. The menu also offers carpaccio and sushi rolls filled with everything from fried octopus top snow salmon.