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Been there too...great atmosphere. but horrible food. i think they get their food from the same supplier as olive garden.

a friend recommended that place for her bday so i took her there. The food was so bland. no flavor at all. my friend had their lasagne which was only lukewarm. I told the manager who seemed shocked that someone complained. he took her plate away and microwaved it which she said ruined it completely. and my interest wained quickly thereafter. We didn't have to pay plus he offered us gift certificates to return. I said no thanks and left.

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darn that man. mediocrity is his middle name.

I like a number of Italian Food Places.

Fabios is awesome

Romanos is great for Pizza and Spagetthi

Mandolas Deli has the best Meatball Sub in the world. Their spagetti (served in a paper bowl) is awesome as well.

Vincents rocks

D'Amicos in Village is reall really good.

But I have to say that I still love the Carrabbas on Kirby. Get atmoshphere, awesome food, great service and I love the Carrabbas family. The only other Carrabbas I will eat at is on Woodway. Those are the only two still owned by the Carrrabbas family. Don't even bother with the others. Not as good.

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I think "the tilman" also owns The Grotto, just now opening their newest location in Market Street of the Woodlands, so there's somewhere else I won't be going. BTW, Maggiano's makes everything from scratch every day so I kinda doubt there's any similarity to Olive Garden kitchen practices. You really should give it another try, we been there dozens of times and never been disappointed. :)

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I think "the tilman" also owns The Grotto, just now opening their newest location in Market Street of the Woodlands, so there's somewhere else I won't be going. BTW, Maggiano's makes everything from scratch every day so I kinda doubt there's any similarity to Olive Garden kitchen practices. You really should give it another try, we been there dozens of times and never been disappointed. :)

Since I work across the street from Maggiano's we order it in about twice a month. It is awesome at lunch. The salads are wonderful. I have eaten there a few times for dinner and with a group it rocks. With one other person it is overwhemely too much food. But tasty food nonetheless.

BTW, Romano's Pizza as I mentioned above has incredible Baked Ziti.

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I've heard of Romano's Macaroni Grill, but never Romano's Pizza. Where is that located? I wonder if it's owned by Phil Romano also.

Not the same place. It is on West Gray in the large shopping center that used to house the old Cineplex Odean Movie Theatre. There is a TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and Cafe Express in the same center. Romano's is run by a group of guys who are there every single time I go in. They never seem to take a day off. They are sorta gruffy and not very friendly. The food though is awesome. It is more of a whole in the wall then a nice eating establishment, but it is nice enough. The entire menu is great and not too expensive.

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I agree with Trophy on Romano's. Its the best cheap pizza/pasta eatery around. The attitude you used to get at the counter was truely New York style.

D'Amico's across from the gingerman is really good too. I knew the owner in Galveston years before he opened up here in Houston.

Michelangelo's across from #'s has great atmosphere and pretty good food. (The Osso Buco is amazing)

Divino's gets the most of my return visits. It is more wine bar that italian restaurant but the food is 4-star. If you like Calamari, you have to try it here. This is always my safe bet for dates and visiting friends.

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BTW, Maggiano's makes everything from scratch every day so I kinda doubt there's any similarity to Olive Garden kitchen practices. You really should give it another try, we been there dozens of times and never been disappointed. :)

They are a chain from what the manager told me. i guess i'm just not used to bland italian. i tend to like northern italian more. they also own the rockfish place which i don't like either. great atmosphere but poor service.

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I like a number of Italian Food Places.

Fabios is awesome

Romanos is great for Pizza and Spagetthi

Mandolas Deli has the best Meatball Sub in the world. Their spagetti (served in a paper bowl) is awesome as well.

Vincents rocks

D'Amicos in Village is reall really good. 

But I have to say that  I still love the Carrabbas on Kirby.  Get atmoshphere, awesome food, great service and I love the Carrabbas family.    The only other Carrabbas I will eat at is on Woodway.  Those are the only two still owned by the Carrrabbas family.  Don't even bother with the others.  Not as good.

I ditto your list, except for Fabio's, which I haven't ever tried. Romano's is the best walk-up Italian in Houston, bar none.

Most "Italian" in this city (in Texas, for that matter) is Southern/Sicilian, meaning pasta and heavy sauces. Vincent's ventures north on The Boot a little. Grappino di Nino, in back, is a great place for an after-dinner drink, too. Another great exception, in my opinion, is Damian's in Midtown. This is an old school joint with mostly an older crowd, but the food is awesome. Heavy Tuscan influence in lots of grilled meats, with the pasta relegated to it course, rather than the main dish.

Josephine's, downtown, is nice for ambiance (food is merely good, in my book) -- unless there's a cackling convention of Midwestern overweight grandmas at the convention center. Then, it's overflowing with pink wine, mundane conversation and a line out the door of people who specialize in both.

Monica Pope used to rotate a pretty amazing selection of Tuscan-inspired items through her daily menu at Boulevard Bistrot -- some of the best in the city. Her new joint in Midtown seems more health conscious. Not sure if she'll dip back into the Big Italian much, as long as the healthy food is going gangbusters for her. That's okay. T'afia is great.

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All I've heard about T'afia is that its Pope's new place that focuses on a healthy menu. The person taking me is a vegetarian and she considers this place the pentultimate venue for her. Although I think it looks pretty damn meat friendly.

Sample dinner menu:

seasonal soup: curried eggplant

organic field greens, texas tarragon vinaigrette, roasted nuts & quince coulis

beet, orange & grapefruit salad, candied walnut, nut oil

texas honeycomb, thyme & feta

spiced farro, pinenut & pear salad

red edive, roquefort, smoked pecan & white truffle-lemon dressing

seasonal cheese pairing: capri white buck goat & pickled whole cherrries

organic carrot-red miso broth, tofu skins, spinach, shitakes, edamame

lavender duck & black mission fig salad with goat cheese

seared tuna steak, kaffir lime leaf-coconut broth, soba

pistachio crusted salmon, curried spinach salad, mandarin orange vinaigrette

crisp, flat chicken, golden romanos, celery leaf salsa verde

two texas cross quail, red quinoa & french couscous, pistachio aillade

braised & grilled rabbit, 3 bean stew, cumin butter

smoky venison t-bone, sweet potato puree, buttermilk grit sauce & cherry balsamic

niman ranch roast sirloin, cheddar custard, bordelaise

www.tafia.com

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I think "the tilman" also owns The Grotto, just now opening their newest location in Market Street of the Woodlands, so there's somewhere else I won't be going.
He does. Bought it last year with a couple of other Vallone family restaurants. Haven't heard about it having gone down in quality yet, but I'm sure I will. Not many of my friends were regular customers there and I've never been, so I don't know much about it.
They are a chain from what the manager told me. i guess i'm just not used to bland italian. i tend to like northern italian more. they also own the rockfish place which i don't like either. great atmosphere but poor service.

Yes, Maggiano's is part of Brinker International, parent company of Chili's, Corner Bakery, On the Border, Romano's Macaroni Grill, and Rockfish. I've always had great food at Maggiano's. It is a little more bland than some places but I think that has more to do with the style of Italian cuisine than the fact that it's a chain. As someone else mentioned, their kitchen does prepare everything from scratch daily. And ditto for the comments on Rockfish -- haven't had bad service but I don't think the food is all that great. But I have very high expectations when it comes to seafood.

I really like Carrabba's, especially the Kirby location. My only complaint is that sometimes the waits there are ridiculously long. But the food is outstanding, and a step above the non-family-owned locations (which I think are still good, just not as good).

I also like Michaelangelo's, Romano's Pizza (reminds me of many places in New York), and have had some pretty good (but not wonderful) food from Josephine's.

I've heard good things about Mia Bella but have never eaten there.

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we frequently have family gatherings at patrenella's - it's located on jackson hill just off memorial. it's got a great homestyle atmosphere and a lot of houston history. it's truly an authentic italian place, family owned and operated. my dad went to st. thomas high school with the owner - sadly, his wife recently passed away. their hours are kinda funny (closed on sunday, open at 5pm on saturday)and you might drive right by the place since it's a house, but if you've never been there it is a must try.

deb martin

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we frequently have family gatherings at patrenella's - it's located on jackson hill just off memorial. it's got a great homestyle atmosphere and a lot of houston history.  it's truly an authentic italian place,  family owned and operated.  my dad went to st. thomas high school with the owner - sadly, his wife recently passed away.  their hours are kinda funny (closed on sunday, open at 5pm on saturday)and you might drive right by the place since it's a house, but if you've never been there it is a must try.

deb martin

Absolutely. Can't believe I forgot Patrenella's. They are great. No pretense, just great food. They nearly ruined this appeal with the failed attempt downtown a few years ago, though. I'm glad the West End location wasn't affected.

As for Mia Bella -- it's a great, great place, too. The food is less authentic Italian and more Mediterranean-inspired Italian...if that makes sense. Mia Bella is like something you'd find in North Beach, SF. The menu is ecclectic, the ambiance is Victorian-era deli-counter and the service is white-linen, performed by tatooed hipsters. A cool mix that's suprisingly affordable.

The menu is more traditional Italian down the street at Cava Bistro, which is run by the same people, I believe.

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Absolutely. Can't believe I forgot Patrenella's. They are great. No pretense, just great food. They nearly ruined this appeal with the failed attempt downtown a few years ago, though. I'm glad the West End location wasn't affected.

As for Mia Bella -- it's a great, great place, too. The food is less authentic Italian and more Mediterranean-inspired Italian...if that makes sense. Mia Bella is like something you'd find in North Beach, SF. The menu is ecclectic, the ambiance is Victorian-era deli-counter and the service is white-linen, performed by tatooed hipsters. A cool mix that's suprisingly affordable.

The menu is more traditional Italian down the street at Cava Bistro, which is run by the same people, I believe.

i went to school with the patrenella kids, who work there when they aren't doing their other job. sad to hear about their mom. food is ok to me, not great.

Mia bella has a great brunch on sunday try it out. yes cava is run by the same people and they also own mi luna in the village.

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Let me also add Crappitto's to the list, which is just off Westheimer between the West Loop and Highland Village. Have only eaten there once, for lunch about two years ago, but what I had was excellent. However, I'd never give a restaurant a name like "Crappitto's". Even Jay Leno made fun of it one night on his show a few years ago.

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we frequently have family gatherings at patrenella's - it's located on jackson hill just off memorial. it's got a great homestyle atmosphere and a lot of houston history.  it's truly an authentic italian place,  family owned and operated.  my dad went to st. thomas high school with the owner - sadly, his wife recently passed away.  their hours are kinda funny (closed on sunday, open at 5pm on saturday)and you might drive right by the place since it's a house, but if you've never been there it is a must try.

deb martin

Which Patranella brother is it? I bartended for Frank Patranella for many years down in Galveston when he used to run Trumpets on the Strand for the Mitchell family.

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I like the Collina's in Rice Village. It's more casual than some restaurants, but it is really good.

Collina's is cool too because you can take your own bottle of wine and enjoy it with your dinner. We used to get together with 10-15 people and share 8 or so bottles of wine and eat tons of food. Good times.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'd have to say Veneto's on Hwy 6 it was converted from an old willies icehouse and now has a great atmosphere, great food, and great staff. If you live in or around the copperfield/cypress area you should try it out.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest Professional Hornblower
i like fred's italian corner on holcombe near rice. small family place, watch out for the hours.

Good call. Fred's is fan-ta-bu-lous. About $6 for lunch. Typically I get like a sausage/parmiagian sanwich, and it comes with chips, a soda, and a salad. It really is DELICIOUS and for the money...well you can't beat it. Family place so the people actually give a shyt about your feelings. If you have a boog on your fork, Mama will come out and personally wash it for you.

Con: The interior is pretty drab. Crappy ceiling tiles. Interesting photo's on the wall however.

Go here during lunch and you'll see a mix of scrubbed-out med center Yuppies, old retired folks from the neighborhood, and 2 or 3 homeless guys looking for free bread. OK, I'm kidding about that... there are no scrubbed-out people there.

:rolleyes:

Seriously, EAT THERE YOU'LL THANK ME LATER WITH MONEY IF YOU'RE A DUDE OR YOUR MOUTH IF YOU'RE A CHICK.

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  • 3 weeks later...
Absolutely. Can't believe I forgot Patrenella's. They are great. No pretense, just great food. They nearly ruined this appeal with the failed attempt downtown a few years ago, though. I'm glad the West End location wasn't affected.

As for Mia Bella -- it's a great, great place, too. The food is less authentic Italian and more Mediterranean-inspired Italian...if that makes sense. Mia Bella is like something you'd find in North Beach, SF. The menu is ecclectic, the ambiance is Victorian-era deli-counter and the service is white-linen, performed by tatooed hipsters. A cool mix that's suprisingly affordable.

The menu is more traditional Italian down the street at Cava Bistro, which is run by the same people, I believe.

Patrenella's on Jackson Hill is not connected or related to any of the Petrenella Brothers restaurants that were opened downtown, Southshore Harbour, and Galveston. Just for your own information.

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Patrenella's on Jackson Hill is not connected or related to any of the Petrenella Brothers restaurants that were opened downtown, Southshore Harbour, and Galveston.  Just for your own information.

Thank you. I suppose I should have noticed the spelling. I think I let my enthusiasm for Patrenella's get the best of me in hoping for good things from Petrenella's.

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Patrenella's on Jackson Hill is not connected or related to any of the Petrenella Brothers restaurants that were opened downtown, Southshore Harbour, and Galveston.  Just for your own information.

Yeah, I had since come into this information but forgot to update my post. Thanks for the heads up.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest Professional Hornblower

For your own information...that guy blowing his horn on Westheimer and Voss isn't related to me.

I don't know who he is, but he can't hold a candle to me. Once day I got out of my Mercedes Benz SLK and challenged him to a horn-off duel. We played "Every Breath you Take" by Sting, on the horn. I know, I know, it was his choice. Anyway, I whooped him. Then I got back in my car and fired a nickel out the window into his face. Then I peeled out, propelling tiny concrete pebbles into his fat face.

As I drove away I blared "Every Breath you Take" on the radio and laughed out the window at him.

I wonder what ever happened to that loser.

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Guest Professional Hornblower
For your own information...that guy blowing his horn on Westheimer and Voss isn't related to me. 

I don't know who he is, but he can't hold a candle to me.  Once day I got out of my Mercedes Benz SLK and challenged him to a horn-off duel.  We played "Every Breath you Take" by Sting, on the horn.  I know, I know, it was his choice.  Anyway, I whooped him.  Then I got back in my car and fired a nickel out the window into his face.  Then I peeled out, propelling tiny concrete pebbles into his fat face.

As I drove away I blared "Every Breath you Take" on the radio and laughed out the window at him.

I wonder what ever happened to that loser.

bump for humor

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Guest Professional Hornblower

We're talking about homeless people now.

Let's stay on topic, please.

*edited for content* Keep it clean, please. dbigtex56

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  • 3 years later...

I'm almost positive Romano's on W. Gray does a veal canneloni--I haven't had any of their stuffed pasta, but they do a rollatini that's very good--and no one does that anymore. Really good food. I love those dudes, was just there last night. My mom's Sicilian, so I'm picky about these things.

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Pulcinella in Katy does a nice canneloni, but its made with chicken not meat. On the earlier thread, Simposio and DaMarco are my favorite Italian restaurants in town. Simposio for traditional Northern Italian and DaMarco for innovative different dishes.

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