8833 Burnet Rd.
Hours: Sun.-Thu., 11am-10pm; Fri.-Sat., 11am-11pm
This chain eatery serves reliable, generic Italian food at reasonable prices. A popular family place and a safe choice for those who fear the food-unknown.
Local greens from Boggy Creek farm are a standard, as are many other locally-found ingredients here. For varied Italian regional cuisines and an extensive wine list of mostly Italian and Cal-Ital selections, try this Hyde Park neighborhood stalwart.
408-C E. 43rd, 512/451-1218
The happy hour from 4-6pm offers half-price appetizers, and the decent selection of wines by the bottle and the glass makes it merrier. The dinner menu features a terrific pappardelle bolognese, as well as a meatball appetizer that melts into its sauce.
4800 Burnet Rd., 512/458-1100
This market/restaurant from Houston's Mandola clan attracts crowds with imported Italian deli meats and cheeses, fresh-baked rustic breads and pastries, and homemade gelatos and sorbettos. Enjoy well-selected wines by the bottle or the glass and prepared foods to eat in the cavernous, crowded dining room or to take out.
4700 W. Guadalupe #12, 512/419-9700