Olive Garden Italian Restaurant
8833 Burnet Rd., 512/459-0701
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.
Varied Italian regional cuisines and an extensive wine list keep this Hyde Park neighborhood stalwart hopping. The pizza and seafood dishes are terrific, but we always gravitate to the risotto.
408-C E. 43rd, 512/451-1218
The happy hour from 4-7pm offers cheaper appetisers and pizza, 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