Missing the Old Country? These Italian eateries can take you there with good food and ambience
The upper Texas coast has no shortage of good Italian restaurants. Here’s a sampling of some those little slices of Italy loved by locals and visitors.
Gino’s Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria
This restaurant, family owned and operated for 45 years, features authentic Italian cuisine such as spaghetti with homemade pasta, veal dinners and pizza of all kinds. The eggplant parmigiana sandwich is a must, as well as the filling Spaghetti Mamma Mia.
6124 Stewart Road, Galveston, 409.762.6481
Gio’s Flying Pizza & Pasta
If it’s Friday night, you better get to this mid-county eatery early if you want to experience some of the best Italian around. Along with staples like chicken fettuccine, Spaghetti Classico, Gio’s Lasagna with Beef, Italian sausage, mozzarella, and the restaurant’s famous meat sauce, try the spicy Italian egg rolls.
630 FM 517 W., Dickinson, 281.337.0107
Grazia Italian Kitchen
Featuring such items as Chicken Gianni soup, wood-fired pizza in various varieties — including a Seafood Pie with crawfish, jumbo lump crab, lobster, spinach, Peppadew peppers, garlic and EVOO — this popular restaurant also features a brunch that’s in high demand.
1001 Pineloch Drive, Houston/Clear Lake area, 281.486.2083
Grotto Ristorante at The San Luis
The seaside views might take your breath away, but it’s the food that keeps connoisseurs of Italian cuisine returning to enjoy such dishes as Vic & Anthony’s Signature Crab Cake, paired with Grotto’s famous peach Bellini. Make sure you save room for decadent desserts, too.
5222 Seawall Blvd., Galveston, 409.740.8605
Little Bella Mia
This casual Italian kitchen let’s you create your own pizza, but also serves such favorites as chicken Marsala, beef lasagna, quattro formaggio, salads and soups, homemade authentic pastas of all kinds and sandwiches, such as the roasted chicken muffuletta with fresh mozzarella, caponata and basil pesto. Be sure to check out family meal deals and brunch offerings.
2471 Interstate 45 S., League City, 281.309.3473
Maceo Spice & Import Co.
Off the beaten path, this downtown island grocer and restaurant is known for spices and imported specialty foods, including olive oils, olives, pasta, meats and cheeses, capers, coffee, tea and more. The must-try is the muffuletta made with Italian loaf bread with Maceo’s olive salad, ham, salami and provolone. Maceo’s also is known for seasonal king cakes, desserts and more.
2706 Market St., Galveston, 409.763.3331
Mario’s Seawall Italian Restaurant
If you’ve never been to Italy, then travel to this popular restaurant with seaside views complete with a tower reminescent of Pisa. It’s an island tradition among Italians and those who just like good Italian food. Seafood lovers will be happy, too. Try the fettuccine Alfredo featuring shrimp, jumbo lump crab and crawfish, or the baked lobster mac-n-cheese. Oh, and save room for a slice of Italian cream cake or a cannoli, and the gelato.
628 Seawall Blvd., Galveston, 409.763.1693
This family owned and operated landmark has been serving Italian food in traditional ambience since 1967. Along with Italian cuisine, the eatery is known for New York-style pizza and a few years back opened a pizzeria on the island’s West End.
2202 61st St., 409.744.2975; Mario’s Pizza Pirates Beach, 13708 Termini-San Luis Pass Road, 409.443.5556
This downtown island restaurant serves Gulf Coast Italian cuisine from “farm to fork” and “sea to table,” featuring such dishes as meatballs, gamberi scampi with sautéed Gulf Coast shrimp, lemon garlic butter and linguine, sea scallops, and its famous Sicilian eggplant tower. This island ristorante also is known for its signature cocktails like the Galveston Mule, Rebecca’s Jalapeño Lemon Drop Martini and Riondo’s Italian Margarita. Sunday brunch is a must. Try pancakes your way and some of the best French toast around.
2328 Strand St., Galveston, 409.621.9595
Rosario’s Flying Pizza & Pub
Since 1978, this mainland staple has been serving Italian food with a Neapolitan flavor. Favorites include Italian dishes such as spaghetti, fettuccine Alfredo and, of course, pizza. If you’re a traditionalist, try Mama Linda’s Lasagna or Mama Judy’s Meatball Sandwich.
3202 13th Ave. N., Texas City, 409.948.3271
Trattoria La Vigna
This charming little slice of Italy in downtown Galveston features both a lunch and dinner menu with such offerings as spaghetti and fresh clams or Ravioli Di Pesce to name a few. And there’s the popular ravioli with a mushroom cream sauce. Soups and salads are on the menu, too.
412 20th St., Galveston, 409.497.4927
Known for such signature menu items as tomato basil soup and brie caramelized apples and walnuts, this restaurant offers surprises and traditional fare. Try the signature sandwiches, such as the Tuscan Mango or Mediterranean Melt. A traditional favorite is the spaghetti Bolognese. But the Lobster Ravioli Diavolo is one of the biggest hits here.
2951 Marina Bay Drive, Suite 220, League City, 281.538.8103