The Woodlands, Texas contains some surprising hidden gems. The growth in the area since 2000 (when the Woodlands became an up-and-coming destination in East Texas for corporate construction) opened the flood gates to new restaurants, bars, and entertainment. And all those families moving in had to eat, didn’t they?
Passers-by in the Woodlands might think first of barbecue and Tex-Mex when they scout the best places to eat, but the area is not lacking in other options like Italian cuisine. Could you go for some mouthwatering pizzas or heaping plates of pasta? The Woodlands has a number of restaurants that offer authentic and delicious Italian cuisine.
Keep reading to check out our list of the five best Italian restaurants in the Woodlands—you’ll be glad you did.
Carrabba’s Italian Grill
Carrabba’s Italian Grill is actually a larger line of Italian restaurants that’s left its mark across Texas. Their cozy and casual dining is paired with a killer menu with all your favorites and many plates you won’t expect. The team at Zipps is particularly fond of the variety of pasta sauces and meat toppers. The chain was actually started by a pair of Sicilian-descent Texans who also have a flare for all-things creole and southern, so come check out The Woodlands location of Carrabba’s if you’re craving some amazing fusions.
If you’re looking for a quiet or more intimate restaurant (hehem, ristorante) with a flair of an old-timey trattoria in the heart of Italy, Grotto Ristorante will live up to your every expectation. You’ll find traditional options on the menu from Neapolitan thin-crust pizza to Venice’s famous peach Bellinis. The place is so authentic (and delicious) that the wait can get a little long, so be sure to call ahead for parties of six or more.
Via Emilia Restaurant was named after an ancient Roman road that spans from Rimini to Piacenza. Just Google those Italian towns to see where this authentic Italian restaurant gets its popular flare from. (Spoiler alert: it’s northern Italy.) With a menu including handmade pastas and wood-fired pizzas that you’ll remember forever, this neighborhood favorite is worth a visit, particularly for special occasions. Wild boar gnocchi, anyone? How about orecchiette with sausage? Pair your plate with one of their extraordinary beverages from the piano bar, and be sure to check out their live music calendar for added entertainment.
In the mood for pizza, plain and simple? Of all the joints in the Woodlands that lay claim to the Neapolitan-style standards of pizza making, only a handful turn out pizzas as exceptional as Grimaldi’s. Their pizzas are full of fresh ingredients and are coal brick-oven fired in their cozy, rustic dining hall. The fontina cheese pizza with oak-roasted mushrooms and caramelized onions is outstanding.
Score a coveted table at Amerigo’s Grille for a chef-driven experience you will be blown away by. Even on lists that aren’t Italian-restaurant-specific, Amerigo’s is noted as one of the all-over “bests” of the Woodlands. They say “each plate is a work of art” at Amerigo’s, and it’s true. The boast delectable recipes with the freshest ingredients, and have a wine menu to take your dining experience to the next level. For Italian tradition and culinary innovation combined, be sure to visit Amerigo’s.