I was very curious to learn what it had acclaimed in the city, assuming it would reward authenticity and adherence to native Italian products and flavors. I make it point to pester foreign transplants and visitors for feedback about local restaurants serving their home cuisine, often finding it useful feedback. Thankfully, I was able to quickly find Ruggeri and inquire about the local winners.
He was quickly forthcoming with the yet-unveiled winners. Amalfi won the top spot for fine dining, Sud Italia for traditional cuisine, Rosso Cane for pizza, and Poscol for the cantina. I complimented him on the choices of Amalfi and Sud Italia. These are led by two of the top handful of Italian chefs in the state – Giancarlo Ferrarra at Amalfi and Maurizio Ferrarese at Sud Italia – though I was surprised about Cane Rosso. I haven’t been impressed in several visits, finding the various Neapolitan-styled pizzas much more attractive than flavorful. He said that it was tough to find good pizza, which I heartily if unfortunately agreed. My view of the local pizza scene has diminished with the ongoing research for my Margherita Pizza Project. And, Cane Rosso only got one of three pizza slices versus two of the other things (forks, bottles and no telling) for the other restaurants. The fourth of the winners, Poscol, does have a very fine wine last, though I like the one better at its sibling a couple of blocks away, Dolce Vita. But, Poscol has a much more appropriate cantina, or enoteca, setting and vibe. Nicely, this information and some more is posted on Gambero Rosso’s website under the heading, “Top Italian Restaurants in Houston.”
Click here to see their picks in other cities, too.
One of Maurizio Ferrarese's delectable pasta dishes at Sud Italia