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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Upmarket restaurant

Tue–Thu 11:30am–2:00pm
Tue–Thu 5:30pm–10:00pm
Fri 11:30am–2:00pm
Fri 5:30pm–11:00pm
Sat 5:30pm–11:00pm

Features Date-friendly, good wines
Bar Beer, wine, liquor
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx
Reservations Accepted


1520 Westheimer Rd.
Houston, TX
(713) 807-8857
Da Marco
Exemplary Italian served in a surprisingly casual and approachable atmosphere

We continue to have the best culinary experiences in Houston at this world-class restaurant. The kitchen’s often mislabeled as “northern Italian” because the virtuoso chef is from Friuli, but the menu spans the entirety of the Boot. Buffalo-milk burrata—a profound, cream-spiked version of mozzarella, paired with exceptionally ripe tomatoes—derives from Puglia. Campania is where you’d see the most wood-fired brick ovens of the sort Da Marco uses for its margherita pizza, whose balance of ripe, reduced tomato flavor with sharp, brick-seared ash approaches perfection. An old Jewish recipe from Rome is the basis for delicately fried artichoke alla giudea, dressed in olive oil with mint, lemon, and a touch of orange. And you’d find a whole roasted branzino—a sweet, firm white fish, here fired in the wood-burning oven—absolutely anywhere along the coastline.

There are periodic missteps: risotto has come gooey and dense, while sweet corn ravioli’s been overcooked. But these flaws are more likely during the (still awesome) $25 three-course business lunch. The wine list could have been put together by any great Italian wine journalist, and it’s spectacularly priced.

Even the atmosphere is authentically Italian in its simplicity: well-dressed (but not overdressed) tables; cozy, low ceilings; an airy porch-style room. But we’ve found service hurried and brusque, and even recently dined with children running rampant through the dining room. C’mon now, is that any way to treat one of Houston’s best restaurants?

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