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–Leslie Brenner,
Dallas Morning News
Fearless Critic restaurant review
Houston
Food
Feel
Price
9.0
8.0
$55
Modern, Pizza
Upmarket restaurant

Hours
Tue–Thu 5:00pm–10:00pm
Fri–Sat 5:00pm–11:00pm
Sun 11:00am–3:00pm
Sun 5:00pm–9:00pm

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

www.stellasolahouston.com

Heights
1001 Studewood St.
Houston, TX
(713) 880-1001
Stella Sola
Northern Italian cuisine speaks with a sexy Texas twang in this temple of temptation

Brillat-Savarin wrote of the virtues of an “impassioned, reasoned, and habitual preference for everything which gratifies the organ of taste”—virtues often curated by the sort of people who opened Stella Sola, a restaurant that invites hyperbole not because it is flawless or particularly cutting-edge, but because it does something that few restaurants anywhere do: it pays tribute.

The menu is a seasonal portrait of Texan ingredients, employed in mostly Northern Italian preparations. Handmade pastas and charcuterie intertwine with local produce, Gulf seafood appears in Ligurian-style stews, and so forth. In these expert hands, the results are sensual delights: poached quail eggs, ravioli, and meatballs all burst with a warm filling. A brown butter gnocchi prep skips the sage in favor of a surprising peppery arugula, and ideally al dente house-made pappardelle is topped with velvety, baking-spicy wild boar ragù.

The mostly Italian wine list features several obscure winners among some bigger names. It skimps somewhat on the crazy Friuli reds, Pinot Nero blends, and lower-priced Nebbiolos that Northern Italy is known for, but everything’s just a fraction above retail. The restaurant can get unbearably loud at peak hours, given its sparse décor (save for some hanging house-cured salumi, which is fantastic on a pizza with peperone, lardo, duck prosciutto, and ricotta). An outdoor spot on a warm evening should let you better focus the organ of taste.

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