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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Counter service

Tue–Sat 11:00am–10:00pm
Sun 4:00pm–9:00pm

Features Good wines, outdoor dining, veg-friendly, Wi-Fi
Bar Wine
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx


Upper Kirby
3215 Westheimer Rd.
Houston, TX
(713) 522-1934
Giacomo’s Cibo y Vino
An outstanding Italian cafeteria that encourages wine with lunch

It’s hard for people Stateside to get used to the idea that casual and excellent aren’t mutually exclusive (especially in this tony neighborhood), but Giacomo’s Cibo y Vino gives a crash course in it. You’ll move along a cafeteria line and order from a counter (until 5pm, at which point table service commences), and choose from either prepared items like minestrone (delicious and complex, with clean vegetal flavors), quick made-to-order stuff (like terrific agnolotti stuffed with Swiss chard, ricotta, and goat cheese in sage butter), and dishes that require slightly longer (fall-off-the-bone tender, marinated chicken with incredible natural flavor). Pappardelle al telefono is served not with lobster and pink sauce as it so often is in 1980s-style Italian places, but with the flat noodles dressed simply in olive oil, garlic, basil, cherry tomatoes, and fresh mozzarella. The result is a lighter post-prandial feeling—like how you feel even after a large meal in Italy.

The squeaky clean and well-lit space is also très European, with bare walls and tables, bright red barstools, and a chalkboard of Italian wines. There are non-Italian wines up there, too, and these are well chosen, but you’re in Rome (or Venice or Lombardy), so do as Romans and order Pieropan Soave or Statti Gaglioppo. The prices are great and many bottles are offered as 3-oz., 6-oz., and 9-oz. carafe pours.

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