Want to find the best Italian restaurant in the Woodlands? Here is our expert guide to the best Italian food in the area.
Best Italian Restaurants in The Woodlands
Whether you’re craving superb spaghetti, luscious lasagna, fantastic fettuccine, or magnificent manicotti, this guide will help you find the perfect Italian restaurant for lunch or dinner.
(Updated October 2018)
Foodies in search of outstanding Italian food have a surprising new spot to try. Chef owned and recently relocated to the Woodlands, Nona’s Italian Grill shows the kind of carefully crafted cuisine that is the hallmark of a memorable restaurant. From classics like the excellent Chicken Parmigiana to creative combinations featuring pastas, seafood, and outstanding steaks, we were impressed by quality of the ingredients, the solid execution, and the classic flavors of the signature sauces.
Located in a strip center on Highway 242 just west of I-45, Nona’s modest yet upscale setting is cozy, quiet, and perfect for date night. Nona’a is an excellent addition to the surprisingly thin Woodlands Italian landscape. Full bar, professional service.
Italian | College Park
The Woodlands has no shortage of great pizza places. But one name comes up over and over when asked for recommendations. RC’s NYC Pizza & Pasta serves honest-to-Vito New York street pizza, either traditional (cheese only) or with your choice of toppings. They’re serious about pizza: RC himself travels around the nation competing against the best pizza makers in the country, and has repeatedly brought home the hardware.
RC’s goes beyond pizza, with outstanding wings, delicious calzones, and great plated entrees. This isn’t your average pizza spot, which is why it earned a spot on our list.
Italian and Pizza | Sawdust
Great upscale Italian food can be tough to come by in the Woodlands, but Via Emilia is an exception to this rule. Tucked away in a strip center on Kuykendahl and Woodlands Parkway, Via Emilia prepares northern Italian specialities with verve and aplomb, and the gracious staff provides flawless service in the lovely dining room. Skillfully prepared seafood, meats, and pastas are great choices, and be sure to save room for the stellar limoncello cake.
Italian | Indian Springs
Happy Hour and Private Room
We never expected to find good food in the Holiday Inn off Research east of I-45. So we were pleasantly surprised by Johnny’s Italian Steak House, a mid-priced steakhouse that also features some very good Italian dishes. We’re particularly fond of their happy hour offerings – well priced appetizers perfect for sharing.
Service is attentive without being intrusive and the room is beautiful and cozy, making it perfect for a getaway with that special someone. Johnny’s demonstrates that you don’t have to pay a lot to enjoy a quality steak in a beautiful setting.
Italian and Steaks | I-45 Corridor
Happy Hour, Outdoor Dining, and Private Room
Pallotta’s Italian Grill has been the go-to Italian restaurant for Woodlands’ families for decades. A broad menu of well-prepared options means there’s something for everyone, and the friendly, inviting service keeps them coming back. A wide variety of pastas is a big draw, as are the excellent soups and salads. Innovative specials bring a new dish monthly to a menu that’s full of established favorites. Owner Phil Nicosia treats newcomers like regulars and regulars like family.
Update: Consistency seems to have become a bit of an problem when the owner isn’t in the house. Cold food is the most common issue, and the “solution” tastes like a pass through the microwave. We hope that management will take a proactive stance and fix this problem; we hate to see an iconic Woodlands restaurant in decline.
Italian | I-45 Corridor
Outside the Bubble
Fettucine alfredo is a dish found on almost every Italian restaurant’s menu. Few make it as well as Italian Cafe; this one standout dish demonstrates the care that goes into preparing every dish at this cozy Spring cafe. All the dishes show a distinct New York inspiration, from the excellent pastas to the veal, chicken, and seafood entrees.
Service is warm and friendly at this family-run operation. You’re likely to see owner Leo Coronel and his wife Zoly checking on tables and greeting guests.
Italian | Outside the Bubble: Spring
UPDATE: Tony’s Italian Deli has changed hands in 2018. On our return visits, we have noticed distinct changes in the sandwiches, and not for the better. We detected obvious changes in the ingredients, the quantities, and the attention to detail
Tony’s still makes good sandwiches. But they’re not the remarkable creations that Hootie put together, and in our opinion, aren’t worth a long drive anymore.
According to Yelp, the best restaurant in the nation is Tony’s Italian Deli, on Highway 105 outside of Montgomery. While we haven’t tried all the nation’s restaurants to verify this, we can confirm that the sandwiches at Tony’s Deli are simply the best Italian subs we’ve ever tasted. Chef Hootie Trant constructs huge po-boys stacked with high quality Italian meats and cheeses, with just the right spreads and seasonings to perfect the flavor. His bride Mary is the smiling face at the counter, greeting the guest and keeping the line moving. Expect a wait at peak lunch hours.
Choosing from the wall of options is tough. New visitors should resist the urge to build their own and delve into one of Hootie’s recommended creations; our favorites are the J. Gandolfini (cold) and the Lucky Luciano (hot). Expect a filling meal, and another one at home with the half you couldn’t eat in the store.
Italian and Sandwiches | Outside the Bubble: Hwy 105