Are you looking for the best Italian food in the Woodlands? We’ve assembled a guide to the restaurants that serve the best we’ve found in the Woodlands area.

Our criteria is simple: Who makes the most delicious food? Our guide is based around the Woodlands, but we’ll venture outside the immediate area if the food is worth the drive… and we found some that is.

In each section, restaurants are listed in alphabetical order; they are not ranked within the section.

Originally published in 2017.)

The Best Italian Food in the Woodlands

Classic Italian, prepared skillfully from scratch

Nona’s Italian Grill

🌟 — Notable in the Woodlands area.

🥇 Best Italian
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.

$$ and $$$ | Italian
Full Bar, Happy Hour, Live Music, Romantic, and Upscale

3091 College Park Dr #185 | The Woodlands 77384
936-224-3132
| Map
Full Info | Website

Handmade contemporary Italian cuisine

Papa Amadeus

🌟🌟 — Among the best restaurants in the Woodlands area.

🥇 Best Italian

Don’t be fooled by the modest strip center location. Papa Amadeus crafts some of the finest Italian food in the Woodlands area. Chef Arturo Huerta’s meticulous personal approach delivers delicious results. Everything is handmade in house; from the pastas to the balanced, classic sauces, to the more innovative dishes featured in the evenings. The classics are beautifully executed; we keep getting drawn in by the flawless chicken parmigiana and the light, pillowy gnocchi. Well priced, curated wine list.

$$ | Italian
Catering, Live Music, Private Room, Romantic, and Upscale

432 Sawdust Rd. | Spring 77380
Behind Herb & Beet
713-389-5975
| Map
Full Info | Website

Upscale Italian in a cozy, romantic setting

Via Emilia

🌟🌟 — Among the best restaurants in the Woodlands area.

🥇 Best Italian

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.

Read our full review >

$$$ | Italian
Full Bar, Happy Hour, Live Music, Private Room, Romantic, and Upscale

10700 Kuykendahl Rd | The Woodlands 77381
281-465-9555
| Map | Review
Full Info | Website | Order Online

Modern Italian in a chic, upscale setting

Zanti Cucina Italiana

🌟🌟 — Among the best restaurants in the Woodlands area.

🥇 Best Italian
🥇 Best Pizza

Upscale Italian cuisine comes to the Northwest Woodlands with the opening of Zanti Cucina Italiana, the brainchild of three brothers who bring extensive food & beverage background to this new endeavor. Outstanding housemade pastas, Neapolitan pizzas, and strict attention to detail are the draws here. You don’t have to drive downtown for a great Italian meal anymore… or even to the front of the Woodlands.

Read our full review >

$$ and $$$ | Italian and Pizza
Full Bar, Happy Hour, Live Music, Private Room, and Upscale

10000 Research Forest Drive | The Woodlands 77354
281-259-1300
| Map | Review
Full Info | Website

Recommended Italian Food in the Woodlands

A broad array of modern comfort food in a sleek setting

Black Walnut Cafe

🌟 — Notable in the Woodlands area.

🥇 Best American
🥇 Best Brunch
🥈 Recommended Burger
🥈 Recommended Happy Hour
🥈 Recommended Italian
🥈 Recommended Sandwiches

Update (July 2021): The secret is out: The Masked Chef who’s been making over the menu at Black Walnut is none other than Chef Austin Simmons, mastermind behind the award-winning Tris, Cureight, and the Kitchen. The result: Black Walnut has been seriously upping their culinary game. New menu items are appearing regularly, and they show a new viewpoint and a very skillful touch. We’ve been very pleased to see an established brand elevate their offerings like this, and can’t wait to see what’s next.

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Black Walnut is perhaps the biggest success story for restaurants originating in the Woodlands. Founded by serial restaurateur George Pallotta, the organization has spread statewide under the Black Forest Ventures umbrella. Why? Big portions of chef-created comfort food, served in an upscale, fast-casual setting. Sandwiches are a big deal here, and the broad menu offers something for everyone. We’re especially fond of the terrific pasta dishes; some proven recipes that have been popular for years, and some brand new ones. These rival pasta dishes at dedicated Italian restaurants; they’re that good.

Don’t skip brunch; it’s very popular. And save room for dessert.

$$ | American, Burgers, and Sandwiches
Brunch, Full Bar, Good Desserts, Happy Hour, Outdoor Dining, and Private Room

9000 New Trails Drive | The Woodlands 77381
281-362-1678
| Map
Full Info | Website | Menu | Order Online

Solid Italian cuisine in an expansive, faux Tuscan setting

Brio

🥈 Recommended Italian

Brio delivers quality Italian food in a big, comfortable, definitely corporate setting. This isn’t a neighborhood hole-in-the-wall; those who prefer a more opulent room will feel right at home. The food was a pleasant surprise; it’s notably better conceived and prepared than their chain restaurant competitors. Attention to detail was apparent on every plate.

Service was professional, friendly, and welcoming.

$$ and $$$ | Italian
Full Bar, Happy Hour, Outdoor Dining, Private Room, Scenic View, and Upscale

1201 Lake Woodlands Drive | The Woodlands 77380
(South side of Woodlands Mall ring road)
281-465-8993
| Map
Full Info | Website

Steaks and Italian in a surprisingly fashionable hideaway

Johnny’s Italian Steak House

🌟 — Notable in the Woodlands area.

🥈 Recommended Italian
🥈 Recommended Steak

We never expected to find good food in a hotel 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.

Chef Brittany Briden’s kitchen does an outstanding job turning out steaks that won’t break the budget; the result is a wonderfully upscale meal without the upscale prices.

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.

Read our full review >

$$ and $$$ | Italian and Steaks
Catering, Full Bar, Happy Hour, HRW2021, Live Music, Outdoor Dining, Private Room, Romantic, and Upscale

19333 David Memorial Dr. | Shenandoah 77385
(Inside the Crown Plaza Shenandoah)
346-331-2060
| Map | Review
Full Info | Website

Brooklyn-style pizza with a Texas accent

RC’s NYC Pizza & Pasta

🌟🌟 — Among the best restaurants in the Woodlands area.

🥇 Best Pizza
🥈 Recommended Italian

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.

$ and $$ | Italian and Pizza

501 Sawdust Rd | Spring 77380
281-298-4663
| Map
Full Info | Website | Order Online

Modern Italian in a chic hotel setting

Sorriso Modern Italian Kitchen

🥈 Recommended Italian
🥈 Recommended Pizza

This casually ambitious Italian eatery bursts onto the Woodlands Waterway scene with a playful approach to Italian dining. Chef Enzo Fargione brings traditional Italian techniques to the Woodlands by way of Washington DC, and our first look at his food is very promising. Well priced appetizers, pizzas, pastas, and desserts take center stage, and the completely rebuilt dining room is both modern and inviting. Excellent wine list.

Read our full review >

$$ and $$$ | Brunch, Italian, and Pizza
Full Bar, Happy Hour, Outdoor Dining, Private Room, Romantic, Scenic View, and Upscale

2 Waterway Square Place | The Woodlands 77380
In the Westin Waterway hotel
281-419-4300
| Map | Review
Full Info | Website | Menu | Order Online

Restaurant Listings

Amerigo’s Grill $$$ Italian   Sawdust
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Avanti Italian Kitchen $$$ Italian   Creekside Forest West and Research East
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Brio $$ and $$$ Italian   Woodlands Mall
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Italian Cafe $$ Italian   Outside the Bubble: Spring
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Johnny’s Italian Steak House $$ and $$$ Italian and Steaks   I-45 Corridor
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Lasagna House III $$ Italian   Outside the Bubble: 1960
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Nona’s Italian Grill $$ and $$$ Italian   College Park
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Pallotta’s Italian Grill $$ Italian   I-45 Corridor
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Papa Amadeus $$ Italian   Sawdust
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RC’s NYC Pizza & Pasta $ and $$ Italian and Pizza   Sawdust
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Sorriso Modern Italian Kitchen $$ and $$$ Brunch, Italian, and Pizza   Waterway
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Via Emilia $$$ Italian   Indian Springs
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Zanti Cucina Italiana $$ and $$$ Italian and Pizza   Research West
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