Often lauded as the best Italian restaurant in Houston, Da Marco is set in an unassuming Montrose cottage that belies an elegant interior of hardwood floors, white tablecloths, and pale yellow walls. Illuminated by large windows and dramatic black chandeliers, the restaurant is ideal for intimate date nights but also offers an affordable three-course business lunch menu. Chef Marco Wiles uses fresh ingredients, many of which are imported from Italy, to construct signature dishes such as sweet corn lobster ravioli and black truffle risotto. Knowledgeable sommeliers are also on hand to suggest pairings from the impressive, albeit pricey, wine list.
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From the From the May 2008 Food & Wine Go List
Dali’s owners, a group of young Chinese art-world types, have stuffed an old courtyard home with contemporary Chinese art and put tables in the quirky little rooms and the lovely central garden. There’s no menu here; guests choose a price level and servers bring out plates of modern pan-Asian dishes, like mushrooms roasted in banana leaves and sweet-and-sour dried beef infused with lemon juice. The chefs age the beef by hanging strips of it on trees in the courtyard.
We loved: Eggs scrambled with jasmine tea.
Insider tip: The more people in your group, the greater variety of dishes you’ll get to try.