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Roma Houston

AUTHENTIC ITALIAN IN THE HEART OF HOUSTON

Article by Radhika Patel

Photography by Al Torres Photography & Radhika Patel

A chilly winter's evening and a special celebration called for the perfect comfort food. What's better than authentic Roman dishes with some special items from Northern Italy. Introducing Roma.

The perfect quaint restaurant in Rice Village, Houston. It may not have been my birthday, but I sure was super excited for our dinner. One of my favorite all time Italian dishes is Spaghetti Bolognese. Fond memories growing up eating this, from a frozen meal (please don’t shun me culinary world, I was a kid!), to my Mom cooking up an amazing ragù sauce to indulging in it (everyday) in Rome itself! Therefore, I already knew what I was ordering…

I was elated Roma had my favorite dish; I couldn’t wait. From the moment I stepped into the restaurant, it felt like home. Had I gatecrashed someone’s dinner party? Owner Shanon Scott definitely achieved what he envisioned, 

“I want to have a relaxing environment. It should feel like coming into someone's home. I want our guests to feel like family and it's not that complex.”

With an intimate, authentic flair, Roma oozes sophistication, yet casual dining, high-end quality food, and experience yet, relaxation and unwinding vibes. I knew this was going to be a great night. It might as well have been my birthday!

The host led us through the restaurant to the private dining room. A long, dressed table awaited us in what I would call a formal dining room in a home. Subtly decorated, private and tucked away, it was the perfect setting for a small celebration.

Seeing as Chef Angelo is an Italian native, from Pesaro which is in the Marche region of Italy, I just knew the food would be reminiscent of our Italy trip,

“There are only a handful of Italian restaurants in Houston with an Italian chef and servers.”

Naturally, this meant I wanted to order everything off the menu. First came appetizers and we indulged in the meatballs which we will get to in a moment (they were FANTASTIC), the rice balls with green peas and tomato sauce, burrata cheese with blood orange fruit and prosciutto and the spring mix greens, English cucumbers tossed in a light vinaigrette. All delicious just as expected, but let’s take a moment to talk about those meatballs. 

This is another item I always order in any restaurant in any state or country. The meatballs, with mozzarella, basil, and pecorino bathing in marina, are the BEST meatballs I have ever had! They were on par with the ones I've had in Italy. After all, I did have an Italian native chef, who has been in the States five years, making them for me! Tender, flavorful, depth of flavor, just brilliant. Yummy!

Then came the mains, and well we all know what I had my eyes on. As there were 10 of us, we were able to try a variety of dishes. The Bolognese did not disappoint, thank god for Chef Angelo!

Even though I had a plate of absolute deliciousness, I couldn’t help but eye up other’s dishes. The very well recommended (by the excellent waiter, also an Italian native) smoked gnocchi with shrimp in a glistening saffron sauce was amazing, as was the spinach and ricotta cheese filled ravioli. Topped with truffle, mushrooms and Italian sausage, this dish was one that left you wanting to order another! I will return however, for owner Shanon’s top pick, 

“My favorite dish on the menu is the grilled octopus, it is sous vide for eight hours which makes it very tender.”

How mouth-watering does that sound and look?!

What’s really clever is the perfect balance, a harmonious collaboration between owner and chef that Roma has managed to achieve,

“We have the same goal when it comes to our guests, which is providing the best authentic Italian cuisine in Houston.”

Along with this mindset, Shanon has truly created an unforgettable dining experience,

“I do not consider myself as a restaurateur, I just have a big kitchen with a large dining area.”

This experience has been enhanced by the recent introduction of Roma’s Virtual Wine Dinners.” A sold-out event every Thursday:

  • Roma presents a different prestigious winemaker from varying regions in Italy
  • 3 course meal with 3 wine bottles for $119 for 2
  • Pick up between 5-7 PM
  • Zoom virtual dinner begins at 7.30 PM
  • Enjoy!

This is what makes Roma so special. Even during a pandemic, they manage to make their guests feel right at home with the same fantastic service!

“My staff and I treat everyone like we just have a dinner party six days a week.”

Roma is located in the very charming area, Rice Village,

“I love Rice Village because it is such an eclectic area.”

One of the few pedestrian friendly areas in Houston, perfect for walking off the Spaghetti Bolognese! Exceptional service, real Italian expertise, and fantastic food.

For all my fellow Houstonians and those who are looking to visit in the future, Roma will not disappoint. Go for dinner, leave with your mind blown. Go for casual drinks on their outdoor patio and leave with…well not wanting to leave!

Roma is everything you expect and more. Just wear something with a little give!