Local Eats, Houston Edition: Giacomo’s cibo e vino

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Source: Giacomo’s Facebook

Giacomo’s is my favorite little piece of Italy found right in the River Oaks area of Houston, TX. The local eatery opened its doors in September 2009 and has been serving fresh, delicious eats ever since. I’ve faithfully eaten at Giacomo’s over the past five years and have never left disappointed in the food, drinks, or service.

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“Giacomo’s is a casual, neighborhood Italian café and wine bar specializing in small plates of hot and cold antipasti for grazing, sharing, mixing and matching. All food is prepared from scratch using the best local, imported and all natural ingredients available.” – www.giacomosciboevino.com

The Food:

My Mom and Grand Mommy were my dates for the day, and they were patient enough to let me give their food a photo shoot so that I could provide you with more mouth-watering imagery!


We all started with the October soup, Vellutata di Zucca e Pera.

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Vellutata di Zucca e Pera – roast butternut squash and pear pureed with caramelized aromatic vegetables and seasoned with a hint of cinnamon, cumin, and rosemary

The vegan and gluten free soup was perfectly creamy and bold in flavor, just like the bold colors of Fall. If I could preserve a gallon of it to eat during any cold days we may get in Louisiana, I would.

Cichetti Caldi – Hot Little Dish

Next, we each ordered our own Cichetti Caldi (hot little dish).

I had my favorite hot little dish, Polpetti Puccini – slightly spicy fennel seasoned meatballs of grass fed Texas Longhorn beef & pastured pork, fennel confit, and tomato cream sauce.

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Polpetti Puccini
Polpetti Puccini

I love these little meatballs because they are packed full of flavor, and the meat is tender and moist. The tomato sauce has a subtle spiciness and an awesome velvety texture.

Mom ordered Gnocchi alla Romana, and Grand Mommy ordered Mozzarella in Carrozza.

Gnocchi alla Romana – rounds of Semolina gnocchi (not potato), served over a bit of tomato sauce, topped with butter & parmigiano reggiano, and baked until golden
Mozzarella in Carrozza – little mozzarella sandwiches, dipped in egg, fried in butter and topped with anchovy caper sauce

Pasta & Secondi (Main Course Proteins)

Our main dishes followed our hot little dishes.

I ordered Pappardelle ai Funghi e Gorgonzola – wide noodles with cremini mushrooms in a parmesan cream sauce enriched with white wine and gorgonzola cheese.

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Pappardelle ai Funghi e Gorgonzola

I added perfectly grilled shrimp on top. This pasta dish is my cheese heaven. It’s so rich and delicious! I’m also a mushroom lover, and the savory flavor of the cremini mushrooms sends this dish over the top. What ties everything together so well is that this dish is pasta casalinga, fatta in casa – fresh egg pasta, made in house.

I also ordered Linguine Giacomo to indulge in later. It’s imported semolina linguine with shrimp, sun-dried tomato & almond pesto, cherry tomatoes, arugula, garlic, shallots, extra virgin olive oil, and a bit of lemon juice.

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Linguine Giacomo

When I first started visiting Giacomo’s, I was obsessed with this dish. I probably didn’t try another pasta dish until my third or fourth visit! The flavor profile of this dish is out of this world. Each bite has a different punch of taste.

Mom ordered Porchetta e Fagioli. It had to have been good because after her first bite, she put her fork down, reached out to me and my Grand Mommy, and said, “Come here ‘cause I’ve gotta slap both of y’all”. So, there’s that. Grand Mommy ordered Trota alla Garfagnana and enjoyed it as well.

Porchetta e Fagioli – slow roasted Berkshire pork butt aggressively seasoned with fennel, rosemary, garlic, & black pepper, served over cannellini beans stewed with tomato, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, and sage
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Trota alla Garfagnana – grilled whole boned rainbow trout seasoned with basil, rosemary and lemon

Dolci (Dessert)

Finally, we reached dessert. Our usual go-to is the Crostata di Limone – creamy & tart lemon tart with an almond cookie crust. Simply put, this dessert is addictive.

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Crostata di Limone

I also ordered the October dessert benefitting Rescued Pets Movement, Crostata di Zucca e Ricotta – pumpkin ricotta cheesecake with pecan crumb crust. Talk about magic!

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Crostata di Zucca e Ricotta

Behind the Food:

Owner Lynette Hawkins boasts, “I designed a menu based on how I personally love to eat, whether dining solo or with friends. That means VARIETY at the table and giving vegetables a starring rather than supporting role. So we offer a great selection of little dishes with big flavors, many showcasing not your usual vegetable suspects. Portions and pricing encourage sampling and sharing multiple dishes. It is such a fun and convivial way to dine.” – www.giacomosciboevino.com

I snagged a personal interview with Lynette, and my goodness she is just as awesome (if not more) as her food!

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Me with Lynette Hawkins, Proprietaria

Lynette fell in love with simple and rustic Tuscan cuisine after spending time growing up in Italy. She wanted Giacomo’s to be a local eatery that welcomes a diverse crowd all for the love of food. Besides Tuscan cuisine, Lynette is also very passionate about animals. The restaurant is in fact named after her late yellow Labrador, Giacomo.

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Upon entering, you can view pictures of the restaurant’s namesake.

To reflect her love of animals, Lynette makes sure that all of her meats were humanely raised and organically fed. Each month, Lynette features a new “Seasonal” dessert, and a portion of the sales from the dessert is donated to a local animal shelter. The restaurant’s outdoor patio is even dog friendly!

Small World:

Coincidentally, some of Lynette’s friends were dining while I was there too. Meet Walter and Giulia Viala.

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Walter & Giulia Viala

This couple was SUPER COOL. (I mean, she’s married to Elvis, am-i-right?!).

So, in short, here’s the story: Walter first met Lynette in Rome in the 60’s. Decades after losing touch with Lynette, Walter reconnected with her by way of his wife, who loved an Italian restaurant that just-so-happened to be owned by Lynette. Are you following? So, without even realizing it, Giulia brought two old friends back together. Even though it’s only been two years since this occurrence, Walter and Giulia frequent Giacomo’s, and even bring along mutual friends they all had in Italy. When I asked them what they love about Giacomo’s, Giulia quickly said with a large smile, “this is the closest I’ll get to Italy here.”

Bottom Line:

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I highly recommend Giacomo’s to anyone! The food is made from scratch with fresh, locally-sourced ingredients, the service is of high quality, and the atmosphere is light, friendly, and welcoming. Plus, the patio is dog freindly, and if you’re a fur baby lover like me, you can support Rescued Pets Movement by purchasing the seasonal dessert. The restaurant truly is a culinary gem to it’s neighborhood.

Giacomo’s is located at 3215 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77098, and is open Tuesday – Saturday, 11:30 AM to 10:00 PM. Indulge!!! You won’t regret it.




(This is not a paid review.)

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