EVEN IF LA GRIGLIA were completely empty—which is highly unlikely—the enormous bawdy murals, busy mosaics, and bustling wait staff would give the impression of great activity. This popular eatery, located in the River Oaks Shopping Center, is a place to see and be seen—inevitable, since the restaurant is one of the Tony Vallone dynasty (Tony’s, Anthony’s, and the Grotto being the others). That fact alone pretty much predestines a Houston restaurant’s desirability. Fortunately, La Griglia has other attributes—the food, for instance—that would make it popular even without the Vallone imprimatur.

La Griglia means “the grill”, and it is no surprise that most of the food here is grilled at one of the two huge grills in a center food preparation area. Fresh fish, creative pastas, fresh vegetables are trademarks of the restaurant, as are also sinfully rich desserts. If you like to eat a big lunch, you can start with the basketful of pizza strips that precedes your order. The business lunch is the best buy—a hearty field green salad, a pasta medley, and dessert (with biscotti beforehand, in case you can’t wait for your sweets). Just remember to stay away from the proffered mineral water—those lavish refills aren’t free.

Tony Vallone’s reputation has been firmly established with his premier restaurant, Tony’s—where for two decades U.S. presidents, actors, Nobel prize-winning surgeons, and flashy sports figures wined and dined. When Tony’s shut down in May 1994 most of Houston’s jet set went into mourning. While not up to the glitzy standards of Tony Vallone’s namesake establishment, the more-casual La Griglia lives up to other standards set by Vallone. The offerings are fresh and inventive; the atmosphere is lively. There’s never a dull moment here, and you’ll probably see someone you know—or someone will see you.

2002 W. Gray, Houston
Tel. (713) 526.4700
Open Mon 11:30am-10pm; Tue-Thu 11:30am-11pm; Fri 11:30am-12am; Sat 5:30pm-12am; Sun 5:30pm-10pm
View the La Griglia Menu.

Try these La Griglia recipes at home: Spaghetti Rivaldo, La Griglia’s Crab and Shrimp Cheesecake