I was later than most to visit Bari Ristorante Italiano, the newest addition to River Oaks District, due to some time conflicts I had but I have made up for it with two visits in the last two weeks. This newest intro into the Italian fine dining scene here in Houston, immediately struck me with a very positive vibe the moment I walked in the door, each time! Being someone who loves high-energy wherever I can get it, was immediately smitten, as I entered this elegantly casual spot, bursting with lots of great looking people appearing to be having a great time dining on fine food and spirits. Of course, this should be expected in a dining establishment operated by experienced restauranteurs Tommy Nally and Pedro Teyuca who have been responsible for generating the level of fine service that has kept everyone happy in this area for some time. Top it off with a kitchen led by an equally experienced Chef of 30 years, Renatto DePiro who we were thrilled to see again, and it all just works.
Renatto’s menu is classic Italian with a modern twist. It is best described as a casual effortless style found in Italy. That legendary elegant simplicity that is found in all things in Italy…..the food, cities, art, fashion and every life. At Bari the food is where classic meets modernity. Bari takes its cue from sophisticated haunts and brings these dishes alive with imported fresh, seasonal and locally sourced ingredients. Everything is made in-house, as for them, only the best will do! Handmade pasta has its own starring role, many to choose from. Hand-tossed pizzas are topped with imported ingredients including San Marzano tomatoes, fresh herbs, salumi and Fior di Latte cheese.
Dishes are many of today’s favorites featuring Pasta Vongole, Pappardelle Bolognese, Risotto, Whole Roasted Branzino al Sale, and bone-in Veal Milanese which has not made it to the menu yet and I am waiting for as one of my favorite Porta Principale(main course/entree). They are gradually introducing specific dishes as they deem them to be ready!
Not that anyone has to be convinced but you must stay for the Dolci, serving Italian favorites from fresh Bombolini, a delicious warm donut filled with orange cream and served with raspberry, chocolate and vanilla dips.(my fave!) Also there is Coconut Panna Cotta with tropical fruit salad, and Pistachio Tiramisu to name a few.
Appertivo are a must also at Bari……staring with signature Negroni or Peach Bellini, homemade Limoncello and a wine list carefully curated that include the most important wines of Italy, including Sassicaia, Ornellaia, Tignanell, Brunello and Amarone.
Decor is elegant, casual and modern luxe design created by longtime experienced architect Carlos Castroparedas. This former Tom Ford boutique space has been converted into a stunning, eye-catching space that are intriguing, ‘symbiotic marriage of handsome and feminine touches seducing with glowing colors, gorgeous lighting and bold finishes’.
All of this adds up to a great addition to the Houston fine dining food scene that is inviting you to come back…….and you should visit if you have not and if you were there for its earliest days……go back, it gets better each time.
Hours of Operation
Sunday – Monday 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM Tuesday – Wednesday 11:00 AM to 11:00 PM Thursday – Saturday 11:00 AM to 1:00 AM
Saturday & Sunday 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM