Nundini Chef’s Table – YUM!

If you’ve ever been to Italy, chances are after your return you quickly became disillusioned with the state of Italian restaurants in the US. Try as they might, most stateside Italian places just don’t measure up to the real thing. Sure, the food can be good, but it’s just not the same. If you’ve long despaired of ever finding truly great, authentic Italian food inside the Houston city limits, your day is about to get a lot better.

Granted, it doesn’t look like much from the outside, but the food at Nundini Chef’s Table on Shepherd Drive more than makes up for it. Nestled in the corner of a warehouse that serves Giampaolo Nundini’s food importing business, Chef’s Table is truly a hidden gem. The front section of the warehouse has been closed off so you won’t see forklifts driving around while you enjoy your pizza. In addition to the restaurant, the enclosed area houses a deli, gelato shop (made in house!), and a small Italian grocery market where you can purchase a wide array of imported Italian ingredients like fresh pasta, cheeses, sausage, espresso beans, cookies, high-end canned tomatoes, and gourmet olive oil and vinegar. While it sounds like the place would be noisy and cramped, the restaurant is hidden behind the market and houses only a few tables and a bar. The walls are lined with wine racks up the ceiling and the atmosphere is actually quite romantic, despite the unassuming exterior of the building.

Now on the best part- the food! When Giampaolo Nundini decided to open a restaurant in addition to his import empire, he didn’t just go hiring any old line cook to run the place. He brought in a chef from Italy to develop the menu and run the kitchen. When you combine an Italian owner and an Italian chef, it’s hard to go wrong. The menu includes fresh pasta dishes, very authentic brick oven pizzas, meat dishes, salads, and even paninis if you aren’t in the mood for something heavy. From the pizza menu, we love the Emiliana, topped with Prosciutto de Parma, arugula, shaved parmesan, tomato, and mozzarella, and the Chef, which includes Arugula, fontina cheese, sliced pears, and a balsamic reduction. The pasta dishes are all made from homemade pasta and are all delicious, but our favorites are the spaghetti with garlic and oil and the Fettuccini all Uovo Papalina, with sage pecorino cream sauce, peas, and Italian sausage.

No matter how delicious your entree is, under no circumstances should you forget to leave room for dessert. The tiramisu is fantastic, but we can’t stop eating the gelato, which is homemade on site.  It just doesn’t get any better. 

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