Houston >Food & Dining > Pepino's
1421 Richmond Ave, Houston, TX | Directions 7700629.734371 -95.398406
Neighborhoods: Central, Neartown/ Montrose
My wife bought a "$100" groupon for $50. It said we'd get 1 appetizer, each get a salad and a soup, and each one entree. We sat and browsed the menu. When they saw the groupon on the table, they brought us a very limited menu to select from. Not much to choose for appetizer. We only got a choice of soup OR salad. Only 3 entrees to chose from. I added up the total of what we selected and it was $67 on the regular menu. My entree was angel hair pasta in olive oil. I paid $5 extra to add meat. Rip off? Yes. To add insult, they added a "mandatory" $18 tip to the bill (18% on the $100 groupon). This place has some ethical problems. I wonder why there are so few customers in there during prime time on a Saturday night?
I felt like I was on an episode of Kitchen Nightmares! – We pass this place frequently and decided to finally try it. At first upon entering I thought it was a bit upscale, until my eyes adjusted and I looked around. Huge gaudy mirrors, framed drawings of naked women, deep red wall color with wires showing down the sides of the wall. An older man peeked his head out and said to sit at the second booth from the front door.
I was happy to see actual linen tablecloths and napkins, but not happy about the bread crumbs and food left on on the tablecloth from previous customers. The man came and gave us menus, saw the crumbs, and did nothing. When he left we moved to the next table. The red wall to my right was dirty. There were fake flowers on all the tables. We looked over the menu and decided on Fettuccine Alfredo ($13.95) add chicken ($5.00) and cheese ravioli (13.95) add meatballs ($4.00). Pricey, I thought, so it must be good...
I was so wrong! we received a basket of buttered garlic bread with MORE oil and vinegar in a bowl which I had never seen before. The ravioli and meatballs were barely warm when brought out 15 minutes later. The sauce was somewhat dried on the plate, so it appeared as if it had been microwaved with parsley and parmesan cheese thrown on top. The parmesan cheese was the powdered kind instead of fresh. The meatballs were the same kind you get in the frozen section at the grocery store. Nothing was fresh. I could see steam coming from my boyfriend's plate, and I was jealous so he was nice enough to trade with me. But it wasn't much better, the chicken had been previously frozen too. Both pastas were undercooked and too firm, not al dente. If I hadn't been hungry and in a hurry I would have left to go somewhere else. The waitress ignored us, she took forever to clear our table, bring our check, etc. it was very annoying. A $50 dinner for 2 for something I could have made better at home? Never again.
awful! – Goodness, where should i start! we went here for NYE dinner. i made reservations, then called to confirm them. At no point was i told there would be a set menu. this is fine, we decided to stay, as it is common for menus like this on holidays. our entire party wasnt complete when seated, (one more was on the way but we ordered for him). they didn't bring the missing persons salad or appetizer, even after he arrived and we requested it. the food was mediocre at best, however the salad was good. at the end of the meal, we ordered coffee, that was brought out reheated and with spoiled milk. after pointing out the milk to the waiter, (no apology was issued), he replaced with fresh. at the end of the meal, when we asked for our check we waited over 20 minutes. i asked the waitress what was taking so long, and she said they were 'busy'. we were one of 3 tables in the place. they added a 20% gratuity, which i've never encountered before, and the gratuity was added after taxes, and rounded up. this was the final straw. i will never go here again.
Here it is... – Tonight we dined for the first time with Pepino's after driving by it frequently. We began by entering the restaurant, which was not crowded at all. The hostess then asked us to wait while she prepared a booth for us. We waited, and waited some more. We stood there near the register about 15 minutes. After we sat down it took a while for our waiter to arrive. We enjoyed the bread and thought it was good. The Minestrone soup was filled with peas and other beans that are not typical of the soup. It was not my favorite. The Sprite was flat, so I mostly drank the provided water.
Our waiter seemed to be preoccupied with the couple behind us and the others in the restaurant. It took about 45 minutes for our entree to arrive. The fettuccine alfredo was excellent, but charging $5.00 for the addition of chicken was innappropriate and steep.
Our waiter then disappeared (again) for 30 minutes talking to anyone else that he could talk to, which caused us to be ignored.
My mom got fed up with waiting on him to stop lolly gagging around and approached the cash register to ask where she needed to pay. FINALLY, the waiter brought our check.
As my mom paid I walked outside. There was two punk/delinquents that chastised me out front for my mom "needing to learn some patience, as that would be great". These two were the ones acting a fool and trying to tear up the front of the bar.
The atmosphere of the restaurant was dark, quiet, and great for dates (if that is your thing). The food was excellent, but over priced. The service was dispicable.
Nice small romantic place with homemade food – I went there tonight with my girlfriend. It was a very relaxing atmosphere; nice, soft music playing in the background.
We had a very good 2004 Carpineto Chianti Classico Riserva to drink. We started with the fried raviolis. Six beef raviolis, lightly fried, served with marinara sauce. The ravioli were good. The sauce could have used a bit more salt, but I guess that's what salt shakers are for. The sauce did have a homemade feel to it.
I orderd the lamb with pasta (today's special) and my girlfriend ordered the fettuccine alfredo. I received 5 lamb chops nicely seasoned with angel hair pasta on the side. The lamb was cooked perfectly (just a hint of pink in the middle). The pasta, though very simple, was very good. Just the right texture and taste.
My girlfriend's fettuccine alfredo with chicken was the best I had ever tasted; not because it was the most flavorful or the biggest portion, but rather, because it was the simplest one I had ever tasted. The pasta was not overpowered by some overbearing alfredo sauce. I could taste the pasta and it was cooked just right. Other restaurants drown out the taste of the pasta with an overbearing sauce. The dish was well balanced and honest (homemade).
For dessert I had the tiramisu and she had the cannoli, here again were the best we ever had. Such beautiful flavors.
Our tab was $145. If you take out the bottle of wine the tab would have been just under $100. I would not go to Pepino's evey week (budget reasons) but I would go there at least once a month or every two months. I do feel that the food and atmosphere are worth the price. This is also a place for people who can appreciate homemade and well balanced food. If you are used to your palate being blasted with unbalanced flavor, then you might not appreciate the honest food here.
Cartoon chef? – You figure for a practically empty restaurant at 6:30 on a Monday night, you'd get some attention. It took forever for all portions of the meal (ordering, waiting for food, waiting on check, etc.). The pasta was either way too aldente or way too overcooked, and the marinara tasted about as good as Ragu. To top it all off, they charge for refills for tea and don't tell you about it. $50, for 2 people at this quality? You'd think with the cartoon chef in the front this was a cheap eats Italian dive. Well, I was right in that the food was that quality, but most certainly not the price.
If I want to drop half a benjamin on some Italian, next time I'll go to Divino or Michaelangelo's.
Great Experience – Best romantic spot in Houston! Yes, do NOT be in a hurry. Do NOT bring children. Do NOT come in a large group. BUT if you are looking for the best Italian food in Houston with a VERY romantic atmosphere, this is your place! Pepino took our order personally and recommended an excellent accompanying wine. Service is very non-intrusive, some take that to be poor, slow (other reviews). I take it for what it is, a chance to truly savior the meal, the atmosphere and the company! Yes, a little pricey, but the quality is well worth it! This is a place for those special occasions, not the weekly family night out.
Visited the night of our attendance of the Nutcracker ballet. What a magical start to a wonderful evening...Thanks Pepino!
Visit often... – I've read all of the reviews. First, Pepino's has the best Italian food in the city. I've lived in New York and I've visited Italy several times. Pepino's food is fresh, authentic and delicious. The mussels in white wine sauce are always excellent, and the pasta is the best ever. All dishes have been excellent. I will agree that the service is exceedingly slow. It's not that I'm in a hurry... I like a relaxed, somewhat slowed down dining experience, but this service can be quite slow. I always recommend this place to my friends and I warn them that they must not be in a hurry. I can't stay away from Pepino's. I just know that I must be patient.
Best I've had in years since I've been to Italy! – I went to Pepino's perhaps a week ago, and the only thing I can say about this place is that the atmosphere is great, the food is fantastic, and the friendly staff is one to love. It's a small family established restaurant. where you can find tasty REAL italian food and great selective wines. Very quiet and romantic. Ideal to take that special someone!!!!
One more thing the music was WONDERFUL!
Highly Recommend it...my wife loves that Ossobuco and I loved that Lobster! yum!!!
Family Italian at its best! Quality , romantic and family oriented – Truly, it is a family owned Italian Restaurant for those who want quality not quantity. Their homemade Italian dressing is to die for! Romantic, no reservations required, Portions are proper.. I take home a doggie bag always.
Not for the All you can eat Las Vegas types! Its quality!.. Prices are the same as most average priced quality restaurants.
Children? Depends on the parents ? Doesn't it? If you did not teach your children manners, then take a course on how to have manners, yourself. Nothing worse than parents who insist on blaming others for their poor parenting skills. I bring my nephew who is 7 yrs old and we have no problems. Babies are nice ..even in romantic moods, after all its romantic moods that created them. It comes from the home! (this relates to the comment about it supposedly not being child friendly) Restaurants are not babysitters :) If we can enjoy it with children so can others who are good parents. Otherwise go to Lubies or McD.
Now back to food.. Everything is fresh, wonderful spices.. A friend brought me there and I fell in love with it. Great wine selections. It has become my favorite Italian restaurant and I love the best for my dollar. We celebrated Fathers Day there and had the best experience for Italian Dining in Houston. Cheers! No I do not know the owners personally, I just like quality food in a nice atmosphere.
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