Houston >Food & Dining > Polovina Italian Cafe (formerly Raia's)
4500 Washington Ave Ste 200, Houston, TX | Directions 7700729.770494 -95.406656
Sun-Thu 11am-9pm, Fri-Sat 11am-10pm
Neighborhoods: Central, Washington Ave./ Memorial Park
Great food, unpretentious, BYOB, what more can you ask for? – Formerly Raia's, Polovina is offers solid, mainstream Italian dishes right in the heart of Washington Avenue. On nice evenings, grab a seat on the patio, and start with their shrimp and crab claws sauteed in white wine butter sauce. Pizzas are thin-crust if you want something to hold onto, and pastas are very good as well. And you can't go wrong with BYOB and a $5 corkage.
A Great Italian Cafe – Been to Raia's several times over the past 12 months and it's always been very good, not excellent but very good. it's a great setting with the "market' atmosphere and casual theme.
The only thing to stay away from is th artichoke, tried it twice and they just can't get it right. Crabcakes are the star of the appetizer menu.
Their pastas are all great, the cream sauces are cream, but not overly loaded with butter or cream; the red sauces are fresh and fully of herbs. The "New Orleans" is my favorite, it's spicy, loaded with crawfish and shrimp; not for the pale pallet.
Their BYOW police makes it a great value, $5 per bottle corkage, what a way to attract oenophiles who want a great meal and enjoy their own wines.
Not your typical Washington Ave parking drama/rip off, park you own in their lot behind the restaurant. Way to go Raia's!!!!!
Low-key + comfort foods – Sunday night group of adults. The service was excellent, and a basket of bread was brought right away. The menu is not overly large but varied enough for everyone. Parking in the rear is ample and not like usual Washington Ave. locales with mandatory valet parking. One complaint is the tables are too small. It was a constant jockeying of items such as water glasses, wine glasses, condiments, etc. It was a pleasant venue with no loud music or poor acoustics, making conversation pleasant and possible.
Citysearch Editorial Review – This neighborhood favorite is the elusive answer to Houston’s lack of non-corporate-yet-affordable Italian. Lace curtains, red plaid tablecloths and shelves of imported goods block out the frenzy on Washington Avenue for a surprisingly cozy space, while hearty and unpretentious Italian classics like pasta carbonara, paper-thin pizza and an enormous chicken parmesan are heightened by quality ingredients and a sense of ease and know-how. Couples, old friends and foodies alike come in time and again for a comfortable meal and we can't blame them--there's nothing we don’t like about the place.
Best prices in town on Italian deli items – Not just an excellent neighborhood restaurant, Raia's has the best prices in town on Italian deli meats and cheeses, olive oil, polenta, pasta, etc. If you are going to Whole Foods or Central Market, for proscuitto, romano, asiago, pamesan ? you'll be amazed. Prices as of 2/1/09: Boneless Proscuitto $6.99/lb., Genoa Salami $4.19/lb., Provolone $4.39/lb., Asiago $5.29/lb. And they sell Royal Bakery french bread for $1/loaf. We love this place! Casual, friendly family service, just like in the old neighborhood. Fugettabahdit!
Raia's Rocks! – This place is great. They have amazing food at a reasonable price, and it's super fun to walk around the market portion of the store looking at the items they have for sale, including very competitively priced espresso and olive oil, among many other things. They are super friendly and welcome pets on the outdoor patio (they will even bring them a bown of water if you want!). And the gelato is to DIE for! Go - you won't be disappointed!
Editorial Review – Houston Italian Market featuring delectable cheeses, wines, lunches and dinners and other tasty treats.
Great Gem on Washington – Went for a quick dinner Saurday evening and was pleasantly suprised with food and menu. Ordered a super thin crust pizza with fresh tangy sauce & excellent caesar salad. Dining partner ordered a pasta with shrimp tossed in a spicy butter sauce. Everything was tasty in a great casual italian market setting. Check it out....it is a great new casual place on Washington....and locally-owned. Reminds me of D'Amico's in the village, except with better food.
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