Carmelo’s Cucina Italiana

4.0
853 reviews
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$30 and under
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Italian
A neighborhood favorite since 1981, Carmelo’s Cucina Italiana is a traditional, family-owned and operated restaurant serving fresh, rustic Italian-American food nestled between Houston’s Memorial area and Energy Corridor. Known for its creative yet approachable fare, Proprietor Benjamin Berg and his brother and Executive Chef Daniel Berg are committed to sourcing only the highest-quality, Italian products paired with the best local ingredients available.

Where La Famiglia e Tutto (family is everything), the menus feature a wide selection of traditional and nontraditional meat, seafood and pasta dishes with vegetarian and gluten-free options – all made fresh daily. Carmelo’s has a full bar including a selection of domestic and international beers and liquors, along with an extensive, Italian wine collection.

A contemporary, yet welcoming design and first-class service make Carmelo’s a great choice for lunch business meetings, as well as casual dinners with family.
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What 853 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.0based on recent ratings
4.0
food
4.0
service
4.1
ambience
3.8
value
Noise · Quiet
67% of people would recommend it to a friend
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EA
Houston
9 reviews
Dined on January 19, 2019
Overall 2food 1service 1ambience 3

First time dining at Carmelo’s. The food was just ok and nothing to brag about. The service was very bad and for this reason I would not come back. Totally un-attentive and we felt like our business did not matter to them.

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S
Houston
16 reviews
Dined on January 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Some of he best authentic Italian food to be had in Houston. Don’t let the exterior discourage you.

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WM
Birmingham
5 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Great neighborhood restaurant - even in spite of Memorial Drive re-construction. Food, service, ambiance -- all good.

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F
New Orleans
18 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

NYE at Carmelo’s was a great way to end 2018 and dine into 2019. We enjoyed the Champagne menu and having the option to choose from the full menu was great. Service was very attentive and Sylvia and the rest of the staff made dinner a very enjoyable experience. The live music was also appreciated. We travelled to Italy in September and a dinner at Carmelo’s took us back to Tuscany.

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TM
Houston
8 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Fun New Year’s Eve!

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OT
Houston
1 review
Dined on December 24, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 3

Christmas Eve

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PG
Houston
1 review
Dined on December 24, 2018
Overall 1food 2service 1ambience 3

My family had 7:00PM reservations for Christmas Eve which I had made early in December. Prior to being seated we waited at the bar for 40 minutes to order and receive 2 glasses of wine. We were finally seated in the dining room at 8:30!!! The hostess promised us the next table on several occasions and even told us the location of the table where we would be sitting but ended up sitting other families, who were farther down the reservation list, at those tables instead. Numerous tables sat empty for 30+ minutes at a time supposedly waiting to be set up. The hostess and manager were curt and unapologetic about the situation. Shame on me for not walking out the door and going elsewhere but I wanted to support the Berg family in their new venture.

The temperature of our meals was lukewarm at best. My mother sent her lasagna back to be warmed but it came back at the same temperature. I asked the waiter if they could make chicken picatta (veal picatta is on the menu) and he said "yes." My chicken picatta came out with 2 chicken breasts on a plate and a few pieces of arugula underneath. Thankfully I had ordered the crispy potatoes for our table to share since no sides came with the picatta. The one positive thing about the dinner was the mozzarella in corrozza appetizer we ordered.

I heard many complaints from other customers in the foyer. Most people waited at least an hour past their reservation time to be seated. I chose a 7:00 PM reservation because I thought it would be nice to hear the carolers who would be singing but sadly you couldn't hear them unless they were right next to you.

The waitstaff was pleasant and as attentive as possible. I seriously considered not tipping the waiter at all but knew he was not responsible for the chaos. Overall it was an extremely disappointing experience. Sadly at this time I don't feel the need to give Carmelo's a second chance. It's too bad. I was excited about having a lovely neighborhood restaurant.

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OT
Houston
1 review
Dined on December 24, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 4

I made Christmas Eve reservations for 4 people. Our overall experience was disappointing. We waited 25 minutes for a table & knowing that the restaurant would be busy on Christmas Eve, the waiters appeared to be understaffed and several menu choices were unavailable by 7:00 pm.

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C
1 review
Dined on December 22, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 5ambience 1

LOVED Carmellos for 30+ years. But... the changes under new mgt have not been positive. Music was bad mall Christmas music and too loud (should have soft Italian Christmas themed). Pasta with both our dishes was horrid - was "home made" but was pasty tasteless mush (I really hope something just went wrong). Service excellent as always.

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OT
Houston
3 reviews
Dined on December 20, 2018
Overall 2food 3service 2ambience 3

Nothing special, just a neighborhood restaurant. We ate off the lunch menu and found it just fair. Service was slow.

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DG
Houston
1 review
Dined on December 19, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Went for a Christmas linch. They were very accommodating when we increased our head count last minute. Very good service and the food was wonderful.

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OT
Houston
2 reviews
Dined on December 15, 2018
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 4

The spaghetti carbonara was too salty and pepper overpowered this time. I often come for this meal because I think it is great but this time it was not great. However, the rest of the meals were fabulous!

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JS
1 review
Dined on December 15, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 1ambience 3

We were extremely disappointed in everything in regards to Carmelo's, especially the service. Several times we had to ask our waitress to come to our table. A few times we had to ask another server to get her for us, and it was not that busy. The food was okay, which reading about the chef and where he had trained, was disappointing. We will not be going back.

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RM
Houston
5 reviews
Dined on December 14, 2018
Overall 2food 1service 3ambience 2

Miss the former ambience with accordion music and Gino. Didn’t see rolling dessert cart for crepes or bananas foster. Used to be decorated much nicer for holidays. Food just fair and overpriced.

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I
Houston
2 reviews
Dined on December 14, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 2

Very disappointing. Service was okay. Food and quality was equivalent to Olive Garden... on a good day. The five matchstick, wilted pieces of asparagus and three pieces of broccolini that had to be paid for as a substitute side were pathetic.

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AO
Houston
17 reviews
Dined on December 10, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

It's too bad the construction on Memorial just keeps going on and on and on! It is really hurting places such as Carmelo's! The Christmas decorations were great, the food was above average, the wine good, the interior design redo is very nice----so, give the place a try as they are trying to survive the ongoing construction!

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BW
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on December 1, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food, great service. Try the wine & dine special. Well worth it

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RK
Houston
1 review
Dined on December 1, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 4ambience 3

I was disappointed when I received the spaghetti frutamare. Mostly pasta with little seafood. Not worth $36. Also my wife ordered escargot. There were 3 shells that were empty.

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m
Houston
55 reviews
Dined on November 30, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

Good food, good service, good value.
Only negative is that the construction on the streets near the restaurant makes access difficult, and are likely to hold off returning until the construction is finished

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e
Houston
15 reviews
Dined on November 22, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Thanksgiving Dinner the turkey was moist abc selectable.
The ham was good. Great sides. Good deserts. Very pleasant experience. Highly recommended!

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HH
Houston
2 reviews
Dined on November 22, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Went for Thanksgiving! It was good.

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OT
Houston
8 reviews
Dined on November 22, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Thanksgiving day

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SM
1 review
Dined on November 22, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 5

Very good meal, well prepared and presented. From appetizers to dessert and coffee . Good ambiance

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f
Houston
28 reviews
Dined on November 22, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wonderful thanksgiving meal!

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K
Orlando
6 reviews
Dined on November 22, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 4ambience 4

Thanksgiving dinner with family (part of 7). Excellent meal. Disappointed with size of pumpkin pie slices. Really small, compared with portion of other dessert options.

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b
1 review
Dined on November 21, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 3

We were there on the night before Thanksgiving (slow) and it's somewhat hindered by street construction, but this was a good find. Food was excellent and high-quality, service was attentive (though pace was a little too relaxed). Will definitely go back.

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l
Houston
3 reviews
Dined on November 10, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 5

Carmelo's is a great restaurant to have an intimate dinner with my wife or to visit with friends over a wonderful meal.

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MO
Kansas City
1 review
Dined on November 3, 2018
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 2

We have enjoyed Carmelo’s for years, but had not been there in a few years. Our experience on Saturday was a bit disappointing. The noise level was much higher than we remember, so it was difficult to visit, perhaps because our hearing has deminished. The food was decent, but not memorable. Escargot was over cooked and dry. Portion sizes were obscenely huge. Even half orders were too large, and thus too expensive. Tiramisu was not as good as in the past. We know of several Italian restaurants closer to home that we would prefer at this point.

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OT
Houston
3 reviews
Dined on October 24, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Exceptional pasta alla Norma ! Love the beginning of the new look.

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m
Houston
33 reviews
Dined on October 23, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Carmelo's, is a neighborhood gem. the services is fantastic and the food and delightful.

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F
Houston
6 reviews
Dined on October 21, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

I had not been here in years, but knew the ownership had changed. We went for my mother-in-law’s birthday with 10 people. They had a private room set up for us! The service was great, and we had a wonderful dinner. I will go back again!

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OT
Houston
2 reviews
Dined on October 19, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

Food was outstanding! Waitress was really friendly and gave great service. A old gem I hadn’t been to in years. A great night out with friends.

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M
Houston
21 reviews
Dined on October 14, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We love this gem in our backyard!! My kiddos scraped their plates and my salmon was perfection!

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PJ
Salt Lake City
5 reviews
Dined on October 13, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food and service were both great. We have been to Carmelo’s several times recently and the restaurant has been consistently very good.

It is good to have Carmelo’s back.

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T
Houston
39 reviews
Dined on October 13, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 3ambience 2

Had not been to Carmelo's in 13 years and probably won't be back any time soon. Was very disappointed with the flavor of the foods as I thought it was average at best. Was curious why the restaurant had so few people and now I know. Also disappointed to find at a 630 sitting on a Saturday that they were already out of several items on the menu. When I find a well established restaurant has plenty of open tables available on a Saturday, the venue appears less than half full, and the menu is already out of three or more items on the menu, it is a warning sign that things are not all well. I hope the best for Carmelo's but won't be back.

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BC
Houston
42 reviews
Dined on October 7, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Good as always with a super friendly staff

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m
Houston
22 reviews
Dined on September 29, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Haven't been here in a while, and it was better than ever. Waiter was terrific. Food was great. Go for it!

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AA
Houston
8 reviews
Dined on September 28, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Lovely ambience, service, food. Happy that it didn’t close down.

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TX
Adelaide / SA
6 reviews
Dined on September 18, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Went for a birthday celebration party of 4. 2nd visit in recent months. Service was excellent. Manager - Nester was very attentive and checked on our table throughout the meal. Felt like he really wanted us to enjoy the meal and the restaurant. Offered several special off the menu items - 2 ordered specials and were not disappointed. Regular menu has lots of options - two ordered seafood and pasta - also enjoyed. Lobster Bisque very good. Food tasty -Large servings of food (plenty of leftovers). Happy birthday Tiramisu was nice touch. Cheesecake is a must.

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JJ
Houston
20 reviews
Dined on September 15, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Was a girls night out. We had a great wine, great service and even better food. I can never go wrong with the osso bucco.

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