Mia Bella

320 Main St | Houston, TX 77002

Downtown convenience and inventive Italian fare define this longtime favorite.

Despite its small size, high ceilings, simple decor (including cheerful black-and-white photos of patrons) and romantic lighting make the main dining room seem cozy. Tables are comfortably spaced and a substantial bar off to one side adds to the seating. Opt for a table on the periphery of the restaurant along the windows. The Preston side offers a view of the water sculpture while the Main Street side affords for some train spotting.

Restaurateur Youssef Nafaa (Mi Luna) infuses the Italian menu with distinct Mediterranean flavors. The eclectic menu features varied appetizers including a grilled calamari dish and a savory mushroom and goat cheese strudel. Thin crust pizzas tempt with a variety of toppings while hearty pasta dishes, including healthy whole wheat pasta with cheese-stuffed meatballs, provide for lunchtime leftovers. Fish, chicken and steak dishes round out the offerings. Expect a varied wine list.

Sunday brunch features bottomless mimosas, bloody mary's and Bellinis for $8.95.

Happy hour features discounts on food and wine from Monday through Friday 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. For 50 percent off selected wines, plan on visiting on a Tuesday night.