Pizzas and More at the New Alto Pizzeria

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Pepperoni Pizza at Alto Pizzeria, $13
Pizza. For me, it's the ultimate comfort food. It's what I crave when I'm down, when I'm ravenous, when I get late-night hunger pangs. The only problem is that it's not exactly the healthiest of dining choices, and with my abundant lack of self control, when I eat pizza, I have this tendency to overindulge.

New entrant Alto Pizzeria, located in the West Ave complex above Ava, offers the perfect solution for my pizza cravings. Smaller than what Houstonians are used to, Alto's are more individually sized pizzas -- about eight to 10 inches in diameter, which means I won't overeat. The crust, not too thick or thin and crispy on the bottom, has a bit of air and spring to it when you take a bite. There's just enough melted cheese and ample pepperoni on the one I order. "I love the crust," my friend, who's originally from the East coast, says. "It's hard to find a New York-style crust like this in Houston."

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Alto dining room
The pizzas aren't cheap, ringing in at $10 for a simple cheese, oregano, and tomato, and $17 for the Littleneck clams with ricotta, bacon, parsley and chile flakes, but then at Alto, you're paying as much for ambiance as you are for the food. The decor is a blend of just the right amount of hip mixed in with some funky-cool casual. I appreciate the high ceilings and love the floor-to-ceiling windows that line the entire west wall, letting in sunlight during the day and the twinkle of streetlights at night. The wrought iron, low-hanging iron chandeliers set against an exposed brick wall, with neutral-colored grey carpeting and splashes of orange against tiger print upholstery, is fun and fashionable.

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Three large mushroom caps filled with bolognese were very good
The scene is also fun. The youngish waitstaff wearing black T-shirts emblazoned with Alto Pizzeria on the back can be seen zig-zagging across the floor with hot pizzas. On the Saturday night we were there, the airy, spacious dining room was full, and the bar was as well. I spied young couples and families when we arrived around 6:30 p.m., but by the time we rolled out around 9 p.m., a whole slew of pretty twenty-somethings had started making an appearance, made up and decked out to the nines for a night on the town, a great place to people-watch if you're so inclined.
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Alto Greek Salad
In addition to the pizza, we sampled several other items from the menu, which were for the most part very good. Our starter, the mushrooms stuffed with bolognese, were amply filled, molten hot and topped with fresh grated cheese. A Greek salad of cool, crisp lettuce with feta cheese, cucumber, tomato, olives and a light tangy vinaigrette satisfied our craving for greens. The fettuccine with chicken, leeks, steamed garlic, lemon zest and fontina cream cheese sauce, was a good al dente and garlicky in a good way, if a bit undersalted.
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White Sangria, just $5 during reverse happy hour
The Schiller Del Grande group seems to have a knack for capturing what's hot now. From the crowded scene on the night I was there, it would appear that Alto, the more casual, less expensive, younger version of hot spot Ava downstairs, is another big hit. On Wednesdays through Saturdays, they even offer a reverse happy hour from 10 p.m. to close, when large pizza slices (about the quarter size of a full pizza) are just $2 each, beers are just $3, and sangria is just $5. I know where I'm going if I get my late-night pizza cravings.



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Location Info

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Alto Pizzeria - CLOSED

2800 Kirby, Houston, TX

Category: General

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11 comments
Clcommander14
Clcommander14

My wife and I tried to go last weekend for lunch and they were not open till 5? WTF! did I miss something?  Is the economy that good.  So Dolce Vita thanks you for their business.  I thank you for the Dolce Vita special that day too.  And you owe me $2 for the meter parking!

Zoologist
Zoologist

Zebra stripes, not tiger. Visit the Houston Zoo and you can see the difference. Prey and predator. Maybe that's an intentional design statement

HeliosT
HeliosT

"The Schiller Del Grande group seems to have a knack for capturing what's hot now."

Tongue in cheek, I hope. They're about ten years late to this party.

Mai Pham
Mai Pham

Looked it up online, and it's clear as night and day. Thanks for pointing out the difference! 

DamianEE
DamianEE

They are referencing the NYC scene where these type of places were once popular, and from whence they've borrowed their inspiration. SOHO twenty-somethings....

SirRon
SirRon

Besides wearing his shirt, I don't think she has pants on. I'm assuming Alto has a No Shoes/No Shirt rule.

Wyatt
Wyatt

That is...wow. Holy shit. Funky-cool indeed.

Florida63
Florida63

Clearly they are a hot couple deciding which restaurant to go to tonight...Ava or Alto. Duh. I am sure some focus group told them that the imagery of 20 somethings engaged in meaningful dialogue (as meanigful as it can get when you're shirtless and sitting in a window) subliminally suggests that their food is at HOT as they are.

VMTS
VMTS

Ohhhh I get it, they're talking about getting pizza and whiskey later.........or maybe that's a chef and waitress, or waiter and chef or ........ what the hell is it?

mesohot
mesohot

They open the window. In Houston. Where are they from?

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