It's an imitation of Otto, a famous Manhattan joint owned by Mario Batali, but Dolce Vita chef Marco Wiles gives that celebri-chef a run for his money. The pizzas are unusual and divine. Try the goat cheese and leeks combo. And order the Brussel sprouts, which are served as a lively, pecorino Romano-studded slaw. You only think you hate Brussel sprouts. You don't really hate Brussel sprouts. Yes, it costs more than Domino's, but go as a group and order family style. It's worth it.
Vibe: Technically casual, but in a $400-pair-of-shoes way. If you really want casual, stop in early and sit outside.
Alison Cook says: It has had its ups and downs, but Marco Wiles’ pizzeria once again turns out the best pies in town. The crusts are high-crowned and yeasty, with ample char and chew. Toppings show a chefly touch, from robiola cheese with melted leeks and cubes of pancetta to fresh-shucked tiny clams with roasted cherry tomatoes. Baby artichokes or rapini greens, delicately flash fried, are among the small plates that speak to vegetarian and omnivore alike. Elegantly simple pastas, a lively Italian wine list and a big covered terrace add to the fun. Wiles changed the pizza game in Houston with this restaurant — my current favorite of his three spots, including the more ambitious Da Marco.