One of the most surprising things about North Italia, the newest restaurant to open at the Galleria-adjacent BLVD Place, is how inexpensive it is. North Italia certainly doesn't look inexpensive, and its food doesn't taste inexpensive, and you know the rent at the swanky BLVD Place—which also houses sister restaurant True Food Kitchen as well as a massive Whole Foods Market—is certainly not inexpensive. Attribute the refreshingly reasonable prices at the casual Italian restaurant, then, to its buying power: North Italia is owned by Fox Restaurant Concepts, which began as a single restaurant in Tucson and now counts 15 concepts across 39 locations in its ever-growing portfolio.
All this to say that I was expecting the happy hour at North Italia to be good, but I wasn't expecting it to be bottle-of-wine-and-a-pizza-for-$20-good. But that's what you'll find every Monday through Friday from 3 to 6 p.m. as well as all day long on Sundays. In addition to the $20 pizza (which can easily feed two) and your choice of a bottle of red or white, North Italia's happy hour menu also offers $4 beers and glasses of wine and sangria. On the food side, its popular zucca chips (fried slices of zucchini that taste even better than the potato-based stuff) are $3 for a generous bowl and a plate of bruschetta can be had for $5.
If a whole pizza sounds too heavy, you can swap it out for a chef's board: a large wooden slab heaped with freshly sliced charcuterie, creamy hunks of cheese, salty Marcona almonds, sweet Castelvetrano olives and much more. And if you find yourself feeling so-so about the red and white on offer during happy hour, head to North Italia on Sundays, when you'll find that every bottle of wine in the joint is 50 percent off. Just go easy on it; you don't want to make the mistake of wandering over to Whole Foods wine-drunk. That's how people end up spending $100 on fancy salt and ruining an otherwise inexpensive day. Not that I would know...
North Italia, 1700 Post Oak Blvd., Ste. 190, 281-605-4030, northitaliarestaurant.com