Sarah Nielsen" />
side bar
Friday, September 22, 2023


Neighborhood Italian cafe great for food, friends

I went to Paulie’s on Westheimer to enjoy an early dinner with a friend and found myself pleasantly surprised.

Paulie’s is one of those great places that lacks presence but serves honest, traditional and simply yummy Italian-American food, which is my favorite — my dad took me to Ferrara’s too many times when I was little.

This place gets great reviews, and for good reason. The people pulling up for take-out were in swank rides, including a SK-series Mercedes, a nice Land Rover and a couple 6-Series BMWs. The people at the counter are efficient, but old school. They’re doing their jobs effectively, while remaining attentive to you and your food.

The drink options are simple. The three glass jugs with little brass spigots are full of ginger lemonade, which is useful in breaking down fatty foods, as well as refreshing cucumber water for the heat of the day. The blackcurrant iced tea, which blends nicely with the ginger lemonade for a solid swamp water, or an Arnold Palmer can be quenching, depending on your preference. I found it terrifically enjoyable to not be faced with high-fructose corn syrup infused sodas, and instead, to experience the kind of quality Italian food that I would find at home on Long Island.

As for the food, my companion enjoyed a grilled tuna sandwich, which came out beautifully seared with a vegetable medley on the side.

For myself, I had the highly-recommended homemade Chicken Parmesan, which came with a modest serving of pasta and a classic red sauce on the side.

The chicken was tender and juicy, if it isn’t too trite to say so, and the breading was perfectly seasoned before being cooked to a scrumptious crisp. I should also mention that the entire dish had fresh, soft, buttery mozzarella melted over the top.

The two of us were in and out for less than $23, but we both got the “light” servings for our meals. There are regular sized servings, which would feed a bear or give you something for the next day’s lunch.

You could add that for $2-3 per meal, and still get in and out in good time while in a no-hassle environment, which I highly recommend for a solid meal to-go with good friends and great conversation.

And if you want to break the bank and go above the prescribed $15 on a meal, this place has something that’s out of this world: Affogato — a shot of espresso on traditional Italian gelato, which is a dessert that simply can’t be beat.


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