Hot Restaurant Quietly Opens

Buzzed-over new restaurant quietly opens in BBVA Compass Plaza — and it's all about family

Buzzed-over new restaurant quietly opens in BBVA Compass Plaza

Osteria Mazzantini with John Sheely standing in front of mural
Chef John Sheely in front of a mural at his new restaurant, Osteria Mazzantini Photo by Paula Murphy
Osteria Mazzantini Mockingbird Bistro John Sheely and Paul
Chef/owner John Sheely, left, with executive chef Paul Photo by Paula Murphy
Osteria Mazzantini dining room August 2013
A full dinner menu starts Monday when the restaurant formally opens to the public. Photo by Paula Murphy
Osteria Mazzantini John Sheely
From Facebook: "See the spunky little girl standing in the boat with her arms crossed & a big bow in her hair? That's John's great aunt Clementine Mazzantini!" Courtesy of Osteria Mazzantini / Facebook
Osteria Mazzantini John Sheely
From Facebok: "Mazzantini family members, back in the Old World. These guys look like they're ready for a good meal and glass of wine!" Courtesy of Osteria Mazzantini / Facebook
Osteria Mazzantini bar with first guests August 2013
Bar with a view of the wine cellar Photo by Paula Murphy
Osteria Mazzantini with John Sheely standing in front of mural
Osteria Mazzantini Mockingbird Bistro John Sheely and Paul
Osteria Mazzantini dining room August 2013
Osteria Mazzantini John Sheely
Osteria Mazzantini John Sheely
Osteria Mazzantini bar with first guests August 2013

Celebrated Mockingbird Bistro chef John Sheely has opened the doors of Osteria Mazzantini ever so slightly this week, offering a bar menu that hints at what diners can expect when the Italian restaurant officially fully opens on Monday.

Curious foodies are encouraged to stop by the Galleria-area eatery on Wednesday from 4 p.m. onward for full bar service and a spread of small plates featuring Italian classics from salume to scallop crudo. The restaurant will close for private events from Thursday to Sunday.

 "We swapped stories, told lies and ate delicious food. This is what I want people to do at Osteria Mazzantini.”  

Housed in the recently-completed BBVA Compass Plaza at 2200 Post Oak, Osteria Mazzantini is a celebration of Sheely’s maternal family line, who left Tuscany for Galveston in the late 19th century. Generations of his mom's family have called Texas home, passing down recipes and culinary techniques that inspire the chef to this day.

“I have fond memories of Sunday suppers in Galveston with the Mazzantinis,” Sheely said in a statement.

“We would arrive on Saturday and there would be fresh pasta hanging all over the dining room and kitchen drying. On Sunday, the table was filled with homestyle, family-style Italian dishes, the adults sat at the big oval table and the kids were at the card table next to the adults.

"We swapped stories, told lies and ate delicious food. This is what I want people to do at Osteria Mazzantini.” 

In the kitchen, Sheely will be joined by executive chef Paul K. Lewis — the former Cullen's chef who CultureMap readers may remember for his impeccable recreation of the last meal on the Titanic. (Click here for more on that unforgettable 10-course lesson in culinary history.)

Osteria Mazzantini officially opens Monday with full dinner service starting at 4 p.m. Lunch and a weekend brunch will begin in the coming months.