Taste It Tonight at Hotel ZaZa

The Last Chef Standing: And the winner of Houston's best restaurant challenge is . . .

The Last Chef Standing: And the winner of Houston's best restaurant challenge is . . .

News_Ava_Alto Pizzeria_chef_Ryan Savoie
Ryan Savoie, chef at Ava and Alto Pizzeria, the winner of CultureMap's Last Chef Standing Challenge Photo by Daniel Barrett
News_Alto Pizzeria_pizza_with grilled chicken
News_Ava_Alto Pizzeria_chef_Ryan Savoie
News_Alto Pizzeria_exterior

CultureMap's inaugural Last Chef Standing online bracket restaurant competition has been marked by some close contests and come-from-behind wins. So it makes sense that the championship round — a face-off between Alto Pizzeria and Monarch — would be no different.

With a surge of votes cast over the holiday weekend, Alto Pizzeria is the Whole Foods People's Choice Champion with 51 percent of the final tally. Alto took down Monarch in another photo-finish in the final, emerging as the champion with only a difference of 11 votes.

It was the closest match for Alto, but not by much. In the first round, the pizzeria edged out fellow Italian spot Valentino 53-47, followed by vanquishing Gigi's Asian Bistro 61 percent to 39 percent. But that was destined to be Alto's only decisive victory.

In the final four, the pizzeria narrowly managed a comeback against Roots Bistro, eventually triumphing 52 percent to 48 percent.

Congratulations go out to Alto Pizzeria and chef Ryan Savoie, but two other competing chefs have a chance for victory at the Last Chef Standing tasting event Monday night at Hotel ZaZa. The judges panel and regular guests will each choose their favorite offerings from a group of 18 local restaurants — all paired with drinks.

Tickets (which are $45) and more information are available here.