New Italian in the Heights

Ben Berg heats up The Heights with new, intimate Italian restaurant

Ben Berg heats up The Heights with new, intimate Italian restaurant

Trattoria Sofia Pappardelle alla Pesto Siciliano
Pappardelle alla Pesto Siciliano. Photo by Kirsten Gilliam
Trattoria Sofia LJ Wiley Ben Berg Magnus Hanssonq
Executive chef LJ Wiley, owner Ben Berg, and master baker Magnus Hansson. Photo by Jacob Power
Trattoria Sofia Pesce Spada alla Siciliana
Pesce Spada alla Siciliana. Photo by Kirsten Gilliam
Trattoria Sofia martini
Alba Huerta created the restaurant's cocktails. Photo by Kirsten Gilliam
Trattoria Sofia Crudo di Pesce
Crudo di Pesce. Photo by Kirsten Gilliam
Trattoria Sofia Pappardelle alla Pesto Siciliano
Trattoria Sofia LJ Wiley Ben Berg Magnus Hanssonq
Trattoria Sofia Pesce Spada alla Siciliana
Trattoria Sofia martini
Trattoria Sofia Crudo di Pesce

UPDATE: Due to a utility issue, the restaurant's opening has changed to Friday, November 26. Reservations are available via OpenTable.

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Houston's fall of Italian restaurants openings will add a significant newcomer next week. Berg Hospitality will unveil Trattoria Sofia in The Heights on Friday, November 19. 

Located in the former Presidio space at at 911 W 11th St., Trattoria Sofia will serve rustic Italian food in a space that's been renovated to give it an intimate, romantic atmosphere. Like all Berg Hospitality establishments — a diverse group that includes B&B Butchers steakhouse, casual hangout B.B. Lemon, and ultra-posh Turner's — the restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner daily.

To bring Trattoria Sofia to life, Berg Hospitality founder Ben Berg turned to the restaurant's executive chef, LJ Wiley, and executive chef and restaurant consultant Magnus Hansson. Food-obsessed Houstonians may recall Wiley's well-regarded stint at coastal Mexican restaurant Yelapa Playa Mexicana. After operating a restaurant in Peru, he recently returned to Houston. 

The menu offers an eclectic perspective on Italian food with an extensive array of offerings. Notable dishes include Bucatini Alla Pesto Siciliano (bucatini with Sicilian pesto and ricotta), Pesce Spada alla Siciliana (pan-seared East coast swordfish with olives and capers), and Polpo Arrosto (roasted octopus with Sicialian tomato pesto and crispy potatoes). Diners will also find pizzas and Italian staples like cacio e pepe and veal Milanese.

Julep owner Alba Huerta consulted on the restaurant's cocktail menu and will bring her expertise to the company's other concepts soon. At Trattoria Sofia, look for updated classics like a margarita made with Italian Bergamot liqueur, a Pimm's Cup that incorporates a white balsamic vinaigrette, and a classic martini. A tidy lists of wines by-the-glass will also be available. 

This fall has been a busy time for new Italian restaurants. In addition to Trattoria Sofia, the city has recently welcomed Lulu's, an Italian concept from the owners of River Oaks institution Armandos; Alba Ristorante, a new fine dining restaurant the Hotel Granduca in Uptown Park; and Concura Italian Bites, an intimate restaurant near River Oaks District led by chef Angelo Cuppone. In the coming weeks, the Galleria area will also welcome il Bracco, a Dallas-based restaurant known for its housemade pastas.