Italian sandwiches that are filled with cheese, meats and vegetables and cooked in a grill press are better known as paninis. These simple sandwiches are ideal for a quick lunch for when you tire of cold cuts. Check out Houston’s best places to visit for your next panini fix.
Houston Panini And Provisions
1727 W 34th St.
Houston, Texas 77018
(713) 681-4500

Houston Panini and Provisions is one of the most interesting restaurant experiences you will likely have. Inside, you will find a limited menu that changes daily, but it’s the selections on the menu that makes this place different. The menu consists of paninis and popcorn. You can find unusual panini flavors such as goat cheese, venison and a classic grilled cheese, but these menu selections are not the only panini you have to choose from at the restaurant. The menu changes on a daily basis. If you would like to see the daily panini on sale for the day, call the restaurant before visiting. You can also get your sandwich with a side of sweet or savory popcorn, made from 100 percent organic, local corn. Should you need basic supplies for your home pantry, the provisions side of this restaurant has local specialty groceries such as baked goods, coffees, candy and more.

1834 Westheimer Road
Houston, Texas 77098
(713) 807-7271

You may have heard about the famous cookies at Paulie’s, but this restaurant is more than just desserts. Casual Italian specialties await you when you visit Paulie’s, and included among those favorites are a variety of paninis. The regular menu lists pressed sandwiches to satisfy anyone, from the vegetarian to the meat-lover. Whether you want an authentic panini such as those with Italian sausage or salami or just want a basic turkey sandwich, you will find exactly what you want at Paulie’s, and don’t forget to get some cookies before you leave.

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Relish Fine Foods
3951 San Felipe St.
Houston, Texas 77027
(713) 599-1960

Relish Fine Foods is not your typical sit-down restaurant, but it is a place that embraces the Slow Food Movement. As a member facility of Slow Food USA, Relish Fine Foods sells products that are made with care, using real, local ingredients. This grab-and-go deli and grocery store sells paninis as a part of its regular menu, but the actual flavor selection may change on a daily basis, depending on what is currently available and in season. Try the house panini, which is made with bacon, avocado, pesto, white cheddar and tomatoes. There are also turkey, chicken and roasted vegetable panini options.

Oporto Café
3833 Richmond Ave.
Houston, Texas 77027
(713) 621-1114

At Oporto Café, the Portuguese restaurant, you can enjoy panini on both the lunch and dinner menus. The founder, Richard (Rick) Di Virgilio, was born in the States but hails Italian and Portuguese heritage. These influences have also played a part in Di Virgilio’s selection of dishes served at Oporto Café. While panini are Italian sandwiches, you will find them on the menu alongside Portuguese-inspired bar food and small plates. Panini selections include Italian and Cuban versions of the sandwich. Try both of them any time you dine at Oporto Café.

Nundini Chef’s Table
500 N. Shepherd Drive
Houston, Texas 77007
(713) 861-6331

When driving north on Shepherd Drive past the Katy Freeway, you might almost miss the warehouse, where the restaurant and specialty Italian goods store are located. Before indulging in the house-made sorbetto and gelato, try the panini, which can be found on their own separate section of the menu. Try porchetta, parma or caprese for a traditional taste, or tempt your tastebuds with panini inspired by regional cuisines of New Orleans and Kentucky. You get your choice of bread whole grain, focaccia or ciabatta breads for the sandwich, and all paninis come with potato chips on the side for a filling lunch.

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Crystal Hessong ia a freelance writer and a lifelong, fourth generation Houstonian. Her work can be found at