The patio at Da Gama wraps you in exhilarating modern design and subtropical plantings installed by chef-owners Rick and Shiva di Virgilio, who have refused to let our last few Houston freezes get them down.
Cheerful cadmium-hued basket chairs echo the high-vaulting yellow metal arcade above, a sort of industrial nave that architect Michael Hsu used to add drama and heroic scale to the bland industrial buildings repurposed as the M-K-T mixed use complex. At night, the arcade glows golden, and strings of Edison lights skim down to connect with the restaurant patio, echoing the curves of golden wood that wrap the space.
It’s a joy to relax there over a cocktail or a glass of Iberian wine and snacks from the unusual Indian-Portuguese menu, a hybrid of the owners’ family backgrounds. It all feels lively and urban, thanks to the comings and goings of patrons in the arcade and the view of, humans, bicycles, strollers, leashed dogs and runners on the opposite Heights Hike and Bike trail.
Interesting note: the celebrated Houston-born, Austin-based Hsu, who designed the di Virgilios’ midtown Oporto restaurant, also did the Da Gama interiors. So everything from the colors to the volumes and shapes have a rare harmonious feel from a patio seat.