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Eat Feature

Italian

Frank Klein
Grano Pasta Bar

Eat Special Issue 2009

Cool Comfort EAT: City Paper's annual dining guide

Barbecue and Pit Andy Nelson's Barbecue 11007 York Road, Cockeysville, (410) 527-1226, andynelsonsbbq.com, $-$$ Whe...

Breakfast Blue Moon Café 1621 Aliceanna St., (410) 522-3940, $ For years, Blue Moon has been saving t...

Cafés Atwater's Belvedere Square Market, 529 E. Belvedere Ave., (410) 323-2396; 1425 Clarkview Road, Suit...

Caribbean Judy's Island Grill and Bake Shop 5216 Park Heights Ave., (410) 367-0272, judysislandgrill.com, $-$...

Chinese Grace Garden Chinese Restaurant 1690 Annapolis Road, Odenton, (410) 672-3581, gracegardenchinese.co...

Classic American Burke's Restaurant and Café 36 Light St., (410) 752-4189, burkescafe.com, $$-$$$ Burke's is n...

Contemporary American Abacrombie Fine Food and Accommodations 58 W. Biddle St., (410) 837-3630, abacrombie.net, $$$ Cork...

Delis Attman's Authentic New York Delicatessen 1019 E. Lombard St., (410) 563-2666, attmansdeli.com, $ N...

Diners Jimmy's Restaurant 801 S. Broadway, (410) 327-3273, $ A cornerstone of Fells Point, Jimmy's slings ...

Eclectic Golden West Café 1105 W. 36th St., (410) 889-8891, goldenwestcafe.com, $-$$ Baltimore has ple...

Ethiopian Dukem #2 1100 Maryland Ave., (410) 385-0318, dukemrestaurant.com, $-$$ Luckily, pretty much the on...

French Bonaparte Breads 903 S. Ann St., (410) 342-4000, $ This Fells Point bakery boasts a surprisingly e...

Hawaiian Roy's 720 Aliceanna St., (410) 659-0099, roysrestaurant.com, $$$ With so many fabulous local resta...

Indian and Nepalese Akbar 823 N. Charles St., (410) 539-0944, akbar-restaurant.com, $$ Akbar has the feel of a secret ...

Irish James Joyce Irish Pub and Restaurant 616 S. President St., (410) 727-5107, thejamesjoycepub.com, $$...

Italian Aldo's 306 S. High St., (410) 727-0700, aldositaly.com, $$$ "Sophisticated" and Little Italy don't...

Japanese Aloha Sushi 1218 N. Charles St., (443) 759-8531, $-$$ Everything about Aloha Sushi is just right...

Korean Joung Kak 18 W. 20th St., (410) 837-5231, $$ Its partisans will tell you this is the best Korean r...

Latin Arcos Restaurant and Bar 129 S. Broadway, (410) 522-4777, arcosrestaurante.com, $$ Because there's...

Mediterranean Black Olive 814 S. Bond St., (410) 276-7141, theblackolive.com, $$-$$$ Fells Point Greek restauran...

Middle Eastern Amer's Café 7624 Belair Road, Belair Beltway Plaza, Nottingham, (410) 668-5100, amerscafe.com,...

Pizza Angelo's Carry-Out 3600 Keswick Road, (410) 235-2595, angeloshampden.com, $ Best pizza in Hampden ...

Pub Grub Curb Shoppe Bar and Grill 5736 Falls Road, (410) 433-8299, curbshoppe.com, $ This neighborhood pub...

Russian Vernisage 1004 Reisterstown Road, Pikesville, (410) 484-7701, $$-$$$ With its glass chandeliers an...

Seafood Blue Sea Grill 614 Water St., (410) 837-7300, blueseagrill.com, $$$ A daily selection of "Fresh ...

Southern Charleston 1000 Lancaster St., (410) 332-7373, charlestonrestaurant.com, $$$ Somewhere along the l...

Spanish Pazo 1425 Aliceanna St., (410) 534-7296, pazorestaurant.com, $$$ If you don't leave Pazo a little ...

Thai Ban Thai 340 N. Charles St., (410) 727-7971, banthai.us, $$ Ban Thai is our favorite place to eave...

Upscale Comfort Food Ale Mary's 1939 Fleet St., (410) 276-2044, alemarys.com, $$ Kudos to Ale Mary's for celebrating th...

Vegetarian Liquid Earth 1626 Aliceanna St., (410) 276-6606, liquidearth.com, $$ We've appreciated the vegetar...

Vietnamese Baltimore Pho 1114 Hollins St., (410) 752-4746, baltimorepho.com, $$ Despite the downtrodden local...

Eat 2009

Posted 3/4/2009

Aldo's

306 S. High St., (410) 727-0700, aldositaly.com, $$$

"Sophisticated" and Little Italy don't always go together unless you're dining at Aldo's, and then do they ever. The menu is over the top--tournedos Rossini with seared Hudson Valley foie gras and Italian black truffle and porcini mushroom sauce; butter-poached lobster risotto deglazed with Highland scotch--as are the prices, and the wine list is packed with big name Italian (and American) bottles. If your pockets are deep and your palate is willing, a feast awaits.

Amicci's of Little Italy

231 S. High St., (410) 528-1096, amiccis.com, $$

Sometimes you just gotta have Italian food. Lucky for us in these difficult economic times there's Amicci's, a no-frills, moderately priced Italian comfort-food wonder palace with entrées two to three dollars cheaper than the neighbors. We've gushed over the appetizer pane rotundo, a bread bowl filled with seafood and sauce, ad nauseam. Why not try the luscious eggplant parmigiana along with one of Amicci's reasonably priced glasses of wine?

Café Gia

410 S. High St., (410) 685-6727, italianrestaurantbaltimore.com, $$

If there's a warmer, cozier spot in Little Italy, we haven't found it yet. Gia Blatterman-Fugate's café on the corner of High Street and Eastern Avenue offers hearty Sicilian fare at very reasonable prices (and you can bring your own bottle, $5 corkage fee). Pasta entrees like ravioli positano or homemade gnocchi impress more than starters, but be sure to save room for homemade cannolis flecked with lemon zest.

Cinghiale

822 Lancaster St., (410) 547-8282, cinghiale-osteria.com, $$-$$$

Just a few blocks from the largely Southern Italian stylings of Little Italy sits Tony Foreman and Cindy Wolf's upscale Northern Italian culinary extravaganza. Physically divided into a bistro-like enoteca and a more formal osteria (plus a handsome bar area), the restaurant dishes the same excellent fare throughout, serving up choice charcuterie, pastas, and one of the most adroit and flavorful entrée line-ups in town, changing seasonally, but rife with rich ingredients and the occasional game item. There's a section of the formidable menu devoted to gourmet versions of staples like lasagna and spaghetti-and-red, but the timid miss out.

Frank's Pizza and Pasta

6620 Belair Road, (410) 254-2900, frankspizzaandpasta.com, $-$$.

Situated in an Overlea strip mall, Frank's doesn't look like much from the outside (the inside is no designer's delight either), but the food and neighborly service make you want to linger anyway. Thin-crust pizzas and chubby meatball subs bring out the kid in us, but don't overlook homemade pastas, especially ones featuring seafood, like linguini a la pescatore or the crab-based pasta a la Felice. You order from the counter, eat on paper plates, and BYOB.

Grano Pasta Bar

1031 W. 36th St., (443) 869-3429, granopastabarus.com, $$

Grano, a tiny pasta bar that opened in Hampden last year, does pretty much one thing, but it does it well. Choose a pasta, choose a sauce, start eating. Simple, unpretentious, it is what it is and it does what it does. Seats are limited, so it gets a little full, but the employees are friendly enough to make the wait worthwhile.

Sotto Sopra

405 N. Charles St., (410) 625-0534, sottosoprainc.com, $$$

We enjoy Little Italy, but when we're looking for a fancy Italian meal, we often end up in midtown at Sotto Sopra. The swank, dimly lit dining room instantaneously makes a meal romantic, the offerings are inventive--we love the duck-stuffed ravioli--and even classic fare is always a step above: The mussels in a simple but flavorful white wine sauce might be the best we've ever had. Now, if only we could figure out the mural on the dining room wall.

Vaccaro's Italian Pastry Shop

2919 O'Donnell St., (410) 276-4744; 222 Albemarle st., (410) 685-4905; vaccarospastry.com, $

The charm of the Little Italy Vaccaro's on a hot night is undeniable, especially if the old men are out playing bocce ball or Cinema Paradiso is being projected on the wall across the way. What its Canton counterpart lacks in old-world appeal it makes up for in modernity. Sleek and brightly lit, the O'Donnell Street Vaccaro's is contemporary and actually big enough for you to not only sit down in, but see the entire pastry and gelato case.

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