Baltimore's Little Italy is a small neighborhood packed with delicious family-run restaurants. Located just a few blocks from the bustling Inner Harbor, Little Italy feels a world away.
Visitors come to Little Italy to dine at its restaurants, certainly, but there's much to do in this little enclave of Italian culture. You can watch outdoor movies, play bocce, attend Italian festivals, worship at Saint Leo the Great Italian parish, take Italian language classes, and just stroll through the narrow streets.
Cuisine from every region of Italy is served in restaurants ranging from family-style casual to date night elegant. One thing that connects them all—an appreciation for the glory of Italian food.
Dine in a luxurious palazzo-like setting enjoying dishes made with organic and often local ingredients. Chef/owner Aldo Vitale crafted all of the restaurant’s intricate woodwork, including the beautiful mahogany bar.
While Aldo's describes its offerings as "southern-influenced regional Italian cuisine," look for a lot more than pasta doused in red sauce. The house's signature dish is foie gras-wrapped tournedos Rossini with wild mushroom sauce.
Aldo's, Baltimore’s most celebrated Italian restaurant, is also the Zagat Survey’s highest-scoring Italian restaurant in the state of Maryland.
Address: 306 S. High St.
In a Little Italy filled with upscale restaurants, Amicci's is more casual and affordable. Great for families, it has an extensive menu of tasty Italian classics, including fantastic shrimp scampi.
Amicci's has a gluten-free menu and can appeal to even the most finicky eater with their "build your own pasta" dish. Diners select their pasta, including cheese-filled tortellini, and then select a sauce.
The restaurant also has a full bar that's more than just a place to wait for your table. It offers a complete menu every day and into the late night.
Address: 231 S. High St.
Cafe Gia is a family-run Sicilian bistro. In 1953 family members boarded the famous Italian luxury liner the Andrea Doria and sailed to the United States from Cefalu, Sicily.
The family has recreated a Sicilian bistro with hand-painted colorful murals. The outside is equally as vibrant and traditional.
Sicilian specialties like garganelli Siciliano—a homemade garganelli (egg pasta) in a pesto made of pistachio, basil, ricotta, Parmigiano, tomatoes, and garlic, sauteed with shrimp—add to the authenticity of Cafe Gia.
Address: 410 S. High St.
One of the neighborhood's legendary traditions, eating at Chiapparelli's is like visiting your Italian grandma's dining room for dinner.
Start with the delicious Caesar salad, then choose from any of the Italian classics, all prepared with the love and passion Italian cooks are known for.
Chiapparelli's upstairs rooms are great spots for private parties.
Address: 237 S. High St.
This restaurant has been family-owned since 1991 and was started by Anthony Charles Gambino from Palermo, Sicily.
Ciao Bella serves northern and southern Italian cuisine. The restaurant’s signature dishes included veal Marsala, Veal Parmigiana and a dish of Chef Gambino's own invention called veal Chesapeake, featuring veal and crab meat.
Happy Hour is offered in the Lounge Sunday through Thursday from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. and on some evenings, classic movies are shown.
Address: 236 S. High St.
Light on the sauces, heavy on the decor, Dalesio's offers northern Italian cuisine in a Victorian-style dining room. They are known for their varied wine list of Italian and American wines and offer occasional wine dinners.
Look for seafood on the menu. The aragosta ravioli is popular—pasta stuffed with lobster meat blended with Ricotta and cream and then finished with a lobster cream sauce.
Address: 829 Eastern Ave.
Da Mimmo Restaurant opened in 1984. Since then, it has been serving gourmet Italian cuisine that has attracted an international clientele including actors, actresses, opera singers, and sports figures. You'll see many celebrity photos on the walls of the Roman Cocktail Lounge.
Da Mimmo serves popular dishes from every region in Italy. Their signature dish is a gigantic broiled veal chop alla Florentina butterflied and charbroiled with fresh garlic, rosemary, sage, and extra virgin olive oil.
But you'll also find plenty of traditional pasta dishes including fettuccine Alfredo, spaghetti Bolognese, linguine al la carbonara, and eggplant Parmigiana.
Fish lovers will enjoy the swordfish Mediterraneo, a fresh 1.5-inch thick center cut of swordfish, broiled with a touch of olive oil, lemon juice, capers, and onions.
Address: 217 S. High St.
Experience a little slice of Tuscan life at this restaurant with three spacious dining rooms. The decor and the cuisine all hail from Tuscany. Germano's is a contemporary Italian kitchen and bar featuring small plates (piattini) and an upstairs cabaret.
Try the grilled flatbread drizzled in extra virgin olive oil and rubbed with garlic, topped with fresh tomatoes and fagioli (beans). Or, if you are feeling adventurous order from the extensive selection of grappa (Italian brandy).
Of interest to the allergy conscious, they are a nut-free facility and include vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options on the menu (try the cauliflower steak).
Address: 300 South High St.
For a cultural shift, try Indian food in the midst of Little Italy.
Little India is a family-run, Indian restaurant serving fresh, authentic Indian food.
They offer both buffet and a la carte service options. The chef's specialties include rack of lamb al fungi, lamb cooked in the clay oven served with a mushroom and tomato wine sauce.
If you bring a bottle of wine, the server will provide wine glasses and a corkscrew. Beverages on the menu include three types of lassi, masala tea, juices, and soda.
Little India also offers take-out service.
Address: 411 S. High St.
Isabella's is a small family-run business featuring fresh, homemade ingredients. They offer carry-out subs, pizza, salads, and sides.
Sub sandwich options include the meatball sub, the chicken parm sandwich with marinara and Fontina cheese, and the cheesesteak Siciliano made with a 7-ounce ribeye with rapini (broccoli rabe), pepper cheese, and tomato sauce.
Homemade bread comes out of the brick oven all day. They are said to offer some of the best pizza and brick oven subs in Baltimore.
Address: 221 S. High St.
You'll find traditional Italian cuisine and innovative specialties at La Scala. Try the grilled Caesar salad and some of the delicious homemade cannolis.
They offer a Salumeria (deli) menu with cheeses, cold meats, and garnishes such as olives and artichoke hearts. Make your own cheese plate and pair it with a glass of Italian wine.
La Scala features an indoor bocce ball court, a large dining room, private event space, and a wine tasting room.
Address: 1012 Eastern Ave.
La Tavola is serves contemporary Italian cuisine set in an elegant, yet casual dining area.
A more moderately-priced option in Little Italy, La Tavola always has great specials, which are posted at 4 p.m. daily. Homemade pasta dishes and fresh seafood are the house specialties but the veal is worth a try too. Save room for dessert which is also made in-house.
They offer a happy hour featuring drink and small plate specials Monday through Friday 4:00 to 6:30 p.m. in their bar area.
Address: 248 Albemarle St.
One of Little Italy's most famous restaurants, Sabatino's has been serving Baltimore for more than 50 years.
Its tradition Italian cuisine isn't fancy but it's hearty and comes in large portions. Its heavy-on-the-garlic dressing makes the house salad an ever-popular choice.
You can find all the favorites there—veal Parmigiana, shrimp cacciatore, veal scallopini, and tiramisu or cannoli for dessert.
Address: 901 Fawn St.
Vaccaro's has been serving up Italian cookies, cannolis, and cake for over 60 years. This family-run business is well-respected for their cannolis and other traditional Italian pastries.
Along with their take-out items, they have a cafe where you can enjoy a pastry, salad, panini (including a breakfast panini), and gelato for dessert. They serve specialty drinks ranging from Italian coffees to cocktails as decadent as their chocolate swirl martini.
Address: 222 Albemarle St.