Little Italy
(Daria Johnson)
306 S. High St., (410) 727-0700,
$$$, D, R

Start with cream of asparagus soup and the wild mushroom risotto, then splurge with the tournedos Rossini filet mignon dish, holding your nose over the foie gras.

Amicci’s of Little Italy
231 S. High St., (410) 528-1096,
$$, L, D, Out, R, DV

Totally affordable Italian entrees in a friendly, casual atmosphere. A big "yes, please" to tortellini with peas and ham.

Café Gia Ristorante
410 S. High St., (410) 685-6727,
$$$, L, D, Out, R, DV

The toasted lunch sandwiches, especially the eggplant alla parmigiana, are classics. For dinner, the ravioli pescatore is a highlight.

Chiapparelli’s Restaurant
237 S. High St., (410) 837-0309,
$$$, L, D, R, DV

Since 1940, the familial atmosphere and great service here have passed through the generations. The garlicky salad has long made Little Italy proud.

Ciao Bella
236 S. High St., (410) 685-7733,
$$$, L, D, Out, R

Ciao Bella takes the best from up and down the Boot. Its veal saltimbocca—veal with prosciutto and saged mushroom Marsala sauce—is to die for.

Da Mimmo
217 S. High St., (410) 727-6876,
$$$, L, D, P, R

Upscale Italian serving both family specialties and finely executed classics—don't know into which category the divine porcini mushroom risotto falls, but it hardly matters.

829 Eastern Ave., (410) 539-1965,
$$, L, D, Out, R

Unlike some of Little Italy's options, this Northern Italian-focused mainstay emphasizes flavor over portion size. A favorite for large parties.

Germano’s Piattini
300 S. High St., (410) 752-4515,
$$, L, D, Out, R

Get dolled up for a night at Germano's, especially if you're seeing one of its many shows, be it cabaret or otherwise. Pair up a nice cheese with a cured meat or olive, and then pick an entree from the contemporary Italian menu, like the maiale al forno: braised pork, a fried egg, and a blood orange glaze.

Heavy Seas Alehouse
1300 Bank St., (410) 753-1403,
$$, L, D

The downtown outpost of the Halethorpe brewery serves up a mix of dressed-up bar food—like spicy beer nuts and soft pretzel sticks—and fine cuisine, like flat-iron steak and shepherd's pie. Beer pairings are suggested for each entree.

Isabella’s Brick Oven
221 S. High St., (410) 962-8888,
$$, L, D, BYOB

This cozy Little Italy eatery arguably bakes up the best pizza in the neighborhood. Crusts have that nice crispy char, the sauce has a little zip, and the toppings are plentiful.

Joe Benny’s Focacceria
313 S. High St., (443) 835-4866,
$$, L, D

Sometimes a thin crust just doesn't cut it. Thankfully, the specialty here is focaccia (aka super thick, breadlike dough for Sicilian-style pizza). It also serves other Southern Italian small plates and paninis—don't miss out on the meatballs.

La Scala
1012 Eastern Ave., (410) 783-9209,
$$$, D, Out, R

An indoor bocce court rounds out the experience here, which, if you're willing to lay out some extra cash, should include the amazing brodetto alla vastese—a light, spicy broth served over seasonal seafood and linguine.

La Tavola
248 Albemarle St., (410) 685-1859,
$$$, L, D, Out, R, DV

Fresh house-made pasta and sauces make for good eats, but the thinly sliced veal in the vitello alla norcina here is truly divine.

Mo’s Crab and Pasta Factory
502 Albemarle St., (410) 837-1600,
$$$, L, D, R, DV

Crab dip and clams casino meet ravioli and angel hair at this Italian-and-seafood hub.

Mugs’ Italian Bistro
300 S. Exeter St., (410) 685-6847,
$, B, L

Marion Mugavero (or Mugs, as he is known) set up a sandwich shop in Little Italy almost 70 years ago. Over the last couple years it has been renovated by his son, Greg Mugavero, and still provides the same great breakfast and lunch sandwiches.

My Thai
323 S. Central Ave., (410) 327-0023,
$$, L, D, R, dv

This authentic Thai spot adds some variety to Little Italy's selections. The ka pow really lives up to its name with garlic and chili flavors—and if you get it "Thai style" it comes with sliced beef, crispy shallots, and a fried egg. Careful: The curries can get tongue-numbingly spicy.

806 Stiles St., (410) 528-2710,
$$$, L, D, Out

A stylish and simple modern restaurant that serves traditional Persian and Mediterranean fare. Tender and succulent skewered items—jujeh (Cornish hen), barg (marinated tenderloin), and beef kubideh (ground sirloin with onions)—won't fail you. Lunch is served Friday through Sunday.

Piedigrotta Italian Bakery and Pasta Shop
1300 Bank St., Suite 140, (410) 522-6900,
$$, B, L, D, BYOB, Out, R

A vast array of Italian treats—including the owner—greets customers of this Little Italy staple: pane, grottoni, crostates, tortes, and more. You can also buy some freshly prepared lasagna to pass off as your own at home. Piedigrotta also serves sit-down dinners year-round.

Sabatino’s Italian Restaurant
901 Fawn St., (410) 727-9414,
$$$, L, D, 10 p.m., R

Southern/Central Italian specialties, but a good bet is the bookmaker salad to open, with the fettuccine Felicia to close.

Vaccaro’s Italian Pastry Shop
222 Albemarle St., (410) 685-4905,
$, B, L, D, Out

From cannolis to cakes, and paninis to muffuletta, there's no other place like this to have a light Italian meal or dessert, washed down with a cappuccino or specialty cocktail.

Yemen Arabian Restaurant
411 S. High St., (410) 385-4900
$$, L, D

This place, which opened last spring, has a pretty delectable lamb-centric menu (with a free lamb soup for a starter) and is a good dining option if you want to pass on pasta.