Lunch for $10 or Less: Basta Pasta in Lutherville

Lunch for $10 or Less: Basta Pasta in Lutherville
The fish and chips at Basta Pasta in Lutherville. (Matthew F. Lallo, Baltimore Sun)

Ordering fish and chips at a place named Basta Pasta might seem like a stretch.

But in fairness, the Lutherville restaurant's full name is Basta Pasta Italian & Seafood Restaurant, and it ably handles both fish and pasta.

Judging from a recent order of fish and chips, it's clear the fry cook knows his business — the coating on the fresh filet was crisp, without a hint of oil visible. The fish is actually local rockfish, which elevates the classic English street fare to sit-down restaurant status.

Basta Pasta's well-executed lunch menu offers 15 options, from the fish and chips to more adventurous items such as calves' liver and seared tilapia, all for $6.99. Given the quality of the food and service on a recent visit, first time customers might just become regulars. (There are also salads and sandwiches.)

The unimposing stucco building on Timonium Road just off York is warm and inviting inside — and much larger than it appears. (There is a sister Basta Pasta in Fallston.) The Lutherville location is able to seat up to 250 guests in a warren of small cozy rooms. The staff, dressed in black with colorful ties, goes about its business with confidence.

The calves' liver, thinly sliced with sauteed onions, is traditionally prepared and was indeed calves' liver and not baby beef as some operations are wont to substitute. The accompanying mashed potatoes were the right side for this dish, though the sauce would benefit if thinned a bit.

The broiled tilapia filet was huge and cooked with care, the fresh broccoli also cooked right. This dish garnished with lemon wedges speaks of summer. Delightful — and, at $6.99, a steal.

Given the car dealers, Walmart, Home Depot and Target in the Lutherville area, people who live nearby invariably find themselves in the neighborhood. All that shopping can work up an appetite, and for a cheap delicious lunch, Basta Pasta fits the bill.

Basta Pasta

Where: 60 W. Timonium Road, Lutherville

Contact: 410-308-0838,

Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday

Lunch entrees: $6.99-$14