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Giovanni's Restaurant 2101 Pulaski Highway, Edgewood. Hours:...


Giovanni's Restaurant 2101 Pulaski Highway, Edgewood. Hours: 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Mondays to Thursdays, 7 a.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturday, 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays. (410) 676-8100. This wonderful restaurant and carry-out restored my faith in Italian restaurants. Family-run Giovanni's, with its huge portions and moderate prices, reminds me of restaurants in Baltimore's Little Italy -- before Harborplace, tourists and commercialization set in.

Getting past Giovanni's modest exterior can be a bit daunting -- harvest gold-colored windows and white stucco -- but once inside prepare your taste buds for a treat.

Homemade tomato sauce tops a wide variety of traditional Italian dishes, including chicken Parmigiana or eggplant stuffed with Romano cheese, both $10.95. Dinners are served with a choice of either spaghetti or salad. Be sure to order the delectable house dressing, a fresh creamy Italian flavored with fresh herbs and Parmesan cheese.

Portions are generous, and healthy appetites would have trouble finishing an order of lasagna or cheese ravioli, both $9.95.

Even the simplest dish, spaghetti topped with garlic and oil for $8.95, is delicious because it is made of the very freshest ingredients. No dehydrated onion or parsley flakes are used here.

Many seafood entrees are also available, including shrimp scampi for $16.95 in a delicate sauce of butter, garlic, oregano and wine served over rice.

If you want a little extra, order garlic bread, $3.75, or breaded cheese sticks, $4.95.

And be sure to save room for a homemade cannoli, $2.50, for dessert.

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