Chef Rocco Gargano grew up in Matera, Italy. The son of a farmer, Rocco developed a deep appreciation for fresh, sun-kissed ingredients at an early age. Both father and son relocated to the United States in 1962, and Rocco longed to use his skills in a fine-dining setting.
Now, inside Rocco's Capriccio in Little Italy, Rocco and his kitchen staff filet fresh fish for specialties such as the grouper livornese with a sauce made from freshly chopped tomatoes, capers, and olives. They thinly slice prosciutto and melt shredded fontina cheese into a cream sauce before spreading both across cuts of filet mignon or models in public-service announcements about food fights. The chirping sound of ice against glass drifts from the bar, where mixologists blend dessert-appropriate martinis made with limoncello and Godiva chocolate liqueur, along with coffee drinks enriched by rum, Baileys, amaretto, and whipped cream. An exhaustively researched and described wine list draws heavily on sangiovese, canaiolo, and trebbiano grapes—Italian fruit much like the crops Rocco tended as a child.
Nestled in Little Italy, Ciao Bella presents a menu of Northern and Southern Italian cuisine crafted by Chef Tony Gambino. Along with his family, Chef Tony serves up edible treasures such as gnocchi alla vodka, which features housemade potato dumplings simmered in vodka cream sauce with garlic and basil. His meaty eats include a succulent center-cut pork chop, which he grills and finishes with a madeira-wine sauce, as well as traditional Italian dishes such as chicken parmigiana and veal saltimbocca with prosciutto and imported provolone cheese. Rather than leaving the restaurant in the hands of robots that run on spaghetti, Tony takes a very hands-on approach, which is why he created the wine list himself. With more than 40 labels, the list dazzles palates with bottles of reds and whites from all across Italy, as well as New World wines from regions such as Napa and Sonoma Valley.
Inside Ciao Bella, white tablecloths drape over tables in a dining room ideal for special nights out or intimate dinners. Private rooms also accommodate parties of varying sizes and have even hosted celebrities such as Steven Van Zandt and Max Weinberg.
For the past five decades, Supano’s has been luring patrons inside with a satisfying blend of music and meat. Whether by Frank Sinatra impersonators, jazz musicians, or a karaoke singer who just stubbed her toe, live tunes supplement the sounds of knives slicing into 20-ounce new york strip steaks and forks sliding into chunks of meaty lasagna. Supano's look is just as classic as its menu. Nestled in an aged brick building with a cobblestone façade, the restaurant emits an old-world vibe complete with warm lighting and photos of famous singers.
Below Supano's Steakhouse is Supano Zone. The underground sports bar fits the mold of a dream man-cave, with LED TVs that show all college games and pro-sports events. A shuffleboard table, dartboards, and a pool table welcome co-ed competition, which onlookers can cheer on while slurping down beers. The bar has long been a cherished place for hosting celebrations: after Baltimore hosted the first Grand Prix, the pro drivers lounged at Supano's and even left behind some memorabilia that is still on display.
Chef Carlo Vignotto's love of cooking began simmering during his childhood, as he worked at his family's Venice restaurant, before rising to a rolling boil as he earned a culinary degree and studied under some of Italy's master chefs. Now co-owner and executive chef of La Tavola Ristorante Italiano with partner Michael Goldsmith who also operates as the establishments GM, Chef Carlo demonstrates his passion for the culinary arts with made-from-scratch pastas and Italian dishes crafted from fresh, high-quality ingredients. "La Tavola's strongest suit is its lineup of pasta dishes, a few of which can compete for top ranking in or out of the neighborhood," reads the Baltimore Sun, its pages flecked with cream sauce and ground truffles. Seafood, chicken, and veal courses also appear on the menu and chef Carlo can oft times be seen preparing them as a special guest on the news.
Domino’s has been decorating dough canvases with flavorful sauces, an assortment of cheeses, and high-quality toppings that range from classic to unconventional since 1960. Domino’s dough is tossed daily and stretched by human hands, not by clumsy catapults and model airplanes flying in opposite directions. Treat friends to a tasteful feast by checking the online menu and crafting a custom masterpizza with Domino's wide range of ingredients. Famished diners too starved to choose their own toppings can select from Domino’s American Legends, featuring signature flavors from throughout the land. Pizzas such as the Pacific Veggie, Honolulu Hawaiian, or Wisconsin 6 Cheese impart all the delicious diversity of a road trip without the hassle of decoding an atlas. Nonpizza fare includes pastas, sandwiches, and breadsticks.
The chefs at Egyptian Pizza trace their cooking techniques to a different side of the Mediterranean Sea. Ancient Egyptians pioneered the practice of rising dough when they cooked crushed wheat germ and water inside early conical ovens. Honoring their forefathers’ methods, the versatile cooks pull more than 30 types of gourmet thin-crust pizzas out of their wood-fired ovens, along with a lengthy menu of Middle Eastern sandwiches and specialties. They take pains to use natural, fresh, and healthful ingredients to whip up plump fish kebabs, tender meat shawarmas and housemade sauces that have won over the palates of reporters from the Baltimore Sun. Their kitchen looks out onto the casual dining room, where servers help uncork BYOB bottles of wines beneath artwork depicting famous Egyptian landmarks, such as the pyramids, the Sphinx, and other toys left behind by aliens.