Though Yummy Grille chefs work alongside the pizza-makers of A1 Pizza & Sub, their cuisine is from a different world entirely. Instead of New York-style pizza and American favorites, chefs whip up dishes from the Mediterranean— from flavorful steak shawarmas to crunchy falafel wraps and sizzling chicken kabobs. They take a healthy approach to cooking, grilling meats in lemon juice and vegetable oil rather than deep-frying them or stuffing them with M&Ms. They pair their sandwiches and platters with traditional Mediterranean side-dishes, including savory hummus dip and plump grape leaves filled with rice.
Inside Nora Cafe & Bakery, housemade cakes and Italian-style cookies gather in the long, sloping pastry cases that line one side of the casual dining room. Referencing generations-old recipes, Nora’s team of bakers craft handmade dough to create fluffy puff pastry, pies, and cakes. The restaurant also serves Italian dinners, with plates of lasagna, spaghetti, and steaks complemented by garlic bread almost as warm as a blanket that’s on fire. The team serves those dishes between bright, orange walls flecked with framed photos, amid a sea of red tables with cushioned chairs.
Upholding the time-honored tradition of the cucina, Mamma's crafts a menu of warming Italian fare in a casual and welcoming atmosphere. Savor simple seafood starters such as the fried calamari ($7.99) or mussels marinara ($6.99) before moving mouths to more elaborate entrees. Mamma's veal sorrentina snuggles a fresh cut of veal with prosciutto, eggplant, and mozzarella cheese ($17.99), and the shrimp fradiavolo’s spicy marinara ($15.99) livens up palates and deters milquetoast dates from sampling. Catering to those who prefer circular fare, head chef Eduardo Boteo and his team prepare Mamma's panoply of pizzas topped with fresh ingredients. Weekly dinner and lunch specials are also available for those looking beyond Cucina's core collection.
Portalli's Chef Keith Holsey portions his dishes according to the traditional Italian four-course meal. This doesn't stop the chef from crafting a menu of creatively interpreted Italian classics, though, such as veal osso buco with a marsala demi-glace or chili-rubbed halibut poached in a white-wine ginger broth. Chef Holsey's creations consist of uncomplicated flavors that, according to the Baltimore Sun, allow "good and simple ingredients to work together." Portalli's also caters to families with dishes such as spaghetti and meatballs or meatball flatbread pizza, which teaches kids about fractions so they don't have to learn about them on the street.
There are lots of ways to get your pizza fix at Zella's Pizzeria, which is back under original ownership. The quickest, perhaps, is to order one of the house's signature gourmet pizzas such as the roasted eggplant topped with roasted red peppers and kalamata olives. But diners with time and energy to spare can pour over the menu to build their own pizza. All pizzas start with freshly made dough before diners choose from six sauces ranging from traditional tomato to herbed olive oil and more than 30 toppings including green olives, fresh tomatoes, and roasted garlic that can be consumed willy-nilly or reorganized on the pie to make the Italian flag. The same top-quality ingredients that go into Zella's pizzas are used to make smaller dishes such as spinach and artichoke calzones and meatball sandwiches.
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.