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Amicci's, Little Italy


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When I was about 12 or 13, my Dad, who was living in Baltimore at the time, took me to Sabatino's for dinner. I remember a crowded and bustling restaurant where I devoured pasta with red sauce and loved every minute of it. So, for shits and giggles, my wife and I went for dinner recently.

As with all things remembered from childhood, it was smaller than I remembered and it was less lively. The food seemed small and dull as well-- maybe insignificant and dead would be a more apt description. The over-dressed and dried out salad was chilled to just short of frozen. The bread basket itself may well have been more fresh and flavorful than the crap that came in it. Does the pasta come from former GM factory in Dearborn Michigan? It had a faint petroleum quality to it. Dessert? No thanks, I've had quite enough.

I should have just stuck to the fond memory.

I'm sorry to hear that your present experience was not as good as the one stored in your memory. I've considered going there, even knowing that they do not rate well like they did in the past, just to do something very Baltimore - to sort of travel back in time. My Fiance tells me that Sabs was the rage back in the late 70's and early 80's when she was in high school. We visited Amiccis in Little Italy recently in search of good Italian cheap eats. They were fantastic. I had the lasagna and my Fiance had the Rigatoni Bowlenese (sp.?) and we had mussels as an appetizer. The Rigatoni Bowlenese was particularly good. The mussels had a tiny bit of grit - I don't have mussels often enough to know if that's normal or not, but they seemed very good otherwise. Amicci's is "family safe" which means it's acceptable to bring your screaming kids. I've heard that La Tavola is suppose to be excellent (They are on my list of places I want to go). They received a 25 score for food from Zagat which is means their food should be excellent. They're suppose to be a little more expensive then Sabatino's or Amiccis - Zagat's survey says apx. $33 per person including tip - but generally I almost always end up spending more then the Zagat survey average.

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We used to live right across from Little Italy in a condo on the Inner Harbor (albeit 10 years ago). Amicci's was always the best place to go for good quality inexpensive Italian. They have expanded into neighboring houses over the years. Most nights there is a wait for a table, but the turn over is high. We used to particularly enjoy the gnocci. This is basic Italian food at great prices in a family friendly environment. To be honest, it was really the main Italian restaurant that the locals would frequent.

For finer dining and better food (at much higher prices) we favored Boccaccio. However, as it was so long ago -- I'd look that one up in Zagat's before going.

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I have very fond memories from 10 years ago of dining at Amici's. I can still taste the bread bowl that was filled with shrimp in a garlic cream sauce. Nothing about that place was haut, but I recall it being deeply satisfying in the "I know this isn't good for me" kind of way.

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I went to Amicci's for a Christmas luncheon. Pretty good for a very reasonable price. I had chicken parm with a house salad to start. The red wine vinagrette for the salad was had sweet taste to it that was unique, memorable and delicious. Chicken parm was heart-warmingly full of garlic, though there was nothing unexpected. The marinara sauce that accompanied the chicken was really fresh tasting, though. The house wine didn't disappoint either. Great value.

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Went to Amicci's in July. Glad we did.

I arrived with my wife and two kids, including a 5 year old boy who is generally either happy and loud or unhappy and loud. Fortunately, Amicci's was able to handle this adeptly. They do this with a layout that has enough nooks and crannies to stuff us into one - which didn't isolate us, but it did keep us from being next to any other tables. And that's nice. He'll be 8 soon enough, but for now it's nice to know there are places where we can eat a nice meal.

We started with the signature appetizer, the pane rotundo. As mentioned, this is a large breadbowl with a garlicy cream sauce and about 6 giant shrimp. The breadbowl isn't hollowed out like a Panera soup presentation, so in effect what you have is a bread basket covered with a Shrimp Scampi-like offering. It was good, bready and more than enough to satisfy the four of us and almost keep us from eating our main dishes.

I realy enjoyed the chicken parmigiana. The chicken was pounded flat and breaded - the meat was tender, the breading crisp and the cheese not too heavy. The pasta was not overcooked (as it often is in more casual places) and the sauce was quite good. It has been a few weeks since the meal, so i can't describe the sauce in detail but it I definitely liked it - and REALLY liked the chicken.

Everyone else liked their meals and we overall felt we made the perfect choice, given our party and our tastes. I'd recommend it to anyone except maybe someone in a tuxedo, looking for a very formal experience. Luckily, they address that fact right on the front door. Enjoy! Jay

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