#109 - Sabatino's Italian Restaurant, Baltimore MD

After about an hour at Ravens fan day we had enough.  And besides, the skies looked like they were getting ready to open up at any moment.  The stadium is about a 10-minute walk from the Harbor where we had parked.  About halfway there it started raining, but thankfully not too bad.  We had thought about going back to J Paul's or somewhere else on the Harbor, but decided we wanted Italian instead.  Little Italy is literally less than 5 minutes from the Harbor.  You could probably walk if you were really ambitious and it was nice and during the day.  When you enter Little Italy it's like you've been transported across the ocean. Authentic restaurants, Italian festivals, bocce ball tournaments, etc.  It's a very cool place. Kara had seen that one of our mutual friends on Facebook had posted that Sabatino's Italian Restaurant was one of his favorite places, so we decided to check it out.

I love that they didn't mess with the interior architecture, and instead built the restaurant to fit the space.  So the tables are spread out over different rooms, and sometimes on different levels separated by just a couple of stairs.  We were seated towards the back of the largest room at a corner table.  

The woman who brought us water was this adorable little old lady who has probably worked there for at least 50 years.  I saw a couple of other older women working there throughout the evening.  Their hair was perfectly coiffed, no doubt from weekly trips to the salon. Working in a restaurant is hard work-I tried it once for about 3 months--so I was quite impressed. 

It's no secret that I'm not good when it comes to menus.  And the challenge started really early, when I couldn't decide on wine.  The server eventually brought us tastes of chianti and shiraz.  We settled on the Placido Chianti.  And for some unkown reason we felt the need to order a whole carafe. In hindsight, half carafe was plenty.  But we plowed through, and left less than a glass behind.

The food menu is very large, and pretty overwhelming.  But from the get-go I knew I had to get homemade pasta.  About half of the pastas are homemade, which is kind of odd.  You would think all or none would be homemade.  But I did like that you could swap homemade pasta into any of the dishes.  I kept going back and forth on a couple of different dishes, and finally my server just took the menu away and told me she would surprise me.  

We started by splitting the garden salad with house dressing.  You have to pay 50 cents extra for that dressing, which I also found quite odd.

One bite though, and I was sold.  It was like a ranch, with parmesan in it, and you could definitely tell it was homemade.  Nothing tops that.  I really like that they put it on the side, but I still used too much because it was so good.

I had really wanted the penne with vodka sauce, but the penne wasn't homemade.  The fettucini with marinara was.  So she brought me a combo...fettucini with vodka sauce, topped with the homemade marinara.  And Kara had gotten meatballs on her dish, so she gave me one.

Wow, this was amazing.  The vodka sauce was perfect, and both that and the marinara had tons of flavor.  At first I was a little concerned about the combination, but neither one overpowered the other.  On the contrary, they complemented each other really well. The meatballs were huge, so I'm glad I didn't get my own order.

I'm sure the desserts were delicious, but at that point neither one of us could eat anymore. We both ended up with to-go boxes just from dinner.

One funny thing I noticed as I went to the restroom was a cigarette machine

I had no idea these even still existed.  And in this day and age you would think it wouldn't even be in the restaurant anymore.  But I think Europeans still smoke a lot.  So they're catering to their largest customers.  And besides, it's not like they can smoke in the restaurant. 

Will I go back?  No question.  I would love to try some of the other dishes on the menu, and just experience the great atmosphere again.