Vaccaro's Italian Pastry Shop

Vaccaro's Italian Pastry Shop (J.M. GIORDANO / June 19, 2014)

Aldo’s

306 S. High St., (410) 727-0700, aldositaly.com

$$$, D, R

Start with cream of asparagus soup and the cold, cheese-cave antipasto, then splurge with the Tournedos Rossini filet mignon dish, holding your nose over the foie gras.

Amicci’s of Little Italy

231 S. High St., (410) 528-1096, amiccis.com

$$, L, D, R

Totally affordable Italian entrees in a friendly, casual atmosphere. A big “yes, please” to tortellini with peas and ham.

Caesar’s Den

223 S. High St., (410) 547-0820,caesarsden.com

$$$, L, D, R

Always nice to see conch, calamari, and black pasta as entrees—the place sets itself apart from the pack.

Café Gia Ristorante

410 S. High St., (410) 685-6727, cafegias.com

$$, L, D, Out, R

The toasted lunch sandwiches, especially the eggplant parmigiana, are classics. For dinner, the ravioli pescatore is a highlight.

Chiapparelli’s Restaurant

237 S. High St., (410) 837-0309, chiapparellis.com

$$$, L, D, R

Same as it ever was, since 1940—except now it’s wind-powered. The garlicky salad has long made Little Italy proud.

Ciao Bella

236 S. High St., (410) 685-7733, therealciaobella.com

$$$, L, D, Out, R

Taking the best from up and down the Boot, its veal saltimbocca—veal with prosciutto and saged mushroom Marsala sauce—is to die for.

Da Mimmo

217 S. High St., (410) 727-6876, damimmo.com

$$$, L, D, P, R

Upscale Italian serving both family specialties and finely executed classics—don’t know into which category the divine porcini mushroom risotto falls, but it hardly matters.

Dalesio’s

829 Eastern Ave., (410) 539-1965, dalesios.com

$$$, L, D, R

In Italy, the food is often quite light and, thus, the people quite thin—a culinary ethic quite nicely pursued here, and very satisfactorily too.

Della Notte

801 Eastern Ave., (410) 837-5500, dellanotte.com

$$$, L, D, P, R

Don’t let the Miami nightclub exterior fool you—this place has the goods, from the traditional to the ambitious and including the perfect bread.

Germano’s Trattoria

300 S. High St., (410) 752-4515, germanostrattoria.com

$$$, L, D, Out, R

Get dolled up for a night at Germano’s, especially if you’re seeing one of their weekly shows, be it cabaret or otherwise. Reasonably priced entrees match well with a solid wine selection.

Heavy Seas Alehouse

1300 Bank St., (410) 522-0850, heavyseasalehouse.com

$$$, L, D

The downtown outpost of the Halethorpe brewery serves up a mix of dressed-up bar food—like spiced beer nuts and pretzel bites—and fine cuisine, like house-made pasta and a stout-braised shortrib. Beer pairings are suggested for each entree.

India Rasoi

411 S. High St., (410) 385-4900, india-rasoi.com

$$, L, D, DV

India Rasoi’s got your paneer, korma, and saag, but they also cook up less-ubiquitous Indian fare, like rogon josh and crab kovalam.

Isabella’s Brick Oven

221 S. High St., (410) 962-8888, isabellas.biz

$$, L, D, BYOB

This cozy Little Italy eatery arguably bakes up the best pizza in the neighborhood. Crusts have that nice crispy char, the sauce has a little zip, and the toppings are plentiful.

La Scala

1012 Eastern Ave., (410) 783-9209, lascaladining.com

$$$, D, Out R

An indoor bocce court rounds out the experience here, which, if you’re willing to lay out some extra cash, should include the amazing brodetto alla vastese—an Italian-style bouillabaisse served over linguine.

La Tavola

248 Albemarle St., (410) 685-1859, la-tavola.com

$$$, L, D, Out, R

Fresh, house-made pasta and sauces make for good eats, but the thinly sliced veal here is truly divine.

Max’s Empanadas

313 S. High St., (410) 547-7900, maxempanadas.com

$, L, D, Out, DV

The endless choices of fillings make for flexible eating, but the No. 3 dinner—six empanadas with a bottle of wine—is an automatic good time.

Mo’s Crab and Pasta Factory

502 Albemarle St., (410) 837-1600, mosseafood.com

$$$, L, D

Crab dip and clams casino meet ravioli and angel hair at this hybrid Italian-and-seafood hub.

My Thai

1300 Bank St., (410) 327-0023, mythaibaltimore.com

$$, L, D, R

This Mount Vernon transplant recently rounded out Little Italy’s Asian-food options. Beef tongue served with a mango salad and a grilled rice ball blends exquisitely. Beware: Their curries can get tongue-numbingly spicy.

Piedigrotta Bakery and Pasta Shop

1300 Bank St., (410) 522-6900, piedigrottabakery.com

$$, B, L, D, BYOB, Out, R

A vast array of Italian treats—including the owner—greets customers of this Little Italy staple: pane, grottoni, crostates, tortes, and more. You can also buy some freshly prepared lasagna to pass of as your own at home. The unbelievably friendly owners here recently started serving sit-down dinners year-round.

Sabatino’s Italian Restaurant

901 Fawn St., (410) 727-9414, sabatinos.com

$$$, L, D, 10 p.m., R

Southern/Central Italian specialties, but a good bet is the bookmaker salad to open, with the fettucine felicia to close.

Vaccaro’s Italian Pastry Shop

222 Albemarle St., (410) 685-4905, vaccarospastry.com

$, B, L, D, Out, 10 p.m.

From cannolis to cakes, and paninis to muffuletta, there’s no other place like this to have a light Italian meal or dessert, washed down with a cappuccino or specialty cocktail. Also: free ice cream on your birthday!