Well, some people may not like me to say this, but I sometimes cannot justify spending a lot of money for Italian food, especially when I'm in the mood for some pasta. When the Macaroni Grill entices me with their rosemary bread (which deserves to have a whole post dedicated to it) I usually have a very decent meal (as long as I tell my brain to forget that it's a chain)! So it's hard to want to make a night of it and spend a little more by going down to Little Italy. However, I really do love that area, so Dan and I decided to try Chiapparelli's which has been around for almost 70 years!
The restaurant itself is definitely not as flashy as its other Littly Italy counterparts (Della Notte for example), you can tell that here it's all about presenting a "home cooked" sort of feel, which is all well and good until you see that their prices are in the high teens and onwards. However, as I said, I wanted to make a night of it so we decided to share meals and try the Gnocchi with Meat Sauce ($16.23) and the Seafood Ravioli ($25.18). Each meal came with bread to start and the house salad.
I read a lot of blog reviews (of course) before I came here and read that their house salad was famous and the best in Baltimore- that was a lot to live up to! Well, it definitely was a HUGE portion of salad that covered the entire plate, but there was WAY too much dressing and it was very creamy and cheesy that made it a bit too overwhelming. It was good, don't get me wrong, but I think next time I would order it on the side. I'm also not sure I would say it was the best house salad in Baltimore, but definitely the most generous.
Onto the meals. Well the homemade gnocchi was definitely that. You could tell that each little piece was made at that restaurant! It was a VERY large serving, especially considering that gnocchi is so filling. The meat sauce was very good- and was clearly homemade because it had the consistency of being made from real tomatoes - aka much thinner than sauces I am used to from other Italian restaurants. There was also a large amount of meat- that was great! All in all, I liked this simple, yet rich and plentiful entree. I'm not sure if I would order this again, but I know that Dan really loved it so I wouldn't be surprised if he did.
To perfectly contrast the gnocchi, the seafood ravioli was ridiculously decadent. There were four (maybe six, now I don't remember, but it was definitely enough) LARGE pieces of ravioli that were stuffed with crab and shrimp. And they are not joking when they say stuffed- the meat practically oozed out of the ravioli, it was amazing. The sauce was described as a light tomato cream sauce, but I would not call it light. Let's just stick with tomato cream sauce. LOVED it! I savored each morsel of my ravioli and dipped it happily into the sauce. Wow, this entree alone is enough to bring me back, I am sure of it.
For dessert (that I had to take back home with me because I was so full at this point) I ordereds the tiramisu. The portion is VERY large, so try and have someoone to share it with. Oh this was rich and creamy, and had the right amount of balance in flavor- especialy with the coffee and chocolate. This was actually the dessert our waiter recommended to us, and I would have to agree it was a very good choice- it felt very authentic.
All in all, I had a really good experience. I would definitely say to stick with the special entrees and maybe spend a little more so that you can really get an idea of what GOOD Italian food is.