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Sammy’s doesn’t always get the attention it deserves for fine Southern Italian fare, but take one taste of the duck ravioli in a light butter sauce with mushrooms and you might say “arrivederci” to whatever your current favorite is. The service is friendly—especially during off times, when the owner may just bring out various dishes for you to taste, just for the hell of it. Voted Baltimore’s Best Italian Restaurant ~ City Paper

Sammy’s is the quintessential neighborhood Trattoria. Make it the place to dine before or after a performance at the Baltimore Symphony or the Lyric Opera House. Sammy and his Mom always make you feel at home. In the spring, you might see the entire Johns Hopkins lacrosse team eating their pre-game meal!

After five years, this Mt. Vernon restaurant, which specializes in hearty southern Italian cooking, is still dishing up sumptuous pasta dishes that show the care of the kitchen and owner Sam Curreri. Entrees like shrimp scampi, bolognese with pappardelle, chicken Marsala, and veal Parmesan feature homemade noodles and farm-fresh ingredients. The space is pretty, too, with goldenrod-yellow walls, soaring ceilings, wrought-iron details, and a cozy balcony for dining. It gets crowded on theater nights, but that’s part of the energy as the staff puts on its own stellar performance.

You can take the restaurateur out of Little Italy, but you can’t take Little Italy out of the restaurateur. Sammy’s Trattoria is an elegant space, with rose-gold walls and a balcony lavished with decorative ironwork; it’s also located just blocks from midtown’s music and theater venues. Remember that its proprietor, Sam Curreri, spent 15 years as general manager of Little Italy’s Chiapparelli’s, and his restaurant’s cuisine is as home-style — and as generously portioned — as anything you’d find in the epicenter of Baltimore’s Italian community. Yet Sammy’s works to put a gloss on the big servings by offering such non-homey fare as duck ravioli, seafood fra diavolo, and baked Norwegian salmon. As for family-style eats, Sammy’s takes this seriously, offering a special menu section just for family gatherings, where many of the same dishes from the regular menu are served. How about a hearty mound of fried calamari or lasagna even better than mama used to make?