Let’s go on a little ride looking for restaurants. We’ll start in Timonium and what do you know, I found one. It bears the fancy name of Il Basilico Trattoria Italiano and you can find it at 29 West Aylesbury Road. That’s the Fair Grounds Shopping Center, home of Shop Rite.
It’s open seven days for lunch and dinner. There’s seating for about 80, with a small dining area outside. There’s also plenty of free parking. They have an open kitchen if you want to watch the cooks prepare your food.
I asked Anna, the owner, who happens to be from Naples Italy, about the signature dishes. The contemporary one is Paccheri with shrimp and zucchini. The one she calls traditional is Mama’s Pia Neapolitan Ragu. The signature Italian dishes include the Scialatielle (from the Amalfi coast), the Pappardelle, gnocchi in pesto-cream sauce, and lasagna.
Many of the pasta dishes are made there, as are the Italian bread and some of the desserts. Those desserts include tiramisu and Anna’s almond cake. Superb I might add.
They do cater on and off premise, carry out for sure and definitely casual. And yes that do offer pizza.
By the way, if Anna’s mom, Mama Pia, is there be sure to say hello.
Here is the menu.
Okay let’s depart Baltimore County and head to Anne Arundel County, like in Annapolis. Now here’s a restaurant I heard much about so I had to investigate. It’s Azure (Spanish for ‘blue) in The Westin Annapolis – 100 Westgate Circle, about a mile from the harbor.
Open for all three meals you’ll find Azure on the lobby level. The menu changes seasonally. I enjoyed the crab cake which I have to believe remains on the menu year round.
Chef Kurt Peter told me two other signature items would be the shaved pork sandwich and the seared scallops, which is an appetizer. I would describe Azure as modern in style with an attached lounge and bar. In the colder months there is a fireplace to warm the night.
There is a private dining room and they do cater to larger groups off-premise. By the way, before I forget, the crab meat is only Maryland crab meat, as are the oysters.That includes the winter.