Hot Spots: Betting on Italian

By Brian Michael Lawrence

Food Network personality Giada De Laurentiis joined celebrity chefs Guy Fieri and Gordon Ramsey last year in opening a restaurant in the Horseshoe casino in downtown Baltimore.

The sweeping space was formerly occupied by another celebrity chef-helmed venture named Johnny Sanchez. It’s beautifully designed—starkly modern with polished wood and patterned tile floors, sleek white leather-upholstered seating, and over-scaled birdcage-like light fixtures in bright red.
Other accents include large patterned cut-out panels to divide areas of the room, as well as groupings of mod furniture to create several small lounge areas. Large floor-to-ceiling windows flood the space with natural light in the daytime, and open onto a wraparound terrace with outdoor seating. Several communal tables offer seating for groups.
The expansive bar area features more accents of cheery red, and futuristic suspended light fixtures overhead.
The bartender provided me with an extra-cold shaken Tito’s vodka martini—a great start to the evening’s meal.
From there, we moved on to a pizza for the table to kick things off. The Piccante pizza features mozzarella, espositos spicy sausage, sopressata picante and Calabrian chili paste.
The best dish of the night was Giada’s chicken parm, with spaghetti, pomodoro, mozzarella, arugula, shaved fennel and crispy bread crumbs. A close second was the chicken piccata, with spaghetti, lemon, white wine and capers. We sampled all the sides for the table, including creamy corn and crispy polenta, but the clear winner was the lemon smashed potatoes with parmigiano.
GDL Italian by Giada, along with Gordon Ramsay Steak and Guy Fieri’s Baltimore Kitchen + Bar, offer some solid dining choices downtown, all housed within the glittering Horseshoe complex. They can be destination dining on their own, or a great after-game spot super-close to M&T Bank Stadium.
{GDL Italian by Giada, 1525 Russell Street, in the Horseshoe Casino, Downtown}
Brian Michael Lawrence

Brian Michael Lawrence is one of THE Baltimore style experts. After all, he was the longtime editor-in-chief at STYLE Magazine, which specialized in covering everything stylish around the Baltimore area. Brian also served as editorial director for the digital division at Sinclair Broadcasting, and creative director at Blue Sky Design. Currently, he oversees communications & marketing for the department of Tourism, Film & the Arts at Maryland’s Commerce Department.  In his bi-weekly column, you’ll get to see what cool hotspots are piquing the interest of this Baltimore style maven and why - whether it's the fabulous food, cool cocktails or elegant environs.

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