Boot Country Bonanza

Italian outpost in Timonium packs pasta pizzazz.

By Amy Mulvihill - September 2015

Review: Il Basilico Trattoria Italiana

Italian outpost in Timonium packs pasta pizzazz.

By Amy Mulvihill - September 2015

The gnocchi in pesto-cream sauce. -Photography by Scott Suchman

If you go to Il Basilico Trattoria Italiana in Timonium, bring two things: a group and an appetite. You’ll need both to make a dent in this casual eatery’s carbo-concentrated plates of Italian staples and inventive originals.

Founded as Pasta Blitz in 2006 by Boot Country ex-pats Anna and Sal Di Pierno, it was rebranded Il Basilico in 2013, after both the space and the menu received enough updates to warrant a name change.

The offerings are mostly classic Italian red-sauce fare: parmigianas (chicken, veal, or eggplant); lasagnas (meat or eggplant); stuffed shells; plus pizzas (New York- and Sicilian-style) with a constellation of toppings. But over time, more innovative dishes have appeared that exhibit the Di Piernos’ commitment to fresh ingredients and unusual preparations.

On a recent outing, we tried a bit of both the old and the new and found the results uneven, but never less than satisfying in the way that Italian fare—even when imperfect—rarely disappoints. A hot antipasto of jumbo shrimp, broccoli and mushrooms sautéed in olive oil and garlic, and a ricotta-stuffed eggplant sounded like an interesting departure from the norm but was marred by overly sauced veggies and rubbery shrimp. That being said, the salty-savory eggplant folded over pillowy ricotta was a blissful beginning bite.

For entrees, we stuck with the pasta plates. A special of pasta twists with calamari, little neck clams, and jumbo gulf shrimp in a white-wine-and-cherry-tomato sauce ($25) was a bit bland, but a tri-color cheese tortellini with ham and mushrooms in a white cream sauce ($15) was precisely as our server described it—a decadent, grown-up version of mac and cheese.

The real star, however, was the gnocchi Toscana ($18): tiny potato morsels polished to pearly smoothness and served in a rich pesto-cream sauce dotted with dollops of piquant Gorgonzola and strands of spinach.

The desserts also hit the spot. We highly recommend the tart lemon sorbet ($7.95), served in a hollowed-out lemon rind, or the chocolate tartufo ($6.95), a large bonbon-shaped confection that’s like a cross between a Ferrero Rocher and an ice-cream cake.

After a couple of visits, everyone in your party is sure to have a go-to favorite.

›› Il Basilico Trattoria Italiana: 49 W. Aylesbury Rd., Timonium, 410-453-6603. Hours: Mon.-Thurs.: 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Fri.-Sat.: 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Sun.: 12 p.m.-10 p.m. Prices: $2-35.

You May Also Like

Food & Drink

Local Flavor Live Podcast: Our Biggest Restaurant Pet Peeves

Plus, Dooby's owner opens Inner Harbor spot, our take on the chicken sandwich debate, and best bites.

In Good Taste

Open & Shut: Crust by Mack; Le Comptoir du Vin; The Haute Dog Carte

The latest restaurant openings, closings, and recent news.

On The Town

Charm City Night Market Plots Bigger and Brighter Return in Second Year

The event highlighting Asian American culture is expanding its reach and ambition.

In Good Taste

Chef Andy Thomas Puts His Own Spin on Pub Fare at The Tilted Row

Local industry veteran shares journey to the Middle Eastern-influenced restaurant in Bolton Hill.

Food & Drink

Review: The Tilted Row

For a great gathering spot in Bolton Hill, head to The Tilted Row.

Food & Drink

Canton's Raw Bar and Raw & Refined Can Be Hard to Tell Apart

The overlaps run even deeper than the comically similar names.

The gnocchi in pesto-cream sauce. -Photography by Scott Suchman

Connect With Us

Most Read

The Mare Projects Connects Communities in the African Diaspora: Works from their first-ever residency program will be on display at Gallery CA.

The Orioles Aren’t Moving Out of Town, But They Have a Long Way To Go: Putting a wrap on relocation rumors and the O’s predictable 2019 season.

The Book Thing Starts Next Chapter Under New Management: Here’s what to know when planning a visit to Baltimore’s free-to-all bookshop.

Cardinal Art Walks Explore Works Outside of the Gallery's Bolton Hill Walls: The ongoing fall exhibition is meant to make participants see the city in a new way.

New City Council Bill Could Ban Plastic Bag Use Across Baltimore: A vote next week could set in motion a bill that reaches the mayor’s desk.