La Dolce Vita

Restaurateurs offer insider tours of Italy.

By Amy Mulvihill - March 2016

La Dolce Vita

Restaurateurs offer insider tours of Italy.

By Amy Mulvihill - March 2016

Mary Ann Cricchio and Chef Masood Masoodi pose at Da Mimmo's Restaurant -Photography by Christopher Myers

Customers have come to expect a certain elan from Da Mimmo’s Restaurant. In addition to its famously succulent veal chop, the Little Italy mainstay founded 32 years ago by Mary Ann Cricchio and her late husband, Mimmo, prides itself on extending every conceivable comfort, from complimentary limo service to a swanky cocktail lounge replete with a baby grand piano. It’s all part of what Cricchio calls the “Da Mimmo experience.”

Four years ago, that experience went international when some customers asked Cricchio to organize and lead a tour of the Amalfi Coast for them. As she is fluent in Italian, has visited the region for 35 years, and has owned a home there since 2005, she dove right in, harnessing her myriad connections to craft a 10-day trip covering the coast’s many highlights, including the luxurious town of Positano, the isle of Capri, and the ruins of Pompeii. But unlike a typical package trip, Cricchio’s tour was full of insider experiences and first-class accommodations, such as private yacht service for the journey to Capri and exclusive cooking classes with Italian celebrity chef Salvatore De Riso.

“It’s not a canned trip,” says Cricchio. “It’s authentic experiences.”

Cricchio is joined on the excursions by Da Mimmo’s executive chef Masood Masoodi, who is a native of Iran but became an honorary Italian after Cricchio sent him to Positano and Siena for culinary training once he took over kitchen duties after Mimmo’s death in 2003.

The all-inclusive trip is so popular that it’s now offered several times a year. And this year, Cricchio and Masoodi are adding a Tuscany version (August 12-22) to coincide with Siena’s storied horse race, the Palio—for which Cricchio and Masoodi have secured 22 tickets. The sojourn also will take in Florence and the Italian Riviera towns of the Cinque Terre—in style, naturally.

“My reputation, her reputation, Da Mimmo’s reputation is more important than anything else,” says Masoodi. “It would be a shame on us to take anybody’s time and money and not give them 150 percent of what they expected.”

You May Also Like

Arts District

Where to Watch Outdoor Movies This Summer

From drive-in movies to waterfront features, catch these flicks around town.

Outdoor World

Michael Jordan Trades in Basketballs for Boats at White Marlin Open

Veteran fishermen give advice to the NBA superstar in his first Ocean City tournament.

Travel & Outdoors

Into the Woods

A local bikepacking group connects marginalized riders.

Outside World

Historic Cooperstown, NY Makes For a Fun Summer Road Trip

Home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame offers lake activities and a renowned opera festival.

The Chatter

Five Theme Parks to Get An Adrenaline Rush Within Driving Distance

Take advantage of Charm City’s proximity to several of the country’s best amusement parks.

Mary Ann Cricchio and Chef Masood Masoodi pose at Da Mimmo's Restaurant -Photography by Christopher Myers

Connect With Us

Most Read

Greektown’s Yard 56 Mixed-Use Development to Open by 2020: Project on former Pemco industrial site will be anchored by Streets Market & Cafe and LA Fitness.

Severe Flooding Plagues Neighborhoods Surrounding the Inner Harbor: Stark images of Harbor East and Fells Point arise on social media as area reckons with heavy rainfall.

What is the Likelihood of President Trump Coming to Baltimore?: With a House Republican conference and an invitation from Elijah Cummings, a presidential visit might be imminent.

Decades Night Club Documents Baltimore Club Music History at the Peale Center: We speak with curator Mia Loving about her latest exhibit, on view through this week.

Oletha DeVane Showcases Sculptural Works in 'Traces of Spirit' at the BMA: Local multidisciplinary artist explores religion, nature, and humanity in exhibit on view through October 20.