Federal Hill and South Baltimore have hundreds of great places to eat, but until recently classic Italian was not available in SoBo. Growing up with an Italian mother, great Italian cuisine was often part of family meals and gatherings. Our favorite restaurant growing up was even Mamma Lucia, a classic Italian restaurant that started in Annapolis and later opened many locations and spin-off restaurants in the area including one in Baltimore’s Waverly neighborhood.
Living in South Baltimore for more than 10 years and enjoying all of the great bars and restaurants that make this area so desirable, I always thought one thing was missing: a classic Italian restaurant. Baltimore is no stranger to good Italian food as Little Italy is a top dining attraction in the city and many of our pizza joints have been featured in national publications, but it is always nice to have one of your favorite types of food readily available right in your own neighborhood.
When I saw a sign saying that Brendali Italian Ristorante would be opening at 1022 Light St. in Federal Hill in the former home of Elvis, I was very excited (…and even a little worried that the place would never be able to live up to my expectations for great classic Italian in our neighborhood.)
Brendali opened in May and since then the reviews circulating around the neighborhood have been very good. I finally got a chance to check out the BYOB restaurant myself last Friday.
My barometer for good Italian food is always chicken parmesan as it is one of my favorite foods. So, we ordered the chicken parm for our entrée, as well as the clams casino and garlic shrimp appetizers. Everything was very, very good (the sauce on the shrimp made you dip whatever you could find into it!)
And as for the chicken parm, it was top notch. I’ve had this dish at many places around the region and Brendali’s was up there with the best. On top of that, the entree was huge – they split the dish for us in two and it was plenty.
After dinner they brought out the dessert tray featuring four or five selections, including tiramisu, which in my opinion is the perfect way to cap a great Italian meal. Their tiramisu was excellent, full of flavor and just the right consistency.
At the end of our meal, the owner and chef Pedro Lovo came by to introduce himself and to see how we enjoyed our meal, which we always love as restaurant patrons. We assured him we would be back and told him we could not wait to try more of Brendali’s dishes.
Brendali provided a great meal at a great price. It’s so nice to have classic Italian in Federal Hill!