On a visit to Baltimore last week, a friend and I asked a native Baltimorean what would be a good place for dinner on Saturday evening in little Italy. He recommended Daniela's, up in the Hampden neighborhood, as better than anything in Little Italy. Not to take anything away from Little Italy, but we were so glad we went up to Hamden to try Daniela's!
The food was absolutely delicious. The dishes labeled as Sardinian specialties may be particularly worth trying - while ravioli spinaci was very good, a Sardinian shell-type pasta with meat sauce called Malloreddus was absolutely out of this world delicious. The pastas were very reasonably-priced (around $16-17), and the portions were quite ample. We washed it down with a bottle of a nice Sardinian red called Carignano del Sucis, which was delicious and reasonably-priced ($30 per bottle, $10 per glass). Unfortunately we didn't have room for dessert, but the dinner made me want to go back a few more times to try everything on the menu!
The restaurant itself is in a big old house, with a nice front porch for outdoor seating, and a couple of dining rooms inside. It is simple and homey, and feels almost as if your Italian friend had invited you over to his mom's house for dinner. And the staff is terrific - most if not all of them are from Italy, and they are genuinely warm, friendly, and unpretentious. They seem like they are having fun and enjoying their jobs, which makes the atmosphere pleasant. We had nice chats with several of the friendly servers, who seem to work as a team, and Daniela herself stopped by to say hello to us.
If I didn't live 50 miles away, I would definitely become a regular at this place!
A quick note on the name: it used to be called Daniela's Pasta and Pastries, which is what Trip Advisor is still showing, but they moved down the block to a larger location and made it a real restaurant. If it has "Daniela" in the name, you are probably in the right spot.