I’m an Italian-American raised in NY but living in MD for the past 12 years. After reading online reviews I expected La Scala to be overpriced cafeteria food. But we enjoyed dinner and I’ll add another “eat here!” vote to the mix. Early (5 pm Saturday) dinner and the place was empty – when we left at 6:15 things were picking up.
The wait staff was incredibly attentive. We ordered, then played bocce before our food arrived. Complementary string beans/potatoes were eaten by my teenagers before I got a taste. Complementary bread with fruity olive oil for dipping was good. Antipasti salad had some amazing meats with tasty olives and cubes of hard cheeses over field greens with tomatoes, cucumbers and red onions, dressed with oil and vinegar (if you don’t like a lot of oil you might ask them to hold back a little – I thought it was a nice treat). Calamari was NOT overcooked, with marinara sauce served on the side. Orders of fettuccini Alfredo and chicken parmesan (2 large pieces; comes with a small side of penne in marinara sauce) were both good. Gambari fra diavolo was REALLY good – spicy spicy with 6 jumbo shrimp that were NOT overcooked over a generous serving of angel hair pasta. Gnocchi with pesto was very good – tender plump gnocchi with fresh garlicky pesto. We took half of the fettuccini and fra diavolo pasta home with us. Montepulciano del Abruzzo (red wine) was very good. We were stuffed but asked about dessert…and got a half-and-half hazelnut/chocolate cannoli (amazing; get the hazelnut) to split 3 ways (1 cannoli-hater in the group; the half-and-half was suggested by our server when he overheard us having trouble making up our minds). Played more bocce before heading to the theatre.
My advice? If you don’t like olive oil and garlic, you might not like everything here, but my impression is that speaking with the staff could get you what you would enjoy. The restaurant’s website has prices, so look and decide if prices are acceptable to you. I agree that the pasta is overpriced (it is almost anywhere), but the sauces were good. I would suggest looking over the salumeria (cured meats: salami, speck) offerings – we did not order from this, but it looked very interesting. After tasting the paper-thin prosciutto and sopressata from the antipasto originale I think this would be a fantastic option (I don’t know if they serve the meats sliced or not, though). At $9 the cannoli was very expensive (and there was no menu with prices), so I advise you ask about special/dessert prices before ordering to avoid shock. But I recommend the restaurant. Mangia! (fyi this same review was posted to Yelp)
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