A first meal at the recently opened Illiano’s at Quarry Lakes (which is part of a new chain of Italian restaurants in central Maryland) proved to be a pleasant surprise.
The dining room is large and airy with walls of windows. The menu has a wide range of Italian type offerings including reasonably priced pizza and sandwiches as well as classic Italian entrees.
We started by sharing mussels in tomato sauce ($8). The portion was generous enough for the three of us but it was the incredibly chunky, spicy tomato sauce that they were cooked in that won an instant “Thumbs up” from all of us (our friendly attentive waiter responded quickly to our request for some bread to mop up what left of the sauce). The combination of the mussels and this sauce were simply a “WOW!”
For a our main course, I got grilled calamari salad ($10). The baby greens were topped with a lot of tender grilled calamari and served with a balsamic vinaigrette. It was delicious. Both of my friends got personal 10″ pizzas ($10) – Marty’s Frutta de Mari had a half dozen shrimp and bits of calamari in a thick “made here” crust. The seafood had been cooked in a tomato sauce and too much of the sauce was added on top of the pizza but Marty was otherwise impressed. Tom got a pizza which arrived with so much cheese and topping, he ended up taking half of it home with him. Both Tom and Marty felt that their pizza toppings were “too wet” (We’re not sure at this point if this is characteristic of all Illiano’s pizzas or whether this was just a coincidence of the two that we ordered on the evening we ordered them!)
Between our appetizer and main course, we looked with envy at a near-by table that had some yummy looking carrot cake and lemon creme cake but we were just too full to indulge! This is definitely a restaurant worth trying again.
Facts: Illiano’s; 2620 Quarry Lake Drive; Pikesville; 410.486.2058; open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner; lots of adjacent free parking; Hint: On a nice day, it’s pleasant to take a stroll around Quarry Lake.