Cafe Gia Ristorante

4.7
411 reviews
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$30 and under
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Italian
Top tags:
  • Good for a Date
  • Romance
  • Neighbourhood Gem
In 1953, Giovanna Aquia, along with her family, boarded the famous Italian luxury liner the “Andrea Doria” and made their way to America from Cefalu, Sicily, arriving in Little Italy, Baltimore on June 23, 1953. Their family life always revolved around the dinner table. It was there that a great appreciation of simple Sicilian cuisine took root.

It was the desire to share our Sicilian heritage and Sicilian cuisine that prompted the family to buy an older neighborhood diner and create a new, warm, comfortable family ristoranté in Little Italy, “Café Gia Ristoranté.” We have strived very hard to recreate a Sicilian bistro, a place where one feels like they are in Sicily while dining. Buon appetito!
What 411 People Are Saying
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Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.7based on recent ratings
4.7
Food
4.6
Service
4.6
Ambience
4.4
Value
Noise · Quiet
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D
Philadelphia
12 reviews
Dined on March 13, 2019
Overall 4Food 4Service 5Ambience 4

Excellent service ~ very good food. Great experience

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RK
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on March 10, 2019
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

Nonna Rosa's meatballs...excellent! Gnocchi w/ wild boar and truffles...amazing! Great service and atmosphere as well! We'll be back!

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LD
1 review
Dined on March 2, 2019
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 4

Excellent food and wait staff! We enjoyed our dinner there!

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OT
1 review
Dined on February 22, 2019
Overall 3Food 4Service 3Ambience 3

The food was good and the wait service was terrific. It was very noisy, though. We had tried to get in touch (for a special request) by both phone and email a few days ahead of our reservation but didn’t get any response until the afternoon of our reservation day. Too late for us to seek an alternative.

Overall it was good but it’s unlikely we will be returning as it’s a fair drive for us and we have have better close by.

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GG
1 review
Dined on February 17, 2019
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

This was our second time here and it was great like last time. Will be back again in the future! Keep up the great work 👍🏽

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HT
New York Area
6 reviews
Dined on February 16, 2019
Overall 3Food 3Service 4Ambience 4

We were there on a very busy evening. A few parties and a lot of Valentine dates. We were seated early and acknowledged quickly. Our waitress was sweet but very busy. We waited a while for our meals to arrive but knowing how busy they were, we expected to wait. Some guests waited longer . The food was very good. We will try again some day but with so many options in Little Italy, it might take a while. More like a 3.75 rating for our night.

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NC
1 review
Dined on February 16, 2019
Overall 4Food 4Service 5Ambience 5

Took my girlfriend to Cafe Gia, had a great time! Ambiance was nice, got seated in the best seat in the house (balcony) without even asking and had a nice relaxed time. Wait staff was extremely friendly. Unfortunately, the food wasn't exceptional (although quite tasty for sure and definitely not a reason to skip this place). Only big issue is I found a hair in my food. This happens, so I wouldn't hold it against them, but it definitely took away from the experience.

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EK
1 review
Dined on February 15, 2019
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

Loved this restaurant inside and out! A lot of personality. They were out of a lot of wines but we still had a good one. I had the gnocchi, not very traditional. It was made with shredded beef but it was still delicious. We had a calamari appetizer that was more of a sauce that I definitely recommend (they did have a fried one as well).

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JR
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on January 27, 2019
Overall 5Food 4Service 5Ambience 5

Excellent food but one of group had to go to third choice for an entree that was available on Sunday at 6PM. Attentive staff.

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AM
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on January 27, 2019
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

Delightful and not fussy homemade Italian food in the heart of Baltimore’s Little Italy.

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OT
Philadelphia
13 reviews
Dined on January 26, 2019
Overall 4Food 4Service 4Ambience 4

Magical fine dining Italian in little Italy. We split a bottle of super Tuscan, I had the veal saltimbuco and my wife had the shrimp fra Diablo. Food was perfectly seasoned and plate presentation was spot on.

Noisy place but more welcoming. Met the owner who was very friendly and helped to make the night a success.

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j
Baltimore
4 reviews
Dined on January 26, 2019
Overall 4Food 3Service 4Ambience 5

Pasta with mushroom special of the day was delicious. Veal saltimbocca was good. Pasta in the pasta and meatball dish was not well cooked. Pasta pillows (Casoncelli) were tasty but greasy.

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OT
New England
2 reviews
Dined on January 24, 2019
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

Great spot with great food & service!

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L
Washington DC
15 reviews
Dined on January 19, 2019
Overall 3Food 4Service 3Ambience 3

Went with friends for the first time to this restaurant for dinner. The food was flavorful and each dish had a slight twist to it with the manicotti having a slight kick to it, the lasagna in a white sauce rather than red, and pork in ravioli pillows. The decor is decorated with different murals on the walls. The service was hands off but not neglectful.

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S
Washington DC
15 reviews
Dined on January 18, 2019
Overall 4Food 4Service 5Ambience 3

Cafe Gia was warm and welcoming. The Service was friendly and attentive. The brasata was delicious. I ate every spoonful. My friend had venison ossa bucco. The portion was enormous. He thought the risotto was not as firm as he would have liked.

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BO
1 review
Dined on January 11, 2019
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

Café Gia never disappoints. Chef Gianfranco puts out the best dishes made with the best ingredients. The ambiance is amazing and beautiful. One of our favorite places to go on our ever so rare date nights. See ya soon Chef G!

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J
1 review
Dined on January 10, 2019
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

First time I’ve written a review online of anything. The food was that good.

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PJ
Baltimore
21 reviews
Dined on January 5, 2019
Overall 3Food 3Service 4Ambience 5

"Uneven" is the best way to describe Cafe Gia. When good it is VERY good. When bad it is very bad.

I am of Italian descent and have traveled extensively in Italy/Sicily and throughout the US - eating my way through all. Every place I have tried in Little Italy is mediocre at best and always more expensive than it ought to be. Nearby Cinghiale and Sotto Sopra are WAY better options. But our son and his wife wanted his birthday dinner there.

Appetizers: The bruschetta was great - served on excellent bread with fresh, tasty topping. Salads were bad. The salads warm, looked and tasted as if they had been made well in advance. Bleh. The Arancini were great, freshly fried, crispy with a tasty center. If you have never tried Arancini (breaded, deep fried rice balls with a filling of cheese, or meat, or any number of ingredients), you should try them here. They're the best I have had in the US. The pork belly was also excellent.

Main course: I had the Brasato with Polenta (slow cooked beef with a reduction sauce). This was the hit dish of the night. Fork tender, super flavorful sauce you wanted to lick off the plate. The Fontina infused polenta base was out of this world. My wife is not a huge polenta fan but she LOVED it. Our son ordered the Oso Buco and that was very good to excellent with a flavor-packed sauce. Our DIL had the Chestnut Gnocchi with boar, it was very good but not up to the level of the Barsato or Osso Buco. She noted that the truffles described on the menu were not in the dish that she could tell. Finally my wife's Scampi was simply awful. She never sends back food, but did that night. The shrimp were overcooked - tough and chewy. The shrimp were served on a bed of pasta with a creamy sauce. Scampi is supposed to be shrimp cooked in a white wine and butter sauce - not a creamy sauce. It simply didn't work.

Bottom line: I'm glad we went, despite the low spots. It's too bad the kitchen wasn't more consistent. Try at your own risk.

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D
Washington DC
16 reviews
Dined on January 5, 2019
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

Quiet comfortable relaxing and delicious

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L
Baltimore
11 reviews
Dined on December 23, 2018
Overall 4Food 5Service 4Ambience 3

Had the rigatoni which was delicious. Everyone enjoyed their meal and would love to go back again.

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CC
Baltimore
4 reviews
Dined on December 14, 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 4Ambience 5

We always enjoy Gia’s, discovered it about 5 years ago and love the food and ambiance. I had the manicotti and it was delicious. We also had the caprese salad. The waitress was very attentive.

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FG
Baltimore
23 reviews
Dined on December 12, 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

Beautiful restaurant inside and out! The decor is that of an authentic trattoria which mimics the outstanding homemade Italian fare. The lasagna Bolognese was a big WOW and the veal saltimbocca was perfectly cooked and seasoned. Save room for the best cannoli in town! Cafe Gia is a must try!!

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RD
1 review
Dined on November 27, 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

Really cool looking and unique spot in the little Italy area. Ambiance was nice. Not too loud. Service and food was excellent! Would definitely recommend.

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KJ
1 review
Dined on November 24, 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

Everything was amazing!!! The waiter was very attentive and helpful. The food was made with care and had so much flavor!

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JC
New York Area
1 review
Dined on November 16, 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 4

This is a local gem in Baltimore's Little Italy. Went here after a conference with a large group (2 tables of 6, which they let us put together) and it was a real crowd pleaser. Service was friendly and efficient and decor is colorful and cozy. Menu has many Italian American (especially Sicilian) favorites, plus some interesting specials, all well prepared and delicious. Both food and wine are reasonably priced. Highly recommended for those who want an authentic Little Italy experience that's a bit less fancy (and less expensive) than some of the more famous places in the neighborhood, but really good.

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VC
1 review
Dined on November 13, 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

I have been there many times and it has never disappointed. Everything is great!

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m
Baltimore
34 reviews
Dined on November 11, 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 4Ambience 4

Always wonderful food, freindly helpful staff. I love this place!

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D
1 review
Dined on November 4, 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

Great food, nice atmosphere and wonderful staff. Would recommend restaurant to friends and family.

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m
Washington DC
6 reviews
Dined on October 25, 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 4Ambience 4

Café Gia it’s great fun! They always make you feel so welcome and the service was fantastic. The menu was great and the specials are even better. And the bar knows how to make a killer martini.

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s
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on October 23, 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

Cafe Gia is reliable, has excellent food choices in a balanced menu, and is truly charming. Just a wonderful dining experience.

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CA
1 review
Dined on October 16, 2018
Overall 1Food 1Service 3Ambience 3

This restaurant was a big disappointment. The grilled octopus was not edible and my husbands veal scallopini was bland and the green beans were over cooked and soggy. The atmosphere was lovely and service was ok.

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NB
New York Area
1 review
Dined on October 13, 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

Gia provides consistently good authentic Italian food in a comfortable, friendly atmosphere. Restaurant is beautiful yet unpretentious. Service is impeccable. This is the way Italians eat today.

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DK
Baltimore
1 review
Dined on October 13, 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

So happy to return to Café Gia! The best part of going to the Annapolis boat show is going into Little Italy afterwards for dinner at this lovely restaurant. They have the prettiest water and beverage glasses. Tiramisu..... oh my, oh my!

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c
1 review
Dined on October 11, 2018
Overall 4Food 4Service 4Ambience 5

Terrific artwork. The owner knows her food and takes time to assist in making choices.

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SO
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on October 11, 2018
Overall 4Food 4Service 4Ambience 4

One of our favorite places to eat. The owners and staff are always very friendly. Food is delicious.
A family favorite for years to celebrate or just because.

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MS
1 review
Dined on October 6, 2018
Overall 3Food 2Service 1Ambience 3

We were excited to try this restaurant based on recommendations, but it’s hard for me to give it any stars because of the terrible service. We were seated on the balcony and no server came to the table for 45 minutes. It was even more frustrating because a waitress was taking care of the table next to us but always managed to keep her back to us when she was arriving, helping them, and leaving their table, which is impressive since that’s almost impossible to do that in the small space. We finally flagged down a man who was refilling the water at the table next to us (we still had not gotten water, bread or anything) and asked if he could find someone to help us. The food was fine. We had the polpette, linguine with clam sauce, shrimp scampi, shrimp fra diavolo and a pork-stuffed pasta. All were good but I would not go back because of the service—there are many other restaurants in Baltimore.

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GM
1 review
Dined on October 6, 2018
Overall 1Food 4Service 1Ambience 4

Waited 20 minutes for server who was rude and 2 hours for food on a Saturday night with a reservation. Food was good.

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P
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on October 3, 2018
Overall 3Food 3Service 3Ambience 4

On a weekday evening cafe was quiet and about 1/2 full with mostly couples. Small, cozy atmosphere with colorful accents and art work. Service was prompt and attentive. The menu is limited but has all the popular Italian dishes. The Calarmi with shrimp and zucchini appetizer was delicious and made for a good start. The Chicken Coletta and eggplant parmigiana were good but a little lacking in taste. There was a good selection of wine by the glass or bottle. Wine prices were high but no different than other cafes in the area. Generally my wife and I had a pleasant experience and good meal at Cafe Gia, however our dinning experience could have been much improved if the waitress was friendlier and more engaging. She was knowledgeable and efficient but cold and robotic in her interactions; sending a vibe that she would have rather been anywhere other than serving us.

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TL
Baltimore
1 review
Dined on September 30, 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

Excellent food and service.
The meatballs are the best!

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KL
Baltimore
2 reviews
Dined on September 30, 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

What a lovely place. We wanted to celebrate our anniversary at a small authentic Italian restaurant where we could have a nice conversation. We have salad, entree ( I had clams, he bolagnase) and shared the hazelnut desert. This did not disappoint. We will be back again.

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