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Daniela’s Pasta and Pastries

Photo: Andrea Appleton, License: N/A, Created: 2011:07:14 09:05:35

Andrea Appleton

Daniela’s Pasta and Pastries

900 W. 36th St., (443) 759-9320

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In 2008, Daniela Useli—a native of Sardinia, Italy, who was then guest chef at Sotto Sopra—told a Baltimore Sun reporter she dreamed of opening a trattoria, but feared it was too late. Fortunately for all of us, she was wrong. Daniela’s Pasta and Pastries recently opened in a tiny storefront in Hampden, and it is delightful. Useli’s children are there to translate for their mother and describe the many delicacies in the glass case, while Useli—in jaunty red cap and apron—piles a little extra of everything on your plate. The meatballs (three for $3.50), the mushroom focaccia ($3.50 for a meal-sized piece), and the ricotta and spinach ravioli ($6.99) are classic, well-made comfort food. A flaky anchovy, tomato, and mozzarella pastry ($2.99) is tangy and addictive, and we might just go back and buy a whole tray of the gooey ham and cheese lasagna with homemade spinach noodles ($6.99 per piece). As for dessert, the cannoli ($3.99), a crisp, light version filled with what seemed like chocolate mousse, charmed a reviewer who usually doesn’t care for them. If you go—and you should—be prepared to dine at home. Daniela’s is only open until 7 p.m. and seating is limited.

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