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A Night at Illiano's: Only Garlic Bread for Us

My first visit to the new Italian restaurant didn't turn out the way we'd hoped.

Today, I'm sick of garlic bread.

That's because it's all I had to eat for dinner Wednesday at Illiano's J&P Restaurant—other than the sparkling water.

Illiano's is the new restaurant that opened Saturday at The Shops at Quarry Lake, in the former site of Ciao!.

It was my first visit to the new restaurant, and stepping inside was just like stepping into Ciao!, except the colors are a little brighter after Illiano's renovations.

I brought along a friend who is Italian-American, and who has never been to Pikesville. This night didn't turn out to be a good introduction to our community.

We arrived at 7:30, talked for about 20 minutes until a member of the waitstaff came by to take our order.

Drinks arrived at 8:10 p.m. and bread about 10 minutes after that.

I ordered lasagna, my friend ordered gnocci. They weren't easy choices to make, since their menu has so much, from appetizers to steaks, seafood, pizza, sandwiches and Italian dishes.

However, by 8:50 p.m. our meals still hadn't arrived. Sure, we had gotten some fresh garlic bread and brown bread in a basket some time during our wait, but that wasn't enough to keep us there longer than we had already stayed.

We let our server know that we planned to leave now, since we've been waiting for food for over an hour.

She left, apparently to commiserate with another server near the kitchen for about 5 minutes—we know because we could see her—before another server came and apologized 'from the bottom of my heart.'

He said the restaurant was short-staffed.

He said the co-manager herself was waiting on a table of 12, and that someone high up—maybe the owner—was actually doing some of the cooking.

And that 12-top? It was a group of mostly elderly people, who looked very happy to be together. However, they had been there before we arrived, and were just getting their food as we left.

We popped in next door at Pizza Blitz Italian Restaurant and ordered the same things—gnocci and lasagna, where the service was much better.

I had to pass on most of the garlic bread, though. My friend said it was better than at Illiano's.

Still, next time at Illiano's, I hope to get past the bread and water.

Neily j September 20, 2012 at 07:18 PM
two words ROBERT IRVINE
Jill Dudley Cohen September 21, 2012 at 10:34 AM
We also had a bad experience at Illiano's this week. The menu looked great and they seated us right away. We ordered a pizza that arrived with 1/2 of the crust burned and black. The inside was mostly soggy uncooked dough. It was quickly replaced with a new one that looked exactly the same. Hopefully they will get their pizza oven calibrated. I guess its back to Pizza Blitz for us.
Nick M September 25, 2012 at 01:18 PM
That place isn't their first location. They should have their act together. Pizza Blitz is great both in food and staff. I'll stick with them.
Mike Irvin October 13, 2012 at 09:03 PM
Our experience was fantastic. We started off with Mussels Marinara and finished with Penne Vodka with a great bottle of Montipuchino! Then a nightcap of Fonseca Bin 27 caped off with there specialty Italian Lemon cake. What a great time and a night to remember. I will be back frequently and reccomend to all my friends.

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