East County Times Dining Guide



Bacoli Delight
151 Orville Rd
Essex, MD 21221



Article & Photos by Allson McAlister

If you enjoy Italian food and have yet to venture into Bacoli Delight, located in the Waterview Town Center in Essex, you dont know what youre missing. At first glance, you may think its just another pizza and sub shop or thats its only a carry-out place, but Bacoli Delight is actually a cozy sit-down restaurant with a seven-day package goods liquor license and a full menu featuring all sorts of tantalizing Italian dishes. It aint just spaghetti and meatballs, thats for sure, my co-worker noted on our recent visit there for lunch. While the restaurant does serve pizza, subs and calzones, owner Fred Rotunno explained, We pride ourselves on our homemade items, and revealed their specialty lies with the saute dishes, such as the Chicken Chesapeake. Designated as a Local Favorite on the menu, Rotunno said it was easily their most popular item. We knew wed definitely have to try it. We started our meal with appetizers of stuffed mushrooms and the Gamberi Gondola, a type of shrimp scampi and garlic bread creation. The mushrooms were heavenly. Large, meaty mushrooms stuffed with delectable Crab Imperial, cooked to perfection and with an awesome flavor and texture. Really good. The shrimp gondola is a very cute idea and it tastes amazing as well. Three big, succulent shrimp doused in an unforgettable garlicky scampi sauce are perched atop a slice of garlic bread, resembling a gondola. We were impressed so far. For our main meal, we sampled the Tortellini Bolognese and, of course, the famous Chicken Chesapeake. The Tortellini Bolognese, served up piping hot, consists of tasty cheese-filled button pasta tossed in a tomato cream sauce with ground beef. The cheese tortellini was perfectly cooked and the sauce was flavorful. We both gobbled it up! Once we moved on to the Chicken Chesapeake, it was clear to us why this dish is the most popular. The menu describes it as chicken breast sauteed with shrimp and jumbo lump crab served over angel hair pasta in an Old Bay cream sauce. This dish was absolutely scrumptious! The chicken was so tender and flavorful, the shrimp were divine and there was a lot of crab meat throughout, but what makes this dish is the unique Old Bay sauce. That is different, my co-worker remarked. Ive never had anything like that. We raved about the sauce to each other while we polished off our servings. Then we raved about it to Rotunno. No wonder its a best seller. Even though it was a weekday afternoon, I couldnt pass up Rotunnos offer to try the homemade Sangria. One sip and I was hooked. The sangria is outstanding! Even if youre not into wine, you will love this delicious fruit-filled beverage. Be sure to save room for dessert because you do not want to miss out on ending your meal with a delectable Italian treat, like homemade cannoli, tiramisu or rice pudding. We opted for the homemade fried dough balls and the homemade Italian cookies and cannoli. Oh, my goodness, I absolutely love fried dough and these little balls were addictive! So yummy! The cannoli were incredible - crisp pastry shell filled with a scrumptious cheese filling. And the Italian cookies were delectable as well, they just melted in your mouth. So good! Its no wonder the desserts are so delish - Rotunno spent 25 years as general manager at Vaccaros, the famous Italian bakery in Little Italy. Though he wasnt in the kitchen then, he enjoys his duties as chef at Bacoli Delight since he took over in May 2007. Ive always had a passion for cooking, he revealed, noting his culinary background is very Sicilian. Though from what I hear of the generous portion sizes, you may have to get dessert to go. (Ours were not full portions, just sample size so we could taste a few different items.) Theres not a person who comes in here who doesnt walk out with a bag of leftovers, laughed Rotunno. And if they dont, then they ate it all, and thats another story. The restaurant also offers catering and private parties. Rotunno explained they rent out the place on Sundays before they open for private parties. Off-premise catering is available as well. Offering daily lunch and dinner specials, Bacoli Delight runs a super deal on Sundays featuring the tantalizingly delicious Chicken Chesapeake for just $11.99 and half price Sangria. What a great way to end your weekend, enjoying a delicious homecooked meal you didnt have to spend time in the the kitchen making yourself or cleaning up afterwards! Bacoli Delight is located at 151 Orville Road in Essex. Hours of operation are Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. - 9 p.m., Friday, 11 a.m. - 10 p.m., Saturday, 11:30 a.m. - 10 p.m. and Sunday, 4 - 9 p.m. For more information, call 410-238-1922 or visit www.bacolirestaurant.com.

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