The celebrity chef and restaurateur’s new 180-seat eatery inside the Horseshoe Casino Baltimore (1525 Russell Street) is the latest venture she’s opened inside a gambling venue. In February, De Laurentiis unveiled her fast-casual concept, Pronto by Giada, at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. She also has her eponymous flagship restaurant at the Cromwell in Vegas.
The nearly 10,000-square-foot space in Baltimore contains fun design elements, including a photo booth, and posters of movies made by her grandfather, late-film producer Dino De Laurentiis. Lounge seating and high-top tables surround the large bar, where customers can dine on imported cheeses, meats, olives, and other antipasti. The restaurant can accommodate 40 diners on its patio, some of whom will get a view of M&T Bank Stadium. Another couple dozen tables are reserved for two chef’s tables next to the open kitchen, headed by BLT Prime alum executive chef Brian Drosenos.
During a media preview, De Laurentiis shared a few dishes she came up with for Charm City diners. A margherita pizza came fresh from the brick oven crafted by Marra Forni in neighboring Beltsville, Maryland, while an orzo meatball, crispy turkey meatball, and a chicken marsala meatball completed a meatball trio. Her take on a classic Maryland dish, rockfish, was served cacciatore style with a potato chip gremolata. One of the best-selling dishes at her Vegas restaurant, chitarra with a creamy lemon and pea alfredo, appears on the menu with five other regular pasta dishes.
The extensive wine list includes California and Italian favorites, including a chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon from Napa Valley’s Iconic Wines. Cocktails sporting names such as King Kong pay tribute to her grandfather’s films.
GDL Italian is scheduled to operate from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday, Wednesday, and Thursday, and from 4 p.m. to midnight on Friday and Saturday.
Status: Certified open. 1525 Russell Street, Baltimore, Md.; website.