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Serafino's (Ellicott City?) - any good?

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Does anybody have any experience with Serafino's? It's one block south of Route 40 across the street from The Crab Shanty. Judging by the number of cars when I happened upon it (checking out "Pig Picker's BBQ" inside the "Sea King" seafood carryout next door), they must be doing something right, but I'm often cautious in such cases to find out if it's the food or the bar that's bringing folks in.

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  1. They were much better in their old, much smaller location. Their pizza is ok, nothing more, and the space is very loud. Before the move, they were a nice BYOB family friendly restaurant. Now they are still family friendly, but the space just isn't as warm. Despite the wood burning ovens, the pizza could be much better. It's better than Luna Bella down the road, however. Also, despite their inclusion on some of their specialty pizzas, don't get anything with their anchovies. I love good anchovies, but theirs are terrible.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Jason1

      The pizza oven is gas fired, they had a wood burning oven in the old location.

      1. re: LGood

        Let me rephrase the comment, as a prior reply got yanked. When I was in there the other day, the oven appeared to be the shape typical of a wood fired oven, and the flames that I saw did not seem to be the sort of thing that one typicallly sees in a gas oven, though I was not in a position to look in to see if it was a wood fire or not. In other words, the pizza oven in the current Serafino's location is not the usual big rectangular steel monster with the "mail slot" type door. This one is more shaped like a traditional "bee hive" style wood fired oven, judging by the look into the inner chamber I got from the table I was seated at.

        Are you saying that's all for appearance, and that it's really a gas oven built to look like a wood fired oven? If so, I may need to take a closer look the next time I'm there.

        Please note - I personally believe that a good pizza man can make an excellent pie in either a gas, wood or coal fired oven, given appropriate expertise with the particular oven. Since I can think of no logical reason to make a gas oven look like a wood oven (one would think the cost would be higher), I wonder what purpose would be served by the faux-wood-fired "look".

    2. Generally speaking that strip still seems to be underserved with decent casual dining / family restaurants relative to the surrounding demand, so it doesn't take much to pack them in (see: Bare Bones...a place I happen to like for some things). I pretty much agree with Jason1's assessment.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Lowbar

        Used to really like the place for sandwiches in the old location. Now its all table service, so not the sandwich-jaunt it used to be.

        With Noah's On the Side closing, that strip really took a hit in my opinion.

        1. re: ingramcol

          They didn't have enough seating, and it's more takeout than restaurant, but the loss of Noah's on the Side leaves a huge hole in that area, as they had the best sandwiches around (anywhere, really, in my opinion).

          1. re: ingramcol

            They still have a carry out counter, so you don't have to get table service if you don't want.