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Chef Paolino's

Has anyone dined at Chef Paolino's in Catonsville? Comments please.

I attempted to view the menu via the website and couldn't get anything on screen. Don't know if it's a problem on my end or their's. FoiGras

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  1. All I've had there is the pizza and garlic knots but I like both a ton.

    4 Replies
    1. re: lstormont

      It's not bad, order at the counter, they bring it to the table, huge non-sophisticated pasta, stromboli, subs, on par with or better than other stripmall pasta places, but pretty serious about quality and quantity. Lots of De Cecco boxes on display. Gets really crowded weekend nights. Jennings nearby is better overall, Catonsville Gourmet another step up.

      1. re: chowsearch

        chowsearch--sounds to me that it's a better option for carry-out.

        Haven't been to Jennings, but am interested as it's nearby and the prices are reasonable for a weeknight dinner.

        Stopped by Catonsville Gourmet the other day and was impressed by the decor and, more importantly, the menu selection.

        also went to Sugarbaker's and purchased several items--OMG. Very good Smith Island Cake, apple cheesecake and tarts. Hubby and I refuse to step on the scale for a while.

        "Istormont"--how does the pizza compare to, let's say, Papa Johns' (yipes--since I'm not much of a pizza eater, don't know how to judge or compare). The garlic knots sound yummy to me. FoiGras

        1. re: FoiGras

          AS long as you're in the area...the "sleeper" is Wings Things & More in the same strip as Chef Paolino. It isn't pretty ( carry-out only ) but if you like wings...they are big , fresh......and have some really interesting flavors....not what you'd expect...but very "chow-worthy"

        2. re: chowsearch

          I would not rule it out for an eat-in place. It's casual but has a nice atmosphere. They still serve you even though you order at the counter. Haven't had the pizza but I really like their coffey salad and their mostaccioli napoletana with sausage (perfect sauce, not too sweet, light, layers of flavor). Other family members rave about their lasagna. HUGE portions that make up for the slight priciness. I always get at least 2 servings out of 1 meal.
          For Catonsville, it's pretty solid Italian. It's not Aldo's or La Tavola but it's good and always busy when we stop in.
          This website appears to be a work in progress but it matches the takeout menu i have at home.

      2. Their pasta dishes are pretty good, but I think that their pizza is exceptional, and is the thing to go there for. Even better than the whole pizza is the pizza by the slice, which gets and additional crispness during the reheat which is wonderfull. When ordering a whole pizza, I love their sausage...large slices of good Italian sausage.

        1. Hi FoiGras - I absolutely love Chef Paolino's pizza. It's one of my faves in Bmore along with Joe Squared and Tutti Gusti. However, it is straight-forward, unpretentious NY style pizza. I know a lot of poeple like to question what NY style pizza is but I believe the term simply conveys a thinner crust, large slices and good, salty cheese. I have never dined in and only carry out so I can't comment on the dining in experience. Also, I've only eaten pizza so I'm not sure of the quality of pasta dishes or other entrees.

          3 Replies
          1. re: SGI

            Hi SGI-thanks for your response. I only intend to go to Chef Paolino's for carry-out. I like the fact that I can order pizza by the slice. I'm not a big fan of pizza as the tomato sauce is something I'm somewhat allergic to. White pizza is great though.

            I noticed that they have "Coffey" salad. It's one of my favorites--used to get it at the Pimlico Hotel. It's identical to Chiaperrelli's house salad. In fact, Captain's Harvey's has a "Eula Salad," which mimick's Chip's and coffey's salads. FoiGras

            1. re: FoiGras

              isn't there also a location in downtown bmore?

              1. re: vivinator

                There is a location downtown on Charles St. (in the Bank of America building, I think). Chef Paulino has been around for a really long time, there used to be one in the Columbia Mall back before renovations and the new food court. Not a huge fan of their sandwiches, but the pizza is awesome - fresh toppings and a nice crust. If you don't like tomato sauce just order a regular pizza with no or light sauce - I've ordered both and they have always been accommodating. Also, they have pan pizzas, but I've never been a fan of that type of crust.

                Also, I second Wings, Things, and More. Great big juicy wings.

          2. Chef P's has the best veggie pizza I've ever tasted. The salads are enormous (Greek is especially good), and if they offer veggie lasagna as a special, don't pass it up. I have even asked them to make it a regular menu item! They are crowded on weekends, but it's a short wait. You order at the counter and the wait staff will bring it to you. The staff will refill your drinks, bring extra bread, and check in to see if you need anything quite often. It's a nice, inexpensive place, and Catonsville has embraced it. Judging by the crowds and repeat customers, Chef P has got it right.

            1. Is this the same Chef Paolino's that used to be in the Mall at Columbia?

              2 Replies
                1. re: LGood

                  Thanks. I really enjoyed their pizza.

              1. I went this week. I honestly thought the pizza was pretty bad. Just a ton of cheese and soggy dough. Cheese was the major ingredient. Felt a bit sick afterwards due to the amount of cheese. did I mention i felt there was too much cheese?

                It doesn't resemble the pizza I've had in NYC at all. If they eased up on the cheese and turned the ovens up I would go back. Crust would need to be thinner and crispier to be New York style.

                Some of the salads and other stuff looked reasonable but i didn't try them.

                8 Replies
                1. re: ernestrome

                  Just to understand the context here, do they advertise that their pizza is New York style?

                  1. re: charmedgirl

                    They do. And it is. I am from NY and quite familiar with NY-style thin crust and Chef Paolino's is one of the top NY-style pizza joints in the Baltimore area. I have never had soggy crust there - if anything it borders on overdone when they reheat slices. This refers to the Catonsville location - I am not familiar with any other location(s).

                    It wouldn't hold up head-to-head with any hole in the wall in NYC, but for its location i have found it to be a reasonable substitute.

                      1. re: Chowtimore

                        Well I never tried the reheated, maybe that's the best way to order at this place, give it a little time to dry out.

                        If this is the best New York Baltimore has to offer I'll stick to making my own.

                        1. re: ernestrome

                          I've always preferred their single slices to their whole pies for this reason. The bottom crisps up nicely. In my opinion this is the best that Baltimore has to offer...maybe you'd like to get into the restaurant business?

                          1. re: ernestrome

                            IMO, Pasta Mista is the best NY style in the area.

                            You also might want to be proactive and order your pizza well-done. I've gotten into this habit when ordering NY style outside the NY area since I've found that soggy and floppy is typically the rule rather than the exception.

                            1. re: Chowtimore

                              I find the crust on Pasta Mista is a little too thick for what I consider NY-style, but by no means am I an authority.

                              In general, Chowtimore's advice is excellent. I usually ask workers at any by-the-slice joint to crisp the crust real good. There are some exceptions. I can speak specifically for the Catonsville/Woodlawn/Windsor Mill area because I have lived here all my life. There's no place at the level of Joe's in Greenwich Village (or even, say, Bleecker Street Pizza), but there are some decent options. I hope this post is not too far off-topic.

                              At Chef Paolino's I always get a reheated slice. If I am with company and ordering a whole pie, I either ask them to go light on the cheese and leave the pie in the oven for a little extra time.

                              In the same plaza as H-Mart, is Toni's Grill and Pizza. I would never purchase a reheated slice here (tried many, many times until I gave up.) At lunch time they have fast turnover, so you could wait for a fresh pie to come out and then get a slice. There's something with their cheese that it only tastes good ten minutes after it comes out the oven. Really strange. In any case, their regular pizza with chicken as the only topping is one of my favorites when it is fresh out of the oven. Make sure you are with enough people to finish it right there and then. It is my favorite in the area when fresh, but least favorite reheated or cold. Also for straightforward neighborhood Italian-American pasta, their Pasta al Forno and Fettuccine Bolognese are consistently reliable and large in portion size.

                              A little further away from Catonsville, in Windsor Mill, is BuonGiorno. On Mondays they have a large cheese special for $7. I just got one today. I would not judge them by their reheated slice, although it's not nearly as bad as Toni's Grill's reheated slice. Again, at lunch time this is not a problem. Their crust is usually fine the way they make it. IMO, the pie needs just a little sprinkle of the garlic powder sitting at the condiment counter. Also good here are the shrimp parm sub (ask them to put some crushed red pepper in the sauce before baking the sub), Penne All'Arrabbiata, and Shrimp Fradiavola. You can find a couple reviews on Yelp. They also have a website now: http://www.buongiornopizzapasta.com/

                              On Edmonson Ave in Catonsville, between Opie's (snoball/soft serve place) and the little strip with Tastee Zone (also snoball/soft serve) and Cafe Di Roma (Gelato place), there's an Italian market with a take out counter. I only purchase groceries there, but I always see hordes of customers carrying out pies. Never got around to trying one, though.

                          2. re: Chowtimore

                            Disagree. I lived the better part of the last two decades in NYC and would put Chef Paolino probably about a notch above the average New York pizzeria. Certainly your average Manhattan pizzeria. It's not anywhere near DiFara or Totonno's or any of the top places mind you. But Paolino does a fine job. Definitely the best NY Style in the Baltimore area...by far.