Culinary — 01 September 2010
Baltimore has great news for foodies: Each distinct neighborhood’s unique personality shines through its culinary scene. Discover the city bite by bite.

By Hope S. Philbrick

What most defines Baltimore cuisine is its waterfront location and laid-back attitude.

The Chesapeake Bay makes itself known by way of crab and seafood—it would be a challenge to find a restaurant without some seafood on its menu. (Barring an allergy, I can’t fathom why you’d want to.) Seafood reigns, but menus are far from predictable. As is true nationwide, today’s leading Baltimore chefs showcase fresh ingredients, local produce and give regional go-to recipes creative new spins.

Yet Baltimore’s food is as unpretentious as its people. While there’s a strong sense of pride in local, non-chain restaurants with authentic, fresh food and inventive menu items, highly rated establishments aren’t full of highfalutin snobs. (Odds are, any folks with their noses in the air are out-of-towners.) At even the hottest neighborhood restaurants regulars are known by name.

Fabulous to funky, swanky to homey, classic to trendy, Baltimore boasts a mix of dining options. Get to know the city one neighborhood and restaurant at a time. Our guide will help you get started.

Smoked grouper at The Wine Market

Inner Harbor

When you think of Baltimore, this is the view that most likely springs to mind, since it’s the most photographed area of the city. A major seaport since the 1700s, Inner Harbor is the heart of Baltimore.

Miss Shirley’s Café
750 E. Pratt St.
410-528-5373
Locals and visitors alike are lured here by dishes like crab and fried green tomato eggs benedict and coconut cream-stuffed French toast. If you wake up with a sweet tooth, be sure to get breakfast here.
Miss Shirley's on Urbanspoon

Federal Hill

Federal Hill boasts Baltimore’s best view from atop its namesake grassy knoll, where patriots celebrated Maryland’s ratification of the U.S. Constitution in 1788. Today the neighborhood is home to a mix of new professionals and empty nesters.

Ryleigh’s Oyster
36 E. Cross St.
410-539-2093
Quality ingredients, confidently prepared. If you skip their crab and lobster mac and cheese, I can’t forgive you.
Ryleigh's Oyster on Urbanspoon

Spoons
24 E. Cross St.
410-539-8395
The city’s first green-certified restaurant roasts free-trade coffee beans and serves irresistible pastries.
Spoons Cafe on Urbanspoon

Fell’s Point

A vibrant waterfront community with cobblestone streets and historic architecture, Fell’s Point is popular with filmmakers (it’s appeared in Sleepless in Seattle and Homicide: Life in the Streets), tourists and locals.

Max’s Taphouse
737 S. Broadway
410-675-6297
This standout pours Baltimore’s largest beer selection, boasting 140 varieties on tap and over 1,200 by the bottle.
Max's Taphouse on Urbanspoon

Pitango Gelato
802 S. Broadway
410-236-0741
Tasty, organic treats satisfy taste buds with maximum flavor. Frozen confections get top billing, but on cold days don’t miss their hot chocolate.
Pitango Gelato on Urbanspoon

Hampden

Hampden is the hub of hipster chic and eccentric kitsch, a place where everybody calls you ‘hon.’

Café Hon
1002 W. 36th St.
410-243-1133
This local treasure is more than a place to get your fill of classic diner fare and traditional local dishes: It’s the business that launched this neighborhood’s renewal and host of the annual HonFest.
Cafe Hon on Urbanspoon

Harbor East

Home to some of the city’s newest hotels and other businesses, this still emerging neighborhood is being transformed into one of Baltimore’s swankiest.

Pazo Restaurant
1425 Aliceanna St.
410-534-7296
This upscale eatery brings Mediterranean flair to its menu with dishes like Neopolitan pizza, regional cheeses, house-made breads, grilled seafood, spit-roasted game and aged ribeyes as well as its 100-label wine list.
Pazo on Urbanspoon

Talara
615 President St.
410-528-9883
Ceviche at its best. The kitchen here proves that creativity and quality can live in harmony.
Talara on Urbanspoon

Locust Point

Once entirely industrial, Locust Point is best known as the home of Fort McHenry, the place that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the National Anthem during the War of 1812.

Wine Market
921 E. Fort Ave., Suite 135
410-244-6166
Creative menu, unpretentious setting. Sip from over 30 wines by the glass alongside charcuterie, cheese and upscale creations by Chef Jason Lear.
Wine Market on Urbanspoon

Mount Vernon

The city’s cultural district, Mount Vernon is home to an art institute, music conservatory and university.

Brewer’s Art
1106 N. Charles St.
410-547-6925
Wet your whistle on these finely crafted microbrews. The sampler makes it easy to taste each variety.
Brewer's Art on Urbanspoon

City Café
1001 Cathedral St.
410-593-4252
While in Baltimore order crab at least once. This is a great place to get it. The chef transforms the quintessential Baltimore ingredient into dishes that are at once familiar and brand new. Don’t miss the cream of crab soup.
City Cafe on Urbanspoon

Sascha’s 527 Café
527 N. Charles St.
410-539-8880
Eclectic menu, swanky setting. The menu offers appealing options for vegetarians as well as omnivores.
Sascha's 527 Cafe on Urbanspoon

Sotto Sopra
405 N. Charles St.
410-625-0534
The menu offers a range of temptations, though on any given visit you can also trust that the special is worthy of your attention.
Sotto Sopra on Urbanspoon

Little Italy

If the architecture in this neighborhood isn’t enough to make you feel transported overseas, the food will clinch it.

Aldo’s Ristorante Italiano
306 S. High St.
410-727-0700
Whatever you order at Aldo’s, it’s bound to be the best you’ve ever tasted—even if you recently toured Italy. (If this isn’t the best Italian food you’ve ever tasted, then you must have an Italian grandmother who should open a restaurant, stat.) A romantic mood makes Aldo’s a popular setting for engagements.
Aldo's on Urbanspoon

Downtown

The city that bills itself as “a multicultural, family friendly, pet friendly and gay travel friendly destination that offers something for everyone” has a vibrant downtown.

B&O American Brassiere
2 N. Charles St.
443-692-6172
The menu is a mouthwatering collection of quality ingredients, expertly prepared. The fact that it changes with the seasons is just a welcome excuse to keep coming back. The bar excels alongside the kitchen.
B&O American Brasserie on Urbanspoon

Servers at Pazo. Scallops at B&O American Brassiere.

More Information…

Contact Visit Baltimore at 1-877-BALTIMORE or baltimore.org.

-Photo Credits: Steamed crabs courtesy Visit Baltimore; smoked grouper courtesy Wine Market; servers courtesy Pazo; scallops courtesy B&O American Brassiere.

HopeP_144Hope S. Philbrick is founder and editor-in-chief of Getaways for Grownups. Her work has appeared in dozens of publications nationwide. She’s reviewed restaurants for several Atlanta-based newspapers and magazines for more than 10 years. When not writing, she can usually be found on the road or savoring something tasty.

Related News

Mixed Case: Again

Mixed Case: Again

July 29, 2014
Taste of Virginia

Taste of Virginia

June 27, 2014
Canyon Kitchen

Canyon Kitchen

June 04, 2014
Gray’s on Main

Gray’s on Main

May 29, 2014
Pies & Pints

Pies & Pints

May 15, 2014

Share

About Author

admin

(0) Readers Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *

Current day month ye@r *