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Baltimore – Where to eat


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#1 altar-ego

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Posted 07 August 2003 - 02:09 PM

I would love sort of an across the board hook up on where is good to eat in Baltimore.

Ethnic stuff in particular.

Where's the best sushi, best ethiopian, best cuban, best peruvian, best soul food, best vegan, best etc. etc. BEST BAR for Chrissakes!!!

Help me out people.

thanks,

ryan

#2 maryland crab

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Posted 07 August 2003 - 04:30 PM

Am not in Baltimore enough to say "best", but here are several suggestions that I think worthy of your exploration. For a fun lunch or night, we hit Bertha's. Throw some darts, drink some decent draft and then sit down to a big plate of mussels with the mustard dip.

Several good pubs - we really like the Wharf Rat beer. There is a location in Fell's Point and one somewhere near the Harbor, I believe.

If price is no object and service not a huge deal, try the Black Olive in Fell's Point. Greek seafood and very well prepared. Little Italy obviously has a number of touristy restaurants, but we have always had a good meal a Caio Bella. Some really good Greek restaurants on the east side. Several great Greek markets too.

Lexington Market is always fun to go in and poke around for fresh seafood - stay away from Phillips in general. Overpriced and spotty quality.

All for now - will try again when my addled brain isn't as fried as it is now.

#3 tjaehnigen

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Posted 07 August 2003 - 07:30 PM

There is a great discussion on this here.

#4 JRage

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Posted 07 August 2003 - 07:42 PM

Too tired to check out tjaehnigen's link... but here are my favorites...

For ethnic, my favorite place of all in Baltimore is Tio Pepes (Spain) and it is authentic and wonderful. Not a trendy tapas place, not that I don't love those too. It is old school dark, a little romantic. Very Spanish...

For all around food and ambiance, I really like Spike & Charlies... they also have, Joy America, and Atlantic... both great as well.

For Italian, I used to love Sabatino's, Vaccaros for incredible Canolli.

Those are my favorites.
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#5 DLang

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Posted 11 August 2003 - 12:13 PM

Ryan,
Pretty broad question, but I'll give you a few of my faves:

AFGHAN: The Helmand
INDIAN: Ambassador Dining Room
SUSHI: Edo in Timonium, Matsuri in Federal Hill
MEXICAN/S. AMERICAN: A dozen or so places in upper Fells Point along Broadway and Eastern Ave. Not much English spoken in these places. Also the taco truck usually parked on Broadway.
BURGER: Duda's in Fell's Point
BBQ: Andy Nelson's in Cockeysville
BEER: Wharf Rat for English hand-pulled, Brewer's Art for Belgian style.
SEAFOOD: Black Olive
ITALIAN (Not traditional): Vespa
MONEY-NO-OBJECT: Charleston
MODERN/FUSION: Soigne/Ixia/Red Maple/Joy America
BRUNCH: Golden West Cafe in Hampden (New Mexican flavor mostly)

I can't help you with some of your categories, mostly from lack of familiarity. But I can say that Baltimore does seem to be lacking in certain areas such as vegan, Chinese, other ethnic (at least compared to D.C., NYC, etc.) Good Luck,

Darin

#6 herbacidal

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Posted 21 November 2003 - 06:21 PM

Okay, I'm planning on visiting a friend in Baltimore tomorrow and Sunday,
just inside 695, roughly where Catonsville is.

recommendations in the area for:

good, relatively cheap food

good, really cheap food

bar to watch Sunday Eagles game
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#7 Holly Moore

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Posted 21 November 2003 - 06:29 PM

Top of your list should be the Lexington Market.

Top of your list for the Lexington Market should be Faidley Seafood for what just about everone considers to be the best of the best, crabcake wise. Excellent raw bar too.

If Faidley is open Sunday, and if they have a TV and if you don't mind standing and if they'll tune to the Eagles game, it would be a great choice for that too.
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#8 hannnah

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Posted 21 November 2003 - 09:04 PM

As far as drinking/possible game watching, try the Wharf Rat near Camden Yards - 206 W. Pratt St.

Excellent beer - they brew their own and have a nice selection of cask-conditioned ales, as well as some interesting experiments. Last time I was there they had a lightish beer (can't remember whether it was a lager or pilsner) that had been brewed with a little cumin, which gave it just a bit of whang and made it extra good with the right food.

Their pub grub was entirely acceptable (fish and chips, shepherd's pie, plus the ubiquitous crab cake), and they also had enough TVs that they'd be able to show multiple games. There's a location in Fells Point as well, at 801 S. Ann St. - they don't brew on-site at that one, but it's the same beer, and presumably the same food.
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#9 JohnnyH

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Posted 21 November 2003 - 09:10 PM

As far as drinking/possible game watching, try the Wharf Rat near Camden Yards - 206 W. Pratt St. 

Excellent beer - they brew their own and have a nice selection of cask-conditioned ales, as well as some interesting experiments.  Last time I was there they had a lightish beer (can't remember whether it was a lager or pilsner) that had been brewed with a little cumin, which gave it just a bit of whang and made it extra good with the right food. 

Their pub grub was entirely acceptable (fish and chips, shepherd's pie, plus the ubiquitous crab cake), and they also had enough TVs that they'd be able to show multiple games. There's a location in Fells Point as well, at 801 S. Ann St. - they don't brew on-site at that one, but it's the same beer, and presumably the same food.

The family of a good friend of mine actually owns the Wharf Rat -- the Olivers take their beer VERY seriously. The food is good; the beer even better.
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#10 tommy

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Posted 21 November 2003 - 10:54 PM

i would certainly go to Little Italy. it has been there forever, and is still populated by italian-americans. my grandfather started going to a restaurant there back in the 40s or 50s, and my family still returns when we're in the area. it's actually not half bad. but i don't remember the name. i'll search on it, as i think it's around somewhere.

edit: it's called sabatino's. i recently had an excellent veal chop at sabatino's.

Edited by tommy, 22 November 2003 - 10:52 AM.


#11 herbacidal

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Posted 21 November 2003 - 11:01 PM

i would certainly go to Little Italy. it has been there forever, and is still populated by italian-americans. my grandfather started going to a restaurant there back in the 40s or 50s, and my family still returns when we're in the area. it's actually not half bad. but i don't remember the name. i'll search on it, as i think it's around somewhere.

nothing against italians and italian-descended americanos, but why would i go to little italy when i've got south philly?

if philly didn't have a strong italian and related population, i'd consider it.

then again, my favorite part of being a tourist is going to visit neighborhoods.
( in NYC trips, still haven't been to top of ESB, or seen the Statue, although I wandered thru part of Rock Center while I was walking by, and did check out the Met some Sunday. but usually, i just wander thru various parts of the city that interest me, wander between places on foot.)
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#12 Al_Dente

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Posted 22 November 2003 - 02:36 PM

One of my favorite bars anywhere is John Steven's in Fells Point. Great selection of beers, colorful waitstaff and customers, and they do a good job on steaming up some fresh shrimp and/or clams. The place has a ton of character. They have a sushi "bar" of sorts there as well. While it certainly is nothing authentic, they do a decent job of making california roll and variations thereof. Usually the person behind the bar is real cranky-- give em a decent tip and they'll perk up a bit. When I think of Bawlmore, I think of this joint.

And yes, if you want crabcakes, go to Faidley's at Lexington Market. Spend the extra $$$ and get the all LUMP.
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#13 bourdain

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Posted 07 April 2004 - 07:13 PM

I'm doing an overnite in John Waters's favorite city and--along with a crony--will be looking for some fine, casual food. Don't want the "best" restaurant in town. Not the hottest. No view necessary. Good local grub--seafood maybe..a townie-only place would be nice.
Would really appreciate some suggestions. Hitting Club Charles after so close would be nice.
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#14 mnebergall

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Posted 07 April 2004 - 07:19 PM

Al Dente seems to think that the best crabcakes are to be found in Baltimore. Perhaps he could enlighten as to his favorite spots.

#15 Holly Moore

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Posted 07 April 2004 - 07:27 PM

I'm not sure I agree that "Eats" can not be fine dining.

But crab cakes you should have. And they should come from Faidley's in Baltimore's Lexington market. The gold standard for crab cakes.

Problem is Faidley's closes at 5 PM, 5:30 PM on weekends. They open at 9 AM though, and there is absoluting nothing wrong with crab cakes for breakfast.
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#16 JRage

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Posted 07 April 2004 - 07:35 PM

I'm a big fan of Spike and Charlie's it's Eclectic American cuisine. Nice atmosphere, great food, killer deserts. It's not too casual, but not to fancy either. Comfortable, I'd say.

Address is:1225 Cathedral Street, Baltimore, MD 21201

Phone is: (410) 752-8144
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#17 hannnah

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Posted 07 April 2004 - 07:50 PM

General consensus, at least for crabcakes, seems to be Faidley's in Lexington Market, but it's only open until 5pm. Most of the stuff around the Inner Harbor is either "fine dining" or chains - Fells Point or Little Italy might be better bets for food.

I can't personally speak to anything but the brewpubs, but the Wharf Rat's beers are consistently good, and DeGroen's down in Fells Point brews a tasty Marzen.
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#18 cjsadler

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Posted 07 April 2004 - 08:52 PM

The Brewer's Art. Maybe your best option close to Club Charles. They brew really, really good Belgian-style beers, especially "Resurrection". You can go to the dungeon-like basement and just drink the beer or head upstairs where the food is very good (not sure if it's as casual as you want, though).

Definitely Faidley's for crab cakes. The best. Get the jumbo-lump, of course. As mentioned, you'll have to go during the day.

Peter's Inn is a great local's spot. It's in Fell's Point, up Ann St. Look for the motorcycle. Looks like a dive bar, but the food is great. While you're in Fells Point, go to the Wharf Rat. They usually have a wide selection of the beers they brew on tap, which as hannnah says, are consistently good.

The Helmand -- an Afghan restaurant in the Mt. Vernon area. Very good, fairly casual and inexpensive. In the same general vicinity as Club Charles.

I hesitate to suggest Martick's to you (it's French, but the quality can be so-so), but it's a Baltimore legend. Go to 214 W. Mulberry St, ring the bell and knock hard on the door (there's no exterior door handle). It can be an odd experience (inside, it's casual, but looks like the place time forgot), but maybe you'll get a story out of it.

Steer clear of Little Italy (mostly overpriced and mediocre) and the Inner Harbor.

Edited by cjsadler, 07 April 2004 - 10:15 PM.

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#19 frogprince

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Posted 07 April 2004 - 09:04 PM

mathew's pizzeria in little italy ranks as one of the prototypical red-and-white checkered waxy tablecloth places in my book. my dad's family is from baltimore and ive spent myriad days munching on classic pizza. as lowbrow as you can go, order at a counter from a pizza-faced teenager (pun intended) and anticipate a pie generously topped with nostalgia. its a devil of a place to find and has the oddest hours. ive not been in say, 10 years.
anyone ever heard of/been to this place? does it still exist?
if its gone i will feel as though a piece of my heart and soul has been torn asunder.
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#20 DonRocks

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Posted 07 April 2004 - 09:06 PM

Schultz's Crab House, Essex

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#21 Al_Dente

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Posted 08 April 2004 - 07:45 AM

A lot of good suggestions above. Faidley's is the bomb-- a baseball sized hunk of pure lump. I agree with Hannnah on the Wharf Rat as well for a good Fells Point bar. Check out John Stevens down the block too. It's probably my favorite Fells Point bar-- good selection of beer, and some tasty freshly steamed clams, shrimp, and oysters. You'll see some great local color there.

Hmm. I'm going to an O's game tonight. Might have to get over to John Stevens afterwards...
peak performance is predicated on proper pan preparation...
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#22 Basilgirl

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Posted 08 April 2004 - 08:01 AM

G&M in Linthicum (near the airport) - awesome crab cakes, no filler. The traditional Baltimore way, I understand, is to eat them with saltines. A real dive. Check out the "ambiance" and menu at www.gandmcrabcakes.com
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#23 jbraynolds

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Posted 08 April 2004 - 08:16 AM

GREAT fried chicken at Tyrone's. There's one on North, not far from Club Charles. Late night, after everything closes, Gampy's, right down the street from CC, is a real scene and has admirable, even, gasp, healthy drunk food. And do not miss drinking at The Mount Royal Tavern, by the Art Institute. There's also a place that's just called "Bar" down in Fell's Point that must be experienced. There's some great Baltimore bar-crawling info in the message boards over at moderndrunkardmagazine.com, which is one of the great websites in existence. THE greatest for the drinking man or woman. Have fun in Charm City!

#24 cjsadler

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Posted 08 April 2004 - 08:50 AM

GREAT fried chicken at Tyrone's. There's one on North, not far from Club Charles. Late night, after everything closes, Gampy's, right down the street from CC, is a real scene and has admirable, even, gasp, healthy drunk food. And do not miss drinking at The Mount Royal Tavern, by the Art Institute. There's also a place that's just called "Bar" down in Fell's Point that must be experienced. There's some great Baltimore bar-crawling info in the message boards over at moderndrunkardmagazine.com, which is one of the great websites in existence. THE greatest for the drinking man or woman. Have fun in Charm City!

Charm City is quite the drinker's paradise. If you get to the Wharf Rat anytime before 7pm, you can experience "3 for 3": three beers for three dollars (home brewed varieties only). It's customary (I think it may even be mandatory) for each person to order their own three beers-- no sharing.
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#25 DLang

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Posted 08 April 2004 - 11:15 AM

Unless you're really looking for a obscure hole in the wall, and assuming you get your crab cake fix at Faidley's, I would second the recommendation of The Brewer's Art. It's far enough away from the inner harbor that it stays off the tourists' radar, and it's close to Club Charles.

The new(ish) chef is doing interesting food, matched with well-thought-out wine list, and of course the best beers in Baltimore. And knowing how seriously you take your frites, I'd add that their garlic rosemary fries are local legends.

Have fun chef. Hopefully your visit will convince you that "Baltimore sucks" no more. (K.C.)

#26 misscindy

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Posted 08 April 2004 - 12:22 PM

A few corrections from a native: Matthew's Pizza is on Eastern Avenue in Highlandtown, not Little Italy. Worth a trip. And, they actually keep pretty regular hours. If you are going out that way, stop at Dangerously Delicious Pies at Fleet and Montford for dessert. The second correction: Gampy's has been closed for years. It stunk.

As many have suggested, the Brewer's Art is a great choice. I love the beer called ozzy and the rosemary garlic frites. It will send you off to an evening at the Club Charles with the proper attitude.

The jumbo lump crabcakes at Faidley's are it. They also make a mighty fine coddie, a very blue collar Baltimore food tradition.

#27 jbraynolds

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Posted 08 April 2004 - 12:47 PM

I liked Gampy's when I was in (or out of) the proper frame of mind. It really wasn't about the food. And the crowd was extremely interesting. Next you'll tell me that the Mt. Vernon Stable rib place across the street is gone.
There's one Little Tavern left...out in Dundalk. Old-timers will (fondly?) recall this DelMarVa take on White Castle that helped to close out many a night of drinking. There's also one down in Laurel, for what it's worth. Those are the last two of the former empire. Sigh.
When The Wharf Rat was in the original, pre-beer pub location, they had what they called The White Trash Breakfast Special - a can of National Bohemian and a Moon Pie for 75-cents before noon. They also had 10-cent oysters that you had to shuck yourself. I haven't been to the fancy, yupped-up Inner Harbor location but am encouraged by the 3 for 3 special, which is in the original spirit.

#28 cjsadler

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Posted 08 April 2004 - 01:08 PM

When The Wharf Rat was in the original, pre-beer pub location, they had what they called The White Trash Breakfast Special - a can of National Bohemian and a Moon Pie for 75-cents before noon. They also had 10-cent oysters that you had to shuck yourself. I haven't been to the fancy, yupped-up Inner Harbor location but am encouraged by the 3 for 3 special, which is in the original spirit.

There's two Wharf Rat locations. The original is still there on Ann Street (and that's where you gotta go for "3 for 3"). The Inner Harbor/Camden one sucks in comparison (but the beer is still good).
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#29 jbraynolds

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Posted 08 April 2004 - 02:32 PM

I like Petit Louis but it's pretty well cut from the Balthazar/Pastis template. I guess that it could be anywhere. I'd do the crab thing, also Little Tavern, find a place that does pit beef and DEFINITELY go to Marconi's, although it might be "fine dining", it's Baltimore fine dining, which is quite surreal. Talk about time warpo'mania.
If you want real, old style Baltimore but less, um, formal than Marconi's, go to The Women's Industrial Exchange lunchroom, on Charles Street. Whoah. Chicken Salad with Tomato Aspic, salads from the 60's (that's 1860's), Deviled Eggs. It's a trip.

#30 pleiades

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Posted 08 April 2004 - 02:51 PM

In proximity to Club Charles, I too would recommend Brewer's Art. If you want casual "pub grub" they have it (mmmmmm.....rosemary garlic frites), but if you feeling like taking a table in the cozy, wood panelled dining room, you won't regret it. And their beer is very, very good.

http://www.belgianbeer.com/

Ixia is another good choice, now that they have a chef who's allowed to have full creative control. A swankier interior though, so it may be more "fine dining" than what you are looking for:

http://www.ixia-online.com/


Frogprince's heart shall remain intact, as Matthew's Pizza is still around. And it is as he describes. Everyone I know says no place in Baltimore tops NYC for pizza, but at least Matthew's variant is unique- house made deep-dish crusts, the usual "classic" toppings, and no mango-salsa-mergherita froo fooness.
It is, er, "townie" though. Zero decor, but so what. Also a bit more of a drive than the others.

3131 Eastern Ave.
Highlandtown
Baltimore, MD 21224
[map]
(410) 276-8755

11 a.m.-10 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays, noon-8 p.m. Sundays


And then there is Helmand. It's an Afghan place run by the brother of that country's current ruler. Terrible wine list, delicious food, and right in the neighborhood.

http://www.helmand.com/cuisine.shtml

Vespa is not cutting edge, but I like it. good cooking, great wine list, actual stemware instead of Libby's Finest Potato Mashers, reasonably priced. The owner will fall out of his chair if he's in there when you come through the door, however. Come to think of it, that will happen at most of these places.

1117-21 S. Charles St.
Federal Hill
Baltimore, MD 21230
[map]
(410) 385-0355

5:30-10 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays, 5:30-11 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays




I'll give you a fine dining option too, just because I like these folks a lot.Corks is at the top of their game right now. And they aren't stuffy fine dining. The staff is knowledgeable and laid back. Even a nice pair of jeans that haven't been too faded and a button down shirt/pullover will more than suffice: http://www.corksrestaurant.com/



there are other good choices, but all will require some more involved driving, like Chameleon Cafe. I personally like them quite a lot- husband and wife team, 30 years old, and parents to be. Sometimes the cooking is rough around the edges but overall I'm a big fan. Completely unassuming place, with comfortably arty decor. Because it is a little out of the way, it is 100% townie. I even saw your man John Waters in there once.

4341 Harford Road
Lauraville
Baltimore, MD 21214
[map]
(410) 254-2376

bwolfsmith@aol.com

8 a.m.-9 p.m. Tuesdays-Thursdays, 8 a.m.-10 p.m. Fridays, 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturdays


I hope that helps. I also hope we perform well enough to, ahhhh..to improve your opinion as articulated in the book.Posted Image

Cheers,
pleiades

p.s. it isn't crab season yet, so they'll all be flown in from out of state

Edited by pleiades, 08 April 2004 - 03:03 PM.