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Baltimore – Where to eat


altar-ego
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The water taxi is another option to get to Canton if you've got the time - $8 lets you ride it all day so it's cheaper than the street cab.

Be aware that Mama's does not serve dinner on Sundays, if that's your day there. (OK I never got around to calling them to verify, but their website says that, as does a local dining guide.)

Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea? How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea!

- Sydney Smith, English clergyman & essayist, 1771-1845

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We're in Baltimore now and will be heading out soon. Does anyone know any other good crab/seafood places that are within the range of taxi/water taxi within the city? Last chance to steer me to The Crab Place. :-P

Mama's is looking like the candidate unless someone says "NO, GO HERE!"

"Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside" -Mark Twain

"Video games are bad for you? That's what they said about rock 'n roll." -Shigeru Miyamoto, creator of The Legend of Zelda, circa 1990

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All I know is that the above-mentioned LP Steamers seems like more of a "pure" crab place. Here's their website. Doesn't seem far from Inner Harbor.

But I'm just an out-of-towner, haven't been to either place yet, think they both sound intriguing.

Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea? How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea!

- Sydney Smith, English clergyman & essayist, 1771-1845

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I could only find one mention of Gertrude's here and that concerned Sunday brunch so I'd like to note that my wife Colette and I had a wonderful al fresco dinner here Saturday. Chef John Shields has been at the Baltimore Museum of Art 7 years and I'm embarassed to say that we largely go for light lunches despite seeing his book "Coastal Cooking" in full view that clearly shows his expertise with fish products. Our soft-shelled crabs and clams (two dishes) were very good. We'll go back, as should visitors, who will soon be able to utilize the free admission policy at the BMA (one of Baltimore's poorly known but rich treasures).

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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Haven't been around the past week, (my FIL passed away - in the above mentioned post regarding Lexington Mkt. ) but hope you found places of good taste and nature, or will in the future.

Regarding Gertrude's in BMA, I applaud it! Love John Shields, and the food is consistant, and good for your soul.

Hum. Interesting note about Towson/hotels and such. I haven't heard about drug deals, etc in Towson hotels, but I would suggest rather, Hunt Valley, (has a Wegmans!) and a pretty area.

Good luck~

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  • 2 weeks later...
I could only find one mention of Gertrude's......

We'll go back,

Well, we did.

Colette went with two friends for lunch and had to send the salad back because the lettuce was so miserable. Her Baltimore born and raised friend's crab cake was "tasteless."

Last night the two of us went for the lobster dinner (boiled). Hers was OK, mine had a burned taste (very strange). Pacing of dishes was slow; no picks to get small chunks out were available.

Our waitress explained part of the problem perhaps; the Croatian Executive Chef who'd been there 5 years left to go home 2 weeks ago and the new American chef revised the menu and brought in new wines (a good thing; they were out of bottle after bottle I ordered last week). But Shields is doing a lot of charity work etc and we suspect is not as steady a presence as it requires - it was jam-packed on a Wednesday night.

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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  • 3 weeks later...

We made it down to Baltimore for the Pigtown Festival last weekend. It was great fun. While there was less food on offer than I’d expected, and no BBQ – the Iron Pig competition seemed to involve 3 BBQ guys with portable smokers cooking small amounts for judging only, when I thought they’d be cooking slabs of ribs for the multitudes – there were enough typical street fair eats, events (the Running Of The Pigs was more like The Sauntering Of The Porkers) and good bands to make it all a good time.

Food update: after trying crabcakes at two other venues over the weekend, and consuming two other sets of fries and one cole slaw, my iniitial impression from earlier this year, that it’d be hard to find better renditions than those at Broadway Market, has been seriously reinforced. It wasn’t that I had bad crabcakes, fries or slaw elsewhere, but they didn’t create the kind of revelatory experience that makes you just stop and savor every bite. Vikki’s Fells Point Deli and the fries place at the north end of the north Market building still rule.

Sadly, Sunday was our only day for lunch in Fells Point, and the Market, apart from the excellent gelateria at the north end of the south building, was closed. Jimmy’s Restaurant, nearby just down Broadway, was a good stand-in, delivering a nice orange roughy sandwich and a classic open-face brisket with onion-tomato gravy. The Fells Point locals obviousy love this place, it was hopping. We went back to the gelato place afterwards, which is why I said “excellent” above; they’ve got the hazelnut, my favorite flavor, quite right.

For dinner on Saturday, we'd had our sights set at Mama’s On The Half Shell. However, my stomach had gone a bit strange as we got to O’Donnell Square on towards evening, and I knew I wasn’t going to be up for a seafood dinner. I needed some sort of mild chicken & pasta dish. That wasn’t on the menu at Mama’s, but was available right next door at Granite. They do a fine grilled chicken breast there. I had mine with penne, sauteed with roasted red peppers and spinach, in a light sauce with a touch of garlic; it was just what the doctor ordered. My SO had hers with the top-notch Granite salad, which our server said had been lauded in the Baltimore Sun that week. (I can't find that on the Web right now but there is this earlier review.)

Granite has an ultra-modern look with some interesting mirrors on the walls, subtle but effective lighting, big open windows looking out on the square, and a great staff that delivered excellent service. I wouldn’t hesitate to go back, though I still want to try Mama’s.

There’s a good choice of restaurants – and bars, if you’re young and like to drink and yell at a football game on TV! – in O’Donnell Square. It was nice to stroll around and see the life in the square, surrounded by all of these places that are thriving because folks who live in the area patronize them. Canton is somewhat off the beaten tourist path, I suspect, which makes its vibrancy seem that much more real. And it's an interesting water taxi ride to get there, to say the least.

Here’s to Charm City. See you again in the springtime, if not before.

Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea? How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea!

- Sydney Smith, English clergyman & essayist, 1771-1845

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Wonder of wonders - a new restaurant in Baltimore that I look forward to returning to soon. Spices, the new name for a venue that has housed mostly "so so" restaurants in the Inn at the Colonnade, just north of the Johns Hopkins Campus, has a very interesting menu - hence my desire to return and try other dishes. A new owner and chef and sommelier (direct from Vintage, outside of Boston in West Roxbury) bodes well! Our first dinner there gave us the chance to try only two dishes and they were delicious: pork loin with cabbage and a vegetarian dish, including eggplant, tomatoes, artichokes, a touch of lemon, olive oil and spices along with a side of quinoa with most interesting flavors. The wine, a Spanish red was a bit pricey for a quick supper but the full wine cellar has yet to be installed. (We dined on the third day the restaurant was open). We chose to skip dessert but understand that all are made at Spices. We have high hopes for this new neighborhood spot.

4 West University Pkwy

Tele - 410-235-8200.)

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  • 3 weeks later...

No time to reseach and prep like I usually do before my trips.

Any recs for Baltimore downtown and close by Friday?

Forecasted to rain, so we'll see what I do.

I think I'll do Faidley's at least.

Herb aka "herbacidal"

Tom is not my friend.

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Faidley's and Pollock Johnny's at Lexington Market.

Attman's for corned beef and a bologna wrapped natural casing hot dog.

Ft Charles Pub for crabcake or burger (or both!).

Capt Larry's for Dark & Stormy's and steamed shrimp.

All relatively close to downtown.

Thanks,

Kevin

DarkSide Member #005-03-07-06

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  • 2 weeks later...

This is an older thread but I thought I would add some info for people visiting Baltimore in the future. I've been here all my life so I know some of the good places. For awesome crabcakes that are huge and have hardly any filler, G & M restaurant in Linthicum is the place. It is not far from BWI airport for reference. They even ship their crabcakes now! http://www.gandmcrabcakes.com/ We usually go here at least once a month.

For Indian I like the Akbar restaraunt. Two locations.

http://www.akbar-restaurant.com/

And Samos was mentioned too. It is in Greektown which is 5 miles? from the Harbor. It is very casual and almost carryout-like. http://www.google.com/maps?hl=en&lr=&rls=G...&ct=result&cd=1

The best crabs are at Gaffney's in Highlandtown! It is not an eat-in place though. Just a place to pick up the crabs and take with you. Delicious! I've never gotten bad crabs from here in 20+ years! It is about 3 miles? from the Harbor (and before Greektown) off Eastern Ave. http://cityguide.aol.com/baltimore/restaur...fin/v-102395679

Enjoy!!!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Was on the way back to Philadelphia with my wife and we decided to stop in Baltimore, sightsee for a bit, and have dinner. We were looking for something inexpensive but with good food (unfortunately you do not seem to have many BYOB's as we have in Philly) so based on this thread and the posts of John Talbott and others we decided to eat at the Helmand. I also took a look at my Zagat and saw that it was rated as 26 for food.

We enjoyed the Helmand but I must admit to being a bit underwhelmed. I know I am going to insult many by saying this but if this is one of the top places to dine in Baltimore than your dining scene is weaker than I thought. Don't get me wrong, the food at Helmand was good but this would be an average, run of the mill restaurant in Philadelphia. In fact, we have 2 Afghan restaurants in Philly (Kabul, Ariana) which we have often frequented and which I feel are every bit as good. The difference? We spend $35-40 there (they are BYOB) and I spent $94 at the Helmand (2 apps, 2 entrees, dessert, bottle of wine, tax and tip), which I felt was a bit much for this caliber of a restaurant. I had a nice conversation with the very friendly owner and we spoke about Philly.

After dinner we drove around the Inner Harbor and out to Fells Point. The harbor is absolutely beautiful and Fells Point seemed very commercial and geared toward 20-somethings (like Olde City in Philly for any familiar with our city). We enjoyed our brief stay in your lovely city and hope to return. We glanced into Ixia and Saffron and both looked quite nice.

"Nutrirsi di cibi prelibati e trasformare una necessita in estasi."

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Little Italy (near the Inner Harbor for you tourists)

La Tavola

248 Albemarle St.

Baltimore, MD

phone 410 685-1859

www.la-tavola.com

This is the one place I can recommend in Little Italy. The chef, Carlo Vignotto, is from Venice, so expect that style as opposed to the industrial red sauce of the Littly Italy tourist traps. Good place for fish, reliable pastas, great risotto when it's on the menu. Moderately priced by Bmore standards (bargain by DC/NY standards).

Charleston is the best restaurant in Bmore, but expect to spend $150/pp and up for the full food/wine experience.

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  • 5 weeks later...
All I know is that the above-mentioned LP Steamers seems like more of a "pure" crab place.  Here's their website.  Doesn't seem far from Inner Harbor.

LP Steamers was recommended to us by the concierge of the Hyatt Inner Harbor and, since we were looking specifically for crabs, he did not steer us wrong. They have any kind of crab that you want as long as it's steamed, bay-spiced crabs served in a pile on a table covered in brown paper ... perfect as far as I am concerned. Great to go with companions who like to take their time, savor the crabs and beer, converse a bit, eat crabs, drink some beer, ... you get the idea.

In my opinion, the mediums are probably the best value.

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  • 2 weeks later...
This is an older thread but I thought I would add some info for people visiting Baltimore in the future. I've been here all my life so I know some of the good places. For awesome crabcakes that are huge and have hardly any filler, G & M restaurant in Linthicum is the place. It is not far from BWI airport for reference. They even ship their crabcakes now! http://www.gandmcrabcakes.com/ We usually go here at least once a month.

For Indian I like the Akbar restaraunt. Two locations.

http://www.akbar-restaurant.com/

And Samos was mentioned too. It is in Greektown which is 5 miles? from the Harbor. It is very casual and almost carryout-like. http://www.google.com/maps?hl=en&lr=&rls=G...&ct=result&cd=1

The best crabs are at Gaffney's in Highlandtown! It is not an eat-in place though. Just a place to pick up the crabs and take with you. Delicious! I've never gotten bad crabs from here in 20+ years! It is about 3 miles? from the Harbor (and before Greektown) off Eastern Ave. http://cityguide.aol.com/baltimore/restaur...fin/v-102395679

Enjoy!!!

Aack! I'm going to be in and out of Baltimore twice over the next couple of weeks, and I was hoping to get a fix of blue crab. (I grew up on fresh-caught crabs in Savannah.) Gaffney's sounds like my dream spot, but they are too dang seasonal and won't be open in Dec.

Any other quick and dirty Baltimore specialty that will make my trips there worthwhile? I'll be coming in by train from NYC, running over to Johns Hopkins, and have to be back in NY by dinner. I have to cab it everywhere since my license was stolen. I'm looking for an outstanding regional dish, not another modern Mediterranean bistro.

Edited by Culinista (log)
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The anti-McCormick & Schmicks is the voluptuously decadent boho-chic Brewers' Art in the tattered remnants of a gloriously grand century-plus old row house. Dim light, beat up old sofas in which to slurp the ridiculoulsy fresh Belgian-style beers brewed in the rear greenhouse. Short ribs, black bass and other straightforward food premised on high-quality ingredients more than cutting edge presentation give this place street cred no national chain could ever hope to touch. Funky, cool staff complete the scene. I feel like I'm spilling a state secret writing about it here - if I lived in Baltimore I would be entirely selfish and keep it to myself.

"Food is an essential part of a balanced diet."

Fran Lebowitz

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  • 4 weeks later...

Must say thanks to the cogniscenti here for the excellent recommendation of Mama's on the Halfshell for dinner in Baltimore. I found myself down there to hear a talk at the Aquarium yesterday and made the detour over to Canton for some excellent food indeed. Made a meal out of appetizers, and everything was very well executed.

Thanks all, and keep 'em in business for the next time I'm coming through town. :biggrin:

Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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  • 1 month later...

The nicest revelation of the season has been the opening of the Dogwood Cafe in Hampden. Even before they opened, they were serving sample mini-sandwiches at the Wine Source during wine tastings; then the Sampsons, Bridget & Galen (he ex-Harbor Court CIA-trained, etc.) opened a deli; and now a full-fledged resto at 911 W. 36th Street. It's a fine place, local, not a destination yet, but the wrinkle is that they train folks, with support from the Open Society, for restaurant work, who were most recently on the other side of the law. For folks who know the Paris Scene, it's reminiscent of "Oui Chef," Cyril Lignac's hilarious TV6 show that turned sullen teenagers into crisp wait and kitchen staff. Oh and the product is all local, and the producers are identified; we had two nice and very different salads and a veggie pasta and scallops with sesame crust, accompanied by a wine from the nearby Wine Source. A good start.

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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Another happy opening the impending arrival of Artifact Coffee in the Clipper Mill complex. Featuring some of the world's best coffees by Counter Culture Coffee of North Carolina the coffee house is being brought to you by the folks who delivered Joy America Cafe and GrandCru.

Look for the possible opening next week!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I had a friend who lived in Baltimore, and we used to go to the Hollins Market and get the best thick cut bacon, As I recall, Baltimore has a lot of small farmer-type markets in the different neighborhoods. Also, we used to go to Coopers in Fells Point for dinner, crab cakes of course and for breakfast--- Zeus"in Fells Point as well

Baltimore was so much fun-- are those places still around??

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  • 2 weeks later...

As most readers of the Baltimore Sun and Baltimore magazine know, Sonnie and Melanie Sweetman sold Abacrombie, opposite the Meyerhoff, in February to move to Velden, Austria, but that's another story. They had only been there since March 2003 but it was definitely a choice place. In any event, their sous chef, Michael Putnam, has taken over the piano and after having had two meals there in the past week, I'm impressed. The salads are wonderful (greens as well as wilted spinach), chicken crisp and the various fish preparations were thought by my guests to be superb. The only hitch is the pricey wine list which starts with a Chinon at $40. My bills were $244 and $294 for four persons each time, the difference being that the latter bunch ordered dessert.

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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Hello eGulleters,

I visited Baltimore last week for a short business trip and attempted to go to Mama's on the Half Shell. I called Friday afternoon to confirm that they do not take reservations (which they do not on Friday and Saturday nights), and to ask what the typical wait is around 7-8pm on a Friday night.

I was told the wait is usually around 15-30 minutes at that time of the evening.

So a group of us take a cab there and discover, to our surprise, that the wait will be over an hour.

Maybe there were larger crowds than normal.

Maybe the receptionist who told me the wait would be 15-30 minutes was new and didn't know how long the wait typically is on a Friday night.

Maybe the receptionist thought I was asking about 6pm, rather than 7-8pm.

Maybe the waits fluctuate from week to week, and she was being optimistic.

Maybe she didn't know what the wait would be and just made a guess.

Maybe the receptionist didn't think it was important to give an accurate indication of the wait time.

I don't know what happened. But I do know that future readers of this board should expect an hour long wait on a Friday night at 7:30pm at Mama's on the Half Shell. If you get in faster, good for you. If it takes an hour, at least you were warned.

It's frustrating to arrive at a restaurant you had been looking forward to, only to find out that, because of time constraints, you have to go somewhere else. We went to a rather unremarkable restaurant in the neighborhood.

Edited by Darren72 (log)
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I can't speak to your esperience in Baltimore, but I'll wager that it having been one of the first temperate Friday nights in many weeks had a great deal to do with it. Down here in DC, the streets were jammed and favorite Bistro of mine, usually 2/3 empty by 10:30 (when we arrived) had only two tables open.

Also, more generally, if you're going to a popular restaurant that doesn't accept reservations, 7:30 is the wrongest possible time to show up. Before seven or after nine, or expect a wait.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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