On the Menu: 10 Baltimore Restaurants to Savour
Here’s where to eat in Baltimore, a city whose dining scene goes beyond crabs and Italian food for a full range of culinary experiences.
When visitors come to Baltimore, they often have one food in mind—crabs. And given the city’s waterfront location, these crustaceans are found in all their glory on many menus—from hot steamed crabs to roly-poly crab cakes. Or, diners may be drawn to one of the many excellent Italian restaurants, as they should be. But Baltimore has another culinary side, too, one that has spawned several Top Chef contestants and James Beard finalists, creating a range of dining experiences whether you’re looking for luxe or laid-back. All you really need to do is bring your appetite to town.
Fine Dining: Charleston and Kali’s Court
Chef Cindy Wolf and partner Tony Foreman are local powerhouse restaurateurs with a growing empire. Their restaurant Charleston in Harbor East offers an exquisite dining experience in plush surroundings with tasting menus focusing on upscale Southern cuisine. The food is expertly paired with wines from a carefully composed list.
The romantic Kali’s Court in Fells Point seduces guests with its softly lit dining room and stellar service. This Mediterranean hot spot with a mostly seafood menu also has a charming brick courtyard with seating.
Celebrated Chef: Michael Mina at Four Seasons
It took a world-class facility—Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore in the Inner Harbor—to lure award-winning chef Michael Mina to the city. The celebrated restaurant maestro is responsible for three dining options at the hotel. Wit & Wisdom offers a contemporary take on traditional tavern food. LAMILL COFFEE elevates coffee-shop fare to a new level, featuring made-to-order beignets. And Pabu (scheduled to open in February) will excite gastronomes with its Japanese cuisine in Harbor East, near Fells Point.
Locavore: Woodberry Kitchen
No one has embraced the farm-to-table movement like Woodberry Kitchen a fashionably rustic space in an industrial mill just north of downtown. Chef/owner Spike Gjerde contracts with local vendors for seasonal produce, locally raised meats, homemade cheeses, and fresh seafood to produce creative dishes that reflect the Chesapeake region.
Italian: Aldo’s and Da Mimmo’s
Aldo’s Ristorante Italiano in Little Italy adds elegance to its signature cuisine with dishes like butter-poached lobster risotto and a veal chop with wild-mushroom polenta, all served in a beautiful formal setting. Actor Chazz Palminteri was so pleased with his visit there that he became partners with Aldo’s owners to open a nearby pizzeria. Down the street, Da Mimmo’s Italian Restaurant holds court with the stars, too, with its fine fare and gorgeous bar.
Crab Houses: Canton Dockside and Bo Brooks
There’s no lack of crab houses in Baltimore, but some take you through the hands-on, unique experience better than others. Canton Dockside is one of those. Sit indoors or outside at picnic tables (this is how locals do it!) with a view of the harbour. Longtime favourite Bo Brooks Restaurant in Canton is another popular place to crack crabs. (Tip: Beer is the beverage of choice to wash down the spicy crabs.)