Our Guide to Baltimore's Cuisine Landscape       •       2014
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Of Love & Regret
The brainchild of Stillwater Artisanal Ales founder Brian Strumke, Of Love & Regret combines the comforts of a corner pub and the verve of a cosmopolitan bistro. It’s a wonderful gathering space for Baltimore, and it puts out some of the best burgers in town. The be ...
Sometimes bigger is better. When Ikaros moved, in late 2012, one block up Eastern Avenue from its original home of 40-plus years, it not only gained more elbow room for its diners but space enough for a free-standing, glass-fronted rotisserie oven that slow-cooks variou ...
Blue Hill Tavern
When it opened back in 2009, its obscure location was part of its charm. Now that the surrounding neighborhoods are developing, the chic city atmosphere, complete with rooftop lounge and waterfall-accented bar, is no longer the surprise it once was. But Blue Hill is sti ...
With new restaurants opening in Hampden at a breakneck pace, 3-year-old Alchemy qualifies as a neighborhood veteran. This jazzy spot keeps itself fresh and relevant by constantly experimenting with new dishes and surprising flavor combinations — hence its name. Start wi ...
Charles Village
The two Donna’s locations have their own longtime executive chefs — Andy Thomas at Charles Village and Ian Stanford at Cross Keys — and somewhat different menus. But both still carry the stamp of Donna Crivello. From the start, Donna’s menu was rooted in Crivello’s love ...
The Black Olive
Fells Point
The Spiliadis family opened the Black Olive in 1997. With its emphasis on fresh fish, it was unlike any Greek restaurant of its time, and it virtually invented its own category of dining in Baltimore. Not just the fish but everything is patently fresh and well prepared, ...
Aida Bistro
What we love about this family-owned Italian restaurant, besides its commitment to Howard County farmers and its thoughtfulness about gluten-free options, is how well it works for both nice, long Saturday dinners in the dining room, and a quick Tuesday night stop at the ...
Tapas Teatro
Charles North
Tapas restaurants can grow stale, just serving the same old things, but 10 years in, the food at Tapas Teatro is better than ever. The main menu has grown and evolved, with more choices, particularly among meat and seafood plates, and the specials are exceptionally good ...
Mr. Rain’s Fun House
Federal Hill
This excellent contemporary restaurant manages to be both part of a progressive culinary movement and its very own thing. The experienced staff members aren’t shy about their sense of fashion, and Bill Buszinski’s kitchen isn’t afraid of displaying flourishes of wit, ju ...
The Canton kitchen of Neal Langermann turns out commendable Low Country cuisine. At its best, the food can put a spell on you. The specialties include shrimp and grits, maple smokehouse-rubbed Duroc pork chops, Cape Fear scallops and fried green tomatoes. The easy-going ...
The Oregon Grille
Hunt Valley
The Oregon Grille is a retreat, where a meal is pleasantly paced and relaxing, and where gentlemen are still asked to wear jackets in the dining room — not just on weekends, but weeknights, too. Although the Oregon Grille is not a steakhouse, steaks are the pride of the ...
Ten Ten American Bistro
Harbor East
Baltimore’s dining landscape used to be filled with pretty bistros, the kind of places where you could grab a nice glass of wine and a good fish entree and an indulgent little dessert. Ten Ten reminds us of those much-missed places. The Harbor East restaurant leaves the ...
Henninger’s Tavern
Upper Fells Point
Henninger’s is still among Baltimore’s most romantic destinations, and Jayne and Kenny Vieth are the kind of hosts that give real meaning to the phrase “Charm City.” French-influenced dishes like fried oysters in Pernod sauce and shellfish with linguine are entirely fre ...
Hamilton Hills
Since its spring 2008 opening, Clementine has doubled in size, acquired both a liquor license and a regular bar crowd, and blossomed into a full-scale dining destination. You can still get the rib-sticking, meaty comfort food that put this family favorite on the map, bu ...
Wit & Wisdom
Harbor East
Last summer, the restaurant inside the Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore got a new executive chef, Zack Mills, who by year’s end looked to be gathering up some impressive momentum. Go for wood-grilled meats and fish, Atlantic monkfish poached in beet vinaigrette with pistach ...
Cafe Troia
Toward the end of 2013, this durably popular white tablecloth restaurant welcomed a new chef, Darren Maas, who set to work introducing new contemporary specials — fish dishes and fresh pastas — to the time-tested menu of Italian classics. That’s encouraging news for fan ...
Fells Point
Swimming in crimson, the setting — an industrial space remade into a Spanish “grand house” — is sumptuous and sexy. But the reason to go is the Spain-spanning menu, which these days specializes in seafood grilled “a la planxa,” wood-grilled chicken, and paella-style “La ...
City Cafe
Mid-Town Belevedere
The conversion, in late 2013, of the original cafe into a warmly welcoming lounge space was just the latest example of forward progress at this deservedly popular midtown spot. Jared Rhine has settled nicely into the executive chef position, keeping the menu accessible. ...
Kali’s Mezze
Fells Point
The sidekick restaurant to the Kali’s Court is drawing full houses with its small plates of savory Greek fare like succulent lamb chops, zesty dips and lemony fresh seafood. Every visit is guaranteed to reveal a new delight on the menu — like the bacalao & skordalia ...
The Brewer’s Art
Mid-Town Belvedere
Now in its 18th season, The Brewer’s Art has had a remarkably successful run in its Charles Street townhouse. Most impressively, it has managed to mature and grow in popularity while holding true to its original rathskeller roots. The Belgian-style beers, brewed on the ...
Milton Inn
The northern Baltimore County classic still delivers all of the tradition and perks diners want from a fine-dining, special-occasion restaurant. On any given night, the Milton Inn experience unfolds in six dining rooms within a meticulously kept fieldstone mansion. Cred ...
Wine Market Bistro
Locust Point Industrial Area
There was never any question that this combination bistro, wine bar and wine shop scored major style and hospitality points. And last year, the menu got more interesting every time you looked, with tempting dishes like Viking Village scallops in smoked potato cream and ...
Bluegrass Tavern
South Baltimore
Since taking over the kitchen at this gracious south-side tavern, Timothy Dyson has incorporated elements of French country cuisine into the menu without changing its Southern accent. The essential dishes are the smoked fried chicken with country gravy and the low count ...
Johns Hopkins Homewood
Gertrude’s, John Shields’ restaurant inside the Baltimore Museum of Art, has always performed its institutional role with grace. But its devoted following long ago stopped thinking of Gertrude’s as a museum restaurant and instead as a short-list destination for reliable ...
Maggie’s Farm
Beverly Hills
It was a big year on the farm. The Northeast Baltimore restaurant emerged fully from the shadow of The Chameleon — the popular restaurant that once occupied the same address — and remade itself, with the help of a TV reality show, into a more casual version of its forma ...
B&O American Brasserie
Almost four years in, the restaurant inside the Hotel Monaco has established itself as a worthy citizen of Baltimore. Before it came along, dining options in this area were scarce, especially at night, both for visitors and the hometown crowd. Backing up the kitchen is ...
Sotto Sopra
The thing we love most is how natural Riccardo Bosio’s contemporary Italian cuisine feels in Sotto Sopra’s theatrically opulent setting. Spaghetti Neri, a fresh pasta dish with squid-ink spaghetti, crawfish, crab and porcini mushroom sauce, and a pork osso buco with tru ...
Tio Pepe Restaurante
Mount Vernon
It’s no longer the most expensive meal in town, but a Tio Pepe dinner still feels like a luxury item, bathed in drawn butter, covered with hollandaise, flavored with brandy, layered with cream and rolled in pine nuts. The Tournedos Tio Pepe are the everlasting classic, ...
The flagship restaurant of the Liberatore family’s restaurant group, which spans three Maryland counties, draws crowds with a jazzy, upbeat atmosphere and consistently good Italian classics like veal saltimbocca and shrimp fra diavolo. At the end of last year, the resta ...
Harbor East
The Japanese restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore had a great sophomore year. It stopped worrying so much about what it was — a contemporary izakaya? a sushi bar? — and started having fun. Now that the fog has lifted, Pabu’s best qualities — the superior selec ...
Fork & Wrench
There was a chef change last spring. Sajin Renae left for New York, and Cyrus Keefer came in from Birroteca to take her place. It was a gentle transition, but by the end of the year, Keefer had pretty much transformed the menu at this posh corner spot. Here’s some of wh ...
Jones Falls Area
The first year, when everybody wanted in, might have seemed like a fluke. But the crowds kept coming to this roadside home, located in an emerging mill district near Hampden. Come with reservations, or come prepared to strategize your way into the first seat that opens ...
Thames Street Oyster House
Fells Point
Before Thames Street Oyster House came along in 2011, there was no place to send someone for decent seafood and a reliable raw bar near the waterfront in Fells Point. Thames Street filled that niche, and went further by not pandering to notions of what a Baltimore seafo ...
Fleet Street Kitchen
Harbor East
At heart it’s a farm-to-table restaurant, but this spot in Harbor East’s Bagby Building is as chic as they come. In the hands of young chef Chris Amendola, raw ingredients are transformed into dinner fit for a major deal-clinching or a big Saturday night on the town. Th ...
Corner BYOB
Diners who talk about the golden age of quiet dining and classically prepared cuisine discovered this hideaway early on. Last year saw two big changes: the addition of a annex bar, which shares the same kitchen but not the same menu, and the acquisition of a full liquor ...
The Helmand
Mount Vernon
It’s hard to remember when kaddo borwani, dwopiaza and aushak weren’t household names in Baltimore dining. It’s been more than 25 years now that Qayum Karzai’s genteel Mount Vernon restaurant has been treating Baltimoreans to exquisite and savory Afghan cuisine like, as ...
Ouzo Bay
Harbor East
On a nice evening, when the windows are open to the terrace, things get a little electric at Ouzo Bay, and you almost find yourself worrying about paparazzi. But beneath that glamour, there’s a seriously good seafood restaurant. There are luxury items like Dover sole, w ...
Salt Tavern
Upper Fells Point
At Salt, diners are treated with respect. The kitchen trusts them to try new things — maybe fried squash blossoms stuffed with salt cod, or a carpaccio of Spanish rock octopus layered with mizuna and bulbs of baby fennel. Last spring, Salt’s co-owner and chef Jason Ambr ...
Harbor East
From the beginning, Cinghiale provided a frothy cosmopolitan setting for enjoying a great glass of wine and beautifully turned out charcuterie. It’s grown into a destination for seriously good dining. The last time we visited, young chef Julian Marucci was cooking up a ...
The latest from the Bagby Restaurant Group opened late last year with a bang. Cunningham’s wants to be a restaurant for all moods and occasions, for anniversary dinners and impromptu weeknight meals. That’s no easy trick. The atmosphere has to feel special but not overw ...
Charles North
With its rough-hewn good looks and spartan barn-door decor, Bottega superficially resembles a farm-to-table restaurant. But it’s not pious. Bottega has the kind of a comfort in its own skin that’s as sexy in a restaurant as it is in a person. Owner Adrien Aeschliman and ...
Petit Louis Bistro
Roland Park
It was so nice, they did it twice. When it came time for Foreman Wolf to decide which, if any, of their restaurant concepts to put into their new Howard County location, the Baltimore-based restaurant group decided it should be a second version of Petit Louis, its most ...
Owings Mills
Contemporary dining is a tricky category. Overnight, the bloom can fall of the rose, and diners wonder what they ever saw in a sun-dried tomato. Linwoods has never lost its luster, though, because its chef and owner, Linwood Dame, was never a dabbler in gimmicks or a fo ...
Little Italy
There are moments at Aldo’s when you think, oh, thank you. Like when you take the first sip of the aromatic minestrone, filled with vegetables and herbs from owner Aldo Vitale’s own garden. Do not leave without trying a pasta dish, maybe the orecchiette, a savory plate ...
Woodberry Kitchen
Baltimore’s pioneering farm-to-table restaurant has earned the reputation it enjoys. Every day, the sheer act of producing dinner at Woodberry Kitchen is a massive undertaking by a fiercely dedicated staff. The spectacular element is the setting: a seamless and soaring, ...
Peter’s Inn
Fells Point
The doors open an hour before the kitchen gets started, and by dinnertime all of the tables and all of the bar stools are taken at Karin and Bud Tiffany’s Fells Point charmer. People know a good thing. The tiny chalkboard menu changes every week, but the buttery, best-i ...
Jack’s Bistro
The small Canton restaurant is today what it has been from the start — exactly what it wants to be. Jack’s is now playing largely to an avid fan base who have their favorites on the menu — the Guinness-braised filet mignon, an Argentine steak prepared sous vide — but wh ...
The Prime Rib
Mid-Town Belvedere
Now approaching its 50th season, Buzz BeLer’s swank steakhouse continues to set all kinds of dining standards in Baltimore, from the service, which is the ideal of unobtrusiveness, to the consistent quality of its steak and seafood, which has never wavered. Nothing ever ...
The Food Market
The Food Market’s popularity, which is entirely deserved, showed no signs of fading in its second year of operation. From the start, co-owners Chad Gauss, the executive chef, and Elan Kotz, the general manager, have operated their Hampden restaurant with the radical ide ...
Harbor East
Charleston, more than any other restaurant in Baltimore, asks a diner for a complete commitment — of time, attention and, yes, money. But the rewards are considerable, and they keep coming over a long and pleasurable evening. Every little thing in the serenely beautiful ...