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Thank you all for your wonderful suggestions. We have had some wonderful meals during our stay in Baltimore and look forward to another week.

I would appreciate your suggestions for ITALIAN, INDIAN, BURGERS, CRAB & CRAB CAKES ( my only disappointment in this fascinating city has been the Crab Cakes at FAIDLEY'S . They were not served hot, and tasted of mustard, an ingredient I really dislike.). Also an ICE CREAM PARLOR and a place for GREAT DESSERTS. Are there any other "not to be missed" restaurants? And yes, more Seafood and Crab.

Dining in Baltimore has been a real treat. We have found the food carefully prepared from very fresh ingredients and nicely presented, .We have tried outstanding seafood,Soft Shell Crab with home made potato chips! at MAMA ON THE HALF SHELL, excellent Thai food at THAI LANDING , the amazing food at THE HELMAND, and a lovely Persian dinner at ORCHARD MARKET in Towson. The only miss or disappointment was COPRA; rather ordinary fare , mediocre service, and prices higher than they should be.

On the whole, dining is a pleasure. We are from New York and the energy level and crowds in restaurants is very different. Another little touch I find missing is bringing something to the table when you sit down. We find prices very similar to those in NY.

Any suggestions are welcome.

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  1. Saffron. Two doors down from Helmand. My favorite place right now -- the staff is starting to remember me. The cioppino and rack of lamb are my favorite entrees, and my girlfriend raved about the halibut last night. The desserts are somewhat ordinary, but the banana coconut spring roll is quite good. Don't miss the stuffed squid and white tuna with truffle oil appetizers.

    I don't know what to tell you about crab cakes -- mustard is a pretty standard ingredient in them. I tend to stick to Mama's for seafood, but Nick's Fish House has gotten good reviews.

    Black Olive in Fell's Point is another good choice for seafood. I haven't been in a while, but they did have some sloppy service issues. Great food though.

    1. You might want to try Koco's on Harford Rd. for crabcakes. They are good, but blander than most. It's just a bar with a small kitchen. Crabcake platter is $18 on Thursdays, I think $24 normally. See my post below. Make reservations if you go on Thursday.
      There is a burger thread below. Not mentioned is my favorite: Dellarosa's on The Avenue in White Marsh northeast of the city. The thread is strictly on urban burgers.
      Italian? You're from NYC? Don't bother,
      Somewhat upscale Indian? The Ambassador Room on 39th Street.
      Dessert? Go to Woodlea Bakery on Belair Road and pick up a peach cake.
      Crabs to eat in? Bill's Terrace Inn and Costa's. Also, though not popular here, Obrycki's on Pratt St. in Fells Point. Touristy, everything but the crabs is mediocre, but the crustaceans are quite good and steamed with the traditional black pepper seasoning of my youth (I'm 49)rather than the Old Bay mix prevalent now.
      I second Saffron's and they have a $30 RW deal for 3 courses for the whole month of August encompassing the whole menu with a couple of supplements. See Jon's post below. Salt is a new restaurant at Pratt and Collington which is getting great buzz right now. I haven't been. Chameleon Cafe has gourmet food at very reasonable prices right down the street from Koco's.
      Sylvan Beach on Preston Street for ice cream.

      1. Well, I suggested Copra and Faidley's, so maybe this is my chance to redeem myself. :-)

        For Italian and Burgers, I'm going to direct you to the Little Italy thread (http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...) and the burger thread (http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...). In Little Italy, I would probably suggest La Scala as something pretty good and not outrageously expensive. I find Sotto Sopra in Mt. Vernon to be quite good, but I've also heard bad things about it, and it's too expensive to be uneven.

        For Indian, the place I usually go is called India Rasoi and it's actually in Little Italy. There is a newer Indian restaurant in Fells Point called Mehek that's has a nicer dining room. Another favourite on this board is the Ambassador Dining Room, that's up near Hopkins undergrad campus and has won "Best In B'more" (FWIW) several times.

        You should definitely try the steamed crab experience. LP Steamers in Federal Hill has good crabs; the other place I recommend is Bo Brooks in Canton (it's on the water; has a nice view, but if you go to Bo Brooks, stick to the crabs and apps; the other entrees can be downright horrible).

        2 Replies
        1. re: atls21231

          To each his own, but judging from the places you enjoyed and did not, I would suggest you skip India Rasoi and the Ambassador and head straight for Mehek in Fells Point. It is better in every conceivable way, and this from someone who lives a block from India Rasoi. Believe me, I wouldn't walk the extra fifteen minutes if it wasn't worth it. You might try Mehek's lunch buffet, a bargain at $8.

          1. re: atls21231

            Thanks for the tips. The links for Little Italy and burgers don't work. Still looking for a place for great burgers and fries, and salads.

          2. We had an excellent dinner at SOTTO SOPRA. The Caesar salad was delicious, and the unusual presentation delightful. The pastas we had, Agnolotti Stuffed with Veal, and Fettucine with Osso Buco Ragu could hold their own with Northern Italian restaurants in NY. The desserts were OK, nothing special. A bit pricey though, don't you think?

            We had Brunch at BLUE MOON which was a nice change, but basically diner food, and walked around Fells Point which is charming.

            We wound up for dinner at MAMAS again for the Soft Shell Crab Salad, four luscious crispy critters at the bargain price of just $10. We had a wonderful Bread Pudding with Whisky Sauce.

            1. Old Malt Shop in Federal Hill, corner of Fort Ave. & Webster St. They don't have gourmet ice cream to write home about, but it is an old-timey malt shop that I like to support. Can't find places like this any more and you feel good about going there instead of a chain. Don't make a special trip, but if you're in the area give it a try.

              1. Hey Fleur, glad your first week was a sucess. I agree with your assements, especially reagrding Copra.

                As for this week, try DiPasquali's for an italian lunch. They have an excellent selection of sandwiches, but I recommend ordering off the daily specials board or assembling a lunch from what is in the case. The house salad is excellent (I love the fennel they put in it) and the sauted rapini goes great with either the rice balls or a sandwich.

                I had some nice pasta at Sammy's Trattoria on Charles St. In Mt Vernon. I haven't had a chance to go back a second time but I will. Try it out and let us know what you think.

                If you hit Sammy's for dinner, go to Sylvan Beach on Preston Street for ice cream and coffee.

                1. The folks from SAMOS on Oldham Street in the Greek area of town
                  are back from their annual vacation, great for lunch or dinner.
                  Great Greek food..the gyro's are B'mores best.
                  Also if you get a taste for good corned beef drop in to ATTMANNS on Lombard Street for a great corned beef on rye with mustard, a pickle and a good kosher pickle...AND of course a Dr. Browns Cream Soda

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: Hue

                    Telling a New Yorker where to get corned beef seems a bit like carrying coals to Newcastle.

                    1. re: Hal Laurent

                      except that Attman's is that good!

                      1. re: Hal Laurent

                        Thanks for the tip. Unfortunately, since the 2nd Avenue Deli closed its doors, it is difficult to find great corned beef and pastrami in NY.

                        1. re: Fleur

                          2nd Avenue Deli is closed? That place was awesome -- the NY chowhounds pointed me to it a couple of years ago before a weekend there. Jeez, it had been there for what, 100 years or something?

                          1. re: Fleur


                            and the sandwiches aren't $18.95 like they were at the 2nd Avenue Deli.

                        2. re: Hue

                          Thanks for the tip. We loved SAMOS. The salads were excellent and the Gyro platter was delicious. The Pastitsio was OK, not the best I've had, but the Galaktobouriko dessert made up for it. All in all a highly recommendable choice, with low prices as a bonus.

                          1. re: Fleur

                            If you are so inclined,in the same area just around the corner from SAMOS is IKAROS, also has great Greek food especially the fried squid, with the green beans and oven baked potatoes, anda terrific Village salad(no lettuce, just tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, onions, olives,pepperocini and dressing. Very reasonable

                        3. How about Jimmy's in Fell's Point for breakfast? My daughter goes to school in Baltimore and therefore we travel there frequently seeking places to eat.In addition to the finer restaurants, this place was recommended to us for a real home style breakfast. The pile of bacon and the sausages were a great start for our day ( not the fruit and yogurt that I usually have.) The crown was a mix of locals and tourists. It's kind of a hole in the wall, but definitely worth eating breakfast there.

                          1. For ice cream, I'd recommend Moxley's. They have three parlors, and it's sold a bunch of other places around the city. (Go to moxleys.com to find where.) Their Mojo flavor is the best. It's the only ice cream I've found, since Beach Bums started making its own, that's better than I can make at home.

                            1. I guess it was bound to happen.. we finally had a bad meal (if you can call it that) in Baltimore.

                              After the raves on this Board, and the ratings in Zagat (25)and hankering for a delicious burger, we tried FIVE GUYS. It was dreadful. Tasteless overcooked burger served on a mushy soft bun, soggy tasteless fries. Just a notch above Burger King but really vile and inedible.

                              We were looking for a great burger, similar to what we get at home in NY, cooked medium, served on toasted Ciabatta or Kaiser roll with fresh, golden crispy fries.

                              How a place that serves such food gets a 25 from Zagat and raves from people is beyond me.

                              The peanuts were good.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Fleur

                                Five Guys is a DC/NOVA chain. The original location had (has?) fantastic burgers, but I believe the general consensus is that they grew too fast and that some franchise locations are not up to par.

                              2. burgers...try midtown yacht club on centre street across from the peabody. it's a bar, but they hand cut their fries (ask for extra crispy and they are divine) and they never over cook my rare burger. also try mick o'shea's in mt vernon (they use portobello mushrooms when you ask for sauteed shrooms)and mccabes on falls road. oh, and always ask to toast the roll...it's not a given in baltimore.
                                ice cream..i second sylvan beach on preston. not only is their ice cream good, but they are helping out the community.

                                1. I'd get Faidley's crab cakes/crab balls every day.

                                  1. For a great italian meal try Bocaccio's in little italy. Any seafood dish is worth having. I bit pricey but definitely worth every penny.

                                    1. Well, I'd hate for you to get another disappointing meal, so for restaurants with a generally good consensus, I think you should check out the following: Pazo, Birches, Brewer's Art (especially if you like Beligan beer), The Black Olive and maybe Henninger's.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Jason1

                                        I second the Brewer's Art suggestion. Be careful with the beer though! Two glasses and I was done for.

                                      2. Try the Wine Market on E. Fort Ave. Much more than a wine bar - it's a full-fledged restaurant with a very creative menu.

                                        1. Iggies on Calvert and Read in Mt Vernon is my new favorite spot. Very low-fi, casual, unpretentious but hip. They just do lovely, crispy cust made-to-order pizzas, a few salads - that's it! My favorite pizza features pesto, goat cheese, lots of fresh spinach... and I asked to have some Italian sausage added on. There's also a nice lemon, ricotta, arugula pizza. Everything is super fresh - almost makes my pizza-eating guilt go away! The best part is that it's BYO. They have a cute rack of wine glasses, etc. It's pretty much DIY in addition to BYO - you bus your table yourself. But it all feels very fun. Especially when you bill is delightfully small and you don't have to leave a tip. Not the place for a fancy night out, but perfect for a laid back B-more eve.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: misspicky

                                            Unfortunately, while I like Iggies atmosphere and style, I feel that their pizza could be so much better. I stood there watching them make it...with a rolling pin. While they advertise as neopolitan, hand stretched and delicate it is not. Their crust is hard, dense, with no air bubbles remaining. If you care about the crust that the good toppings are put onto, than Iggies will disappoint.

                                          2. I enjoy the crabcakes at G&M restaurant http://www.gandmcrabcakes.com/ It is small and a few miles south of Baltimore in Linthicum (near BWI airport). Get there early as it is always packed! Enjoy!

                                            1. We had a wonderful dining experience at the beautiful AMBASSADOR DINING ROOM. The setting in the dining room/outdoor garden of a 1930's neo-gothic style apartment building is exceptional.

                                              Seated almost immediately (we had reservation)at a well set table on the enclosed patio...really more like a loggia, we were brough warm Indian Bread and a delicious Mint, Coriander, and Coconut Chutney.

                                              For appetizers, we had the Aloo Chat, a cold spicy potato dish, and a stuffed Paratha bread. We had the Crab Malibar(when in Baltimore, eat crab!) which was luscious. Subtly spiced with beautiful,large pieces of crab. We also had the Lamb Biryani which was good, not outstanding. With many fish and seafood dishes on the menu, that seems to be the way to go. For dessert we had the Cardomom Ice Cream.

                                              Only false note: $8 for a bottle of Pellegrino!

                                              Service was excellent, extremely polite and attentive. I would highly recommend this unique restaurant for a special occasion.

                                              1. For good Italian food, go to Serpico's in Perry Hall, Md. This is an excellant Italian Restaurant located about 20-25 mins from downtown Baltimore. You will not be disappointed!!