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Baltimore fish (no, not crab) restaurant for celebration?

Fish, fish, fish. Just out of the water, splendidly cooked with inventive flavorings that do not hide the original tastes. Where can I find this in Baltimore City/County or Howard County?
Don't want it TOO formal, but this is a celebration.

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  1. How about The Black Olive? They specialize in whole fresh fish (most filleted at your table)...I have only been once but my whole party was pleased with the freshness and perfect, simple preparation of their respective fishes. The waiter will invite you to come with him to "tour" today's available fresh fish. Do that, see the freshness, and choose for yourself.

    1. +1 on Black Olive. Sometimes it seems like it's the only "real" seafood place in town.

      Now, they just grill it and serve it with an olive oil/lemon juice concotion, so there will not be inventive flavors. Just the pure fish.

      1. + another 1 for Black Olive...fresh grilled seafood, simple
        but very good!!! One Caveat...pricey

        1 Reply
        1. re: Hue

          After three horrendous service experiences at the Black Olive (waits of 45 minutes for apps in a half-empty restaurant; 2 servers for 30 tables, thus minimal service; etc.) I've never gone back. It's been 5 years and I'm still loath to go because of those angst-inducing waits. Have they improved in that department?

          Kali's Court has a similar setup (fish sitting on ice, you can pick out which one you want) with far more stellar and upscale service, IMHO. I remember the grilled calamari being divine, ringlets charred on outside, cooked just perfectly on the inside. Also a bit pricey, definitely stuffier than Black Olive.

          Once upon a time I would have recommended Johns Stevens, but alas their quality has become too inconsistent for me to be able to do so. Plus, they took some of my favorite fish treatments off the menu. (Best stick with steamers there.)

          I was only marginally impressed with Blue Sea Grill. The food was good, but not "blow me out of the water" good. And the fish is a la carte, so the sides add up quickly. Kind of a "see and be seen" type of place. Gorgeous turqoise decor.

          1. Trapeze. It's off of 216 in Fulton. They have crab cakes, but the focus of their menu was fish. I had a very good seared tuna dish.

            People seem to like Bonefish Grille. I know there's one on Rte. 2 in Glen Burnie, but I think there's one in Baltimore County, too.

            1. If you're willing to venture to Annapolis and dine near the water, O'Learys has great seafood in an upscale casual environment. Consistently voted Best in Annapolis.


              1. I have to agree about the apalling service at Black Olive spoiling the meal. I recently had a one and three quarter hour lunch, including a mistaken dish, with no apology. I had to chase down the waiter to get the bill, as he was busy chatting to a vendor. Been to Kali's court on two occasions, and found both the food and the service bland.

                What about the creative flavorings I also crave? Zorba's? Bonefish Grill? somewhere else? Where is Fulton? Sorry, Annapolis is a bit far for this celebration, but thanks for the reco.

                2 Replies
                1. re: crowsonguy

                  I didn't post about the Black Olive because it's been so long since I've been there. My first visit was blissful, but every subsequent visit was marked by horrible service. It's been about five years -- sad to see that it hasn't changed. I really really wanted to like the place -- foodwise it ranged from good to excellent -- but I got seriously tired of ending my meals frustrated by the staff.

                  Now when I want fish grilled simply I go to Greektown. Samos isn't much of a fish place, but Zorba's is good, and I've also had a decent fish at Acropolis (although I wouldn't recommend much else).

                  1. re: JonParker

                    IMO the best places for fish in Bawlmer are in Greektown, Acropolis, Zorba's, and Ikaros. I also have had excellent calamari and lamb at Acropolis.

                2. Yannow, I just realized that Zodiac generally has a fish for it's special of the day. I've had rockfish there twice and really enjoyed it (came with haricot verts and choice of mashers/wild rice). Cooked perfectly and lightly flavored, so that the fish texture and flavor shone through.

                  Ditto for Red Fish in Canton. I LOVE thier rockfish dish, it's on the menu. I just checked their menu to see what fish dish I didn't like as much there (though it was still nicely done) and see that they've changed it since I've last been there. Guess I'll have to check out the new caper puree for the rockfish.

                  1. legal seafood
                    john stevens (been good as of late)
                    red fish
                    blue sea grill

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: MegMD

                      Hey Meg,

                      Thanks for the Johns Steven's update. It was where I had my third date with my man, and it used to be one of our "go-to" restaurants for about 5 years. Then things started to slide. I do miss the food (loved the PEI mussels, rockfish/beurre blanc/wilted spinach/fried polenta with sundried tomato tapenade dish), the bar, and sitting by the wood pellet oven in the back. And they had two servers (one guy, one lady) that were just top-notch. I've missed all of it.

                      I'll give it another shot based on your rec. Hopefully it won't let me down! I'll post how it goes....

                      1. re: venera

                        Love to hear about your experience, I think the food there has gone downhill for years.

                    2. Oceanaire or Black Olive

                      1. Kali's Court in Fells Point.

                        1. Tio Pepes has fabulous fish dishes

                          1. I was really underwhelmed by the food at Black Olive, but the bill was salt in my wound. Kali's Court is fantastic. Oceanaire for a nice chain rest.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: BirdBrainBrad

                              Your comment about the Black Olive was spot on. I thought it was just me! I recall the food as being solidly good, but not anything to rave about. And definitely overpriced for what we got. Our awful service experiences (for a couple that, combined, has prep, grill, salad/sandwich line, wait, and bar work experience) rubbed more salt in our wound than the bill.

                            2. As a Concierge in Baltimore City I usually recommend The Blue Sea Grill or Kali's Court. There are not many locally owned "Seafood" restaurants in the city for a special occasion. Both of the restaurants I have mentioned have always provided excellent meals and service for my guests as well as myself. I have had them both host private parties and my guests always have raved.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Markajv

                                Don't overlook Greektown. Both Acropolis and Ikaros do an excellent job with fish.