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Weekday Lunch in Baltimore

I'm graduating from graduate school in May, and the ceremony is on a Friday morning in Baltimore. Having never had a meal in Baltimore (the school is actually in DC), I am looking for a lunch recommendation. I was thinking of something along the lines of SALT, Pazo, or the Bicyle (I read their reviews, saw the websites)...but that's open during lunch.
Some things to consider

- located in a nice part of town, with a nice view, or in between DC and B'more
- casual, hip atmosphere, not too loud
- not necessarily expensive, but elegant ($20-25 for entrees)
- veggie-friendly (2 of the 6 people attending are vegetarian but eat some fish)

Thanks for all your recommendations in advance.

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  1. Of the three places you've listed, I've only been to Salt, but I'd suggest that you cross it off your list. Salt's neighborhood is euphemistically describted as up-and-coming by enterprising real estate agents. I don't think you'll get mugged on the way to lunch, but if you're unfamiliar with the area, it's not too far from some bad neighborhoods, and I'd hate for you to take away that impression of Baltimore.

    I take it you're a SAIS grad -- is the ceremony at the Homewood campus? If so that's not too far from Petit Louis on Roland Avenue, which serves fancy French food. I don't know that it's hip as much as it is elegant, but it's easy to get to and has an attractive interior. It's owned by the same group as Pazo, and seems like a graduation-type place to me. Although, hmmmm, I wonder how many vegetarian options a French restaurant would have. It may be worth a call to restaurant to see.

    The Helmand would also be a very good choice. They serve delicious Afghan food, and Mt. Vernon is a cool neighborhood where you could definitely walk around a bit at midday and see the square and such. And the Helmand is perfect for vegitarian/omnivore summits. (Also, if you are SAIS, you get international affairs geek points for knowing the owner is Hamid Karzai's brother.)

    2 Replies
    1. re: pomme de terre

      The only one listed above thats open for lunch is Petit Louis.
      http://www.petitlouis.com

      Brasserie Tatin is open for lunch:
      http://www.brasserietatin.com/

      as is Pazza Luna:
      http://www.pazzaluna.us

      1. I'd recommend the Black Olive in Fells Point. Perhaps slightly more expensive (though probably not for lunch), impeccably good fish, omething you can't find in DC. You also might want to check out Pierpoint, which is also in Fells Point. Something like Charleston, but a little more casual. BTW, Pierpoint is only open for lunch by reservation
        so call ahead.

        Another popular place for this kind of thing is Gertrude's at the Baltimore Museum of Art.

        Petit Louis and Brasserie Tatin are nice restaurants, views aren't really anything to write home about.

        1 Reply
        1. re: BmoreHound

          Speaking of nice views...does anyone know when a restaurant in the Visionary Art Museum is going to open??? Although, since the ritz-carlton, it probably won't have good views anymore.

        2. FYI - Salt, Bicycle, Pazo are only open for dinner, not lunch. The vegetarian options at Petit Lois and Pazza Luna are quite limited.

          Gertrudes @ the BMA has a wonderful lunch menu and caters to tastes both casual and unadventuerous (sandwiches) to the more luncheon 'crab quiche'. The dinning room is pretty and there's white linen and great art - makes for the feel of being more $ than it really is.

          If you want to drop some $, then I would look into Black Olive - obviously it'ss seafood heavy. I've always been more impressed with their food than their service but it's worth the money.

          Sotto Sopra - the big sister restaurant to Pazza Luna is also open for lunch, maybe a bit more upscale that PL but again, decidedly limited vegie menu. Parking is horrible and it's not the prettiest dining room in town.

          The Ambassadoor Indian restaurant has a great menu for lunch that caters to both carnivores and vegetarians the dinning room is very British India - leopard print and big arm chairs - and if you do the buffet its cheap, otherwise it's mid-range for lunch. Of course if you aren't into Indian food...

          McCormick and Schmick's is right on the water so it has a great view, the lunch menu is reasonably priced but you're also supporting a chain, which doesn't sound like the way you'd like to go.

          Most of the other hip and elegant places i can think of are stricly dinner only, but as it's graduation season, it's always worth calling ahead.

          As for the last post...nothing but Joy...nothing but an empty space waiting to be filled...there have been many offers and many enquiries, but none taken. To the best of my (inside) knoweldge, AVAM the space, formerly known as Joy, is Joy-less. I'll post if i hear more...

          1. The Brass Elephant in Mt. Vernon, which is open for lunch, would also be a good choice. Boccaccio and Germano's in Little Italy are some additional options to consider.

            1. Best choice might be Brass Elephant, a really elegant place, altho I have not had lunch there in many years. Petit Louis is loud and has no view, but the food is excellent. I must stick up for Butcher's Hill/Patterson Park--the neighborhood around Salt. it has become gentrified and seems safe to me, with normal precautions.

              1 Reply
              1. re: tartuffe

                i ate at the Brass a couple of months ago and will not be going back. It's the third time in the a couple of years I've eaten there and the food is just so-so but not worth the price and the service was terrible. Haughty, direct, unfriendly and so quick - we didn't have a chance to finish our app's before they wisked them away - that we ended up laughing it was that terrible.

              2. Thanks for all the replies! I've looked at Petit Louis and there's not much my guests could eat there. I liked the Brass Elephant, so that might be my first choice. Just one question--say I cave in and decide on a chain. Any thoughts on McCormick & Schmick's and the Peacock Cafe? I'm thinking the Peacock might be good with a patio and a view (i think).
                Thanks again!

                1 Reply
                1. re: dcbean

                  McCormick and Schmick's is perfectly adequate. It is one of the few chains I patronize. Their seafood is solid, as is their service. You won't go wrong with going there, but it just won't be an authentic Bawlmer experience.

                  If it's a nice day you can sit outside and look out on the Inner Harbor. It's nice. But they get crowded, so definitely make a reservation.