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Baltimore Eats- Memorial Day Weekend

Our family of 4 foodies (incl 2 teeneage boys) will be in Baltimore for the NCAA LAX tournament. We are looking for reasonable and neat places to eat. We are staying near Inner Harbor, and prefer to walk or cab it while in town. Definitely NOT seeking any tourist spots- we like to explore local hangouts- nothing fancy, please!

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  1. Glad you'll be visiting us in Baltimore! There are a couple of places that immediately come to mind. For a fun, relaxed, and inexpensive evening, I strongly suggest Matthew's Pizza. It's located in Highlandtown, which is about a 5-10 minute cab ride from the Inner Habor (depending upon traffic). Matthew's has the best pizza in Baltimore and you'll definitely enjoy it!

    Also, check out James Joyce Pub. It's not really Irish, except for a few items on the menu, and it's not really a pub, except for the lengthy bar that nearly stretches the entire length of the restaurant, but it has very good food at reasonable prices. It's about a five minute walk from the Harbor in an area called Innerharbor East.

    There's always Little Italy. Pick and choose among its many restaurants; they're pretty much all of the same. Definitely go to Vaccaro's. It's an Italian pastry shop. You can eat there or take some to go. Either way, it's a good choice.

    Another great place is Birches located in Canton. Again, about a 5-10 minute cab ride. Its split between the restaurant and bar, but either is fine. Food is still the same. Nice mix of comfort food and more intricate dishes.

    If you feel like walking around, it's always smart to check out Baltimore's markets. The Cross Street Market and Lexington Market are the closest to the Harbor. They each offer local vendors and eateries. You can find some of Baltimore's best here.

    Hope this helps and enjoy your visit to Baltimore!

    1. There is a new place on Charles St. north of the harbor called Miltons. It's casual, great barbeque. For a quick and very casual meal, check out Afghan Kabob at Charles and Lombard, very close to the harbor. They are open late and have great kabobs on homemade pita. Enjoy your visit!

      1. I would suggest Bay Cafe over in Canton. It's about a 10 minute cab ride from the Inner Harbor(traffic and lights) It's a very casual place with both indoor and outdoor seating right on the water. Food is pretty good and the view can't be beat. You can check out their menu online at

        3 Replies
        1. re: moto2512

          I don't know if I'd call Bay Cafe's food "pretty good". The view is nice, though.

          1. re: Hal Laurent

            The only thing to go to the Bay Cafe for is the view and the shrimp salad, the rest of the food is meh.

            1. re: hon

              agree- only the view & shrimp salad- well, and a drink to go with it.

        2. i'd avoid Bay Cafe, food is terrible, the crowd is annoying at best and the view can be experienced elsewhere on the water front w/ out having to suffer the aforementioned.
          a decent brunch at reasonable prices can be had @ Harvest Table, in Locust Point. You can either take the water taxi over, or if you feel like really stretching your legs, its a decent walk around the Harbor to Locust Point (~30mins). Brunch prices hover around $7, the plates are huge. walk to the docks and enjoy the harbor view from the 'other side' - you're under the Domino Sugar sign - and kick back on the hammocks if the weather is good. The place shuts down at 2pm, so get there early.

          In midtown there is the very trusty Helmand; Afgah food. Very reasonable prices easily $20 each with one drink and walk able from the harbor. It's on the 800 block of N.Charles and I would choose that over Milton's (mentioned earlier).

          If you're in the Hampden area (and i suspect if you are here for LAX you will be), there are plenty of great places to check out: Rocket to Venus is a bar w/ great food, very cheap and an interesting hipster scene, not to mention history of the name. It's non-smoking before 9pm.
          On the other side of the JHU LAX field across University Parkway is 'One World Cafe' - great for breakfast/lunch/dinner; its vegetarian but has a good selection of coffees, muffins, smoothies etc..it's also licensed if you're feeling like a cold brew or glass of vino.
          Opposite that but tucked away into the Ambassadoor Apartments is the Ambassadoor Indian Dining Room - they have a fabulous buffet spread for lunch. It's easily the best value for Indian. THe dinning room itself is gorgeous; think British India w/ big windows, comfy wicker chairs and leopard print cushions. The lunch is ~$12 i think of Sunday's its $15 but includes an 'all you drink/mix Mimosa bar'. I would highly recommend this place.
          Check www.citypaper.com for more listings of places to get web info and hours.
          have fun!

          1 Reply
          1. re: aussiewonder

            I wouldn't necessarily say avoid Bay Cafe. While not excellent the food is not horrible.The view is nice and is a different then what can be had from Locust Point/Fed Hill. I don't know any about the OP's 2 teenage boys, but if they are like the stereotypical highschool/jock teenage I am sure that they would not find the crowd annoying. In my experience the crowd there is of the "young and beautiful" type, just the type that a teenage boy would enjoy. And on a nice day the sand and palm trees is fun and different from the normal smoky/dark bars in Baltimore.

          2. I can't say I am a fan of lacrosse, but I can however tell you some of the finer places to eat in Baltimore. Most people have named things near the harbor, but these places travel out a bit further:

            Faidleys (Lexington Market): Get the broiled crab cake. Pricey, but you can split the platter between 2 people and its oh so delicious. Lexington Market is an amazing Baltimore land mark that must be seen.

            Cross Street Market: much like Lexington market, just stuffed w/ more yuppies and white people. Get shucked oysters and other seafood treats. Solid atmosphere, just not as interesting as Lexington Market.

            Matthew's Pizza (Eastern Ave past fells point): an amazing pizza that is quite unique. I really enjoy the crab pizza or the meatball.

            Mastellones (Harford Rd): the best italian deli in the city who bake the most excellent sub rolls. I can't recommend this place enough.

            Golden West Cafe (Hampden): Okay, the service can be dreadful, but the breakfast there is quite awesome as well as the turkey brie and cherry chutney sandwich.

            Blue Moon Cafe (Fells Pt): Again, another amazing breakfast joint with super huge portions. Bring an empty stomach and doggy bags.

            Dizzie Issies (Remington): Beer and cheap pub food. Fantastic local establishment with okay food but its very cheap, the atmosphere is great, and the owner Elaine is a total gem. This place is very very Baltimore. You might see John Waters here on some nights.

            Torterilla (Fells Point): the best tacos in Baltimore and some amazing chips and dip. Not much room to sit but its worth it.

            Big Bad Wolf BBQ (Harford Rd): Pretty solid BBQ for Baltimore. Andy Nelson's is pretty good too, but BBW does an amazing BBQ Chicken Breast Sandwhich that Nelson doesn't do. They sometimes have this cherry bourbon BBQ sauce that is pretty amazing.

            Peter's Inn (Fells Point): If you want to splurge slightly this place is a local hang out that serves an amazing steak along w/ super rad garlic bread and salad. You might have to wait to get a table, but you can walk around Fell's Point while waiting.

            Karma's cafe (Charles Village): Solid coffee joint that serves up some quality food. As weird as this may sound, try their yogurt. The only thing in Charles Village worth visiting.

            I'll try and think of some more....

            1 Reply
            1. re: PrinceofBaltimore

              If you like Mastellone's, you should try DiPasquale's in Highlandtown, same owners, expanded menu and a couple of tables if you want to eat there.

            2. Second Lexington Market (its north if M& T Stadium) walkable in daylight..lunch only.

              Cross Street Market (also walkable...east of M&T Stadium)Hamburg Street to Charles then left..Lunch only tho...

              Echo the rec for Matthews
              Echo the caveat for Bay Cafe

              Hull Street Blues(on Hull Street DUH just off Fort Ave.) in the Locust Point area very casual bar/pub with reasonable food.

              Either Weis Deli or Attmanns Deli on Lombard Street North and east of the Harbor for great deli samiches....Corned beef on rye with mustard , a pickle and a Dr Browns
              get it to go and sit on the harbor walk and dine al fresco...

              1. Wow, what a great response. Thank you to all who posted, we appreciate all your help. We can't wait to check some of these out!

                1. Hope you enjoy your visit to LAX crazy Baltimore.
                  You can take cab or Water Taxi to Canton Walk two blocks north from Water Taxi stop to "The Square"....(Avoid Bay Cafe!)

                  Looneys- Sports/Irish pub ...Pub Grub thats reliably tasty
                  Granite- good bar food as well and more updated look than Looneys
                  Claddagh- Irish Pub with a big menu
                  Mama's on the Half Shell- Good old school style Seafood/Excellent brunch too
                  Helen's Garden- Kinda foofy menu but food is good
                  Vaccarro's has an outlet here to on the square for desert

                  Also I would concur on Matthew's pizza...great pies of a very unique nature in a dining space time warped from 1958 or so.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: baltosteve


                    Samos in Greektown for wonderful Greek chow....go during off hours or be prepared to wait!

                    1. re: baltosteve

                      I without a doubt, second Birches.

                      Super casual, laid back and great food.


                    2. re: baltosteve

                      Just FYI, I would respectfully disagree on Looneys, Granite, and Helen's Garden as nowhere near as good as the places named above. If you really want to go to a bar and eat good food, go to Birches; it's five minutes closer to the Inner Harbor and at least a couple of notches over these three.

                    3. Where are you visiting from? (Ie, if you're from New York, I'm sure you don't care about eating pizza on vacation, or if you're from the Midwest, you should definitely get your seafood on.)

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: pomme de terre

                        We are from the Michigan (suburb of north of Detroit) - we are most interested in seafood, but not the really fancy places. We prefer the local haunts and really casual. So, seafood it is!

                        1. re: lmtakacs

                          So where did you end up going? Did you have a good weekend, with lots of eating and lacrosse?

                          1. re: pomme de terre

                            So sorry for the delay, I have not checked postings since we returned- There was a lot of lacrosse, which left not enough time to eat out!! We went out for dinners at Shuckers, Pazo, and Mo's in Little Italy. I would consider prices medium, food was very good, and very friendly service at Shucker's in Fells Point. Shucker's seafood club sandwich and crab legs were AWESOME!!! The trendy Pazo food was very tasty- the boys loved the empanadas, ceviche, and lamb- Mom really liked the different martinis!!! Mo's crab cakes were the best I have had and were HUGE- portion sizes were more that sufficient- we could have ordered half of what we did at Mos and still had left overs. The only negative comment I had was that the service at both Pazo and Mo's was actually quite aloof. My hubby did make the comment that at all these restaurants the gratuity was already added in the bill- perhaps this was the reason for the mediocre service- We loved downtown and the action at the Inner Harbor- Fells Point was also a great place to walk around.
                            Thank you to everyone who posted and helped us out- we had a great time!
                            Please let us know if you are ever in the Metro Detroit area - we actally have some awesome and diverse restaurants here-

                      2. If I caught you in time...I live in the city. For seafood places that are not fancy, inexpensive, good and definitely local, I suggest the following:
                        Nick's Fish House - www.nicksfishhouse.com
                        LP Steamers - www.lpsteamers.com
                        G&M Seafood (crab cake heaven) -www.gandmcrabcakes.com
                        Regi's (crab cakes and mussels) - www.regisamericanbistro.com

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: lstineba

                          Since this was posted a year ago, they're probably done by now. That said, I wouldn't recommend G&M to anyone.

                          1. re: JonParker

                            G&M would probably be a great choice for anyone impressed by Mo's seafood.