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Anniversary dinner in Balto. Please help me choose.

My husband and I are looking for excellent food, and a fun, maybe upscale-casual atmosphere. We're trying to find someplace new or at least, one that's been off the radar for a number of years. In the past 12 months or so, we've been to:

Taste
Pazo
Kali's Mezze
The Helmand
Minato
Helen's Garden
Mama's on the Half Shell
Greystone Grill
Bluestone
"b"

Obviously, we don't want to head back to those. We'd also prefer a local establishment (vs. a national or even regional chain). Based on reviews that I've seen here and elsewhere, I'm considering the following:

Jack's Bistro
Pazza Luna
Ixia
The Bicycle

Any preferences or recommendations otherwise?

Thanks so much!

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  1. Pazza Luna just reopened - I believe the new owners also own Sotto Sopra - I used to like it with the original owner. I think Bicycle has a limited menu - Ixia is fun and good - more expensive but great special occasion restaurants are The Prime Rib, Tio Pepe and possibly Abecrombie.

    1. Taken from your list, I'd highly recommend The Bicycle. Every experience has been great--really good service and fantastic food. The atmosphere is a mix of trendy and casual, so it sounds like a perfect evening to celebrate an anniversary!

      If you're looking for something really nice--and since you're celebrating your anniversary, a special occasion--I'd impress upon you Charlestons. It's more expensive and upscale, but you can't go wrong. It is by far the best restaurant in Baltimore! Everything is impeccable, from the service and food to the wine list and ambience. You may want to check it out.

      1. Ixia's a lot of fun. I also recommend Saffron.

        1 Reply
        1. re: sweetpotater

          The Bicycle is great and I think it fits your description...Saffron too.

        2. Bicycle has gotten mixed reviews here. You have a lot of options.

          How 'bout Chameleon Cafe? Maybe better on a weeknight. I'd also recommend Abercrombie, though I've not been there since the chef changed. Ixia is quite good. Louisiana doesn't get much play on these boards (I need to go back to check it out). Pierpoint gets no play on these boards and I had a really good brunch there a little bit ago.

          BTW, Red Fish changed hands recently too.

          Happy Anniversary.

          1. I love the Bicycle and Ixia. I think I prefer the Bicycle because they have a very accessible wine list, including 18 bottles for $18.

            I haven't been to Pazza Luna since it reopened.

            Jack's Bistro is not in the same category as Bicycle or Ixia, but if you're looking for a less expensive option, but still interesting dinner that would fit. Winemarket would also fit that description and has great wine options.

            Another expensive option that you might consider is Nasu Blanco (Locust Point), which has great food and (I think) a very fun atmosphere. Last time I was there they had a shrimp appetizer that was seriously the best shrimp I've ever had.