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May 23, 2007 12:18 PM

Good Recs for Baltimore City -Hamilton area

I am moving to the Hamilton area of Baltimore in a little over a month. I am searching for any great hidden restaurant/takeout gems in the Hamilton area. I currently live in Catonsville so I am familiar with a lot of the downtown Baltimore greats... what I am seeking are the places I can locally pop into on a weeknight after work to get great Chinese, Indian, Mexican, Burgers etc. Higher end restaurant recs in that area appreciated also...

I hope they are out there!! Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

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  1. You'll be right near Mastellone's on Harford Rd. Outstanding fresh-made subs, fresh mozz, cannoli, etc. It's a classic old-time Italian deli-market. Across the street is the Fenwick Bakery, home of legendary marshmellow donuts, peach cake, smearcase, etc.

    There's also Big Bad Wolf BBQ and the Chameleon Cafe on Harford -- both supposed to be really good. You can find praise for both on Chowhound. I've driven past a Thai place on Harford but don't know anything about it.

    Not much in the "higher-end" range, but you won't be far from Towson.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Bob W

      Thanks Bob! I actually heard of Mastellone's but had no idea of the location. I think I will be in walking distance of it. I just read about it in the city paper and it does sound great. All your suggestions are terrific and exactly what I was looking for!! Thanks again.

    2. I rate the Chameleon Cafe as one of the best in Baltimore. Entrees in the lower twenties. Kocos is a bar with good burgers and crabcakes. The red canoe is a kids bookstore and cafe with great muffins and there is a new Alabama barbeque place that I haven't tried yet. All these are down near the Safeway. Good luck with Chinese anywhere in town. for upscale Indian try the Ambassidor off University Blvd near Hopkins Homewood.

      1 Reply
      1. re: jfish

        Please don't try the Ambassador, unless you like your fish old and your chicken reheated. This place has squeezed by on its elegant atmosphere for far too long. Kathmandu on Allegheny and Spice Cafe on York Road (both in Towson) while not brilliant, do a much better job.

      2. Chok Chai at Harford Road and Northern parkway is great for carryout thai food. inexpensive and very yummy.

        3 Replies
        1. re: amaebi

          I disagree. Chok chai was greasy chinese food with thai ingredients. I have not found a good thai place in Hamilton. My favorite thai in Baltimore is still Thai Landing near the Meyerhoff.

          1. re: cpfeifer

            Ban Thai on Charles St a couple blocks south Monument St is very good Thai. Not in Hamilton, but very, very good.

          2. re: amaebi

            I found Chok Chai's portions small and the food no better than average. Oh, and I also found the owner surly.

          3. Is the Near East Bakery still there, if so that place is great for breads and olives and all kinds fo stuff!

            14 Replies
            1. re: hon

              Thanks everyone! All your suggestions are perfect and much appreciated. And please keep them coming!! Someone told me about a mexican place called Los Amigos that is supposed to be good as well. Any comments on that?

              1. re: tapas gal

                I've lived in Northeast Baltimore for about 7 years and here are my recs: Mastellone is great, across Harford Rd. is Mueller's, a very good German deli. Up the street is the Fenwick bakery which is also very good. My favorite bakery is Woodlea's on Belair Rd with their amazing peach cake and schmearkase among other things. Zack's on Old Harford just north of Joppa for natural casing hot dogs offered in a variety of reqional styles. Unless its changed, Chok Chai, the Thai place just south of Northern Parkway, isn't very good and the portions are skimpy. Proceeding south, Big Bad Wolf has great, authentic cue reflecting a number of regions. The Near East Bakery on Hamilton is good for fresh baked pita, olives, Bulgarian feta (awesome), etc. Los Amigos is decent Mexican for Baltimore, nothing more. Slightly better is El Salto in the shopping center on the NE corner of Perring and Joppa. Try the chile rellenos. Heading back down Harford Rd,, The Chameleon Cafe is the best deal in fine dining in the city. Koco's crabcakes are huge and full of lump, albeit a little bland. They're on special on Thursdays. For decent Indian delivery, call Mt. Everest on Frankford or Joppa. Welcome to the neighborhood.

                1. re: ko1

                  Thanks ko1... I hope everyone in the neighborhood is a helpful and as welcoming as you!! I will be checking out all the suggestions... thanks to everyone.

                  1. re: ko1

                    ko1- you seem knowledgeable about this area. Have you tried Giovanna's? It's on Harford Road near Harview across from the 7-11. I went again tonight. The special was tortellini. I had it with a meat ball and the red sauce and my wife ordered Ziti with sausage (roma sausage BTW) We ate outside at a table under the grape arbor albeit with traffic rushing by. The sauce is homemade and beats many I have eaten in Little Italy. I don't think Amicci's bothers to serve Roma sausage. The special comes with a fresh salad (composed euro style with a pile of carrot slivers on the side and half a boiled egg along with radish, tomato, iceberg lettuce, etc.) Also includes 4 slices of lightly seasoned garlic bread. The place is spotlessly clean. My wife says it is like "nona's place". Nona is what my Italian friends call their Grandma. I look forward to trying the white sauce which they told us is an alfredo sauce. Let me know what you think. (Probably more conducive to carryout due to the limited seating.)

                    1. re: baltimorejim

                      "I don't think Amicci's bothers to serve Roma sausage"

                      You seem to be implying that Roma is the only good Italian sausage in town. I would beg to differ. For an example right in the neighborhood, I'd rate Mastelleone's Italian sausage as possibly the best I've ever had.

                        1. re: baltimorejim

                          No, I haven't tried Giovanna's, I'll have to check it out. And Mastellone's makes there own excellent Italian sausage and fresh mozzarella.

                  2. re: tapas gal

                    Los Amigos makes food that is edible. I don't think I can say anything more positive than that.

                    1. re: hon

                      The Bulgarian feta is wonderful and inexpensive but you have to buy a sizable tub of it now. Still a good deal with summer tomatoes here.

                      1. re: ko1

                        I'm a little lost now in this thread! Is the Bulgarian feta at the Near East Bakery, or somewhere else? thanks!

                        1. re: baltoellen

                          Sorry, at the Near East. Because of EU regs, they can no longer call it feta since it isn't produced in Greece. It's one of the the best fetas for eating raw (others are better in casseroles, etc.) and the best value. My wife agrees, and she lived in Greece for a year.

                          1. re: ko1

                            Thanks for the clarification. The EU most have fun deciding what can be 'feta,' or a cucumber, or even vodka on the continent! ;-) I was in Bulgaria late last year, and the cheese--I forget what it's actually called---was incredible! (I seemed to eat in in a "Shopska" salad almost daily!)

                            1. re: ko1

                              If the Near East no longer has Sirene (bulgarian feta) the indian market on 33rd st near waverly has it.
                              It is definitely good stuff. It tends to be creamier than the greek ones that I have had. And is much better than that mass market stuff that comes out of france.

                      2. Another place to explore is Belvedere Square. We've eaten at the irish pub/restaurant 'Ryan's Daughter' and thought it was very good. For valentine's day we ate at Taste (upscale) and it was good, but not amazing.

                        The market is a great place to either pop in or sit at the counter and get a sandwich/soup from one of the various vendors. There's also a full salumeria offering panini's and sides.Great place for brunch!

                        I agree with ko1's sentiments about Los Amigos. It's fine, but it reminds me of don pablos for some reason. For tex mex we still hit Austin Grill in Canton (it's a chain, I know, stop throwing things).

                        9 Replies
                        1. re: cpfeifer

                          oh, yes I am very excited about being near Belvedere Square. I am sure that trek will become a weekend standard! ...and I am hoping to FINALLY get my hands on a decent tomato...

                          1. re: tapas gal

                            We went to Alabama BBQ last weekend. It was good, a Memphis style place, dry rub unless you request sauce. Apparently the Alabama bbq sauce is white (mayo and horseradish based.) Sounds weird but he offered us a sample taste and we liked it. The restaurant is more of a carry out place. There are a few tables in their if you want to sit, but not many.
                            Good luck on the tomato. We moved here from the midwest and must say overall the produce in MD is expensive and is pretty sucky.
                            A place in the back of Belvedere Square sells cheese pies. They are very decadent but worth the calories.

                            1. re: Baltovike

                              "Good luck on the tomato."?!!! Huh? Maryland has great tomatoes. You need to either grow your own, get them from friends who do, go to a roadside stand (preferably on the Eastern Shore) or go to the farmer's markets. If you're going to a chain supermarket, they don't even sell local produce anymore so don't judge us by them. I'll stack our local corn, tomatoes and cantaloupes against any region's.

                                1. re: hon

                                  Want to chime in too!
                                  The best tomatoes I ever had in my life were in Bulgaria. The second best are from the guys from Middle River at the Sunday Farmer's Market under the JFX. (A few stalls down from the folks on the corner with the organic produce.)

                                  For some reason, I don't know if it's the sewage treatment plant in the area or what, I think that Middle River produces a superior product.

                                  And, of course, you can't beat Eastern Shore corn or 'lopes!

                              1. re: Baltovike

                                I've spent a lot of time in the Midwest; I cant believe your comments. Our corn is the best I've ever had anywhere (Silver Queen); out in Nebr it's yellow and they rec'mend cooking for 10 mins (fresh corn her can be eaten raw). The tomatoes are not up to southern Europe, but they're sure better than anything I encountered in the Midwest.

                              2. re: tapas gal

                                George's Produce on Harford Rd north of Taylor Ave in Parkville has great produce. All grown on their farm farther up the road. Talk about good tomatoes... this is where Chameleon Cafe gets there summer produce (corn, tomato, squash, melons)

                                1. re: frites

                                  this is exactly what I was looking for produce-wise. Is George's Produce a small market/store or am I looking for more of a "stand" situation. Are they open everyday?

                                  1. re: tapas gal

                                    It's actually called George's Farm Market, I think. It's on Harford Road between Taylor Ave and Putty Hill, left side if you are heading north. It's basically an open air "stand," but it's also a permanent structure that's there year round. It usually opens in April to sell Easter flowers and stays open through October for pumpkin season. Open everyday during that time, until 7 I think.

                                    Frites is right about the produce; I particularly love George's corn. And as an aside, you also would be hard pressed to find a more genuine, hard working person than George Burton. Definitely check it out.