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Annapolis Favorites and Updates

Ok- we kind of hijacked another thread before so I am starting our own: I used to live in Annapolis and now frequent it because my Mother and Best Friend live there, so I like to know what to try and what not. Plus there are always Annapolis Brunch threads, but never other meals. I know Annapolitans eat more than just brunch. This thread is for people to post their favorites in Annapolis, as well as, updates on new places coming in, with Park Place, Parole Center and the mall expansion and etc I know a lot of new places will be coming in. So to start us out:

Some Old Faves- O'Leary's- hands down best seafood in Annapolis, you better make a reservation (yay they are on opentable)
Carrol's Creek- this is one of my old standby go to places that never lets me down with Annapolis favorites.
Tsunami- I think this is some of the best food in Annapolis, although it can get loud and busy.
India's- the owners are just incredible, the indian food is great and if you talk with the owner or your server about what you want they will make you something perfect. Plus the bread is soo good.
Galway Bay- I think this is Annapolis' best crab cake IMHO although I am sure this will stir a big debate I know there are lots of good places..., I also think their salads like the chiefton and other things on their menu are great.

I also like Wild Orchid Cafe, El Toro Bravo (just went through a major renovation looks like the inside will now look pretty nice), Thai and Doughnuts place I think it is called Carl's (good doughnuts surprisingly). There are lots of others. What are your favorites?

I saw some signs on the front of Park Place for the restaurants going in, but could not catch the exact names, but they don't look like chains? Perhaps we won't get flooded with all chains?

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  1. Oh and Joss- I looooooovvveeee Joss.

    2 Replies
    1. re: ktmoomau

      McGarvey's is AWFUL. Full of yuppie drunks, noisy and the worst terrible impolite service imaginable.

      1. re: foodcheck

        If you like mussels their Thursday night happy hour specials rule... whenever I have gone I thought it was full of people old enough I wouldn't really consider them yuppies... of course you could argue most of Annapolis is yuppie I guess. But to each their own. They also have what I consider the best crab dip in Annapolis, with plenty of good warm bread with it.

    2. Since moving to Annapolis about 2 years ago, I always struggle with my restaurant selection when family and friends come to town. I would agree with other posters when they say that in general, the food in Annapolis is mediocre and overpriced. This statement comes with fine print though: I have not been to Lewnes or O'Leary's so I can't speak for them.

      My favorite restaurant is Tsunami. I can honestly say it's the only good dinner I've had in town. McGarvey's is great for lunch, but then again I love oysters. For brunch or breakfast, I like the Boatyard, as I can't stomach the greasy pajamas that they wear at Grumps. The Main Ingredient is also good for breakfast, but lacks any kind of atmosphere (it's in a strip mall off of Bay Ridge Ave) and the service is not consistent.

      I'm really hoping I learn something from this thread- I've only had a handful of good meals here and I always fret over finding good places to take visitors.

      8 Replies
      1. re: sail_mary

        I will agree at first it seems overpriced, but compared to DC it really isn't and with property rates and other costs of living in Annapolis it isn't as overpriced as you would think. Especially downtown and waterfront rent is high for people living there and the businesses, as well. It is just altogether an expensive area. Some cheap eats I didn't mention above:

        The Big Cheese- I posted about this place on the hijacked thread. It used to be in the market house (don't even get me going with that) with the shop her husband owned Sammy's. They moved now to the street going off the harbor towards King George and the naval academy. They have great sandwiches. I don't know if they incorporated some of Sammy's but there used to be a veggie sandwich to die for and other great things at reasonable prices which were great to take down and eat by the water. Anyone know how they are doing since they were shoved out of the markethouse? I used to talk to the owners and they would make me just wanted I wanted almost every other day in the summer. Really great nice people.

        Cheeburger Cheeburger- for a good cheap burger joint.

        McGarvey's Thursday night mussel happy hour, for like $3 you can get a huge plate of mussels that are great.

        I just noticed Sean Donolon's turned into Stan and Joes anyone been? It looks pretty much the same, but what did they do with the food?

        I also noticed Griffin's downtown was turned into Federal something did it change owners style? That used to be a great place for lunch, especially if you could get an outside table. We used to order food to go from Riordan's all the time when I worked in the state house and it was good and reasonable.

        And then my all time favorite lunch place when I worked in the capitol was Potato Valley! Sooo good. I wish they had longer hours, they have one in DC, but it is so far away I can't make it with their hours. I loved their Broccoli and Blue potato and their cajun chicken.

        Rockfish is good, but I think for the same price you can eat at O'Leary's or Carrol's, but if you are in their weird closed in between sunday brunch and dinner time at Carrol's or Chart house Rockfish will be serving (I do this so often).

        Cafe Normandie is also good.

        There used to be a little italian store behind where the sailboat suntrust and griffins on West St. were, is it still there? It was really really good and incredibly reasonable. They didn't have a lot of tables, but it never was a problem. It is kind of hidden, but it is a gem.

        I have never been to Yellowfin, but Chowhounds seem to say good things about it. Anyway just some more thoughts for you.

        Also a good place to take guests is O'Brians they have pretty good prices and the things people come to Annapolis to eat: crab cakes, rockfish, crab imperial.

        1. re: ktmoomau

          I always find it infinitely fascinating how people can view the same restaurant in completely different ways.

          Big Cheese--fabulous, sooo underrated, and sooo happy they are still in town.

          Cheeburger Cheeburger...blah, same old crap at any hamburger place around here. I do like Five Guys when I'm the mood for a burger.

          Yellowfin is TERRIBLE!!! I don't know how they ever got the reputation for being good. No one could pay me to eat there, ever.

          The deli you mentioned is Giolitti. They have some of the best itatlian food in the area, very cheap. I take people who have lived in Annapolis for years there and they always say "I had no idea!".

          What I don't see mentioned here very often is Mex Cafe. They aren't always 100% but when they are on, they are ON!

          Galway Bay is in my opinion probably one of the best in town. Food is always consistent, good, different than the usual stuff out there, and I just love the place.

          To me, most of the restaurants downtown are good, but nothing out of this world impressive. I eat there when there are folks visiting who want to go downtown, or there is some specific reason, but I don't on a random Wednesday night say, hey, let's go to Tsunami.

          1. re: naptownlady

            I have been going to Mexican Cafe for years and it is the best mexican food I have ever had. I lived in NYC for 7 years and never did find a mex restaurant to rival Mex Cafe. Giolittis is also wonderful for catering. I have had several baby showers and their finger sandwich tray is a huge hit.

            1. re: bb7

              I so enjoyed The Big Cheese at the Market House and I'm glad to hear it's still around in the area. I generally find myself more on the Parole/Annapolis mall side of the city, but I have enjoyed Castlebay on Main Street. I also like India's on West Street. My husband likes Carlson's Donuts and Thai (what a weird combo). On Riva is a nice place called Viet Thai Paradise. It's in the same strip as a Squisito, which is a local chain. Outside of Annapolis is Killarney House (owned by the same people as Galway) and Old Stein Inn which is a fun German biergarten in Edgewater.

              I'm always looking for more ideas, especially kid friendly ones, in the Annapolis area.

              1. re: Mirdith

                Killarney House is awesome. Great Irish food (and no, that's not an oxymoron). Great beers on tap too. It's a great place to go around Christmas after checking out the lights and decorations at Homestead Gardens.

                http://www.galway2006.com/locations.html

              2. re: bb7

                My God...I'm sure opinions vary, but the Mexican Cafe is the WORST Tex-Mex I have ever experienced. I'm from San Antonio, Texas and admit I have high standards, but this was almost inedible. The enchiladas were like glue, with a chili that tasted burnt. Seriously, canned Old El Paso enchiladas are better. The combination plate was a pile of glop. The only redeeming factor was the beans. Service was horrible - it took 45 minutes for an order of tacos and a Mexican platter. Never again.

                1. re: GianniB

                  I'd have to agree. I think the food is mediocre. Some days, better than others, but overall - definitely not a stop if you're looking for great Tex-Mex. The margaritas, however, are absolutely worth the trip. One or two, and you won't even care about the food. Does get really busy though, so be prepared to wait for your table (while sipping margaritas).

          2. re: sail_mary

            Based on the recs, here I went to Tsunami in Annapolis. Well, that plus I didn't know what else was still serving at 10pm.

            I skipped the sushi in favor of a hearty meal: a "burnt sugar chili" strip steak served with goat cheese mashed potatoes. The steak was perfectly executed. Not sweet at all, mercifully, plus I doubt any chili peppers were sacrificed for this steak. Just a beautiful thick black crust and juicy and red on the inside. The mashed potatoes were served with sauteed onions and some steak sauce, and they made for a delicious gooey mess.

            I also chose the iceberg wedge salad with ginger-soy dressing. The dressing was applied to the wedge like a thick glaze. Unusual and tasty - it worked better than the typical soupy mix elsewhere.

            The music was loud and the lights dim at 10pm, many more drinkers at the bar than eaters at the tables. SInce I was alone I didn't mind.

          3. My boss keeps recommending Jalapenos. I live in Baltimore and haven't been but he loves it. Is it any good?

            10 Replies
            1. re: jes

              Jalapeno's is excellent. Please don't go there expecting Tex-Mex food because the majority of what is served is finer Mexican and/or Spanish cuisine. I cannot believe anyone likes Mexican Cafe -- that place is filthy and the margaritas have a chemical taste. It's a fun hangout, but it's certainly not the place to go for great Mexican food. That being said, I am still of the opinion that it is impossible to find great Mexican food on the East Coast. I keep urging my sister, who lives in CA, to come out and open a real Mexican restaurant. We'd make a fortune! As far as Yellowfin, I wouldn't say the food it terrible but the atmosphere certainly is. It is entirely too loud and the happy hour crowd is obnoxious. Giolitti's is delicious. Having moved here from NJ, I was delighted to find an Italian deli in Annapolis. It wouldn't hurt if the help there smiled on occasion. And I do enjoy Killarney House -- interesting menu, well prepared food and good but not overly gratuitous service. As far as pricing goes, it wouldn't hurt so much to pay a lot for a meal if quality existed across the board -- atmosphere, service and food. I am not a fussy diner in the least (for example, I have never sent anything back and I can always find something to order from a menu, even if it means piecing together a couple of appetizers and a salad). I find Annapolis to have the worst selection of restaurants of any place I've ever lived, and I have lived all over the country in small towns and large cities. It's a shame because we're a big tourist destination with proximity to so many major markets. We shouldn't have to drive 25+ miles for a great meal and a little variety!

              1. re: thatfarmgirl

                But being a tourist destination doesn't help they only want crabcakes, crabs or fish stuffed with crab imperial. I think I remember you were a vegetarian, maybe not? I can imagine eating in Annapolis would be extra hard for a vegetarian they are very seafood, meat oriented and don't pay near as much attention to the veggies. i am always surprised with St. John's right there in town they don't have more vegetarian/vegan places. They are very stuck on the traditional seafood place, but that is what the tourists and many locals want and it pays the bills.

                I eat downtown a lot because that was where I lived. I remember Maria's having an incredible pink sauce with pasta, but I forget exactly what it was. I haven't had very much else there because I could never order something other than this.

                Some of the best places in Annapolis are very spotty like Sputnik. Sometimes it is incredible food and sometime not. And some it depends on the night and the seafood catch that day.

                I also always wonder about Les Follies a French friend of mine from where I grew up knew the owners and said it was good and I have never made it out there. It really is in an odd spot.

                I do like Jalapeno's but I agree most of our thoughts on what a Mexican restaurant should be like or have on the menu won't be seen here.

                1. re: thatfarmgirl

                  Giolotti's is fantastic. Great prices on wines too.

                  I second your takes on Yellowfin and the Mexican Cafe. Yellowfin is a meat market for the over 40 crowd and the Mexican Cafe is just bad Mexican food.

                  Have you ever been to Diego's in Severna Park? It's so-so. No Tampico or Horchada. Major bummer there. I've only been there once and I can't say that you can judge just on one try and God knows I'm willing to try for good Mexican around here...

                  Jalapeno's is good but it's definitely not Mexican. For those from DC I would put in the same realm as Jaleo.

                  I think Annapolis has some good places to eat but you have to look. Rule of Thumb -- if it's near City Dock, beware of the tourist trap. Here are a couple that come to mind:

                  Luna Blue on West Street is usually good.

                  I love the Wild Orchid Cafe.

                  Rockfish is so-so; I wouldn't waste your money.

                  Chart House is good.

                  Lewne's is excellent; I can't believe that Ruth Chris's actually competes against it.

                  The Boat Yard is nice for a meal with the fam and their food has gotten better. Plus they carry Leinekugel's beer, so I'm stoked.

                  Ram's Head would fall under the same category as the Boat Yard but their food is not the greatest. Good beer though (and that makes up for a lot with me).

                  I second the recommendation for India's.

                  Yin Yankee is good but Joss is way better (and cheaper too).

                  One restaurant that always gets overlooked is OB's Prime on Main Street. I've always had good food and they had a nice cigar smoking section (I'm sure that is gone now -- thanks Maryland nanny-state Legislators).

                  Severn Inn is nice and their food is gotten better. Plus their deck is a nice place to sit and look out at the Naval Academy. I still think it's too pricey for what you get...but you've got the view.

                  The only restaurant in Annapolis that I'd like to go to but just never have is Northwoods. Anyone ever been there?

                  Again, there are good places to eat but you may need to get off Main Street (what a shocker!). In fact for Annapolis's size, we have some really great places to eat.

                  1. re: SmrtBloned

                    Annapolis does have some very good places. The biggest problem is consistency. One night you have a great meal another visit is seems like a very different place.

                    I am a fan of the new place Osteria 177. After about 4 trips I think they are working out the problems and it is solid most of the time.

                    I find O'leary's and Northwood's to be good, but a bit old school. No creativity at either place.

                    The new thai place Lemongrass is good, but the service is painfully slow and inept at times. I prefer Little Spice in Hanover for Thai. A new place Pad Thai is opening on West street soon and I look forward to trying them.

                    The tapas place Kyma is a place I want to like, but it is just plain bad. Everything seems prepackaged and frozen.

                    I agree with another person that the mexican cafe is very good when they are on. If you can get past the fact that the place is a total dive, you will be rewarded.

                    For crabs Cantler's is the best, but for crabcakes I think the ones you buy at Annapolis Seafood and make at home are tops.

                    Another place I had high hopes for is Cynthia's in Severna Park. After a couple of visits I decided the pastry chef Cynthia needs a new chef to work with. Her husband's dishes are ok, but they cannot hold a candle to the desserts and breads. The wine list is horrible and when you have entrees at the prices points they have, a decent glass of wine served in proper stemware is in order.

                    The Severn Inn is great for their location and nothing else. Good for drinks on the patio and have dinner somewhere else.

                    Cheeburger Cheeburger has great rings and fries, but I find the burgers to be dry.

                    Joss is good for sushi, but to be honest I prefer Kyoto in Severna Park.

                    Luckily for those of us who live in the Annapolis area, we can head into DC for top dining and have some good alternatives if we want to stay local.

                    1. re: Annapolis07

                      Joss has, sadly, been disappointing the last several visits, and is now off my list except for maybe a carry-out order to eat at City Dock. The most recent visit was on a busy night, so it is somewhat understandable that orders were being mixed up left and right. But what is not forgivable is the quality control. Talk about slap dash! They were slapping, they were dashing...bits of food were flying around people sitting at the bar in their rush to get orders down on the planks and out to the tables. No attention to aesthetics, no time to carefully compose, slice the seafood or cut the rolls. Yes, they get points for freshness, and it is a convenient location for tourists, Mids and locals alike, but there's more to a sushi experience than fresh and fast. Joss - please slow down a little and do it right!

                      1. re: crackers

                        agreed, they have some ongoing political and internal issues i think, any reports on the reopened yin yankee?

                    2. re: SmrtBloned

                      I have never tried Northwoods, but also heard great things. Maybe it will be next on my list. If someone has recently been let me know.

                      1. re: ktmoomau

                        Don't rush. They are ok, but nothing special. Solid food at reasonable prices. They have a three course dinner special for less than $35 that they run every night.

                  2. re: jes

                    Jalepeno's is indeed excellent. Agree that it's not Tex-Mex, but the small plates are exceptional. Ownership is very engaged, service prompt and courteous. A top choice in Annapolis

                    1. re: GianniB

                      They did a super job for our bookclub christmas party, nice quiet authentically furnished back room ; owner very pleasant and engaged

                  3. I guess that's my biggest beef -- inconsistency. I find the menus around here very uninspired and sometimes cannot differentiate between one menu and another. My dilemma this week is that I have to feed two vegetarians (they eat eggs and dairy) at a nice restaurant. I'm thinking Carrol's Creek (for the view) and calling ahead to see if the chef will prepare something other than the acorn squash with risotto that is always on the menu (by the way, it is DELICIOUS).

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: thatfarmgirl

                      Carrol's Creek does have a great view. It is just so dated and ho-hum and they serve the Annapolis standards. Probably a good choice if your guests are not adventurous eaters. A safe bet to be sure. Make sure the risotto is not made with chicken broth. I don't know, the pear pasta at Osteria was pretty good last time I was there.

                      1. re: Annapolis07

                        I think Lewnes' is to die for, and Cantler's does crabs better than anyone.

                        Seconding Cafe Normandie for breakfast, and Carroll's Creek is nice for lunch or dinner

                        1. re: Annapolis07

                          I don't find Carrol's Creek ho-hum at all. In fact, I brought a foodie friend from New Orleans there a few months ago and she could not stop raving about her dinner. I don't like that it's so cavernous and the service can sometimes be a bit slow, but the quality of the food is absolutely there! I don't think Osteria has worked out all the kinks yet.

                          1. re: thatfarmgirl

                            Good, I will have to go again soon. I have not been in months. Last time I thought it was pretty boring, but good. You are right, Osteria needs work. Keeping my fingers crossed because when they are on it it good.

                      2. I usually take vegans/vegetarians out for ethnic eats when eating in Annapolis -- seafood places usually won't make the cut. India's (already mentioned) works well as does the Lebanese Taverna restaurant in the Annapolis Harbor Center (Rt 2 a little south of Forest Drive).

                        Another vote for Jalapenos for Mexican (but not Tex-Mex) food. There are a bunch of taquerias open along Forest Drive between Rt 2 and Chinquapin Round Road -- don't have any specific recommendations as to which place to try, though. I'm also starting to explore the Salvadoran restaurants around town -- there is Las Delicias (French/Salvadoran) in a little strip mall at the corner of Bestgate Rd and Admiral Drive that has great pupusas.

                        8 Replies
                        1. re: breadmanswife

                          Let us know if you try any of the taquerias. I have noticed them when I am in teh area, btu have never had time to stop. I am wondering if they are worth the trip.

                          1. re: Annapolis07

                            Best Mex food in Annapolis is Taqueria Juquilita -- 126 Hillsmere Rd.
                            Mostly just a carryout with a couple tables. CASH ONLY - no cervesas. Very third world feeling to it and the food is outstanding! Tacos carnitas are my favorite -- I buy a lb of carnitas meat with 8 tortillas for take home. Mole is also very good (owners from Puebla). Tortillas must be homemade they are excellent. If you dine in usually Julio and Gerado are happyly munching on their comidas and tuning into Telemundo soaps on the TV. Just like amy small town in Mexico!

                            1. re: JRCann

                              Is that the one by the dog cafe and laundromat? I think I wrote about it in another post that place is good.

                              1. re: ktmoomau

                                that's it... my favorite cheap meal

                                1. re: JRCann

                                  I love that Taqueria place. I always go there after a long walk around Quiet Waters Park. I also like Jalapeno's and Paul's Homewood Cafe, even though Paul's seems sort of expensive though not all that bad. I went to Osteria 177 once and spent $80 for dinner for 2 and we didn't order lots of courses or anything. Overpriced in my opinion. I liked the funky atmosphere at Cantler's even though I didn't go there to pick crabs. I did have a good crabcake there. I also like Lures in Crownsville on Generals Hwy - not in Annapolis proper, but not that far away. Very fresh seafood.

                          2. re: breadmanswife

                            You will not find good TexMex in a big city or a tourist town; in order to attract biz to pay the high rents they ahve to dumb it down. The best TexMex Ive had in the east is in a place called Tierras on derry St in Harrisburg. wonderful soft tortillas filled with a modest amount of meat---the barbacoa was wonderful.

                            1. re: tartuffe

                              Hahaha actually I live in DC and crave El Toro Bravo all the time, it is so much better than anywher eI have been in DC. I do agree though that many of the people who make the best Texmex do not live in this area, except perhaps Bladensburg.

                              1. re: ktmoomau

                                FYI: Bladensburg is more 'Mex' than Texmex!

                          3. Still haven't found any place better in Annapolis than O'Leary's, although I miss the old O'Leary's--fresh catch (much of it local!) on the chalkboard. Fish flown in from Hawaii leaves me cold. Stick to the specials there, avoid anything that waitress describes as "a party on a plate." And ask for your soft shells sauteed, not deep (or "flash") fried.

                            Cantler's on a weekday without the crowds.

                            1. As an old timer in Annapolis, I agree with the O'Learys recommendations for seafood Only problem: can be crowded and noisy.
                              Tsunami has fantastic and consistently good food but ask for a booth and go early to avoid (again) noise
                              Carroll's Creek is great for lunch, haven't been there in awhile for dinner
                              Wild Orchid is good and off-the-beaten path. Civilized and quiet.
                              Northwoods was THE place to go 20 years ago. Sadly, the decor and menu haven't changed since that time.
                              Yellowfin has an incredible water view but so-so food and an annoying bar scene.
                              India's is good Indian food with attentive service.
                              People who like steak LOVE Lewne's
                              Here's a secret I hesitate to share....the BEST crab cakes I've ever had are from the Riva Rd Farm market south of the South River bridge. You have to run home and cook them yourself but they are incredibly good - no fillers, all flavor
                              Cantler's is fine for crabs but honestly I was there for lunch last month and wondered - as I have before - why everyone loves it.
                              Les Follies is super. Consistently good food, affable service. Pleasant environment.
                              Lemongrass has excellent Thai but again the West St. branch can be noisy. Try Lemongrass Too on Housley Rd and be sure to get the stringbeans.
                              My husband likes Grumps for breakfast but I can't stand the cheerful chaos when I'm trying to wake up.
                              Jalapenos is Spanish (not really Mexican) but good and popular with attentive service.
                              If you want a really cozy romantic evening, try the tiny downstairs wine bar at Metropolitan on West St.. Unless you are beautiful, impossibly thin or famous (Nicole Richie was recently spotted there), avoid the rooftop scene. The food at the Metropolitan is absolutely the best in Annapolis. But you don't have to bare the cleavage and go to the roof or the main dining room to get it. You can get any dish on the menu at the wine bar and enjoy your dinner in privacy. Kind of like having a personal chef but in a different venue.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: irishrose

                                I strongly second Lewnes and Les Folies. They are very consistent.

                              2. I have to add Skipper Pier in Deale Md (20 miles S of Annapolis) is now chef owned by John Kozik. Skippers is Bayfront . In the summer lots of outdoor seating, and a fun and easy dock bar. If you can see past the interior and realize you are in southern Anne Arundle county, devoid of the trappings of Annapolis and not trying to compete with DC, it's just great food, very chilled out atmosphere and just a nice change of pace.

                                Jalapenos is awesome. Northwoods is super boring. 49 West has good coffee and quick, decent food in a hip but relaxed atmosphere- if you want to have a glass of wine etc. Joss is awesome and I have heard Tsunami is great too.

                                And finally THE BEST crabcake is The Edgewater Restuarant in Edgewater MD. It just screams perfection. Again, don't look for any fab interiors or glam, seriously-it's a place to eat an outstanding crab cake AND the cream of crab soup is the best ever. The first time I went, I sat next to ladies that came from Virginia Beach just to eat there. Leave any city-slickerness behind and take a ride, its worth the trip. If you look at the salad bar you may cry, b/c its...well, go for the side of green beans. Service is great.

                                9 Replies
                                1. re: kimbyj

                                  I agree with several of the posters on some of the choices that have been listed, but beg to differ on some key selections. First off, Giolittis is NOT cheap - at least not to this Italian American who knows where to shop and has long gone to the Bronx in New York for raviolis for $2.50 for a HUGE box enough to feed four. I agree, we are lucky to have it here in Annapolis and the quality is fairly good, but you should try driving up to Baltimore sometime and visiting Trinachria on Paca Street if you want reasonable prices with even bettter food. You will faint when you realize what they are charging at Giolitti's is quite high in comparison.

                                  I'm a lifelong Annapolis/Severna Park - born and raised in this area. I'm thrilled with what Jody Danek and his partners have done with the restaurant scene in this area. The Asian food has been long overdue. For those of you who remember, we used to have a relatively good Vietnamese restaurant, but unfortunately it closed following the untimely deaths of the owners in a car accident. Tsunami, Metropolitan and Lemongrass have reinvigorated the dining scene.

                                  I'm impressed with my first tastes of Pad Thai on West Street - it seems less expensive than Lemongrass and the bottles of wine are very reasonable, finally my husband will go with me now to have Thai food. The posters who mentioned the Indian restaurant also on West Street need to have Indian elsewhere - such as Rasika's in Washington or even Akbar in Columbia to know that the food there is mediocre. The only thing it is good for in my view is naan bread when I cook my own Indian food at home - this is where I go for my samosas as well if I don't want to mess my kitchen up.

                                  Here are the best places in my humble opinion:
                                  -Lewnes - excellent steak and good service - if you like classic cocktails you will be very happy
                                  -Boatyard - fun place for parents with young kids - food is not the best, but the atmosphere and lengthy menu make up for any shortcomings in my book.
                                  -O'Leary's - in the past this has been a favorite spot for fine dining - I have heard some negative reports in recent years (including my own mother's story about bad service), but in the past it was always very reliable.
                                  -For crabcakes in Anne Arundel County, G&M - a total dive near the airport wins the battle - they are huge and full of TONS of crabmeat - you just have to put up with a yucky setting to eat them
                                  -Yin Yankee - my favorite of the three sushi places, simply because the service for take out is spot on and the selection is vbery adventurous - I wish they could expand!

                                  Other comments:
                                  Chart House - used to be good, but has gone downhill in recent years - I worked there, so I guess you could say I know. So many of the old best items missing from the menu
                                  Cantlers - I love it, but the food really isn't very tasty. As an example, if you order the calamari you will not be happy - it's horrible. Still, you will never get me to stop going since I love that outdoor deck.
                                  Carrolls Creek - not good, not bad - it's ho hum as the other person earlier said - couldn't agree more.

                                  Overall - Annapolis has WAY too many burger joints, pubs and Irish bars. I'm married to an Irish guy, so I can't complain, but variety would be nice. Why did they feel it was necessary to give us McCormick and Schmick's in the mall? Are we exactly hurting for more steak places? We have a well traveled group of people in this area with the Navy, NSA and other employers close by. We deserve better!

                                  1. re: isabellaflynn

                                    I agree, Indias on West St has just OK Indian food but it's the only place in Annapolis for me to get my "Indian fix". And the owner is so congenial. I'd hate to see it leave town. Annapolis is being invaded by the expensive chains (Mortons in Park Place comes to mind). My thought is that so-so Indian is still better than burgers and fries or butter and blood -oozing steak (In the interest of full disclosureyes, I'm a vegetarian) I like local, adventurous food establishments and for me, the occasional indifferent meal is worth it - what I don't want is a safe, bland American meal that I could replicate in Chicago - or Detroit or Dallas.

                                    1. re: kimbyj

                                      Skipper's in Deale has really raised the bar in South County. Chef Kozik is having monthly fixed price wine dinners which are a real treat. Daily specials are also wonderful.

                                      I also recommend Jalapenos spin off on Forest Drive: Restaurante Serrano

                                      http://www.restauranteserrano.com/

                                      1. re: baymd5

                                        Just had dinner before a movie at Jalapenos and I think it is the best queso on earth...so yummy. I love that place. For the first time I got the fish tacos which I probably wouldn't get again but everything else was splendid.

                                        1. re: baymd5

                                          I must say that I agree with baymd5, Skipper's Pier, located in Deale (30 mins south of Annapolis) has definately raised the bar. My wife and I have frequented the place for many years, and have seen it go threw some major changes. I remember our first trip to Skipper's when the food was well....ok. Since Chef John Kozik has taken over the food has been amazing everytime we visit. As I said, we have been there plenty over the years, and I love the atmosphere, but also love seeing familar faces of employees there. Two in particular stand out to me! If you ever go to visit Skipper's Pier, ask to speak with Justin, he is always there, and will truly enlighten your experiance. Our last trip, Justin met us at the door to welcome us back, probally our 300th time there, and still remembers our names and treats us like its our first time there! It is truly amazing, Justin is an institution at Skipper's as much as Skipper's is an institution in Southern Maryland. I can remember when he was a busboy, years ago, and its a pleasure to see him running the place now, no one else is more deserving. So anyways, ask your waitress if he is there and has time to talk, he will talk your ear off, but his knowledge of the area, and food and drink recommendations will definately be worth it! Ask Justin to introduce you to the chef and owner, John Kozik, he will be glad to come out of the kitchen and talk, and also knows the area well too. Skipper's Pier is becoming the best place in Southern Anne Arundel County, and I suggest everyone try it! Service can be a little blah sometimes, but the views, management staff, and best of all the great food tend to make up for the difference. Even though I think of it as a summer place, the food, and views are still the same greatness in the winter! Try it out! Baymd5, are the wine dinners good?

                                          1. re: MDRestCritic

                                            The wine dinners are really great. We have only been to one and I was pleasantly and gastronomically loving it. I have heard the others have been really great with people always saying, "Oh you missed it." Chef Kozik really gets a chance to shine.

                                            Oh and Justin is such a great welcome to see and he's very laid back. We are really lucky to have Skippers right down the street...ain't much else to choose from. We do like Neptunes too in Chesapeake Beach but Skippers is the fave.
                                            GO!!

                                            1. re: kimbyj

                                              Here's the menu from the one we went to:
                                              Skipper’s Pier Wine Dinner

                                              Explore the Fantastic Wines of Italy
                                              Join us and experience some sought after, limited production wines from the Piedmont, Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna. These wines will be paired with the exceptional cuisine of Chefs John Kozik and Joshua Brooks.

                                              November 7th, 2007
                                              One seating at 7:00 PM

                                              1st Course
                                              Crab Pansoti with Pancetta Walnut Sauce Fratelli Beccaris Cortese 2005 Piedmont, Italy
                                              -and-
                                              Fratelli Beccaris Grignolino 2004 Piedmont, Italy

                                              2nd Course
                                              Roasted Mediterranean Bass with Stewed Lentils, Carrots and Truffles
                                              Fratelli Beccaris Barbera Superiore 2004 Piedmont, Italy

                                              3rd Course
                                              Drunken Tuna with White Polenta
                                              Villa Giulia Chianti Classico 2003 Tuscany, Italy

                                              4th Course
                                              Eye of Ribeye with Tuscan Farro, Parmesan Crisps and Morel Jus
                                              Terragens Sangiovese Superiore 2006 Emila Romagna, Italy
                                              -and-
                                              Terragens Romio Forli 2003 Emila Romagna, Italy

                                              5th Course
                                              Vanilla Semifreddo with Toasted Pine Nuts and Tonka Bean Sauce
                                              Fratelli Beccaris Moscato D’Asti 2006 Piedmont, Italy

                                              The wineries:
                                              Villa Giulia: This small production winery is located in the heart of Tuscan wine country in the town of Chianti Classico. They produce high-end 100% Sangiovese wine and spectacular olive oil. No more than 500 cases of this wine are available for the entire United States in a given year!!

                                              Fratelli Beccaris: Boutique producer of a multitude of the local Piedmontese varietals such as Barbera, Cortese, Dolcetto, Grignolino and Moscato. These spectacular wines also boast a reasonable price tag and have therefore gained a major following.
                                              Terragens: Terragens is the vision of three people: enologist Attilio Pagli and winemaker Federico Curtaz who both worked for Angelo Gaja, and winemaker Giordano Zinzani, who knows the region and the value of its vineyards better than anyone else.
                                              $67.95 per person exclusive of tax and gratuity
                                              $57.95 per person for guests who are not having wine

                                        2. re: kimbyj

                                          I too think the crabcakes at The Edgewater Restaurant are THE BEST. How do they do it?? Where do they get crabs with that big sweet meat, and I mean that because I am sincerely puzzled. Do you think they have a special hunting ground where they gather this special breed. Can anyone get them to fess up?

                                        3. We have some things to do up in Maryland today and will be stopping through Annapolis on our way back to walk around a bit, grab a drink, and hopefully have some great crabcakes/crabcake sandwiches. Unfortunately - we're leaving in about an hour. Is Galway Bay still the way to go? Not looking for anything dressy in the least.

                                          THANKS!

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: MDoodle

                                            Well we did end up stopping at Galway Bay yesterday for an early dinner and we really did enjoy our crabcake sandwiches. We also tried 2 apps: the corned beef poppers (something I have never, ever seen before) and the potato cakes, both quite good. The only downside to our experience was the service, it was so bad in an amusing way almost. We walked in and the hostess was leading us to a table when a man, who looked to be a manager, stopped her and they had a bit of a squabble in front of us. He took the menus, sat us, and said to us, "I call her the pillsbury doughboy because she's light and airy!" Our server was just plain old clueless. All in all though, we laughed it off, and enjoyed it!

                                            1. re: MDoodle

                                              Last fall I enjoyed the crabcakes at the Edgewater Restaurant on Mayo Road. Too late for your last trip, but next time give this a try. These are of the large variety which I always think too good to be true, but honestly these were so sweet. I would like feedback on these, because while I hate to say these were the best (I thought so) I still can't believe it!

                                            2. I understand that Metropolitan in Annapolis is now Jerry's Seafood. Someone told me that their crabcakes are excellent. I was wondering if any chowhownders have tried it (the restaurant and/or the crabcakes)? Any thoughts?

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: amethiste

                                                Jerry's is now closed. Insider info has it a new restaurant will open in it's place Feb or March.

                                                1. re: irishrose

                                                  If it's true that Jerry's is shuttered, it is not surprising. The building was in sore need of repairs and updating, and the food was tremendously overpriced for the demographic.

                                                  Moving into a modern space like that with a place best known for its old-timey crab bomb with a side of broccoli, did not work at all.

                                                  I hope whatever business moves in spends some time (unlike Jerry's) replacing worn carpets, fixing door hinges, tossing out ripped chairs, etc.

                                              2. I love Tsumamis, Carlson's doughnuts are the best. I like Lewnes as well. For brunch, here's a sleeper, Ports of Call in the Doubletree hotel in Riva, the chef's crab soup is to die for, like best of naptown for like 6 yrs or something. Edgewater Rest has the best crabcakes I think. Metropoliatan is def more of a to be scene at place then a to eat at place. I like Sakura for what it is

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: youngfoodieguy

                                                  didn't read thru all the posts, but add me as a fan of Galway Bay! we wnet Saturday for lunch and went for it all: mussels- huge portion, lemon garlic,white wine- how could they miss?? crab dip- creamy and tasty not average at ALL- very original flavor. Tomato and Jamesons Whiskey soup- not since Germnay have i had such a fabulous tomato cream soup- chunky, smooth, zesty and hearty. dusck cheesesteak- medium- medium well duck slices smothered in cheese mushrooms and onions with a side of irish chips- i ate so slowly because i never wanted that sandwich to end! i paired it with the Galway Bay Red Ale and it was divine!

                                                  my husband stayed traditional and got sheperds pie, which was one of most flavorful, beefy, rich s.p.'s i've ever tasted.

                                                  you MUST go to Galway Bay if you want truly authentic Irish fare in a lovely atmosphere- dark cherry wood, stained glass and irish music quietly in the background!

                                                  1. re: Aphioni

                                                    Yep, Galway is a great palce. They also have a place in Davidsonville and a place in Severna Park.

                                                2. I was getting my haircut today over at that strip mall in hillsmere across from the shopping strip mall where the Tuesday Morning, CVS and West Marine are and I went in while my color was processing to the little taqueria right there I don't know the name, but it was good! Really good, like better than any of the taquerias we have here in NOVA, even Taqueria El Charrito Camiante very authentic, not a huge menu, but they have your staples, and a few tables. Hole in the wall place, but what a normal taqueria is like. Thought I would put it up here. I had three tacos with the red sauce pollo, carne asade, chorizo. The chorizo were my favorite, but they were all good.

                                                  8 Replies
                                                  1. re: ktmoomau

                                                    Could you please be more explicit re location? Sounds great, but I have no idea where it is.

                                                    1. re: tartuffe

                                                      It's in Hillsmere, you know the road that goes to Quiet Waters Park off from Aris T Allen? It is on that road, there is a shopping strip on one side with Tuesday Morning, CVS, West Marine and Grumps Cafe, this is directly across the street in the strip with the Dominos Pizza and Transformations Salon.

                                                      1. re: ktmoomau

                                                        It's in between the Muddy Paws Dog Wash and the laundromat. I love their carne asade tacos. They only take cash though, so be prepared.

                                                        1. re: ktmoomau

                                                          I guess I can find it, but this is not very helpful. Im from Bmore and do not know the Annapolis burbs.

                                                          1. re: tartuffe

                                                            Technically the area being discussed (Hillsmere) is still in the city of Annapolis, just not in the historic area. I believe the shopping center is near the intersection of Hillsmere Road and Forest Drive (which is what Aris T Allen Blvd, Route 665, becomes after losing its highwayness).

                                                            This area is about 30 minutes from the intersection of I-97 and the B'more Beltway, as long as you aren't going at the height of afternoon rush hour.

                                                            And whoever next samples these mouth-watering tacos -- please get an actual street address to assist us MapQuesters. :)

                                                            1. re: bordeauxfan

                                                              Here is the address for Muddy Paws, it is right next door:
                                                              130 Hillsmere Dr
                                                              Annapolis, MD 21403

                                                              1. re: ktmoomau

                                                                This restaurant has already been explicity discussed farther up in this thread with the address already provided. It is: Taqueria Juquilita -- 126 Hillsmere Rd
                                                                As said earlier, it is an awesome hole in the wall place with great food.

                                                                1. re: dishyone

                                                                  Yet it was also explicitly discussed two years prior to you lower down on the thread. I'm getting dizzy and confused trying to figure out your point...

                                                    2. Lemongrass too right next to Sakura and pets mart is a good place to eat. The only thing is their kitchen break which the claim is 4-5. We went at 3:30 one day and they said that they were already closed when they show that kitchen break is at 4.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: cookiemonster333

                                                        We like Lemongrass Too alot. Good curries, great calamari and crispy green beans Foodie friends of ours from Dc always want to go to Lemongrass when they are in Annapolis. they also have an outside section where you can let the kids run around a bit on a summer's evening. Our 3 year old granddaughter who only eats grilled cheese with the crusts cut off concedes that she likes their sticky rice.. BTW, if you don't like kids with your dining experience, go to the West St. location of Lemongrass or eat inside at Lemongrass too.

                                                      2. Just ate at Skipper's Pier and I would not recommend this place other than for drinks and a nice view. Although the waiter did tell us the crabs were light and not to order (thanks) the rest of the food was mediocore at best. Hushpuppies were dry. Snow crab legs were cold (had to send them back and got the same ones back, recooked -- yuck). The Souther style eggrolls were decent. Many better places in the area to choose from.

                                                        1. Just had lunch at Thai Kitchen / Carlson's Doughnuts. They've really improved the dining area so that it feels like you're in a regular Thai restaurant and not a doughnut shop. OK, it still smells like a doughnut shop, but the Thai food is very good and the doughnuts are a good dessert.

                                                          I especially liked the Fresh Springrolls which are basically sliced veggies with small pieces of sausage rolled in a rice crepe and covered with a sweet sauce and served at room temperature. I haven't had a bad dish there, although their version of pad thai is not my favorite, it's not bad. The curries are quite good.

                                                          They haven't quite got to the full service restaurant level. While the dine-in seating is nice, you still have to go up to the doughnut counter to order and go into the beverage cooler to select a drink. The meal is served to you at your table however.

                                                          Prices are very reasonable most main dishes in the $8-$10 range.

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: dzoey

                                                            There's another Thai Kitchen / Carlson's Doughnuts in Edgewater. They have mastered the full service level there. You have to walk through the doughnut lobby area, but then it's very cute. The food is very consistent, everyone seems to walk away happy. Unfortunately, for me, the Pad Thai consistently is too heavy on the fish sauce. Other than that, would highly recommend this off-the-beaten-path sister restaurant.

                                                            1. re: wickedcook17

                                                              We had an interesting experience this past summer at Carlson's Edgewater. We stopped for carryout. Ran in to order and woman behind the counter was having a hard time understanding customer ordering on the phone. I offered to take the order for her. She smiled and handed the phone over. She then handed me the phone for several other customers during our long wait. Finally, I asked if we could order and she asked me to write down my order with prices on her pad! We were ordering for 5 people. For the next hour, she alternated between running the dining room and cooking. Each time she passed us, she giggled and nodded. It was quite hilarious.When we finally got our order she nodded and giggled. In all fairness, I believe they were really short handed that evening and the woman was filling in for someone else. I was a bit surprised that I got no thank you or apology. I think I will call ahead next time. BTW they need a new phone, it was very poor and I had difficulties understanding the orders, even without the language barrier! We will probably go back, but I was surprised she did not throw a doughnut or two in as a tip!

                                                          2. Tried Les Folies this weekend while in Annapolis per several recs on this board. Nice place, reasonable prices for the quality of the food. Only one clinker -- pate maison was skimpy portion and only so-so quality. On the other hand, Cornish game hen was perfectly (and I mean perfectly) cooked; osso buco (although hardly French!) was also excellent and stalwarts like escargots were right on. Wine list is middling but fairly priced. Great service. And the souffle, which requires advance order,w as first rate.

                                                            1. as an update, i have to say STAY AWAY FROM PAD THAI in downtown Annapolis. horrible horrible food coupled with horrible horrible service. this is the third time we have ordered from them and third time they have messed up the order. and what food we did get was mediocre Thai Kitchen components from Safeway outdo Pad Thai. my wife ordered the Crying Tiger spicy thai steak salad, the only thing crying was her at the sad sad salad she got. more gistle than steak, zero spiciness, and wilted salad components. my curry was more watered down matzo ball soup than a curry. this place has ***OFFICIALLY*** made my black list.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: kken

                                                                Just to be clear, did you order take out? I would definately expect the wilted greens...

                                                              2. This thread came up in a Google search for something else, so I thought I would chime in, despite its age.

                                                                By way of context I have lived in a number of places in the US and Europe and traveled to many more. Based on my experience I consider Annapolis, although I have dropped anchor here for the time being, to be a culinary wasteland.

                                                                Even the places that are decent (as opposed to great or even good) are generally overpriced. My assessment isn't about the prices, but about value which is a function of food, service, and ambience.

                                                                The place that stands-out although not mentioned in this thread is Jack's Fortune for Chinese. Outstanding by Annapolis standards.

                                                                Two other places I enjoy that don't get much recognition are the Italian Market in Parole and the Greek place (Parthenon?) near the Bay Ridge Giant. Davis' Pub is a great, good-value local hang-out.

                                                                if you are a member or a guest Eastport Yacht Club has very good burgers.

                                                                Carrol's Creek and Chart House are both good places, although we generally have a number of appetizers rather than entriees. Fado's on West Street is good, but why is it that none of the Irish pubs in Annapolis have a ploughman's lunch?

                                                                Wild Orchid is grossly overpriced, mediocre food, and indifferent service. Cantler's is an overpriced pit.

                                                                Yellowfin is fun for happy hour, and the appetizers are generous and fairly priced.

                                                                India's is closed until mid-March '10 for renovations after a fire. Mexican Cafe is closing soon to be replaced by a CVS pharmacy.

                                                                For locals interested in delivery, be very careful with Joy Luck II -- we had to call the police to get an unbalanced delivery driver out of my girl friend's driveway.

                                                                The City Dock places are for tourists and overpriced accordingly; I have not been to Hell Point yet but have been everywhere else. I spent a winter on City Dock and can say that even off-season the prices are high and the food and service quality are mediocre everywhere down there.

                                                                For fine dining we go into DC.

                                                                sail fast and eat well, dave
                                                                S/V Auspicious

                                                                1. Had dinner at the Cafe Normandie for the first time in well over a decade on Friday. Not a horrible experience, but hardly a great meal. I ordered the sweetbreads in a marsala sauce. The portion was very large, there was not much texture to the sweetbreads which were swimming in a greasy sauce that lacked any really clearly defined flavor. It was advertised as "marsala", but I think "brown" would have been a better description. Overall just a heavy, clunky, poorly executed dish. The wifes steak was good, but on the cool side.

                                                                  Veggies on the side were unimpressive. Potatoes that had probably been sitting around a while, snap peas with far to much taragon, and the carrots were actually the baby carrette things that you see in the grocery stores that are formed from larger carrots. That actually embarrassed me a little bit.

                                                                  Had a couple bites of the wifes eclair which was good.

                                                                  Probably should have stuck to the crepes, or better still Cafe Bretton in Severna Park.

                                                                  -----
                                                                  Cafe Bretton
                                                                  849 Baltimore Annapolis Blvd, Severna Park, MD 21146

                                                                  Cafe Normandie Restaurant
                                                                  185 Main St, Annapolis, MD 21401

                                                                  1. Davis's is OK as long as you are specific with your order, especially how you want things (like tuna) cooked.
                                                                    I like the basement area of Ram's Head, the food is slightly upscale bar food. I like the beer and atmosphere enough to continue going there.
                                                                    India's is real good Indian food for the area.
                                                                    Grumps is alright, but I prefer Chick and Ruth's Delly. I went to Double T's once and refuse to go back, the food was not good and the service was worse.
                                                                    I went into Middleton's once but it smelled so bad I won't return. O'Brien's is good for an oyster fix. Buddy's isn't worth it. Had brunch at Yellowfin once, it was ok but I won't be going back since it was $25.
                                                                    I like the crab dip and the mussles at Sly Fox.
                                                                    32 miles away from Naptown is Kloby's BBQ in Laurel MD...it's worth the drive.

                                                                    -----
                                                                    Ram's Head
                                                                    33 West Street, Annapolis, MD 21401

                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                    1. re: HeBrew

                                                                      That's a pretty odd recommendation. 30 miles away is also Washington DC, but I don't really think of that as an Annapolis favorite. To update this old thread, I really think that Punk's Backyard Grill at the Mall has been the best addition to Annapolis in years. In addition, for solid food and great beer, I really like Lure's in Crownsville. And I think Philly Flash has set a new standard for Annapolis area Cheesesteaks.

                                                                      -----
                                                                      Punk's Backyard Grill
                                                                      2188 Annapolis Mall, Annapolis, MD 21401

                                                                      1. re: Jason1

                                                                        For anyone wanting something a little different, the Latin Quarter next to Lemongrass on West Street has decent Mex/South American offerings and salsa dancing (lessons start at 9 and dancing at 10) on Friday nights. My husband went there last week and really enjoyed ourselves.

                                                                        1. re: Jason1

                                                                          I've never been to Philly Flash but if you're looking for a great cheesesteak make the trip to Jeno's in Severna Park. They're pricey, around $9 for a sub, but well worth it.

                                                                      2. Could you please recommend a nice, non-touristy place for a small family dinner? Also, what about the restaurant at the Maryland Inn, I think it's called "Treaty of Paris?" Reasonable menu and wine list - any experiences there. TIA!!!

                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                        1. re: sanfranchower

                                                                          Are you looking for higher end? I like the small restaurant atmosphere of O'Leary's.

                                                                          1. re: sanfranchower

                                                                            It depends on what family dinner means to you. O'Leary's is indeed a good choice for a family dinner for me, but that may mean something different to you. Also consider Jack's Fortune, Carrol's Creek, and Parthenon.

                                                                            -----
                                                                            Carrol's Creek Cafe
                                                                            410 Severn Ave., Annapolis, MD 21403

                                                                            Jack's Fortune
                                                                            960 Bay Ridge Rd, Annapolis, MD 21403

                                                                            1. re: Auspicious

                                                                              I like the Parthenon quite a bit as well. Gyros may not be as good as Chris' on West St. but the atmosphere is definitely nicer.

                                                                              It's a nice "strip mall surprise" kind of place.

                                                                            2. re: sanfranchower

                                                                              Jalepeno's may fit the bill. location isn't much, but they are very accommodating and the food is wonderful!