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Baltimore Help

  • k

New Yorker looking for recommendations. We're 2 couples 60ish (not hip) looking for a good casual dinner place. It doesn't have to be in walking distance, we can drive. It could be anything (Seafood, Italian, American,...not fusion anything, remember NOT hip). Price is not really an issue. We're old friends and would like to be able to enjoy the food and conversation. Don't worry if it's 'hard to find' we're 60 but GPS enabled.

I liked Bertha's last year but the menu may not be for everyone. We liked the crab cakes at G&M but the place was a little uncomfortable. You get the picture.

Your help would be appreciated.

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  1. Brewer's Art is one of my favorite spots. It tends to be a little croweded on the weekends but a Monday night shouold be low key. Upstairs has a nice bar and a lovely dining room. 1106 N. Charles St. Baltimore, MD 21201 Phone: 410-547-6925


    Close by is the Helmand. I have not been there but have heard good things about it
    The Helmand Restaurant
    806 North Charles Street
    Baltimore, MD 21201-5308


    I hope that helps :-)

    8 Replies
    1. re: amethiste

      second helmand. solid country style food. very casual...

      1. re: curious4food

        I'll keep it in mind; but Afghan may not be embraced by everyone. My wife never even tried Chinese till she was 21 (seriously). If in Boston, I'd go to Durgin Park. If in Pittsburgh I'd go to Max's Allegheny. If in Connecticut I'd go to Lenny's in Branford. If I could get a reservation, in Brooklyn I'd go to Luger's. They all may not be comparable but my generation would enjoy the experience.

        BTW, I do appreciate the suggestions.

        1. re: kozel

          Petit Louis in Roland Park? Although it can get a little loud when it's busy....I've had some lovely meals there.


          1. re: misssphinx

            Are you seeking a weekend evening or weeknight evening? Hipness factors tend to decrease during the week... :-)

            1. re: bordeauxfan

              That would be Friday evening and thanks for the link to Petit Louis missphinx.

          2. re: kozel

            If you like Luger's, the Prime Rib might be perfect for you. 50's style nightclub decor and great beef, especially the eponymous one and the veal chop. It's not casual, though.Sportsjackets are required for men. The wine list has some great wines at very good prices. http://www.theprimerib.com/

            1. re: kozel

              I mentioned this in another thread recently, so apologies if repeating myself like this is bad Chow-form, but Helmand is incredibly accessible. My wife and I had our wedding rehearsal dinner there, and everyone -- from the most picky, non-foodie members of her family to the youngest kids to the biggest food snobs -- loved it. It's a lot of perfectly grilled meats and rice and so on, much less "foreign" and intimidating than Chinese or even Mexican food. And it fits your other criteria to a T. (Sorry for the near-evangelism -- I'm a huge fan of the place, and hate to see people miss out.)

              The Black Olive is also a terrific suggestion (below), although a lot pricier, and I adore Petit Louis.

              Chameleon Cafe on Harford Road is also fantastic -- the menu is a little quirkier, but the atmosphere isn't particularly hip at all, and the food is great.


              1. re: matt8313

                I agree that Helmand is great and you shouldn't be put off by the fact that it's Afghan. You need not be an adventurous eater to enjoy it. The lamb chops are delicious, among other things. I also love the Chameleon, a lot of bang for your buck. Both these places are fairly casual as is virtually every place in B-more with the exception of the Prime Rib, Charleston, and Tio Pepe (which is an old school Spanish place you might enjoy despite its being slightly dressy).

        2. A few suggestions
          Hull Street Blues in the Federal Hill aea http://www.hullstreetblues.com/
          Pierpoints on Alicenna Street in Fells Point
          Black Olive on Bond Street in Fells Point http://www.theblackolive.com/

          1. Check out the Cindy Wolfe food empire, particularly Charleston. With a low country/seafood oriented menu, and easily the city's top restaurant (with prices to match), this place may be what you are looking for. Wolfe has opened a new place next to Charleston called Cinghiale which does northern Italian cooking.

            Petit Louis is classic Country French bistro style food. A nearby place with a similar menu is Brasserie Tatin.

            1. Well, I am 50 ish and probably not hip by some people's standards(I don't want anything fusion). I will give you my best suggestions: the Sunset Restaurant on Greenway in Glen Burnie (great for people 40 ish to 60 ish, good food and quiet enough to talk), Snyder's Willow Grove in Linthicum on Hammonds Ferry Road, or if you feel like a drive, Fisherman's Inn right over the Bay Bridge at Kent Narrows.
              Have a great time !

              1 Reply
              1. re: SUSAN IN MD.

                Much appreciated, thanks to all! I'll report back next week. I'll email your suggestions to the others and get a dialog going. We'll be there for the big knitting convention (further proof of non-HIPness). And ko01, thanks for the suggestion on the Prim Rib. The jacket requirement may be a deal breaker though. The next time I get that far dressed up, the jacket may have a zipper up the back and I'll be wearing it lying down.

              2. kozel hope I didn't miss the boat, I would strongly recommend the Chameleon Cafe on Harford Rd. Great food, drinks & atmosphere, a local place in the best way, no jacket required! You can check them out at


                1 Reply
                1. re: bkath

                  I would 2nd or 3rd the recommendation for Chameleon Cafe. It's laid back but very good food, not at all what I would describe as hip, although there is a nice diverse group of diners. I've had some atrocious service experiences at Black Olive, for that reason alone (bolstered by price) I'd avoid it at all costs! and if the weather stays this nice, the CCafe has a patio/deck area.

                2. Evey time my almost 60 non-hip parents come to town they insist on Mamas on the Halfshell in Canton. It's casual and good seafood. Not too pricy.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: goodfoodrules

                    We got in last night about 8 and went right to Mama's and couldn't find the place even with the GPS. Does anyone know for sure if they are still there? We ended up getting a light meal (salad, crab soup and some apps) at Henniger's Tavern. We really liked it but the parking was tough. Great crab soup!

                    1. re: kozel

                      Mama's is definately still there, corner of O'Donnel & Linwood. but in my opinion you did better ending up at Henninger's (not that I don't like Mama's, just love Henninger's...)

                      1. re: kozel

                        Make sure you are/were on the correct side of O'Donnell Street, O'Donnell Street is split by the square ......

                        1. re: Hue

                          My mistake, I wasn't even on the right street. I had used a web site to do bulk geocaching of addresses to load the GPS and that one was wrong. Luckily I realized the mistake before Friday night and that is where we took our friends. Fabulous dinner, great service and a wonderful place. I was also impressed by the neighborhood; if only I was 35 years younger and better looking and not married and looking for an apartment; well you get the idea. Saturday night the wife got done a little early and we took the ride to Fisherman's Inn. Great scenery and good basic food; I can't imagine the place in the summer. An added treat, I collect oyster plates. Thank's everyone for your help, this was the best trip to Baltimore we've made by far. Looking forward to next year already.

                    2. Unassuming atmosphere and great food. Attire: nice casual (jeans and a nice shirt), business casual or dressed up and pretty (in other word no dress code)...
                      Charles Village:
                      You could try Gertrude’s Restaurant at the Baltimore Museum of Art. Chef John Shields is a premiere Maryland Chef. The atmosphere is relaxed yet sophisticated; you can definitely enjoy a conversation over a great meal in the main dining room or out in the water garden, then take a leisurely stroll through the sculpture garden (http://www.johnshields.com/restaurant...). Excellent choices from the menu, great cocktails, there is something for everyone.

                      If you are interested in Indian cuisine you could visit The Ambassador Restaurant (http://www.ambassadordiningroom.com/a...). The atmosphere is serene and unassuming. Maitre d’ and wait have always gone out of their way to make our stay a memorable experience. If weather permitting you can request a garden table where you will sit on a cushioned wicker chair outside on the lawn by the water fountain and then wrap yourself in a comfy shawl courtesy of the restaurant. They offer delicious Lamb Korma, Saag, and Chicken Tika.

                      Fells Point:
                      John Stevens Restaurant (http://johnstevenltd.com/history.html) in historic Fells Point.

                      Belvedere North:
                      Belvedere Market’s, Ryan’s Daughter (http://www.rdirishpub.com/) or Taste (http://www.tasterestaurant.biz/) near Grand Cru wine bar and the famous Senator theatre.

                      Hunt Valley:
                      A drive out of the city to the beautiful stone cropped hills of Hunt Valley’s outdoor shopping area you could check out Greystone Grill (http://www.greystonegrill.com/).

                      1. Also....

                        Mt Vernon:(Charles Street)
                        Owl Bar Restaurant (http://www.theowlbar.com/owlbar/index...) or Helmands Restaurant (http://www.helmand.com/)

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: tastymouth

                          Thanks tasty, I'm printing these out too for next year.