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DC Hound Needs Help in B'more - Specific Criteria

  • Meg Nov 12, 2007 11:54 AM
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Husband and I will be celebrating our birthdays in Baltimore on Saturday, Dec. 8. Live in Northern VA and have only ever been to the Inner Harbour (gasp), so we're B'more restaurant novices, but eager to make the most of our trip with Chowhound rec's (as always).

We'll be staying at Henderson's Wharf in Fell's Point. Looking for:

- a special occassion restaurant
- within a 15 minute walk from Fell's Point
- that takes reservations
- is romantic, i.e., relatively cozy
- isn't high end (just got back from two-weeks in Italy and are watching our pennies)

Not interested in traditional fine dining, looking for great atmosphere, memorable food, and someplace we can linger. From researching the board I've come up with the following possibilities. Please weigh in! Am completely open to other suggestions.

- Henningers
- The Brewer's Art
- Peters Inn
- The Wine Market
- b Bistro
- Petit Louis

P.S. Bars that we shouldn't miss to and from dinner?

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  1. For great atmosphere & food, I'd hit Pazo (1425 Aliceanna St in FP). Red Star is a great bar not to miss (906 S Wolfe St, in FP). Head to Tugboat Ann's (529 S. Bond St in FP) when you get tired of the beautiful people.

    10 Replies
    1. re: cpfeifer

      cpfeifer: the photos on the Pazo website look like a large open dining room which I assumed meant it was loud and noisy. Is that not the case? Many thanks for the bar rec's.

      1. re: Meg

        Pazo is loud and noisy. Henninger's meets all of your criteria except the reservations part. If you can let that requirement go, the choice is a no-brainer.

        1. re: JonParker

          I 2nd Henningers!

          1. re: JonParker

            Henningers was actually my first choice from what I'd read. Though any idea what time we'd have to get there to get a table for two around 7ish? And more importantly, do they have a bar that's worth waiting at?

            1. re: Meg

              The bar is my favorite in town, very warm and cozy, I actually eat at the bar often!
              www.henningerstavern.com

              1. re: hon

                I'm confused. From what I read I thought Henninger's had a separate restaurant and bar. But the website looks like it's just a bar (tavern) and says it only has 12 tables. Is that in the bar only, or is that the whole restaurant? TIA

                1. re: Meg

                  The bar is one on side and the restaurant is on the other side. Yes, it is a small dining room but worth checking out!!

            2. re: JonParker

              I agree that Henninger's is a "no-brainer' given your criteria!

          2. re: cpfeifer

            Tugboat Ann's has been gone for a few years now.

            1. re: hon

              My bad, I was at the Wharf Rat.

          3. If you're looking for romantic/cozy, I'd skip Petit Louis. The tables are crammed so tight that you can reach over and taste your neighbor's dinner. It's also noisy and pretty casual. I like Brewer's Art and The Wine Market. Wasn't thrilled with "b"'s food that last time we were there.

            1. What about the Black Olive? It is in Fell's Point.

              1 Reply
              1. re: smt

                It is indeed, and in my experience the food is good, but there's nothing romantic about getting pissed off at the inattentive service.

              2. I vote for the Brewer's Art or Peter's Inn. I think both of them have good points. Brewer's Art *might* be a little more romantic, although I got engaged at Peter's. Too bad my marriage didn't last as long as this restuarant has :). Both have very good food. Peter's is the type of place that has velvet Elvis art, if you're into that type of thing. Plus, the specials include anything from meat lover's entrees to vegan entrees. Brewers is def. more 'hoity toity'.

                1. I should add that Henninger's and Peter's Inn are the only two places on your list that are even close to Fell's Point.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: JonParker

                    I love both Henninger's and Peter's (Peter's is probably my fave in Baltimore)...but for a special occasion kind of place that you can walk to in FP you might also consider Timothy Dean's bistro. It's not outrageously expensive and yet it's a little more "upscale" than the other 2...and I think the food is really good.
                    http://www.tdbistro.com/

                    1. re: sistereurope

                      I really liked the looks of TD's Bistro online, but want something a bit less expensive. Is Brewer's Art a long walk or quick cab ride away from FP? I love their beer selection. Though jwiv's input below about the food concerns me. Also, there are no photos of the inside of Peter's Inn online. How's the ambiance?

                      1. re: Meg

                        Brewer's Art is a very long walk from Fell's Point. All the way to the harbor and then up Charles St. about 10-15 blocks? It would be a pretty short cab ride. If you're into beer it's a great place. You can make reservations for the fancy restaurant part, which is probably more expensive than you're looking for. Otherwise you can try to get a table or sit at the bar upstairs (or downstairs if you don't mind the smoke). I went just last Saturday night, we got there around 7pm and got two seats at the bar in the corner right away, which was actually quite cozy.

                        Peter's Inn has quite a unique ambiance. It's definitely a bar. When you walk in for the first time you'll probably think you're in the wrong place. But there are tables next to the bar and in a little back room. I think they're non-smoking now though. Also the people who work there are very nice.

                  2. I was a bit disappointed with Brewer's Art. Atmosphere and service were great, but the food didn't really excite me. Not bad, just not great.

                    1. Pierpoint's on Aliceanna Street in teh Fells Point neighborhood is very nice, price may be a bit on the upper end of the scale however

                      1. I guess I would start by asking what you mean by "high end"?

                        Fortunately or unfortunately, there are probably about 50 restaurants that might fit your bill. Personally, Henninger's is fine but not really romantic. Kali's Court and Louisiana and Pierpoint are more romantic but more expensive. Peter's Inn is hard to get a table at. I'd recommend La Cazuela, but only if you're into ethnic food.

                        So if I had to pick one, I'd pick Salt. It's at the upper end of the 15 minute walk (in fact, I'd recommend a cab), but it's small and intimate and has an exciting menu. Birches is a bit outside the 15 minute walk but is a bit less expensive and has a ton of bars too and fro.

                        In fact, if I were you, I'd recommend starting at Chesapeake Wine Company, going to Birches, and then talking a walk along the water on the way home. Very doable.

                        Goodluck.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: BmoreHound

                          BmoreHound. Thanks for the new suggestions! Both look very appealling. (Trying to avoid $15 apps and $30 entrees). Though I thought the menu at Salt looked a bit more interesting. So I'm wondering if the ambiance is better at one vs. the other, particularly for a special occassion?

                          1. re: Meg

                            For a special occasion the atmosphere at Salt is probably better - Birches is great, but a little dowdy. Although if you get sat right next to the bar at Salt, it's a little overwhelming b/c it gets crowded and you have to stare at people's butts all dinner, which is not so fun.

                            1. re: Meg

                              I walked in Salt (and walked right back out)because I thought it was too crowded and loud. Of course Peter's can get packed too but it's not so loud. My vote goes for Peter's. It's romantic (my husband and I went on our fist date there), the food is excellent, the service is wonderful, and it is walking distance from your hotel. The only problem I can see is that they do not take reservations. They are also now completely non-smoking.

                              The interior of Peter's is very eclectic- classic "Baltimore", I'd say.

                          2. Agree with both Pete's & Henninger's. Pete's menu changes weekly (Tues-Sat) so you can check beforehad to see what looks good - there is ALWAYS something great, but beware they sometimes run out of stuff by Sat. It can also be impossible to get a table on Sat, or even a seat at the bar. But the food is great. And, Henninger's is a mere 3 blocks further up the road, so makes a good back-up if not your outright first choice. I've never had to wait long to get a table, the bar is definitely worth checking out anyway. Both places are very friendly/good vibe, Henninger's dining room IS romantic, very cozy, nice lighting. Both places have decent wines both by the glass or bottle.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: bkath

                              I agree that the dining room at Henningers is very romantic and cozy!

                              1. re: bkath

                                Thanks everyone, as always, for the outpouring of information. I thnk we'll check out Henningers and Peter's. Whichever we like the vibe at best (or can get into)we'll hang at the bar for a while while we wait for a table. Sounds like we can't go wrong at either place. I'll be sure and report back.

                                1. re: Meg

                                  Yes, please let us know how it turns out (I have high hopes that you'll be happy with either choice :)

                              2. Thanks a million Bmore Hounds. Had a splendid bday weekend in Fell's Point thanks to your recs. Started with lunch at the bar at Mezze because we were starved and right there. Good food, stale atmosphere. Moved on to the Wharf Rat where we whiled away the day. What's not to like about 3 half pints for $4?? Enjoyed the company of the bartender and the regulars. Felt right at home. Were debating between Peters and Henningers, and chose Henningers at the suggesiton of our new found friends from the Wharf Rat and were so glad we did. Jack the bartender is a hoot, and makes a mean martini. The quirky atmosphere and decor was such a refreshing change of pace from our DC haunts. And the food was damn impressive, from the scrumptious oysters in a yummy sweet wine sauce, to the house salad to the whole rock fish with spanish saugase and grilled onions and peppers (simple and delicious, the sausage was minimal and the fish stood up to it well, surprisingly). Though the piece de resistance was the pistachio gelato on a hot brownie with hot chocalate sauce. I melted right along with the gelato. Our server proved to be a knowledgeable sommelier. He recommended a delicious but light New Zealand cab (new to us) that was ideal. And the prices, well, let's just say, we can't wait to return.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Meg

                                  Sounds like you had a great weekend! Thanks for reporting back.

                                  Haven't been to Henninger's in awhile, but next time you're back, you should definitely check out Peter's. I went recently and it was superb.

                                  1. re: tennisgal1206

                                    Thanks for reporting back. I love the Wharf Rat - great beer, and yes, everyone makes you feel right at home.
                                    And I'm also glad that you liked Henninger's...come back twice so that you can try Peter's, too!