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Apr 18, 2008 05:30 PM

Harbor East baltimore

I know about Charleston. What eles do you peeps tout in harbor east area. we are staying at the marriot waterfront and would like to dine someplace nice we can hoof it to. Or water taxi to. I also know the inner harbor chains and prefer to stay away from them. And I have been to power plan live as well
If Leff ever ate anywere in the area that would be a plus as well

Thanks pilgrims

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  1. That's my 'hood (well, Little Italy, anyway), and I'm still exploring (moved in this past summer). You should probably know that I almost always have a one year old in tow, so most of my regular spots are fairly downscale. I'm not the one to ask about upscale restaurants in the area, though I've managed to get around a little bit. In general, it's not the greatest dining area IMHO. There's a lot that's decent, but very little that's exceptional. But here are the places we've fallen into and returned to on a regular basis:

    In the swanky area, the exceptions to our downscale experience are Cinghiale, where we had a really excellent meal, and we were also surprised by Lebanese Taverna, though that was based on just a couple of dishes and we have almost no experience with Lebanese as a basis of comparison.

    A few blocks east on Eastern there's a mess of downscale Mexican places if you want to pick up some tacos on the cheap. El Taquito is my current favorite, though I've also gotten great stuff from Palomino and some decent tacos from Tortilleria Sinaloa.

    I'm a BIG fan of Rinconcito Peruano, which is also pretty close. It's a very modest but delicious Peruvian place run by some wonderful folks.

    Kooper's Tavern in Fell's Point is a regular stop for burgers. Particularly, I like the fact that you'll usually be within one grade of the temperature you request, which is depressingly hard to find these days. Pitango is right around the corner for some very good gelato. Italy it ain't, but it's pretty darn good.

    Piedigrotta Bakery, on the fringe of Little Italy, is a great stop for a quick lunch or breakfast. They have some panini and other lunchy items like spinach and cheese tarts, to say nothing of the devastatingly awesome Italian pastries. Everything is wonderful, but it'll be of extra special interest if you're a fan of tiramisu (the husband of the owning couple has laid claim to its invention -- the jury's out, but his story is credible). Vaccaro's is a couple of blocks away, in the heart of Little Italy, and most people will steer you in that direction for Italian desserts, but I haven't had a single thing at Vaccaro's that wasn't significantly better at Piedigrotta.

    Most of the restaurants in Little Italy are mediocre red sauce joints (not that there's anything wrong with red sauce joints, but not when they're mediocre), but there are exceptions. We haven't canvassed the entire neighborhood yet, but we enjoyed La Tavola quite a bit (not a red sauce place). I was less enthused by the secondi, but it's a Venetian chef and the pastas were really quite good.

    You have a GREAT deli up on Lombard in Attman's. They have a room where you can sit (it isn't the cleanest or the most comfortable, but it does the job), but I prefer to carry out. I say grab a sandwich and head down to the water. It's a total zoo if it's anything close to lunchtime.

    Another great stop for a carry out lunch is Il Scalino on High street. It's a little Italian deli and grocery that has a menu of about 20 sandwiches. With warm weather finally upon us, I'm all about just picking up a bunch of Italian cold cuts and cheeses, a loaf of bread and a limonata and finding a bench somewhere. If you go this route, be sure to get some of the smoked pancetta that they've just started carrying. Dynamite stuff that you can get sliced thin and eat as-is.

    There's a ton of stuff we haven't gotten to. I'm sure there's much more worth trying. But I can vouch for these, at least.

    1. Right in Inner Harbor East, Taco Fiesta has very nice Baja fish tacos and Lebanese Taverna does good mezze.