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Single best Chowhound find in Baltimore

What restaurant in Baltimore would you describe as your single best find from the Chowhound board?

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  1. This is a fun one, and won't you please answer your own question?

    I'm a chowhound newbie, but I've been to three new-to-me restaurants since April 1, purely on Chowhound advice. Obviously I went with pretty cheap eats, but here they are:

    1. Thai Restaurant (Greenmount)
    2. Duda's (Fells Point)
    3. Red Star (Fells Point)

    I enjoyed all three restaurants. By far Red Star had the best ambiance. Thai Restaurant had the best service. Duda's had raw oysters better than Mama's. It's hard to compare the three since they are all so different. I'd probably go back to Thai and Red Star before Duda's, but only by a slim margin :)

    4 Replies
    1. re: cece_balti

      cece balti,
      I consider the single best find that I learned about on the Chowhound board to be Giovanna's on Harford Road in Baltimore. Giovanna's is nothing fancy - it's mostly takeout, but the Italian dishes are just fantastic. The prices at Giovanna's are a steal.

      1. re: cece_balti

        dear god...

        if Thai Restaurant on greenmount is the best chowhound find of baltimore... than i refuse to eat in this city anymore...

          1. re: kelarry

            Agreed. That Thai place is ok, but relatively expensive. Thai Landing is better.

            Thai Landing
            1207 N Charles St, Baltimore, MD 21201

      2. I went to Annabelle Lee's, having never heard of it before reading about it on Chowhound and really enjoyed it. A few months later, reviews started popping up in the Sun, etc. It was fun to feel a little ahead of the crowd on that one.

        Similar story with Jack's Bistro, but slightly smaller lag to the reviews.

        1. Orchard Market in Towson- This hidden persian gem made me so happy
          Conrad's Fish Market- This place has become my weekly fish market trip, so fresh so helpful and great variety- Thanks chowhounds

          And while I haven't made the trip yet Chowhound has me thrilled about Anna Bell Lee and Clementine

          4 Replies
          1. re: poached

            I've only been to Orchard Market once - we went for the lunch buffet on a Sunday about a year ago. I was very unfamiliar with Persian food at the time, so it was helpful to try a number of different dishes. Overall the food was very good. Our Server was very pleasent and I thought the decor was very upscale looking concidering the buffet was pretty reasonably priced. I have since read that their food is rated very highly by just about everyone who has reviewed them as well as by Zagat.

            1. re: poached

              I just had a dinner so good that I had to revisit and add to my previous post.
              Birches! and again Birches! wonderfully deconstructed pub food done in an inventive almost upscale way. The spinach salad is incredible and yes I too think it is odd to rave about a salad but it is just that tasty, the buffalo shrimp as an addition make it finger licking good.- the place has a wonderful atmosphere in and out. The petite steak was well, perfect with the homemade chips and the buffalo butter A+

              I love restuarants of all makes and creeds but I am always looking for that casual resturant that feels like a better version of both my home and my kitchen. Birches has been added to that list

              1. re: poached

                I thought that Birches was for sale?

                1. re: Jason1

                  I have no idea- that would be sad if indeed true

            2. There have been quite a few over the years, but my current "find" from the boards has been El Patio, the Argentine place in Jessup. Amazing empandas!

              3 Replies
              1. re: baltoellen

                My Fiance and I took your advice and tried El Patio. I am not really an empanada person (although I did put a hurting on the ones I tried) but my Fiance IS and she just loved them. She also thought the yukka was the best that she's had. Aside from that I ordered a half a rotissarie chicken (which was actually very good) with rice and fried yukka. The people working at El Patio were very nice and accomidating. My Fiance wants to go back again soon.

                1. re: Whitemarshjohn

                  Glad both of you liked the place.....and, I never, ever would have found it w/o CH. Also, try the homemade flan with a side of dulce de leche next time...mmmm!

                2. re: baltoellen

                  I've driven past this place a number of times only catching the name of it and not really knowing what the heck kind of place it was trying to be. Thanks for the tip on El Patio, I'll have to check it out.


                3. La Cazuela on Eastern Avenue. Consistently good; great place to take friends; exactly the kind of place I like to support.

                  1. If you enjoy fried calamari or baked lamb, then I recommend The Acropolis on Eastern avenue.

                    1. Probably Chicken Rico in Highlandtown. I never would've known it existed otherwise. Ditto for Riconcito Peruano.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: bawlmeroryuls

                        My favorite 'just because' place is now Carolina on Broadway, introduced by BaltoEllen. We had a great chowouting there, and it's where I take out of town guests. Great seafood soup, chicken soup, burritos, Cuban sandwich, cheese tortillas, plantains, carne asada, and good beers. Latin comfort food!

                      2. well since i moved here from DC and didn't know anything about the Baltimore food scene i would say the following places are my greatest find:

                        1. Faidley's
                        2. Mr. Bill's Terrace Inn
                        3. Mama's On The Half Shell
                        4. Duda's
                        5. Captain Larry's
                        6. Goldberg's NY Bagels
                        7. Peter's Inn
                        8. Dog Pub

                        1 Reply
                          1. re: WestIndianArchie

                            So my story with Pioneer is one that confirms my houndness. Up there to present to HHS and afterwards the driver gets turned around. Full car of coworkers, and I see Pioneer and shout out that we should try it for lunch. No takers. Up there the next week for SSA and I try it (since I'm alone) and love it. Up there the next week for SSA with two different coworkers and I'm driving so we go there. I'm the only one to get out of the car. They claim they're not hungry until we get back to Reston and they swear they're starving.


                            Btw, currently I'm smitten with Snyders - just since it's so "Baltimore" to me - though I'm still definitely just learning the city (well, the south and west sides anyway - outside the beltway).

                            1. re: Dennis S

                              Anybody else have anything to share about Snyder's? Dennis is intriguing me. I used to live in AA Co (largely a culinary wasteland) and never heard anything one way or another about Snyder's. I'm wondering if you love the "Baltimore" atmo and that's the reason for your enthusiasm since there are a number of similar places in AA Co with mediocre food perched on the water, or perhaps it is a hidden gem?

                              1. re: ko1

                                If he's talking about Snyder's Willow Grove restaurant, it's not on the water. There's not a lot of water views in Linthicum. And it's only just barely in Anne Arundel county, kind of in that north corner between Baltimore and Howard County.

                                1. re: Hal Laurent

                                  Yeah, I knew it wasn't on the water, I was just comparing it to some AA CO waterfront joints with a lot of local flair and mediocre food and wondering if that was the deal. I've eaten in plenty and enjoyed them for what they were. How is Snyder's?

                                  1. re: ko1

                                    Okay, so it's a place that does that traditional menu from 2-4 decades ago. I'm from the Midwest and there is/was a similar style there. From what I gather about B-More, the "realness" of the people tends to Midwest values.

                                    The place seems to be largely used by older folk or true locals. Only. There are a number of banquets apparently - blue collar rehearsal dinners or even the reception (especially for a second wedding of a local couple). But there's an air above that as well - it has had class at some point, and retains the memory of it.

                                    True, this all leads to the atmosphere weighing in more, but the food I had was good. I had the fried chicken which really was good - but it was fried chicken. The veggies seemed fresh - not overly fresh like at a local food joint, but not completely from frozen, either - like someone is still doing things the way they did 30 years ago.

                                    And it might have been happenstance, but the wait staff we had was a bit aged, and the whole experience just took me back decades - and I loved it.

                                    So, maybe I was swayed. I'm dying to hear what others think. It's not fine dining (though some there might think it is), but at the base level - it is good.

                                    1. re: Dennis S

                                      That's kind of how I remember Snyder's. I haven't been there in ages (it's not really in my neck of the woods).

                                      I'm kind of partial to old-fashioned Baltimore places like that, although I'd have a hard time explaining why to a youngster. There aren't a lot of them left.

                                      Another now gone place that had that kind of vibe was the old Karson's Inn on Holabird Ave. near the GM plant.

                                      1. re: Hal Laurent

                                        I'd completely forgotten about Karson's Inn. Do you remember the Brentwood Inn with Joe the mixologist?

                                        Speaking of "old-fashioned" Baltimore places, Hubby and I dined at Tio Pepe's on Sunday evening. Hadn't been there in about 10years. Nothing has changed. The staff has been there "forever."

                                        My roasted suckling pig was a bit dry, but the black beans and accompanying applesauce (which was served warm instead of chilled), were quite good.

                                        My hubby went with the tradtional duck a l'orange. A throwback to the way duck was prepared in dining establishments years ago.

                                        The Tio Pepe house salad was exceptionally fresh, tasty and very large, especially considering the price point. We commented to each other that in many other fine dining restaurants the salad would have been $10 instead of approximately $6.50.

                                        The service was very prompt and professional. So, I am happy to say that we enjoyed our meal. We dine out frequently and venture into the more trendy places, but it was a nice change to revisit the old school of cooking. We also like Snyder's and Sunset for the same reason. Standard, basic preparation of food--no molecular reconstruction. Although, I do wish Baltimore had that particular type of place. If there is such a place, I'd like to know about it. FoiGras

                                        1. re: FoiGras

                                          FoiGras - not in Baltimore either, but I would put the Peppermill Restaurant in Lutherville in the same category as Snyder's and the Sunset. Completely predictable food.

                          2. Grace Garden. Hands down.

                            Followed by Bella Napoli (only because there is such a dearth of good places to go in Glen Burnie/Pasadena), Cynthia's in Severna Park, Chinghale, Pho 75. These are places I would have never heard of or tried if it weren't for Chowhound.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: venera

                              Bella Napoli??? I tried it twice and it was so-so at best. What did you like

                              1. re: namret

                                We've only ever had the pizzas, which has a great crust, great toppings, and is crispy-chewy done in the brick oven. Try their antipasto appetizer plate, a bottle of Chianti riserva (on Thursdays when the bottles are half price) and a pie. That's all you need, and you will be happy. :)

                                Again, it's a relative thing. There aren't a preponderance of amazing places to go in GB/Pasadena. This was a find for us, upping our "go-to" places in the immediate area from 2 to 3 restaurants.

                            2. Birches. We ate there for the second time tonight and again, felt that the food was a 10 and extremely reasonable with respect to price. Had their caesar salad which was dressed with a really unique balsamic garlic dressing. The grilled onions and tomatoes on the salad were a really nice touch. Then we split the nachos which were the best i've ever had. Each nacho chip (homemade by the way) was topped with tons of toppings which included pulled chicken, super tender chunks of beef, queso chihuahua and red chili sauce. Happy comfort food. To top our totally gluttonous dinner, we got the mac and cheese. Again, it was without flaws. I love that they offer half portions of almost everything on the menu. Service was very attentive. Why we don't go here more often is a mystery to me. Perhaps DH is afraid we won't be able to fit in our clothes if this type of eating continues :) IMO, it would be worth it!

                              2 Replies
                                1. re: hawaiigrl2003

                                  I'm about three years late, but Darling Husband or Dear Husband.

                                1. re: Treva

                                  Pioneer Pit Beef, Pasta Mista in Timonium, Goldbergs K. Bagels, Cafe Zen, Conrad's, Tortilleria Sinaloa, and a slight shout-out to EDMART. I can make anything and everything else perfectly well and even better than a restaurant at home. Less the Pit Beef, Pizza, Bagels, Maryland Crabs, Chinese Food, Mexican and Pastrami ;)

                                  Cafe Zen
                                  438 E Belvedere Ave, Baltimore, MD 21212

                                2. Grace Garden is pretty amazing but Odenton isn't *that* close to Baltimore. So my pick would be Hunan Taste in Catonsville, which is AFAIK not only one of only three Hunan restaurants in the US, but one of the best traditional Chinese restaurants in the eastern half of the country.

                                  Grace Garden
                                  1690 Annapolis Rd, Odenton, MD

                                  Hunan Taste
                                  718 N Rolling Rd, Catonsville, MD 21228

                                  3 Replies
                                    1. re: KWagle

                                      Hunan Taste for me too.

                                      Hunan Taste
                                      718 N Rolling Rd, Catonsville, MD 21228

                                      1. re: chefdilettante

                                        Sorry to reply to an old thread, but I just haven't had the same experience at Hunan Taste. I love GG, but HT has never lived up to my expectations. I've had some very good food there, but never some that I would classify as "the best traditional Chinese restaurants in the eastern half of the country" or even close. Maybe I'm ordering wrong and need to do more chowhound research to find what to get- but I guess I don't totally get it.

                                        I do agree that Trinacria is awesome. As far as the top 3 restaurants that I might not have gone to without Chowhound-
                                        1. Grace Garden
                                        2. Mekong Delta Cafe
                                        3. hard one- maybe Peter's Inn or Bill's Terrace Inn.

                                        Peter's Inn
                                        504 S Ann St, Baltimore, MD 21231

                                        Grace Garden
                                        1690 Annapolis Rd, Odenton, MD

                                        Mekong Delta Cafe
                                        105 W Saratoga St, Baltimore, MD 21201

                                        Bill's Terrace Inn
                                        200 Eastern Blvd, Essex, MD 21221

                                        Hunan Taste
                                        718 N Rolling Rd, Catonsville, MD 21228

                                    2. Zorba's

                                      4710 Eastern Ave, Baltimore, MD 21224

                                      1. Trinacria. I had worked in nearby for ages and driven by it almost daily but it looked so dingy... the reviews here made me stop in for one of the best sandwiches ever and they have cheap wine too.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: tremom

                                          Trinacria is one of the ten best things about Baltimore.

                                          1. re: lawhound

                                            Agreed. And it was 3 blocks from me when I was in law school. Sigh.

                                        2. KIng's Kabobs on 36th Street in Hampden has truly excellent freshly baked Middle Eastern pita bread, baba ghanouj, and chicken kabobs and schwarma.

                                          1. Max's Empanadas in Little Italy. Authentic Argentinian empanadas with chimichurri. They also have mate and fabulous desserts.

                                            Max's Empanadas
                                            313 S High St, Baltimore, MD 21202

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: xtian

                                              I hadn't heard of this and can't wait to try it. I'm a big fan of fabulous desserts.

                                              1. re: xtian

                                                We went for second dinner at Max's empanadas last night after another terrible meal in little Italy. I had a chicken and a chorizo and a coconut dulce de leche. Everything was very good! :-)

                                                1. re: dining with doc

                                                  Not to be nit-picky, but the OP asked for "in Baltimore". Even if you expand B'more to be the City and the (non Hereford zone) County, GG is miles and miles and miles away from the vicinity.

                                                  Now if we're talking the DC/Baltimore metro MD area, GG is right up there.