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'Essence of Baltimore' for lunch

Hi. I'm looking for a lunch spot to take someoneI I haven't seen in ages whose stopping in town on his way from Northern Virginia to Philadelphia. He doesn't know Batlimore and didn't much care about what kind of food. When I asked, he said, "Something that's the essence of Baltimore -- whatever that means."

I though about Golden West or Cafe Hon but then thought it might be better to keep him closer to I-95 -- any suggestions for Federal Hill or Canton or maybe Fells Point?

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  1. Essence of baltimore for me means taking him to Lexington Market. Go to faidleys and then buy him a berger cookie. There really isn't much more "baltimory" than that.

    5 Replies
      1. re: Wangus

        You know, I'd thought about the market, too, but then sort of rejected because I was thinking of something that's more sit-down and also someplace that would be easier for meeting.

        1. re: baker8

          Re-think it. Go to either Lexington or Cross Street Markets. You can usually find seats in both at lunch time, either at Nicks in Cross Street or upstairs at Lexington.

          If you MUST go to a sit down place, check out Bill's Lighthouse in South Baltimore. I had a fantastic cream of crab soup there this weekend served Baltimore style with a side shot of sherry.

          1. re: KAZ

            Agree on the markets. I'd also consider Duda's in Fell's Point. It's a bar but they have tables and serve some good food. Excellent crab cake, and I had a very fine soft crab sandwich there last week.

            1. re: KAZ

              I have a love/hate with the Lighthouse, I wanna love it because it's very local and out of the way but on the other hand the 2 times I had crabs there they were lousy and the 2nd time they were just plain bad and smelled terribly of ammonia.

        2. Mamas on the Half Shell in Canton, great Baltimore seafood!

          1. What about Nick's Fish House? Right off the hanover street exit. Easy off easy on, and you'll be on the water.

            3 Replies
              1. re: BaltoPhilFood

                I haven't been in awhile but the food at Nick's didn't slay me. I'd pick Mama's over Nick's any day.

                1. re: ko1

                  Was thinking more of an atmosphere/convenience standpoint. Lots of parking, right off highway, etc...
                  Food is average at Nick's, so looks like you'll either have the convenience or the food to choose from. You could have him drive a little further down Hanover to Federal Hill? Cross Street Market? Key Highway to LP Steamers? Still a straight shot back to 95. I think the 'no more than 2 minutes off the highway and off course' has been burned in my brain from road trips with my dad! Good luck!

              2. How About HULL STREET BLUES of Fort Ave in Locust Point...not sure about essence tho!!

                1 Reply
                1. re: Hue

                  I sure hope Hull Street Blues food is better then the night (a Sunday night) my Fiance and I went there. The food was skimpy, poorly and unprofessionally prepared and we were the only people in the dining room. I had heard good things about them, but it looked like the only happening area was the bar.

                2. IMO the place to go for the essence of Baltimore at lunchtime is the Lexington market .