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Baltimore/DC must have

We are coming in from Western Canada in a couple of weeks. I scanned the posts on this board and cannot see (and may very simply have missed!) anything on the one or two places that one must try if in the area for the first time. If this has been "done" recently, a link to the relevant post may be all I need. High end is great, but we are doing NYC the week before and may be high ended out by the time we hit Baltimore. Cost is irrelevant (although the last time I said that we ended up at Sketch in London with a horrible $1200 meal, so I need to be careful what I wish for), but we want fun/character/stuff or experiences you can get elsewhere. We are slow foodies and like to try regional specialities.

We are satayin in Baltimore, but will be in DC for a good aprt of the time, so anything in the area is great. We will have a rental and GPS so anything iin the area is fair (fare?) game.

Thanks all.

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  1. Sorry, but you are going to have to give us more to go on. As I posted elsewhere, when I have out of town guests, I prefer to take them to places that you can't find where they live... and thus rather than going to a great restaurant that speaks of well of DC, we go to good resturants that offer what can't be found easily in other places... like Burmese or, depending on where you live, Ethiopian.

    Tell us a little more about what you like... a good wine list, seafood, steak. I'm assuming that if you are coming from Western Canada, you have already had plenty of good Chinese, so I think you should look for something else. Since you are staying in Baltimore, you could always search the forum for the best MD crabcakes.

    2 Replies
    1. re: burkemic99

      The best/most enjoyable meal I have had in the Baltimore area was the tasting menu at Tersiguel's. I don't claim to have eaten at all the good restaurants in the Baltimore area, but I certainly have eaten in most of them. Tersiguel's has character, class, wonderful food that is often locally grown and you can dress up or walk in casually dressed and they will make you feel "at home". Tersiguels is also open 7 days a week and I believe that they are open for lunch and dinner.

      1. re: burkemic99

        Yes, do a search for steamed crabs and for crabcakes. Also, look for local tomatoes and cantaloupes which arrive soon.

      2. I don't know if you have lots of Jewish Deli's in Western Canada - they certainly have lots of them in NYC, but one place that is an experience is Attman's Deli. Attman's has been around and run by the same family since 1915. You stand in line for your food and then take it into the other room to sit down and eat. They have great corned beef, jewish rye bread pastrami and other deli items. It's certainly not fancy, but it is kind of a Baltmore institution. I've been there a few times for lunch and they are open Sundays - I mention Sundays because around here many restaurants are either closed or have limited hours on Sundays.

        Other suggestions would be places with crab cakes and steamed crabs (others can probably fill you in better then I can) and some of the Baltimore restaurants with lots of character or really good food such as Zodiac, Rocket to Venus, The Helmond, The Chameleon Cafe, Pazo or Peter's Inn.

        There's also a Greektown with lots of good, basic Greek food. We like Samos and Acropolis and I know others on the board also like Ikaros and Zorbas. I've been to all the Greek restaurants in Greektown except Mylos.

        I'm not really sure if I would recomend Italian food in Baltimore since you'll be in NYC and they are suppose to have the best Italian, but Little Italy has over a dozen restaurants. I tend to like the really basic "red sauce" restaurants like Amiccis (you should always have a reservation) or Chipparelli's. Aldo's is suppose to be the best upscale Italian, although I haven't tried them personally.

        Probably the best Expensive restaurants in Downtown Baltimore are Charleston and the Prime Rib. I've never been to Charleston, but I've been to the Prime Rib a few times many years ago and they are suppose to still be excellent.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Whitemarshjohn

          Jewish Deli in Edmonton....lol...nope. Winnipeg yes. We love Schwartz's in Montreal. Attmans sounds a lot like it I apprecaite your list of character restaurants in Baltimore. That city is really intriguing us...have to bring the kids on a subsequent trip.

          1. re: foodiesnorth

            I was at Schwartz's in Montreal last week. Similar vibe, but Attman's in Baltimore puts Schwartz's to shame. In Baltimore, for yummy northern Italian, I'd suggest Pazza Luna in Locust Point. Chingale in Harbor East is upscale, and very well done. Jacks in canton has a very funky menu with things like macaroni and cheese with chocolate and pop rocks candy on tuna. Sounds crazy, but it works.

        2. If you search best dc you might find some threads...

          I think that places you must try in DC would be to try to get a reservation at Minibar and Citronelle and perhaps Komi. Those are the top places right now. Restaurant Eve in Alexandria is also really good and has the added bonus of a spectacular bartender whose bar is worth a trip, the cocktails are just incredible, a culinary delight themselves. You can do a search on all three and there will be threads. Other people might have other places to add in, like CityZen, and others also up there, but those are the best of the best in DC upscale, which seems like what you want.

          1 Reply
          1. re: ktmoomau

            Oh and of course I can't believe I left it out, you might want to go to the Inn at Little Washington, it has been consistently rated as the best in our area by many sources, I haven't been but my brother and mother went last year and were really blown away.

          2. My top five in the DC area are in my profile. These are all pretty much cheap eats. I will add getting the Salmon Red Curry, tofu soup, and pad kana at Thai X-ing to truly unique, wonderful experiences that will make you glad you're a Chowhound. You can search for more info/recs by using the restaurant name in the search on this board.

            In Baltimore, pickin' crabs is a must at Bill's Terrace Inn. They open at 4pm and a wait forms quickly. No reservations.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Steve

              Thanks all! We have varied food tastes so it is hard to give much direction (my spouse if a food writer). We like anything distinctive. It can be high end (Ramsay will feed us in NYC the week before) and we plan on having a sidewalk hotdog too. The responses above really help. I want to try to avoid having gone to Baltimore/DC and come home only to find out we should have gone to X or Y. We travel for food, so this is a really good start. Thanks again!

              1. re: foodiesnorth

                Must try crabs in B-more--many thread on where to go. Not too much else anymore that is uniquely B-more, altho Prime Rib comes close (it has branches in DC and Philly). Best places in town are the Prime Rib, Cingiale (Think Felidia's in NYC--not a tomato in the house) and its upscale sister, Charleston. Woodberry Kitchen, 5 miles north of downtown is eclectic and well worth a visit.

            2. In Baltimore try Salt, Bicycle, Jacks, Mezze, Kali's court, Black Olive, Sotta Sopra, stay away from little italy you will be disappointed

              1. I agree that if you're coming to Maryland, then you have to try steamed crabs. It is hands down our signature local delicacy. If you're afraid to pick the crabs yourself (we recommend lots of beer to get you over that), then you at least have to have crabcakes.

                1. Everyone has talked about crabs - which are an important Maryland delicacy - and of course be sure to include the corn on the cob, sliced Eastern shore tomatoes and beer out of a can, for the truly authentic experience. Try a little beer on the hands afterwards to remove the seafood smell - this is my dad's trick and it works!

                  To me, if you're in this area, the thing that is truly unique is the breadth of international ethnic cuisine restaurants. Of course big cities like NYC or LA and others have a wide variety as well, but they don't have the breadth that we have here and for the low price range. For example, the DC area is known for it's good selection of Ethiopian restaurants and there are areas such as Wheaton, MD and Arlington, VA that have truly great Vietnamese and Thai restaurants. If you want unusual, you can find it here. I would never eat deli food in this area. I have no idea why people recommended it! I'm married to a native New Yorker, so I guess what I've had here just doesn't measure up!

                  1. I grew up in Baltimore and now live in suburbs of DC so here are my choices

                    Baltimore: Tio Pepe's-classic spanish cooking, great quality, big portions, excellent restaurant, $$$, Charleston- seafood and regional cooking by a well known and recognized female chef, $$$, Obrycki's for an old style Baltimore hardshell crab feast- get a dozen of the jumbo's and a pitcher of beer and have a blast, very casual $$

                    DC: Michelle Richard Citronelle: Award winning world renown chef with wimsical clever food in a french/ continental style $$$$, Cieba: Pan latin, very good, lively $$, Jaleo: Tapas, casual $$, LeAuberge Chez Francious; country Alcasian/ French in a beautiful setting in Virginia..worth the drive for the scenery as well as the food.

                    hope this helps.......take me with you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: dining with doc

                      A quick update> Ate at Cinghiale...most amazing food! We challenged chef to stuff the squash blossoms with cheese (something he had never done) before he deep fried them...superb. We tried the wild boar proscuitto (whic we get at home) with a little olive oil. Really good too. We ordered way too much food, but loved it all. The staff are really great. High recommended.

                      Ate the best gelato of our lives here (which is saying something given that we were touring Italy this time last year). They are crazy for the best of everything from truly free run eggs to the freshest fruit...OMG it was fantastic! The pistachios (which is explained on a placard ont he wall) are slow food supported real Italian variety. Very intense flavour.. The place is near the Broadway Market and goes by the name Pitango.

                      Ate steamed crabs and shrimp at LP Steamers...they are friendly and patient showing you how it is done. Crab comes right off the dock...no middle man at all. Cheap, fun and delicious. Totally messy and informal.

                      Schuckers....blech, waste of time. don't go. We left most the food on the plate and went elsewhere.

                      Cafe Hon...this one we split over (the wife and I). It is making itself into a place to go based on myth. The food is bland and the service disinterested. They have a silly joke type store at the front with a few "Hon" things on them ...they are selling themselves on the "Hon" cliche (believe it on not based on the word "hon" which apparently everyone says...which not one person actually said. It is silly and simply did not work for me.. The area is fantastic with great boutique shops. Wife and I agreed hamburger was boring and the fries completely ordinary. She liked the kitsch and I felt it was entirely artificial. If the service matched the hype, I may have bought it...I really wanted to like it. I could never recommend it except as a place for mindless lunch before or after a shopping tour.

                      Wharf Rat had wonderfull fish (the chips were a bit underdone for our liking). The fish was devine.

                      Cat's Eye pub is fun, but we did not eat there.

                      That is really it for now....we may not hit Charleston because it is owned by the same peopl who own Cinghiale and a couple of other places. We have heard very good things both online and locally. Baltimore is blessed with wonderful places to eat.

                      Going to Pier Point tonight on a recommendation from a local we met on a water taxi.

                      1. re: foodiesnorth

                        Thanks for the report back. I haven't eaten at Pierpoint in awhile, but they used to do a nice smoked version of the crabcake.