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Pazo or Tapas Teatro?

Hi there,

Philadelphia Chowhound here looking for some advice. I'm coming into Baltimore this week to meet up with a west coast friend who's in town on business. She's not a huge seafood fan (alas!), so I decided we'd go for tapas instead.

I'm down to Tapas Teatro or Pazo as my choices. There are a couple of considerations to take into account: while we're both adventurous diners, one of us is allergic to shellfish, and one of us doesn't eat red meat. The wine selection is irrelevant -- we both drink, but we're more interested in catching up than anything else (so probably a not-too-loud place would be ideal). Also, we both have fairly sophisticated palates, so I don't want to end up at some place that just doesn't measure up.

Thanks in advance!

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  1. Well, Pazo is very loud and no such much tapas focused any more.

    1. I really don't like Tapas Teatro. I've given it a few chances, but I've been either not impressed/disappointed by everything I've gotten (except for their sangria which is quite tasty). It's also connected to the Charles Theater, so it attracts a lot of theater go-ers in a rush to make their movie. If you're interested in catching up, then I don't think a cramped, high turn over restaurant like this one is a good idea. Even though a lot of people on this board disagree with me, I've recently had very nice meals at Pazo. If you go on a weekend, then sure, it will be on the louder side; but last time I went on a Thursday night, and it wasn't loud at all. Although I prefer it over Tapas Teatro, it's still not in my top picks among Baltimore restaurants.

      Rather than the two of those, I would suggest that you look into Bicycle in Federal Hill. The food is excellent, and you can linger and catch up with your friend in a more relaxed atmosphere.

      5 Replies
      1. re: pmody

        What time did you go to Pazo? Perhaps they changed, but they use to increase the volume of the music as the night went on. You could have a conversation at 6, but not at 8.

        1. re: Jason1

          I went for an 8pm dinner. Maybe they only turn up the music on Friday and Saturday nights. I think if you're in the mood for tapas, then Jon's suggestion of Mezze is a good one.

        2. re: pmody

          I'm really reluctant to weigh in on this as I haven't been to either Tapas Teatro or Pazo in quite a while, but your experiences mirror mine.

          For tapas in this area I'd recommend Mezze, which is Mediterranean tapas. It's in Fells Point. It would be a great place to catch up as long as you ask to be seated in either of the upstairs rooms. The one to the left of the stairs is more modern, to the right is a darker, more traditional room. Both are nice. Food is quite good.

          1. re: JonParker

            I have to agree with Jon about Mezze, especially if 'quieter' and 'tapas' are important for this get together. I've found both Teatro and PAZO to be fairly loud and the food to be hit or miss.

            1. re: Wangus

              We went to Mezze last night for RW and had a great experience. Their RW menu is done slightly different, in that you don't choose an item from each course. They have a set menu that you get a single portion of each. It was a great sampling of some of the best things on their menu. They bring it out in 4 "courses". The main course has a few different meats all on the same plate. I would just recommend that you have them put the crabcakes and the baby lamb chops each on their own plate. You get one of each per person. So the one allergic to shellfish gets two chops. The one that doesn't eat red meat gets two crabcakes.

              While I have been to Pazo, it's been quite a while. I remember that we enjoyed the food, but it wasn't as good as what we had last night at Mezze. I agree with the other recommendations on this one.

        3. I like Tapas Teatro and would recommend that, don't go to Pazo.

          1. I haven't been to Pazo, but am a fan of Tapas Teatro. While it may be best to avoid it on a weekend (because of the Charles Theater), I think it would be fine on a weekday when they won't be trying to get people out in time for their movie.

            Plus, in the summer they have outside seating which drastically increases the number of tables available.

            1. I'd highly recommend Tapas Teatro to meet your request - I live in the area and often take out-of-town friends there. I actually enjoy Pazo a great deal too, but not for what you're looking for - it tends to be a more dimly-lit place that I find more appropriate for big groups of friends (if its just two of you, you'll risk being seated borderline on top of other tables and their conversations).
              I think TT has enough of a selection to fit both your constraints and if you go early and snag an outdoor table, its a great place to order a few things at a time and linger over a pitcher (or more) of sangria.

              1. Thanks to all for the replies. Bicycle's menu is too limited -- there are only five things, maximum, that the non-red-meat eater can order there. I'd heard mixed reviews of Mezze before now; I'm a fan of Mediterranean food though, so I'm definitely considering it.

                As for day of the week and time, luckily, it's mid-week, and it's going to be an absurdly early dinner (5:30 PM), to accommodate her busy travel schedule.

                I'm still mulling over my choices, but if anyone has any other suggestions, I'm open. Thanks again, all!

                4 Replies
                1. re: Fjordstone

                  Tapas can be hit or miss---some things they so amazingly well, the others are serious clunkers. I also feel like it's a bit pricy for the amount that you get. If you time it right, you can miss the theatre-goers: Check the showtimes, and go when all of the movies are starting. Can also be crowded, with the tables scrunched together.

                  Pazo I've given up on, between the quality decline, the noise, and everyone wanting to see and be seen.

                  Mezze has always been my favorite, but the tables are a little tight. There's a little more room upstairs in the room with a hookah and Middle Eastern decor (not the small mod room immediately off the stairs). Their seafood is just OK, but the real hits are: Zucchini fritters, tzaziki, lamb chops, and their eggplant dish with tomato and cheese on top. Their pita bread kicks ass, too.

                  1. re: venera

                    The duck at Mezze is also awesome, & the spinach fritters, & the mussels in that light butter creme sauce, and the tarama...YUM.

                    1. re: kelarry

                      Spinach fritters! Not zucc! Thanks for the correction. There are shark fritters, too, I believe, or some other kind of fritter. But the spinach ones are amaaaaazing.

                      Believe it or not, I have never had the duck or the mussels! We have a list of things we love, and generally stick with it. I will have to branch out.

                      The tarama is amazing. Gah! I love the stuff the most that is the worst for my arteries and waistline.

                      Thanks for the recs. I'll have to head over there soon---and waddle out. ;>

                      1. re: venera

                        Venera- They have zucc fritters AND spinach ones!! Both are amazing! I'd skip the shark fritters tho.

                2. A new addition to the area is Meli (stands for "Honey"). My wife and I went there the other night and we were impressed. We have ate at both Pazo and Tapas and recomend both. Pazo is louder but has a "hip" at atmosphere similar to a NYC or DC restaurant. Tapas is more "local" and has outdoor seating which is nice if the weather cooperates.

                  They all serve "small plates". Have fun.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: bmar

                    Yes--go to Mezze for tapas-type food and a wonderful atmosphere (definitely ask--when you place you reservation-to be seated upstairs versus the first floor entry dining room).
                    Tapas Teatro is okay, but not conducive to a place to be conversational on a private basis--the tables are miniscule and very closely situated. Food is good. not exceptional.

                    Pazo has some nice "tapas" selections, but no privacy where seating is concerned. It's pricier then Tapas Teatro and has a "prettier" setting, but stilll suffocatingly close tables.

                    Mezze--YES! YES!--ask for a seat upstairs when you (I hope that you do) call for a reservation. NIcely spaced tables, romantic and quiet atomosphere and many dining options as regards to "tapas":

                    1. re: FoiGras

                      I much prefer downstairs seating at Mezze. I like the urban feel and being able to witness the hussle and bussle of all the plates going by, and the people on the street gazing in. I guess it depends on your age.

                      1. re: kelarry

                        Downstairs seating at Mezze is fun for seeing and being seen, but "Fjordstone" specified that she wanted a more relaxed, quiet atmosphere where she and her friend could catch up. the hustle-bustle downstairs at Mezze could be distracting. FoiGras