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Two young people visiting Baltimore first time

My daughter and her boyfriend will be visiting Baltimore for the first time (ages 24, 25, been out of college a and 2 years). Looking for nice places not too far from Inner Harbor. No steak houses (they can BBQ good steak) or crab houses (she is allergic to shellfish) please.

So far, from researching this board, I have found Amicci's (looks just their speed), Pazo, Charleston (probably too expensive for them) and Cinghiale (could not find in Zagat's 2007). I think they will go for Amicci's and they would like one other suggestion.

Any other ideas from anyone willing to help them?

TIA

Francis (Phila CH)

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  1. The Helmand
    806 N Charles St
    Baltimore, MD 21201

    Delicious Afghani food. Tell them to try the pumpkin!

    1. Both Charleston and Cinghiale are quite good but will run $100 each or more. They may want to check out Pazo (owned by the same group), which is cheaper and more popular with their age group. Just a few blocks east of the edge of the Inner Harbor.

      5 Replies
      1. re: bordeauxfan

        Thanks folks I passed on your comments. Any feelings about Amicci's?

        1. re: FrancisdeR

          Depends what they are used to. It's an average "red sauce" Italian restaurant in Little Italy that is fine but not real exciting. I would reccomend them heading to Fells/Canton or Fed Hill (decent walk or a short cab ride) to check out some more unique options. Lots on the board about places in this area, but I would suggest Peter's Inn, Salt, Corks, Bicycle, or Thai Arroy.

          1. re: gregb

            Of those (and I like them all except Peter's, which I haven't tried) Corks is my favorite. It's quite reasonable and very good. I live in Federal Hill, and with the exception of oysters at Ryleighs it's at the top of my list.

            1. re: JonParker

              I seem to remember a post about HH deals on oysters and can't find the post or remember if Ryleigh's made the list. I could go for a couple dozen!

              1. re: gregb

                M-F from 3-7 Ryleigh's has $1 oysters, and they're really really good -- a nice variety from both east and west coasts. It's definitely the best spot in Baltimore for oysters, IMO.

      2. Also in Little Italy is Gia's for a nice casual reasonble meal

        http://www.cafegias.com/

        7 Replies
        1. re: Hue

          IMHO, Cafe Gia's is a billion times better than Amiccis.

          1. re: rudmansjmu

            Has Gia improved attitudinal and service issues observed last fall?

            1. re: chowsearch

              I didn't have any issues. The owner waited on us and was very kind and attentive. We were the only people there though so I can't speak for the service on a busy evening.

              1. re: rudmansjmu

                My first experience at Gia's doesn't have me eager to return. Gia was impressed that my dinner date was willing to walk in the door before checking out the menu and offered him a glass of wine on the house - that was nice. Our server was very nice also, but pronounced prosciutto as "proskutoe" and explained "it is a kind of a ham" and also kept talking about how good the "yonky" (gnocchi) were. This would have been amusing if the food had been anything more than passable. The dressing on the grilled caesar salad was overly thick and uninspiring, and my dinner companion's chicken was dry and inedible. He is willing to go back again and give the restaurant another shot. I think life's too short. I second the suggestions of the Helmand and Iggies (818 N Calvert St, Baltimore, MD‎), both about a mile north from the Inner Harbor. Dishes at Amicci's range from savor-each-bite 'Carlo' , to save-your-$. http://amiccis.com/AmiccisMenu101508%...

                1. re: mukalu

                  The offer of wine has me curious ...as Gia's does not have a liquor license

                  1. re: Hue

                    Hey, no sense in ruining a good story with pesky facts. :-)

                    1. re: Hal Laurent

                      We were confused about this also - apparently they are allowed to give a glass of wine on the house and they keep a bottle (or more) on hand. It was nice of Gia.

        2. If they're in the Fed Hill area, they should try either Luca's (which is actually Locust Point) or Corvina (?) - this used to be Junior's on S. Charles Street so they can get the address that way. I've been 2x and it's really good, tapas style food. Jack's in Canton is good, as is Ra in Harbor East (if they like sushi).

          3 Replies
          1. re: igrowveggies

            Thanks again to all who made suggestions. They have all been passed on faithfully.

            1. re: FrancisdeR

              No one has mentioned Pierpoint on Aliceanna St in Fells Point. A search of this board indicates that unless something terrible has happened in the last few months, the place is still very good.

              1. re: Bob W

                I wouldn't recommend only because I think there are better options based on criteria given... wondering what about Amicci's makes it their speed? If they want italian I'd second the Gia's recommendation. It's BYO and very cozy, not stuffy, nice for a young couple. I'll also second Corks and throw in Mezze/Meli/One Eyed Mike's(for One Eyed, it's all about the specials, the online menu won't do it justice) in Fells.

          2. It really depends on what type of food they prefer. But I would not think of Ammicci's for a young couple. And Charleston IS very expensive, and is considered the best restuarant in Baltimore. I'd recommend Pazo for the atmosphere, the Helmand if they like ethnic food, Brewer's Art if they like beer, maybe Jack's Bistro or Mama's on the Half Shell as well (if she's open to non-shellfish seafood). Woodberry kitchen would be fun if they had a car, but it's probably too far out for them.

            6 Replies
            1. re: Jason1

              i'd definitely second the Brewer's Art recommendation, Woodberry & Jack's Bistro. Iggie's & Joe Squared are great for pizza and Iggie's is BYO.

              1. re: meshleman

                <i>Iggie's is BYO</i>

                BYO isn't terribly practical for an out-of-town visitor.

                1. re: Hal Laurent

                  there is a wine shop w/i 1 block. they also sell beer. spirits (corner of charles and read)

                  1. re: Hal Laurent

                    Speaking as an out-of-towner who frequents Baltimore, BYO is GREAT option that may not normally be available to the OP's kids because of where they live. I love, love, love the choice to BYO in Baltimore!

                    1. re: invinotheresverde

                      Here here! I'm not sure if daughter and boyfriend are coming from Philly (where the OP is from), but if so, they'd be used to the TON of BYO options Philadelphia has to offer, and might even prefer it.
                      Wish there were more BYO options in Baltimore.

                2. re: Jason1

                  Woodberry is definitley worth the trip... great experience, nice setting. We took a cab and it was worth it.

                3. Fells Point is a good area to go to, and the best thing to do is wander until they find what they want most places have specials and their menus outside for you to read. Friends on Aliceanna St. has good mini burgers, Hot Tomato's on Broadway is the best pizza in Fells Point Alexander's has pretty good specials and they have this steak wrap that is really good with regular mayo.. There are too many more to write about, there is hard not to find somewhere to eat in Fells and the further you get away from broadway the less hectic it gets.

                  1. Sorry - I'm a big naysayer when it comes to Corks - I think it is way overrated and not at all worth what he charges for what you get (unless you want to pay for ego).

                    Bicycle would be a good choice - but honestly, if you're looking for some of the best food in Baltimore in some of the least likely places - I think your 2 best bets would be PETER'S INN in Fell's Point, where the menu changes weekly, and RYLEIGH'S in Federal Hill. Besides having wonderful oysters, Ryleigh's food is extraordinary! Try their grilled calimari salad - it is truly incredible!

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: pastrydiva

                      Have you been to Corks since the menu -- and prices -- changed??

                      1. re: charmedgirl

                        No - haven't been there in quite a while. 'think it's worth another shot?
                        But it's still got Jerry's ego, no?

                        1. re: pastrydiva

                          I can't speak to anyone's ego,l but IMO it's one of the best deals in town. The prices are very reasonable, and the food is very, very good.

                        2. re: charmedgirl

                          The food is well prepared, the prices are reasonable. But they threw the baby out with the bathwater by doing away with the all-Amercian wine list, and the large selection of half bottles. Now it's just a mediocre, overpriced list of predictable choices. Corks isn't really about the corks anymore; it's just another moderately priced restaurant.

                      2. Ooh..I forgot - and THE WINE MARKET in Locust Point. Great, creative food and a wonderful selection of wines (they'd need to take a cab).

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: pastrydiva

                          Wine Market... great! We also stopped by The Bicycle for a drink before dinner.

                          1. re: pastrydiva

                            www.the-wine-market.com
                            www.woodberrykitchen.com - neat glass blowing place next door
                            www.bicyclebistro.com

                            1. re: BRI328

                              I've had nothing but good experiences at Wine Market, too. The food has been prepared well, and the ability to buy your wine right there and pay a small corkage is novel to this New Englander. I go there every time I'm in Baltimore.

                          2. Charleston and Cinghiale are tres expensive. Young hip and fun would be Pazos
                            or try Mt. Vernon ( north on Charles Street) near the Walters Art museum. Ixia, Donnas, Helmand, Sotto spora, Sascha,
                            Canton and Fells point are two neighbor hood just east of the Harbor to try
                            Federal Hill is Just south.