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May 15, 2009 04:23 PM

List of Baltimore wants/questions

Hello all,

Now that moving to Baltimore is official and we have a place to live I can ask some more specific questions. I've searched through the boards (it's not easy -- post titles are pretty lax about identifying DC vs. Baltimore vs NoVA in posts, lol) and have been building a Google map from old posts, but I can always benefit from more advice. And for everyone's sanity, I won't ask about best pizza/burger/crab cake!

For the quick particulars, we'll be in the Hampden area and I'll be working north from there, so suggestions in that direction are a bonus. We're moving from Austin but we've lived in lots of different cities so have tried a lot.

So, in no particular order, any recommendations for:

Asian supermarkets? (Chinese and Japanese in particular)

Indian market?

For that matter, South Indian restaurants? (Any place specializing in chaat dishes is a bonus)

A bar that does serious cocktails (like makes their own bitters)?

A deli where I can get proscuitto shank ends at a discount?

Vegetarian restaurants?

A really good "throw it on the charcoal" steak place?



Wineries? (Are there wineries in MD?)

Any Czech bakeries?

German restaurants?

An honest Irish pub as opposed to a faux one? (bonus points for ceilhi)

Raw bar? (I only promised not crab cakes!)

Chinese? (Both good carryout and chinese-menu chinese)


Wine bars?

Anyway, sorry for the long list. I hope this inspires you all and feel free to add anything you think we really should know about.

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  1. For brewpubs you have to start with The Brewer's Art, recently named to several "best bars in America" lists. They have great food, too. The Wharf Rat in Fells Point has some tasty house made ales. Brewer's Art does Belgian style, while Wharf Rat does British.

    2 Replies
    1. re: mobtown999

      The Wharf Rat in Fells Point doesn't brew beer. The downtown Wharf Rat on Pratt St. did, but was recently sold (I forget what its new name is).

      1. re: Hal Laurent

        it's now the Pratt Street Ale House.

    2. I'll tackle a couple.

      Agree with the Brewer's Art and Wharf Rat recommendations. Definitely check both of them out (they are quite different).

      The best true Irish pub in the city is J.Patrick's in Locus Point. No frills, just a real pub that looks like your grandmother's basement (if your grandmother grew up in county Loathe). Go soon because the owner and the heart n soul of the place is getting on in years.

      For the deli with proscuitto shanks, I would try Ceriello in Belvedere Square (bonus points for being north of Hampden!). I'm not sure if they would do what you request, but they would be my first guess for someone who would.

      I'm not familiar with of any bar that is known for serious drinks or makes their won mixers. Your best bet is the bar at Woodberry kitchen. I know they make alot of syrups and concoctions for their espresso based drinks, so they may do the same for their bar. Good food to boot, so the trip won't be wasted if they don't. (Woodberry is the neighborhood right next to Hampden).

      Hope that helps.

      1. Hey there, welcome to Hampden! I'll take a stab at a few of these:

        For Asian supermarkets, you want to go to H-Mart in Catonsville (a close suburb). They also have a terrific sushi bar in the store. It's super cheap, if atmosphere-free. Minato in Federal Hill has good sushi. There's also a Ra Sushi in Inner Harbor East, which is a) a chain and b) loud but has decent fish and is fun if you're in a scenester mood.

        The Tusk Bar, tucked away in the Brass Elephant in Mt. Vernon, has nice cocktails. And as mobtown999 said, Brewer's Art is terrific for beer and food. The Tusk Bar and the Brewer's Art are down the street from each other so you could have a delightfully boozy evening.

        There aren't a lot of full-on vegetarian restaurants that I can think of (vegan Yabba Pot is the only one that springs to mind), but there are plenty of veggie-friendly options.

        There are a few wineries in Maryland -- Boody and Linganore leap to mind -- that offer some nice festivals and stuff, but honestly the wine itself is average at best.

        For an Irish pub, I'd suggest J. Patrick in Locust Point. There's actually a pretty decent Irish music scene in Baltimore. If you're in Hampden, I don't care for the attached Cafe Hon (tourist trap), I do like the Hon Bar, especially on Wednesday nights when they have Irish music.

        12 Replies
        1. re: pomme de terre

          Irish music at the Hon Bar is great and something I didn't know about. Will definitely have to check out the Brewers Art (and there's nothing wrong with a boozy evening so long as it involves taxis!).

          All these suggestions have been great (keep them coming)!

          I've been pinning places on a Goggle map. If there's interest, I'll share it with folks.

          (Apologize in advance if this is a double post).

          1. re: pomme de terre

            H Mart is great but you don't need to go nearly that far for lots of Asian basics (and some not so basics). Asia Foos is located on York Road, north of Cold Spring Lane and south of Nothern Parkway -- about 4-5 mins by car from Hampden. Last I was there, they were renovating, which may mean the place is now heated. Incredibly cheap, and nice people.

            I think there may still be an Indian market at the intersection of York Road (called Greenmount at that point) and 33rd street in Waverly, but I have not been there in at least a year. Again, that is almost walking distance from you.

            Wine bars, I am partial to Grand Cru in Belvedere Square -- just a little ways north from the aforementioned Asia Food

            German restaurant -- nothing worth eating in Baltimore proper, I'm afraid. Not counting DC and the burbs, the best I've seen in the area is in Hagerstown, the Schmankerl Stube.

            Czech bakeries . . . sorry, wrong neck of the woods.

            You haven't mentioned it, but because your post suggests a catholic (small c) taste, there are a ton of Latino/Hispanic restaurants and markets in Fells Point/upper Broadway if you are looking fo fresh tortillas and the like.

            Welcome to Baltimore -- our culinary motto should be, "There is a lot of great food here, but the Chinese is terrible."

            1. re: lawhound

              "Welcome to Baltimore -- our culinary motto should be, 'There is a lot of great food here, but the Chinese is terrible.'"

              Unless you include Odenton, of course :-)

              (Search for Grace Garden, zebcook)

              1. re: lawhound

                "catholic" -- that's a good description.

                I didn't ask about Hispanic markets or tortillarias because coming from the Southwest, I figured I'd just be in for disappointment. But if I'm wrong, that's great.

                1. re: zebcook

                  Tortilleria on Eastern Avenue in Fells Point is great. There is a large Hispanic community in Upper Fells Point complete with Taco trucks and such and a few markets. You may not be disappointed.

                2. re: lawhound

                  Asia Food is gone. As is Bangkok Place in the same stretch of York. Thai-Phillipine groceries on Gorsuch is still there but is a shadow of its former self. Ditto for Big Boy's worldwide near Lexington Market.

                  Anyone been to the new Asian Supermarket on Rt 40 West (about a mile inside the beltway)?

                  1. re: aubzamzam

                    Aubzamzam -- You had me worried there, so I called Asia Food. They assure me that they are still open. I will swing by for some dumplings later in the week, but I believe North Baltimore's pan-Asian sundries are safe for now.

                      1. re: hon

                        I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Asia Food is on its way out. I've attached some photos below. Where the old storefront used to be is the new "York Market". Not open yet and I have no idea if their groceries will be similar to Asia Food. If you face the storefront and look to the right side, you'll see a sign that reads "Asia Food". This leads you down a long driveway to a warehouse in the back. Here you will find what's left of the Asia Food we knew and loved. There is still a small section for walk-in customers, but I get the feeling they won't be restocking. I recall only one fridge/freezer unit. They were out of Thai tea mix and it sounded like they were not planning to order any more. When we asked why they were closing, the owner told us simply that he wants to "get out" and hopes to close by December. Very sad. :(

                        1. re: bmorecupcake

                          You think that's sad? Those ugly, vacant houses in the middle picture sit on what used to be Bangkok Place.

                          1. re: bmorecupcake

                            Thanks for the info. I spent part of a day driving that area trying to find the place. Saw York Market but didn't know for sure if it was open or not.

                            Does anyone know anything about the Oriental market on Beaver Dam Rd. near the Timonium rail stop?

                      2. re: aubzamzam

                        bluepig1 has a post about Asia Supermarket below. Also, I recently posted about their baked goods that come from Manhattan's Chinatown. Call to see when their delivery day is. The good stuff runs out quick. My only problem with this place is the smell. Whatever they spray to battle the fish counter smell really gets to me.


                  2. A Wine Bar is opening on the Avenue in Hampden probably in the next month or 2.
                    For Vegetarian, the One World Cafe is right around the corner from Hampden.

                    1. Mehek in Fells Point does chaat along with a nice Iunchtime buffet. There is a Pakistani/Indian grocery in Waverly (name escapes me) that sells wonderful spices, produce and other sundries. They always have homemade samosas by the cash register as well.

                      2 Replies
                        1. re: mobtown999

                          Mehek closed?!?! Wow, I'm surprised. It was usually quite busy. Huh.