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May 18, 2009 08:25 PM

Eats near Baltimore Convention Center?

I'll be at a conference at the convention center in Baltimore in a few weeks, and will be staying either at the Marriott Inner Harbor, or at the Hilton adjacent to the center. Looking for a variety of dining options, preferably within walking distance. Not looking for fancy places, just good food. Dives even OK if the food is great.

Coming from Vegas, my main aim is to eat lots of fresh fish and some excellent crabcakes. Some good BBQ would be a plus as well. Having read up on Baltimore Pit Beef, it doesn't really sound like my cup o' tea. I'm not really into rare roast beef or horseradish. Open to suggestions for other cuisine.

Thanks in advance. Although I may not follow all suggestions, I will report back.

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  1. Did you search the board for crab cake discussions? I don't think the convention center neighborhood has many inspiring restaurants, so that may be why you didn't get a large response. If you can take a cab or the water taxi, you can get to Fells Point, Harbor East and a bunch of other neighborhoods.

    People sometimes get frustrated with a request for "crab cakes in Baltimore" because it comes up every few months. But there should be several old posts like this one:

    Check out the Sun's food blog, which has great items and Top 10 lists like this one:

    1 Reply
    1. re: HowChowBlog

      Requests for Inner Harbor "local" seafood, fresh fish, crab cakes and crabs seem to get posted *hourly*. Like it's Fishermans Wharf or something. Frankly, you're just as likely to get good fish in Las Vegas.

      Here's another ongoing and recent thread:

      From your hotel it's an easy walk to Lexington Market. If you don't want to walk all the way, go to the sw corner of Howard and Pratt and catch the Light Rail a couple of stops north to get there. Go to Faidleys for what some (not myself) consider the best all lump crab cakes in the city. I prefer their fish sandwich (deep fried lake trout). Lexington Market will give you a good snapshot of the real Baltimore - lots of local flavor. Closed Sundays.

    2. Lots, lots, lots, lots of threads for crabs and crab cakes. If you are staying next to the convention center, walking over to the Lexington Market and going to Faidley's will give you a quintesential Baltimore experience. The crab cake there will be a good one, it's a unique style (saltine binder) and a Baltimore benchmark (it doesn't mean it's the "best" but everyone knows a Faidley's crab cake. In one scene in "The Wire" Omar is eating one). Similarly, Obrycki's is a decent walk/quick cab ride and will give you a traditional experience (little bit different spice blend than the usual Old Bay but also a Baltimore benchmark). Everyone likes to argue their favorites and these aren't necessarily the same as the two above. But I think you'll do well the above and get a sense of Bawlamer flavor. When you come back for a few weeks and rent a car, then you can find the elusive "best" crab cake and crab house.

      1. Grab the Water Taxi right at the harbor and venture to the Fells Point area...several opportunities to try different crabcakes. "Dudas" on Thames Street, "John Stevens" on Thamesf or some raw bar items and steamed shrimp, "Kali's "on Thames, "Black Olive"(pricey) on Bond St., "Bertha's" for mussels.
        Grab the water taxi to Canton try "Mama's on the Half Shell", "Helens Garden", "Nacho Mamas "etc..."Bo Brooks" if ya wanna try steamed crabs...
        Wander south of the Harbor (down Light Street to the Cross Street area(about 7 blocks), "Nick's" for raw bar, "Ryleighs "for oysters(get the oysters fried in panko they are terrific). "Corvina" has gotten good press(on Charles Street).There is a BBQ place in the Cross Street area but I have never been "Rub" is the name , I think.

        1. OP here. OK, fair enough -- thanks for the replies, and the links to the other threads -- that should be enough to go on, certainly for crabcakes anyway. Looks like I'll be taking some water taxi trips, as it doesn't sound like there's much that's near the CC

          Any specific recommendations for what's good to eat at Lexington Market? I did a search, and didn't find a lot mentioned, other than Faidley's, Berger's, and a sandwich place. Is any of the BBQ any good?

          Also, if anyone has a suggestion for a good BBQ place elsewhere that's reasonably near, that would be great.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Steve Green

            No good BBQ by the CC, but you could try a new Carolina style Q place within an easy taxi ride called Harborque.


            1. re: Steve Green

              Though the crabcakes are their claim to fame (even if there are better to be had elsewhere), Faidley's does a damn fine fried haddock sandwich on plain old white bread. I hit it with cole slaw and hot sauce.

            2. OP again. Rather than follow up here, I posted my crabcake review in a new thread:

              Thanks for the tips everyone, especially about Duda's, which might have served the best crabcake I've ever eaten.