Best of Baltimore
I just moved to Baltimore - I work for a food company called The Chefs' Warehouse which sells specialty and some commodity products to restaurants, hotels, country clubs, etc... I wanted to create a quick TOP 5 of the most important things for me in a city and see what you all can come up with... IN BALTIMORE!
1) Best Cup of Coffee?
2) Best Beer Bar
3) Best Bakery? Any place to get a fresh baguette?
4) Best Pizza (dare I ask coming from NYC)
5) Best Street Food Vendor?
and if you have time to throw in there...
Best Food Neighborhood in Baltimore?
My reply is Fells Point centered as I spend most of my time there.
Beer Bar, Max's Taphouse
Pizza, don't get that fight started
Street Vendor, Grilled hot dogs at the plaza on Washington St, on Orioles game days
1) For now, On the Hill (Bolton Hill). If/when Artifact Coffee (Clipper Mill) reopens, it will be my #1.
2) Brewer's Art (Mt. Vernon)
3) Bonaparte (Fells Point), esp. if you want fresh baguettes. Atwater's (Belvedere Sq.) has nice breads and baked sweets.
4) Iggies (Mt. Vernon)
5) Don't know much about daily street vendors but the weekly vendors at both the Waverly and JFX farmers' markets have an impressive array of great "street food" (Thai, West Indian, crepes, and much more -- see other threads re: B'mo farmers' markets).
Best food neighborhood is tough. The gems are kind of scattered, which makes exploring more fun. Neighborhoods with lots of restos such as Mt. Vernon and Federal Hill have lots of meh-to-OK places, but only a handful of good ones.
1. High Grounds (Highlandtown))
3. Bonaparte for baguettes. Hit and miss offerings at various bakeries around town, but Bonaparte is also where I have had least disappointments.
4. Pasta Mista (Canton)
5. Halal Gyro Cart (see my post: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/615320
Food neighborhood is too hard. I'd say there are gems scattered from Little Italy/Harbor East all the way east to Greektown.
1. Spro coffee in the Towson library.
2. The bar at Woodberry Kitchen (uses Counter Culture)
1. Brewer's Art. Great bar downstairs, lounge type bar upstairs. Brews their own Belgium style beers.
2. Wharf Rat, Fells Point. One of the oldest bars in the city. Focus on British Ales. 344 before 7.
3. Max's Taphouse. Largest selection of drafts/bottles. Hosts occasional beer event.
1. Piedigrotta in Little Italy. Not the best if you like crunchy baguettes but everything elst is spot on.
2. Bonaparte in Fells Point
1. Matthews on Eastern Ave. You will have to drop your NYC pretentions and allow yourself to fall in love with Baltimore. Love the original pie with grated cheese.
2. Iggies. Above average Neapolitan style pizza
Again, forget your NYC bias here. We don't really do street vendor food. We do public markets. Check out Lexington Market during the week for crab cakes, berger cookies, pollish johnnies and Hollins Market for fried chicken.
best food neighborhood:
The one you live in!
Hope this helps.
I agree with most of what has been said here. Max's is great. Iggies is also a really good pizza. With regard to street food, again, not sure what qualifies in Baltimore. That said, I'll put my vote in for the mushroom lady at the JFX Sunday Farmer's Market. All the things she makes are good. Her mushroom fritters are truly exceptional. They are kind of spendy at $8 for an order, but they are one of the best food items in all of Baltimore. She also makes a mushroom quinoa that is out of this World. I have tried to copy, and come only close but not quite spot. Her mushroom sandwich and chili are also good, but the fritters and quinoa are in my opinion her best. Enjoy.
1) Bluebird (sold at Blue Moon, for example)
2) Max's for the sheer variety
3) Di Pasquales is not a bakery but has the best bread, including Italian baguettes. Bonaparte for French.
4) Matthew's. It's not New York style, but it's awesome. There is no good New York style.
5) Hm, street food....well, whenever there is a Latin festival on Broadway, the MozzArepas guy comes. Those are great.
If you could somehow count the very walkable Harbor East/Little Italy/Fells Point triangle as a single neighborhood, I'd say that. Otherwise just Fells.