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Nice place to chat and hang out in B'more?

I know this is quite general, but its pretty important for us, too. I've been searching the site, but haven't found a query quite like this. We are meeting some folks for the first time who will basically be family to us pretty soon, and we'd love to find a moderately-priced restaurant in an interesting location where it isn't too loud (so we can hear each other) and where we won't be pressured to turn the table over quickly (this is our first get together). We also hope to find a place where either there's something interesting to check out nearby (a la Mt. Vernon square or the Inner Harbor), or a nice area to walk around. Any great places in Little Italy with a walkable place nearby for dessert and coffee - or places in other areas where we can either window shop or find some other place to go to after lunch?? Thus far asking friends has gotten us these recs: Rusty Scupper, Pizzaz (sp?), and Amici's (in Little Italy).

My husband and I are big foodies, and I think that our guests are pretty open, too, but I think if we stick to more generally "mainstream" food (American, seafood, Italian, Thai, and the like) that would be best.

I'd appreciate any suggestions you may have - this is a big day for us! Thanks in advance for any help you can provide!

Chris

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  1. Mt. Vernon is a great place to walk around, window shop, visit the Walters art museum, hear jazz at Sascha's or other music at An Die Musik, etc. Except for the "mainstream" part, Helmand might fit the bill. A new French bistro called Marie Louise recently opened up. I've only had brunch there but the food was nice and the atmosphere was very charming. On a nice day, George's of Mount Vernon Square has tables outside - which seems to be a rarity in Baltimore! My Thai serves good Thai, Minato has great sushi, and there is also a Mexican restaurant across from My Thai called El Patron. Good luck!

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    Helmand
    806 N Charles St, Baltimore, MD 21201

    Marie Louise Bistro
    904 N. Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21201

    George'S-Mount Vernon Square
    101 W Monument St, Baltimore, MD 21201

    My Thai
    800 N Charles St, Baltimore, MD 21201

    El Patron
    801 N Charles St, Baltimore, MD 21201

    Minato Japanese Restaurant
    1013 N Charles St, Baltimore, MD 21201

    4 Replies
    1. re: Chella

      The Helmand is great food but will turn your table in a hurry.

      1. re: lawhound

        For a place to linger, I would consider City Cafe on the corner of Cathedral and Eager Streets (in Mt Vernon).

        1. re: lawhound

          I love the Helmand, but it doesn't fit the bill for hang out and chat. They do, as lawhound mentioned, turn the tables quickly, and the noise level is often pretty high. Lots of tables in a small space.

        2. re: Chella

          In Mt Vernon, the BACKROOM at Brewer's Art will fit the bill. They generally let you linger and the noise is pretty much all in the front room and the basement. For my money, I'd also prefer the food over all the options above.

          1. Although the food is not, by definition, mainstream, I think the Lebanese Taverna in Harbor East might be perfect for the type of meeting you are planning. You can dine indoors or outside, and the pace is leisurely. You will not be rushed to eat and leave. The food is Middle Eastern but has plenty of familiar staples like kebabs and good salads. It's open for lunch, and there's good window-shopping and boat-watching in the Harbor East area. You can walk two blocks for ice cream next to the Landmark Theater. There's even a tony chocolate shop in the neighborhood. And the noise level in Lebanese Taverna is low, permitting easy conversation.

            1. In my opinion you'd want to avoid all of the touristy spots around the inner harbor. Try somewhere in Fells Point or Canton even.

              1. Hampden is great for walking around, and you could take your time at Golden West, Dogwood (a little more pricey), or Rocket to Venus (not sure if they serve lunch though..).

                1 Reply
                1. re: dantastic

                  I'll second Hampden as a great place for walking around! Golden West has very good lunches. I've only been to Dogwood for dinner, but if the quality of the food and the service are comparable for lunch, it would be my vote for a place for a group of people to comfortably meet for the first time. http://www.dogwoodbaltimore.com/pdf/D...