Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Washington DC & Baltimore >
Jun 23, 2009 06:06 AM

What are Balt most over-rated Restaurants?

I saw this for Wash DC and figured that I could steal it see how things go. In no particular order I will say these are my choices for most over-rated. The Oregon Grille; Aldo's; Sulivan's (I know its new but how many steakhouses is there a need for?) I thought I would be able to come up with more. Now to counter that I would say the most underrated places. For me they would be the Abacrombie, it's in a difficult location but I've never had a bad meal there, either under the old ownership or the new regime. I'm a sucker for Tio Pepes, the shrimp in garlic is to die for, and literally with the amount of butter, you just might! I am a big fan of Jordans in Ellicott City which is like 20 min drive from the center of Baltimore City. The service has always been top notch and the same with the food.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. The Helmand IMO and not a restaurant but Faidley's in Lexington Market.

    1 Reply
    1. re: hon

      Hon, I share your opinion re the Helmand. I never understood the hype.

      Anyway, a similar thread was started by Warthog about 3 years ago. It will be interesting if things changed:

      Rave reviews, but I just don't get it

    2. Second Aldo's. I was surprised to see it in the 2009 Eat issue of the City Paper. There are far better Italian places, IMHO.

      Black Olive is totally overrated in my book. The apps are merely OK, you can do a similar fish at home. The service was so horrifically negligent and incompetent that I haven't been back in over 10 years, and have no plans to do so.

      Blue Sea Grille is another one that I don't get. Way too expensive for fresh seafood that you can make at home. I know it's a beautiful place, but it's about the food! And the thank you note that the server mails you is creepy.

      ITA that Abacrombie is underrated. People who go have great things to say about it, but it's not very widely talked about.

      1. Pazo - or is it so overrated that everyone here takes for granted how overrated it is? Have had much better food at the same price or less.

        I have to disagree on The Helmand. Went there for the first time about 2 months ago and thought it was off the charts good.

        2 Replies
        1. re: dianamac23

          I agree, all my experiences at the Helmand have been is a place I want to return to again and again.

          On the overrated side: Amicci's
          This place makes me so mad. Its the place to go in Little Italy and yet nothing there is even a little authentic, it is the same cheese-laden, weak tomato-sauce, carbo-loaded American style Italian food that you can get at any chain. Why there is such a fuss is beyond me.

          1. re: contessa15

            "Why there is such a fuss is beyond me."

            Because it's actually one of the neighborhood's better options.

            This should in no way be even remotely misconstrued as an endorsement.

        2. Sabatino's.

          Not because it's rated highly and isn't that great.

          Because no matter how low it's rated, it isn't low enough.

          6 Replies
          1. re: Dmnkly

            Totally agree with Pazo and Sabatinos - eww!

            1. re: Dmnkly

              I think this is the case with a big chunk of the Little Italy restaurants.

              1. re: gregb

                Are there any good restaurants in Little Italy? I haven't been in years. The last time I went, we ate at Sabatino's and I thought the pasta was good. Not gourmet by any stretch of the imagination, but good homestyle pasta. I would appreciate your recs if there are any good or decent restaurants in LI.

                1. re: Gigi007

                  Homestyle's great. Overcooked and ketchupy is not.

                  La Tavola's your best bet in Little Italy, IMHO. Pastas can be quite good.

              2. re: Dmnkly

                Agreed. Took a girl I was dating there about a week and half ago because she wanted pasta and because I had fond late-night memories about their gnocchi. Our waitress was friendly, nice, helpful and made our experience pleasant, but the food was worse than the worst I've ever eaten.

                I ordered the gnocchi, which was just okay, but my girls' lasagna was atrocious. It was the most foul bite of food I've ever experienced - in my life. The moment that forkful of lasagna hit my mouth, I wanted to spit it out. Absolutely and utterly disgusting.

                1. re: onocoffee

                  It's rare I encounter food that's so bad I want to spit it out -- usually only if the food tastes like it's gone bad / rancid -- but perhaps that's just my personal reaction. Just trying to understand - what was it about the taste of this lasagna which inspires such an extreme reaction (most foul bite ever experienced)?

              3. Chingiale and Pazo are very much over-rated. Chingiale being overpriced for small portions. Albeit, the quality of the food is quite exceptional. I do, indeed, perfer quality over quantity, but the quality wasn't remarkable enough to outweigh the small portion.

                Pazo--if you want to dine with strangers.... The tables are so closely situated and the food is not outstanding. Hardly even average.

                Totally Under-rated is Cafe Troia. Lovely atmosphere with very exceptional food. FoiGras

                6 Replies
                1. re: FoiGras

                  I may disagree with you based on my recent visit to Chingiale. Their $25 prix fix 3 course menu definitely has a winner in the lasagna. The meal was enhanced by the company. Old friends now living in Oregon and makers of the best Osso Bucco I've had the pleasure of tasting. The price range of the pastas offered on the menu is $15 to $18 I think. I didn't care as much for the Piemontese style pasta flavored with wild boar but the lasagna met with approval from our formerly local "Nonna" who is known well enough for hers that her recipe has been used as a treasured gift from her daughter in law to friends. (Who would have thought that we are old enough to pass on recipes to subsequent generations.) The lasagna made me want to go back and try other menu items.

                  Since I had enjoyed a $15 rissotto with porcini mushrooms a few nights earlier at Gino Troia's Grano, I realize that Cinghale may be elbowing its way back into contention for my Italian dinner dollar.

                  1. re: baltimorejim

                    I agree -- the last three meals I've had at Cinghiale (difficult spelling, but necessary for Googling!) have been delicious. The prix-fixe dinner (I think around $54) offers plenty of food, and the service has been excellent.

                    1. re: bordeauxfan

                      I have been to Cinghiale 4 times now and each time it gets better and better. Went for the soft opening and like you would expect, food was extremely slow. But and this is a big But, their sausage filled ravolies is so simple but delicious. I feel that I must get it every time I go there from now one. I haven't done the sunday supper yet and have heard mixed reviews about it.

                      1. re: youngfoodieguy

                        I had a super-romantic anniversary dinner there earlier this month. Tuesday evening with 1/2 price wine, and they nicely divided all three of our courses so that my partner and I had tastes of everything.

                    2. re: baltimorejim

                      Totally agree with Cinghiale being a very different place today than when it opened. I posted a year ago bemoaning underseasoned food and microscopic portions. Several visits over the last few months have brought consistently prepared, sometimes even inspired, food. The wine list is hands-down the best Italian selection in Baltimore, and everything gets decanted and served in Reidel. So, the real question in asking if it's overrated is: what is the expectation?

                    3. re: FoiGras

                      I would never do Pazo for a romantic night with the wifey. And I will say that I'm not a fan of everything on the menu. Last time I was there, there was a $72 24 oz steak. That is crazy. Ruth Chris or Capital Grill will get my steak bucks before Pazo. But to their defense, I absolutely love their pizzas, empenadas, bread, and some of their other tapas. It is a beautiful place though.