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Apr 9, 2010 08:15 AM

Dining and Dieting around the Inner Harbor?

We're attending a business conference. Many of us are watching our waistlines, so trying not to indulge in the usual large, over-caloric business meals. We have flexitarians, vegitarians, & organic-tarians among us. We don't all have to eat in the same locale, but are all looking for decent meals with reasonable caloric counts. Any suggestions as to where to go and also what to avoid?
Thanks so much!

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  1. One place that comes to mind is Mezze. It's a Mediteranean tapas restaurant in Fell's Point (a quick cab or water taxi ride from the Inner Harbor), so you can certainly watch your waistline by not ordering a ton of tapas. It also has a huge selection of great vegetarian dishes-- I personally love the falafel, baba ganoush, and salmon (if they eat fish). Those that eat fish will love the Black Olive, also in Fell's Point. This is a greek restaurant that specializes in simply preparing the freshest, highest quality fish, so it's definitely waistline friendly. It is on the expensive side, though.
    Your probably best off avoiding Little Italy, where the portions tend to be huge, and the food never too memorable. Hope this helps!

    1606 Thames St., Baltimore, MD 21231

    Black Olive
    814 S. Bond Street, Baltimore, MD 21231

    Little Italy Restaurant
    6920 Bradlick Shopping Ctr, Annandale, VA 22003

    2 Replies
    1. re: stephanieg

      On the same mezze/veg theme would be Lebanese Taverna, which is right on the Harbor, or Pazo (Fells Point-ish), which has a very broad variety of Middle Eastern/Levantine-influenced food. Not far north of the Harbor -- perhaps a mile and a half? -- is Tapas Teatro, same idea.

      Tapas Teatro Cafe
      1711 N Charles St Ste A, Baltimore, MD 21201

      Pazo Restaurant
      1425 Aliceanna St, Baltimore, MD 21201

      1. re: lawhound

        My first thought was Lebanese Taverna, which is very close walking distance to Inner Harbor. A little father afield, but still walkable, is Liquid Earth in Fells Point.

        Liquid Earth
        1626 Aliceanna St, Baltimore, MD 21231

    2. I work a few blocks from the Inner Harbor and my coworkers and I are a similar bunch. La Tasca is another tapas place -- it's a little disconcerting because it's almost always completely empty, though that might change as the weather gets nicer -- but it always fits the bill for us. We can share a couple plates and then get little dishes that suit each of our needs. The food has been consistently very good, and it's in a nice spot right behind the Constellation, which is a nice change of pace from cubicles and office decor.

      La Tasca - Baltimore
      201 East Pratt Street, Baltimore, MD 22102

      1 Reply
      1. re: Tempestuous

        Have only been to La Tasca once, and it was fine. For my money Mezze, L Taverna, Pazo, Tapas Teatro were all better. Perhaps it would be fairer to say that La Tasca is surprisingly good for a chain conceived in Spain and road-tested in the UK before it debuted in the Md-Atlantic. Great views, though.

        La Tasca
        722 7th Street NW, Washington, DC 20001

        1606 Thames St., Baltimore, MD 21231

        Tapas Teatro Cafe
        1711 N Charles St Ste A, Baltimore, MD 21201

        Pazo Restaurant
        1425 Aliceanna St, Baltimore, MD 21201

      2. These are all places within walking distance of the convention center; I define walking distance as being about a mile or so. I assume you're at the convention center.

        Avoid: The markets, for the most part. (I.E. Cross Street and Lexington--I can't really think of many low-calorie meals there.)

        Check out:
        Metropolitan (S. Charles St. in Federal Hill, about three or four blocks from the Convention Center.) It's a coffee house, wine bar, and cafe-type place; I've taken a vegetarian there with no problems. They also have wi-fi.

        Mekong Delta--good Vietnamese food. (Saratoga and Cathedral/Liberty Street, which is what Sharp Street/Hopkins Place turns into--the street that runs through the convention center. It's a street with eight million names.)

        Baltimore Pho, near Hollins Market. You can take the Charm City Circulator for free west to Hollins Market, or east through the harbor to Harbor East. Most of the Harbor East restaurants are fairly healthy, but most of them are pretty &&&&. That's where Cinghiale, Lebanese Taverna, Talara, etc. are located. The Circulator runs every ten minutes. There's also a Whole Foods with a salad bar there.

        Fells Point is a short walk from Harbor East; there's lots of restaurants there.

        If you're willing to go north about a mile up Charles Street, you'll reach Mount Vernon--my personal favorite neighborhood (maybe because I live there.) In Mt. Vernon--

        City Cafe (Cathedral and Eager)
        Iggie's Pizzeria (Calvert and Madison)--pizza might not seem diet-friendly, but they make everything and use very high quality ingredients, it's gourmet pizza and not greasy.
        Marie Louise (a French bistro)
        Cazbar (Turkish)
        Joss Sushi Cafe/Minato Sushi

        I'm not so sure about the calorie content, but definitely check out The Helmand--Afghani food!

        Charm City Cafe
        Baltimore, MD, Baltimore, MD

        822 Lancaster Street, Baltimore, MD 21202

        Baltimore Pho
        1114 Hollins St, Baltimore, MD 21223

        3 Replies
        1. re: smilesmalltimore

          The one exception to smilessmall's point re city markets is the sushi at Cross Street Market, which is worth a stop.

          1. re: lawhound

            The sushi across the street at Matsuri is vastly better.

            1105 S Charles St, Baltimore, MD 21230

            1. re: JonParker

              But it might be tough to seat a group in their small dining room. Though not the same quality, the sushi at Nick's is still good and you'll certainly be in a more social atmosphere.

        2. Thai Arroy in Federal Hill south of the Inner Harbor is good. Small, casual, BYOB, affordable.

          From the Inner Harbor, go south on Light Street from the intersection of Light and Pratt Streets. Pass the Maryland Science Center on your left, cross Key Highway (I think Key Highway starts right at the Science Center) and go south 2 or 3 more blocks on Light Street. Thai Arroy is on the left side of the street and has a big yellow awning. It's popular with the locals and small enough that you may have to wait a while if you're with a big group. They do a big carryout business.

          Thai Arroy
          1019 Light St, Baltimore, MD 21230

          1. Thanks for the suggestions. Alas, I was unable to try any of these b/c I became at the mercy of the higher ups' decisions. Maybe next time. I enjoyed Baltimore very much.