Restaurant Highlights in Owings Mill/ Baltimore/ DC Area
Hello! My husband and I are going to be in the Baltimore area (we're staying in Owings Mill--- no idea what is there but the hotel rooms are dirrrt cheap) and we were looking for recommendations.
We eat just about anything-- any and all ethnic cuisines, greasy spoon/diner food, seafood-- you name it we're not picky as long as its prepared well. We're looking for some quirky/funky/interesting local dives and a few upscale places for a nice anniversary dinner. Also looking for some local specialties- ie being from CT we have great new haven style pizza. Basically you say good chow and we want to be there. Also, we're more than happy to drive a bit (hr or so) to get there if its worth the trip.
Any other recommendations in terms of things to do in the area- obviously we'll be frequenting the landmarks in dc- would also be appreciated. Thanks in advance!!
Owings Mills is a suburb of Baltimore about 20-30 minutes northwest in Baltimore county
Here is what I would do especially if you don't mind driving.
Day 1: breakfast at Miss Shirley's in baltimore followed by a walk around the harbor, followed by a 4 block walk to Lexington Market, a seedy but interesting inner city large market with stands. Go to Faidley's Seafood in the market and have some freshly shucked oysters or clams on the half shell, their most expensive crab cake, a cup of crab soup and a cold heineken. Follow that with a couple of Burger Bakery- Burger cookies which is a white cookie with a huge dump of chocolate icing on it. walk around the market and graze!. Then walk back to the harbor and take a water taxi over to Fells Point and walk around. The citys #1 restaurant ($$$) Charleston, is there. Lots of funky shops, bars, restaurants. I also like Black Olive for mediterranian, BOP for pizza. Go to Bertha's and get a famous Eat Bertha's Mussels T-shirt or bumper sticker. Check out where John Waters is from. A water taxi can then be taken to little italy where an authentic italia desert restaurant, Vaccarro's , is awaiting you for home made cookies, cakes, gelato, canolis, italia sodas and coffees. walk or water taxi back to the harbor An alternative to Lexington Market for lunch would be Attmans Famous Deli for NY style jewish deli food.
Day 2: Take a ride east to Annapolis (45 min?), the capital of Maryland and a colonial town and the home of the US Naval Academy. It is pretty and on the water. Have drinks at Pussar's Pub, in the marriott at the waterfront. Take a 2 hr cruise on Chesapeake Bay on the 71 foot sail boat ($34pp) that is docked at the marriott. Some good restaurants in Annapolis include Lewnes for Steaks and Seafood, Joss for sushi. But leave room for dinner since you will drive about 10 minutes to Cantler's Riverside Restaurant for a traditional Maryland Crab Feast: try crab soup, crab cake, fried soft shell, a bucket of steamers (clams) and hot steamed Maryland Hard shell Crabs, and a pitcher of draft beer and eat on picnic tables covered with brown paper. It doesnt get any better than this...believe me. and you are on the water. There also is a good place for crabs closer to your hotel called Reiter's (Reisterstown) and a good place for soft frozen custard in the same parking lot. Definitely have a maryland crab feast while here!
Day 3 (Sunday) get up early and drive back to downtown baltimore and go to the Baltimore Outdoor Farmers Market. it is on sundays only and opens by 8AM. about 100 venders. great fresh fruits, veggies, heirloom tomato's, great falafel stand, artesan cheeses and baked goods, a great omelet stand, a great coffee stand, all kinds of exotic meats and fresh seafood, kettle corn, fresh flowers and herbs, etc......a lot of fun and a great foody AM. It is located under the end of I-83 (the Jones falls expressway) at the corner of Gay Street and Saratoga Street. Finally, not to be too much over the top, you must go to Grace Garden Chinese Restaurant in Odenton, MD for a memorable fantastic meal in a real cruddy old restaurant near Fort Meade. The original blog on Chowhound now has about 220 hits. The website has menu's and pictures. Some of the dishes require advance notice. This place is unbelievable!... Forget about DC this trip since that is a foodie destination in itself with a ton of areas and types of food. good luck. Other iconic restaurants in baltimore include Tio Pepe's (excellent authentic spanish cuisine), The Prime Rib (old school steak and seafood- high end and high quality), Brewers Art (Brew Pub and Austro-German).
400 W Lexington St, Baltimore, MD 21201
1690 Annapolis Rd, Odenton, MD
750 E Pratt Street, Baltimore, MD 21202
814 S. Bond Street, Baltimore, MD 21231
1101 North Calvert Street, Baltimore, MD 21202
Wow, I love your profile, attitude, everything. In the Baltimore area, I think you must have pit beef, do some crabs, and maybe hit Grace Garden for Chinese. Nothing fancy, I can assure you.
For pit beef, I highly recommend going to Pionreer Pit Beef, which is literally a shack underneath the highway, smoking large sides of beef. Sliced thin, it is best medium rare. They will give you a taste before they slice up your order. You can get a sandwich with tiger sauce, which is a mayo/horseradish combo or just get a pound of beef and eat iti straight.
Bill's Terrace Inn for crabs. They open up at 4pm, and that's about when you should get there, if you don't want a lomg wait. If you don't mind a wait, maybe you can shoot some pool in the meantime. This is pure Baltimore.
Grace Garden is halfway between Baltimore and DC. A true hole-in-the-wall Chinese joint across from an Army base. Many good things to order here. lLinked below is a monster thread with many suggestions. Some of their best stuff needs to be ordered in advance. I am also including a photo of their whole crispy flounder which is fileted, sauteed with vegetables, and the carcass is deep fried to make the whole thing (bones and all) crunchy and delicious.
1690 Annapolis Rd, Odenton, MD
Bill's Terrace Inn
200 Eastern Blvd, Essex, MD 21221
Just chiming in to say that you're going to find that you're staying in the middle of nowhere. I live in the city and work in Owings Mills and don't recommend that you do anything there except sleep. At least you're close to 83/695. 83-south will shoot you to many neighborhoods worth exploring: North to south it gets you to Mount Washington Village, Hampden, Charles Village, Mount Vernon, Harbor East, Fell's Point, etc...
That's not to say that the only good food in Baltimore is in the main part of the city; far from it. This weekend we had a great meal at Peju's Restaurant and Lounge in Woodlawn. DEFINITELY off the beaten path but really great Nigerian food:
The menu online is out of date but I highly recommend the fresh fish in the spicy tomato and pepper stew with egusi and fufu.
Other places in Baltimore to check out, right now I think the best "modern" place to eat is B&O American Brasserie in the city. Brewer's Art is lovely and has their own line of beers if you like beer. If you haven't ever had Ethiopian, Dukem is good, although there are many more Ethiopian options in DC (well, more of everything actually.) Rocket to Venus in Hampden has some very tasty food and good cocktails.
Greasy spoons? My favorite, if only for old times sake is probably Sip & Bite down on Boston st. Good crab cake subs and it's open 24/7.
As for the Lenny's in Owings Mills, it's just a second location to the one on the old "corned beef row" in the city (and the OM one is depressing inside.) If you want Jewish deli go to Attman's on Lombard.
Sunday brunch at the counter at Pete's Grill is a good option, although now that school has started it'll be a mad house. Another fun brunch option is Hull Street Blues Cafe down in Locust Point. It's very "local watering hole" but they do a nice buffet and bring all-you-can-eat pancakes and french toast to the table (they just keep bringing them and bringing them... it's madness!)
I don't know if your schedule allows but maybe the most awesome thing in Baltimore food-wise is the downtown farmer's market on Sunday morning. Even if you just go as spectators it is a lot of fun. Plus there is some great prepared food there. I highly recommend the fried fish with coleslaw topped with the scotch bonnet hot sauce. Just look for the Rastafarian gentleman yelling about the "best fish on planet Earth!!!!"
And make sure to return with your thoughts!
1106 N Charles St, Baltimore, MD 21201
Hull Street Blues Cafe
1222 Hull St, Baltimore, MD 21230
3130 Greenmount Ave, Baltimore, MD 21218
Sip & Bite Restaurant
2200 Boston St, Baltimore, MD 21231
Linwoods on Reistertown Road (going towards the Beltway from OM) is upscale and good for the anniv. dinner if you want to stay in the area. But, given that you say you are willing to drive, go to Charleston in the east harbor area for a really great meal that is worth the $$$$.
You're probably staying at the HGI or the Hyatt Place. Owings Mills is kind of a funky/interesting dryspot. For loacl crabhouses there are two that are close to the two hotels. CJ's and Reter's are both on Reisterstown Rd. CJ's being closer to the two hotels. For soulfood, Granny's on Owings Mills Blvd is pretty good. Cibo's is also close but we haven't tried it so I'll let others speak to it. For a decent Jewish Deli, Lenny's on Reisterstown Rd is also a decent choice.