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Apr 2, 2011 11:32 AM

Need recommendations for a solo birthday dinner in Baltimore

I'm coming from out of town to attend a training at the Sheraton over my birthday next week and want to take myself out for a special dinner. I don't know the city at all and would love to get recommendations from the Chowhounds. I won't have a car so would like to find somewhere within safe walking distance of the Inner Harbor. I'm a serious foodie on a $75 per diem, would be willing to spend a little more for a great meal. Thanks!

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  1. I like the Watertable it has a an awesome night view of the Inner Harbor

    202 East Pratt Street, Baltimore, MD 21202

    1. Id sit at the bar at Cinghaile in harbor east. But first I would have some oysters at the bar at oceannaire

      1. Fogo de Choa just a short walk from the Sheraton down Pratt Street

        9 Replies
        1. re: Hue

          I've dined at OcHue- don't want to be disagreeable, but Fogo is a chain restaurant--and I really don't have any negative issues with the chain restaurants as I dine there frequenlty between the higher end independents.

          I believe that, even despite my negative experience at Cinghaile, would be an option.
          But would more highly recommend Charleston (much more expensive--but sponsored by the same restaurant group). This venue could almost break your propsed budget, but would fulfill your walking distance, beauty of atmosphere and great food.

          If you want to "splurge" on a short distance cab ride (or your hotel could probably provide the transportation)-- a short distance from your hotel would be Sotto Sopra or even Tio Pepe's. Both restaurants are unique to Baltimore.

          I am looking forward to all of the feedback that you will receive regarding your request. There will be some strong oppositions and some favorable (with regards to my suggestions) recommendation

          I've only dined at Oceannaire one time and was completely disappointed. Not on the basis that it is a chain restaurant (some of my favorite dining out weekly restaurants belong to the "chain group"), but there are many more interesting restaurants in the area where you will be staying that could provide much more of a dining experience.

          Venture a bit further east (very short cab drive) to Fells Point--Black Olive, Mezze, Meli, and lots of pub grub, bars with great live music, etc. An area to introduce you to the essence of Baltimore.

          I am anxiously awaiting to hear rebuttals or agreements to my suggestions. If anything, Baltimoreons are very opiniated about their desired dining destinations.
          And, certain individuals are on the mark.

          Welcome to our Fair City--she definitely has CHARM. FoiGras

          1. re: FoiGras

            Thanks FoiGras for the thoughtful reply and insider recommendations. Charleston is definitely on my shortlist, I've only heard rave reviews and it sounds well worth the splurge. I appreciate your other suggestions as well. I'll let you know where I end up going!

            1. re: Nankypu13

              Avoid Tio Pepe - it is an embarrassment that it still gets recommended to out-of-towners. The place hasn't updated its heavily sauced and lackluster menu in decades (or the decor). It is simply outdated in a bad way. Plus you asked for a place a "safe" distance to walk, and let's just say that in daylight it is walkable, (you can keep yourself entertained, as I often do, by counting the used syringe caps strewn on the sidewalks. I keep a running tally by color - blue is in the lead) but I wouldn't go alone in the evening.

              The recommendations for Cinghiale and Charleston are both good, especially if you enjoy sitting at the bar for dinner. My rec would be the bar at Charleston - order the sublime fried oysters (just ask for them if they are on the menu - they've always have them when I ask) and a glass of bubbly to start your celebration - and go from there.

              822 Lancaster Street, Baltimore, MD 21202

              1. re: crackers

                I'm slightly hesitant to recommend this since they just changed chefs, but B&O American Brassierie puts out excellent food with the best cocktail menu in Baltimore.

                It's also really close to your hotel.

                B&O American Brasserie - Hotel Monaco
                2 North Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21201

                1. re: JonParker

                  Also, depending on which Sheraton you're at, B&O could be a very easy choice as well. If it's the one on Fayette then it's literally a block away, if it's the one on Charles and Conway then it's about 7 blocks.

                  Charleston is expensive but very worth it. It is a pretty short cab ride, or you can take the Circulator (Baltimore's free bus) Orange Line to Harbor East easily. You'd catch it on Pratt street, which would be an easy walk from either Sheraton.


                  1. re: JonParker

                    some friends just ate at B&O last thursday and loved it.

                    1. re: hon

                      That's good to hear. I thought it was fantastic under Reidt, but haven't been there since Dunklin took over. For price-quality ratio it's one of the best meals I've had in Baltimore.

                      1. re: JonParker

                        Chef Dunklin is fantastic. If anything he's building on Reidt's tenure.

              2. re: FoiGras

                I walked to Fells Point and was pleased to find it felt more funky and real than the inner harbor (i.e. not quite so touristy). After wandering around in circles looking for just the right place, I finally had settled on Mezze, which turned out to be a great choice. I had the marinated vegetables, branzino with lemon, olive oil and capers, and bacalao with potato puree, with sparkling wine followed by pino grigio. It was delicious and everything was perfectly cooked. I also ate the entire basket of warm pita. For dessert I had cardamom and pistachio gelato at Pitango--delicious! Then I hoofed it back to the Sheraton to walk off the overindulgence. The birthday isn't till Wednesday, I'll let you know where I end up going!

                1606 Thames St., Baltimore, MD 21231

            2. Sit at the bar at Cinghiale or Charleston. Money well spent on your birthday.

              822 Lancaster Street, Baltimore, MD 21202

              3 Replies
              1. re: chefdilettante

                Thanks Baltimore Chowhounders for all the great advice! On my second night I had a very satisfying dinner at the bar at B&O Brasserie which was indeed around the corner from my hotel. I had one of their specialty cocktails, raw oysters, the beet carpaccio, and steak frites. Everything was fabulous and the service was terrific. On Wed. (the birthday!) I stumbled into Faidley's at Lexington Market so of course had to have one of the giant crab rolls--pretty great and worth every penny. For dinner I went to Charleston and on the recommendation of several posts had the cornmeal-crusted oysters, shrimp & grits, and foie gras, with buttermilk pannacotta & blood orange sorbet for dessert. The service was very attentive and they took good care of this solo diner. I don't often have such good results with wandering around a new city, and was surprised and pleased at how good all 4 of these places were. Thanks again! If any of you are ever traveling in New England (specifically the Connecticut River Valley of VT and NH) I can give you some good restaurant recommendations.

                Lexington Market
                400 W Lexington St, Baltimore, MD 21201

                1. re: Nankypu13

                  Nankypu--thanks for letting all of us in Baltimore what your dining experience entailed.

                  I am salivating at the selections you made during your dining venture. You opened my eyes to actually dine at various places where you experienced such favorable results.

                  I haven't eaten a Faidley's crabcake in too many years--so many, that I can't even recall.

                  B&O Brasserie is a nice choice. I've only dined there one time and was not overly impressed enough to make it as a recommendation, but it certainly is on the Baltimore Chowhounder radar as an excellent selection.

                  Of course, Charleston is always the highest recommendation. As a solo diner, I am quite impressed by the way you are able to embrace an out of town city on your own. (Wish I could do the same)> I applaud you and the choices you made. It appears as though you chowed down in style and had a great time doing so.

                  WE Baltimoreans would like to hear from you as regards to your travels to other cities. You can enlighten us as to the best places to dine. FoiGraa

                  1. re: Nankypu13

                    Very nice work. You definitely made the most of it!

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