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Apr 1, 2012 09:43 AM

Food Lover's Guide to Baltimore

My husband and I are writing the Food Lover's Guide to Baltimore, to be published by Globe Pequot Press later this year. We're just getting started and have compiled a nice list of restaurants to include, but we need more. I would like you all to please just shout out (err...type) your favorite places in and around Baltimore City and Baltimore County. Fancy or dive, as long as they have good, fresh, chow, they're eligible.

We're also doing a section on restaurants that are worth the drive - in Howard, Anne Arundel, Carroll, and Harford counties.

Thanks in advance for your help!

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  1. Looking forward to reading your book. My husband and I are about to move down to Baltimore from Philly and we are a little worried, but excited about a change in food scene. I certainly don't have much info yet, but we have had a couple nice meals with friends at Catonsville Gourmet. Their oysters are fresh and delicious with a nice selection.
    I will be sure to check back on the post as we start to explore and I will keep you filled in if we find anything great.

    1. Samos
      Blue Hill
      Ale Marys
      Zee Mean Bean
      Hull Street Blues
      Ryleighs Tavern
      Brewers Art
      Tapas Teatro
      Tio Pepes
      Prime Rib

      1 Reply
      1. re: Hue

        Ale Mary's! Forgot that one! Thanks!

      2. Here are some of my husband's and my favorites:

        Prime Rib
        Sotto Sopra
        Tio Pepe's
        Gertrude's at the BMA
        Elkridge Furnace Inn
        King's Contrivance
        Olive Grove
        Patrick's of Cockeysville
        Sunset - Glen Burnie area
        Oregon Grille-Hunt Valley area

        Hope this helps. Am looking forward to your published guide. FoiGras

        13 Replies
        1. re: FoiGras

          Hey Foi - lots of good ones on your list. I completely forgot about Sunset and Olive Grove. My husband's dad used to love the King's Contrivance - are they still relevant? I've never been.

          1. re: theminx

            Dear "theminx" --yes --yes. the Sunset is, as you know, one of those typical old shcool Baltimore restaurants--the waitresses adddress you as :hon:or "Sweetie." Olive Grove--same type of service and food. No upscale cuisine. Old time Baltimore type cuisine--meaning--crab imperial, crab cakes.,, some variety of chicken preparation. Good salads, and tradtional accompaniments.

            Dined at Kings Contrivance several times last year. Wow- was really impressed wth our dinner. I dined on the soft shell crab special--impeccable twin crabs with scrumptious side items. Went to return a month later and enjoyed another delicious meal in a very lovely envirnoment.. I ordered 4 appetizers as my "dinner". So many great choices and lots of left overs for take home. I was so enthralled with my choices, that I can't even recall what my hubby ordered. But, I know that whatever he selected, he was pleased.

            Our service was impeccable--special requests were honored. The atmosphere, wine,service and food were wonderful. I love when a restaurant features lovely sides and vegetables (not just a la carte) with an entree selection. That is why I love the
            Elkridge Furnace Inn and even Tio Pepe's--give me some a la carte vegetables with my entree and not be charged. If your hubby loves Kings Contrivance--I would not hiesitate to treat him at that tine establishment.

            May I be so bold as to suggest that you take "Dad" to the Sunset or Kings Contrivance to celebrate Father's Day-- But NOT ACTUALLY ON FATHER'S DAY. Perhaps the night or weekend before or after when the crows. die down.

            1. re: FoiGras

              That's great to know, Foi.

              And Father's Day is usually such a nightmare, we just have a cook-out at home. He used to take us to Sunset fairly frequently back in the 80s and 90s though. (I've promised to take him to Tio Pepe's as part of my research.)

              1. re: theminx

                Has your Dad ever been to Tio Pepe's? It's really good and more traditional cuisine--nothing trendy, which you probably know.

                You are smart to cook-out at home on Father's Day. When my parents were living we always stayed home on the actual holiday to avoid the crowds. Same with my hubby and me--we don't go out to a restaurant on Valentine's Day, but usually the weekend before or after we do out celebrating then I cook at home on the actual holiday.

                Let us know the results of Tio's once you go. FoiGras

                1. re: FoiGras

                  Dad's been to Tio Pepe many times - but I've never been. The only time I've been close to experiencing it was the one time my employer brought a whole pine nut roll to the office for us to eat. Another time, Dad brought me leftovers from his Restaurant Week meal. It was paella, and it was foul. But people still claim to love the place so I'm giving it a try.

                  1. re: theminx

                    It's unfortunate that you had a bad tasting of paella from Tio's. I've never tried the paella. I usually order the roast suckling pig or sole with bananas. The oysters with crabmeat and champagne sauce are scrumptious and very rich.

                    Tio's could use some updating, but it's still a fairly good place. Hope you have a decent experience when you go. FoiGras

                    1. re: theminx

                      The paella I had at restaurant week was foul too.

            2. re: FoiGras

              I've been dragged to Olive Grove a couple of times for work lunches (several years ago), and was totally not impressed. They were doing a booming business, but I don't understand why. My guess would be that their clientele valued inexpensive food in large portions more than quality.

              1. re: Hal Laurent

                Thanks for that. It's good to have a trusted opinion on this apparently overhyped restaurant.

                1. re: Hal Laurent

                  I listed the Olive Grove as the original poster requested "fancy or dive." I wouldn't consider the Olive Grove necessarily a dive, but it's a casual place, with huge portions of decent selections. The reason I sometimes go there is that they prepare a special dish for me that isn't on the menu. Not many restaurants will prepare a customized dish without advanced notice,if at all. FoiGras

                  1. re: FoiGras

                    I don't consider "huge portions" to be a positive thing.

                    1. re: Hal Laurent

                      I agree with the "huge portion" thing. Don't even know why I mentioned that fact. I hate to waste food and many restaurants serve large portions that I have to have "doggy bagged" to bring home. That was very inconvenient when I traveled frequently. During those times of travel I mostly ordered a small salad and appetizer so that I wouldn't be wasting food that I couldn't take back to a hotel room. FoiGras

                  2. re: Hal Laurent

                    Quantity over quality, no thanks!

                2. My favorites of the moment (which include fine dining along with good places to go with the kids):
                  Tio Pepes
                  The Olive Room
                  Carlyle Club
                  La Famiglia
                  Sushi Hanna
                  Spice and Dice
                  One World Café
                  Papermoon Diner

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: stephanieg

                    Ahh...Carlyle Club is still around? Are their tablecloths still annoyingly long?

                    1. re: theminx

                      Still around, although I often wonder for how much longer. I've never seen it even close to full. I really think it's such a hidden gem-- they have an eggplant appetizer that's to die for, and the food is always fresh and delicious. I can't remember what the tablecloths are like. I actually love the seating-- it's one of the few places where you can get a booth for 2, which I find quite romantic.

                      1. re: stephanieg

                        I went to the Carlyle based on suggestions from some on this board. We were sorely disappointed with service & all the food (except the dosas, which we thought were terrific). This was probably some time in 2011..

                        1. re: foster

                          Foster, I am with you 100%. Dosas are great; the rest disappointing.

                  2. Polock Johnny's
                    Chaps Charcoal Restaurant
                    Lexington Market.

                    1 Reply