Casual Rests. near Baltimore Aquarium?
We plan to make a day of our trip to the Aquarium in Batimore.
Please recommend nearby restaurants that might be suitable for a well-behaved 5 year old for lunch an d a diferent one for dinner.
You will be in "casual restaurant"/"chain" hell. Hard Rock Cafe, Dicks Last Resort, Cheesecake Factory, Uno's, Five Guys, ect. You will have plenty of options - and if the weather is nice - and it is a weekend they will all be packed and they will all be swarming with families.
We go to the Aquarium a lot and for the most part try to get away from the inner harbor to eat. My advice is to get to the aquarium early - like right at opening early - get ticket for the first dolphin show - sprint through the exhibits (for the most part they are just fish swimming in tanks) - Watch them feed the rays and the three flippered sea turtle - see the dolphin show - and get out. The afternoon crowds will drive you nuts.
If the weather is nice - skip the inner harbor food shops and jump the water taxi over to Fells Point. The food in Fells Point is particularly better than the chains at the Inner Harbor - But the 20 minute boat ride is a gas for the kids and Baltimore newbies. I think it is a cool way to see the city. It isn't that expensive and you get an all day pass so you can walk around Fells Point and then boat back.
If you are bound, dammed and determined to eat near the aquarium . . . We have taken our 7 & 5 year olds to McCormick and Schmick's at the Inner Harbor. I am not a huge fan of this chain but they do serve a pretty decent burger, they have a kids menu, and in all honesty their mac and cheese rocked. I know that it is a "seafood" restaurant - but frankly I have yet to have fish there that I thought merited the price.
Miss Shirley's is the lunch ticket near the Aquarium. http://www.missshirleys.com/menu/ Alternatively, a short walk into Little Italy for lunch or early dinner (your five year old is likely to be exhausted by dinner) at my favorite casual place there - Piedigrotta Bakery - they love little kids! http://www.piedigrottabakery.com/subp...
I actually think that the food inside the aquarium's main cafe is pretty good. I was pleasantly surprised when we visited a few months back. The cafe is even committed to using local, seasonal ingredients, and I especially appreciated that the plates, utensils etc. were compostable or recyclable.
For dinner, you may want to consider La Scala in Little Italy (which is a short walk from the aquarium). While it's on the expensive side, it's very good Italian fare. My boys love going there because there's a bocce ball court on the first floor where they love to entertain themselves after they finish their meal (and while my husband and I savor our wine!).