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Jun 9, 2014 02:06 PM

Baltimore restaurant for both vegetarians and omnivores

This was a sidebar discussion in another thread that I wanted to break off to hopefully get some more feedback.

My husband's almost done with a tough semester of MBA classes and I'd like to go celebrate somewhere in Baltimore that we've not tried before. I'm vegetarian and he's not, so this makes things a little tough. Most menus I've browsed lately seem to have little to nothing I can eat, at best some lame pasta dish with no protein. Haven't kept up to date with all the new restaurant openings in the last few years so I'm hoping there's something out there I just don't know about. Basic criteria:

*We should both be able to eat happily, so I'm not interested in either a pure vegetarian restaurant or a steakhouse.
*At least one vegetarian entree with more thought put into it than pasta with sauteed vegetables. Serious pet peeve.
*Not overly expensive, hopefully $75 or less excluding drinks.
*Any cuisine is fine, but nothing seafood heavy. That being said, would prefer to skip Indian.
*Nothing in Little Italy, please.
*Good food is more important than ambiance, but we'd prefer somewhere we didn't have to scream to be heard.

Places that might otherwise fit the bill that we've been before, so are not interested in:

Lebanese Taverna
Petit Louis
Tapas Teatro
Brewer's Art
Tio Pepe
Abbey Burger Bistro
Wine Market
Golden West

Sadly, I don't have high hopes that such a place exists, but if anyone can steer me in the right direction, it's the Baltimore Chowhounds. Thanks!

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  1. What about Gertrude's? The menu seems to offer a number of veggie options -- but may be a bit seafood-centric for your husband.

    1 Reply
    1. re: masha

      Thanks, I always forget about Gertrude's, maybe because of the location... the menu does look nice, but I was under the impression that it was indeed focused mainly on seafood. Has anyone tried the meat or veg options?

    2. City Cafe looks like it has some decent vegetarian options on the menu. I like some of the others you listed over City Cafe, but it's decent food and nice for a celebration. Had a birthday dinner there once and it was good.

      If you want Vietnamese, Mekong Delta has both vegetarian and omnivorous options.

      1. Guene---I highly recommend Mezze in Fells Point. There are many options for both of your cuisine "challenges." But, be sure when you make a reservation to be seated upstairs and not in the first floor bar area.

        Since I haven't been to Pazo in several years, I believe that may be another option. You may want to check out their website.

        I have also found that Sotto Sopra can accommodate vegetarians and meat oriented diners. You can call Ricardo (owner/chef) and request one of his fabulous risottos made with mushrooms and other vegetarian friendly additions. He is very open to pleasing a guest--and the restaurant is lovely with impeccable service.

        If you have some time, just visit some of the newer restaurants--there seems to be a focus on vegetables prepared in unique ways. Best of luck--FoiGras

        1. I just posted a few minutes ago and then went to the websites of the 3 restaurants I recommended. Since I haven't been to any in recent times, I was concerned that I made recommendations that weren't up to date.

          Definitely, my first choice would be Mezze in Fells Point. There are so many vegetarian options. There are small plates of various meat/chicken/fish options. I would highly suggest this restaurant--even above Sotto Sopra (which I love) and definitely over Pazo.

          A previous poster suggested Gertrude's. It is a lovely restaurant and the food is quite nice, but you may have a bit less options then you would at Mezze for the vegetarian side. FoiGras

          4 Replies
          1. re: FoiGras

            I actually forgot this, I did go to Mezze 10 years ago or so, but probably in the bar area you mention. What's the difference between the two? Memory is fuzzy but I wasn't impressed by what I had, decent enough but seriously overpriced. Also recall the service being pretty snooty.

            How are the prices at Mezze? None are listed on the website, which always gives me pause.

            1. re: guenevere51

              I was just at Mezze this past weekend-- it was excellent! We enjoyed delicious vegetarian (falafel, baba gaoush, cheese pie) and meat (roasted salmon, lamb meatballs, beef kebab, shrimp raki) dishes. I find it very affordable-- I think most vegetarian tapas were around $8, and the meat ones slightly more. The wine list also has many reasonable options. Our party of 4 ended up paying $175 (including tip) for 2 cocktails, 1 bottle of wine, the tapas above, and 3 desserts. We were stuffed at the end and tried such a great variety of delicious food!

              1. re: stephanieg

                Hey steph--you are always on point and I hope that "guenevere51" heeds your advice over my own recommendation. I haven't been to Mezze in about 3 years--my late/beloved Hubby and I enjoyed a leisurely dinner and the service was prompt and friendly. We dined on the second story--avoiding the bar crowd. But, it WAS a Sunday night and an early dinner--about 5 p.m. (we "early bird" seniors--lol). (note--at that time I wasn't considered a "senior," HOw time flies.

                I have discovered that restaurants that offer "small plates" can really be costly, versus a full course meal at establishments such as Olive Grove, Sunset, Pappas, Gianni's Italian Bistro, Bluestone, etc. Not forgetting the chain restaurants-but didn't want to bother mentioning those. I suppose that it depends on how many "small plates" are ordered. I've viewed other restaurants in the Baltimore City area's websites that offer "small plates" and can figure that the dollars can add up.

                I still stand by my recommendation for Mezze--perhaps even Tabrizi's.

                1. re: FoiGras

                  And you point out another aspect of Mezze that I love-- the ability to have a leisurely dinner. We were there about 3 hours, ordering a few dishes at a time, and we did not feel rushed at all. I also prefer the 2nd floor. I love the room with the high ceiling when I'm with another couple or more people-- it's quieter and the tables are spaced more apart-- but prefer the smaller room to the left of the stairs for a more cozy, intimate meal. I do know a few people who prefer dining downstairs-- they love the energy around the bar (which I find distracting and loud).
                  One other point about Mezze's small plates-- they're all served with warm, delicious pita bread (which the servers are always happy to refill), which helps make meals there more filling than other tapas places.

          2. Peter's Inn.

            The menu is constantly changing so I would look online to double check. It looks like it's a bit meat centric right now but they've always got a burrata cheese appetizer that's great.

            So it might not be a great option, checking their website looks like the only vegetarian item is pasta. It's not just pasta with vegetables though, it sounds like a bit more than that. It'd be worth a shot and I think it's a great place to go in Fell's.

            2 Replies
            1. re: fdaapproved

              The menu at Peter's sounds great for my husband, but the burrata and pasta are literally the only things I can eat. And looking on their FB page, the week prior had even less because they put foie gras in the pasta.

              I know I could go to a restaurant and ask for something off-menu, or a modification of a dish, but I really hate to do that knowing full well what most chefs think about vegetarians. Seeing little to nothing meatless on the menu just makes me feel unwelcome.

              1. re: guenevere51

                I don't intend to be contentious, but most restaurants now offer a wide selection of vegetables. I am not vegan nor vegetarian, but over 90 percent of my diet is composed of vegetables. Roasted, grilled, raw, various rices, quinoa, pastas (mostly vegetable ones--not starchy ones)--if you view any of the restaurants' websites you will find many options.

                Or you could do as an aquaintance of mine--Carol Channing--she used to dine out frequently in Los Angeles and always took her own supply of food for dinner in a black suitcase-type (small carrrier). One evening while dining at the now long gone Chasen's Restaurant in L.A.--on the night that Milton Berle remarried--the group of diner's, including Ms. Channing, at the booth next to ours merged from the dining room into a private room for a hosted celebratory wedding reception. Ms. Channing had someone carrying her "black box" as Mr. George Burns stopped at our booth to acknowledge the dining companion who was a long time friend of Mr. Burns' and owned one of L.A.'s largest contemporary radio station. Just some aside. Hope that this will past muster with the Chowhound monitors. FoiGras