Baltimore’s dining scene is a vibrant tapestry of flavors and experiences, and the city’s best restaurants are at the heart of this gastronomic adventure. From cozy seafood shacks serving up Maryland’s iconic crab cakes to elegant fine dining establishments offering a taste of culinary excellence, Charm City has it all. With a diverse array of cuisine influenced by the city’s rich history and cultural diversity, Baltimore’s restaurants promise an exploration of flavors that will tantalize your taste buds and satisfy your culinary cravings. Whether you’re seeking a casual meal with a waterfront view or an upscale dining experience, these eateries offer a warm welcome and a delightful journey through the culinary landscape of Baltimore. Join us as we embark on a gastronomic tour to discover the top restaurants that make Baltimore a food lover’s paradise.
Serving avant-garde but authentic Asian fusion food, Ekiben offers the chance to try dishes with Thai, Taiwanese, and other origins. Ekiben is in the Fells Point neighborhood, less than a mile from the National Aquarium. Voted Best Asian Restaurant in Baltimore by the Baltimore Sun, Ekiben also received praise from Travel & Leisure and Vogue. The vibes at Ekiben are trendy but casual — it’s all about the food. My favorites at Ekiben include tofu brah, Taiwanese spicy curry, spicy pork, and broccoli tempura. Portions are huge and come with a side of rice or a steamed bun. There are seasonal additions to the menu that ensure this restaurant is worth revisiting.
Clavel is one of the most upscale Mexican eateries in Baltimore, located in the up-and-coming Remington neighborhood. The restaurant features a gourmet menu and a Mezcal tasting room. Though it classifies itself as a taqueria, the super-trendy food on the menu isn’t what you’d find at a taco truck. The menu features dishes like huitlacoche tacos, ceviche, and Caldo de Tomate. I would recommend the handmade flour tortillas. They taste like something you’d get south of the border, right here in Baltimore. With traditional ingredients like corn fungus (trust us, it tastes better than it sounds), this is a place for adventurous eaters.
If you’re craving authentic Afghani food while in Baltimore, it’s time to head out to The Helmand. It has been serving the city for more than 30 years. You’ll find the Helmand near some of Baltimore’s busiest and most well-known landmarks, including the Walters Art Museum, the Washington Monument, and Inner Harbor. Here, diners can taste delicious and unique fusions of Afghani, Indian, Iranian, and Greek food. My top favorites include the lamb tenderloin, seafood, and kaddo bourani (pan-fried pumpkin in garlic yogurt sauce). The Helmand offers both vegetarian and vegan options, so there’s something for everyone at this unique restaurant.
Located in the Foundry Building across from Druid Hill Park, Woodberry Kitchen is an upscale but relaxed pub that serves delicious food in a friendly atmosphere. Dining is often outside with a fire pit burning in the background — a homey style with gourmet cuisine. As for the food, it’s not like anything you’ve ever tried before. For one thing, the menu at Woodberry Kitchen changes daily. In general, however, you can bank on finding gourmet breakfast options, top-quality salads and seafood dishes, and plenty of meat on the menu. Ingredients sourced from farmers in the Chesapeake area are fresh and sustainable. Woodberry Kitchen has received praise from the New York Times, Bon Appetit, and Gourmet.
Alma Cocina Latina
Alma Cocina Latina offers authentic Venezuelan food perfected with modern culinary techniques. The result is amazing food that you won’t be able to forget in a one-of-a-kind atmosphere. The restaurant also features an extensive drinks menu, focusing on locally-made and artisanal drinks. You’ll find some of the best Caribbean and Latin rum, sangria, and craft beer in this kitchen. Arepas are the king of the menu here. I’d recommend trying the slow-roasted pork, grilled octopus, and vegetarian options. Alma Cocina Latina is in the heart of the Station North neighborhood, right down the street from Penn Station. It’s within walking distance of galleries, theaters, and shops.
Di Pasquale’s Italian Marketplace & Deli
Located a quick walk from Canton Waterfront Park in Brewer’s Hill, Di Pasquale’s Italian Marketplace and Deli is an authentic Italian deli and eatery with over 100 years of service in Baltimore. Founder Luigi Di Pasquale opened Di Pasquale’s as a humble Italian grocery store, and four generations later, Di Pasquale’s is a beloved staple of Baltimore with various locations. The atmosphere is casual, family-friendly, and lively, with an authentic market-meets-eatery experience. You can dine on family recipes for lunch, with everything from pizzas to pasta, salads, and subs. I went for the Real Deal Veal sandwich with sauteed potatoes, onions, and hot peppers, smothered in fontina cheese. I picked up some fresh cheese and prosciutto from the deli on my way out.
Located near Druid Hill Park, La Cuchara offers authentic Basque cuisine in an upscale setting. This elegant restaurant features food from the north of France and south of Spain with an emphasis on tapas and pintxos. The menu changes daily, so you can always bet on trying something new. Vegetarian and vegan options are available and deliver the chef’s signature flavors. Of course, there is an extensive wine list for an authentic Basque dining experience. La Cuchara imports most of the wines from Spain, so prepare to pay a steep (but worthwhile) price!
Le Comptoir du Vin
Located across the interstate from the prestigious Maryland Institute College of Art in Barclay, Le Comptoir du Vin is a charming and intimate wine bar and French dinner bistro. The rustic chic decor features exposed brick walls, wood furniture, and old-timey, mismatched art lining the walls. There’s a charming outdoor patio open during late spring and summer to enjoy a romantic happy hour from a curated selection of fine wines and beer. The dinner menu is a seasonal, rotating menu offering authentic French cuisine in a multi-course, shareable format. It is the perfect date-night restaurant. If you go on a date, I recommend the duck leg and pork cheek cassoulet for two.
Set close to the water in Baltimore’s upscale Harbor East, Charleston is a gourmet experience founded by Chef Cindy Wolf. The chef is a James Beard Foundation Award Finalist nine times over. Co-owner Tony Foreman is also the wine director, pairing the perfect wines to Chef Wolf’s dishes. The restaurant features a frequently changing menu to provide the freshest and most authentic dishes to diners. Its vision? Low country South Carolina cuisine with French influences. Try dishes like white truffle pasta, bluefin tuna ceviche, and lobster curry soup. If you have questions about the extensive wine list, you’re welcome to consult with the on-site sommelier.
The Food Market
Who said you need to go gourmet to have a great time? The Food Market is proof that comfort food can be modern and trendy while staying hearty and satisfying. The Food Market offers options for every appetite. Choose from its “Little” menu with treats like cheesesteak steam buns or get a full meal from the “Small” or “Big” menu. These include many different cuisines, such as African, Mexican, French, and Korean. The restaurant is blocks from Roosevelt Park in Hampden. As you stroll along W 36th Street after you eat at the Food Market, you’ll find a variety of shops, boutiques, and bars.
Hersh’s is one of the top Italian restaurants in Baltimore, featuring cuisine that earned mentions in the Baltimore Sun and Forbes. It’s located blocks away from Riverside Park at the corner of Light and East Wells. Hersh’s is all about providing an exciting atmosphere loaded with diverse flavors. In other words, when you come here, you had better be ready to eat! The menus for both food and alcohol are extensive. Hersh’s offers handmade pasta meats and pizzas cooked in the wood oven. There are also plenty of appetizers, salads, entrees, and desserts.
Dylan’s Oyster Cellar
If you love seafood, Baltimore is the place to be. Dylan’s Oyster Cellar sources most of its oysters from the Chesapeake Bay to ensure freshness. It’s a trendy eatery that proudly advertises itself as being all about “oysters and booze.” You’ll find eats both big and small, raw and cooked on Dylan’s rotating menu. Try a light dish of butterflied rainbow trout or a hearty serving of fish and chips. Of course, there is also a raw oyster bar for true shellfish enthusiasts. Dylan’s Oyster Cellar is just a few blocks from Johns Hopkins University. It’s right off W 36th, which is hopping with unique boutiques, shops, and bars.
One-Eyed Mike’s, located on South Bond Street, is blocks from the Patapsco River. While it’s in Fells Point like many other restaurants, it’s off the beaten path, so you feel like you’ve found a speakeasy.The restaurant has an interesting name and an even more unique reputation. It started nearly two decades ago as an outpost for the Grand Marnier Club in a historic tavern with a tin ceiling. These days, it also serves food dished up by renowned French chef Akbar Vaiya. The food ranges from casual to fine dining. If you want, you can start with a plate of nachos and follow it up with duck breast (my all-time favorite). Drinks, of course, are a given!
Samos Restaurant is an authentic Greek restaurant in the heart of Greektown, with a friendly, family-owned feel. The casual and homey interior has wooden floors, archways, and white walls adorned with frescos of beautiful Mediterranean island scenes. Samos has been a Greektown institution since 1977. Founder and head chef Nicholas Georgalas has crafted a wonderful and comforting Mediterranean Greek menu with all the traditional favorites. My personal favorite mezze is the Spanakopita, a rich spinach pie baked in crispy, delicate phyllo pastry. For the main dish, their shrimp souvlaki was one of the best dishes I had during my time in Baltimore.
La Tavola serves fine Italian food in just about the best place to do it — Little Italy in Baltimore. Here, visitors can order authentic dishes in a classy but relaxed atmosphere that’s just blocks away from Columbus Park and the waterfront. The goal at La Tavola is classic Italian food with a modern twist. They manage it by serving up the freshest ingredients sourced from the nearby markets, so you are always eating the very best. There are extensive wine and dessert menus at La Tavola served alongside entrees like linguini alla scoglio, gnocchi Pomodoro, and seafood medley.
If you can’t decide between Italian food or a great steak, Tagliata is the place to go. This Italian steakhouse is all about the meat! Located on Fleet Street, the restaurant is just blocks away from the waterfront. In a dining room that evokes the feel of a Tuscan farmhouse, you can browse the menu of fresh pasta made in-house, charcuterie, local seafood, and plenty of meat. Specials include a New York Strip, Pennsylvania veal chop, and a 42-oz aged porterhouse. Tagliata also offers the largest wine selection in Baltimore, with a focus on foreign wines. Sommelier Nathan Carrillo is on hand to help you pair the right wine with Chef Julian Marucci’s meals.
Restaurante Tio Pepe
Located in the middle of the downtown area just blocks from Preston Gardens Park, Restaurante Tio Pepe offers diners the chance to experience the Mediterranean without leaving Charm City. This upscale eatery is a haven of Mediterranean food with a particular focus on Spanish cuisine. Some of my favorite dishes include fresh, flavorful seafood and their famous pine nut rolls. You’ll get to try some of the most interesting and authentic Spanish food in the city, served alongside an extensive wine list. Make sure to bring an empty stomach! With an atmosphere that is elegant enough for an anniversary dinner but cozy enough for a family reunion, Restaurante Tio Pepe offers something for everyone.
Gertrude’s Chesapeake Kitchen
There are few places more perfect to enjoy a seafood feast than Baltimore, and no better place in Baltimore than Gertrude’s Chesapeake Kitchen. Located near the Baltimore Museum of Art on the campus of Johns Hopkins University, Gertrude’s is a popular place to get your hands on freshly-caught lobster. It’s so popular, in fact, that reservations often fill up ahead of time, so keep an eye on the calendar. Gertrude’s dishes up lobster prepared in both New England and Maryland styles, keeping a line of hungry customers out the door.
Located near the Bromo Arts District, Sotto Sopra is one of the most upscale Italian eateries you can find in Baltimore. The restaurant hosts regular opera nights where you can enjoy your meal while a professional opera singer performs! The menu features dishes like fried calamari, Maryland mussels fried in coconut milk, handmade pasta, short rib ravioli, and honey lavender salmon. But if you’re looking for something a little more relaxed, Sotto Sopra has that too! Its curbside menu features authentic pizza, garlic bread, meatballs, and more.
Thames Street Oyster House
One thing is for sure: if you love seafood (especially shellfish), Baltimore is the place to be. Oyster lovers can hit up the Thames Street Oyster House, located in Fells Point. This historic part of Baltimore provides the perfect setting for enjoying freshly caught oysters and other delicacies. But just because it’s historic doesn’t mean it’s not stylish. If anything, this trendy oyster house is a hipster’s dream. The location has an upstairs area for a breathtaking view of the waterfront. The dishes here are simply elegant, with choices like Atlantic wahoo ceviche, grilled octopus, seafood salad, and lamb short ribs. Chef Eric Houseknecht sources local, high-quality seafood for his custom recipes.
Located in a casual and friendly space with an outdoor patio in Federal Hill, SoBo Cafe is a New American comfort food restaurant featuring the most popular comfort food dishes from around America and the world. Everything at SoBo is made from scratch using secret family recipes and served with love from the friendly staff. To keep up with the changing times, SoBo Cafe has begun to craft vegan and vegetarian versions of comfort food. You can also get a small selection of wine, beer, and sangria with your meal. The diverse menu has starters, spreads, entrees, and sandwiches. My favorite comfort food entree was their chicken pot pie.
The Prime Rib
Located in Midtown Belvedere, the Prime Rib is one of the best steakhouses in Baltimore and has been since opening in 1965. If you’ve ever wanted to feel classy while eating a steak, this is the place to do it. Elegant is the best way to describe The Prime Rib. With a staff dressed in tuxedos and live jazz musicians performing every day, it’s hard not to feel like you’re dining in luxury. There are steaks galore here, including filet mignon, porterhouse, and prime New York strip. Or peruse the menu for seafood, salads, and upscale appetizers.
La Scala Ristorante Italiano
In the middle of Little Italy is La Scala Ristorante Italiano, one of the best restaurants in all of Baltimore. This restaurant perfectly marries classic Italian cuisine with surprising innovations and elegance with a welcoming atmosphere. With an extensive menu featuring the most delicious and authentic Italian food you can find, La Scala offers something for everybody. There are plenty of traditional dishes as well as exciting recreations and new ideas. There are also family-style and party options, making La Scala a perfect choice for a group outing. It’s constantly rated one of Baltimore’s best restaurants, so you don’t want to miss it.
Puerto 511 is a bustling, family-friendly kitchen that serves up the most delicious authentic Peruvian cuisine in Baltimore. You might not expect fine dining near the corner of Clay Street and North Liberty, but this is a place where you will want to bring your family and friends. If you’ve never had Peruvian food before, you’re in for a treat. Puerto 511 serves authentic food straight from the owners’ childhoods. I would recommend trying dishes like the cassava fritters, Peruvian stir fry, and paella. The restaurant encourages diners to bring their own booze, so the dining room is a party waiting to happen. Plan ahead to make sure you bring the right alcohol to pair with your meal.
Petit Louis Bistro
Have a hankering for French food in a stylish but comfortable setting — right on your doorstep in Baltimore? Petit Louis Bistro is the place to be. Petit Louis has been a star of Baltimore for two decades. Award-winning chef Cindy Wolf and her partner Tony Foreman run Petit Louis Bistro. You might recognize those names from Charleston, another upscale Baltimore restaurant. Petit Louis adds classically trained French chef Chris Scanga to their all-star kitchen lineup. The bistro only uses local ingredients to make its classic French cuisine. There is a wide variety of brunch, lunch, dinner, and a la carte options here, accompanied by extensive wine and dessert menus. With options like steak tartare, salade Nicoise, and creme brulee, it doesn’t get more classic French than this.
Ananda is an upscale Indian Restaurant in the Fulton suburb of Baltimore. The setting of the restaurant alone is worth visiting, as it’s located inside a bucolic farmhouse surrounded by hilly farmland and forests. The house has eight different fireplaces, fire pits on the patio, stained glass windows, and a cocktail lounge. The cuisine is on par with its luxurious setting, described by owner Binda Singh as elevated Indian cuisine. They source their produce and eggs from the surrounding farm to elaborate a unique multi-course menu that fuses traditional with modern. I had the Tandoori Venison, encrusted in almonds and served with pomegranate, juniper, and cauliflower.
Locust Point Steamers is one of the best and most popular seafood restaurants in Baltimore. Baltimore Magazine and the New York Times have spotlighted this restaurant, as well as shows like Man v. Food and Food Paradise. When you arrive at L.P. Steamers, you’ll understand why! Situated in a row house right on the waterfront, this restaurant is a seafood enthusiast’s dream. L.P. Steamers uses fresh fish and prepares everything in-house. Just because it’s highly rated in Zagat doesn’t mean you should feel intimidated at L.P. Steamers. If you don’t know how to take a mallet to your crab, the staff is happy to help. Specials include Maryland crabs, a steamed and raw oyster bar, mussels, shrimp, and clams.
Azumi is a restaurant that brings Japanese cuisine to the waterfront experience of Baltimore. Located in the Four Seasons Hotel, you can try all the best seafood that the city has to offer, prepared to perfection in authentic Japanese dishes. You can see the delightful fusion of flavors in the drinks menu, where you’ll find unique cocktails that swap out whiskey for sake and much more. Diners can even enjoy hibachi and teppanyaki-style food prepared in Azumi’s flame room. My top menu items include sushi dishes, prime Australian wagyu, crispy fried calamari, and much more.
Maggie’s Farm is an inviting, chef-driven farm-to-table restaurant in Arcadia with a warm and lively atmosphere. Since they opened in 2012, they have consistently won Best of Baltimore awards from every local publisher for their food, bar program, and local sourcing. They source all ingredients from local farms to create rotating seasonal dinner and brunch menus. Baltimore Magazine, The Baltimore Sun, and The Wall Street Journal have all written glowing reviews of Maggie’s Farm being the best spot for locavores and brunches. I took the critics’ advice and went for brunch, delighting in the fried chicken and buttermilk waffle with smoked honey and hickory syrup, candied pecans, and sausage gravy.
Duck Duck Goose
If you want fashionable, avant-garde dining in Baltimore, think Duck Duck Goose. Here, you can enjoy small plates of gourmet food, all sourced locally. The menu here changes seasonally, with only the best and freshest ingredients. This is fashionable dining, drawing inspiration from Parisian trends and techniques. Depending on the time of year, you might find dishes like Maine lobster, duck confit with potato cakes, wild boar Lonza, and homemade sorbet in seasonal flavors. Located in Fells Point, Duck Duck Goose is right across the street from Broadway Square and just a short walk from the waterfront.
Magdalena is a charming bistro in downtown Baltimore that you don’t want to miss. It’s tucked inside Mount Vernon’s Ivy Hotel and combines the best in French and traditional Maryland cuisines. Magdalena aims to provide a homey feel in combination with classic elegance. Each of its five dining rooms has a distinct atmosphere and style, but you can eat well in any one of them. There’s nowhere else in Baltimore you can try a balance of classic and unique dishes like duck confit wontons with plum sauce or peppered New York Strip steak with local peaches.
Café Dear Leon
Cafe Dear Leon is a charming French bakery and coffee house in a bright and cheerful space in Canton. It’s a small, counter-service espresso bar with a tempting pastry case full of the freshest French pastries. The white-painted brick walls, minimalist furniture, and hanging potted plants add to the cafe’s charm. Not only do they offer pastries, but the menu is divided into sections according to the times each pastry or dish comes out of the oven. If you’re there at 6, you’ll catch the freshest almond croissants and scones. The quiches and creme brulees appear around 7:30, and at 11 am, you’ll see a slew of gourmet sandwiches.
Cinghiale is Baltimore’s award-winning Italian restaurant where you can enjoy authentic dishes right on the water. The restaurant, situated in the Inner Harbor, offers stunning views while you eat. The atmosphere here is friendly and busy but still comfortable, making it a perfect place to drop in for lunch during a day of shopping. As you eat, look around at the wrought iron chandeliers and ancient Roman marble. The menu features authentic Italian dishes with a modern twist, like gnocchi with Swiss chard and guanciale and honey-glazed prime rib.
The Tilted Row
The Tilted Row is an upscale, quintessentially Baltimore pub. It serves trendy food with Mediterranean inspiration in one of the city’s historic neighborhoods, right down the street from the Lillie Carroll Jackson Civil Rights Museum. The neighborhood is how the restaurant got its name. The tilted marble stairs in front of the historic row houses are a symbol of Baltimore’s history, and the little pub wears that symbol proudly! Enjoy brunch, dinner, and drinks in elegant portions, including seared scallops, stuffed zucchini, and plenty of booze.
Vin 909 Winecafe
Located south of Baltimore in Annapolis, Vin 909 Winecafe is a New American restaurant, beer, and wine bar inside an old 1920s-style home with a wood-burning oven. It is a charming and romantic setting for delicious wood-fired pizzas and a wide selection of New and Old world wines and beers. They source their ingredients from local farms and purveyors to supply an ever-changing seasonal menu. I started with the duck confit risotto with wild mushrooms and fresh herbs. Every wood-fired thin-crust pizza looked amazing, but I decided to go with the Chapel Country Flambe, using the Chapel Country Creamery Fromage Blanc, smoked bacon, onion, tarragon, chive, and lemon oil.
Gunther & Co.
Gunther & Co. aims to bring a full sensory experience to diners in the Brewers Hill neighborhood of Baltimore. Serving high-end American food with international inspiration, award-winning chefs run this restaurant. Despite the global inspiration, Gunther & Co. uses all local ingredients in its dishes, so you know that you’ll be eating fresh. You can enjoy dinner and drinks daily, with brunch featured on the weekends. Try a mix of high-end cuisine and comfort food, like classic flatbread and tea-smoked duck breast.
True Chesapeake Oyster Co.
Baltimore is home to dozens of seafood restaurants, but if you have to choose just one, make sure to stop at True Chesapeake Oyster Co. The restaurant is between Druid Hill Park and Roosevelt Park. This one-of-a-kind restaurant sources its oysters from its farm just up the road in St. Jerome Creek. That means that you get the freshest, most diverse shellfish available, produced in sustainable conditions. You can enjoy brunch and dinner here, with plenty of oyster, crab, seafood, meat, and drink options.
Overlooking Jones Falls within the beautiful natural expanses of trails and parks linking up to Johns Hopkins University, Cosima is a fine-dining Italian restaurant specializing in Sicilian, Southern, and Mediterranean Italian cuisine. The gorgeous modern two-story space is inside a historic Mill, offering a romantic and special atmosphere, each table adorned with a fresh bouquet and candles. The kitchen and bar offer a fine list of wines and spirits and an exquisite multi-course dinner menu. They have a wood-burning oven to create some of my favorite dishes, like gnocchi and Neapolitan-style short rib pizza with caramelized onions and arugula.
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When it comes to local restaurant recommendations, we pride ourselves on being a reliable and trustworthy resource. Our suggestions are not just based on our personal experiences, ensuring a more authentic and well-rounded perspective, but also on extensive online research. We diligently searched the internet and reviewed 6 credible sites and blogs, including Tripadvisor.com and Foodnetwork.com.
We compiled all the findings in one location and sorted them by the frequency of mentions to ensure you receive top-notch recommendations. We strive to present you with a curated list of establishments that truly stand out, allowing you to enjoy the best dining experiences possible.
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