Baltimore is a city rich in history as a key player in the American Revolution and an important port city.
While it no longer has a significant role as a port city, the giant harbors and marinas of Baltimore’s maritime past still characterize the downtown shoreline.
The harbor has become an entertaining attraction in recent years, with numerous retail stores, bars, and restaurants built inside repurposed warehouses and on old piers.
Along with large windows, many restaurants have decks and patios for customers to enjoy a meal on the riverfront or seaside during the spring and summer.
If you’re looking for the best views of the Patapsco River and a fresh meal often sourced from the nearby Atlantic ocean’s bounty, check out my list of the best waterfront restaurants in Baltimore.
402 Key Hwy, Baltimore, MD 21230
Voted the best waterfront restaurant in Baltimore by Baltimore Magazine and winner of TripAdvisor’s Traveler’s Choice Award, Rusty Scupper Restaurant & Bar is an upscale seafood restaurant.
Rusty Scupper Restaurant & Bar has a large, stunning multi-level dining space in Federal Hill’s inner harbor, overlooking the Patapsco River.
There’s a fancy cocktail lounge, an elegant dining room, and two outdoor decks and patios.
The menu honors Maryland’s famous seafood fare.
From Maryland crab cakes to lobster dinners, all beautifully presented.
I went for the jazz brunch buffet on Sunday and was blown away by the high-quality smorgasbord.
725 Aliceanna St, Baltimore, MD 21202
Meaning “safe harbor” in Japanese, Azumi is a contemporary Japanese Teppanyaki, sushi, and sake bar in a modern and chic space.
Located in Fells Point, overlooking the Northwest Harbor, Azumi’s opulent interior has bamboo ceilings, lovely Japanese pottery, candlelit tables, and floor-to-ceiling windows.
When you’re not admiring the waterfront view, you’ll be mesmerized by the theatrics of an open kitchen and sushi bar with expert chefs creating stunning plates at lightning speed.
Everything on the menu was fabulous, from the sushi and sashimi to the cooked dishes.
I recommend the Scottish Salmon Robata with pickled cucumber and sesame.
1629 Thames St, Baltimore, MD 21231
Barcocina is a lively Mexican food restaurant and cocktail bar in a giant industrial-chic warehouse space with garage doors that open to reveal incredible views of Fells Point’s stunning riverfront harbor.
Barcocina has a high-energy atmosphere, creating award-winning Mexican-inspired cuisine and cocktails.
Their dishes, drinks, and atmosphere have received praise from Eater, Baltimore Magazine, and the Baltimore Business Journal, to name a few.
I had a delicious tropical tequila drink called the Julio Smash, with charred pineapple infused Don Julio, Cointreau, agave nectar, mint, and lemon with a decadent appetizer of Queso Fundido with smoked gouda, heavy cream, chipotle pepper, garlic, onions, and spices.
240 International Drive, Baltimore, MD 21202
Located inside the luxurious Four Seasons Hotel in the Inner Harbor district, Loch Bar is an elegant and award-winning raw seafood bar, restaurant, and cocktail lounge.
Its glamorous decor features old-school leather booths, marble tables, large bay windows, and a large brick deck overlooking the marina.
They offer live music during the week.
Their highly creative cocktail menu uses house-made elixirs, infusions, and innovative recipes.
I went on a hot summer evening, so I opted for the Frose sushi with Miraval rose, vodka, strawberry, and simple syrup to accompany a platter of fresh oysters.
711 Eastern Ave, Baltimore, MD 21202
McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood & Steaks has been a staple of American steakhouses and seafood chains for nearly 50 years.
They’ve been serving Baltimore since 1998 in a giant, multi-level dining space and outdoor terrace at Inner Harbor’s Pier 5.
McCormick & Schmick’s sources the highest quality USDA prime steaks and prides itself on its sustainable seafood program.
The high-quality, fine dining menu has an impressive selection of seafood and steak, both of which are excellent.
If you can’t decide between red meat and seafood, I recommend a surf and turf option like a NY strip steak with a lobster tail.
1417 Thames St, Baltimore, MD 21231
A favorite place for riverfront weddings, Ampersea is also a beacon for locally sourced, sea-to-table meals.
Chefs at Ampersea work closely with local purveyors and mid-Atlantic fishermen to create an elegant seafood menu.
Located on Pier 8, overlooking Maritime Park, Ampersea has a unique modern interior with colorful walls that look like blown glass.
The wood deck is a romantic setting for date nights and parties.
The high-end menus offer brunch, lunch, dinner, and cocktails, using locally sourced ingredients and New American preparation.
My favorite dish was the short rib over cream of corn with roasted potatoes and veggies.
1000 Lancaster St, Baltimore, MD 21202
From successful restaurateur and Executive Chef duo Tony Foreman and Cindy Wolf, Charleston is a fine dining New American restaurant in Baltimore’s Harbor East neighborhood.
Chef Wolf is a 9-time James Beard Award finalist for Best Mid-Atlantic Chef. Charleston has won four stars from Forbes and AAA.
Chef Wolf uses her French culinary training and South Carolina roots to create a fusion of Southern Comfort and French cooking.
Menus are seasonal.
I took full advantage of Chef Wolf’s southern roots by ordering the insanely delicious Shrimp & Grits with Andouille sausage.
1215 Wills St, Baltimore, MD 21231
A second award-winning restaurant from Tony Foreman and Cindy Wolf, Cindy Lou’s Fish House is a more seafood-centric fine dining restaurant inside Inner Harbor’s Canopy by Hilton Hotel.
The modern yet warm interior has hardwood floors, mid-century modern furniture, a floating fireplace, and large windows opening onto a deck overlooking Baltimore’s 19th-century sugar refinery factory and the Patapsco river.
As a hotel restaurant, you can get breakfast, lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch.
Chef Wolf offers a stunning display of southern comfort favorites, from fried green tomatoes to chicken fried steak.
For the main course, I had the Cornmeal Fried River Trout with creamy grits and pickled vegetables.
2600 Insulator Dr, Baltimore, MD 21230
Nick’s Fish House is a funky and inviting crab deck and dock bar in Port Covington, famous for its fresh crab dishes, refreshing cocktails, and outdoor live music.
Nick’s Fish House has elevated seafood and pub fare, drawing inspiration from culinary traditions around the U.S.
They source all their seafood and shellfish from the Atlantic, from New England’s coast to the Chesapeake Bay. Nick’s signature dish is the crab cake dinner.
Still, I couldn’t resist the Lobster Mac & Cheese with a three-cheese blend over Cavatappi with huge chunks of Maine lobster and a Panko crust topping.
2723 Lighthouse Point E, Baltimore, MD 21224
Located in Canton in a casual and friendly outdoor space, Raw & Refined has Baltimore’s largest outdoor deck bar with a pool to boot.
They offer craft cocktails, fresh seafood, and a lively, DJ-fueled atmosphere.
They’re a family-friendly bar and grill to spend the day swimming and enjoying refined meals.
Whether you want over-the-top sandwiches, raw bar specialties, or elegant seafood dinners, the Raw and Refined menu has something for everyone.
I savored a Promenade Paloma with jalapeño-infused tequila to accompany a delicious lobster roll on garlic brioche with truffle fries.
201 E Pratt St, Baltimore, MD 21202
Originating in Chicago in 1943, Pizzeria Uno is the original home of the now world-famous Chicago-style pizza created by founder Ike Sewell.
Uno Chicago Grill has since expanded around the US with its Baltimore location in Harbor Place.
If you’ve never had Chicago-style pizza, you’re in for a treat.
UNO is the founder of deep-dish pizza, a super-filling pizza pie with double the ingredients, sauce on top, and a buttery, thick crust to hold it all in place.
I recommend their meatball and ricotta pie with mushrooms, house-made tomato sauce, and pork and beef meatballs.
The Charm’tastic Mile, 750 E Pratt St, Baltimore, MD 21202
Featured on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, Miss Shirley’s Cafe is an award-winning breakfast and brunch cafe with various locations around Baltimore, including the Inner Harbor.
Miss Shirley’s Cafe has a cheerful and bright atmosphere to enjoy what Baltimore Magazine deems the best breakfast in Baltimore.
Miss Shirley’s Cafe has a menu for all ages and dietary preferences, plus famous brunch cocktails.
I had their signature Spicy Shirley, an extravagant bloody mary with an impressive skewer of garnishes.
The menu has an overwhelming selection of breakfast and brunch specialties.
I went for the fried chicken with honey mustard over cheddar green onion waffles with jalapeño butter.
801 Aliceanna St, Baltimore, MD 21202
Receiving the Wine Spectator and TripAdvisor’s Awards of Excellence, The Oceanaire Seafood Room is an elegant fine dining seafood restaurant.
Located in a stunning, high-ceilinged, multi-story dining space in Harbor East, The Oceanaire Seafood Room is the height of elegance and a favorite destination for special occasions.
The Oceanaire offers seasonal and sustainable menus that honor the coastal bounties of both eastern and western shores.
Their multi-course menu draws inspiration from global cuisines to elaborate fresh seafood.
I started with the Charred Spanish Octopus, followed by the Whole Mediterranean Branzino with tamarind-citrus, ginger syrup, and corn succotash.
It was one of the best meals I’ve ever had.
Whether you’re looking for a casual tiki hut or an opulent fine dining experience, you’ll find the most delicious meals with the most epic views of Baltimore’s harbors at any of the options from my list of the best waterfront restaurants in Baltimore.
In the mood for vegan food? Baltimore has some absolutely incredible vegan restaurants if you know where to look!
Did we leave a restaurant out of this list? Make sure you leave us a comment, and we’ll check it out!