Seafood and More in B-More
By Tawanna Browne Smith
Family Travel Expert
A growing selection of noteworthy restaurants with bold and creative culinary stars makes it a hard task to narrow Baltimore’s best restaurants down to just ten. This top 10 list doesn’t rank any of these winners against each other, as their cuisines are in different categories, but rather lies them suitably in a bed of fresh mesclun with one another. In the kitchen of Charleston, chef Cindy Wolf creates her rendition of “low country” cooking for Baltimore fine diners while Woodberry Kitchen leads the farm-to-table charge in the area with fresh seasonal rustic dishes. If the terms “urban chic” and “uber gourmet” were to ever marry, Salt would be considered the product of their union. One of the younger restaurants in our Top 10 group, Salt has been turning heads with its creative and decadent offerings such as dishes like duck fat french fries and foie gras and wagyu beef sliders. Others like Pazo, The Black Olive, Cinghiale, and Joss Cafe offer some of the best ethnic-influenced fair to be found in the kitchens of Charm City.
Located in the Canton area, Langermann's brings several pieces of the South to Charm City. Items like the Fried Green Tomatoes and the Charleston Shrupm and Grits will make you forget where you're located on the Mason-Dixie line. Langermann's offers a little bit of the best of Southern cuisine from Low Country Louie to Crispy Fried Catfish to Cape Fear Scallops to Carolina Gumbo - your tastebuds can visit 5 different states eating appetizers alone. (4105343287)
9 Salt Tavern
Located within walking distance from the Inner Harbor, Salt is one of the newer kids on the restaurant block. Only 5 years old, the establishment has made waves in the industry and turned many a heads with daring creative remakes of traditional favorites such as duck fat french fries and foie gras beef sliders. (410-276-5480)
8 Black Olive
The Black Olive offers Greek style grilled meat and fish dishes using mostly organic ingredients. Turkish influences are also apparent throughout the menu with many of the first course smaller plate dishes being seafood-based. This rooftop restaurant has an amazing view of the Baltimore skyline and makes for a romantic space for dinner. (410-276-7141)
7 Joss Cafe and Sushi Bar
Joss Cafe located in Mount Vernon is one of Baltimore's best sushi bars. Employees yell out welcome in Japanese every time a patron walks through the door and then quickly return to creating a wonderful sushi-going experience. Most rolls are tasty and inexpensive while others are creative and unique such as the Ankimo - steamed monkfish liver wrapped in soy paper. Sushi lovers can go traditional at Joss or take a walk on the more adventurous side.
6 B&O American Brasserie - Hotel Monaco
The B&O American Brasserie is housed in the historical B&O Railroad Museum in downtown Baltimore. Its menu is contemporary with Southern cuisine influences. Offering breakfast, lunch, brunch, and dinner, B&O Brasserie keeps train lovers well fueled. The House Made Chorizo is a testimony to Chef Dunklin's background of curing meats. The Daily menu offers down home Southern dishes representative of the chef's Louisiana roots. (443-692-6172)
Cinghiale, coining itself as the Modern Italian kitchen, does its best to create a healthy mix of elegant but authentic classic Italian cooking. The brain child of restaurateur Tony Foreman, Cinghiale offers pastas that are either hand-cut, house made or hand formed and prepared with love. Chef Julian Marucci prepares authentic regional Italian food from Northern and Central Italy, combining both classic Italian recipes and modern Italian cooking. The menu is split with offerings from either Grandma's Kitchen or fixed-price three-course meals. Your options don't end there - you can also choose to dine how you want. Enjoy Cinghiale in the elegant setting of the Osteria or dine in the more casual surroundings of the Enoteca, where you can raid the cellar every Tuesday for half-off bottles of wine. (410-547-8282)
4 Pazo Restaurant
The space in Pazo may at first seem overwhelming but the tapas is right on point. Chic, just like the crowd that congregates there, food plates come quickly and presented without fuss. Beware, the lump crab bunuelos with roasted corn salsa may make a stingy person out of you yet. A mix of hot and cold tapas along with a First course choice will expose you to a good expanse of Mediterranean cuisine. (410-534-7296)
3 Woodberry Kitchen
Woodberry Kitchen stands at the helm of the farm-to-kitchen charge offering diners the freshest and best seasonal vegetables from local growers and meats from local farmers, along with sustainable seafood. Their rustic interior sets the stage (and tone) for their hearty menu which also features Gluten free selections. (4104648000)
Chef Cindy Wolf makes bold moves in low country cuisine by implement refined French cooking fundamentals with the down home dishes of South Carolina known as low country cuisine. Charleston's menu offers fine dining with a sprinkle of Southern flair using fresh ingredients from local farmers and staying in tune with the current Season. (410-332-7373)
Piedigrotta first opened in 2002 in Little Italy. The friendly and warm husband and wife duo Bruna and Carmenantonio are welcoming hosts to the bakery's guests. These two have a genuine love for baking. If you're at a lost of what to order, the owners will be more than obliged to make suggestions whether it be something more substantial from their lunch menu like the chicken puff pastry or a homemade ravioli or something sweet like an eclair, authentic Italian pastry or their infamous tiramisu. Carmenantonio is said to be the creator of this popular Italian desert. You can also order takeout from the restaurant or stock up on fresh breads for the week. The portions are large and their prices are good, making them a favorite in the Baltimore area for the past several years. ((410) 522-6900)
About Tawanna Browne Smith
Tawanna has had a wanderlust spirit since she was 13. A dozen or so addresses later, she now resides in Maryland with her husband and two sons. Tawanna is the founder and creator of Mom's Guide To Travel, a family travel blog. She's also a contributor to the Travel Channel. If she's not traveling somewhere out of state, she's either shopping or searching for the best crabcake or the best cupcake in the Baltimore-Washington area.
Read more about Tawanna Browne Smith here.