Value means different things to different people. What we can all agree upon is that we want good food no matter what price point we're looking at.
Some establishments just happen to provide more food for your dollar. They may sacrifice lush ambiance, prime real estate, expensive dinner ware or other amenities to focus only on the food. And some may have found that magic formula to provide the right balance of all those things.
Baltimore has great restaurants of varying value, all over the city. This 10 Best list is a variety of eateries from American seafood to Thai to Lebanese. Whatever your fancy, you have a choice of great valued restaurants across the ethnic spectrum.
You can dine in the Inner Harbor for Spanish tapas at a great value at La Tasca. You can indulge in one of the city's best spots for crab cakes, standing up at a bar table in downtown Baltimore at Faidley Seafood. You can wipe barbecue from your lips at Chaps Pit Beef in northeast Baltimore. If you're looking for Greek or Lebanese, two of our favorites are Ikaros and Lebanese Taverna. All over the city you can find great value restaurants.
These best value restaurants cover a range of taste buds, neighborhoods, and wallets.
Chaps Pit Beef
One of the many things that's unique to Baltimore is pit beef. And one of the few places that does it well, along with other meats, is Chaps Pit Beef. Located in an eyebrow raising strip mall on Pulaski highway, this little dive is all character. They also have great barbecue and carnivorous sandwiches filled with anywhere between one and four meats like the Richman, stuffed with turkey, beef, corned beef and sausage. Featured on television shows like No Reservations, Man Vs. Food, Diner's Drive-Ins and Dives, and Best Thing I Ever Ate, Chaps isn't short on notoriety or fans. With lines outside the door and a local following (as well as those intrigued by its television accolades), Chaps delivers on beef, turkey, ribs, and any other meat it can bring to smokehouse perfection. You'll probably smell it before you see it but let your tastebuds be the judge of whether Chaps is worthy of its praises. ((410) 483-2379)
Located in Mt. Vernon, Red Maple is more than a restaurant. It's a fusion of lounge, club and eatery. The decor is chic and the scene is lively. You may be confused what you're there for? You can do drinks, partying, dining, lounging, or a combination of all the above. One of Baltimore's hottest lounges, Red Maple offers unique cocktails alongside its Asian-inspired tapas. The shrimp is a must try but beware, you may not want to share. Other non-Asian items round out the menu to offer an eclectic mix of late night grub fit for hungry party people or mellow loungers. (410-547-0149)
Asahi Sushi offers attentive service with big value and big sushi rolls. Your eyes will undoubtedly be bigger than your mouth ordering from this menu. The restaurant is small and intimate and if you sit at the sushi bar, you may just get a sample of something tasty. You'd be doing yourself an injustice if you didn't try the Maryland crab roll which reminds you of one of the city's finest crab cakes. A plus to the restaurant is allowing patrons to bring their own bottles of whatever. They'll even provide you with a bucket of ice, the glasses, and a corkscrew. (410-534-4255)
The space in Pazo may at first seem overwhelming but the tapas is right on point. This restaurant, located in ubder trendy Harbor East, is chic, just like the crowd that congregates there. While you're people watching, food plates arrive quickly and are 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. You can endulge and order a prix fixe menu or save cash and calories and order a la carte. (410-534-7296)
Faidley's, located minutes from the Inner Harbor in Lexington Market, is a crab cake landmark. The building itself has been around since 1886. Eat-In is done at stand-up tables where diners can enjoy other Faidley seafood favorites such as raw oysters, shrimp, and clams before heading to the main attraction. Their award-winning crab cakes have been featured in various publications as well as on the Food Network in a crab cake show-down where they came out on top. Patrons can choose between regular or jumbo lump crab cakes where they're fried in minutes and accompanied by any number of side dishes. Visitors interested in enjoying Faidley's crab cakes at home can also have them shipped. (410-727-4898)
Asian inspired décor flanks this small dining room, which is known for its heaping plates of Thai food - the best way this delicious genre of food should be enjoyed. Many of the items, including the curry and noodle dishes, may be served with your choice of beef, pork, shrimp, duck, chicken or tofu. The cooks do their best to prepare dishes the way you'd like to enjoy them. The menu also features some tempting specialties such as pu kha prao (deep fried soft shell crab with fresh chili, peppercorn, snow peas, carrots and basil). You can even bring your own bottle of wine to enjoy with the meal. (410-385-8587)
Simple and satisfying, this restaurant eschews the trendy decor and modern dishes in favor of classic, home style Greek cooking served in a serene, relaxed atmosphere. Located in Greektown, just 10 minutes from the Inner Harbor, this restaurant transports you to another place. From crisp fried calamari to creamy moussaka to flavorful broiled whole fish, this restaurant guarantees you won't leave hungry. Lamb is served eight ways, and is especially tasty in a simple sauce of wine and tomato. The friendly staff is made up of people of Greek heritage, who wear elegant Greek-style garb, and who love to introduce visitors to their traditional cuisine. (410-633-3750)
Lebanese Taverna - Baltimore
This Baltimore outpost of the Washington, DC - based chain is an open and modern dining space, popular amongst locals and visitors. With great views of the water, and a warm, welcoming environment, Lebanese Taverna makes a great destination for both dates and business. Family-style dining is encouraged as a part of the experience and prices are very affordable. Start with hommos and fresh, warm pita, then prepare yourself for flavorful and flaky Mediterranean Sea bass (the whole fish is served) with a side of fragrant Lebanese rice. Don't sell yourself short by skipping dessert - few things beat warm honey drenched donuts. (4102445533)
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.
Connect with Tawanna via: Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | Pinterest