Crab, Mimosas Often Featured on Brunch Menus in Baltimore
By Tawanna Browne Smith
Family Travel Expert
Brunch can be centered around family or friends, special occasion or weekly tradition as long as the food is good, the service is warm, and you leave with your belly full. In Baltimore, brunch can be serious business, depending on where you go. It can also be intimidating for the light eater. Whether you prefer buffets or a-la-carte, you’ll be happy that you decided to combine the two meal times and save your self from twice the indulgence. And if you’re a fan of crab any time of the day, you’ve landed in the right city. You’re just about guaranteed to see mimosas and something with seafood on just about any Sunday brunch menu in Baltimore. Restaurants like Gertrude’s and Woodberry Kitchen even have you covered on Saturdays too. Food Network stars like Miss Shirley’s and Blue Moon Cafe will make you want to close your eyes and pretend your eating a dish with the caloric intake of a grapefruit and boiled egg instead of what’s really on your plate. Rusty Scupper will not only add in the live jazz for your Sunday mid-morning dining delight but also a room with a view. Choose between upscale or low key, basic or decadent, centrally-located or a little out of the way. Wherever you decide, our 10best brunch spots will have you rubbing elbows with locals, devoted followers, and maybe even a celebrity or two.
Little Havana has been serving up Cuban inspired cuisine in a converted garage in Baltimore for the past ten years. This Federal Hill hot spot is popular amongst the college crowd particularly during happy hour and weekdays. The atmosphere is relaxed and service is friendly. The brunches here have a different vibe, still energetic but more refined. The bottomless mimosas and mojitos are legitimate. Arguably the main attractions, they are drinks worth writing home about. The brunch menu is abbreviated, offering both American and Cuban choices, reasonably priced with most entrees under $20. The side of sweet potato fries is a highly recommended hit - crispy, sweet and not overly greasy. (410-837-9903)
Miss Shirley's operates in three locations: the Inner Harbor, Annapolis, and Roland Park, Baltimore. The food here is decadent, hearty, mouth-watering and any other adjective you can give to award-winning breakfast dishes like the pumpkin cheesecake stuffed french toast or the cornmeal encrusted oysters. The restaurant is open for breakfast and lunch, receiving accolades and awards for both. Specifically, Food Network awarded the "Shirley's Affair with Oscar", an eclectic coupling of beef filets, crab, hollandaise sauce, fried green tomatoes, grits and a dash of old bay, the best breakfast dish in Baltimore. Miss Shirley's is a favorite for tourists and locals alike. Though reservations aren't accepted, come with your patience and your appetite. (410-889-5272)
Located in the heart of the Inner Harbor, right around the corner from the American Visionary Arts Museum, Rusty Scupper provides a breathtaking panoramic view of the Baltimore waterfront. Its location makes it a popular seafood destination for tourists and those looking for a romantic upscale Inner Harbor evening. The menu is primarily focused on seafood dishes, inspired by the foods and flavors of the Chesapeake region. Its Sunday brunch is complete with a live Jazz band or live piano and plenty of patrons. Reservations would be wise. Crowd pleasers include the warm ciabatta bread, the crab bisque and Maryland crab cakes. The restaurant also offers a free shuttle service to visitors residing at nearby Inner Harbor hotels. (410-727-3678)
City Cafe is located in historical Mt. Vernon amongst the area's cultural landmarks and artsy entertainment. This stylish and modern restaurant is well appointed and a popular stop for theatre-goers. A fairly young restaurant, City Cafe has earned its fair share of accolades in the past few years: Best New Chef in 2010; Best Happy Hour in 2009; and one of Baltimore's top 10 best burgers. The menu consists of regionally-inspired American cuisine featuring seasonal and local ingredients. City Cafe is open daily for lunch and dinner and offers a Saturday and Sunday brunch. Due to its popularity, reservations are recommended though not required. Happy hour is a daily affair from 4-6:30 with $4 mixed drinks, $5 featured wines, and $4 drafts. (4105394252)
B&O American Brasserie - Hotel Monaco
B&O American Brasserie, is located in downtown Baltimore, occupying the original Baltimore & Ohio railroad headquarters. The restaurant combines a love of early railroad history with a love of innovative modern American cuisine. The menu is seasonal and considerate of vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free diners. Visitors can also opt for small plates instead of traditional entrees and still walk out satisfied. The B&O American Brasserie is a part of Hotel Monaco and an obvious choice for hotel guests looking for something close by or wanting to order room service. Decadent menu choices like the butternut squash soup with foie gras foam and smoked pork belly and brunch items like the red velvet donuts, blueberry goat cheese pancakes, and duck fat fry omelette are just a few examples of the chef's goal of creating "artful cuisine". (443-692-6172)
Hull Street Blues Cafe
Hull Street Blues Cafe, situated at the base of a row home, is the resident cafe restaurant for the Locust Point neighborhood. What started as a saloon in 1889, Hull Street Cafe is named after a naval hero from the War of 1812. The cafe has a bar upfront and a cozy dining area in back. The atmosphere is laid back and the staff is upbeat and friendly. Their menu emphasizes seafood but other meat options are also available and priced slightly higher than most neighborhood cafes. They offer daily specials and a $12 Tuesday menu. Their Sunday brunch is hearty with such items as their infamous blueberry pancakes, home fries, and crab dip, in addition to your standard breakfast fare. (4107277476)
Woodberry Kitchen is just north west of the Inner Harbor, a short departure from the tourist haven. Its food is a reflection of its setting, rustic yet chic and somewhat refined. The menu changes seasonally and they use ingredients from local growers to produce their creative dinner menu items such as their Rettland Farm chicken liver spread. And who can turn down decadent offerings like homemade sticky buns, monkey bread and Chesapeake Bay oysters for a Sunday of indulgence? Woodberry Kitchen carries over its farm-to-table practices from dinner to brunch and leaves patrons wondering what will be on its menu next. If you visit on the weekend, be advised that reservations are the way to go. (4104648000)
TeaVolve Cafe & Lounge
Teavolve Cafe & Lounge is located in Harbor East, a stone's throw from the Inner Harbor, right after you pass Little Italy and before you enter Fell's Point. This trendy, hip cafe and lounge welcomes large groups as well as the single patrons you may occasionally find sipping on a cup of tea while reading a book. After brunch hours, it's also acceptable to use the free wifi and cozy up with a laptop. Teavolve offers gourmet loose leaf teas, tea-infused sangria amongst many other unique drinks. The menu is friendly to vegetarians with a healthy list of options. However, what draws the crowds in and makes Teavolve famous are their red velvet pancakes, nothing short of desert for breakfast. Teavolve has a Saturday and Sunday brunch seating and accommodates large dining parties. (410-522-1907)
Blue Moon Café
Blue Moon Cafe, located in Fell's Point, serves up breakfast and brunch in its own unique way. The atmosphere and decor is down to earth and just as eclectic as the menu. The cafe serves up large meals in its intimately small space. Its reasonable prices and Food Network notoriety make it a hot spot for visitors and sometimes locals as well. Signature dishes like the famous Captain Crunch French Toast, which by the way is not on the menu but must be requested, the cinnamon roll french toast, and the crab benedict are crowd pleasers and waistline-busters. Blue Moon also offers vegetarian options like the vegetarian potato pancakes. Due to its popularity and its limiting seating capacity, weekend waits can be a challenge but there's also a to-go option. And if all else fails, Blue Moon Cafe is open 24/7 on the weekends. (410-522-3940)
Well-received Gertrude's enjoys a prime location inside the Baltimore Museum of Art. Its name pays homage to chef John Shields' grandmother, who introduced him to cooking, and to Gertrude Stein, who introduced several important artists to the museum. Shields, a local culinary celebrity, produces traditional regional dishes with a contemporary spin. Sunday brunch features an extensive array of specialties: crabmeat omelets, crab cakes served on English muffins with skillet potatoes, and stuffed French toast with honey cream cheese and cinnamon apples. For the best experience, grab a coveted spot on the patio overlooking the sculpture garden. (410-889-3399)
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.