Fine Dining in Baltimore

“Charm City” experiences all four seasons with the summer very hot and the winter not too cool. If you are a baseball fan you’ll want to plan your visit for springtime when you can see a game or two at Camden Yards. Or, maybe horseracing is more your style. If that’s the case, the Preakness takes place every May. Both events can be enjoyed in Baltimore’s perfect spring weather. Just about any time of the year you can find a festival going on at the waterfront or one of the neighborhoods. Whatever you enjoy doing most, you’ll find it here in Baltimore along with a gazillion great fine dining restaurants to choose from.

McCormick & Schmick’s offers an exquisite seasonal seafood menu that changes daily. Start your meal with oysters on the half shell and Dungeness crab cakes – they are delicious here. Then order the cedar planked roasted salmon for a real treat (in season March through September. Finish with the trio of desserts (minis of bread pudding, crème brulee and banana pudding). Check out their website to see what seafood is in season when.

Ruth’s Chris Steak House is known for the best steaks in Maryland. So, it you can think of nothing better for dinner than a New York, rare with a baked potato smothered in all the good stuff then Ruth’s is your place. The New Orleans style décor and perfect service will make your evening a memorable one. Try something new with their Creole appetizer, shrimp remoulade.

Charleston Restaurant has gold in their chef, Cindy Wolfe and her daily changing menu. A bottle from their exquisite wine menu complements Ms. Wolfe’s culinary delights. After you’ve tried Charleston’s and realize what a gem it is, plan a group wine tasting and dinner for some of your closest friends or business colleagues. This restaurant has received some of the highest awards such as the Star Diamond Award, Best of List, Reader’s Favorites and Most Extensive Wine List.

Babalu Grill’s menu offers food with a lively Latin flare. This restaurant offers both indoor and outdoor dining. You’ll find the cuisine full of traditional Cuban and Latin foods with a modern twist. They are closed Sundays and Mondays so plan your visit ahead of tme. Don’t forget to ask for your complimentary Mojito. Two of the house specialties you must try are Pan Seared Chicken with Rice and Shredded Flank Steak.

Chiapparelli’s is one of the most well liked and best known Italian restaurants in Baltimore’s “Little Italy.” They use recipes that have been handed down generation after generation with a dedication to excellence. If you are trying their cuisine for the first time you must have the Spaghetti Toscannini. It’s classic spaghetti but even better with mushrooms, roasted peppers and Roma sausage mixed in with the perfect tomato sauce.

Timothy Dean Bistro, located in the historical Baltimore waterfront, they offer impeccable service and, some say, the best food in town. You will find the chef interacting with customers to make sure they are happy and content, when he can get out of the kitchen. Their wine list includes winery best from around the world, mostly from small family owned vineyards (mostly from South Africa, Italy, France and Australia).

Aldo’s holds the Zagat’s highest scoring Italian restaurant in Maryland as well as the Five Star Award of Excellence by the American Restaurant Association. You will be drawn by the lure of superb cuisine with menu choices such as Italian Black Truffle, Seared Hudson Valley foie gras and a four cheese risotto. Baltimore Magazine says, “The best Little Italy has to offer. Horray for chef and owner Aldo Vitale, he’s raised the bar for Italian cuisine in Baltimore.”

Joss Café and Sushi Bar is located in Severna Park and offers Japanese/sushi fine dining at a great price. Customers say the food is consistently excellent and they’ve never tasted better sushi. Don’t be fooled by the small sushi bar room when you first enter the restaurant, there is a huge dining area in the back, always crisp and clean. The Spring Roll appetizer must be your first dish.

Fogo de Chao offers the finest in Southern Brazilian cuisine and is touted as the “Best Brazilian Steakhouse in the Country.” Their savory meat cuts are slow roasted over an open flame to perfection. They’ve received the “Hot Concepts Award” by Nation’s Restaurant News and the “Wine Spectator Award of Excellence” many years running. Choose from 15 delicious cuts of meat, salads, fresh cut vegetables and Brazilian side dishes. Don’t miss ordering a side of fried bananas – wonderful.

Bamboo House is located in a mundane strip mall, but that shouldn’t dissuade you if you are up to trying the best of Chinese cuisine. Sometimes it’s the secret “hole in the wall” that produces the best of the best. That is the case with the Bamboo House. Their fresh whole rockfish is a highlight and a must order. It’s perfectly steamed with a choice of sauces – choose the zingy black bean. They also offer excellent sushi.

Ixia Restaurant is a newer fine dining choice, but lives up to one that has been around to learn how to give perfect service and exquisite cuisine. You’ll find a contemporary atmosphere with décor of long ceiling to floor drapes, beaded chandeliers and a waterfall. Try some of their original dishes such as Pumpkin Ricotta Ravioli, Seafood Paella or Grilled Octopus. If you’re not feeling adventuresome there are always standard dishes to choose from such as tuna, duck or filet mignon. It’s a perfect destination for that late night dinner after the theater.

Abacrombie Restaurant offers “real” fine dining for an exquisite meal before enjoying your evening at the Myerhoff Symphony Hall or The Lyric. The menu is small, but they offer the best of an ever changing seasonal cuisine. The curry dusted salmon and filet mignon along with one of their merlots or zinfandels from their extensive wine list will make the perfect evening. The smaller restaurant is always busy, so make your reservations early. If it’s a late night consider booking a room in their B&B, upstairs.

Creative Commons Licensephoto credit: Flickr/Tare Panda