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Peter Changs NiHao restaurant in Baltimore.
Prawn lettuce cups at NiHao
Photo by Laura Chase de Formigny/For The Washington Post via Getty Images

20 Essential Restaurants in Baltimore

Where to find steamed crabs, Lao sausage, standout Chinese, and more essential eats around Charm City

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Prawn lettuce cups at NiHao
| Photo by Laura Chase de Formigny/For The Washington Post via Getty Images

After a year spent ordering takeout and firing up Netflix, diners in Baltimore are eager to gather face-to-face and support their favorite restaurants. Baltimore City lifted its state of emergency July 1, which ended indoor masking requirements and repealed to-go cocktails. Restaurant owners continue to grapple with staffing shortages while they aim to meet the rush, but that hasn’t stopped outsiders from expanding into Baltimore. Los Angeles-based celebrity chef Matthew Kenney opened two vegan restaurants, pizzeria Double Zero and local-sourcing Liora, in a luxury apartment building downtown. Chef Ashish Alfred (Duck Duck Goose) is opening a French place for small plates and seafood in the former Bookmakers Cocktail Club space in Federal Hill. And Baltimore’s oldest public market, Lexington Market, is adding new tenants as it prepares to reopen in a new building. These 20 restaurants offer everything from steamed crabs and chicken boxes to Lao sausage, Peking duck, arepas, and more.

The latest CDC guidance for vaccinated diners during the COVID-19 outbreak is here; dining out still carries risks for unvaccinated diners and workers. Please be aware of changing local rules, and check individual restaurant websites for any additional restrictions such as mask requirements. Find a local vaccination site here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Maggie's Farm

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4341 Harford Rd
Baltimore, MD 21214
(410) 254-2376
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The Lauraville neighborhood restaurant is a local destination for comfort food and Maryland staples. Enjoy the burger, Maryland crab cake, and fried green tomatoes inside or on the patio.

2. The Verandah Kitchen in Hampden

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842 W 36th St
Baltimore, MD 21211
(667) 260-4784
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Located inside a brightly painted rowhome on the Avenue, the Verandah’s menu features shareable Indian small plates, including paneer kofta and samosa chaat, as well as larger family-style entrees. The restaurant sometimes highlights regional Indian cuisine with multi-course prix-fixe dinners. 

Carrots cooked in ghee and milk with cardamom and saffron from the Verandah
Carrots cooked in ghee and milk with cardamom and saffron from the Verandah
The Verandah/Facebook

3. The Bluebird Cocktail Room and Pub

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3600 Hickory Ave
Baltimore, MD 21211
(667) 303-3263
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Baltimore’s favorite literary-themed bar will drop a new botanical-themed cocktail menu July 14 that will rely heavily on locally sourced spirits, including D.C. distiller Republic Restoratives’ Civic Vodka. Tapping into the growing zero-proof cocktail trend, the bar will offer guests the option to order many of its drinks without alcohol, owner Paul Benkert says. The food menu includes a gluten-free fritto misto, a tempeh burger, and a Roseda Farms beef burger. In February, Benkert also took over neighboring beer hall De Kleine Duivel, which boasts a tranquil deck where guests can sample Belgian brews alongside charcuterie, grilled fish and vegetables, and small plates. 

A Roseda Farms beef burger from the Bluebird
A Roseda Farms beef burger from the Bluebird
The Bluebird/Facebook

4. Whitehall Market

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3300 Clipper Mill Rd
Baltimore, MD 21211

Featuring eight vendors in a former historic mill along the Jones Falls, Whitehall Market boasts Filipino cooking from Heritage Kitchen, specialty foods and cheeses from Firefly Farms, and delectable savory pies and sweet treats from Crust by Mack. Order ahead online to get one of Amanda Mack’s phenomenal crab pies. And make reservations for the mill’s sit-down restaurant, True Chesapeake Oyster Co., to slurp oysters from its Southern Maryland farm. 

Whitehall Food Market is a sprawling 18,000-square-foot food hall and private events space.
Whitehall Food Market/official photo

5. Dutch Courage

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2229 N Charles St
Baltimore, MD 21218
(667) 309-7167
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This gin bar’s plant-filled patio became a drinkers’ refuge during the pandemic, and guests now have the option of sitting inside a beautifully restored home. Vintage finds like an old cash register add to the space’s personality. Food options like a beet poke bowl and an Italian cold cut banh mi measure up to the cocktails.

6. Larder

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3 W 23rd St
Baltimore, MD 21218
(410) 982-6246
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Chef Helena del Pesco, an alum of famed Chez Panisse in the Bay Area, follows a local-sourcing approach that includes changing the menu every day and incorporating plenty of homemade preserves. A given day’s menu might list a tempeh burger next to a grilled bavette steak salad. Linger in the courtyard that Larder shares with Fadensonnen, Lane Harlan’s natural wine bar and beer garden.  

The entrance to Larder’s courtyard
The entrance to Larder’s courtyard
Larder [official]

7. Clavel

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225 W 23rd St
Baltimore, MD 21211
(443) 900-8983
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Clavel’s build-your-own taco kits ensure the beans and barbacoas don’t weigh down the tortillas before you get them home. The popular Remington spot reopened outdoor dining at the restaurant and continues to offer takeout.

8. Alma Cocina Latina

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1701 N Charles St
Baltimore, MD 21201
(667) 212-4273
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Alma Cocina offers arresting Venezuelan arepas filled with seafood, meat, or vegetables at its new home in the Station North neighborhood. It shares space with Mera Kitchen Collective, partnering to provide free community meals. 

A stuffed arepa from Alma Cocina Latina
A stuffed arepa from Alma Cocina Latina
Alma Cocina Latina [official]

9. Magdalena

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205 E Biddle St
Baltimore, MD 21202
(410) 514-0303
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After shutting down during the pandemic, the restaurant inside the luxe Ivy Hotel reopened in April with a new “Maryland bistro” menu full of dishes like summer vegetable bucatini or a filet of halibut with creamed corn, chanterelles, and sungold tomatoes. Exceptional desserts from local pastry chef Amber Croom include a classic Smith Island cake and a peach-passionfruit cheesecake. There’s also an extensive selection of whiskeys and cocktails.

Pasty chef Amber Croom’s Smith Island cake at Magdalena
Pasty chef Amber Croom’s Smith Island cake at Magdalena
Magdalena/Facebook

10. The Helmand

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806 N Charles St
Baltimore, MD 21201
(410) 752-0311
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The longstanding Afghani restaurant delights Mount Vernon residents with kaddo borwani, baked baby pumpkin dolloped with yogurt, and mantwo, a pastry stuffed with beef and onions. The restaurant offers takeout, limited delivery, and indoor dining. There’s also a smattering of sidewalk tables along Charles Street. 

11. Puerto 511 Cocina Peruana

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102 Clay St
Baltimore, MD 21201
(410) 244-8837
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This underrated downtown gem reopened its indoor dining room for reservations Tuesday through Saturday. Fans of Peruvian dishes like chaufa and lomo saltado can still order them to go. 

 

12. Samos Restaurant

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600 Oldham St
Baltimore, MD 21224
(410) 675-5292
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Greek pottery and frescoes of the islands adorn the walls at this old-school, cash-only restaurant that still serves the best gyros, garlic shrimp, and spanakopita in town. Visitors to Oldham Street can order takeout or bring their own beverages for indoor and outdoor dining. Diners in Canton or Locust Point can visit fast-casual sister restaurants, Samos Greek Island Grill.

13. Ekiben (Multiple locations)

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1622 Eastern Ave
Baltimore, MD 21231

Ekiben entices Baltimoreans with unique dishes that fuse flavors from Ethiopia, Taiwan, Thailand, and India. As of early July, both locations (Fells Point and Hampden) were sticking to takeout only. The tempura broccoli, the tofu brah with spicy peanut sauce, and Taiwanese curry fried chicken are all customer favorites. Follow its Instagram page to see the latest menu items, collaborations, and memes. Order online here.

An Ekiben burger
An Ekiben burger
Ekiben/Facebook

14. The Corner Bistro & Wine Bar

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The Charm'tastic Mile, 213 Penn St
Baltimore, MD 21230
(410) 727-1155
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Pregame for a day of baseball with the crab cake sandwich or chicken wings with sweet potato waffles at this cozy neighborhood bar a few blocks from Camden Yards. Weekly specials and daily desserts are both worth trying. 

Crab cakes from the Corner Bistro & Wine Bar
Crab cakes from the Corner Bistro & Wine Bar
The Corner Bistro & Wine Bar/Facebook

15. BLK Swan

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1302 Fleet St
Baltimore, MD 21202
(443) 552-1956
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The new Harbor East restaurant blends art and high style, from the oversized bird’s nest to the Kendrick Lamar quotes plastered on the wall. BLK Swan pays homage to Baltimore staples, including the chicken box and fried lake trout (available for brunch). There are also salads, pizzas, a seafood-heavy list of entrees, and desserts like fried Oreo beignets. On weekend nights, DJs spin R&B, EDM, and pop. 

BLK Swan’s chicken box
BLK Swan’s chicken box
BLK Swan/Facebook

16. NiHao

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2322 Boston St
Baltimore, MD 21224
(443) 835-2036
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Peter and Lisa Chang, the couple that produces some of the finest Sichuan cooking in the Mid-Atlantic, opened their eagerly anticipated Baltimore debut in the fraught summer of 2020. Daughter Lydia Chang manages the 120-seat venue in the Canton neighborhood, bringing on James Beard Award-nominated pastry pro Pichet Ong as an executive chef. Located in the former Fork & Wrench space, the restaurant boasts a Chinese menu that incorporates vegetarian delights like crispy eggplant and chili cauliflower alongside spicy mala dishes, weekend dim sum, and a signature Peking duck. 

Pork and peanuts from NiHao
Pork and peanuts from NiHao
NiHao [official]

17. Charming Elephant

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2324 Boston St
Baltimore, MD 21224
(443) 708-7762
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This family-run Canton newcomer brings the city a Laotian restaurant to call its own. The menu features a Maryland banh mi stuffed with crab cakes, pork sausage with sticky rice, and several vegetarian items, including a tofu red curry. 

A plate of Lao sausage from Charming Elephant
A plate of Lao sausage from Charming Elephant
Charming Elephant/Facebook

18. Charleston

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1000 Lancaster St.
Baltimore, MD
(410) 332-7373
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Chef Cindy Wolf’s flagship showcases a brand of fine dining that blends French cuisine and Lowcountry cooking, earning her nine James Beard award nominations over more than two decades. As of early July, Charleston was still offering takeout in addition to indoor dining. Diners should also pay a visit to the Foreman Wolf group’s other restaurants. That includes waterfront stunner Cindy Lou’s Fish House, for Southern seafood on the first floor of the Canopy by Hilton hotel. Cinghiale, Petit Louis Bistro, Johnny’s, and Argentinean restaurant Bar Vasquez are all worth sampling, too.

Chef Cindy Wolf
Chef Cindy Wolf oversees a celebrated restaurant group in Baltimore
Joseph Victor Stefanchik for The Washington Post via Getty Images

19. L.P. Steamers

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1100 E Fort Ave
Baltimore, MD 21230
(410) 576-9294
Visit Website

No Baltimore food list would be complete without a spot for steamed crabs encrusted with Old Bay. Eat ‘em on the rooftop at L.P. Steamers for views of the Inner Harbor. 

A crab spread at L.P. Steamers
A crab spread at L.P. Steamers
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

20. Hersh’s

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1843-45 Light St
Baltimore, MD 21230
(443) 438-4948
Visit Website

This South Baltimore favorite makes excellent Neapolitan pizza, antipasti, and homemade pasta. Try the ricotta crostini, fettuccine alla Norma, or the aforementioned wood-fired ’za, which comes in red and white varieties. 

Josh Hershkovitz works the wood-burning oven at Hersh’s
Josh Hershkovitz works the wood-burning oven at Hersh’s
Hersh’s [official]

1. Maggie's Farm

4341 Harford Rd, Baltimore, MD 21214

The Lauraville neighborhood restaurant is a local destination for comfort food and Maryland staples. Enjoy the burger, Maryland crab cake, and fried green tomatoes inside or on the patio.

4341 Harford Rd
Baltimore, MD 21214

2. The Verandah Kitchen in Hampden

842 W 36th St, Baltimore, MD 21211
Carrots cooked in ghee and milk with cardamom and saffron from the Verandah
Carrots cooked in ghee and milk with cardamom and saffron from the Verandah
The Verandah/Facebook

Located inside a brightly painted rowhome on the Avenue, the Verandah’s menu features shareable Indian small plates, including paneer kofta and samosa chaat, as well as larger family-style entrees. The restaurant sometimes highlights regional Indian cuisine with multi-course prix-fixe dinners. 

842 W 36th St
Baltimore, MD 21211

3. The Bluebird Cocktail Room and Pub

3600 Hickory Ave, Baltimore, MD 21211
A Roseda Farms beef burger from the Bluebird
A Roseda Farms beef burger from the Bluebird
The Bluebird/Facebook

Baltimore’s favorite literary-themed bar will drop a new botanical-themed cocktail menu July 14 that will rely heavily on locally sourced spirits, including D.C. distiller Republic Restoratives’ Civic Vodka. Tapping into the growing zero-proof cocktail trend, the bar will offer guests the option to order many of its drinks without alcohol, owner Paul Benkert says. The food menu includes a gluten-free fritto misto, a tempeh burger, and a Roseda Farms beef burger. In February, Benkert also took over neighboring beer hall De Kleine Duivel, which boasts a tranquil deck where guests can sample Belgian brews alongside charcuterie, grilled fish and vegetables, and small plates. 

3600 Hickory Ave
Baltimore, MD 21211

4. Whitehall Market

3300 Clipper Mill Rd, Baltimore, MD 21211
Whitehall Food Market is a sprawling 18,000-square-foot food hall and private events space.
Whitehall Food Market/official photo

Featuring eight vendors in a former historic mill along the Jones Falls, Whitehall Market boasts Filipino cooking from Heritage Kitchen, specialty foods and cheeses from Firefly Farms, and delectable savory pies and sweet treats from Crust by Mack. Order ahead online to get one of Amanda Mack’s phenomenal crab pies. And make reservations for the mill’s sit-down restaurant, True Chesapeake Oyster Co., to slurp oysters from its Southern Maryland farm. 

3300 Clipper Mill Rd
Baltimore, MD 21211

5. Dutch Courage

2229 N Charles St, Baltimore, MD 21218

This gin bar’s plant-filled patio became a drinkers’ refuge during the pandemic, and guests now have the option of sitting inside a beautifully restored home. Vintage finds like an old cash register add to the space’s personality. Food options like a beet poke bowl and an Italian cold cut banh mi measure up to the cocktails.

2229 N Charles St
Baltimore, MD 21218

6. Larder

3 W 23rd St, Baltimore, MD 21218
The entrance to Larder’s courtyard
The entrance to Larder’s courtyard
Larder [official]

Chef Helena del Pesco, an alum of famed Chez Panisse in the Bay Area, follows a local-sourcing approach that includes changing the menu every day and incorporating plenty of homemade preserves. A given day’s menu might list a tempeh burger next to a grilled bavette steak salad. Linger in the courtyard that Larder shares with Fadensonnen, Lane Harlan’s natural wine bar and beer garden.  

3 W 23rd St
Baltimore, MD 21218

7. Clavel

225 W 23rd St, Baltimore, MD 21211

Clavel’s build-your-own taco kits ensure the beans and barbacoas don’t weigh down the tortillas before you get them home. The popular Remington spot reopened outdoor dining at the restaurant and continues to offer takeout.

225 W 23rd St
Baltimore, MD 21211

8. Alma Cocina Latina

1701 N Charles St, Baltimore, MD 21201
A stuffed arepa from Alma Cocina Latina
A stuffed arepa from Alma Cocina Latina
Alma Cocina Latina [official]

Alma Cocina offers arresting Venezuelan arepas filled with seafood, meat, or vegetables at its new home in the Station North neighborhood. It shares space with Mera Kitchen Collective, partnering to provide free community meals. 

1701 N Charles St
Baltimore, MD 21201

9. Magdalena

205 E Biddle St, Baltimore, MD 21202
Pasty chef Amber Croom’s Smith Island cake at Magdalena
Pasty chef Amber Croom’s Smith Island cake at Magdalena
Magdalena/Facebook

After shutting down during the pandemic, the restaurant inside the luxe Ivy Hotel reopened in April with a new “Maryland bistro” menu full of dishes like summer vegetable bucatini or a filet of halibut with creamed corn, chanterelles, and sungold tomatoes. Exceptional desserts from local pastry chef Amber Croom include a classic Smith Island cake and a peach-passionfruit cheesecake. There’s also an extensive selection of whiskeys and cocktails.

205 E Biddle St
Baltimore, MD 21202

10. The Helmand

806 N Charles St, Baltimore, MD 21201

The longstanding Afghani restaurant delights Mount Vernon residents with kaddo borwani, baked baby pumpkin dolloped with yogurt, and mantwo, a pastry stuffed with beef and onions. The restaurant offers takeout, limited delivery, and indoor dining. There’s also a smattering of sidewalk tables along Charles Street. 

806 N Charles St
Baltimore, MD 21201

11. Puerto 511 Cocina Peruana

102 Clay St, Baltimore, MD 21201

This underrated downtown gem reopened its indoor dining room for reservations Tuesday through Saturday. Fans of Peruvian dishes like chaufa and lomo saltado can still order them to go. 

 

102 Clay St
Baltimore, MD 21201

12. Samos Restaurant

600 Oldham St, Baltimore, MD 21224

Greek pottery and frescoes of the islands adorn the walls at this old-school, cash-only restaurant that still serves the best gyros, garlic shrimp, and spanakopita in town. Visitors to Oldham Street can order takeout or bring their own beverages for indoor and outdoor dining. Diners in Canton or Locust Point can visit fast-casual sister restaurants, Samos Greek Island Grill.

600 Oldham St
Baltimore, MD 21224

13. Ekiben (Multiple locations)

1622 Eastern Ave, Baltimore, MD 21231
An Ekiben burger
An Ekiben burger
Ekiben/Facebook

Ekiben entices Baltimoreans with unique dishes that fuse flavors from Ethiopia, Taiwan, Thailand, and India. As of early July, both locations (Fells Point and Hampden) were sticking to takeout only. The tempura broccoli, the tofu brah with spicy peanut sauce, and Taiwanese curry fried chicken are all customer favorites. Follow its Instagram page to see the latest menu items, collaborations, and memes. Order online here.

1622 Eastern Ave
Baltimore, MD 21231

14. The Corner Bistro & Wine Bar

The Charm'tastic Mile, 213 Penn St, Baltimore, MD 21230
Crab cakes from the Corner Bistro & Wine Bar
Crab cakes from the Corner Bistro & Wine Bar
The Corner Bistro & Wine Bar/Facebook

Pregame for a day of baseball with the crab cake sandwich or chicken wings with sweet potato waffles at this cozy neighborhood bar a few blocks from Camden Yards. Weekly specials and daily desserts are both worth trying. 

The Charm'tastic Mile, 213 Penn St
Baltimore, MD 21230

15. BLK Swan

1302 Fleet St, Baltimore, MD 21202
BLK Swan’s chicken box
BLK Swan’s chicken box
BLK Swan/Facebook

The new Harbor East restaurant blends art and high style, from the oversized bird’s nest to the Kendrick Lamar quotes plastered on the wall. BLK Swan pays homage to Baltimore staples, including the chicken box and fried lake trout (available for brunch). There are also salads, pizzas, a seafood-heavy list of entrees, and desserts like fried Oreo beignets. On weekend nights, DJs spin R&B, EDM, and pop. 

1302 Fleet St
Baltimore, MD 21202

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16. NiHao

2322 Boston St, Baltimore, MD 21224
Pork and peanuts from NiHao
Pork and peanuts from NiHao
NiHao [official]

Peter and Lisa Chang, the couple that produces some of the finest Sichuan cooking in the Mid-Atlantic, opened their eagerly anticipated Baltimore debut in the fraught summer of 2020. Daughter Lydia Chang manages the 120-seat venue in the Canton neighborhood, bringing on James Beard Award-nominated pastry pro Pichet Ong as an executive chef. Located in the former Fork & Wrench space, the restaurant boasts a Chinese menu that incorporates vegetarian delights like crispy eggplant and chili cauliflower alongside spicy mala dishes, weekend dim sum, and a signature Peking duck. 

2322 Boston St
Baltimore, MD 21224

17. Charming Elephant

2324 Boston St, Baltimore, MD 21224
A plate of Lao sausage from Charming Elephant
A plate of Lao sausage from Charming Elephant
Charming Elephant/Facebook

This family-run Canton newcomer brings the city a Laotian restaurant to call its own. The menu features a Maryland banh mi stuffed with crab cakes, pork sausage with sticky rice, and several vegetarian items, including a tofu red curry. 

2324 Boston St
Baltimore, MD 21224

18. Charleston

1000 Lancaster St., Baltimore, MD
Chef Cindy Wolf
Chef Cindy Wolf oversees a celebrated restaurant group in Baltimore
Joseph Victor Stefanchik for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Chef Cindy Wolf’s flagship showcases a brand of fine dining that blends French cuisine and Lowcountry cooking, earning her nine James Beard award nominations over more than two decades. As of early July, Charleston was still offering takeout in addition to indoor dining. Diners should also pay a visit to the Foreman Wolf group’s other restaurants. That includes waterfront stunner Cindy Lou’s Fish House, for Southern seafood on the first floor of the Canopy by Hilton hotel. Cinghiale, Petit Louis Bistro, Johnny’s, and Argentinean restaurant Bar Vasquez are all worth sampling, too.

1000 Lancaster St.
Baltimore, MD

19. L.P. Steamers

1100 E Fort Ave, Baltimore, MD 21230
A crab spread at L.P. Steamers
A crab spread at L.P. Steamers
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

No Baltimore food list would be complete without a spot for steamed crabs encrusted with Old Bay. Eat ‘em on the rooftop at L.P. Steamers for views of the Inner Harbor. 

1100 E Fort Ave
Baltimore, MD 21230

20. Hersh’s

1843-45 Light St, Baltimore, MD 21230
Josh Hershkovitz works the wood-burning oven at Hersh’s
Josh Hershkovitz works the wood-burning oven at Hersh’s
Hersh’s [official]

This South Baltimore favorite makes excellent Neapolitan pizza, antipasti, and homemade pasta. Try the ricotta crostini, fettuccine alla Norma, or the aforementioned wood-fired ’za, which comes in red and white varieties. 

1843-45 Light St
Baltimore, MD 21230

Related Maps