01 November 2013

Best Restaurants: Our top 5 Faves

If you know anything about our DINK lifestyle, you’ll know that we love to dine out regularly.

In town, we tend to frequent the same restaurants because we love the food, ambiance, and service. These places make us feel comfortable, have decent wine and competitive prices. Here’s our personal short list of the Best Restaurants in Baltimore, and maybe an honorable mention:

City Café is one of the places where we fell in love (there are about a dozen such places). We tend to frequent this midtown mainstay in the warmer months; when we can sit outside and soak up the sun, people watch under the blue umbrellas, and really enjoy a crisp bottle of white. In the last year or two CC added a tasty new app to their menu- the decadent Shrimp and Grits (in the background). This dish is full of texture, yet smooth and creamy.  It’s made just spicy enough with generous slices of andouille sausage. 

Tapas Teatro: Doradas (I think)
Tapas Teatro: This is another place that we frequent in the warmer months. We’ll try to sit outside at TT as late into the fall as the staff will allow; I think the rule is that if the server doesn’t mind coming out into the chill too often, they’ll let ya brave the cold.

TT has a gorgeous wine selection. We’re actually creatures of habit and always order the Gouggenheim Chardonnay, but we know that if it falls off the menu we have several great choices to replace it.

The food here trumps the wine. Our main staples when we come revolve around the whole fish—which is always seasonal, perfectly cooked, and well-seasoned—albondigas (lamb meatballs), arugula salad, and anything with sliced tomato. But we’ve also ventured toward the whole sardines, sausage, calamari, and huevos—it’s hard to go wrong with their menu.

We fell in love here too!

The Point in Fells Point is one of our cold season haunts. When we first ventured there, we had walked past it for weeks and even examined the menu a few times. The menu is usually updated whenever we visit, and it’s refreshing to know that they really do seasonal cooking. I think my first meal there was a mushroom ravioli, followed up by a dessert a la mode. It was delicious. We’ll be headed back to the point once the temperature drops another 5 points. We probably hit The Point about 5 times a year. I can’t wait to see what’s on the menu.

Last February we got engaged at Pizzeria Uno and celebrated with a round of--what I call--blu-tinis!

Pizzeria Uno at Harborplace is another of our family favorites. In our first 2 years together we spent most Saturdays on a long walk downtown, followed by lunch at Uno. Before we met, hubby was ambivalent about pizza and believed he would always be; wrong. I had to tell him about the flaky, buttery crust that Chicago-style deep dish pizza offers. He’s been a convert since our first visit. 

Today, we go to UNO maybe 20 times a year and he gets the personal Classico, and I get the wild mushroom/pepperoni.  The service is great, the pizza is exquisite, and the blu-tinis are powerful.

James Joyce
James Joyce Irish Pub: Yet another place where we fell in love. It was so long ago that I barely remember what we ordered –good thing I took pictures. Our first meal there was all pub comfort food: shepherd’s pie, fish n’ chips, followed by a flaky apple tart a la mode. The menu hasn’t change much since those early days, with the exception of the addition of fish tacos—my new favorite meal.

I actually seek out fish tacos on every menu that I peruse. I will try them anywhere, at anytime, with anyone.

James Joyce:on the deck
The ones at JJ were surprisingly good when I first had them 8 months ago, so I always Always order them now. The fish changes with the season, but the toppings are the same: grated cabbage, secret sauce, salsa, a dollop of sour cream and a twist of lime. Delish!!

BRIO, also downtown. We stumbled upon Brio after I took a work excursion to try the place out. They’ve got okay wines and cocktails, super sweet staff, and a cute outdoor patio—you see all  of the downtown denizens, warts and all (those of you from Baltimore already know the diversity that trickles through the streets on any given day).

Brio: That's my field greens salad in the background.
Brio has the BEST salad in town. Their Field Greens salad is delicious, huge, and perfectly drenched with their house-made vinaigrette. I want that recipe! Whenever we go to Brio—which is about 10 to20 times a year—I only ever order the salad. Of, course, I take a taste or two from the husband’s plate. He usually gets one of their flatbread pizzas or does something completely surprising. On a recent trip he picked the Sliced Steak Bruschetta and was floored by how good it was.

Honorably, I love the food at Donna’s of Charles Village, but since the past year’s staffing changes, service has not been flawless. The menu offerings are still well-thought out, perfectly prepared, and perfectly seasoned. Undoubtedly,  I’ll head back to enjoy the fare at some point.

We fell in love here, too.