Must-try Baltimore Restaurants
The best bets for dining in Charm City, from trendy taquerias to modern soul food.
Baltimore’s food scene is bursting with must-try eateries in every cuisine, from classic Italian chophouses and cozy French bistros, to sleek sushi bars and farm-to-table favorites. Ready to get eating? Here are some of the top restaurants in Baltimore for a meal to remember.
Located inside a converted flour mill near Hampden, Woodberry Kitchen is no longer the newest restaurant in town, but it remains one of its very best. Led by the city’s first James Beard-winning chef, Spike Gjerde, the menu reflects his nearly obsessive approach to sourcing seasonal ingredients from local farmers and watermen. It was an unusual concept at its opening in 2007—but the inventive concoctions and hyper-local sustainability still feel fresh today.
This Remington mezcaleria and taqueria pairs a chic, Instagram-ready aesthetic—the white walls and polished concrete floors are warmed by wood furniture, strings of lights and plenty of greenery—with a similarly stylish menu. Clavel’s take on tacos veers modern, with fillings like the lamb barbacoa, braised in Mexican coffee, Negra Modelo and spices; and shrimp ceviche, cured in lime with spicy cilantro pesto and cucumber. Even the tortillas are special: The flour versions are handmade using a fifth-generation family recipe.
Le Comptoir du Vin
Food magazine Bon Appétit named this cozy French bistro to its ranking of America’s hottest new restaurant in 2019, and it’s been a hot ticket ever since. Le Comptoir du Vin’s menu may be minimal—typically just a smattering of dishes written on a chalkboard each day—but it’s mighty, and it’s crafted by chef and co-owner Will Mester, formerly of Woodberry Kitchen. The dishes vary daily, but some of their soul-warming creations have included French lentils served with curry, labneh and grilled flatbread or persimmons with creamy mascarpone, mint and dukkah.
A swanky setting with a panoramic view—thanks to The Bygone’s location on the rooftop of the Four Seasons—is married with a historic fantasy approach for this buzzy concept restaurant. Chef Matthew Oetting took inspiration from the glamorous ’20s and ’30s, then blended it with nouvelle cuisine of the post-World War II era and today’s trends to establish his French-inspired menu. The result: A truly special dining experience.
At Azumi, a sophisticated Japanese grill inside the Four Seasons, the menu features luxe ingredients like wagyu short rib and miniature Japanese freshwater crabs—a signature appetizer—plus sushi sliced from fish flown in direct from Tokyo’s famed Tsukiji Fish Market.
Gertrude’s Chesapeake Kitchen
Set against the gorgeous backdrop of the Baltimore Museum of Art, Gertrude’s is as much as destination as its home. Owned by chef John Shields, a well-known expert in Chesapeake cuisine, the restaurant specializes in locally sourced farm-fresh food that honors local culinary traditions. From small plates and salads at lunchtime, to regional specialties like Chincoteague Single-Fry Oysters on its dinner menu, this sophisticated spot is a lovely way to sample the flavors of the region.
Ida B’s Table
At Ida B’s Table you’ll find Southern soul food with a modern twist. Among the unique dishes at this downtown favorite, named for the civil rights pioneer and journalist Ida B. Wells, you’ll find fried blue catfish (local and sustainably sourced) and short ribs, served with salt-and-pepper grits and a wild mushroom gravy.
Restaurante Tio Pepe
Billed as authentically Spanish, this Baltimore institution has been beloved by diners for a half-century, and for good reason. Tio Pepe serves up a traditional regional menu that includes classic favorites like gazpacho, tortillas and paella, plus grilled and roasted meats and seafood, complete with a selection of fine wines.
Inventive cuisine crafted by frequent James Beard award finalist Cindy Wolf has made this upscale Harbor East restaurant a beloved favorite since it opened in the late 1990s, and for good reason. Wolf’s menus deftly combine classic French techniques with the comforting cooking of South Carolina. Charleston’s dishes feature acclaimed plates like black truffle risotto, pan-seared foie gras, cornmeal-fried oysters and slow-roasted pork belly. There’s no wonder this is one the best restaurants in Baltimore.
The Prime Rib
Opened in 1965, the Prime Rib hearkens back to the golden era of fine dining complete with white tablecloths, live piano music, tuxedoed waitstaff and the best cuts of steak, prime rib and chops.
Since 1996, Sotto Sopra has been serving classic Italian cuisine in creative ways. Think dishes like squid ink spaghetti with shrimp and calamari and pumpkin ravioloni topped with amaretti cookies in a cream sauce.
The Food Market
We can’t let you go to the Food Market without trying their famous pretzels and beer cheese fondue, but that’s not all they have to offer. Chef Chad Gauss combines foods you know and love with innovative technique, like scallops with summer squash risotto, blistered cherry tomatoes, bacon soubise.
Thames Street Oyster House
There’s a reason it’s nearly impossible to get a seat at this Fell’s Point hot spot without a reservation. Thames Street offers freshly shucked oysters, award-winning lobster rolls and a robust menu of local seafood dishes.