Asian-Owned Restaurants in Baltimore
From cozy bakeries to award-winning fine dining, you won't want to miss out on these Asian-owned eateries.
Baltimore’s Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community has long influenced the city’s cultural landscape, from the murals that adorn downtown destinations to dance troupes that perform at local festivals. The culinary influences are far-stretching as well; you’ll find fresh flavors and innovative concepts at these AAPI-owned restaurants, which range from posh dining rooms to cozy kitchens and fast-casual community hubs.
Named for the sacred Bodhi Tree in India, one of the four main Buddhist pilgrimage sites, this family-owned Thai restaurant seeks to provide diners with an enlightening experience through a calming atmosphere and authentic Thai cuisine. Its approach has paid off—Bodhi has two locations in Hampden and Federal Hill and was named “Best Thai Restaurant” by Baltimore Magazine in 2021. Their robust menu allows you to make your own curry, noodle or fried rice dish by picking your protein (including ample vegetarian options) and base ingredients. On a warm day, enjoy your meal outside at one of Bodhi’s street-side tables or secluded patio.
Café Dear Leon
Since opening its doors in August 2020, Café Dear Leon, named after co-owner Min Kim’s son, has amassed a cult following. The café takes fresh-baked to a whole new level by only releasing goods at one of four times throughout the morning: breakfast debuts at 6 a.m., pastries at 7:30, croissants at 9 and lunch items at 11. By noon, they’re almost always sold out—a testament to just how tasty their treats are. You’ll have to arrive way before those time stamps if you want to snag something, but we promise the flakey, warm danishes, buns, quiches and scones are worth the wait.
Part coffee shop, part casual eatery, this popular spot from local restaurateur Phil Han, offers up a fresh take on Korean cuisine. The menu at Dooby’s includes rice bowls and noodle dishes like gochujang pork ramen, plus fried kimchi rice, innovative sandwiches and tasty snacks such as Korean hot wings and dumplings adapted from a family recipe.
Duck Duck Goose
Duck Duck Goose, a favored Fell’s Point eatery, takes on classic French bistro fare with a fresh, modern twist. Owner and head chef Ashish Alfred was named Maryland’s Chef of the Year in 2019, and has been featured on the TODAY Show and in The Washington Post. Duck Duck Goose, which also has locations in Washington, D.C. and Bethesda, has itself earned numerous accolades; Southern Living named it the “Best Restaurant in Maryland” in 2017. After just one bite, you’ll understand the praise. Try dishes like honey-roasted duck, served with a cherry reduction, or the pastry-wrapped halibut with scallop mousse and pea puree—all made with locally-sourced and seasonal ingredients.
Located along the back wall inside Belvedere Square Market and inside the Whole Foods in Harbor East, this casual hotspot serves up Japanese-style ramen infused with upscale flavors reminiscent of the owners’ Malaysian heritage. Each location has its own signature dishes—like Belvedere’s tonkatsu pork ramen and Harbor East’s beer-infused noodles—but both give you the choice to create your own ramen by picking your broth, noodles and toppings. You also can’t go wrong with Ejji’s “sandos,” which feature seasoned meats on homemade sesame-seed buns.
What started as a food cart at the Fell’s Point Farmers Market is now a popular three-store operation that dishes up Taiwanese curry fried chicken and Thai chicken meatballs in the form of steamed buns or rice bowls, plus specials that change regularly. What doesn’t change, however, is the fusion-fueled perspective—all the food at Ekiben leans pan-Asian, but there are smatterings of other flavors, such as Ethiopian spices and tahini. In addition to their original concepts and large portions, Ekiben’s popularity stems from its community-first model; in March 2021, owners Steve Chu and Ephrem Abebe drove all the way to Vermont to cook their tempura broccoli for a terminally ill customer. Find Eikiben’s petite eat-in locations in Fell’s Point and Hampden.
Innovative Indian dishes await you at Indigma, a modern bistro in Baltimore’s historic Mount Vernon neighborhood. Its name is a mashup of two words, India and enigma, and is indicative of owner Tony Chemmanoor’s experimental approach to traditional cuisine. Indigma’s menu takes guests on a journey from Northern to Southern India and features shareable small plates, handcrafted cocktails, clay oven breads, Indian beers, tandoori specialties and more. Stop by after exploring the Walters Art Museum or Washington Monument!
If you’re looking for fresh, authentic Vietnamese food, look no further than Mount Vernon’s Indochine. The owners operated a successful restaurant in Vietnam before arriving in the United States, and their expertise is evident in every bite. Indochine offers classic dishes like rice vermicelli bowls and banh mi, but the pho steals the show, thanks to the noodles they make themselves. Order it with steak, chicken, shrimp or tofu.
Born into a family of restaurateurs, Gary Akbar spent his childhood cooking with his parents and grandparents. Today, he offers many of those same family recipes at his Highlandtown restaurant, Indoviet. Enjoy fresh, sizzling Indonesian and Vietnamese dishes like satay, banh mi, banh xeo, pho and more – all of which are made using fresh ingredients and quality spices.
Conveniently located in Federal Hill, this award-winning concept from Chef Bill Tien has developed a reputation as one of the best sushi spots in the city. Orioles and Ravens players frequently feast there, as well as visiting filmmakers and politicians. Enjoy a meal in Matsuri’s spacious dining room with Japanese-style seating, or rent the private upstairs dining room for events of up to 50 people.
Nestled in the quiet Roland Park community, Namaste is a family business run by Binod Uprety and his wife Shrijana Khanalin, who often greet guests themselves at the door. In addition to providing traditional Indian fare, Namaste serves Nepalese dishes like momo, a dumpling stuffed with ground chicken thigh and freshly-ground spices, and aloo ko achar, spicy marinated boiled potatoes. For dessert, opt for delicious house-made treats like kheer, gulab jamun or kulfi.
It didn’t take long for NiHao to earn national recognition. In November 2020, just five months after opening, Esquire ranked the nontraditional Chinese restaurant fourth on its list of best new American restaurants. Its success isn’t exactly surprising as it comes from famed Mid-Atlantic restaurateur and James Beard Award nominee Peter Chang. You’ll find some of Chang’s signature dishes such as the Peking duck, plus fresh ingredients and Chinese recipes mixed with Western cooking techniques, resulting in a menu that is equally refreshing and comforting. The homey, handmade furniture and decor beckons you inside, inviting you to sit, relax and enjoy a thoughtfully-made meal.
This longtime favorite Remington breakfast spot can’t be missed—literally. Papermoon Diner’s colorful exterior and collection of mannequins on the lawn are nothing compared to the inside. A cornucopia of kitsch awaits with thousands of Pez dispensers, Barbie dolls and other pop culture figurines hanging from the ceiling and adorning the walls—the result of years of collecting and collaboration between owner Un Kim and artist David Briskie.