In a city more known for its picturesque harbor, baseball park, and greatest television series known to mankind (yes, I'm still mourning The Wire), Baltimore also deserves a nod for its culinary hot spots that go far beyond the crabs. Here's the deal: Most visitors' stay in the Inner Harbor area – which is lovely – but riddled with chains. My advice? Lace up your sneakers or spring for a taxi on a few great meals outside the area. Here are three must-stops for some great bites in Baltimore.
Salt is one of those "New American" style restaurants in Baltimore's Butchers Hill-Patterson Park neighborhood. That designation really means a whole lotta nothing...until you taste the food. It's a short taxi ride from the Inner Harbor area and well worth it. The menu is studded with dishes like rabbit liver mousse, fois gras, wagyu sliders, and duck egg house-made ravioli – all of which are showstoppers. The space, which is fairly bare-bones, is divided into a dining room and a bar – fitting since they serve a selection of artisanal cocktails, craft beers and a robust (yet affordable) wine list. It's where the locals go to drink and the hip talk food.
Yes, it's another farm-to-table joint, but Waterfront Kitchen has one-upped the industry by billing themselves as "seed-to-plate." Located in Fell's Point, this waterfront restaurant is one of the few places where you'll get a harbor view with non-tourist menu items. The offerings are constantly changing to capture what's seasonal, but think local fried green tomatoes, crunchy Maryland crab cakes, and fresh watermelon. They support the BUGS (Baltimore Urban Gardening with Students) program, which teaches inner-city grade school kids about gardening, good nutrition, and applied academics. A percentage of their profits help BUGS kids grow produce for the restaurant in gardens in a greenhouse down the street so you can feel good about devouring that smoked pork and veal pate.
Feeling deep in the pockets? This is the fancy-pants meal for Baltimore diners. Spying local celebs, politicians, and the who's who of the city is not uncommon here since Chef Cindy Wolf's southern cooking is renowned. She prepares four versions of a tasting menu that changes daily (choices from three to six courses) while her husband has carefully curated the mile-long wine list. She's managed to nail the whole upscale southern thing with dishes like Burgundy snails on stone-ground grits or grilled squab with chanterelle mushrooms, cornbread stuffing, gamebird and cognac reduction. Bonus: It's located in East Harbor so you can waddle home and pass out after the tasting menu with a wine pairing.
What are some of your favorite Baltimore eateries?
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