Baltimore, the largest city in Maryland and one of the largest seaports in the United States, is a cultural melting pot. It is often referred to as ‘a city of neighbourhoods’. The dining scene in Baltimore is equally diverse and appealing, as this selection of top 10 cultural restaurants demonstrates.
Described as ‘Baltimore’s first sous vide restaurant’, Jack’s Bistro offers customers an eclectic dining experience, with such delights as macaroni cheese with chocolate! Open Wednesdays to Sundays, it’s recommended to arrive early as this slightly-off-the-beaten-track restaurant tends to get busy pretty quickly and reservations are only accepted for large parties. The diverse menu is a combination of modern American-style cooking, alongside injections of South East Asian cuisine. Guests are welcome to call before visiting to check what’s on the latest menu.
Open since November 2009, Mr. Rain’s Fun House serves contemporary American-style cuisine, crafted by Chef William Buszinski. The restaurant operates a seasonal menu, infused with elements from different cultures from across the United States. There are three menus available, as well as a selection of fun cocktails, created by writer and wine enthusiast Perez Klebahn. Located within the eye-popping American Visionary Art Museum, designer Maria Buszinski has crafted the restaurant into a unique identity, within its spectacular visual environment.
Housed near Penn Station, The Charles Movie Theater, the University of Baltimore, and the Maryland Institute of Art (MICA), Station North is situated in the heart of Baltimore’s art and culture district. Station North Arts Café Gallery has received much acclaim across Maryland, with its people-friendly, wallet-friendly approach pulling in the crowds. This clean, vibrant venue hosts many events and successfully combines art for the plate and art for the wall. Special mention goes to the delicious French toast and mouth-watering Belgian waffles.
Calling the Baltimore Museum of Art home, Gertrude’s fits in perfectly into its surroundings. Author and TV Celebrity Chef John Shields has created a delicious menu that features specialties of the region, including barbecued pork, rockfish, crab cakes and oysters. Diners can also pick‘n’mix their meals to create their own culinary masterpieces at the ‘Home of Chesapeake’. Visitors to this award-winning restaurant will also be treated to enchanting views of the Wurtzburger Sculpture Garden.
Named after the Helmand River that runs through Afghanistan (and after the owner’s first born son), Helmand has helped bring the delights of Afghani cuisine to American audiences. The menu includes lamb, beef, seafood, aubergine, pumpkin and more dishes seasoned with Indian, Iranian, Greek and Afghani herbs and spices. Established in 1989, the Helmand of Baltimore serves exquisite meals that turn the culture and exotic flavour of Afghani cuisine into award-winning results. Located within walking distance of The Lyric Opera House, The Walters Art Museum and the Washington Monument, Helmand is well positioned for the visiting tourist.
Di Pasquale’s Italian Marketplace is the place to party Italian-style, while enjoying Maryland’s best pizza or pasta. The restaurant offers authentic Italian cuisine and has an in-house market and delis, reaffirming Di Pasquale’s position as Baltimore’s premier importer and retailer of authentic Italian ingredients. The interior itself exudes a comfy vibe with diners finding themselves warmed by a traditional brick oven, and surrounded by pasta-making devices and espresso machines. Molto bene!
Thames Street Oyster House
Bar, Restaurant, Pub, Seafood, American, Gluten-free, $$$
This classic oyster house hosts an attractive main bar, and a spectacular enticing raw bar for customers to gain the full oyster house experience. Thames Street Oyster House offers seafood dishes that embody a mixture of New England, mid-Atlantic and Maryland flavours. The restaurant is also taking an active role in helping to conserve the environment and maintain oyster stocks. A traditional oyster bar in the heart of historic Fells Point, visitors can take advantage of the crowd-pleasing Local Happy Hour, held every day from Monday to Friday.
Situated in the beautiful surroundings of the Antrim 1844 Country House Hotel, this restaurant offers diners the chance to enjoy their meals in historic manor-house luxury. The modern American-French-style menu caters to all tastes looking for a rural, yet sophisticated meal, offering a selection of meat, fish and vegetarian dishes. Served over six gourmet courses, the meal has been designed by the hotel’s renowned Executive Chef, Spencer Wolff. The hotel and restaurant are located about one hour from Baltimore by car, so it’s worth preparing ahead for a visit, especially for those intending to take advantage of the hotel’s award-winning wine list.
The Oregon Grille
The Oregon Grille is the restaurant to visit for classic fine dining, American style, with a creative selection of dry-aged sumptuous sirloins, grills and seafood. Located outside of the city, this is another restaurant worth planning ahead for. The Oregon Grille is famous for being the premiere steakhouse in the region, but the large lobsters are also a huge attraction, and the fresh asparagus is not to be missed. The restaurant itself is situated in an area of Maryland known for horse riding, and this is reflected in its decor. As well as serving high-quality steaks, the restaurant was labelled as ‘an extraordinary drinking and eating experience’ by Robert Parker from The Wine Advocate. To maintain the tradition of fine dining, male diners are required to wear suit jackets after 5 pm.
The Woman’s Industrial Exchange has given local Baltimore women the chance to craft, refine and market their handmade items since 1880. Woman’s Industrial Kitchen has played a major part in supporting this cause, and celebrates over 130 years of quality home cooking ‘just the way that mother made’. The venue gives diners the chance to taste age-old recipes, prepared in a traditional manner; each table in the Kitchen is dedicated to a woman with a Maryland connection, including singer Billie Holiday and actress Goldie Hawn.