Baltimore's Most Popular

Baltimore's booming dining scene
March 1, 2016
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by Zagat Staff

In the past decade, Baltimore has embraced the locavore movement with great enthusiasm.  The people have spoken, presenting our most popular restaurants in Baltimore. 

Charleston
American · Harbor East · $$$$
Food 4.8 · Decor 4.7 · Service 4.7

Cindy Wolf remains "at the top of her game" , applying "world-class technique" to "Lowcountry" cuisine to create "phenomenal" New American masterpieces at her Harbor East "destination" ; "no detail goes unnoticed" by the "superlative" staffers, who "spoil" guests with selections from co-owner Tony Foreman's "epic" wine list in a "stunningly beautiful" space; just "be prepared" for the multicourse menu's "sticker shock" – for many, it's a "once-every-few-years kind of place."
Woodberry Kitchen
American · Woodberry · $$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.5 · Service 4.4

"A smash" since it opened and still "wildly popular" , this Woodberry New American in a "rebuilt old factory" hosts a "hip" , "boisterous" crowd happily devouring the "complex" farm-to-table "amazingness" delivered by "friendly, smart" servers who "aim to please" ; some find it "a bit pricey" , but its huge fan base deems it "worth the trip many times over" – which is why it's "oh so hard to get into" ( "reserve way in advance" ).
The Prime Rib
Steakhouse · Mt. Vernon · $$$
Food 4.7 · Decor 4.6 · Service 4.7

Do as they do in "Mad Men" "dress up and have a martini" – at this "classic" Mt. Vernon steakhouse (with branches in DC and Maryland Live! Casino) that's operating at the "top of its game" , delivering "fantastic" "slabs of meat" and "masterful seafood" ; from the "1940s supper club vibe" to the "sublime" tuxedoed service, it's a "perfect evening out" ; P.S. business-casual dress is recommended.
The Prime Rib
Steakhouse · $$$
Food 4.8 · Decor 4.6 · Service 4.8

Do as they do in "Mad Men" "dress up and have a martini" – at this "classic" Mt. Vernon steakhouse (with branches in DC and Maryland Live! Casino) that's operating at the "top of its game" , delivering "fantastic" "slabs of meat" and "masterful seafood" ; from the "1940s supper-club vibe" to the "sublime" tuxedoed service, it's a "perfect evening out" ; P.S. business-casual dress is recommended.
Tio Pepe
Spanish · Mt. Vernon · $$$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.3 · Service 4.5

If this "immutable" special-occasion "staple" in Mt. Vernon is "favored by people nostalgic for the Nixon administration" , well, longtime faithfuls explain it truly is "as great as it was years ago" – from the "outstanding" , "authentic" Spanish-Continental fare to the "potent" sangria; a "superb" crew works the "wonderfully cozy" , whitewashed subterranean setting (just make sure to bring mucho dinero).
Linwoods
$$$
Food 4.7 · Decor 4.6 · Service 4.6

Chef-owner Linwood Dame brings "interesting nuances" to his "impeccable" "modern" American cuisine at this "serene" spot in Owings Mills that's been "charming" "sophisticated" diners for around a quarter-century; a "contemporary, elegant" room with an open grill, patrolled by a "first-rate" staff, enhances an experience that's worthy of a "special occasion" or any time "you're feeling plush."
Miss Shirley's Cafe, Annapolis
American · $$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.1 · Service 4.3

"Down-home cooking at its best" cheer fans of this "always crowded" daytime mini-chain where the "extensive" menu of "dangerously delish" American fare features many a "Chesapeake" or "Southern" "twist" ; yes, there's often "a wait" (no reservations) in "funky" colorful digs, but tabs are fair, and staffers are "super" , so most ultimately leave "stuffed and happy."
Miss Shirley's Cafe, Inner Harbor
American · Inner Harbor
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.1 · Service 4.3

"Down-home cooking at its best" cheer fans of this "always crowded" daytime mini-chain where the "extensive" menu of "dangerously delish" American fare features many a "Chesapeake" or "Southern" "twist" ; yes, there's often "a wait" (no reservations) in "funky" , colorful digs, but tabs are fair, and staffers are "super" , so most leave "stuffed and happy."
Miss Shirley's Cafe, Roland Park
American · Roland Park · $$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.1 · Service 4.3

"Down-home cooking at its best" cheer fans of this "always crowded" daytime mini-chain where the "extensive" menu of "dangerously delish" American fare features many a "Chesapeake" or "Southern" "twist" ; yes, there's often "a wait" (no reservations) in "funky" , colorful digs, but tabs are fair, and staffers are "super" , so most leave "stuffed and happy."
The Food Market
American · Hampden · $$

From the open kitchen of a former Hampden grocery store made famous in John Waters’ film Pecker, chef Chad Gauss crafts traditional Americana with a distinctive twist. The sleek interior has rustic overtones, and a bar pouring cool cocktails until late make it a favorite on ‘the Avenue.’
Petit Louis Bistro
French · Roland Park · $$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.4 · Service 4.5

“A little bit of Paris” in Roland Park, Cindy Wolf and Tony Foreman's “charming” bistro “institution” “hits the mark” with “outstanding” “traditional French” fare (accompanied by an “amazing” cheese cart) that justifies tabs “on the pricey side” ; service is “efficient” , and though quarters are “tight” and the regulars “don't expect quiet” , the “noise” just “adds to the joie de vivre.”
The Capital Grille
Bar · Inner Harbor · $$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.4 · Service 4.5

At these "clubby" steakhouses oozing "sophistication" and "swagger" , "toothsome" slabs of beef are matched with "phenomenal" wine by "snazzy" -looking servers who "remember who you are" ; yes, this National Aquarium–side branch is part of a chain, but "still very well run" , and all outposts are "fine incarnations" of the genre, so expect "prices that reflect the quality."
Cinghiale
Wine Bar · Harbor East · $$$
Food 4.4 · Decor 4.6 · Service 4.4

Cindy Wolf and Tony Foreman hit "on all cylinders" with this Harbor East Italian (across the street from their Charleston), which has an "exquisite baronial" dining room on one side and a "rustic" enoteca on the other, both offering a "consistently exceptional" , daily changing menu (including "excellent" housemade charcuterie) and a "deep" wine list; "attentive, knowledgeable" service is de rigueur, and though it costs "big bucks" , think of it as a chance to "wear your Armani suit."
The Helmand
Afghani · Mt. Vernon · $$
Food 4.7 · Decor 4.1 · Service 4.3

Diners make a "culinary expedition" to this Mt. Vernon "landmark" for "consistently amazing" Afghan fare (baked pumpkin is "especially recommended" ) served by "gracious" staffers justifiably "proud" of the cuisine; add an "elegant" space enriched with "attractive tapestries" and fans call it a "work of art."
Ruth's Chris Steak House - Annapolis
Steakhouse · $$$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.3 · Service 4.4

You always "know what you're getting" at this eminently "reliable" , "classy" steakhouse chain: "superior" chops smothered in "buttery excellence" that "melt in your mouth" after "sizzling" all the way to the table via "unobtrusive" , "top-of-the-line" servers; in short, go for a "truly prime" time – just "bring your wallet."