“Good morning, Baltimore! Every day’s like an open door!” OK, OK, the city of Baltimore is probably tired of hearing the “Hairspray” soundtrack on loop, but it doesn’t make the sentiment any less true. The foodie scene has really opened its doors to new ideas, new ventures, and new flavors in recent years. See what “Charm City” brings to the plate when you experience Baltimore’s Restaurant Week.
What to expect during Restaurant Week in Baltimore
Baltimore’s food scene was once limited to Chesapeake Bay tastes, but that’s no longer the case. While seafood-infused menus are still a staple of many restaurants, chefs have been playing with bold new compositions and spice profiles in the past decade. Why not experience it for yourself, and brace your taste buds for over 100 restaurants offering fixed menus during the event.
Sites between bites
When people think of Baltimore, MD they typically think of two things: the Harbor and HBO’s “The Wire.” Luckily, there’s more to the city than boats and Omar Little. Baltimore is where Frances Scott Key wrote “The Star Spangled Banner,” where director John Waters got his start, and where radical art continues to impress at the American Visionary Art Museum. See how the city’s neighborhoods influence its creative dishes with sites between bites.
What do you get when you combine the zaniness of John Waters, the creativity of local artists, and the intellect of John Hopkins University? A neighborhood like Hampden. Spend some time walking on “The Avenue,” the stretch of 36th Street that’s home to a number of art galleries, yoga studios, wine bars, and clothing boutiques. Unsurprisingly, the food also has a bit of eccentricity to it. Walk into a top restaurant like Alchemy, which conjures up unique flavors on the regular. Try out the jalapeno hummus with vegetable confetti, or dive into the angel fire chicken, served with pickled red onions and smoked goat cheese. Next, check out Alizee, one of the best restaurants in Baltimore, and order the fruit-inspired soup du jour, or the tri-color tortellini tossed with pesto blackened meat.
Want an afternoon of pirates, boats, and ghosts during Restaurant Week in Baltimore? Make your way to the Fell’s Point neighborhood, where ships like Baltimore clippers got their start and many of the buildings were once pubs, bordellos, and boarding houses. Take a ghost tour, hop on a replica pirate ship, and watch the waves lap at the shore. When you’re ready to lap up some salty treats, head into Riptide by the Bay for some fried local oysters, made with buttermilk crust and served with a sesame aioli dipping sauce. Or give Louisiana Restaurant a try, and bite down on the beer-battered fish and chips served with apple cider slaw.
End your evening with a bang. Baltimore’s Inner Harbor is the most recognizable neighborhood in the city, so swing by the Maryland Science Center and the National Aquarium, or just linger on the docks, watching the boats float by. Toast to an evening well spent with a visit to Bistro 300 and order their crispy calamari, shrimp and bay scallop pappardelle, with the flourless chocolate cake to top it off. Looking for red meat? Go to Morton’s The Steakhouse, a local staple, and order the baked five onion soup, double-cut pork chop, and frosty key lime pie.
Viewfinder tip: Inner Harbor is the most popular area of the city, so make reservations ahead of time for dinner.
The nitty gritty
See what all the buzz is about during Baltimore’s Restaurant Week. The event lasts from July 24th through August 2nd, with most neighborhoods participating.
Foodies still regard Baltimore as a hidden gem on the national scene, so check it out before the rest of the country rushes in to see it for themselves.