Favorite restaurants, from old classics to places hot and new
When visitors come to see me, I don’t take them to better-known restaurants downtown or at the Inner Harbor. Many of my favorite places are informal restaurants where out-of-towners can get a taste of Baltimore’s neighborhoods or cultures.
Here are places where I eat a lot:
Samos, in the heart of what remains of Baltimore’s Greektown on the east side, is a venerable mom-and-pop. It’s hard to park, it’s BYOB, and it’s so popular you might wait on weekend nights. Why go? It’s a great deal: The Greek appetizers alone will feed the whole family. Samos, 600 S. Oldham St. (just off Eastern Avenue); 410-675-5292.
Kali’s Mezze (next to its fancier relative, Kali’s Court) is a newer Mediterranean restaurant, more expensive than Samos but still reasonable—as at Samos, appetizers alone may suffice. Valet parking is a nice, and needed, plus in the old waterside neighborhood it’s in, Fells Point. Kali’s Mezze, 1606 Thames St.; 410-563-7600.
Near Fells Point in Harbor East, and also with valet parking, is Pazo,a new Mediterranean-style restaurant with lots of small plates. In a rehabbed industrial space, Pazo has a lively bar and late-night scene. Pazo, 1425 Aliceanna St.; 410-534-7296;pazorestaurant.com.
Arcos,on the edge of Fells Point, is proof of Baltimore’s growing Latin American scene. This new Mexican restaurant is wonderfully set in an old rowhouse and offers inexpensive and well-prepared food. Good place for children. Los Arcos, 129 S. Broadway; 410-522-4777.
Another new restaurant in a rehabilitated industrial space is the Wine Market,on the way to Fort McHenry. A popular bar/restaurant, it has a wine store attached. The restaurant offers New American cuisine. The Wine Market, 921 E. Fort Ave.; 410-244-6166.
The Ambassador, two blocks from Johns Hopkins University, is the city’s most popular Indian restaurant. An old-fashioned dining room opens onto lovely outdoor dining from spring to fall. Reservations are a must. Valet parking. The Ambassador Dining Room, 3811 Canterbury Rd.; 410-366-1484.
About two blocks from the Ambassador, the Carlyle Club features Lebanese, Greek, and Middle Eastern food in an elaborate setting. Valet parking. The Carlyle Club, 500 W. University Pkwy.; 410-243-5454.
About a mile north of Johns Hopkins, in Roland Park, is Petit Louis.The setting looks as if a French bistro had been reassembled from Paris. Reservations recommended. Petit Louis, 4800 Roland Ave.; 410-366-9393;petitlouis.com.
In the 19th-century neighborhood of Bolton Hill, try B, a Bolton Hill Bistro for light fare. In warm weather, there’s outdoor seating. B, a Bolton Hill Bistro, 1501 Bolton St.; 410-383-8600.
Tapas Teatro,next to the Charles Theatre—which runs foreign and independent films—is crowded but fun. The restaurant offers a huge array of Spanish-style tapas and has a lively bar. There’s cheap parking across the street and outside dining. Tapas Teatro Café, 1711 N. Charles St.; 410-332-0110.