I’m leaving Baltimore, a city that I’ve called home for the past ten years, and thought it would be fun to list a few recommendations. Enjoy!
Best Coffeeshop: The Bun Shop. Fantastic coffee and small eats, friendly staff, and unique urban styling won this category. The Bun Shop, including its second location downtown, is an absolute gem. If I had to sum it up in one word, it would be, “chill.”
Best Restaurant: Joe Benny’s. When this place first opened, I was so impressed that I made a Yelp account to leave a review. Since then, other people have discovered Joe Benny’s, and it’s currently the #1 reviewed Baltimore restaurant on Yelp. Granted, Yelp isn’t the judge and jury of restaurants, but Google reviews and other sites agree – Joe Benny’s is nothing short of fantastic. I think it’s a matter of time until the restaurant expands; it currently only has a dozen or so small tables. Get the Fiore – focaccia with meatballs.
Best Italian Market: Trinacria. Trinacria beat out Di Pasquales, another excellent choice, because of better overall pricing. I usually ransack Trinacria for their selection of Italian wines, but the Deli is excellent as well. Buyer beware, both Trinacria and Di Pasquales are dodgy areas. Leave nothing in plain sight in your car.
Best Fine Dining: Charleston. Yes, Charleston is expensive, but it is also the best dining experience you can find in Baltimore. There is no question about it. Expect $100-200 per person including wine, and a number of tastes and flavors that you never knew existed.
Best Cocktail Bar: WC Harlem. If candlelight is your thing, then WC Harlem needs to be added to your list. WC Harlem is impressively unique, both in atmosphere and in menu. Check it out, if you can find it. It’s more of a speakeasy, so it doesn’t have any huge neon signs that can be seen from the road.
Best $/lb Sandwich: Chaps Pit Beef. I don’t think any Baltimore list would be complete without Chaps, aka the world’s best sandwich place in the parking lot of a strip club. My favorite is the Raven – Beef, Corned Beef, and Turkey. Definitely get some of their homemade Tiger sauce too, but be careful, it’s a bit spicy.
Best Sandwich Selection: Take It Away Deli. I know sandwiches, and this place knows them too! They have over 40 sandwiches on the menu, making Take It Away the best Deli downtown. Oh, and the staff are super friendly and fun, too.