Places To Eat In Baltimore County – Materials on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, stored, or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Baltimore Magazine.
Now the Christmas tree has been kicked to the curb, the New Year’s confetti has been swept off the floor, and the most amorous month of the year is officially within reach. Whether you’re spending Valentine’s Day with your significant other or a group of friends, make a reservation, sip a bottle of vintage vino, and feel the love at these fun spots around town.
Places To Eat In Baltimore County
Ananda: Complete with ornate chandeliers, comfy cushions, and flickering fireplaces, this Howard County hotspot exudes elegance. You can’t go wrong with a bottle of wine or a pint of local craft beer to start, followed by Indian-inspired entrees like chicken vindaloo, Malabar crab, or almond-encrusted lamb chops with mint chutney. Flirty fact: the restaurant offers daily “Bliss Jam” from 4-6 p.m. featuring $5 cocktails and small plates ranging from lemon-ginger-poached chicken to crab cakes. 7421 Maple Lawn Blvd., Fulton, 20759
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Annabel Lee Tavern: This Cantonese pub, named after one of Edgar Allan Poe’s most famous works, celebrates the melancholic-romantic style of the Baltimore poet by highlighting hand-painted quotes, carved crows, and vintage paintings. Enjoy a candle-lit meal with entrees ranging from burgers and nachos to meatloaf and hickory smoked barbecue ribs. Flirty fact: A rotating chalkboard menu lists daily specials based on what’s in season. 601 S. Clinton St., 410-522-2929
The Brewer’s Art: This 19th-century mansion, famous for its home-brewed ales, is decorated with marble fireplaces, intricately carved moldings, and vintage bookshelves. Reserve a table in one of the wood-accented dining rooms to dig into entrees like steak frites and grilled elk loin, or cozy up at the bar with friends for more casual offerings like burgers and sandwiches. Flirty fact: the space boasts a semi-private back dining room overlooking the brew house, perfect for an intimate meal.
Colette: With its signature French fare, dim-lighting, and an expansive drink menu full of pre-Prohibition cocktails, this brand new Bottega sister-restaurant makes for a romantic hideaway in Station North. Grab a seat at the granite-top bar to sip Sazeracs, or settle in at a table for two in the dining room to munch on bistro-style bites from executive chef Stefano Porcile. Flirty fact: The front bar area highlights window seating perfect for people-watching along Charles Street. 1709 N. Charles St.
Ciao Bella: Snag a white linen table in this Little Italy place, where nattily-dressed waiters serve up hefty portions of classics like shrimp scampi, pasta primavera, lobster ravioli, and chicken marsala. The restaurant’s old school interior highlights exposed brick, wood fireplaces, and plenty of fancy portraits of Italian landscapes. Flirty fact: Be on the lookout for owner Tony Gambino, who often greets guests at the door and is always on hand to ensure seamless service. 236 S. Upper St., 410-685-7733
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Charleston: Feast on French cuisine combined with low-country inspiration at this swanky Harbor East Haven from royal restaurant duo Tony Foreman and Cindy Wolf. The interior — complete with Bernardaud place settings, red accents, and wine bottles on display — exudes romantic charm. Flirty fact: Chef Wolf prepares two special four-course prix-fixe menu over the Valentine’s Day weekend. (And because no Valentine’s Day meal is complete without a sweet finish, be sure to save room for dessert. Foreman Wolf’s pastry program is top-notch.) 1000 Lancaster St., 410-332-7373
La Cuchara: Set in a renovated industrial space in Woodberry, this trendy Basque-inspired hangout features chandeliers and a large 80-seat bar surrounding an open kitchen and fireplace. Nothing says love like a dish meant to be shared, and the menu offers a wide selection of tapas like squid ink pasta, patatas bravas, and grilled lobster. Flirty facts: Specially for Valentine’s Day, chef Ben Lefenfeld prepared a four-course prix-fixe tasting menu complete with smoked salmon brioche, root vegetable gratin, and tuna crudo with saffron emulsion. 3600 Clipper Mill Road, 443-708-3838
The Milton Inn: The fieldstone building that houses this Sparks special event restaurant has roots dating back to the 1700s. Its historical significance is carried into the interior, with touches such as high-backed wooden chairs, elegant mantelpieces, and candlelit tables. Flirty facts: The special prix-fixe menu for February 14 lists things like oysters, a seafood martini, and filet mignon topped with jumbo crabmeat. 14833 York Rd., Sparks, 410-771-4366
The Oregon Grille: Situated in bucolic Hunt Valley, this farmhouse is bursting with rural character. With its warm fireplaces, framed artwork, and an impressive collection of vintage Maryland memorabilia, the multi-level spot gives off a posh horse-club vibe. Get comfy in one of the many dining areas and feast on steakhouse-style entrees like filet mignon, pan-fried rockfish, jumbo lump crab cakes, and ahi tuna au poivre. Flirty Fact: No need to worry about not finding the perfect match – the restaurant’s novel about the wine list is 27 pages long. 1201 Shawan Road, Hunt Valley, 410-771-0505
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Sotto Sopra: Enjoy a taste of Italy by way of Mt. Vernon in this neighborhood restaurant, which features gold moldings, massive murals, and quirky chandeliers. The menu emphasizes contemporary staples such as spinach and ricotta ravioli, squid ink pasta with crawfish and crabmeat, and lobster bisque with mussels and clams. Flirty fact: The restaurant hosts monthly live opera nights, complete with a lineup of classical performers and a special prix-fixe menu. 405 N. Charles St., 410-625-0534
Waterfront Kitchen: Harbor views, twinkling lights, and a long wine list all contribute to the romantic atmosphere at this farm-to-fork gem in Fells Point. The restaurant, which prides itself on working with area producers, offers locally sourced dishes from roasted beet salad to wild Maryland catfish with bacon creme broth and confit garlic puree. Flirty Fact: The restaurant is preparing a special four-course prix-fixe for Valentine’s Day weekend, highlighting dishes such as broccoli cheddar soup, a charcuterie plate, pan-seared scallops and fingerling potatoes, and a duo of chocolate and red velvet cake accompanied by chocolate. – covered strawberries.
Wit & Wisdom: Two fireplaces, twinkling chandeliers, and plenty of spacious lounge seating contribute to the romantic atmosphere that permeates throughout this trendy tavern inside the Four Seasons Baltimore. For Valentine’s Day weekend, executive chef Zack Mills will present a prix-fixe menu focused on New American dishes like lobster bisque with lemon creme fraiche, roasted cauliflower steak, and grilled chicken with sweet onion jus. Flirty fact: Although Wit on the Water, the restaurant’s lavish outdoor patio, is closed for the season, our interior panoramic windows provide some of the best harbor views in town. 200 International Drive, 410-576-5800
Wine Market Bistro: Hang out under the glowing lights at this South Baltimore gem, which features exposed brick, colonial-style beams, and an inviting bar. The menu is a list of simple starters like mussels and flatbreads, as well as more intricate entrees like seared scallops and pan-roasted swordfish with suggested wine pairings. Flirty Fact: The Wine Market also has a selection of 800 bottles in its wine shop out front. If you don’t enjoy the by-the-glass offerings, your table can enjoy one of the bottles from the store for a small corkage fee. Additionally, the Wine Market is known for its weekly specials including neighborhood nights on Mondays and free wine tastings every Saturday. 921 E. Fort Ave., 410-244-6166
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Edited by Jane Marion With Suzanne Loudermilk and Mike Unger. Additional reporting by Lauren Cohen and John Farlow
Edited by Jane Marion With Suzanne Loudermilk and Mike Unger. Additional reporting by Lauren Cohen and John Farlow PHOTOGRAPHY BY SCOTT SUCHMAN
EARLY, that is, around mid-March 2020, this whole cook-at-home thing didn’t seem so bad. In fact, for a while there, when the pandemic closed restaurants for indoor dining and I found myself boiling dough for bagels, investing in an online cooking class (thank you Alice Waters for your “MasterClass” that celebrates the wonders of California cuisine), indulging. in to-go cocktails, and scrolling foodie accounts on Instagram for inspiration, it’s truly novel.
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But as spring turns to summer and fades to fall, with six more months to go, I have to accept that I’ve never perfected the five basic sauces. And as the exhaustion of the day’s grind—that is, making every meal—took its toll, I began to dream about food again.
Of course, even food isn’t an easy feat this year, at least for those struggling to keep restaurants afloat. Now, more than ever, I admire the people—chefs, sous-chefs, servers, dishwashers, busboys, bartenders, hosts—who make a living working in restaurants. A career in hospitality has never been easy, but over the past two years, it’s been tough, and many have left.
When the pandemic hit, and so on, I silently feared that I would never eat again, or that I would
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