The Professionals Decide . . .

Baltimore Magazine (which I love) has recently put out their first-ever ranking of the top 50 restaurants in Baltimore to eat.  It was a lot of fun to look at, especially when I recognized a few places that I have been fortunate enough to have been to in the past. 

I think that lists revolving around food can be so difficult to put together because of how much people’s tastes vary.  If my friends and I ever sat down and tried to compile a list of even our top 5 places to eat, the list would be so different.  So, of course, as I look through Baltimore Magazine’s, I am pretty happy that I agree with most of their selections.  Some of the best restaurants I’ve been to in the past year or so were included, in addition to a few places that are on the top of my list to try out.  For more about Baltimore Magazine’s selection process, check out their dining blog, In Good Taste by Suzanne Loudermilk.

One restaurant that I don’t particularly agree with is Baltimore favorite, The Charleston.  It’s hard to explain why because I think that it generally lives up to its height.  The food was delicious, the dining experience as a whole was excellent, the staff and host(esses) were top quality.  Capt. started with one of the best lobster biques that we’ve ever had, I had a scrumcious fried green tomato . . . I still talk about how much I loved the creme brulee trio I was served that had a melt-in-your-mouth pumpkin creme brulee. 

So, why don’t I think it’s the best restaurant in Baltimore?  I just didn’t walk away saying that it was the best meal I’ve ever had.  I said that it was good, I said that it was a great dining experience, but I wasn’t able to say that I was totally blown away.  Our pockets were over $200 lighter and we just felt ok about it . . . I’ve never recommended it, yet if people ask me about it, I do say that it’s delicious.  But just something in our hearts and about our tastebuds makes me say that the Charleston is overrated.  Yes, the restaurant that is considered the height of Baltimore’s fine dining, the restaurant that others strive to acheive the success of, is overrated.  I’m sorry Cindy Wolf, that’s just how I feel.  Apparently the professionals and a lot of other people in Baltimore disagree, but I stand by my story!

Here’s a few of the restaurants I happily eaten at and that I’ve been wanted to go to that also made it on the list and their rating.  If you want the full listing, do what I did and buy it yourself!

1.  The Charleston

6.  Woodberry Kitchen – Capt. and I went here for Valetine’s Day and definitely plan on going back.  The food was excellent, the atmosphere was cozy, and the service was attentive.  The food is fresh and local and the flavors in each dish definitely prove why the local movement is so successful.  A highlight was the cabbage and apple crepe.

9. Pazo – I can redeem myself to Cindy Wolf  by saying that I really like Pazo.  It has a very cool mediterranean lounge feel and the food is excellent.  I’ve been twice and wasn’t disappointed either time.  Each bite offers a fulfilling pop of flavor, and since it’s tapas, you can experience a number of different kinds of plates.  A highlight was the lavendar ice cream and fall fruit.

11. Salt – It’s on my date night list of places to go.

19.  Fin Steak and Seafood – I point Fin out to the Capt. everytime we’re in Fells Point and we keep trying to remember to go.  We usually forget, but I’ve heard good things and its on our list.

30. Roy’s  – Mike took me here for our first date night and we’ve been there again since.  It’s one of our favorite places and everything we’ve had is just fantastic.  I typically turn my nose up at chain restaurants, which Roy’s is, but the full flavor of every item on the plate prove me wrong.  A highlight is the molten lava cake and the opa.

31.  Dogwood – we’re hoping to go here in the next one or two weekends.

32. Jack’s Bistro – A chef friend of mine says that the chef at Jack’s is the most innovative chef in Baltimore.  That’s enough to convince me to want to go . . .

35. Iron Bridge Wine Company – This is my parent’s favorite default restaurant.  It’s about 20 minutes outside of Baltimore in Columbia, MD.  We buy all our wine here and I have registered to take a wine tasting class here in April.  I had a steak and blue cheese macaroni and cheese there, which was quickly shared with the whole table (much to my dissent).  You can sample their different wines by ordering flights or you can just ask their knowledgeable staff.

40. Tersiguel’s – It’s been so long since I’ve been to Tersiguel’s that it kind of doesn’t count.  I was a sophomore in high school and join my parents in celebration of my dad’s birthday in between school and cheerleading class.  It had been chicken nugget day in the school cafeteria, which was my favorite day of the week.  I proceeded to rave to my parents about how great the chicken nuggets are and how much I love them while eating one of the most moist roast chicken I had ever eaten in my life.  Apparently the maitre’de was entertained by it, because when I left, he commented to my parents that he was sorry they didn’t serve chicken nuggets for me.  Tersiguel’s is also about 20 minutes outside of Baltimore in Ellicott City.

41. The Wine Market – On the list

44. Corks – on my list!

46. b – Also on the list

47. Victoria Gastro Pub – Firstly, I have to say that the owners did a fantastic job transforming an old Bennigan’s into an elegant and formal dining experience.  The food was great, I had a melty and flavorful risotto and the staff was attentive and knowledgeable.

48.  Jordan’s Steakhouse – Jordan’s is right down the street from Tersiguel’s, giving people in Ellicott City a couple of options for higher end dining.  We ordered steak, green beans, and mashed potatoes, all a la carte.  Everything was well seasoned, the steak was rich and juicy, and the restaurant had a great atmosphere.  Where sometime Tersiguel’s can feel a little stuffy (at least to a 16-year-old me) and targeted to an older audience, Jordan’s has a more hip and modern look and feel to it, making it a but more appealing to younger couples in the area.

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