Looking for the best date night spots in Charm City? Then you’re definitely gonna want to bookmark this post! I asked top Baltimorean foodies to share their recommendations with you guys so you’re in for a treat. I don’t usually contribute to these roundup features – I published quite a few on my food blog, Nomtastic Foods, for those of you interested – but I thought it’d be fun to chip in so I wrote a bit at the very end! So, let’s kick things off with Thames St. Oyster House.
Adam Yosim: Thames St. Oyster House & Peter’s Inn
Put your appetite on ice with local oysters, jumbo shrimp along with crab and lobster claws from the raw bar. If you feel like going all out, splurge for one of Thames Street’s shellfish towers, which also includes a daily changing Chef’s Selection. Now the real reason you’re here: Baltimore’s best lobster roll. Yes, you could travel to Maine and nosh on massive chunks of lobster stuffed inside a split-top bun with either drawn butter or a light kiss of mayo, or you could save on the airfare and make a reservation for two at this dimly lit seafood staple.
Their lobster comes from Maine and is butter poached, letting you experience the delicacy of the meat itself. If you’re in the mood for something warm, dive into the bouillabaisse, a seafood stew filled with mussels, shrimp, squid and other crustaceans. Don’t forget to order extra bread to sop up the briny, rich saffron tomato broth.
One of Baltimore’s most underrated institutions is a quick walk up Ann Street between Eastern and Fleet. Peter’s Inn recently re-opened nearly a year after a December 2017 kitchen fire (Their hand-written, photocopied menus end their “Be Well, Feel Well, Tip Well & Fare Well” greeting with “Fire Safety is Cool.”). The chef spoke briefly to the Baltimore Sun after opening before ending the phone conversation to finish prepping for dinner. “I literally have trout in my hands,” the co-owner said.
This corner restaurant is the type of place where the wait staff and owners will bid you farewell by name. The New-American offerings change weekly (Tagliatelle w/ Duck Confit and Duck Broth; Icelandic Arctic Char w/ Squid ink Risotto) but one of the constants is the buttery 13 oz. NY Strip, traditionally served with mashed potatoes and vegetables. Our waitress claimed it was one of the best she’s had in Baltimore. She wasn’t wrong. Also ask for the garlic bread. The smoked bluefish pate will have you ordering another round of pumpernickel bread so you can scrape the bowl clean.
Like the Tea Eats: Hersh’s
Baltimore is home to a plethora of awesome restaurants. Whenever my girlfriend and I are ready for a much needed date night, we head to Hersh’s. I don’t know if it’s the dimly lit vibe, or the fact that we had our first date there. But Hersh’s is always our go to.
Sitting at a candlelit table, (or on the patio when the weather allows) we usually start with a few of the rotating apps (always the croistini of the moment) and then share a pizza or an order of pasta. My favorite pizza is the Fumo E Fucco and I rarely stray, for the pasta, I can’t turn down their ravioli. Of course to accompany the apps and pizza there’s a great cocktail and beer menu. And we always save room for dessert.
The Baltimore Foodie: The Five Star Date night
When it comes to the perfect date night for me the perfect location that comes to mind is Baltimore’s prized inner harbor and more specifically it’s newly upgraded harbor east. This past summer on a perfect 74 degree day a random date night took me on the trifecta of perfection ( epic food, breath taking views & amazing company.) My favorite style of dates for sure are progressive ones, meaning: start at one place and possibly going to ( up to) 4 more places but lets not get too crazy this all depends on what level/type of date your on. Ours took us to 4 spots:
Stop 1: The Ice breaker
Meet at the marble bar to break the ice with a Sagamore mule and some raw Loch Bar salts at this gorgeous seafood restaurant on the 1st floor outside entrance the four seasons. On a typical day you can mingle with area millennial professionals and gen xers alike while enjoying their massive whiskey menu or taking a seafood adventure with their epic array from the sea. Granted we just stopped in for the prelude, their happy hour with 14 different discounted bites and seasonal cocktails is the perfect start.
Stop 2: The Breath Taker
As sun begins to set make your way up to top floor Gatsby themed restaurant for what’s touted as the best view of the harbor ( I’d have to agree) This stop may be a bit more pricey but well worth the trip. We made it our martini moment snagging, in my opinion, on of the best Titos dirty martinis w/ blue cheese stuffed olives in the city. Nothing beats a great martini while enjoying the best view in the city as the sunsets over Charm City…ijs. Now don’t get to wrapped up tho (its real easy to ) dinner awaits right down stairs
Stop 3: Sharable Dinner
Nothing is more spark creating than a sharable dish(es) and live music. That paired outdoor seating perfectly placed right in both ear/eye shot of Pier 5 and you have round 3 set. We decided sharing multiple sushi rolls, a couple tasty apps, and a few warm dishes was a recipe for the perfect date night….well that and a couple of their amazing cocktails.
Now don’t get me wrong, I too, agree that a four part date is a bit much but hey, we only live once and with Elk Room, Tagliata and Italian Disco just a block away the fun may never ends and that, ladies and gents, may very well be an entirely different date all together.
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Nomtastic Foods: Rye Street Tavern & Ida B’s Table
If you’re looking for killer ambiance, Rye Street Tavern is everything and then some. Located next to the Sagamore Spirit Distillery, this restaurant has both indoor and outdoor seating with gorgeous views of the Patapsco River. Chef Andrew Carmellini and his team offer solid American classics here, and their pastry chef, Sarah Elizabeth Malphrus, can do no wrong.
Must try dishes include their Ember-Roasted Beets, Calvert’s Gift Farm Carrots, and their Sagamore “Old Fashioned” Ribs. They also have an impressive raw bar selection and offer different crab specials on the daily – think crab rolls, crab pot pie and more. I’ve only tried one dessert here, but that’s because I love their Apple Pie Sundae THAT much. Definitely make sure to check them out with your date for an unforgettable night with great food and great conversation.
Ida B’s Table
Located on 235 Holliday Street, Ida B’s has some of the best food and drink in the city. Chef David Thomas is a force to be reckoned with. In fact, he was recently crowned Chopped Champion on the Food Network, but I was a fan way before that. Him and his wife, Tonya, run the restaurant together, and everything’s always on point.
Their Deviled Egg Trio and Octopus Po-Boy Sliders are to die for, and they have specials on weekends + lunch so there’s always something new to try on their menu. They have live music on Fridays and Saturdays from 6-9, and if you’re lucky, you can even hit up the Archive afterwards with your date.
This speakeasy’s only open on certain days so you have to follow them on social to stay in the know – click for their facebook and instagram. The experience is so worth it though – the space is really cool, and it only fits 16-20 guests so it’s a truly intimate setting. Their lead bartender, Alex Dang, crafts a special menu that’s unique for each occasion so definitely make sure to go if you have a chance to do so. IMHO, he makes some of the best cocktails in Charm City.
Alright guys, that’s it for today! I hope you enjoyed reading about these amazing Baltimorean restaurants. If you have any recommendations you want to share, let me know by leaving a comment below. This is obviously only the tip of the iceberg – Charm City is severely underrated when it has so much to offer – but I hope this is a good start, and you take the time to try each and every one of these places. A HUGE thanks to the bloggers who contributed today – they’re all incredible at what they do so definitely give them a follow. And for those of you interested, I post new content every Monday and Thursday so make sure to check back. Until next time, friends!