The Dining Dish blog is Dara Bunjon's take on anything food, both national and in her hometown of Baltimore. Warning: this food blog can be harmful to your waistline.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

What Are Your Favorite Restaurants?

I need your help! Please let me know your favorite restaurants both in Washington DC and suburban areas, Northern Virginia and in Baltimore. The high end, the quirky neighborhood restaurants, favorite ethnic restaurants, late night restaurants. I'm working on a project and my stomach and purse strings cannot attempt to sort out all the many selections...I'm leaving it up to you to let me know. Be sure to list the city and a line or two what you like about the restaurants.


John said...

Oh this question makes my brain hurt! Where to begin?

I'll just go with my top 5 - if I could only ever go to five more restaurants, regardless of price, in the Baltimore-DC-NoVA area they'd be:

THE HELMAND (Mt. Vernon) - some of the only Afghan food around, and some of the best. Not cheap but not TOO expensive.

SUZIE'S SOBA (Hampden, not the downtown location) - a bit pricey but always consistently delicious food. I think Suzie rocks to be quite honest. Her bibimbap and bulgogi are among the best things I have eaten in the past 12 months.

CHIYO SUSHI (Mt. Washington) - Because of their rolls, their service and their tempura ice cream. Kyodai is good but it doesn't have tempura ice cream so I gotta go with Chiyo. Average prices as far as Japanese places go.

PETIT LOUIS BISTRO (Roland Park) - A bit on the pricey side, a Restaurant Week trip only for me. But so very damn good!

ZODIAC and TAPAS TEATRO (tie, both Station North) - I choose these both because they have pretty decent, if at times overpriced, food, and are in a good centralized location and good atmosphere. Sometimes I have to flip a coin to decide which one to go to. I go to Zodiac for their hamburgers (yes Alonso's has that massive one for only a few dollars more, but this is easier to get to the theater from. Occasionally I will order something else but the burgers are my favorite item. and Guinness on tap, very important. Tapas Teatro is less pricey but rarely has anywhere to sit. When I can get there it's often the tempura vegetables, which come with a habanero-mango sauce that is HOT but good.

I'd go into my LEAST favorite ones, too, but I think I've moaned enough about the Grill Art Cafe (Hampden) to last a lifetime.

theminx said...

I've had some really great meals at Louisiana, in Fells Point, particularly the appetizers (shrimp and grits and crab bisque to die for); Roy's at Harbor East is always consistently delicious and I really enjoy the Hawaiian-themed wine dinners; for the best Chinese food, try Jesse Wong's Hong Kong in Columbia, and ask for the Chinese menu; New Han Dynasty at the junction of Joppa and Belair Roads (by the Double T) is always pretty good too; Petit Louis has a boisterous atmosphere and pretty good bistro fare, but for someplace quieter and still French, try Brasserie Tatin. One of my favorite Italian places is Sotto Sopra, expensive, but they do some pretty incredible things with seafood.

Dan said...

Andy Nelson's Barbecue (Cockeysville)
Easily among the best BBQ restaurants I've ever been to and that includes eateries from Carolina to Oklahoma and back. Delicious, fall-off-the-bone ribs and mouth-watering pork BBQ are among our favorites, though the brisket and smoked wings can be hit-or-miss. Top-notch sides include a creamy red skin potato salad and spicy beans that'll make you forget every bland baked bean you've ever had.

Samo's (Baltimore)
Easy to see why this small, BYOB Greek restaurant is a perpetual fave with area residents. I highly recommend the family style "Tour of Samos" – an insane amount of freshly-cooked and delicious Greek treats including Greek salad, tzatziki, kalamari, spinach pie, chicken souvlaki, dolmades, lamb chops, garlic shrimp, gyro and roasted potatoes.

Chameleon Cafe (Baltimore)
I've only been once but this small, local restaurant immediately jumped to the top of my list of area faves. Seasonal offerings focus on local produce and meats and their popular Baltimore menu showcases vintage local recipes that showcase the best flavors the area has to offer.

Kyodai (Towson)
There's any number of great sushi places in and around the city and Kyodai sits across the street from San Sushi Too/Thai One On, one of my favorite restaurants in the area. But I've been a big fan of Kyodai since my first visit. A conveyor belt atop the huge bar brings small plates of fresh sushi and delicious rolls past you while the friendly, attentive staff makes sure you have plenty to drink. A great, casual place to sample a variety of excellent sushi dishes.

G&M (Linthicum) & Faidley's (Lexington Market)
Any discussion of where to eat in the Baltimore area is certain to include a discussion of the best crabcakes in town. G&M certainly gets a nod for the sheer mass of their offering, a softball-sized cake that's heavy on crab and light on filler. I have no idea how any of their other food is as I've only tasted their crab bisque and crabcakes. For a more Baltimore-esque experience, try stopping by Faidley's for some Charm City atmosphere and my vote for best crabcake in the city. Not as huge as what you'll get at G&M, but packed with flavor and knee-weakening creaminess.

Hank's Oyster Bar (DC)
Ranks up there as one of the most memorable meals I've had in recent years. Casual atmosphere, decent beer selection, friendly and helpful staff... not to mention the best mussels I've ever tasted (just beating out Mama's on the Half Shell) and an amazingly great lobster roll.

Mama's on the Half Shell (Canton)
Always reliable when I want a seafood fix. Something for everyone but I'm a sucker for the massive bowl of mussels with garlic butter and an oyster Po'Boy accompanied by a cold PBR draft.

John Steven (Fells Point)
Fells Point eateries come and go, but John Steven has remained an area fixture for good reason. Their steamed shrimp alone are worth the trip, plump and meaty and cooked with a heaping helping of Old Bay. Be sure to ask for extra Wet Naps. Other dishes tend to be hit or miss, including fish and chips that has been great as often as it's been overcooked and greasy but I keep going back in hopes that the Cream of Trout soup will be on the menu.

Miss Shirley's (Baltimore)
I need a few more visits to really decide where this place falls on my list of area faves, but I'll keep going back just to have their amazing Savory Grits. My mouth's watering just thinking about this blend of grits, bacon, heavy cream and marscapone cheese.

Amicci's (Little Italy) & Vacarro's (Little Italy)
Looking for coma-inducing Italian food in a relaxed atmosphere? Amicci's was one of the first area restaurants I visited when I started coming to Baltimore and it has been a standby ever since. Nothing earth-shatteringly great, but always reliable and you more than get your money's worth. Do yourself a favor, though, and save half (or more) of your dinner for the next day and walk over to Vacarro's for some of their out of this world desserts, namely the tiarmasu.

Me said...

Chameleon Cafe - so delicious and unpretentious. But they need better silverware.

Bistro B - currently, my favorite "default setting" for those crappy rainy Friday nights where you and your spouse say "I don't feel like cooking, where shall we go?" Great food, super atmosphere, very funny, AWESOME homamde gelato.

Rocket to Venus - sometimes the waitstaff can be surly, and it's impossible to get into on the weekend, but really fun and interesting bar food. Pierogies to DIE for.

Lebanese Taverna - ok, it's a chain. Get over it. It's a mini-chain and family-owned. DELICIOUS, absolutely delicious. Hummus unparallelled.

The Szechuan - in Federal Hill. Just no better Chinese food in town, period. Seems to be falling on hard times as it's never packed as in days of old. We hope Kirby and Linda stick around for a few more years.

Places I hate? Places that I think are totally overrated? Nasu Blanca (in a word, yeccchhhh); Woodberry Kitchen (too crammed, too hyped, too full of itself, too precious); Alonso's (what happened to this venerable place to make it so awful? Indifferent waitstaff and the place always reeks of Lysol! EW!); Miss Shirley's (too expensive, too noisy, too greasy, too TOO!!); Bicycle (YECCCHHH!!!!).

Anonymous said...

My favirite places:

Downtown Baltimore
- Ixia (new american)

Owings Mills
- China Best (inexpensive great sushi buffet)
- Bone Fish (chain, but exelent flavors0
- Bombay Grill (good indian food)
- Famous Dave's BBQ (Best BBQ I tasted so far)
- Linwood (very expensive fine dining)

- Casa Rico Mexican Grill (best mexican in Baltimore area I know)

Dim Sum restaurants
-Silver Fountain in Silver Spring (#1 in my list)
- Oriental East (#2)
- Good Fortune in Wheaton (#3)
- Jessie Wong's restaurant in Columbia (#4)

- Little Spice in Ellicott City

- Pho Dat Thanh in Columbia

- Helmands in Baltimore (but even better in Boston)
- Afgan Grill (Washington DC)
absolutlly wonderful

Good Luck with your progect! You have a wonderful blog.


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