Weekending in Baltimore: How to Eat Your Way Through the Charm City

There’s so much more to the city than crabcakes and Natty Boh.

visiting baltimore

French lentils at Le Comptoir du Vin, a restaurant to try when you’re visiting Baltimore. Photograph by Kate Grewal

Pre-pandemic, Baltimore was the most exciting up-and-coming food and drink destination on the Eastern Seaboard. Post-pandemic, the hot spots are still hot — though in some cases not yet fully out of hibernation — and new options keep right on opening. The best part? All the good stuff is far away from touristy Inner Harbor.

Distance from Philly: 1.5 hours

Where to Stay: When it could have focused on saving its own skin, Hotel Revival shared its kitchen rent-free with displaced eateries (including the Urban Oyster, Maryland’s first female-and-Black-owned oyster bar), sourced locally whenever possible (right down to the Lor Tush toilet paper), and handed out care packages to service industry workers impacted by the pandemic. If all of that good juju doesn’t convince you to book a room, the ideal location — in über-charming Mount Vernon — and Instagrammable interiors (vintage MCM furnishings and Serge Mouille-inspired chandeliers abound) will. Rates start in the mid-$100s per night.

visiting baltimore

A suite at Hotel Revival, one place to stay while you’re visiting Baltimore. Photograph courtesy Hotel Revival

What to Do: Burn calories between meals in Druid Hill Park, 745 acres of urban green space, or Canton Waterfront Park, which hugs the harbor with an easy-to-follow walking path. Rather count steps while shopping? Hampden has all sorts of funky spots, including Brightside women’s boutique and vintage furniture emporium Wishbone Reserve. Another option: (Visually) detox with gorgeous plants at the Greenhouse at Good Neighbor. (More on that in a sec.)

The Eating-and-Drinking Sitch: Start at least one morning at Good Neighbor, where you can peruse Hem furniture and Xenia Taler dishware while you wait for Japanese-style iced coffees and decadent open-faced toasts. Then it’s off to Socle, a cool collaborative concept made up of, among other things, a beer hall, a wine and sake bar, and a local-farm-focused restaurant in a refurbished 1850s residence and carriage house. When the place fully reopens, the dinner res to get weeks in advance is at Le Comptoir du Vin, a skinny slip of a French bistro lauded by Esquire and Bon Appétit as one of America’s best new restaurants. Before you hop back on I-95, make your last stop Café Dear Leon, where locals line up for near-perfect pastries and tamago sandos.

visiting baltimore

Restaurateur Lane Harlan. Photograph by Nate Gregorio

Can’t-Miss List

1. Snack your way around Whitehall Mill
Must-tries at this new food hall in Hampden include the sweet and savory hand pies at Crust by Mack and Wight Tea Co.’s smoked chai.

2. Drink with Lane Harlan
Dubbed the “most interesting woman” in the biz in 2020 by Saveur, Harlan has built a boozy empire that includes speakeasy W.C. Harlan and mezcaleria Clavel.

3. Bring home a foodie souvenir
And no, we don’t mean Old Bay: Cane Collective and Le Monade are two Black-owned Baltimore businesses slinging delicious mixers and shrubs.

Published as “Eat Your Way Through … Baltimore” in the “Road Trip!” guide in the March 2021 issue of Philadelphia magazine.