300 South High Street (at Fawn St.)
A few years ago, a friend of mine mentioned that she’d stayed in something called an “affittacamere” when she and her husband were travelling through Italy. Living like locals, Airbnb style, except that the apartments were actually owned by locals, and there was no way to find them on Airbnb. Having an authentic Italian experience outside of the hustle of Rome is difficult to find, but Germano’s Piattini is one of those places. Created as a “terzo”, or a home away from home and work, the restaurant’s signature dishes - like Polpette alla Nonna, come straight from your Italian grandmother’s recipe book. Including vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options, Germano’s restaurant, bar, and cabaret is ready to welcome you home.
750 E. Pratt St.
It is tough to find someone who adores breakfast food more than I do. However, established in 2005 by restaurateur and Baltimore native Eddie Dopkin, Miss Shirley’s Cafe is a tribute to an inspirational employee and personal friend, Miss Shirley McDowell. It is also the cafe equivalent to my love for breakfast, brunch, and lunch - and apparently everyone else’s in the Inner Harbor. With lines out the door (and sometimes around the block) on weekend mornings, Miss Shirley’s has established its reputation as a Maryland landmark. House specialties like Benne Seed Chicken n’ Waffles, or the Gravy Train Southern Skillet are just enough to get your day going right. And if you just want to bask in the brunch all day? Fix your sights on a house made morning cocktail, and say sayonara to dinner - why should the last meal of the day have all the fun anyway?
Modern Cook Shop
901 S. Wolfe St.
We always have a go to list, those few places to pull from when you need a standby classic that feels like new - where you take friends for drinks, your spouse for anniversaries, your parents when they come into town and you want to impress them. Modern Cook Shop is all of those places. With a team dedicated to creating a menu that speaks for itself, it’s no wonder that Modern Cook checks off all the boxes on the go-to list. Seasonal, local produce prepared on site every day, and paired with delicious draft beers, modern cocktails, or barrel aged favorites, Modern Cook is the place to go for breakfast, lunch, a quick bite on the run, or the happiest hour with your family and friends.
402 Key Hwy.
Let’s be clear: there is absolutely nothing rusty about the Rusty Scupper. In fact, from the city’s best brunch to the uber-attentive staff and majestic harbor view, perhaps the only rusty item to be found at the table is your sense of dining at the highest level of elegance. Located above the Inner Harbor, with a 275-person seating capacity, the Scupper is the perfect place for after dinner drinks with your coworkers, or the quintessential Sunday brunch, complete with jazz and a complimentary seasonal drink. A menu that can only be described as the “seafood lover’s dream”, the Rusty Scupper takes the guesswork out of finding a local gem for all types and tastes.
The French Kitchen
20 W. Baltimore St.
It has been a number of years since Julia Child made Beef Bourguignon famous. Yet slow cooked beef, bacon lardon, baby carrots, and parsnip puree are gathering up at The French Kitchen in the Lord Baltimore Hotel and presenting themselves, along with other magnificently contemporary imaginings of classic dishes and captivating taste buds all over the city. Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the top of the lobby’s grand staircase, The French Kitchen is focused on market-driven interpretations of bistro fare, and tabling it in the historic mirrored Versailles Room, ensuring a culinary experience like no other.