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December 9, 2008

Top 10 Best Restaurants With Fireplaces



Chestnuts roasting on an open fire...Oh, sorry. How about a nice New York strip and a baked potato eaten next to an open fire? Does that sound better?

This week's Top 10 Tuesday should get you in the holiday spirit: The top 10 restaurants with fireplaces. As a bonus, most of these come with Christmas decorations and holiday-themed cocktails.

I tried to select a range of places, and not just make it a list of wonderful historic homes an hour's drive from Baltimore where dinner will cost you an arm and a leg.

If you aren't a regular Top 10 reader, please read this first.

Here's my list: ...

* Ambassador Dining Room in Homewood has two fireplaces and is festively and beautifully decorated. Faithful readers know this is where my family and close friends go for our annual Christmas get-together and Indian food.

* Brasserie Tatin in Homewood is one of those restaurants you probably don't even think about as having a fireplace because the decor is modern. Its Christmas decorations are up now, surrounding the stone-manteled fireplace that's turned on every night. 

* Elkridge Furnace Inn in Elkridge. This 18th century mansion on the Patapsco River has six working fireplaces and loads of period charm. The menu offers French and New American cuisine.

* Kings Contrivance in Columbia is at its best this time of year, with six working fireplaces. It's closed Christmas Day but has a special a la carte menu on Christmas Eve from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.

* Milton Inn in Sparks. The charming dining rooms all have fireplaces, but they are electric except for the one in the Hearth Room, the hostess told me when I called. Request to be seated there when you make your reservation.

* Oregon Grille in Cockeysville offers a classic Christmas experience with festive decorations inside and out, fires blazing in four fireplaces inside and one outside on the terrace. Fine-dining steaks and seafood.

* Petit Louis in Roland Park. There are several tables near this French bistro's fireplace, but if there are only two of you request the cozy table just to the right of it. The place is noisy and crowded, but it still manages to be romantic this time of year.

* Red Maple in Mount Vernon proves that you don't have to go to an historic inn to have dinner by a fire. The fireplaces in the lounge are contemporary, and you'll be eating Asian-inspired tapas basically on your knees, but you'll have fun.

* Treaty of Paris in Annapolis has been recently renovated, but the basement dining room of the 1773 Maryland Inn still has two working fireplaces. The food can be described as Continental, with an emphasis on seafood.

* Ze Mean Bean in Fells Point is a small and cozy charmer with Eastern European comfort food and some more gourmet fare. The small dining room has a large fireplace, and there's live music on the weekends.

(Kenneth K. Lam/Sun photographer)


Posted by Elizabeth Large at 4:27 AM | | Comments (25)
Categories: Top Ten Tuesdays


It's not as "upscale" as the places on your list, but The Still in Timonium has a HUGE, welcoming fireplace in the main dining room. In the dead of winter there's nothing like sitting near that crackling fire with some Irish comfort food (Irish stew, Shepherd's Pie, Bangers and Mash) and a draft black & tan...

Doesn't Scotto's in Bel Air (my favorite under appreciated restaurant) have a fireplace? And what about Ryan's Daughter in Belvedere Square?

Elkridge Furnace Inn is one of the best places in the state, fireplace or not.
How about (not quite as fancy) the upstairs bar at the Waterfront Hotel?

Thanks for the suggestion. I would love more of these, in all price ranges. EL

There's always a warm place in my heart for the hearth at The Dizz. Order something with honest to god turkey (not pressed loaf), squint real hard, maybe avail yourself of a stiff cocktail, and you can almost imagine you're at the Milton Inn.

No, really.

Bertha's and John Stevens in Fells Pt also have lovely fireplaces, and of course the estimable Brass Elephant is fireplace heaven.

Brewer's has one in the more casual area. Also, agree Ambassador is quite nice, but definitely over priced relative to what you are getting.

B More Sweet wrote:

"... and of course the estimable Brass Elephant is fireplace heaven."


Amen. And the tiled surround, translated from German, says, "Wherever my love is, there also is my heart."

How about Antrim 1844? They have several wonderful fireplaces and the meal is a spectacular event. I prefer going there when it is cold just so I know the fireplaces will be in use. Also Chef Michael Gettier earned his local reputation in Baltimore.

Can't believe you left out The Chart House in Annapolis. Best view with a beautiful copper fireplace in the lounge

Most (not all) Pizza Huts also have fire places. Mmmm....romantic, especially with a heavy slab of their new "Tuscani Pasta"!

Serafina's in Ellicott City has a wonderful fireplace in their resturant. They also have great food to.

Hull Street Blues has one. They used to have fires, but the last time I was there, they had a bunch of pillar candles instead.

What about the Cracker Barrell? All of thos restaurants have huge wood burning fireplaces.

Antrim 1844 has a beautiful dining room with a fireplace.

Tis the season.....scooting!

How many of these fireplaces burn real logs?

I'm thinking about getting one of those Amish plug-in fireplaces for my dining room. I'm just deciding on whether I want the oak or cherry finish. At that point I transform the condo in a chalet.

french cuisine???

some of the wine list from specific regions..are not even correct let alone.

steak frites..that is so americanised.i can only for the 1er cru wines...getting a grand cru would be 1er cru wines are over rated..feel so sorry for unknowledgable food tasters


Owlie, do you really care if they're real logs? Whether wood-fired or gas-fired, it's real fire, ain't it? If it's warm an' toasty, and great to sit near on a cold night, shouldn't that be enough?

Gas fires don't smell right, and they are too well-behaved.

They also make your marshmallow taste weird. Ok, weirder. Come to think of it, I don't like toasted marshmallows. Or untoasted marshmallows.

Dottie, my husband is also a stickler for the real thing when it comes to fires. A gas log to him is not much better than a picture of flames.

I was going to mention the fireplaces at Sammy's and at Mt. Vernon Stables until I realized that y'all are probably referring to working units. I'm SO out of the loop.

Has anyone tried the new deli on Charles Street across from the Stables?

Welcome back, Pieano Rob. Been wondering where you were.

Yes, Piano Rob--if this blog had better search ware you could check back and see all the times we shouted out to you while you were MIA. Hope you stick around for awhile now.

Mama's On the Half Shell in Canton, has a fireplace on the 2nd floor, corner tables with nice views to McDonald Square. The oyster stew & a fireplace, very comfortable & cozy.

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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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