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May 4, 2011

Your last Baltimore restaurant meal

gablerWhat it would be?

This conversation started under the comments on the weekend dining post.  A Dining@Large reader who is moving on to San Francisco, asked the following:

Now begins my last 30 days or so in Baltimore before I leave for a new job. I've been to many great restaurants in this town and am starting to think about if there's anywhere else I should cross off before leaving. I've hit many great restaurants but a few places I haven't been if anyone has any comments as to whether or not they're worth a parting dinner in my last 30 days (keep in mind that I'm also getting married in that time and need to fit into my wedding dress so all are not an option): B&O, The Wine Market, Demi, Tio Pepe, The Prime Rib, Alewife, The Dogwood, Kali's Court, Roy's, Blue Hill Tavern, Jack's Bistro. Random other suggestions appreciated too, I don't have time to list all the places I've been but if there's something new and amazing to try I'm game for repeats.

You'll want to read the other comments under the original post, but where would you send someone for their last Baltimore restaurant meal? 

The original commenter is moving to San Francisco, where she'll have no shortage of good restaurants to choose from.

But what won't she be able to get there? Never mind her, where would you go?

Me, I'd go to the place in the photograph (except it's been closed for about ten years, it's not in Baltimore exactly, and I'm not going anywhere)

Baltimore Sun photo/Algerina Perna

Posted by Richard Gorelick at 1:12 PM | | Comments (26)


If Martick's were still open, then that would have been the obvious choice. I'd probably choose Tio Pepe.

I'd finally go for the Smash Dog at Thirsty Dog* in Fed Hill. Never seen anyone get one.

*It will always be Thirsty Dog to me.

There is an excellent Roy's in San Francisco so I wouldn't choose it. I would go to Mari Luna's Mexican Grill with my Heavy Seas beer in a cooler and eat my way through the menu.

Charleston. Didn't even think twice. I'd get the 6 plate tasting meal with wines too, although I can barely usually get through the 4 plate version. Gotta have the foie and the sweetbreads. Maybe the shrimp and grits too.

Absolutely must go for the Flinstone- sized prime rib at The Prime Rib, with a couple of martinis and a colossal shrimp cocktail.

Wow, I miss Gabler's. What a great place.

I've never been to Tio Pepe and would like to go there before it disappears.

Bill's Terrace Inn or crab house of choice and get the biggest crabs they have.

definitely with MC...

Charleston. no question.

The Prime Rib, without question.

Though fine prime rib can be found south of San Francisco at Original Joe's in San Jose, nothing compares with the prime rib served at Baltimore's The Prime Rib Restaurant.


I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for 21 years. I have a pretty good idea of what's available in that part of the country.

when i moved to wales a few years ago, my last meals were mexican food (none in wales!) and bruce lee's wings at cross street market. my first meals when i came back were pretty much the same thing.

OK, you got me, what was it? It looks familiar, but I can't place it.

OK, you got me, what was it? It looks familiar, but I can't place it.

can i just copy my response from the original post?

copied by RG

@20 something: I would add Peter's Inn to your list if you have not
recently been. As great as all of your other places are, I'd categorize
Peter's as very Baltimore: great, fresh food (some of locally sourced) reasonable prices, great beer and wine selection and unpretentious. When there's a wait, we usually walk down a few blocks in Fells, grab a glass of wine at V-no and then had back up the street. Can't really think of a better way to spend your last Baltimore meal.

If Peter's wasn't on your list b/c you've already been, then I'm sorry for the long intro :) In that case, I'd skip Prime Rib and Tio's b/c they are the same and won't change. Great menus, great service, but you would probably have the same experience in the next 30 days that you would have if you came home in a year and went to either of those two places. I'd opt for somewhere that the menu constantly changes and offers something unique like Jack's, B&O or Bluehill. Wine Market, Demi, Alewife and Dogwood may fit that bill too, but I haven't been recently enough to verify that. Mr.
Rain's Funhouse is a great suggestion too!

Congrats on the upcoming wedding and good luck with the move!

If I'm not mistaken that's a picture of Wilhelm's in Middle River. Wonderful, homecooked steaks.

Mary R id'd it below. It's the bygone Gabler's on the Bush River (near Bel Air)

Mortons Steakhouse. Great food, service and martinis!!!

So many choices, so little time! Steak at Prime Rib (60's ambiance) and/or Oregon Grille ("horsy" ambiance), anything at Orchard Market & Cafe, crab cakes at Faidley's (to go) and/or Pappas (eat in), pit beef at Charcoal Grill (won't find it in SF), Italian cold cut sub at Pastore's (oil & vinegar, extra olives) ... I could go on for days, but you get the drift.

Some years ago, there was (hopefully, still is) a "gourmet" vegetarian restaurant in SF called Green's that is/was outSTANDing! Also, go to Tommy Toy's for "haute Chinese." 20 something, there are TONS of fine and casual dining options in SF, so have a blast! Try everything! And best wishes in your new life!!

I've been thinking about this a lot lately: Brewers Art? Petit Louis? Meli? Roy's is a chain that she'll be able to enjoy again elsewhere. So is Morton's.

I think a low-brow food tour would be worth it, too: Chap's Pit Beef, Faidley's crab cake, Pollack Johnny's hot dogs.

Steak frites at Brewers Art or crabs at Nick's.

Gabler's was an awesome!

When you go to SF, go to the Tenderloin (scary, I know, but not so bad) and go to Tu Lan's. The best Korean food EVER. It is cheap & delicious (Julia Child reviewed it favorably for god's sakes) There is no ambience to speak of- until the working girls start coming in to eat. Around midnight or 1 o'clock am. Then it's the craziest show you could ever see with the best food you could ever have.

I'm with Hon on this. I'd recommend going to a local crab house and sitting down with a dozen of the biggest steamed crabs on the menu. In my humble opinion, pretty much everything else recommended here can be found in the Bay Area, so I wouldn't bother going to some place like Morton's and/or the Charleston.

Obviouisly, SF is famous for their crabs as well, but folks out there generally eat Dungeness Crab. It's great stuff, but is not prepared anything like the way steamed crabs are out here. By and large you don't see blue crabs out there, and I've never seen anything like the spread of steam crabs you see at crab houses here in Baltimore (was raised in the bay area, so I have some idea what's available out there).

Best of luck to the young lady moving with her husband to SF.

If I were you, I'd start my very own little tour through downtown (obviously not all in the same day). Here are some suggestions. I was born and raised here and can't imagine having this food anywhere else. I'm sure there are different versions, but it's not Baltimore, now is it? Sure you can get pizza in any city...but will it be Matthew's Pizza?

Get a pie at Matthew's Pizza, french fries & gravy at G&A, crabs (definitely) from Bill's Terrace Inn, the pierogies from Ze Mean Bean, the Tour of Samos from Samos, a crab cake from Koco's, the fried smores from Jack's Bistro, garlic bread and a salad from Peter's Inn (keeping it simple), a Natty Boh and a plate of steamed shrimp from Henninger's, ANYTHING from Salt, scallops in champagne sauce from Tio Pepe's (and a spanish coffee for dessert) a corned beef on rye from Attman's and splurge on a bottle of wine and a meal absolutely anything from Charleston...I could seriously go on and on.

Speaking of last meals..did you all know that at one time, inmates on death row were offered their last meal from the late and much lamented Marconi's..but on to happier thoughts. I guess Baltimore has some really good choices, but I don't think the reader who is moving to San Francisco will have any trouble finding great choices there..good luck to you

Last cliché Baltimore meal: a huge crab cake with an M-80 in the middle, surrounded by a dragoon of Berger cookies mounted on live crabs with long fuse lit inchers.

If you want to get to Heaven and not Glen Burnie heaven, as Pablo Picasso said, "Creation is destruction".

No nobody ever called Pablo Picasso an ... [NSFW]


Aldo's. The best in Baltimore right in Little Italy.
Gabler's was on Bush river in Perryman, near Aberdeen.

blue hill & jack's bistro

but before u leave u gotta get a pit beef from charcoal grill then go to the lil stand in the parking lot right next door for a snowball

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About this blog

You are reading the archives. For updated blog posts about the Maryland food scene, see Richard Gorelick's new Baltimore Diner 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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