It’s All About The Food!

There’s plenty of Baltimore area “restaurant dish” as we enjoy the end of fall. Winter officially begins Dec. 21; however, as we all know, the chill tends to arrive early in Charm City. I hope you discover some new favorites in my article to follow. Restaurants are offering up the finest in cold weather comfort fare and specialty drinks.

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Please let me know about your discoveries and enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday. Follow and Tweet me your favorite discoveries this season @DowntownDiane.

Pizza Birroteca

Pizza at Birroteca (Photo credit: Downtown Diane)

New Birroteca Bel Air
1226 Baltimore Pike

The very successful Birroteca in Baltimore has opened another location in Harford County. Much like its sister location, Birroteca Bel Air focuses on craft beer and unique cocktails, house-made pastas and artisan pizzas. We checked it out on opening week and were excited that the menu items taste just as delectable as their other location. From the calamari to the spicy chick peas to the DD Pizza and housemade pappardelle pasta, you will enjoy an Italian feast in cozy, welcome atmosphere.

Also, check out The Nickel Taphouse, Birroteca’s sister location in Mt. Washington, now adding a new weekend brunch.

Bookmakers Cocktail Club (Photo credit: Downtown Diane)

Bookmakers Cocktail Club
Federal Hill

With executive chef, Sarah Acconcia, and beverage director, Ryan Sparks, leading the way, you know you are in for a treat. The gorgeous, expansive bar area and beautifully decorated dining room are the perfect setting for your meal to remember. Begin with any of their craft cocktails, a few available on tap, and if you like mussels don’t miss Bookmakers version with Spanish chorizo and strega and white wine broth. The menu is constantly evolving so be sure to check it out before you go.

Build your own salad with Fresh Ahi Tuna added  (Photo credit: Downtown Diane)

Build your own salad with Fresh Ahi Tuna added (Photo credit: Downtown Diane)

Boathouse Canton
2809 Boston Street

Located by the water with amazing views, Boathouse Canton is constantly updating its menu items for each season! New fall and winter items have been rolling out and their brunch is one of my favorites in town. New bottomless mimosas have been added. If you love crab, try the crab benedict called Waterfront Bene. Also, you can’t go wrong with the chocolate stuffed French toast or the popular hangover burger with fried egg. Enjoy your favorite drinks at their weekday happy hour. For lunch, enjoy the build your own salad. They also offer one of my favorite crab cakes in town. There are a few private party area s for your holiday or special events.

fried oysters from ryleigh's oyster

Fried oysters at Ryleighs Oyster (Photo credit: Downtown Diane)

Ryleigh’s Oyster Opening New Location
Federal Hill, Hunt Valley and Mt. Vernon (Opening in December)

Opening date has been announced for the latest Ryleigh’s Oyster family member. Ryleigh’s Mt. Vernon will open at 1225 Preston Street, Saturday, Dec. 6. It’s located near The Meyerhoff and The Lyric. Ryleigh’s Oyster is the perfect location before or after your visit to any of the downtown theatres.  Follow their progress on twitter @RyleighsOyster. Look for their popular fresh oysters, seafood and so much more including their famous fresh orange and grapefruit crushes. I can’t forget their amazing brunch and build your own bloody mary bar on weekends. The Ryleigh’s family offers private party areas for all your holiday and special event needs.

Tapas Adela, Anastasia and The Admiral’s Cup
Fells Point

Looking for a fun night? Begin at Tapas Adela with Happy Hour small plates and delicious house-made sangria. Next, head to Anastasia around the corner for pizza or pasta and dancing. End the night at The Admiral’s Cup, across the street, for live music and a fun bar scene.  Admiral’s has great food. I love their endless bloody Mary special or mimosa brunch on weekends.

Check out full schedule of events and menus at all the Kali’s Restaurant Group.

Lobster bacon macaroni and cheese at C1740 Lounge (Photo credit: Downtown Diane)

Lobster bacon macaroni and cheese at c.1740 Lounge in The Milton Inn” (Photo credit: Downtown Diane)

New c.1740 Lounge Menu at The Milton Inn
14833 York Road

The Milton Inn, known for its fabulous food, service and atmosphere has added a new menu in the c. 1740 Lounge. Courses start at $12 and diners are encouraged to order several to share and experiment.  A group of us did just that on a recent chilly night warmed by the lit fireplace, a Milton Inn staple.

From Oysters Rockefeller and Clams Casino to smoked salmon and braised short ribs over cheddar mash, we were all excited for this new venture at one of our favorite restaurants.

The lobster bacon mac and cheese couldn’t be more comforting on a cold night. I shared the seafood martini I ordered, but next time, it’s all mine. It came with jumbo shrimp, crab, lobster and mussels.

You can opt for 1-3 course pairings with wine which I highly recommend. This would make for an easy, well-planned, extremely memorable date night.

New Pappas Restaurant Opens
550 Cranbrook Road

Pappas, long known for their famous jumbo lump crab cakes, has opened Pappas Restaurant and Sports Bar in Cockeysville. Open for lunch and dinner you will find their popular crab cakes as well as a huge menu filled with many other seafood, steak and chicken options. There’s also a sports bar area offering a full calendar of events.

On a recent visit with friends we tried a variety of dishes from chicken Chesapeake to crab imperial. Of course, several of us, including me, opted for their broiled jumbo lump crab cake. We also shared some crispy calamari and a seafood sampler platter which was a good start to our meal.

Visit here for full menu and calendar of events. They ship their crab cakes, as well.

Roy’s Harbor East

How about an escape to Hawaii? That sounds nice about now. Well, if that’s a bit too far head to Roy’s Harbor East for aloha happy hour and a signature Hawaiian martini. Roy’s always puts me in a great mood! After their Hawaiian martini and a few signature sushi rolls how can you not feel great? Check out their aloha menu and soon you may be doing the hula.

The “O” Bar at The Valley Inn
10501 Falls Rd

Pull up a chair at the cozy renovated bar area, enjoy a Prosecco on tap, assorted oysters, steamed shrimp and delicious snow crab claws.  This is just a sampling of the menu at The “O” Bar at The Valley Inn. Follow their Facebook for football specials including specialty wings and buckets of beer.

Ruth’s Chris Steak House
Water Street, Pier 5 and Pikesville

Ruth’s Chris will offer a special 3-course prix-fixe menu on Thanksgiving from noon until 8 p.m. They are also offering side dishes for carry-out. Make sure to place your order in advance.


Shrimp and grits at Cunninghams (Photo credit: Downtown Diane)

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Cunningham’s Café
1 Olympic Place

Habanero hot chocolate and daily house-made soups, breads and desserts has made Cunningham’s Café one of my favorites for lunch. The food is farm fresh, mostly from Cunningham’s farms. Everyone I take falls in love and returns again on their own.  Bakery happy hour begins at 3 p.m. with half-off artisan breads, cookies, croissants and muffins until close at 5 p.m. Follow them on Facebook for daily specials and information on pop-up dinners and other special events.

Their sister restaurant Cunningham’s, located above Cunningham’s Café opens for happy hour during the week. “Dinner Daily” has become a county favorite. If you haven’t been I highly recommend trying the fresh bronzini or their delicious crab cakes.  Tuesdays are 50% off wine night and they have an excellent selection. Neighborhood night is on Sundays.

Fleet Street Kitchen
1012 Fleet Street

The Tavern Room at Fleet Street Kitchen offers a more casual atmosphere and menu. I enjoy going with friends, sipping craft cocktails and sampling new menu items. The chef’s creativity is endless.

We had an exceptional dinner in the main dining room at Fleet Street Kitchen a few weeks ago. New executive chef, Michael Correll, is very impressive. Make a reservation if you have a special occasion to celebrate. The service, food and wine are impeccable.

Tacos at Johnny Sanchez Horseshoe (Photo credit: Downtown Diane)

Tacos at Johnny Sanchez Horseshoe (Photo credit: Downtown Diane)

Guy Fieri’s Baltimore Kitchen & Bar, Johnny Sanchez, Jack Binion’s Steak
Horseshoe Casino

Are you in the mood for a succulent burger? How about fresh shrimp tacos with guacamole and a jalapeno margarita? Are you craving a juicy, prime cut steak? You can find them all at Horseshoe Casino.  Enjoy live entertainment, as well, in Johnny Sanchez and Jack Binion’s, as well as the 14Forty lounge.

Enjoy happy hour during weekdays 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. with 2 for 1 drinks and half off appetizers. View full menus and special upcoming events.

(Photo credit: Downtown Diane)

(Photo credit: Downtown Diane)

Vivo Italian Kitchen & Grillfire
7795 Arundel Mills Blvd, Hotel Arundel

Enjoy house-made pasta and pizzas at Vivo, a cozy spot located in the lovely Hotel Arundel.  They offer a Friday Lotsa Pasta endless pasta bowl among other specials throughout the week. They are offering a special gift card promotion for holiday bookings.

Grillfire, also located at Hotel Arundel, offers breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner and happy hour. View all the menus and be sure to leave room for make your own smore’s. This dessert is always a huge hit.  Grillfire will be open for Thanksgiving.

Jalapeno Margarita at No Way Jose cafe  (Photo credit: Downtown Diane)

Jalapeno Margarita at No Way Jose cafe (Photo credit: Downtown Diane)

No Way Jose Café
Federal Hill

Have you been to No Way Jose lately? Their menu features many new Mexican specialties. Make sure to pair lunch or dinner with my favorite drink, the spicy Jalapeno Margarita. They have all night happy hour on Mondays. On Thursday, they have free beer or margaritas if you build your own burrito. There are also private party menus.

James Joyce Pub
Harbor East

Corned beef and cabbage and beef stew are the perfect options to warm you on a cold Charm City day. Pair your lunch or dinner with a Guinness or Irish coffee.  They also offer happy hour and live music. Menus and full schedule of events here.

Myth & Moonshine
2300 Boston St  Canton

Well known for their southern-inspired menu and moonshine cocktails, Myth & Moonshine is also becoming known for its farm fresh brunch on weekends. They utilize locally sourced produce as much as possible. Their eggs and chicken are 100% organic. Enjoy chicken and waffles, melba French toast with blackberry and raspberry cream stuffing, assorted omelets and hushpuppies, along with numerous other options. Check out the brunch, dinner and happy hour menus.

Bagby’s Ten Ten
1010 Fleet Street

Enjoy happy hour 4-7 p.m. Monday through Friday with beer, wine, cocktails and bar bite specials. Nightly specials include 50 percent off wine on Mondays, $1 oysters on Tuesdays, surf and turf special on Wednesdays, and Flight night on Thursdays is a great way to experience new wine and beer at a great price. For more details, click here.

Tin Roof
Power Plant Live
BOHVember is 11.26

Tin Roof offers lunch and dinner daily and live music in a really fun atmosphere. Check out menus and full music schedule.

Make plans to attend the first annual Boh look-alike contest for a great cause on Nov. 26. There will be plenty to eat and drink and a best moustache contest. Check out Facebook for event details.

B & O American Brasserie Welcomes New Executive Chef
2 N. Charles Street

Michael Ransom is now leading the way as executive chef at B&O. I hear the new menu is fabulous. Friends that know my taste for hot and spicy food as well as cured salmon; say the Sriracha-Honey wings and Pastrami cured salmon are right up my alley. The Bay Cassoulet sounds like the perfect comfort fare for a chilly Baltimore eve.  There’s happy hour Monday through Friday from 4:30-6:30 p.m.

Events For Food, Music and Drink Lovers This Week…I Think That’s Everyone!
Rock-n-Soul Free Live Music Showcase
Wednesday, Nov. 19
6-9 p.m.
14Forty Lounge, Horseshoe Casino

Enjoy an amazing evening of live music, happy hour until 7:00 p.m. with more specials after. Presented by HeidnSeek Entertainment.

Thursday, Nov. 20
6 p.m.
M & T Stadium

Enjoy some of the finest fare from top area chefs in one place and all for a great cause. This event benefits the Kidney Foundation of Maryland.

A Novel Holiday Wine Tasting with Chef’s Expressions
Thursday, Nov. 20
6:30–9 p.m.
Enoch Pratt Library

Enjoy amazing wines, holiday fare, music and hourly raffles.

Plenty of holiday event dishes coming soon! Meanwhile, please visit for a preview of upcoming events.

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Downtown Diane is a Baltimore area food, travel & entertainment reporter, appearing Fridays on 105.7 The Fan Norris & Davis Show with her entertainment report. Follow her for Daily Dish on Twitter and Instagram @DowntownDiane & check out upcoming events at