Carpe DC Food Tours kicks off March with our new Baltimore Fells Point Food Tour, giving you an inside look at the fascinating history and food culture of one of America’s most exciting food destinations. We sat down with our own Scott Gilbert, a Baltimore local, to get his favorite picks for eating your way through the Charm City.
Baltimore’s Food Scene
Baltimore is a city with a fascinating history only a stone’s throw from DC, offering everything from quirky neighborhoods to a bustling seaport. Maryland’s largest city has always been famous for its first-class crabs. But these days, with an increasingly diverse culinary scene, Baltimore is rapidly turning into one of the USA’s top destinations for food lovers.
“We have some of the best eateries you can find anywhere,” Scott says. “Baltimore is the ideal city for people who consider themselves foodies and who’d like to learn more about history too.”
Scott was instrumental in developing Carpe DC’s new Fells Point Tour in Baltimore. “I was actually in Denver with a couple of friends, and we went on a food tour. And it actually just got me thinking about the unique regions of Baltimore. There’s a lot of variety to Baltimore, and I wanted to share it with people.”
When we met Scott, we knew he was a perfect fit for Carpe! He laid out his favorite Baltimore spots for us the first time we met, and now he’d like to share them with you. Let’s get started.
“So these are my peak places — the places that if I have friends visit from out of town, I’m absolutely going to take them,” Scott told us. First up on the list was Ekiben. Ekiben grew from a couple of guys selling Asian street food out of a hotdog cart to become one of Yelp’s Top 100 Restaurants in the country. No one in America does steamed buns better. Don’t miss the Neighborhood Bird Bun filled with Taiwanese curry fried chicken, spicy sambal mayo, and homemade pickles. “It’s out of this world, it is so good.”
Chaps Pit Beef specializes in Baltimore-style barbecue pit beef. Instead of being smoked as tradition would have it, the meat is grilled over an open fire pit. Barbecue purists might disapprove, but Baltimore’s barbecue is some of the best there is. “I like it with a little bit of the Tiger sauce, raw onion and pickle,” Scott tells us. “That’s how it’s traditionally been eaten since it was invented back in like the 1940s. And they were the one of the first ones to do it.”
814 S Broadway, Baltimore, MD 21231 (443) 869-2129
Duck Duck Goose is a newcomer to the city’s culinary scene. Chef Ashish Alfred trained at the French Culinary Institute and offers a fresh take on French gastronomy that’s the perfect splurge for a special occasion. “It’s one of those places that you eat with your eyes first. The dishes are just stunning,” Scott says. “They’re refined, but they’re not intimidating. The plating that he’s doing is very approachable and the food is out of this world.”
“I grew up in New York. I like to think of myself as a bit of a pizza aficionado,” Scott told us. “I take this very seriously. And Johnny Rads is far and away the best slice of pizza you can get in Baltimore.” Johnny Rad’s serves incredible pies topped with fresh Italian meats and mozzarella. And as an added bonus, the bar offers two skee-ball lanes with funky music and skateboard videos playing on repeat.
Tagliata offers far and away the best Italian food in Baltimore. “You’re paying for what you’re getting. And what you’re getting is a stellar meal where you’re treated very, very well from start to finish.” At Tagliata you’ll find the classics like chicken parm, tagliatelle Bolognese, and veal saltimbocca alongside modern interpretations like the rabbit ragu lasagna.
If you’re looking for a fancy night out, “Bar Vasquez is at the same kind of price point but a little more upscale,” Scott tells us. Bar Vasquez is an Argentinian steakhouse inspired by partner Tony Foreman’s love of Argentina — he’s visited more than 20 times over the years. With high quality steaks sourced from all over the world, it’s the place to go for meat lovers. But nonmeat eaters will find lots of tempting options too, like the poached and seared Spanish octopus or the blue crab tostadas.
Fun fact: Rodney Henry, the chef behind Dangerously Delicious Pies, started making pies to support himself while he was in a rock band, the Glenmont Popes. Dangerously Delicious Pies has been churning out incredible pies for the last fifteen years. The Baltimore Bomb Pie made with Berger cookies is their signature dish. But with other options like the Chocolate Chess Pie and the Key Bridge Lime Pie, you might have a hard time deciding.
1725 Taylor Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21234 (410) 661 4357
“You’re not really a Baltimorean until you’ve gone to your first crab feast. And that’s a really big rite of passage,” Scott explains. Pappas Crabcakes has been serving its succulent broiled crab using the same family recipe ever since the restaurant opened in 1972. “They’re just really letting the crab speak for itself. Pro tip: order broiled and not fried. Because fried is just damn disrespectful.”
Discover the Charm City With Baltimore Food Tour
We’ve fallen hard for Charm City — and these picks barely scratch the surface. Join us to learn more about Baltimore’s fascinating history, and see why it’s one of America’s most exciting cities for food lovers. Check out our new Baltimore Fells Point Food Tour, launching on March 7!