12 Unique Restaurants in Baltimore: A Foodie’s Guide to the Unconventional

by Jen
Unique Restaurants in Baltimore
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Our guide takes you on a journey through the unique restaurants in Baltimore, where dining is an adventure. From eateries inspired by literary legends to kitchens serving up unconventional flavors, get ready to explore the quirky side of Baltimore’s culinary scene!

In Baltimore, every restaurant is a doorway to an adventure, a true gem in Maryland. Imagine dining under the stars in a hidden courtyard, where the ambiance is as enchanting as the food. Or picture yourself in a vibrant eatery, surrounded by walls adorned with local art, each piece telling a tale of the city’s rich culture and history.

Here, you can find places that transport you to distant lands. They offer authentic flavors from around the globe right in the heart of the city. Think of indulging in a meal where the ingredients come straight from the sea to your plate, showcasing the freshest catches of the day.

Ready to discover restaurants where the extraordinary is the norm? This guide is your passport to the most uniquely Baltimore dining spots. Here, every meal is an opportunity to experience something new, something different, something distinctly Baltimore! And don’t forget, there’s more to explore when you fly from Baltimore.

The top restaurants to visit in Baltimore right now

Unique Restaurants in Baltimore: 12 Incredible Baltimore Eateries

From eateries inspired by famous poets to kitchens that feel like a step back in time, Baltimore’s unique restaurants offer more than just a meal. Let’s take a closer look at these one-of-a-kind places where food and creativity meet.

1. Clock Restoration

Tucked away at 31 S. Calvert Street, Clock Restoration is a journey back in time with a modern twist. This place has a rich history, once a jeweler’s shop specializing in clocks and watches. Now, it’s a speakeasy-inspired gem where the past and present blend seamlessly.

Walking in, you’re greeted by an ambiance that whispers tales of yesteryears while serving up comfort food that warms the soul. The menu? A delightful mix of classic dishes with a modern flair, paired perfectly with prohibition-style cocktails that are as much a treat for the eyes as they are for the palate.

But it’s not just the food and drinks that make Clock Restoration unique. The experience of entering—through the main lobby of the QG, punching in a code, and taking an elevator to a hidden world—is part of the charm. It’s like being in on a secret, one that offers a cozy yet elegant escape from the ordinary. This makes it one of the fun things to do in Baltimore.

Clock Restoration is one of the unique restaurants in Baltimore.
Clock Restoration: A speakeasy-inspired gem blending rich history with modern charm at 31 S. Calvert Street. | Image Source: https://foursquare.com/

2. Charming Elephant

Charming Elephant is where Baltimore gets a taste of something special: Laotian cuisine, a first for the city. Joy Sivongxay, once famous among her coworkers for her delicious grilled chicken and egg rolls, teamed up with her daughter, Vanessa, to open this unique spot. They wanted everyone in Baltimore to experience the flavors they grew up loving.

At Charming Elephant, it’s all about family and authentic dishes. The menu is a journey through Laos with favorites like sticky rice, tangy papaya salad, and laap, a dish of minced meat that’s bursting with flavor. They also serve up homemade Lao sausage and a variety of noodle dishes. Each is prepared with care and tradition in mind.

What makes Charming Elephant stand out as one of the best places to eat in Baltimore? It’s the authenticity. Every dish is made from scratch, offering a true taste of Laotian culture. The restaurant’s decor, featuring paintings blessed by monks for peace and prosperity, adds to the immersive experience.

Charming Elephant: Baltimore's first Laotian cuisine spot by Joy Sivongxay and daughter Vanessa, sharing beloved flavors.
Charming Elephant: Baltimore’s first Laotian cuisine spot by Joy Sivongxay and daughter Vanessa, sharing beloved flavors.

3. Monarque

Nestled in the historic Bagby Furniture Company building, Monarque is a dazzling addition to Baltimore’s dining scene. This place is all about bringing a slice of France to Baltimore, with a twist. More than just a dining spot, it’s a French brasserie and dinner theater where every night feels like an event.

Here, the menu shines with French classics, an impressive selection of wines, and cheeses that’ll transport you straight to Paris. But what really sets Monarque apart as one of the fun restaurants in Baltimore is its nightly live entertainment. Imagine enjoying your meal as local comedians crack jokes, jazz bands fill the air with music, and actors take the stage for small theater performances.

The space itself is a feast for the eyes, designed with dark leather banquettes, tin ceilings, and gold and brass accents, all under the warm glow of burgundy velvet curtains. It’s a place where dining meets entertainment, making every visit unforgettable.

Monarque: A French brasserie in Baltimore's historic Bagby Furniture Company building, blending French cuisine with dinner theater flair.
Monarque: A French brasserie in Baltimore’s historic Bagby Furniture Company building, blending French cuisine with dinner theater flair.

4. Bunny’s, Buckets & Bubbles

True to its name, Bunny’s, Buckets & Bubbles is a haven for bunny lovers, with bunny art, bunny drawer pulls at the bar, and even Playboy bunnies decorating the bathroom. It’s a complete 180 from its past life as The Wharf Rat, a rustic spot in Fells Point. This transformation makes Bunny’s, Buckets & Bubbles one of the unique restaurants in Baltimore, offering not just a meal but an experience.

Here, you can start with small bites like smoky trout dip or a deviled egg sampler that surprises with every bite. The menu is a celebration of the South, with dishes like pimento dip, known as the “pâté of the South,” and a unique Caesar salad that swaps out romaine for collard greens.

But what really makes Bunny’s, Buckets & Bubbles stand out as unique? It’s their take on fried chicken. This isn’t your average fried chicken; it’s gluten-free, thanks to being dredged in rice flour, and it comes with a side of pickle slices, biscuits, and your choice of sauces. Whether you’re getting a couple of pieces or a whole bucket, it’s a feast not to be missed.

Bunny’s, Buckets & Bubbles is transformed into a bunny lover's haven with quirky decor and a distinct dining experience.
Bunny’s, Buckets & Bubbles is transformed into a bunny lover’s haven with quirky decor and a distinct dining experience. | Image Source: https://www.bunnysbaltimore.com/

5. Charm’d Kitchen

More than a spot to grab a bite, Charm’d Kitchen in Butcher’s Hill is where the neighborhood comes alive. Andrew Crummey and Lindsay, his partner, opened this cozy corner to offer a friendly space for locals. Whether it’s parents grabbing coffee, professionals enjoying waffles, or nurses unwinding with mimosas, everyone feels welcome here. The staff knows your name, adding to the warm, community vibe.

The menu keeps things simple but delicious. Their waffles are a hit, served with real maple syrup for that perfect touch of sweetness. The salmon and cream cheese bagel is a standout, proving you don’t need to be in New York for a great bagel. Plus, their coffee from Ceremony Coffee Roasters shows they care about quality in every cup.

What really sets Charm’d Kitchen apart as one of the unique Baltimore restaurants is its blend of great food and a strong sense of community. It’s all about connecting with neighbors and starting the day off right. This place proves that good food and good company are what make a restaurant truly special.

Charm'd Kitchen: A cozy community hub in Butcher's Hill, offering coffee, waffles, and mimosas in a welcoming atmosphere.
Charm’d Kitchen: A cozy community hub in Butcher’s Hill, offering coffee, waffles, and mimosas in a welcoming atmosphere.

6. Wicked Sisters

Wicked Sisters has quickly made a name for itself in Baltimore, taking over the spot once known as McCabe’s. It’s a place where big appetites are welcome, especially with dishes like their colossal meatballs, made from a cherished family recipe. These meatballs, served with Spike’s canned tomatoes and melted mozzarella, can be enjoyed on a grinder roll or atop spaghetti.

But it’s the Insanity Burger that really turns heads. Imagine a burger made from chuck, brisket, and short rib, loaded with toppings like Sriracha bacon, sharp cheddar, and even a fried egg if you dare. It’s a feast that’s as bold in flavor as it is in size!

What places Wicked Sisters among the unique restaurants in Baltimore? It’s not just the inventive menu but also the top-notch service. Whether you’re dining in for the first time or you’re a regular at the bar, the staff makes sure your experience is memorable. From the friendly advice on what to order to the attentive care keeping your wine glass full, every visit feels like you’re among friends.

Wicked Sisters is one of the unique restaurants in Baltimore.
Wicked Sisters serves colossal meatballs with Spike’s canned tomatoes and melted mozzarella for big appetites.

7. Papermoon Diner

Dive into a world of whimsy and wonder at Papermoon Diner. Imagine eating your meal surrounded by mannequins dressed in all sorts of outfits, walls adorned with pop culture treasures, and even a collection of Pez dispensers gifted by a fan.

The menu matches the eclectic decor, offering everything from classic breakfast favorites served all day to inventive milkshakes like bacon and Cap’n Crunch. It’s a place where the food is as much a conversation starter as the surroundings. Dishes like shrimp and grits or the delectable Southern staples ensure there’s something for every palate, blending traditional flavors with a twist of Papermoon’s unique charm.

Among fun places to eat in Baltimore, Papermoon Diner stands out for its creative spirit in both ambiance and cuisine. Here, the adventure is not just in looking around but in tasting the menu’s wide range. Whether you’re craving a hearty breakfast at any hour or a milkshake that breaks all the rules, this diner promises an unforgettable dining experience.

Papermoon Diner welcomes you into its fantastical world without reservations, so it’s wise to visit during off-peak hours for the full, immersive experience.

Papermoon Diner is where meals are served amidst mannequins, pop culture treasures, and a collection of Pez dispensers.
Papermoon Diner is where meals are served amidst mannequins, pop culture treasures, and a collection of Pez dispensers.

8. Foraged

Foraged in Baltimore is where Chef Chris Amendola’s passions for mushrooms and pork come to life. The restaurant’s decor, filled with wooden mushroom sculptures and pig portraits, sets a scene that mirrors the chef’s interests. This unique setting invites diners into a world where the natural and culinary blend seamlessly.

The menu at Foraged stands out for offering some of the best food in Baltimore, with a focus on seasonal and fresh ingredients. Dishes like wild mushroom toast, pork belly with foraged greens, and a rotating selection of dishes featuring locally sourced mushrooms showcase the chef’s commitment to the bounty of the forest and farm.

Located in Station North, near Penn Station, Foraged is a culinary adventure. Here, diners can savor the flavors of meticulously prepared dishes such as hen of the woods mushrooms served over a creamy polenta or a succulent pork chop accompanied by seasonal vegetables.

Each plate is a celebration of the ingredients at their peak, prepared with a level of care and creativity that brings out their best qualities.

Foraged: Chef Chris Amendola's passion for mushrooms and pork shines in Baltimore's unique culinary scene.
Foraged: Chef Chris Amendola’s passion for mushrooms and pork shines in Baltimore’s unique culinary scene.

9. Duck Duck Goose

If you’re looking for a fresh twist on European cuisine, look no further than Duck Duck Goose in Fells Point. The place has a laid-back atmosphere, thanks to staff like Tim, who mixes up inventive cocktails with care. Drinks like the Duck L’Orange and Le Vie en Rose set the stage for a meal that’s as delightful in taste as it is in presentation.

The menu might seem daunting at first glance, especially if you’re new to French food. Yet, dishes like roasted Japanese eggplant with lemon yogurt and pistachios, or the cauliflower steak, show off the kitchen’s skill in making complex flavors accessible and enjoyable. It’s this approach that places Duck Duck Goose among the spots for the best food in Baltimore.

What truly makes Duck Duck Goose unique is its ability to elevate simple dishes into culinary masterpieces. The honey-roasted duck and the roasted chicken, inspired by Marc Forgione of Iron Chef, are prime examples. These dishes, along with the halibut wrapped in puff pastry, showcase the restaurant’s commitment to quality and creativity

Duck Duck Goose offers a fresh twist on European cuisine with inventive cocktails like the Duck L'Orange and Le Vie en Rose.
Duck Duck Goose offers a fresh twist on European cuisine with inventive cocktails like the Duck L’Orange and Le Vie en Rose.

10. Captain James Landing

Captain James Landing is a unique spot in Baltimore that catches everyone’s eye. It’s a restaurant built to look like an ocean liner, right down to the half-ship design because of space limits. This place isn’t just about the looks; it dives deep into the seafood tradition while serving breakfast around the clock and offering a mix of Greek and Italian dishes, along with pizza and sandwiches.

The owners, five Greek brothers led by Nick Tserkis, put their own sweat into building this distinctive spot 15 years ago. Their idea? To create a dining experience that’s as memorable for its setting as for its food. Stepping inside, you’re greeted with a nautical theme, complete with porthole windows and stewards in uniform, enhancing the oceanic vibe.

Among themed restaurants in Baltimore, Captain James Landing stands out for its dedication to creating an immersive experience. The menu takes you back in time with classic Baltimore seafood dishes like crab imperial and stuffed flounder, avoiding the trendy for a taste of tradition. In summer, the action moves outside to picnic tables for steamed crabs with a view of the water.

Captain James Landing serves seafood tradition alongside Greek and Italian dishes and all-day breakfast.
Captain James Landing serves seafood tradition alongside Greek and Italian dishes and all-day breakfast.

11. Annabel Lee Tavern

Looking for a side of literature when dining? Annabel Lee Tavern is a special place in Baltimore that celebrates the famous writer Edgar Allan Poe. Before you even walk in, you’ll see quotes from Poe and decorations of ravens, making you feel like you’re entering a story.

Inside, the tavern feels like a page from Poe’s book, with spooky decorations and a cozy, dark vibe. It’s a cool spot to enjoy a meal that feels like an adventure. The menu even looks like something Poe might have written, with all the details written by hand.

Annabel Lee Tavern is one of the unique places to eat in Baltimore because it’s not just about the food; it’s about the whole experience. The dishes are delicious, and eating here feels like you’re part of Poe’s mysterious world. They even celebrate Poe’s birthday with cake, showing how much they love the writer’s work.

If you’re into history or just want to eat somewhere different, this tavern is a fun way to dive into Baltimore’s past and enjoy some great food.

Annabel Lee Tavern is one of the unique restaurants in Baltimore.
Annabel Lee Tavern: A special spot celebrating Edgar Allan Poe with quotes and raven decorations.

12. Copper Shark

Copper Shark in Locust Point is making waves with its approach to dining. The place kicks off with appetizers that set the stage for an unforgettable meal. Imagine starting with seared foie gras or charred octopus, each dish crafted to perfection. The braised duck Bolognaise, in particular, is a showstopper, blending rich flavors with perfectly cooked pasta.

For the main course, the choices are just as enticing. Whether it’s pan-seared scallops or herb-crusted halibut, each dish is a testament to the chef’s skill. The halibut, paired with lemon-dill sauce and fresh veggies, is a standout, showcasing how simple ingredients can come together to create something special.

Copper Shark stands out among unique restaurants in Baltimore for dinner for its mix of sophisticated dishes and a welcoming atmosphere. The bar area, buzzing with energy, offers a more casual menu that doesn’t skimp on quality or flavor. From craft cocktails to thoughtfully curated charcuterie plates, there’s something for everyone.

Copper Shark offers seared foie gras, charred octopus, and a showstopper: braised duck Bolognaise.
Copper Shark offers seared foie gras, charred octopus, and a showstopper: braised duck Bolognaise. | Image Source: https://www.thecoppershark.com/

Frequently Asked Questions About the Unique Places to Eat in Baltimore

In the FAQ section of our Baltimore restaurant guide, we answer your top questions about dining in the city, from classic dishes to where the locals eat.

What food is Baltimore best known for?

Baltimore is famous for its seafood, especially crab cakes. The city’s location by the Chesapeake Bay means fresh crab is often on the menu. Baltimore’s unique restaurants serve up this local favorite in various styles. From traditional recipes to modern twists, crab cakes are a must-try. Don’t forget to also sample the local oysters and rockfish.

Where can I find scenic places in Baltimore to eat?

For those seeking scenic places in Baltimore to eat, the Inner Harbor offers stunning waterfront views. Restaurants here allow diners to enjoy their meals while overlooking the water. Another great spot is Federal Hill, which provides a picturesque backdrop of the city skyline. These locations are perfect for a special evening out or a relaxing meal with a view.

Where was Haussner’s restaurant in Baltimore?

Haussner’s was a legendary establishment located in the Highlandtown neighborhood of Baltimore. Known for its fine art collection and German cuisine, it was a staple for fine dining in Baltimore for nearly a century. Though it closed in 1999, Haussner’s left a lasting legacy in the city’s culinary history.

What restaurant did Anthony Bourdain work in Baltimore?

Anthony Bourdain, before becoming a renowned chef and TV personality, worked briefly in 1983 at Gianni’s in the Harborplace complex, Baltimore. He lived in the Otterbein neighborhood alongside other employees. Despite some harsh words about Baltimore in his writings, a friend mentioned that Bourdain grew to appreciate the city, noting, “Baltimore has some of the nicest people I’ve ever met and the realest people I ever met.”

How can I discover hidden gem restaurants in Baltimore?

To find hidden gem restaurants in Baltimore, explore beyond the tourist areas. Neighborhoods like Hampden, Fells Point, and Mount Vernon are home to unique spots. Local food blogs and social media are great resources for uncovering these hidden gems. These restaurants often offer innovative dishes that reflect Baltimore’s rich culinary diversity.

Fells Point, Baltimore, MD, USA
Fells Point, Baltimore, MD, USA

What are some family-friendly dining options in Baltimore?

Baltimore has many family-friendly dining options. Look for restaurants with spacious seating and kid-friendly menus. Many places in the Inner Harbor cater to families, offering a variety of foods that appeal to all ages. Parks and waterfront areas often have casual eateries, perfect for a relaxed meal, making Baltimore a hub for unique restaurants on the East Coast.

Where can I experience luxury dining in Baltimore?

For luxury dining in Baltimore, the city offers several upscale restaurants that feature gourmet cuisine and elegant atmospheres. These establishments often require reservations and offer a fine dining experience with expertly crafted dishes, extensive wine lists, and impeccable service. Look for restaurants in the downtown and Inner Harbor areas for a memorable night out.

What are the best budget-friendly eats in Baltimore?

For cheap eats in Baltimore, explore the city’s diverse food markets, like Lexington Market or Cross Street Market. Here, you can find a wide range of affordable options, from fresh seafood to international dishes. Food trucks and small eateries in neighborhoods like Canton and Charles Village also offer delicious meals without breaking the bank.

Where can I find the best cheap eats in Baltimore?

In Baltimore, delicious doesn’t have to mean expensive. The city is filled with hidden gems where you can enjoy mouth-watering meals without emptying your wallet. From the bustling stalls of Lexington Market to the cozy corners of Hampden, cheap eats in Baltimore offer everything from savory seafood to international delights. Keep an eye out for food trucks and local diners for an authentic taste of Baltimore’s diverse culinary scene at a fraction of the cost, making it a must-visit destination on the East Coast.

Final Thoughts On Unique Baltimore Restaurants

We hope you enjoyed exploring our Baltimore restaurant guide. Baltimore is a city full of flavors, from the freshest seafood to hidden culinary gems. Whether you’re looking for a scenic spot by the water, a cozy hidden gem, or a place to enjoy Baltimore’s famous crab cakes, this guide aims to help you find the perfect spot while staying in Maryland.

Remember, Baltimore’s food scene is as diverse as the city itself, so there’s always something new to discover, making it one of the top places to live and visit in Maryland. Next time you’re in the city, dive into its rich culinary culture and let your taste buds lead the way.

The top restaurants in Baltimore for all types of travelers
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