Amid the stately storefronts of historic Annapolis stands Harry Browne's, an elegant eatery that has teemed with gourmet Continental cuisine and international wines for more than 35 years. In the 1930s-era dining room, servers ferry out the restaurant's most acclaimed dishes—steaming bowls of cream of crab soup, platters piled with crab cakes, full racks of lamb, and seasonal specialties. Upstairs in the State Circle Lounge, guests sidle up to a full bar to sip craft cocktails and swirl selections from a wine list more than 100 strong.
Though people no longer have to cross continental boundaries to sample exotic flavors, the average spice rack still tends to lack diversity. At the Spice & Tea Exchange of Annapolis, a staff of flavor-seeking specialists stocks gourmet seasonings and spices, cooking herbs, sugars, and sea salts to expand their customers' cooking horizons. In addition to fresh herbs and flavorings, the team designs signature seasoning powders that infuse dishes with medleys of chili, savory hints of cheese, or the essence of smoke. They also carry an assortment of gourmet teas, which are good to keep around the house in case a local king decides to stop by.
As guests walk into 49 West, they encounter exposed brick and open bookcases under soft and natural lighting, all of which come together to foster a cozy atmosphere for dining, sipping coffee, or socializing. Created in the style of European restaurant-cafés, guests come to casually dine for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, or to check out hanging artwork from the brushes of a monthly rotating local artist. The staff serves cups of coffee, lattes, and spiked coffee drinks all day alongside carefully crafted dishes of steamed scrambled eggs, homemade scones and muffins, and sandwiches. At dinner, they pour martinis, wines, bourbons, and cognacs to complement the chef’s seafood, chicken, and vegetable entrees. As patrons savor their bites, the melodies from jazz groups playing nightly set the evening’s rhythm.
Luna Blu’s walls sport hand-painted murals of an idyllic Naples coastline, its cerulean hues echoing the dining room’s candles and blue glass accents. These are the first hint at chef Ivano Scotto’s Neapolitan heritage. The second, of course, is the food: chef Scotto peppers his pasta dishes and stews with fresh seafood like that fishermen in his native city would pluck from the nearby Tyrrhenian Sea. Additionally, veal and chicken marinate in creamy marsala wine sauces, and an ample wine list complements entrees.