At Luciano’s Ristoranti, native Sicilian Chef Leonardo draws upon his country’s culinary traditions to curate a menu of pizzas, homemade pastas, and meaty sandwiches. Morsels of fried calamari entrance prospectors with their crispy golden crust, and fresh mozzarella stratifies layers of fresh tomatoes and basil. Chefs slather 12-inch crusts with five types of cheese and creamy pesto, and tri-color angel-hair pasta weaves its way through scallops and shrimp. Homemade focaccia bread piled high with capicolla and mortadella tests hand strength like performing Moby Dick with shadow puppets. Between bites, dining companions clink glasses of house wines that include medium-bodied Tuscan chianti and crispy, fruity Sicilian pinot grigio.
Named one of the city's most romantic restaurants by Grand Rapids Magazine, Tre Cugini ensnares the senses by pairing its rustic décor of exposed brick walls and crisp white linens with authentic Italian cuisine. Bartenders pour from an expansive list of wines and shake cocktails to tunes from the gleaming grand piano, whetting appetites for cooked-to-order risotto and house-made desserts. Friendly staffers teach basic Italian phrases on request and host monthly wine events, allowing patrons to applaud a varietal's flavor in its native handclap. During warmer months, guests can flock to the outdoor patio to savor fruity sips beneath colorful striped umbrellas:
Fat Man's Fish Fry, an eatery founded in 1953, has drawn in diners for decades with a sumptuous array of fry-house specialties. Scallops, perch, crab cakes, and other seafood sizzles in dedicated fryers while chicken, alligator, and other proteins cook separately; the separation ensures clean, un-muddled flavors. Those flavors are enhanced with a trio of vinegar-based sauces or Fat Man's tartar sauce—a house specialty that you can also take home by the bottle.
With its ledge rock walls, burnished wood accents, and life-size horse sculpture perched at the wraparound bar, The Stillwater Grill hearkens back to a frontier lodge. Chefs reinforce the rustic ambiance with a menu of hearty American fare: they grill USDA Choice beef and inspected seafood, and then drizzle their flame-licked exteriors with homemade sauces.
Housed in one of downtown Baltimore's oldest brick buildings, the Waterfront Hotel Restaurant offers a weekend brunch menu splashed with traditional southern flavors and deep-sea delights. Fatigued longshoremen can break their fast with a crab hash skillet ($17.95), while languid landlubbers can hunker down with a traditional 8-ounce steak-and-eggs platter ($13.95). Lunch or dinner at the Waterfront may begin with undersea treats such as ginger calamari ($9.95) or buttery mussels ($9.95). Slay a grumbling gut-Grendel with a fried oyster po' boy ($11.95), or contemplate the mystic duality of lunch over a sweet-and-savory turkey-brie quesadilla ($9.95). Evening entrees, served from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m, include the scampi (blackened shrimp, scallops, and crab over linguini, $16.95) and the honey chipotle pork chop with mac 'n' cheese ($14.95).
Snyder's BBQ & Meat Market co-owners Kraig and Sue Snyder cater to carnivores of all stripes with their selection of high-quality raw meats and prepared foods. Inside the store’s display cases are USDA Choice and higher all-natural beef made without hormones, sausages crafted in-house with lean pork, and hand-picked chicken breasts marinated with seasonings such as garlic butter. Fresh and frozen seafood varieties include wild-caught cuts such as sockeye salmon and mahi mahi. Deli adornments such as specialty cheese and dips reside beside handmade chicken, macaroni, and potato salads.
The market’s pizzeria, meanwhile, turns out hot, doughy pizzas topped with cheese, veggies, and meat, while frozen to-go meals, such as penne pasta with marinara, can be taken home and heated or worn around town as a poorly conceived Halloween costume. Flagship and seasonal beers from local microbreweries, as well as numerous wine varietals, help to wash down meals.