If there's one thing that shapes the food at Carmelo's Italian Restaurant more than the chefs, it's Mother Nature. In the tradition of the Northwest and Sicily, the kitchen uses only local, organic ingredients when possible, and imports some Old World staples straight from Italy. The result is a menu that shifts with the seasons. Using a base of penne noodles splashed with a vodka sauce or the thin crust of a pizza, chefs might feature spinach, red peppers, or feta cheese grown in a nearby field. And since Carmelo's is a BYOB eatery, diners can complement their meal with a hand-selected bottle of wine or jar of bathtub gin.
After nearly 40 years of combined experience in the restaurant industry, Dave and Pam Keohane knew how to please their patrons when they realized their dreams of restaurant ownership and opened Greenhouse Grill in 1990. Inside, cozy booths and warmly toned walls encourage diners to linger over dessert and chat over draft beers and expertly mixed margaritas. All-American starters such as bacon cheese fries and crab dip stop stomach rumbles long enough for guests to peruse the menu, which mingles hand-cut steaks, seafood specialties, and sandwiches accompanied by bottomless fries. The chefs also toss pasta specialties with meats and seafood such as crab and shrimp, and several homestyle specialties ensure whole families or incomplete sets of green army men have plenty of options to choose from.
During their travels abroad, the owners of El Anafre Restaurant found themselves inspired by the small clay pots used for cooking in Honduras and other Central American countries. They decided to open a restaurant that used the traditional pots to serve hot dips such as queso fundido and other regional specialties. They even named the restaurant after them—the word anafre means pots or grills made out of clay.
El Anafre Restaurant serves other Central American specialties, too, including pork tamales, beef-tongue tacos, and pupusas—handmade corn tortillas that can be folded around meat, beans, and cheese and then mailed to a friend. The restaurant also caters to Tex-Mex fans, with chefs preparing cheesy quesadillas, enchiladas, and chimichangas.
The allure of Bill Bateman's Bistro increases exponentially with a glance at the wide-ranging menu. Locally lauded for its superlative wings, Bill Bateman's Bistro's offers glazed poultry in a variety of sizes and sauces. Combine cuisines with 10 ($8.49) of the Sweet Thai Chili Wings, or firmly uphold winged tradition with 30 original buffalo wings ($22.99). Fifty Wings from Hell ($36.99) will sate the fire-deprived tongues of fearless wing devourers and can be ordered via a Ouija board that until recently was just a game. The shrimp-melt wrap ($10.99), jalapeñoed Heat Wave Burger ($8.99), and grilled-chicken-topped California Salad ($10.99) are but a few of the numerous bites capable of complementing the various cold draft beers. For the full rundown of possible palate pleasers, see the complete menu for each participating location: Parkville, Severna Park, Glen Burnie, and Reisterstown.
The esculent artisans at The Olive Tree serenade diners with an extensive menu celebrating seafood and cuisine inspired by regions all throughout Italy. Evening diners can entice taste buds with comestible selections from a far-reaching dinner menu. Rouse appetites with fresh sautéed mussels reclining in a bath of garlic wine sauce ($10.59) before chowing on ricotta-stuffed baked manicotti ($11.99). Exercise incisors on grilled pork chops Italiano, served with grilled veggies and a side ($14.99) or crash a shrimp scampi slumber party jumping on a bed of linguine ($18.99). All entrees are served with unlimited garden salad and enough breadsticks to construct an edible scale model of Michelangelo's David. The dinner menu is rounded out by a variety of homemade desserts, including homemade cannoli ($4.95) and tiramisu ($4.95).
As a small child, Jason Farrell toddled through his family's seafood diner, Marley's Seafood and Subs, acquiring the nautical food know-how and original barbecue recipes that would serve him well when he returned to his childhood neighborhood to found Barbecue, Blues & Seafood. Jason—along with brother Brian and cousin Duane—recently celebrated the restaurant’s first anniversary by grilling an entire pig and regaling guests with the choicest cuts. Jason’s young daughters, Reghan and Julia, tag along with him daily to give their favorite menu items a barbecue-coated thumbs-up.