Food & Drink
FOOD: Baltimore’s Best Brunch Spots
by Lea Faminiano
It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of brunch. It’s the meal where you have an excuse to wake up late, eat a ton of food that mashes together breakfast and lunch, and maybe throw back a cocktail or two and no one can really judge you, because… it’s brunch!
Baltimore may not scream out as a foodie haven (or as anything other than crab cakes, football, and The Wire), but closer exploration of Charm City unfolds neighborhoods filled with little culinary gems, particularly in the brunch category. Here’s a few of my favorites that have me praying they open a New York City branch!
If I had to compile a list of my favorite brunch spots in the world, Miss Shirley’s would be in the top three…dare I say number one? This place was my savior during college, and I could always count on it for both a hangover brunch and a nice meal with visiting parents. My opinion isn’t the only one that counts, of course – it’s hit multiple #1 spots in multiple categories of the Best of Baltimore list, including Best Breakfast, Lunch and Good Deal. I’m wildly jealous because I hear they now have a food truck (also #1 spot in the Food Truck category).
I can’t say anything about the Inner Harbor restaurant, as it wasn’t open while I was living in Baltimore, but their Roland Park location is always hopping. On the weekend, you will most definitely be waiting over an hour for your table, but it will be worth it. The portions are huge and delicious and beautiful and you won’t regret it. Trust me. If you happen to be in Baltimore, this is where you will go for brunch.
You can’t go wrong with any dish – I almost always made my own omelet, but the Southern Slammer (fried green tomatoes with bacon, egg, avocado, and cheddar on pumpernickel) and the coconut cream-stuffed French toast both hit it out of the park. Oh, and don’t forget – always, always order sweet potato fries.
Miss Shirley’s Café
513 West Cold Spring Lane
Baltimore, MD 21210
Paper Moon Diner
I’m not even really sure how to describe Paper Moon Diner.
Basically, stepping into Paper Moon Diner is like stepping into a vintage toy box that has recently exploded. You can’t not look around. You’ll notice that the photos are not of food, because photos of the food wouldn’t even come close to capturing the essence of the eccentric restaurant. The service is slightly strange too (good, but strange) and the system basically is not a system at all – whoever seats you might not be the person who takes your order, and that person might not be the same person who brings you your food, or checks on you, give you your check… you get the idea.
The food is good, though! It’s traditional American diner fare, and the extensive menu follows typical diner fashion, including a page devoted entirely to quesadillas. You can get anything here, like your traditional B.L.T., normal breakfast dishes, whatever, and then there’s the quirky stuff like the bacon milkshake, because…why not?
It’s open 24 hours, so you can go whenever, but if you want my brunch recommendation, get the chocolate chip pancakes.
Paper Moon Diner
227 West 29th Street
Baltimore, MD 21211
Regi’s American Bistro
I remember my first trip to Regi’s American Bistro extremely well. I was on this burger kick, because I had recently been diagnosed with low iron levels and convinced myself that the only possible way to fix this was to eat as many burgers as possible (I know, the excuses I make…). Anyway, I chose a really great place to be on a burger kick.
The Federal Hill establishment is classic American food in one of my favorite Baltimore neighborhoods. You can sit outside if it’s nice out, both the Ravens and Orioles stadiums are in walking distance, and there’s tons of great bars and shops around if you want to do some day drinking or shopping (or both).
Regi’s has been awarded numerous food-related awards, particularly for their crab cakes – their crab cake sandwich is highly praised and if you’re going to be in Baltimore, you’re going to have to get crab cakes. The rest of their current menu has a number of items that sound intriguing, such as the Venetian waffle (a rosemary infused polenta waffle with eggs, bacon, and potatoes) but of course, if you can handle a burger for brunch, I highly recommend it.
Regi’s American Bistro
1002 Light Street
Baltimore, MD 21230
Baltimore has a zillion amazing places to eat – the above are just a few of my very favorites, but don’t forget to check out Ryleigh’s Oyster, Pete’s Grille, and Mama’s On The Half Shell, and while you’re at it, explore the many exciting neighborhoods and make your own brunch discoveries!