Baltimore feeds all kinds of eaters. Sure, it’s best known for its Chesapeake blue crabs—slathered in Old Bay seasoning—and tender, lightly browned crab cakes served with a dollop of tartar sauce on a big bun. But even as a high school vegetarian back in the early 2000s, I found plenty of delicacies to feast on.
These days, Baltimore more than holds its own as a foodie hub. You’ll find it all, from Italian-style gelato shops and fine dining establishments to hole-in-the-wall eateries—and yes, plenty of Chesapeake crabs.
Baltimore is famously hot and muggy in summer and ice-cold in winter—eat accordingly.
If you just have time for one thing, make it a crab cake sandwich from Lexington Market.
On your first day, wake yourself up with a drip coffee from Common Ground, a down-to-earth café and bakery serving local roasts in the quirky neighborhood of Hampden. You’ll have plenty of time to browse the vintage stores, bookshops, and art galleries on 36th Street afterward.
Then, get your bearings on a small-group foodie-focused walking tour in Fells Point, a vibrant waterfront district. Afterward, grab a cup or cone at Pitango Gelato, where you’ll find a mix of classic Italian flavors and spice-inspired blends such as cardamom and star anise.
No trip to Baltimore is complete without a stop at bustling, atmospheric Lexington Market, an indoor marketplace that dates back to 1782. You’ll find everything from Nepalese fusion food to crispy chicken and waffles, but the classic draws are the fresh, piping-hot crab cakes. Plus, Lexington Market is in a walkable corner of downtown Baltimore near the Inner Harbor, so it’s easy to squeeze in a stop while sightseeing.
For dinner, a short car (or cab) ride takes you to Woodberry Tavern, previously the James Beard award-winning farm-to-table restaurant Woodberry Kitchen.
On your last day, head to Gertrude’s Chesapeake Kitchen. It’s located in the Baltimore Museum of Art—famous for its Manet collection—so plan to browse the exhibits, too. You’ll find plenty of local seafood, and for vegetarians there's the “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Crab” platter, consisting of Old Bay-coated zucchini cakes.
For dinner, head to elegant Mount Vernon for a meal at the Helmand, a fine dining restaurant specialized in Afghan cuisine that has been serving up its famous kaddo bourani (baked pumpkin with yogurt) to the Baltimore community for more than three decades.