15 Unique, Highly-rated Restaurants in Maryland 2023

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Maryland is not only known as the birthplace of the national anthem but also the US’s center for the best blue crab from the Chesapeake Bay. Whether you are looking for restaurants in Maryland on water or a unique place to eat in MD, the crab restaurants in Maryland got you covered.

Five-Star restaurants in Maryland include Charleston, known for its world-class fine dining in the Harbor East. Restaurants at the National Harbor in Maryland are also in plenty, with various offerings from seafood to American classics and delectable sandwiches that Maryland is famously known for.

Best Restaurants in Maryland

Most of the best restaurants in Maryland are located in Baltimore, its largest city, and Annapolis, the capital. However, we will look at the best-of-the-best across the various regions in the state to find hidden gems and locals’ favorite spots.

Remember to look at the linked websites and contacts to check for updates on multiple offerings, events, and specials.

Top 20 Must-Visit Restaurants in Maryland

Charleston, Baltimore

Charleston 1
Credit: @charlestonrestaurant
Charleston 2
Credit: @charlestonrestaurant
  • Address: 1000 Lancaster Street Baltimore, Maryland 21202
  • Phone: 410 332 7373
  • Known for: upscale fine dining with greats seafood options

Chef Cindy Wolf is the Executive Chef at Charleston in Maryland, where she focuses on a constantly changing menu made with the best flavors and presented elegantly. The James Beard Foundation award seven-time finalist teamed up with Tony Foreman to establish the award-winning restaurant in Baltimore in 1997.

The contemporary dishes at Charleston are based on French cuisines and South Carolina-inspired traditional meals. Over 700 wine varieties in the restaurant’s wine library complement the dishes.

As you would expect from a fine dining destination, Charleston is filled with a comfy and luxurious ambiance like no other in Maryland. The dress code is business attire or formal wear, but remember that this is not compulsory, and there are no restrictions on oddly dressed visitors. Self and valet parking is complimentary at the corner of Lancaster Street.

The five-star establishment offers a pre-fixe tasting menu with three to six meal courses. Keep in mind that the menu is ever-changing and features mostly seafood options. Some popular dishes are cornmeal-fried oysters and grilled Creekstone farms prime beef tenderloin, rich lobster soup with curry, and Maryland lump crab cake.

Related: Best Baltimore Seafood Restaurants

Chaps Pit Beef

Chaps Pit Beef
Credit: @chapspitbeef
  • Address: 5801 Pulaski Highway, Baltimore, MD 21205
  • Phone: 410 483 2379
  • Known for: authentic pit beef

This is the original Chaps Pit Beef restaurant in Maryland. There are other locations in Maryland: 1013 Beards Hill Road in Aberdeen, 4969 Westview Drive in Frederick, and 6714 G Richie Highway in Glen Burinie.

Pit Beef is a highly Maryland special that is less popular outside Baltimore and other regions in the state. Chaps Pit Beef is known for using the bottom round roast flat cut of beef from the animal’s hind quarters. This makes for a more flavorful mixed and well-seasoned beef with herbs and spices.

With over two decades of experience in the authentic pit beef industry, Chaps Pit Beef is loved for its tantalizing offerings. Mainly, Pit Beef Sandwich (the original item that made Chaps Pit Beef famous, the Richwich, the raven (beef, turkey, American cheese, and corned beef), and the bulldog (pit beef, sausage, and American cheese between ‘hot dog’ buns).

Vagabond Sandwich Company

Vagabond Sandwich Company
Credit: @vagabondsandwichcompany
  • Address: 111 Thomas Street, Bel Air, Maryland 21014
  • Phone: 410 838 1263
  • Known for: a clean venue with delicious burgers, sandwiches, and salads

Another five-star restaurant/sandwich eatery and burger joint are the Vagabond Sandwich Company in Bel Air. The small and locally-owned food place serves fast, delectable, and cold local brews to wash down that tasty meal.

Memorabilia decorated the cute walls, and the service was as fast as it gets in the area. One of the most praised aspects of Vagabond is how clean its venue is: from the kitchen to the tables, to the counter, and the washrooms.

Their adherence to high quality and standards adds to their good selections of desserts, salads, burgers, and sandwiches. Sandwiches are flavorful and overstuffed to give you your money’s worth. Try their fried chicken sandwich, blackened chicken ranch, Dr. Pepper BBQ beef sandwich, and Baja chicken wrap.

Swahili Village Bar & Restaurant

Swahili Village Bar & Restaurant
Credit: @swahili_village_dc
  • Address: 10800 Rhode Island Avenue, Beltsville, Maryland 20705
  • Phone: 240 965 7651
  • Known for: authentic Swahili-cooked dishes inspired by Kenyan cuisines

An African restaurant in the middle of Maryland is quite a site to see. This unique restaurant with one-of-a-kind cuisine opened in 2009.

Kevin Onyona is the founder and has been able to turn the restaurant into a string of restaurants across the US.

One is in Maryland, another in the Northwest in the District of Columbia, New Jersey, Virginia, and in Manhattan, New York. Swahili Village Bar & Grill in Maryland is the first official location opened in 2016 and has grown to become the state’s epitome of fine African dining.

Popular dishes at the restaurant range from the Samaki fillet to the Kuku Choma char-grilled chicken, and the Swahili basket. Other dishes include Swahili foods from Kenya and other Swahili-speaking regions of East Africa. Not sure what to pick? Try the Nyama Choma, Samosas, or Samaki Wa Nazi.

The Wine Kitchen on the Creek

The Wine Kitchen on the Creek
Credit: @thewinekitchen
  • Address: 50 Carroll Creek Linear Park, Frederick, Maryland 21801
  • Phone: 301 663 6968
  • Known for: highly recommended wine flights

Located in Frederick, The Wine Kitchen on the Creek is a five-star restaurant in Maryland that serves steak, seafood, and vegetarian dishes. The modern chophouse sources its beef from Roseda Angus Beef Ranch not far from Baltimore, and ingredients come from local fresh produce sold by local farmers.

Over 40 varieties of wine and a sizeable whiskey-tasting flight list grace the menu to compliment the meals and uplift the fine dining experience.

Matt Tilman is the Executive chef who brings you the $15 lunch dishes that feature wild mushroom strude, dry-aged burgers, and shrimp & grits with Floriani corn grits. Dinner for the table menu comes with 16-ounce short ribs, salmon, and Tomahawk bone-in ribeye. There is also the ‘Surf for the Turf’ menu with lobster tail and sauteed shrimp.

Ristorante Ottaviani

Ristorante Ottaviani
Credit: @anrphotographs
  • Address: 25 North Center Street, Cumberland, MD 21502
  • Phone: 301 722 0052
  • Known for: traditional Italian cuisines

Ristorante Ottaviani is an Italian eatery known for its traditional and authentic food offerings. Old family recipes make up the menu with popular options like Abruzzo chicken, Bolognese, Del Nonno, Frutti Di Mare, Alfredo, Civitella, and Antipasto.

VIN 909

VIN 909
Credit: @dcpizzareviews
  • Address: 909 Bay Ridge Avenue, Annapolis, MD 21403
  • Phone: 410 990 1846
  • Known for: cute ambiance with summer favorite outdoor patio

The small venue of VIN 909 has an attractive ambiance and outdoor patio with fans that make for a great chill meal during the summer. Indoor seating is limited, so be sure to get in early as they do not take reservations. Also, the parking lot is available for free but is small and has limited spaces.

Despite its size, VIN 909 is a locals’ favorite spot that serves classic American dishes and over 60 types of expertly selected wines. There is also a sizeable collection of small batches and micro beers.

Chef Justin Moore is the Executive chef at Vin 909, where he brings you popular meals like skirt steak, Margherita pizza, tuna tartare, and mushroom pizza.

See Also: Best Seafood Restaurants in Annapolis, MD

Magdalena, A Maryland Bistro

Credit: @magdalenabaltimore
  • Address: 205 E Biddle Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21202
  • Phone: 410 514 0303
  • Known for: France-inspired bistro fare dishes

Located in the Ivy Hotel, Magdalena is a restaurant established in 2015 to bring the best of English comfort food with a twist of Baltimore classics. Chesapeake Bay harvests make up fresh, high-quality meals and locally sourced ingredients from local farmers.

Magdalena’s many popular dishes are grilled octopus, duck breast, foie gras, and smoked salmon. Feast upon the traditional European dishes in the upscale restaurant decorated in shades of white and cream. Lots of greenery and fresh air also surround an outdoor seating area. The dining scene is decorated to give an organic ambiance fit for intimate and romantic affairs.

The Vineyard Wine Bar

The Vineyard Wine Bar
Credit: @thevineyardwinebar
  • Address: 142 N Washington Street, Havre de Grace, Maryland 21078
  • Phone: 443 502 2551
  • Known for: extensive wine list with over 300 wines

Vineyard Wine Bar was voted on the Harford County’s Best Restaurants list for several years. It is must-visit heaven for wine lovers who prefer to indulge in a huge variety of classic wine selections. The restaurant features over 300 fine wines expertly curated to provide the best tastes for the best prices.

The Vineyard is considered one of the world’s most outstanding restaurant wine lists. Its wine list is well paired with a tempting array of tapas-style meals and salads. Specialty desserts and artisanal cheeses make for a great night of fine dining in the warmly lit atmosphere.

Kim’s Key Lime Pies at Lotus Kitchen

Kim’s Key Lime Pies at Lotus Kitchen
Credit: @lotuskitchensolomons
  • Address: 14618 Solomons Island Road South, Solomons, Maryland, 20688
  • Website
  • Phone: 410 326 8469
  • Known for: simple small foods from sandwiches to Key lime Pies

Owners Manda and Kelly started the Lotus kitchen, dedicated to the classic American dessert pie to bring you Kim Mowrer’s Key Lime Pie recipes. The recipe for the pie was inherited from Kim in 2010, and the duo has made a name for their restaurant by selling the $20 per pie and $3.25 per slice delectable.

There is outdoor seating space in the Lotus Kitchen but arrive early since the seating is limited and given out on a first-come, first-served basis. Open from Wednesday to Sunday between 9 am and 4 pm, Lotus Kitchen also serves soups, seafood plates, chips, meat wraps, and vegetarian options.

Dutch’s Daughter Restaurant

Dutch’s Daughter Restaurant
Credit: @nick_marylandrealtor
  • Address: 581 Himes Avenue, Frederick, Maryland, 21703
  • Phone: 301 668 9500
  • Known for: several dining rooms for various events

Contrary to its name, Dutch’s Daughter does not serve Dutch dishes. The restaurant is named after Fred “Dutch” Onderdonk’s daughter, Eileen Gideon, also the establishment’s owner. Founded in 1984, the venue was renovated in 2000 to set up the current design and atmosphere.

Dutch’s Daughter covers three floors, with the main dining area on the first level. The area has five dining rooms with different settings for various functions, events, celebrations, and clientele.

All are decorated with brick walls, warm light fixtures, wooden tables and chairs, white table clothes, and wooden ceilings with overhanging bright white lights. There is also a dungeon room with a full bar where all the martinis and signature drinks are served. It is plastered with medieval décor and a patio dining area with fireplaces.

Dinner meals range from soups, poultry-based meals like the Cajun chicken and French cut pork chop, and a special kid’s menu with fried shrimp, pizza, macaroni n cheese, and fried chicken bites.

The Hobbit Restaurant

The Hobbit Restaurant

  • Address: 121 81st Street, Ocean City, Maryland 21842
  • Phone: 410 524 8100
  • Known for: picturesque views of the sea and dining on inventive American dishes

The Hobbit Restaurant is a true escape from the busy life of the city. It is located on the coast of Ocean City, which gives it a great ocean view and welcomes in a cool breeze that makes for a relaxing and breathtaking atmosphere.

Popular dishes range from the slow-cooked short rib to the lollipop lamp chops, rum raisin pork chop, and the pan-roasted duck breast.

Mon Ami Gabi

Mon Ami Gabi
Credit: @bethesdarowfrt
  • Address: 7239 Woodmont Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland 20814
  • Phone: 301 654 1234
  • Known for: cute French interior and European flair

Despite its small size, Mon Amo Gabi in Maryland accepts reservations of up to six people. Please keep in mind that the outdoor patio has limited seating; hence no reservations can be made; seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.

The lunch pix fixe menu is a three-course meal available from Monday to Friday for $28.95 per person. Entrées include the seared salmon, warm chicken & brie sandwich, and cut steak fries. Mon Ami Gabi also offers a family meal made of chicken or steak all week that serves a group of four.

Jalapenos in Annapolis

Jalapenos in Annapolis
Credit: @alexa_foodie
  • Address: 85 Forest Drive, Annapolis, Maryland 21401
  • Phone: 410 266 7580
  • Known for: traditional Spanish and Mexican dishes

Mexican food at its best in Annapolis is found in Jalapenos. Spanish and Mexican cuisines make up the menu in this restaurant, where you can get happy hour offers all week in the bar area from 3 pm on weekends and 4 pm on weekdays.

The wooden decorated interiors are filled with antique chandeliers and warm lights that create a social scene in the ample seating space. Popular cuisines range from the Ropa Vieja to fish tacos and chicken meatballs.

Lib’s Grill

Lib’s Grill
Credit: @libsgrill
  • Address: 5009 Honeygo Center Drive, Perry Hall, Maryland 21128
  • Phone: 410 513 7133
  • Known for: great steak and seafood delicacies, must-try happy hour

Apart from their great selection of steaks and seafood, visit Lib’s Grill for their enticing happy hour food and drink specials. The offer runs from Monday to Friday between 3 pm and 7 pm. There is also a late-night happy hour throughout the week from 9 pm (Sunday to Thursday) and 10 pm (Friday and Saturday).

Food specials feature items like the $2 Pei oysters, $1 buck-a-shuck LGO oysters, $3 fish tacos, $4 Edamame, and $7 Asian fried Brussel sprouts. Drink specials range from $1 off draught beers to $4 on import beers, $3 domestic bottles, $5 house wines, and $5 well drinks.

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Final Thoughts

Maryland is a vast state with an estimated population of over 6 million, covering over 12,000 square miles. The above list of the best 15 restaurants in Maryland does not even scratch the tip of the iceberg. Here are some honorable mentions when it comes to the best of Maryland’s culinary scene:

  • Monocacy Crossing
  • The Iron Bridge Wine Company
  • Savage River Lodge
  • Old Salty’s Restaurant
  • Miss Shirley’s Café, Roland Park
  • Mountain State Brewing
  • Brick Wood Fired Bistro
  • Passage to India
  • All Set Restaurant & Bar
  • Friendly Farm
  • Cosima
  • The Smoking Swine
  • Grilled Cheese & Co
  • Ava’s Pizzeria and
  • The Food Market

Restaurants in Maryland: FAQs

What is a famous food in Maryland?

Blue crabs are the order of the day when dining in Maryland. The state is known for its blue crab foods that are well seasoned with Old Bay herbs and spices.

Other famous foods in Maryland include Mid-Atlantic seafood, but the pit beef from restaurants like Chaps Pit Beef is the one unique meal from the state.

Does Baltimore have good food?

Baltimore is the largest city in Maryland, filled with world-class diners and restaurants that offer a lot, from fine dining to hidden gems and special menus.

It is home to authentic European, Spanish, Italian, and American delicacies. Check out Charleston, Chaps Pit Beef, and Magdaleno for the best of Baltimore’s good foods.

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