At the chef's table: Spike Gjerde's pick of what to eat in Baltimore

Spike Gjerde reveals what to eat and where in Baltimore.

By Spike Gjerde
Published 26 Sept 2019, 11:21 BST
Fishing in Baltimore
Chesapeake Bay is a local source of fresh fish and shellfish for Baltimore.
Photograph by Alamy

What’s exciting about our city’s food scene is that it feels very homegrown; we’re so fortunate when it comes to local ingredients, especially fresh fish and shellfish from the Chesapeake Bay. Oysters are key to Baltimore’s history, and there are plenty of oyster bars run by people who really care about the product and the experience. These places aren’t hugely glitzy, but they all reflect the personalities of their owners and the different neighbourhoods.

The ingredients

Chesapeake blue crab
With a rich, buttery taste, this local crab is found right on our doostep and is perfect for broths and soups.

Keepwell Vinegar
These vinegars are produced by two of my pastry chefs, using local ingredients like grapes, apples, ginger, bitter lemon, strawberry and aronia berries.

Maryland tomatoes
Anyone visiting this part of the country should try these red beauties, which are at their rich, juicy best in summer and autumn.

Insider’s Baltimore

For the best bivalves
I love the atmosphere at Thames Street Oyster House in Fell’s Point, and the menu reflects
some of the best fish and shellfish cooking anywhere. It’s incredibly consistent, reliable and delicious.

For a taste of Italy
Two pizza spots I love are Paulie Gees, which has an emphasis on vegan options and a trophy-lined back bar room, and Verde, which is all about Neopolitan-style pizza and offers an expansive selection of classic toppings. Both places use traditional wood-fired ovens.

For neighbourhood dining
My current top picks are Le Comptoir Du Vin, with its bistro dishes and natural wines, and Orto, which serves wonderful pasta.

Must try
Baltimore crab cakes are a food icon. The best are to be found at Faidley’s Seafood in Lexington Market; eat them with coleslaw and a cold beer.

Spike Gjerde is an award-winning chef. He manages eight locations across Baltimore, including Sandlot.


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