Baltimore Sun's top 50 Baltimore restaurants for 2010

The Baltimore Sun recently published a list of their top 50 Baltimore restaurants for 2010. It’s a great resource! I wanted to make it more useful by adding addresses, phone numbers, maps, and links to more information for each restaurant, so that it could be a handy reference, especially for your mobile phone. Click here to read about how I did it.

1 The Prime Rib

1101 N Calvert St Ste 102 (410) 539-1804 More info -76.612857, 39.302772
Baltimore Sun’s synopsis:
At 45, The Prime Rib, the Mount Vernon steakhouse remains constitutionally incapable of a misstep or a false move, and the relaxed dress code hasn't detracted a bit from the glamour of it all. When you leave, you feel like you've been someplace.

2 Charleston

1000 Lancaster St Ste 1e (410) 332-7373 More info -76.5997925, 39.2824308
Baltimore Sun’s synopsis:
If you arrive with your spirit willing and your taste buds ready, if you fully commit yourself to the experience, you'll be rewarded. Cindy Wolf's Charleston, the Foreman-Wolf flagship, delivers great pleasure for those who come looking for it.

3 Woodberry Kitchen

2010 Clipper Park Road (410) 464-8000 More info -76.644533, 39.3318904
Baltimore Sun’s synopsis:
In late 2008, Spike Gjerde returned to the Baltimore dining scene with Woodberry Kitchen -- a restaurant that made farm-to-table interesting, inviting, and, no doubt about it, sexy. On some nights here, you can still feel Woodberry reeling from its instantaneous success.

4 Peter's Inn

504 S Ann St (410) 675-7313 More info -76.591612, 39.285458
Baltimore Sun’s synopsis:
Every week a new Karin Tiffany menu appears on the blackboards. Every night, customers arrive early, before the kitchen opens, to stake out a table or a barstool in the Fells Point restaurant. Peter's Inn is the kind of place a Baltimorean points to and says, "Now do you see why I love this city?"

5 Petit Louis

4800 Roland Ave Ste 100 (410) 366-9393 More info -76.635533, 39.350467
Baltimore Sun’s synopsis:
Tony Foreman's vision for this Roland Park French bistro was clear from the beginning. In 10 years, Petit Louis hasn't wavered. It's improved, and from soup to nuts, there isn't a more agile performer in the city. The French onion soup could run for mayor, and win.

6 Aldo's

306 S High St (410) 727-0700 More info -76.601916, 39.285973
Baltimore Sun’s synopsis:
Overlooked, except by those who have come to depend on Aldo Vitale's Little Italy restaurant as refuge for a brandy-and-cigars style of fine dining that's all but vanished. The masterpiece -- the double-cut Wisconsin veal chop. The lullaby -- homemade limoncello.

7 Jack's Bistro

3123 Elliott St (410) 878-6542 More info -76.5717284, 39.2792404
Baltimore Sun’s synopsis:
Is there a happier chef-patron relationship than the one between Ted Stelzenmuller and the gang who shows up at his Canton restaurant week after week, expecting something fearless and big-hearted to fly out of Jack's curious kitchen?

8 B

1501 Bolton St (410) 383-8600 More info -76.625822, 39.307217
Baltimore Sun’s synopsis:
When Jamie Forsythe took over the Bolton Hill bistro's fine Mediterranean kitchen, he gave it a mission -- local and seasonal. What's nice is that it's all guided by pleasure. On a summer night, b's patio is an urban dreamscape.

9 Chameleon Café

4341 Harford Rd (410) 254-2376 More info -76.572469, 39.339428
Baltimore Sun’s synopsis:
Approaching its 10th anniversary, the Smiths' Harford Road restaurant will always be the restaurant that people have only just discovered. The focus at Chameleon is on Maryland cuisine, which makes an appointment with Jeff Smith's summer menu something you should add to your 2011 calendar right now.

10 Salt Tavern

2127 E Pratt St Ste 1 (410) 276-5480 More info -76.586232, 39.289315
Baltimore Sun’s synopsis:
When it opened back in 2006, Jason Ambrose's Upper Fells Point restaurant led the pack of chef-driven, neighborhood-based, menu-rotating, Philadelphia-style restaurants. A stint in Salt's kitchen has become a standard resume builder, and duck-fat fries march through our dreams.

11 The Wine Market

921 E Fort Ave Ste 135 (410) 244-6166 More info -76.601018, 39.270643
Baltimore Sun’s synopsis:
At No. 11, this feels like the right spot for Christopher Spann's hardworking, forward-looking Locust Point restaurant. With the promotion of Christopher Becker to executive chef, the recently renovated Locust Point Industrial Area restaurant feels poised for a major breakthrough.

12 Kali's Court

1606 Thames St (410) 276-4700 More info -76.594775, 39.28121
Baltimore Sun’s synopsis:
It helps to know how to use this Fells Point luxury model. It's to be used for seduction, for sealing deals, for disinheriting a nephew. The mistake people make is squandering its power and beauty on randomness, like driving a Jaguar to the supermarket. Recent changes at Kali's bear watching.

13 The Helmand

806 N Charles St (410) 752-0311 More info -76.6159154, 39.2989863
Baltimore Sun’s synopsis:
It struck me as odd that this is one of the oldest names on the list. Qayum Karzai opened his influential and loved Afghan restaurant in 1989. Little has changed. The Helmand is the top-ranking ethnic restaurant on the list.

14 City Cafe

1001 Cathedral St Fl 1 (410) 539-4252 More info -76.6121893, 39.2903848
Baltimore Sun’s synopsis:
The most improved Baltimore restaurant, maybe ever. The hiring of the wily Chad Gauss has restored the City Cafe to the hearts of the Mount Vernon neighbors who had long ago stopped loving it. It's a pleasure to see.

15 Cinghiale

822 Lancaster St (410) 547-8282 More info -76.600679, 39.282468
Baltimore Sun’s synopsis:
It is serious pleasure to sit with a glass of wine at this ravishing bar, working your way through brilliant cheeses, exquisitely handled charcuterie, and Julian Marcucci's earnest cooking. That this pleasure never fully materializes at Cinghiale's tables is not a national concern.

16 Bluegrass

643 Frederick Rd (410) 744-1144 More info -76.731114, 39.271758
Baltimore Sun’s synopsis:
The highest ranking new restaurant on the list is Jorbie Clark and chef Patrick Morrow's South Baltimore lovable, approachable version of the local/seasonal/animal parts restaurant. Major assets at Bluegrass include the house-proud staff Chris Coker's wine list, outdoor seating and an upstairs bar.

17 Clementine

5402 Harford Rd (410) 444-1497 More info -76.5624877, 39.3511851
Baltimore Sun’s synopsis:
Clementine, Winston Blick and Christine Dadant's Vermont-cozy Hamilton restaurant opened hot, made itself indispensable, got itself a liquor license, and doubled its size before you could say house-made Duroc breakfast sausage.

18 Tapas Teatro

1711 N Charles St Ste A (410) 332-0110 More info -76.615996, 39.309245
Baltimore Sun’s synopsis:
Going on 10 years, this Station North tapas restaurant is still a silky smooth synthesis of form and function. Don't let your server rush you.

19 Brewer's Art

1106 N Charles St (410) 547-6925 More info -76.616387, 39.302771
Baltimore Sun’s synopsis:
The current menu at this Mount Vernon rowhouse combines greatest hits like Utz-crusted cod and steak frites with new adventures in dining like a pumpkin polenta entrée and a Korean hot pot. Dinner at the bar always works. Brewer's main dining room can feel disconnected.

20 Gertrude's

10 Art Museum Dr (410) 889-3399 More info -76.61917, 39.325918
Baltimore Sun’s synopsis:
Few American museums are as well served as is the Baltimore Museum of Art by John Shields' home for coastal cooking at Gertrude's.

21 Pazo

1425 Aliceanna St (410) 534-7296 More info -76.5979793, 39.2833211
Baltimore Sun’s synopsis:
Pazo is a fascinating case. No restaurant elicits such strong opinions or feelings. Tony Foreman took over the kitchen in the summer of 2010, and the menu changed formats. This season will reveal whether Baltimoreans still have a place for it in their hearts.

22 Blue Hill

938 S Conkling St (443) 388-9363 More info -76.567177, 39.281674
Baltimore Sun’s synopsis:
Blue Hill is the right restaurant in the right place at the right time, this contemporary American restaurant in Canton appears to have worked out its opening-season jitters.

23 B&O American Brasserie

2 N Charles St (443) 692-6172 More info -76.6156029, 39.289807
Baltimore Sun’s synopsis:
B&O provides a breath of life in the Downtown district. Chef Michael Reidt's good ideas risk getting lost in the larger performance this well-managed property puts on for its customers.

24 Ambassador

3811 Canterbury Rd (410) 366-1484 More info -76.620372, 39.33531
Baltimore Sun’s synopsis:
Would this Tuscany-Canterbury Indian restaurant be as adored, or be ranked as highly here if it weren't for the dining patio and gardens that ravish your senses?

25 Black Olive

814 S Bond St (410) 276-7141 More info -76.5954919, 39.281967
Baltimore Sun’s synopsis:
The Spiladis family's Fells Point restaurant, a revelation for the freshness of its fish and produce when it opened in 1997, has seen its act repeated all over town. The opening of a long-awaited hotel property behind the restaurant should help return the Black Olive to center stage.

26 Ruth's Chris Steak House

600 Water St (410) 783-0033 More info -76.6080003, 39.2886743
Baltimore Sun’s synopsis:
The presence upstairs of the Havana Club keeps this Ruth's Chris a front-of-mind destination for power dates and romantic business meetings.

27 Ethel & Ramone's

1615 Sulgrave Ave (410) 664-2971 More info -76.652422, 39.367029
Baltimore Sun’s synopsis:
Now a fixture at the Baltimore Farmers' Market, the Mount Washington home base has established itself as Baltimore's premier establishment for Cajun and Creole cuisine. Ethel & Ramone's also has the city's best gumbo, hands down.

28 The Dogwood

911 W 36th St Ste 1 (410) 889-0952 More info -76.631765, 39.3310461
Baltimore Sun’s synopsis:
Now in full bloom, the innovative, community-focused Hampden restaurant is here to stay. The laudable Dogwood mission no longer intrudes on the pleasures of Galen Sampson's classic preparations of American cuisine.

29 Henninger's

1812 Bank St (410) 342-2172 More info -76.5908518, 39.2868207
Baltimore Sun’s synopsis:
Henninger's has been Baltimore's best second-date restaurant since 1989. Anyone not moved by Jayne and Kenny Vieth's quirkily romantic Upper Fells Point restaurant is soul-deficient; that's the kind of thing you'd want to know before things get too serious.

30 Mekong Delta

105 W Saratoga St # 105 (410) 244-8677 More info -76.616869, 39.292808
Baltimore Sun’s synopsis:
Mekong Delta, a storefront Vietnamese restaurant, is proof that Baltimoreans were serious when they insisted they would support a real pho joint.

31 Meli

1640 Thames St (410) 534-6354 More info -76.593795, 39.281625
Baltimore Sun’s synopsis:
Encouragingly, Rashad Edwards continues to test the limits of a casual bistro menu at Meli -- a seductive Kali Group property attached to the Admiral Fell Inn.

32 Mama's on the Half Shell

2901 Odonnell St (410) 276-3160 More info -76.575294, 39.2799896
Baltimore Sun’s synopsis:
My vote for the restaurant that should franchise itself. A solid and consistently satisfying Canton citizen since 2004, Mama's on the Half Shell owns the area's casual seafood restaurant category.

33 Mezze

1606 Thames St (410) 563-7600 More info -76.594775, 39.28121
Baltimore Sun’s synopsis:
The Kali Group's decade of expansion began with this lively and satisfying small-plate restaurant. Mezze was the first splash of chic along the cobblestones of Fells Point.

34 Sascha's 527

527 N Charles St (410) 539-8880 More info -76.615229, 39.296089
Baltimore Sun’s synopsis:
By relocating its bar from the back to the middle, Sascha Wolhandler's Mount Vernon restaurant is riding an invigorating second wind. Go on a Monday for the fried chicken dinner.

35 Carlyle Club

500 W University Pkwy (410) 243-5454 More info -76.624379, 39.337335
Baltimore Sun’s synopsis:
Reopened last year as a "coastal Indian" restaurant, Carlyle Club is Singh's posher, more intimate version of the nearby Ambassador.

36 Vino Rosina

509 S Exeter St (410) 528-8600 More info -76.599931, 39.284627
Baltimore Sun’s synopsis:
With a cassoulet and a "16-legged burger," the fall menu at this new Harbor East wine bar and restaurant shows Top Chef alumna Jesse Sandlin making big strides. This is one to keep an eye on.

37 Sotto Sopra

405 N Charles St Ste 1 (410) 625-0534 More info -76.615137, 39.294377
Baltimore Sun’s synopsis:
After years of hosting vesting chefs, Sotto Sopra owner Riccardo Bosio took back the kitchen at his theatrically swank downtown Italian restaurant. His food is rich and very good.

38 Grano

1031 W 36th St (443) 869-3429 More info -76.6336105, 39.3310625
Baltimore Sun’s synopsis:
There are now two editions of Grano, Gino Troia's Hampden restaurant. The larger, newer one is evolving nicely. The pocket-size original makes the list with sheer warmth and a knockout Bolognese sauce.

39 Lebanese Taverna

719 President St (410) 244-5533 More info -76.6008799, 39.2825333
Baltimore Sun’s synopsis:
Not every D.C. import is welcomed with open arms, but with Baltimore's historic scarcity of good Middle Eastern restaurants, the Lebanese Taverna was greeted with joy jumps.

40 Nam Kang

2126 Maryland Ave (410) 685-6237 More info -76.6183086, 39.314093
Baltimore Sun’s synopsis:
Among the Charles North Korean restaurants, Nam Kang remains the essential destination for restorative and potent hot pots, casseroles and pancakes. It's still one of the city's classic late-night spots.

41 Ikaros

4805 Eastern Ave (410) 633-3750 More info -76.5555204, 39.2870362
Baltimore Sun’s synopsis:
A friend who loves this Greektown restaurant writes, "After 43 years on Eastern Avenue, Ikaros is still serving up Greek hospitality that never falters."

42 Regi's

1002 Light St (410) 539-7344 More info -76.6126839, 39.2781176
Baltimore Sun’s synopsis:
With his enthusiasm for the city's local markets, Alan Morstein's has kept Regi's relevant. The Federal Hill chestnut remains unusually focused on accommodating its customers' whims and preferences.

43 Thai Arroy

1019 Light St (410) 385-8587 More info -76.6124696, 39.2777935
Baltimore Sun’s synopsis:
High scores on the cheerfulness index help Thai Arroy edge out the city's other Thai restaurants, including the sentimental favorite on Greenmount Avenue. Just across the street in Federal Hill, the freshly minted Thai Yum has the potential to vault ahead of them all.

44 Zorba's

4710 Eastern Ave (410) 276-4484 More info -76.5562241, 39.2872082
Baltimore Sun’s synopsis:
A Greektown favorite, home of the magical charcoal-flame rotisserie. It's full name, Zorba's Bar and Grill, suggests the casual, neighborhood atmosphere.

45 Minato

1013 N Charles St (410) 332-0332 More info -76.615487, 39.301604
Baltimore Sun’s synopsis:
No sushi spot in Baltimore has an enthusiastic, citywide following. But, I'm including Mount Vernon's Minato because I like the balance it strikes between the traditional, costume-drama restaurant and the newer high-energy locations.

46 Oceanaire

801 Aliceanna St (443) 872-0000 More info -76.600798, 39.282803
Baltimore Sun’s synopsis:
The historic and very weird absence of stellar high-end seafood restaurants in Baltimore paved the way for an out-of-towner like Oceanaire, which succeeds with consistency.

47 Akbar

823 N Charles St Ste B (410) 539-0944 More info -76.6156237, 39.2993599
Baltimore Sun’s synopsis:
A sentimental addition. Akbar may not be capable of surprise or change but there's something about that lower-level dining room that still works a spell.

48 Da Mimmo

217 S High St (410) 727-6876 More info -76.602186, 39.287152
Baltimore Sun’s synopsis:
Da Mimmo stands as Mary Ann Cricchio's loving tribute to her late husband, "Mimmo," who introduced the idea of high-end dining to the family-friendly neighborhood.

49 Crush

510 E Belvedere Ave (443) 278-9001 More info -76.608374, 39.364555
Baltimore Sun’s synopsis:
Like the restaurants ranked just below it, Crush's future feels uncertain -- it could rise quickly up the list, or just as easily fall off.

50 Abacrombie Fine Foods and Accommodations

58 W Biddle St (410) 244-7227 More info -76.6182305, 39.303471
Baltimore Sun’s synopsis:
The countdown begins with two question marks. First, why does Jerry Pellegrino's Mount Vernon restaurant, Abacrombie, with all of its potential, seem so quiet?

How I did it. In addition to wanting to wanting to make the restaurant list more useful, it was an excuse for me to try out Google Refine. It does live up to the hype of letting you easily transform messy raw data into structure formats with some powerful and expressive tools. I was able to put all this together over lunch.

I used a combination of publically-accessible tools, including Google Refine to convert the copy-and-pasted text from the original Sun article into a structured table, Bing’s Phonebook API to look up the addresses and phone numbers of the restaurants automatically from within Refine, the Google Geocoding API to get longitude/latitude for each (also from inside Refine), Google Font Directory for the two main fonts, Google Libraries API for jQuery, and finally Google Static Maps API to draw a locator map for each restaurant.

Paul Smith