Where to Eat
Highlights of the local restaurant scene
ICMB XI will host morning and afternoon coffee breaks for attendees, box lunch every day, and one early evening reception with light hors d'oeuvres (see Program for details). But while you're here, we hope you explore Baltimore's diverse food scene. Pandemic restrictions lasted longer in the city than in many other places and were especially hard on local restaurants, but things are finally bouncing back in 2023.
We've listed some highlights located in neighborhoods close to the conference venue, but there are many more gems if you're willing to go further afield. Helpful resources include Baltimore Magazine's Best Restaurants guide, and annual Readers' Poll, the food and drink section of the Baltimore Banner, the Eater Essential Baltimore Restaurants guide, and Visit Baltimore's list of Black-owned restaurants in Baltimore.
It doesn't get more classic than Maryland crab cakes from Faidley's in historic Lexington Market (Breakfast/Lunch only, 8:00am–5:00pm). While you're there, check out another Baltimore tradition, Connie's Chicken and Waffles.
Head to Nick's Fish House for an Eastern-shore-style crab feast — hot steamed crabs (crack 'em yourself!), beer, and a scenic waterfront deck. Live music on the weekends.
There's plenty of competition for best oyster bar in Baltimore, but Thames Street Oyster House in Fells Point is a stand-out.
A Fells Point stalwart for over 25 years, The Black Olive Greek fish tavern is known for its innovative cooking and serious wine list.
If you're looking for swank sushi and cocktails, Azumi, in the Four Seasons, is the place to go.
It's not at all nearby, but worthy of note and worth the trip: True Chesapeake Oyster Co., 4.5 mi / 7.2 km to the northwest, where you can dine on butter-poached invasive snakehead, plus sample oysters from the restaurant's own Chesapeake Bay farm.
Baltimore's afro-vegan culinary tradition has deep roots in the local community. If you're up for exploring other parts of the city, you can find more great vegan spots on the Happy Cow review site.
Land of Kush has been serving award-winning vegan soul food since 2011.
A few blocks from Lexington Market, Refocused Vegan has a loyal following and vegan crab cake sandwiches.
For a nostalgic experience and delicious food, try one of these Italian-American classics.
- La Tavola
- La Scala is young compared to its multi-decade neighbors, but it's a consistent favorite with locals.
- Don't forget to pick up pastries from Vaccaro's
- Fine-dining classic Charleston made Chef Cindy Wolf famous, but her restaurant group's chic waterfront northern Italian enoteca and osteria, Cinghiale, is equally worth a visit.
Restaurants, pubs, bars, and breweries are thick on the ground in Fells Point. You can find plenty of favorites on review sites like Yelp (restaurants, bars, breweries), but here are a few personal recommendations.
- Little Donna’s is a charming Upper Fells Point restaurant with a truly eclectic menu (see the Washington Post review — it's hard to do it justice in one sentence!).
- Peter’s Inn is a classic with kitschy, quirky Baltimore spirit
- Pierpoint is a tiny restaurant in an old townhouse known for its modern take on Maryland cuisine.
- Ekiben is a wildly popular fast casual spot serving sandwich buns and rice bowls.
The area around the convention center and ballpark is full of large restaurants catering to tourists, many of them outlets of larger chains. Here are a couple of more home-grown options.
- Puerto 511 has delicious Peruvian classics, and is one of the few BYOB options in the city.
- Miss Shirley's is only open for breakfast and lunch, but their expansive patio is very popular.
Federal Hill & Locust Point
Take the water taxi to this area known for its harbor views and devotion to local small businesses.
- Limoncello restaurant and wine bar offers dramatic dishes inspired by the Amalfi coast.
- Sobo Cafe takes American comfort food and expands it with vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and keto options.
- Bodhi Corner is a great choice for Thai.
Other Local Treats
If you're still in town when the weekend rolls around, don't miss the fantastic Baltimore Farmer's Market, the largest in the state.
For a taste of quintessential Baltimore on a budget, indulge in a package of Berger Cookies from the 7-11 convenience store on Thames Street.