Dozens of Baltimore eateries are participating in the city’s winter restaurant week, offering three-course meals at around $35 from Jan. 10 through 19.
Overwhelmed by options? Here are eight places I’d recommend booking a table.
The Tilted Row
I’ve been a fan of this elegant, welcoming Bolton Hill brasserie since it opened last year, and have since sent friends there and even returned with my parents (who are way tougher critics than I am). Everyone seems to like the place. If you haven’t sampled the Moorish eggplant with charred crostini, start off your meal with that beautifully balanced appetizer. (305 McMechen St., Bolton Hill, 443-552-1594, thetiltedrow.com)
The Prime Rib
The restaurant week menu at Prime Rib is $45, not $35, but that’s still a bargain compared with what you’d typically spend on a meal at this storied Calvert Street steakhouse, renowned for its old school glamour and expert service (watch in awe as your tuxedo-wearing server maneuvers the plates, Tetris-style, so that everything fits on the table). It goes without saying that you should order the prime rib with creamed spinach and mashed potatoes. (1101 N. Calvert St., Midtown-Belvedere. 410-539-1804. theprimerib.com)
Haven’t been to Orto yet? It’s time. The Italian bistro in Station North, formerly Bottega and Colette, is not skimping for their restaurant week menu: For an entree, their menu offers a delectable sounding steak or casarecce with sausage, tomato, chilies and mussels. (1709 N. Charles St., Station North. 443-759-7200, ortobaltimore.com)
If eating fewer carbs was your New Year’s resolution, just go ahead and cancel it before making your reservation at La Tavola. The longtime Little Italy trattoria, one of my favorite places for pasta, offers carbo loading diners plenty to choose from with a menu that includes classic entrees like their squid ink linguini with lobster and lasagna Bolognese. Finish it off with some cannoli. (248 Albemarle St., Little Italy. 410-685-1859. la-tavola.com)
La Cuchara chef Ben Lefenfeld’s Basque inspired culinary offerings are a happy detour from the ordinary. During restaurant week, choose from entrees like lamb shoulder and branzino, with toasted coconut tres leches cake for dessert. The wood-fired grill and chic atmosphere of the converted mill alone make it worth the trip. (3600 Clipper Mill Road, Jones Falls Area. 443-708-3838. lacucharabaltimore.com)
I have yet to eat at Bar Vasquez, but I’ve heard such rave reviews of the Argentine spot from discerning foodies that I’m determined to visit this restaurant week. And what better time to try a new place? Chef Mario Cano Catalan’s menu offers hanger steak for an entree; for dessert, bosc pear empanada. (1425 Aliceanna St., Harbor East. 410-534-7296, barvasquez.com)
Chef Cai Lindeman is cooking up one of the more economical restaurant week menus, three courses for $25. At Noona’s, the Phil Han-owned spot near the Maryland Institute College of Art, choose from sourdough pizzas, gnocchi, linguini and a burger. (1203 W. Mount Royal Ave., Midtown. 410-424-0857. noonaspizza.com)
Alma Cocina Latina
If you haven’t eaten at Alma Cocina Latina since the arrival of new executive chef Karem Barragan, consider this your excuse. Try the sumac rubbed roast duck, which recently got a shout out in The Washington Post. (2400 Boston St., Canton. 667-212-4273. almacocinalatina.com)