Sometimes deciding what to eat at a restaurant can be overwhelming.

Not because I can’t make a decision — or because my child has spilled his entire water all over the table and my pants — but because I want to eat it all. So my dilemma ends up being which is the best entrée to devour.

Keeping with the spirit of the season, here are five must-try ‘warm and cozy’ meals from some very cool local gems. Consider them must-have meals in Baltimore!

Must-Have Meals in Baltimore - Sotto Sopra - (cool) progeny

Sotto Sopra

Pan seared branzino with Romanesco broccoli, potato cake on a bed of red pepper vodka couli topped with a pineapple salsa.

Even though this was too pretty to eat, it was delicious. The coulis complimented the perfectly cooked fish, while the potato cake was fried to perfection. Fresh ingredients and fun textures made this the perfect lighter meal. 


Must-Have Meals in Baltimore - The Corner Pantry - (cool) progeny

The Corner Pantry

The Corner Pantry Cumberland Sausage: Anson Mills aged cheddar grit cake, sautéed greens, braised onion, ale broth.

I don’t always order sausage, but I could easily see myself getting this again. Tender meat was paired perfectly with the crispy cheddar grit cake. The greens were meant to swim in the ale broth and the onions on top were a delectable garnish.


Must-Have Meals in Baltimore - The Rowhouse Grille- (cool) progeny

The Rowhouse Grille

Coffee-dusted pork loin with Japanese pumpkin risotto, rapini, and red wine glaze.

Pork is the new filet here, especially when it’s cooked to its tender, juicy potential. This is a must-have. The coffee run gets a sweet flavor from the caramelization.

And who would have known pumpkin can add so much flavor to risotto? 


Must-Have Meals in Baltimore - Pen & Quill - (cool) progeny

Pen & Quill

Pot au Feu (French beef stew): braised short ribs, beef tenderloin, bone marrow potato purée with beef consommé and root vegetables.

This is why I WON’T give up meat again. The meat was falling apart in the savory beef consommé. The perfectly swirled potatoes helped me soak up the rest of the sauce. Heaven.


Must-Have Meals in Baltimore - Cunningham's - (cool) progeny


1/2 roasted chicken, carrots, carrot butter, watercress, and radish salad with a chicken pan gravy.

Chicken can be overcooked, but do NOT pass on this one. Crispy and herb crusted skin is kind of the best way to start a meal. The carrots were delish and I ate the fresh watercress and radish salad because I love a good salad. But let’s get back to the chicken. It was incredible. The best part. Chicken pan gravy. Ah-mazing.



Photography by Changa Bell.


Editor’s Note: Love what you see here? See our full guide to the Holidays in Baltimore here.