Best Restaurants 2009

Our first-ever ranking of Baltimore’s top places to eat.

Edited By Suzanne Loudermilk. Written by John Farlow, Henry Hong, Suzanne Loudermilk, Karen Nitkin, Bianca Sienra, and Martha Th

This has to be one of the most beautiful restaurant spaces in Baltimore from the luxe bar with two signature wild-boar sculptures and elegant enoteca (wine bar) to the pristine, oh-so-proper osteria (formal dining room). The menu leans toward northern Italian, but what we really love is that you can pick your price points: paninis at the bar, pasta at the wood booths and tables, or three-course prezzo fisso with intriguing wines at white-clothed tables. Executive chef Julian Marucci waxes creative on all cooking levels. On our last visit, we were regaled with such treasures as a delightful raw veal-tenderloin appetizer with a delicate poached quail egg, a slow-roasted pork imbued with rosemary, and a big-eye tuna with heirloom tomatoes and olives. Pastry chef Jason Gehring sends you off with a smile after a silky panna cotta, rich apple torte, or lush zabaglione with fresh berries.