Like many others, Baltimore Banner reader Selma Levi and her husband continue to dine outdoors during the colder months. She’s familiar with the heated patios at Johnny’s in Roland Park and Wicked Sisters in Hampden, but she’s looking for more options. She asks: “What are some restaurants that still have outdoor seating with heaters for the winter?”
Continuing my “Ask Charm City Table” series, I am answering questions from readers. I’m also visiting restaurants in Baltimore and surrounding counties that you suggest — and offering some of my own recommendations.
Here are five area restaurants that offer heated outdoor dining:
2600 N. Howard St., Baltimore
The restaurant and whole-animal butchery is known for its brick oven pizza and one of the city’s best cheeseburgers. Located in the Remington neighborhood, JBGB’s has patio heaters and plenty of seating in its outdoor space along Howard Street. There is also a “community fireplace” where guests can stay warm while eating outdoors.
I recommend their pizza – any of their meat toppings are satisfying, but mushroom is also one of my favorites. The cheeseburger – two 4-oz. patties, mac sauce, lettuce, tomato, and pickles — has all the elements of a perfect burger. It’s juicy and flavorful with quality ingredients. JBGB’s has mostly meat options with a few vegetarian and pescatarian dishes on its rotating menu.
900 E. Fort Ave., Suite 101, Baltimore
Limoncello takes diners on a journey to the owners’ hometown of Monte di Procida, just outside of Napoli, Italy. Their coastal-Italian food-and-drink menu can be enjoyed on their enclosed, heated back patio and bar. Adorned with string lights and greenery, it is an ideal spot for a beautiful date night.
On my last visit to Limoncello, I ate their Kobe beef-mortadella meatball and grilled octopus. The meatball is the size of a baseball with tomato ragu, ricotta, and pistachio crumble. Their grilled octopus with a squeeze of lemon is one of my favorite menu items from the restaurant. Next, I ordered the Fileto di Manzo — a 9-ounce filet mignon with prosciutto, Gorgonzola and red-wine reduction served with mashed potatoes and asparagus — and Ravioli Astice, a lobster-filled pasta, saffron cream sauce, lobster meat, and asparagus.
At the recommendation of our server, I finished dinner with a limoncello flight. I chose Original, Nutella, and Orangecello from the list of options and sipped the fragrant digestive made from lemon peels.
2600 Insulator Drive, Baltimore
The year-round crab deck has it all — casual waterfront dining, Maryland crushes, and lots of seafood. The outdoor seating is my preferred way to dine at the restaurant any time of year. The heated patio is on a wooden deck with benches creating an authentic Maryland crab deck experience.
I began my seafood feast with raw oysters and Maryland crab soup. The crab soup was comforting and warm and seasoned with a little Old Bay. Oysters were chilled and slightly salty. I topped mine with a dash of horseradish and pepper sauce. Next I ordered a dozen steamed crabs because the crabs at Nick’s Fish House are a must; they’re covered in the restaurant’s low-heat spice blend. Choose between small to extra large/jumbo crabs, though I recommend large or extra large for easy picking.
Nick’s is a hot spot for good food and fun. Catch the live music and events on the weekends by checking the website and social media channels.
3600 Clipper Mill Road, Baltimore
Inspired by the Basque regions of France and Spain, the Woodberry restaurant offers a seasonal menu complete with tapas, wood-fired cuisine, and an extensive wine list. La Cuchara is tucked away inside the Meadow Mill shopping area, but once you find it, their heated patio is located right at the entrance of the restaurant.
Recently, I enjoyed the jamón croquettes, beef empanadas, shrimp provençale and crispy oysters from their Pintxos and Tapas menu. For my entree, I ate the wood-grilled branzino with frisée lettuce, olive oil, poached potatoes, and salsa verde. The warm, intimate ambience and stunning plates at La Cuchara make for a special dining experience in Baltimore.
2015 Turkey Point Road, Essex
Baltimore County has a new waterfront restaurant. The seafood-forward concept in Essex has a spacious outdoor property including a heated patio and fire pit. I was impressed with all the items I ordered.
With a seemingly casual menu, the execution of these plates and the quality ingredients make their offerings exciting and delicious. To start, I enjoyed the yellowfin tuna poke with soy ginger dressing and Brussels sprouts with balsamic honey, prosciutto, and parmesan. My main course was the lobster roll – perfectly buttery Maine lobster, fresh brioche, butter lettuce, and lobster butter with a side of fries. The restaurant also has a brunch menu which I am excited to go back and try.
Do you have a favorite restaurant or do you need any dining recommendations? I would love to hear from you!
Simone Phillips is the founder of the food blog Charm City Table and a Creative in Residence for The Baltimore Banner.