Baltimore Banner reader Jodi Dunn says that, as a foodie, she and her friends love to eat out — but they’re all in their 70s, and excessive noise and loud music makes it difficult for them to enjoy the dining experience.
Dunn wrote to ask, “Where can you have lunch, dinner, coffee/tea where it is quiet enough to have a conversation?”
In the latest edition of my series, Ask Charm City Table, where I share dining suggestions and restaurants recommended to me by Baltimore Banner readers, I looked into Dunn’s question. I asked senior friends and family members for some help on determining what characteristics in a restaurant would make it friendly to the older population.
Quiet atmosphere, early dining hours and good food were the consensus among the group. Here are three restaurants I found ideal for older adults dining out in Baltimore.
1005 North Charles St.
Baltimore’s Roman bistro serves pastries and espresso drinks for breakfast and paninis and pasta for lunch. Dining here feels like you are in a friend’s cheerful living room-turned-cafe with a few wooden tables and chairs inside; two orange armchairs resting by the big, bright windows; and colorful, framed art nearly covering the accent wall. There was also calming music playing quietly throughout the space — and it wasn’t too loud.
I visited the restaurant for lunch and ordered pasta — amatriciana, and cacio e pepe. They were not serving paninis on my visit. These classic Italian pastas were prepared traditionally without much deviation. I liked it; sometimes classics are great on their own, and don’t need a special “twist.” The amatriciana was rich with onion, guanciale, pecorino romano cheese and tomato. The cacio e pepe with black peppercorn and pecorino romano was made creamy with pasta water. Both dishes were lightly salted, and the noodles were cooked al dente.
Allora is open Tuesday through Sunday for breakfast and lunch, and Friday and Saturday for dinner.
751 Key Highway
A few weeks ago, Ammoora opened its doors for dinner at the Inner Harbor’s Ritz-Carlton Residences, bringing more fine dining to the city. The low-lit bar and lounge area is a great place for friends to enjoy the elevated Levantine menu offerings. For special occasions, make a reservation in the main dining room. It’s designed to resemble a Levantine courtyard, furnished with an indoor water fountain, high ceilings and curtained private dining spaces. And there’s no high-volume music here; the atmosphere is quiet, majestic and serene.
I arrived around 5:30 p.m. for dinner reservations. There is valet parking and coat check for a seamless entry. To start, I drank the Spicy Sunset cocktail, which consists of Lebanese rosé, orange ambrosia aperitif, ginger syrup and soda water. The ginger added a good amount of spice that was balanced by the overall sweetness of the drink. Then, I ate the spicy lentil tomato soup, and shrimp hummus (hummus with grilled shrimp, lemon zest, cilantro microgreens and cayenne). I also ate cheese cigars — a cheese blend wrapped in crispy dough with nigella seeds.
For my entree, I ordered the Samke Tajen za’atar crusted salmon with tangerine tahini sauce, charred leeks, dill and rose petals. The presentation was impressive, the flavors were balanced and the service was outstanding.
Ammoora is a place to dress in your best outfits with friends and dine in opulence. Dinner is served Wednesday through Sunday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
5500 Harford Road
A whimsical British tea house can be found along Harford Road in the Hamilton-Lauraville neighborhood. Gold trimmed chairs, tiered sandwich towers, floral tea cups and saucers, and an abundance of greenery are the details that give the space an authentic European feel.
I stopped in for afternoon tea with friends, which was just under $25 per person. The tea came with a sarnie — otherwise known as a cold sandwich — as well as a scone and assorted fruit. Much like the rest of the neighborhood’s restaurants, the teahouse buys from local vendors and farms to serve a seasonal and organic menu. The bites were fresh and the tea was hot. I found the space to be perfect for a long, leisurely afternoon talking with friends.
Have a proper British experience in Baltimore Wednesday through Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
I would love to know your favorite restaurants. Email me at email@example.com with recommendations and questions.
Simone Phillips is the founder of the food blog Charm City Table and a creative in residence for The Baltimore Banner.