Matthew’s Pizzeria

Rating: ★★★★★

You’ve heard of New York-style pizza and Chicago Deep dish but the pizzas at Matthew’s 28035223_10156155800828011_2117708731_o.jpgPizzeria in Baltimore refuse to be put in a box (figuratively speaking- they’re small, only 8 inches for a small and 10 inches for a large). The crust is thick, but not as thick as deep dish. Some have claimed that they follow the New England style of Greek pizza but whatever way you slice it (see what I did there?) their pizza is some of the best I’ve ever had. Rumor has it that they have a bit of lard in the dough, which is no surprise because it is decadently buttery.

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I went for a small crab pizza, which wasloaded with crab and absolutely delicious. It’s easy to see why, since 1943, this has been Baltimore’s classic pizza spot. You might even be unironically called “hon” by one of the friendly waitresses.

Matthew’s Pizzeria is located at 3131 Eastern Ave, Baltimore.

Faidley’s Seafood

Rating: ★★★✩✩

Baltimore has a plethora of food markets, unlike DC, which really only has Union Market (which is fantastic) and Eastern Market (which I find underwhelming). Of Baltimore’s food markets, the most famous is Lexington Market (established in 1782) and the most famous spot inside Lexington Market is Faidley’s Seafood, established in 1886. It should be noted, first and foremost, that Lexington Market is located in a rather terrifying neighborhood.

27335215_10156098889818011_50759508_oDespite its proximity to other, nicer areas of Baltimore, such as the Inner Harbor and Mount Vernon, Lexington Market is just plain rough. You’ll find lots of people loitering around, many of whom appear to be high on drugs, some of whom are panhandling. Fortunately, Lexington Market is just a block from the Light Rail and across the street from Baltimore’s little-used single metro line. However, even walking that short distance to Lexington Market will likely unnerve most people. Once inside, Lexington Market is still pretty sketchy and has a rundown feel to it. However, a police presence means that you at least won’t feel totally unsafe.

27266039_10156098889513011_9585428_oFaidley’s itself is nice enough, boasts classic decor and the crab cakes for which it’s famous are tasty; they are clearly all crab meat with minimal filler. However, as tends to be the case with crab cakes, prices are steep and one crab cake from Faidley’s doesn’t really make for a filling meal. Faidley’s does have its own tables where you can eat. However, if you plan on eating anything not from Faidley’s you’ll have to eat in Lexington Market’s general seating area which is – you guessed it – sketchy and not the nicest.

F27265757_10156098889168011_496113250_oaidley’s may be an iconic spot but is it really worth it to visit for a crab cake that (while perfectly good) is not really memorable? Not particularly, in my opinion. To make it worth it, Lexington Market (and the neighborhood around it) would need a major makeover.

Faidley’s Seafood is located at 400 W Lexington St, Baltimore, MD.

The Helmand

Rating: ★★★★★

18835054_10155406920753011_976399619_nThe Helmand, run by Qayum Karzai, the brother of former Afghan president Hamid Karzai, is an institution in Baltimore’s posh Mount Vernon neighborhood, having been in business since 1989. However, the place doesn’t feel the least bit tired and remains warm, inviting and trendy. When you step in, you can feast your eyes on the beautiful Afghan decor before you feast on the delicious Afghan food. The service was very friendly and prompt and I 18902945_10155406920558011_1220936902_nwas able to order a dish that I had never had never seen on a menu at any other Afghan restaurants (which is shocking because I eat a lot of Afghan food). I ordered the shalgham challow (slow-cooked lamb and turnips in a ginger sauce served with rice and stewed spinach). While I tend to prefer grilled meats to slow-cooked meats, it was tasty and it was refreshing to try something new. If you’re in Baltimore, The Helmand is a gem that you really should try.

The Helmand is located at 806 N Charles St, Baltimore.