“Downtown” Catonsville along the Frederick Road corridor has a number of restaurants many of which are worth going a bit out of your way for… So many restaurants, so little time, eh??? <Smile>
Our top two favorites for an affordable casual dinner or lunch include:
Chef Paolino Cafe (726 Frederick Rd) ; It’s casual and the young college/high school guys staffing the place which bring your meal to your table in the evening are friendly and the food is good and reasonable (At $5, a calzone or the sausage or spinach rolls are a bargain!) John is a big fan of the Grilled Chicken Salad and the Mista Verde Salad (while Marty is enthusiastic about the Coffey Salad) – all of which are approx $8; entrees like lasangna or eggplant parm are priced in the low teens and come with a side salad.
What’s not to like??? (Want to know more? Check out our full review of Chef Paolino ! )
Jennings Cafe (808 Frederick Rd); www.jenningscafe.com/ Jennings has been around seemingly forever and is a Catonsville institution (along with long time waitress, Miss Peggy). There’s so much to like here… While there are entrees and specials which might tempt you (most in the higher teens), basics like the Chicken Wings appetizer are reliably good as well as the fried chicken entree ($10), awesome chicken pot pie ($8 – a personal fav and “Thumbs Up” for our friend Tom) and chef salad is a great meal for $9. (Our friend Paul swears that the Bloody Mary’s that the bar serves up are among the best he’s had) A definite “must try” is Jennings’ Coconut Cake which is made weekly by one of the servers. The portion is huge, the cake is moist and delicious and it’s a “red letter” day for us when it’s available (and not sold out!!!)
Check out our full review of Jennings
And here are others that we recommend and feel are worth trying:
Duesenberg’s http://www.duesenbergscafeandgrill.com/ (10 Mellor Ave – just off Frederick across from Jennings Cafe) has a dual identity! Open as an American Cafe for breakfast and lunch, it offers food that has never failed to impress us. The big challenge is that Duesenberg’s only has about 8 tables inside (another 6 outside on the sidewalk) which can make getting a table challenge at prime lunch time.
In the evening when Duesenberg’s is closed, a lady who is a german immigrant (and tells a fascinating story of how she hadn’t traveled far from her home in Germany before moving to the US!) runs probably the best German restaurant in Baltimore. Check out their separate web page at duesenbergsgermandinners.com. Both daytime and nighttime versions get a “Thumbs Up” from John.
And here’s even more favorites to check out:
Sea Hut (729 Frederick Rd) “Sea Hut” may not be much on atmosphere or decor, but the Maryland style crab soup is a long time favorite and affordably priced.
G. L. Shacks (583 Frederick Rd) It’s good to be aware that G.L. Shacks has a large parking lot in back; the bar in front facing Frederick Rd is popular with locals at happy hour and the dining rooms in back offer some decent sandwiches and bar food
Matthew’s 1600 (1600 Frederick Rd) Matthew’s appears to be a hit particularly with 20-30 something year old hetero set (the large oval bar is apparently a popular watering hole with for them)
Sam’s Bagels (730 Frederick Road) Tucked away in a strip shopping center building back behind “Friendly’s”, Sam’s offers not only decent bagels but great bagel sandwiches worth checking out at lunch time
Atwater’s (815 Frederick Road) Like its other siblings around Baltimore, Atwater’s offers delicious breads, treats, and lunch time “made here” soups.
Indian Delight (622 Frederick Rd) (You’d never guess that this was an ice cream parlor once upon a time!) If you’re hungry, there’s an affordable “all you can eat” buffet at lunch time
Caveat Diner! Catonsville Restaurants that ought to be on the bottom of your list of places to try…
Friendly’s – No reflection on the rest of the Friendly’s chain, but this Catonsville branch has a history of horrendous service. I’ve personally been seated at a table and walked out after I had sat totally ignored by the staff for 15+ minutes (I’ve read and heard similar stories from others). The great mystery of life to me is how this particular Friendly’s remains open when other branches of this chain have closed in the last couple of years.
Umami Global Bistro – I’ve had bad experiences here and I’ve reached the “Why bother?” when there are so many reliably good places to eat in Catonsville. I’ve ordered Tabouli ($5) and I was surprised to find that what I served after a 20+ minute wait was more like Tabouli SOUP than the salad that’s it supposed to be while parsley – a prime ingredient in Tabouli – seemed lacking. I’ve never encountered Tabouli like this (and hope I never do again!). A lamb gyro sandwich ($7) had two – just two – of the smallest, thinnest slices of gyro meat that you can imagine. I only wish that I had taken photos to serve as documentation