Get Cozy at These Talbot County Eateries

You don’t have to wait for Valentine’s Day to enjoy a romantic escape with your significant other. Here in Talbot County, you’ll find plenty of choices to get cozy – from chic bistros and historic taverns, to authentic Italian and fresh-from-the-Bay seafood – whatever your fancy, we know where to go.  Here are just some of our recommendations: Please note, reservations are highly recommended.

EASTON

Bas Rouge
19 Federal Street | (410) 822-1637

The country’s top culinary press has showered this exquisite restaurant with acclaim. With staff boasting pedigrees from stellar institutions like New York City’s Le Bernadin it’s no wonder it’s become a Mid-Atlantic dining destination. The design is drenched in understated elegance from the imported tile flooring to the gold gilt roping on the ceiling to the museum-worthy Austrian oil paintings. Impeccable service (even your purse gets a seat, and not just any seat, but a beautiful brass fortified seat), accompanies your meal.  Chef Harley Peet turns out extraordinary dishes tapping the world’s very best everything in season, including white truffles, to create culinary masterpieces, and you can choose from more than 500 labels of the world’s finest wines to accompany your meal. HINT: If planning a proposal, let them know ahead of time so they can make the event extra special.

Hunter’s Tavern
101 E. Dover Street | (410) 822-4034

The patio out front of the Tidewater Inn is ideal for people watching and it doesn’t get any cozier than a seat by the outdoor fireplace.  However, if you’re really looking for some alone time, aim for a seat in a nook at the back of the Tavern, where you can see but not be seen. Chef Daniel Pochron serves coveted Chesapeake fare with fresh from the bay options like crab cakes and oysters front and center, along with some unexpected shareable bites (fluffy pierogis served with sauteed apples and blue cheese). The wine list includes some more adventurous options, including a zesty (affordable) Albariño from Spain. HINT: Book their romance package to extend the romance.

Legal Assets
22 S. Harrison Street | (443) 746-2178

This buzzy restaurant housed in a two Victorian houses does have quiet corners. Tables for two on the porch or patio in the garden are particularly coveted in warm weather, while in winter the marble bar becomes a couples’ favorite. Chef David Clark offers a distinctive menu that infuses classic fare with an Asian flair, creating a menu like no other on the Eastern Shore. Here, the Caesar salad is grilled and given a perky Korean dressing, while the chicken sandwich is given a tempura treatment rather than a traditional batter-and-fry. Cocktails are extraordinary thanks to a mixologist who creates botanical blends and juices in house. HINT: To get really cozy reserve a table upstairs.

Osteria Alfredo
210 Marlboro Avenue | (410) 822-9088

This trattoria’s location tucked next door to a multiplex cinema belies its romantic interior where stylish woven lights cast a gentle glow over romantic banquettes flanked by soft ochre walls, making it a date night favorite. Chef/owner Alfredo Ferretti takes on all the classic pastas, including an excellent tagliatelle tossed with an abundance of wild mushrooms. He also specializes in seafood, brining an Italian flair to dishes such as a heaping bowl of steamed mussels in a piquant red sauce (ripe for dipping) and branzino topped with breadcrumbs, lemon, and served in a butter sauce spiked with Pinot Grigio. HINT: Make it a full date night as Easton Premier Cinemas is next door.

Out of the Fire
111 S. Washington Street | (410) 770-4777

Committed to providing interesting and creative cuisine while engaging in environmental and social sustainability, Out of the Fire has recently been reimagined inside a charming historic house.  The intimate bar, where a handful of modern mandarin-hued seats, including those at two high top tables, offer a chic hideaway. Creative pizzas fired from a wood-fueled oven are complemented by fresh salads sourced entirely from local farms. Plus, there are a number of standout dishes, like Prince Edward Island mussels served in a spicy tomato-caper broth made for dipping, are perfect for sharing.
HINT: A great spot for vegan and vegetarian diners.

Scossa
8 N. Washington Street | (410) 822-2202

Long the standard-bearer of sophisticated dining on the Eastern Shore, Scossa, which loosely translates into a cross between “shock” and “excitement” in English, is all about elevated Italian cuisine. It’s helmed by Chef/owner Giancarlo Tondin, who hails from northern Italy but arrived in Talbot County after stints at some of New York’s finest restaurants, including Cipriani’s.  He brings finesse to dishes like fiocchetti with Gorgonzola pear sauce and tender sauteed broccolini topped with sweet scallops and grilled shrimp.  On a warm day, gravitate towards the wrought iron tables on the brick front patio overlooking downtown Easton. Indoors, reserve one of the demi-moon banquettes, where you can hide and forget the world around you—well, except for the extraordinary food and wine. HINT: Getting cozy doesn’t have to be at night, Scossa serves lunch and brunch too!

The Stewart
3 Federal Street | (410) 793-4128

When you conjure an image of a true stately experience, it’s likely to look like The Stewart. Think tartan plaid upholstery, club-style seats, a roaring fireplace and fine oil paintings.  This 30-seat dining room, more lounge than restaurant, is the backdrop for one of the most intimate of Talbot County’s dining establishments. Its extensive single malt Scotch whiskeys and vintage Champagne is renown on the East Coast. The abbreviated menu features exquisite morsels such as gold leaf and squid ink ravioli. Plus, when you can procure some of the world’s finest caviar, why wouldn’t you? HINT: Scotch and champagne connoisseurs, this is where you need to be!

OXFORD

Pope’s Tavern
504 S. Morris Street | (410) 226-5220

Nestled in the picturesque town of Oxford, Pope’s Tavern is a quaint restaurant with delicious comfort food. Although it’s housed inside an historic inn, banish notions of ye olde tavern fare. Pope’s Tavern’s menu is a love letter to the owner’s Italian mother, drawing on family recipes for classic dishes like Nanny’s homemade meatballs and lasagna stuffed with beef and sausage. All of the pastas are made in house, as are the desserts, including what just may be the best ricotta cheesecake this side of Italy. Couples often sidle up to the intimate wraparound bar or take a perch on the front porch. Hint: Sit outside on the porch for views of sailing yachts and crab boat.

Robert Morris Inn
314 N. Morris Street | (410) 226-5111

This historic hotel and restaurant has been welcoming travelers since the 18th century, including luminaries through the ages from George Washington to Elizabeth Taylor. On a blustery day find refuge amid beamed ceilings and a roaring fireplace in the atmospheric taproom. In warm weather, take a seat on the wrap around brick patio where you can soak in views of the Tred Avon River. Either way, you’ll be treated to chef/owner Mark Salter’s menu, which blends regional favorites such as a classic cream of crab soup with a touch of his British heritage (rockfish fish and chips, anyone?) HINT: Book a room at the inn to extend the romance.

ST. MICHAELS

Bistro St. Michaels
403 S. Talbot Street | (410) 745-9111

From the moment you step onto the front porch that leads into Bistro St. Michaels, a restaurant housed within a pretty Victorian, you immediately sense this is that kind of place, a decidedly romantic spot.  Chef/owner Doug Stewart delivers Plenty of French classics like steak frites and coq au vin done right.  A fun way to experience the best of the atmosphere is to take a seat at the chef’s counter, overlooking the open kitchen. Order a cheese board loaded with locally made selections from a farm just down the street and you’ve got date night nailed. HINT: Ask for one of their cozy booths.

Inn at Perry Cabin
308 Watkins Lane | (443) 258-2228

Imagine yourself the proprietor of the manor along the famed St. Michaels waterfront. That’s what it’s like to splurge on one of the glittering private glass houses at STARS at the Inn at Perry Cabin, a stunning circa 1816 manor. Oriental rugs, chandeliers and, come chilly weather, plush throw blankets, deck out a trio of hideaways tailored made for two. Attentive staff, more like butlers than waiters, serve modern takes on Chesapeake favorites like Maryland crab cakes paired with apples, radishes, parsnips and walnuts, created by award-winning Chef Gregory James. For another romantic experience on property, take a table inside Purser’s Pub, where in winter months, you can cozy up next to the wood burning fireplace, which the staff faithfully stoke. This is a refined but unpretentious place to sample some of the Chesapeake Bay region’s finest, such as local oysters served with Old Bay aioli. HINT: Enjoy both restaurants over a long weekend together!

Limoncello
200 S. Talbot St, Street | (410) 745-3111

The trattoria and wine bar at the center of St. Michaels. with natural stone on one wall, Tuscan yellow on another, and accents as blue the Tyrrhenaian Sea, transports you to the Amalfi Coast in Italy. In good weather, aim for a seat out front on the brick sidewalk, a prime spot for people-watching. In cooler weather, cocoon at a quiet table one step down from the bustling main dining room. The kitchen specializes in authentic fare, such as polenta con funghi misti and house made gnocchi tossed with a tangy marina, as well as cacciucco alla Livornese, a seafood stew studded with olives and capers. HINT: They have half price wine days on Mondays and Tuesdays!

Ruse
209 N. Talbot Street | (410) 745-8011

Contemporary coastal cool permeates Ruse. Located in the Wildset Hotel, a trendy boutique property, this restaurant offers plenty of reasons to hunker down for the evening.  Standouts include sweet New Jersey scallops dolloped with smoked trout roe.  Vegetarians will find plenty to love with a rotating roster of exceptional plates, including dishes like a savory grilled green cabbage dressed in maple-tahini dressing. Linger over after dinner drinks, with treasures like 20-year tawny port from one of the best houses in Portgual. Plus, Happy hour is a thing to celebrate with deals like $5 martinis (yes!) along with $2 oysters plucked from the water less than a mile away. HINT: Extend the romance with a night at this spa-like hotel.

Theo’s
407 S. Talbot Street | (410) 745-2106

If it’s the ambiance of an intimate steakhouse you desire, reserve a table at Theo’s.  Located in the center of St. Michaels, its location is golden, and so too is its menu featuring impeccable cuts of beef from bone-in ribeye to a delicate filet mignon. The beauty of this restaurant is that you can dress up or dress down; either way you will feel comfortable in one of the inviting dining rooms, or on the intimate front porch. One of the most romantic dishes on the menu is the Chateaubriand for two, a classic preparation served with a side of béarnaise sauce. HINT: Great place to bring your gluten free partner.

TALBOT COUNTY

Momma Maria’s
4021 Main Street, Trappe | (410) 476-6266

This former general store, the landmark of the little village of Trappe, has been converted into a lovely Mediterranean bistro. The menu offers some tasty twists on traditional dishes, such as shrimp and grits which here takes a Southern favorite and gives it an Italian spin thanks to creamy golden polenta and a generous dose of crispy pancetta.  And the attentive bartenders are well equipped to offer riffs on classic cocktails, such as a refreshing limoncello mule. HINT: Ask for a window seat when are looking for a romantic nook or snuggle up on a couple of seats at the bar.

t at the General Store
25942 Royal Oak Road, Easton | (410) 745-8402

From Sunday brunch through Saturday dinner, this chic little outpost in a former general store, offers modern design and a novel menu. Located in the very center of Royal Oak, a quiet crossroads located between Easton and St. Michaels, the menu leans into the restaurant’s name, T as in tea. Not every offering is tea-infused but plenty is from the juicy chai-rubbed roasted chicken and local greens tossed with sweet tea vinaigrette. The loose tea menu is phenomenal, but so are the many hand-crafted cocktails that are also tea-inspired, such as the Earl Greyhound, a refreshing blend of grapefruit juice and Earl Grey-infused vodka. HINT: Wines by the glass or bottle are also available.

Tilghman Island Inn
21384 Coopertown Road, Tilghman Island | (410) 886-1170

Casual elegance defines this waterfront gem.  In warm weather, ask for a table outside on the waterfront deck, where you can watch working fishing boats haul in their catch in for the day. Visit during cooler months and you’ll find a serene dining room that also overlooks the water. Chef/owner Tom Green is serious about using locally sourced ingredients: Dry aged beef that makes an appearance in both the deceptively simple burger and the sirloin steak topped with cabernet butter is delivered from a nearby farm, while vegetables are picked daily from his very own garden and greenhouse. HINT: Arriving by boat? The inn has boat slips available.










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