Between increasingly less subtle advertisements, festive snacks at the grocery store, and a growing selection of cozy decorations available for purchase, there’s no denying the signs. The holiday season is almost upon us. But, before you dive into all that those upcoming festivities entail, there’s still one step between the end of autumn and the beginning of the most wonderful time of the year: Thanksgiving.
Since the approaching season can be more fretful than fun for some, taking the pressure off cooking for a crowd might be a way to lighten the load and truly enjoy celebrating with those you’re most thankful for. If you’re looking to make a reservation to feast at a local restaurant on November 23, this list is for you.
These Baltimore kitchens are serving up a mixture of classic Thanksgiving dishes and creative seasonal twists that are sure to fill your stomach and your heart:
The Capital Grille: There’s something nostalgic about those classic holiday dishes. This downtown destination is keeping it simple and delicious on Thanksgiving Day with a family-style prix-fixe featuring turkey, stuffing, green beans, and mashed potatoes. If you’re in the mood to splurge, add-ons include pumpkin cheesecake and pecan-crusted mashed potatoes with hot honey. 500 E. Pratt St. Reservations required. 11a.m.-9 p.m. $20-$50. 443-703-4064
Charleston: If you and your crew are up for something swanky this year, chef Cindy Wolf’s three-course menu at her Harbor East hotspot might be just what you’re looking for. Choose from starters like shrimp bisque or flavorful fried green tomatoes with lemon-cayenne mayo; main courses ranging from a leveled-up turkey and stuffing plate to a hearty dish of short ribs and potato puree; and desserts featuring flavors and spices sure to warm your body and soul. 1000 Lancaster St. Reservations required. 1-6:30 p.m. $95. 410-332-7373.
Cindy Lou’s Fish House: From turkey and gravy to fried chicken and buttermilk biscuits, this Harbor Point spot will offer a la carte dishes, Thanksgiving specials, and, of course, killer waterfront views. 1215 Willis St. Reservations recommended. 12-7p.m. 443-960-8670.
Glyndon Grill: Get cozy at this neighborhood hangout in Baltimore County, which is highlighting a special turkey plate complete with pan stuffing, green beans, mashed potatoes, brown buttered corn, whole cranberry sauce, and a slice of pumpkin pie. Other a la carte offerings include filet mignon, shrimp and mussels over spaghetti, jump lump crab cakes, and classic chicken pot pie. 4844 Butler Rd. Glyndon. Prices vary. 443-881-4183
Johnny’s: Roland Park regulars will be happy to hear that Johnny’s is sharing its bounty of delicious dishes in buffet form. There, you can have it all, whether you want to start your meal with a flavorful soup or salad, or jump right in with entrees like crab-stuffed fluke, beef empanadas, or turkey leg confit. Satisfying sides on offer will include sweet potato gratin and sweet and sour roasted Brussels sprouts. 4800 Roland Ave. Reservations recommended. 11a.m.-6p.m. $23-$42. 410-773-0777.
The Milton Inn: True to form, the special menu at this Sparks landmark is all about fall. You and yours can look forward to comforting flavors like butternut squash, honey crisp apple, and cranberry in various dishes. Choose between carefully crafted soups and salads, main dishes that include everything from turkey to Beef Wellington, and aromatic desserts to finish off your special meal. 14833 York Road, Sparks. Reservations required. 1-7p.m. Three-course prix-fixe menu, $75. 410-771-4366.
Mt. Washington Tavern: If you’re keeping it casual this Thanksgiving, throw on your football jersey and head to this neighborhood haunt to start things off with an order of crab dip or a basket of truffle fries for the table. The a la carte holiday menu also features traditional turkey and honey-baked ham platters, a plate of crab cakes, and blackened chicken alfredo. Don’t forget the warm pumpkin pie dip with graham crackers for dessert. 5700 Newbury St. 12-7 p.m. Special menu, prices vary. 410-367-6903.
Rec Pier Chop House: Gather your loved ones and spend the holiday on the waterfront in Fells Point, where the team at the Sagamore Pendry’s posh Italian steakhouse will be serving a festive four-course prix-fixe. Start off with a bowl of roasted pumpkin soup with maple crema before moving on to a pasta course of butternut squash gnocchi or ricotta agnolotti. Family-style mains will include turkey and all the fixins’ (with Sagamore Spirit rye gravy, of course), and dessert will pay homage to the classics with apple and pumpkin pie. 1715 Thames St. $95. 443-552-1300
Rusty Scupper: If buffets are more your style, look no further. Head to this Key Highway stalwart overlooking the Inner Harbor to enjoy a plentiful Thanksgiving spread for people of all appetites. Guests can look forward to more traditional dishes like turkey and pumpkin pie, as well as seasonal twists on seafood like P.E.I. mussels, local oyster stuffing, and roasted spiced salmon with cranberry relish. 402 Key Hwy. Reservations required. 11:30a.m.5:30 p.m. $45-$85. 410-727-3678.
Ruth Chris Steakhouse: At yet another three-course Thanksgiving meal, diners are guaranteed a plate of sliced turkey, stuffing, gravy, and cranberry sauce. The fixed menu also includes a choice of starter, side options, and pumpkin cheesecake with vanilla ice cream for dessert. 711 Eastern Ave. Reservations recommended. 11a.m.-8 p.m. $18.95-$47.95. 410-230-0033.
Twist Fells Point: This Mediterranean mainstay in Fells Point is celebrating with a dine-in feast that invites diners to fill up on slow-roasted turkey, cornbread stuffing, green beans with crispy onions, creamy mashed potatoes, and classic sweet potatoes with broiled marshmallows. 723 S. Broadway. 410-522-4000. $49.95.