The sharing economy isn’t going away anytime soon—in fact, it’s making its way to our plates. Though the ritual of sharing a meal is ancient, restaurants are now bringing it to the forefront, offering specially curated, large-format meals for two or more on their menus.
Experiencing a shared meal “is the way you should eat,” says Birroteca owner Robbin Haas. “You should eat where you can engage with everyone at the table. And food is a great denominator for breaking down barriers and making it easy to open a conversation.”
According to a new study in Appetite, a behavioral science research journal, sharing food makes you a better person. Those who share meals more often may be more likely to exhibit altruistic behaviors, like volunteering and giving up your seat on public transportation. So go ahead and grab dinner with friends—it’s your civic duty.
This Greektown taverna gives diners a feel for its namesake island with a Tour of Samos so massive that it will have you saying “opa!” at your table. Think: Greek salad, tzatziki and pita, fried calamari, spinach pie, chicken souvlaki, dolmades, lamb chops, garlic shrimp, gyro, and roasted potatoes. 600 Oldham St., 410-675-5292
At this Hampden hangout, the menu of small plates, bruschettas, and pizzas gives even more ways to share with family-style platters like Crispy Duck Agro Dolce, whole fishes, and classic Spaghetti con Polpette (meatballs). 1520 Clipper Road, 443-708-1934
Gertrude’s at the BMA
For a sweeter way to share, check out Gertrude’s afternoon tea, complete with crab beignets, apricot scones with Devonshire cream, lemon curd, and strawberry jam, as well as chocolate mousse with salted caramel. 10 Art Museum Dr., 410-889-3399
Rec Pier Chop House
The Rec Pier Chop House inside Kevin Plank’s Sagamore Pendry Baltimore hotel is getting in on the act with a whopping 44-ounce porterhouse and a 38-ounce Tomahawk Chop for two. 1715 Thames St., 443-552-1300
Thames Street Oyster House
Both the 5-pound stuffed Maine lobster (stuffed with scallops, shrimp, and crab) and the New England clam and lobster boil bring diners together for an experience reminiscent of a sandy clambake on the coast of Rhode Island, where executive chef Eric Houseknecht spent his summers while still in culinary school. Don’t miss Meat Monday, when Houseknecht prepares family-style dishes for those who prefer land over sea, including 3 pounds of braised meat, and even a whole pig leg. 1728 Thames St., 443-449-7726
Fans of this old-school Spanish eatery won’t be disappointed with either of its Para Dos selections, including a roasted rack of baby lamb served with mint jelly, or the Paella a la Valenciana, brimming with fruits of the land and sea. 10 E. Franklin St., 410-539-4675
The Meals for Two dishes at this Hampden newcomer take a nod from a traditional, family-style American Sunday dinner, such as a half-roasted chicken with potatoes, carrots, celery, and onions. “The plate is put between the two of you and then you can fight over it to get the part of it you want,” explains co-owner Charlie Gjerde. What’s a good family supper without at least one argument? 3845 Falls Road, 410-878-0884