Extraordinary dinner settings

Restaurants offer perfect place for romance

Harford Recreation

October 23, 2005|By CASSANDRA A. FORTIN | CASSANDRA A. FORTIN,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Looking for an area restaurant to have that special dinner? Here are a few suggestions in Harford and Cecil counties for an out-of-the-ordinary dining experience.

Bayard House

This Cecil County seafood and European-style restaurant, whose building dates to the 1780s, is open daily. It's on the banks of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal at 11 Bohemia Ave., Chesapeake City.

The restaurant offers several seating choices for a romantic dinner for two. The most popular is waterfront dining in one of the restaurant's two enclosed porches. In addition to the main dining room, there is also a small room with a fireplace and four tables for a cozier, more intimate dinner.

The menu features the restaurant's award-winning Maryland crab soup and tournedos Baltimore - two 3.5-ounce petite filets, one topped with a crab cake and a Madeira cream sauce; the other with a lobster cake and a seafood champagne sauce.

Manager Michelle Bennett said if diners call ahead, the staff can help make that special dinner even more memorable.

"We have requests to help sometimes with special things someone wants set up for a marriage proposals, or anniversary dinner," Bennett said.

"We've served a ring on top of a dessert," she said. "Another time a man brought in a necklace for his wife, and our chef made a rose from a tomato peel, laid out the necklace in the shape of a heart around it and used strawberries to garnish it.

"Our chefs get excited when they get special requests."

Reservations: 410-885-5040.

Fair Hill Inn

This Cecil County restaurant features a classic European menu. Open every day except Monday, the Fair Hill Inn is at routes 273 and 213 in Fair Hill, about seven miles from Elkton.

The inn, which dates to the 1700s and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, was restored by Anthony Graziano and his wife. Owner Graziano is one of several chefs at the inn.

The restaurant has four dining rooms, each decorated according to the period of the room: the Hunt Room has an 1821 decor; the Colonial Room has a 1600s decor, the Mitchell Room a 1764 decor and the Victorian Room has a 1910 decor.

The inn offers several meals for two, including rack of lamb and seafood Beatrice, which is prepared at the table. Desserts include cherries jubilee and chocolate mousse.

Thomas and Vivanne Morton of Philadelphia said they became engaged at the restaurant last year and returned this year for their first anniversary. "We got the same table and the same dessert," Vivanne Morton said.

The couple said they enjoy the food at the inn so much that they order three entrees to share.

"We didn't eat all day on our anniversary because we wanted to save up for dinner here," Thomas Morton said.

Reservations: 410-398-4187.

The Bayou

This American seafood restaurant at 927 Pulaski Highway in Havre de Grace is open Tuesday through Sunday.

The Bayou is casually elegant and offers live jazz. According to manager Shawn Dockery, if the music doesn't draw people in, the French Quarter Alfredo - crab, shrimp and crawfish over linguini and topped with Alfredo sauce - will.

Joanne Crenshaw of Baltimore recommends the black and blue filets - beef filets stuffed with blue cheese. "It's like nothing I've ever had before," she said.

Reservations: 410-939-3565.

Skipjack Martha Lewis

For couples who don't want to share their evening out in a public setting, the Skipjack Martha Lewis based at Tydings Park in Havre de Grace offers a two-hour cruise for $350. Couples can bring their own meal and drinks to enjoy on a private cruise aboard the skipjack, owned and operated by the Chesapeake Heritage Conservancy.

Reservations: 410-939-4078.

The Crazy Swede

This seafood restaurant at 400 N. Union Ave. in Havre de Grace is open daily.

The restaurant offers casual dining in an elegant setting, and couples can enjoy a romantic dinner in the enclosed patio.

The Crazy Swede also has suites for overnight guests.

Reservations: 410-939-5440.

MacGregor's

This seafood restaurant in a former bank building is open seven days a week at 331 St. John St., Havre de Grace.

MacGregor's has a seasonal outdoor patio, and all tables have a view of the water.

Breanne Borline of Washington said she and her boyfriend frequently dine at the restaurant. "MacGregor's has a different feel to it at night," Borline said. "I don't really see the indoor seating as romantic, but outdoors as the sun goes down, it can be very relaxing and mesmerizing."

In addition, she said, "I've never had a meal here that wasn't just wonderful."

Reservations: 410-939-3003.

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