Western Maryland restaurant Ristorante Ottaviani is worth the drive - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Western Maryland restaurant Ristorante Ottaviani is worth the drive

So here it is once again time for my favorite activity, restaurant hopping. This time around our trip will require a bit of travel. We’re going from Allegany County to Baltimore County.

My trip to Western Maryland began with checking into Rocky Gap Resort. From there downtown Cumberland is just nine miles. In Cumberland, I made my third visit to Ristorante Ottaviani, 25 North Centre Street.

This is locally owned and operated, which, like in any business, is always a good thing. It’s open seven days for lunch and dinner. There are two levels, but if I were you I’d asked for table 12. That has been my table every time I’ve been here and it provides a great view of the restaurant.

There’s seating for about 50, but additional seating is available outside when weather permits. They offer occasional entertainment. I offered to sing but my offer was declined. The atmosphere is casual and reservations are a good idea, not just on weekends.

The hostess will change nightly, but the night I visited it was Alice whose driving instructions from Rocky Gap got me to the door. My table was attended to by numerous staff so I was very well taken care of.

Some of their entrees include scallops risotto, gamberi pasta, chicken marsala, lamb chops, filet and sauteed mussels. Our table enjoyed the salmon and rockfish. Actually, it was one of the best salmon dishes I’ve had.

Friday evenings there is a wine special, children under eight eat free and the menu now has special fall soups. If you like to see your meal prepared, half the kitchen is open for viewing.

By the way, I mentioned the restaurant is in downtown Cumberland so after your meal you can stroll around. A block away is a pedestrian mall. The town has taken positive strides in the last few years to attract tourists. If you get to town early you can take a train ride from Cumberland to Frostburg and then enjoy your dinner.

Reach the restaurant at 301-722-0052 or go to ottaviani.com.

Okay, let’s head back east straight into Baltimore County and stop at McFaul’s Ironhorse Tavern, formerly Sanders Corner, 2260 Cromwell Bridge Road.

Open seven days for dinner with brunch Saturday (8-11) and Sunday (9-1:45). It is owned and operated by Glen, Kristin and Walt who took over in 2012. My guess is many of you remember the great ice cream at Sander’s Corner.

There’s seating for about 200, including a heated deck open year round with views of the nearby river or is it a stream. It depends on who you ask. The dress is casual, live music Friday and Saturday nights, valet service Thursday, Friday and Saturday (additional parking on the side and in the back), a bar with food service, 10 TV’s and private rooms.

I was there for lunch and had the salmon BLT without the B. I know what you’re thinking, salmon again! Hey, I happen to like salmon and it was outstanding.

Other entrees include Cassidy’s caesar burger, sweet Adelaide’s salmon (different from what I had) and Wynnie’s wings. Notice each one has a name. They happen to be Kristin and Glen’s daughters.

I will also add the Tilghman Island crab cakes, the duck confit pot pie, oyster po’ boy sliders, Sheppard’s pie and the avocado chicken salad.

Each day features a special. For example, there’s Taco Tuesday, Lump Day Wednesday and Thirsty Thursday. The food is under the direction of chef Evan, who’s been here since day one.

Also featured are specialty drinks, specialty cocktails, Happy Hour weekdays from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., gluten-free and vegetarian options, freshly shucked oysters, oyster shooters, desserts and nightcaps.

Reach them at 410-828-1625 or go to mcfaulsironhorse.com.


About the author

Eddie Applefeld

Eddie Applefeld is a Baltimore native and a graduate of Towson University. He has been in the broadcasting profession for over 30 years. Currently he is the Promotions Director of WCBM radio. Before that, he was part of the Rouse & Company show on WQSR, host of a cable TV show called Dining Out and adjunct instructor at Towson. His past accomplishments include being named a finalist in Baltimore Tourism's Employee of the Year Program and winner of Toastmaster's Speaker of the Year contest. He was also twice a heartthrob for the American Heart Association's gala fund raiser. Contact the author.
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