For the past six years, we have used every excuse in the book to dine at Petit Louis: birthdays, anniversaries (which they do so well, even giving us complimentary glasses of sparkling wine on our last one), New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day. Whatever the occasion, the service, food, and atmosphere are topnotch without being overly stuffy. This is the place to take your out-of-town friends who don’t realize that Baltimore has more to it than gritty streets and a prefab waterfront. Located in Roland Park, which looks convincingly like the fancy neighborhoods of Northwest D.C., your folks/friends will be in awe that, yes, Baltimore has rich people, too. And because the restaurant is situated in a historical Beaux-Arts building, complete with leaded glass windows, dark hardwood trim, and a gorgeous dining room, locals will be excited to not be eating in yet another cramped rowhouse with exposed brick.
Petit Louis may not be the “fanciest” of the fancy restaurants in Baltimore, but it wins out over the competition because it doesn’t have to try nearly so hard to get impressive results. It’s French without being oppressively snooty or ridiculously expensive. Don’t speak French? Don’t worry, many of the servers here don’t either, but will patiently explain each dish in enticing detail. And what dishes they are. Every meal we’ve had here couldn’t have been more perfect, melting in our mouths like butter. Add a bottle or two of the country reds from the extensive wine list, and the only bad thing about eating at Petit Louis is the dreaded “French food hangover” you get the next morning from overdoing it on rich food and wine.