What should we do for dinner?

     It’s a question uttered all over Maryland—all over America for that matter—during the late-afternoon slump when everyone gets a bit hangry and a bit bored.

     Sure, we know there are things we could eat in the refrigerator at home, probably the same things we find in there week after week: leftovers from dishes we’ve prepared the same way many times over. They’re hardly inspiring when it comes to dinnertime.

     When we ask a spouse, a roommate, or a friend, “What should we do for dinner?” we are often hoping for the response, “Let’s do something different!” or “Let’s go out!”

     And when we do get our friends or loved ones to take the bait and agree to go out for dinner, we’ve struck gold. Now, instead of mining the boring prospects inside Tupperware containers in the fridge, we’ll explore all the possibilities a professional chef has dreamed up. We’ll order from a menu a dish that someone else came up with, sourced the ingredients for, chopped, cooked and presented to us.

      For those of us who do the bulk of the meal planning and cooking, such a meal is truly a gift. And situated, as we are, in Anne Arundel and Calvert Counties, surrounded by fresh seafood and wholesome farm food, the gift keeps on giving.

     We enjoy a high concentration of excellent restaurants, from fresh-caught Chesapeake Bay fare to hearty wintertime Irish meals. There are dressy, special-occasion restaurants on the Annapolis waterfront and carryout spots that allow us to devour good food at home in our sweatpants.

     Sometimes, choosing just one option poses a challenge. That’s where Bay Weekly’s 2020 Dining Guide comes in. Inside these pages, we map out no less than 32 options for those nights when you wish someone else were cooking.

     For this year’s Dining Guide, the Bay Weekly staff came up with a new way to showcase our community’s food offerings. Yes, you’ll still find information on where to find a restaurant and the type of food it offers. New this year, however, you’ll also find within each entry something that makes that spot special.

     Does it have a stunning setting? Is the chef in the midst of a menu redesign with several fresh dishes on the way? Perhaps there’s a little-known gem of a dish that only insiders know to order. The 2020 Dining Guide asked restaurants the questions others may not be asking, to get the inside story. With dozens of dining choices, we hope this information helps you decide where to go tonight, or next weekend, or the next time you’re craving sushi.

     We hope you’ll hang onto these pages, so that when you’re celebrating a birthday, or looking for a sunset spot on the Bay, or just bored with what’s in the refrigerator, you’ll have a quick reference to answer the question, “What should we do for dinner?”