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Ze Mean Bean Cafe

200 reviews
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$30 and under
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Eastern European
Top Tags:
  • Neighborhood Gem (295)
  • Fit for Foodies (200)
  • Romantic (160)

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Ze Mean Bean Café offers delightful European charm in Maryland. The small café opened in 1995 and has been serving customers specialty coffees, delicious desserts and small plates of Eastern European cuisine ever since. Today, Ze Mean Bean has transformed into a wine and dining destination, offering some of the best food, as well as one of the largest wine selections in the area.

The menu at Ze Mean Bean Café changes seasonally, so you never know what to expect when you visit, but you can count on it being fresh and tasty. There are a few staple favorites that can always be found on the menu that includes pierogis, smoky goulash and the award-winning borscht. Café traditions are in full swing in the restaurant with music being played regularly.

Dining Style
Casual Dining
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Eastern European, Russian, European
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Hours of operation
Brunch: Saturday & Sunday: 9:00am - 3:00pm; Lunch: Daily: 12:00pm - 5:00pm; Dinner: Sunday - Thursday: 5:00pm - 10:00pm, Friday & Saturday: 5:00pm - 11:00pm
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Phone number
(410) 675-5999
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Payment options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Casual Dress
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Private party facilities
Our upstairs can be reserved as well as our backroom for a private business function or for any special occasion requiring more intimacy.
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Private party contact
Jim Rhodes or Scott Lanphear: (410) 675-5999
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We offer a wide variety of food ranging from Eastern European specialities to our chefs creations and anything your special occasion calls for. We can come to you or you can reserve one of our facilities which can accommodate up to 100 guests.
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Cross street
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We have live entertainment on the weekends for your pleasure. Friday nights we reserve our stage for our musicians who play guitar and play anything from classic rock to folk. On Saturdays and Sundays we have jazz trios.
Banquet, Bar/Lounge, Beer, BYO Wine, Cafe, Corkage Fee, Entertainment, Fireplace, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Outdoor Smoking Area, Private Room, Takeout, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine
What 200 People Are SayingWrite a review
Overall ratings and reviews
4.0  based on all time ratings
Noise · Moderate
86% of people would recommend it to a friend
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OpenTable Diner (Washington DC)
4.0  Dined on November 21, 2015

If you're someone who enjoys quaint and classy places with interesting food and live music, then this is the place for you! The atmosphere is wonderfully cozy and classy with wooden tables, soft lighting, interesting paintings, and great live jazz music playing in the background. Regarding the food, the Eastern European dishes were really great. My crab cake dish was way too salty, so I wouldn't order that again, but the dishes my friends ordered that were Ukrainian were very good. I will say that the mashed potatoes and asparagus that were served with my crab cakes were very good, but the crab cakes were really almost inedible. I powered through them because I hate wasting food, but it really was incredibly salty.

Overall however, I would go back to this place again, because for the most part their food and drinks were good, and the atmosphere is really wonderful!

Food4Europeans (Baltimore)
4.0  Dined on November 11, 2015

Overall, I would definitely go back as I liked the atmosphere and the food is very good; however, it is a little pricey for the portion size you are served. I had plenty of food for myself. I usually take food home from restaurants and have leftovers for one or two meals. I was only served enough to satisfy my palate at the restaurant--no leftovers. My husband was a little disappointed as he left a little hungry and said he could have eaten a little more then he was served.

Katy (Baltimore)
5.0  Dined on February 14, 2015

My husband and I had to been here three times and each time was great and better than the previous time! It''s cozy, and the food was delicious. We normally do not go out on nights like Valentine's Day, but decided to treat ourselves. It was a set menu with several choices in each course. I had the mushroom sou,p my husband had the salad. Both were top-of-the-line ingredients and the soup was deliciously distinctive and homemade. Second course was a selection of a shrimp dish or beef on a skewer. Beef was marinated and grilled perfectly. That was sufficient amount of food, so the portions were more than adequate! Both of us had the same pork tenderloin entrée with cherry sauce, mashed potatoes, asparagus. Wow!---beautiful combination, in the pork tender brain was groomed, very tender, very tasty! Wonderful wonderful. Dessert was a chocolate mousse with Caramel sauce that also was a perfect dish to complete a perfect meal. Service was prompt, and cannot wait to return! The food is always interesting, and top quality.

DisappointedValentine (Baltimore)
3.0  Dined on February 14, 2015

The food was pretty good and the spacing of the courses was very nice. However, when looking for a Valentine's Day destination I reviewed each restaurant's website carefully to make sure the menu was something me and my partner would both like.

Ultimately, we chose Ze Mean Bean for their fair prices and traditional Eastern European food. We made reservations and we're excited to try the Halupki.

When we got to the restaurant, there was no sort of waiting area, so we stood there awkwardly for a few minutes as people were eating their meals.

We were taken to a nice table upstairs that had a nice view of the falling snow outside. We were disappointed to see a prefixe menu awaiting us that did not have the traditional food we were excited for. Furthermore, no prices were listed on the menu.

We chose our courses and had to repeat them back to the waitress more than once since she wasn't writing anything down. I Don't blame the waitress for all the hiccups that evening, as it seemed like she was the only one serving while we were there.

The food was good and was something I would eat again. However, it was definitely not worth the price. At $55 per person, we could have ate at a much higher end restaurant and received a higher quality meal.

If you are going to have a prefixe menu for any event, advertise it on OpenTable! If a bill of $155 at the end of a meal is such a huge surprise, then the food and service definitely wasn't worth it.

I will be back though, I need to try the Halupki.

WilliamB (Baltimore)
4.0  Dined on February 14, 2015

Ze Mean Bean is a traditional polish restaurant. We had the sampler platter, golden beet salad, the yvonne sandwich, a nice merlot, and chocolate caramel mousse pie. The chocolate caramel mousse pie was wonderful. The food was very good but the service was a bit slow becase of we ordered off the lunch menu on Valentines day.

OpenTable Diner (Baltimore)
1.0  Dined on February 14, 2015

One waitress for whole place, Took 30 minutes just to order. Soda was flat

OpenTable Diner (Nashville)
4.0  Dined on February 13, 2015

Nice spot that's out of the way of the Thames Street strip. Been here a long time for good reason! Good food with interesting twists..the Slavic sampler appetizer was delightful. But the highlight that evening were the jazz guitarists that played as lovely background music.

vipDMatt (Baltimore)
3.0  Dined on February 7, 2015

Service was pokey. A four piece jazz combo was jammed into a small corner of a small room, which seemed overkill. And the food slipped a notch, especially waiting so long for it

FederalHiller (Baltimore)
4.0  Dined on February 7, 2015

Ze Mean Bean is a staple in Fells Point, providing excellent Eastern European food. With the musical group playing, it can be a bit loud on the first floor, making conversation a challenge. But the food is well worth the trip and the cocktails are excellent.

Jboy21047 (Baltimore)
5.0  Dined on January 3, 2015

This is a great little place to enjoy some traditional Eastern European food without packing a suitcase. I've eaten in restaurants throughout Eastern Europe and the food here is quite authentic as well as reasonably priced.
The moment you walk in it feels like home and you expect mom to come out of the kitchen and greet you.
If you go for brunch, try to make it a Sunday so you can enjoy the jazz band while you savor brunch.
The short ribs on the dinner menu are amazing but not always available so ask right away and they can save them for you before they are gone for the night. The Goulash has all of the right seasoning and the paprika is a bit spicy, which is great. The stuffed cabbage is exactly what I grew up eating and the best I have had in years.
Overall you can't go wrong with anything on the menu so explore it all and enjoy.

vipkingbalt (Las Vegas)
2.0  Dined on December 28, 2014

I love this restaurant but they were having an off day. They were so focused on taking care of a big group upstairs that are food sat for too long in the kitchen and then was cold when it arrived. The waitress didn't smile at all. I will be back, but not on Sundays. They are good if they have 1 or 2 tables, but once it gets busy they are lost.

TBS08 (Baltimore)
2.0  Dined on December 20, 2014

We chose this place for the Eastern European fare. Thought it would be perfect following a performance of the Moscow Ballet's Nutcracker at the Hippodrome. It was definitely not worth the travel to Fells Point. There was only one other couple in the place, which was attractively decorated for the holiday season. A highlight was a small trio, standing bass, guitar and trumpet, performing in the corner. It is a small dining area, so not sure why our server had trouble making it over to our table so infrequently. The pricing seemed reasonable until we were served such meager portions. The pour for the house wine, a decent Merlot, was skimpy and at $8, not worth it. The golden beet salad was very good but at $12 the plate was small. My husband ordered the goulash and homemade spaetzle, which he said was very good, but for the $19 price, it was served in a cereal bowl with a dry piece of rye bread on the side. I ordered the perogie plate, a specialty of the house, I thought, however the 7 on the plate were woefully understuffed, one was empty, and flavorless except for the scant onions tossed atop, and dry, dry, dry and chewy. A few blanched green beans and a serving of red cabbage, adequate at best (they may have opened a jar) rounded out the plate. This was $16. Our server never stepped from behind the bar to ask if we were happy with our dinners. I feel they thought we were customers to be taken advantage of, with such service and poor quality food. But the worst of the evening came when the server presented our bill and "miscalculated" the total an extra $20 to her advantage. We were not happy. We were in fact quite dissatisfied with the dining experience and could not recommend it. Very poor service, mediocre to bad food, and quite overpriced. The kitchen seemed to be as listless and disinterested as the wait staff. Too bad, because we had high hopes from reading the menu. If this is Old World charm, it leaves quite a bit lacking.

Jboy21047 (Baltimore)
5.0  Dined on December 6, 2014

This is exactly how I felt when having brunch this weekend. It was as if I was back in Poland and stopping in for a hearty and delicious lunch in Krakow.
The food is authentic with the right amount of seasoning to make it worth a trip back for dinner.
The Red Scare and Molushki are dishes you won't typically find on any other menu and worth checking out. The Kielbasa can't be any fresher when it comes from next door and they make it fresh every day.
Service was great, attentive but not overbearing and the atmosphere is Old World.

Disappointed (Baltimore)
1.0  Dined on November 11, 2014

I've been to this restaurant before, and I really liked it, but this time when we tried to make a reservation through Open Table. (I tried to leave the ratings blank above, but it wouldn't let me, so the ratings there can be ignored. They were mostly aimed at Open Table for allowing us to make a reservation, but then we when we got there, we found out that the restaurant wasn't open that day (until 4pm, and we had 12:30 reservations.) So, Open Table and this restaurant need to work on their communication skills. It was very disappointing to be looking forward to this dining experience, only to be turned away by a sign at the door.

OpenTable Diner (Baltimore)
4.0  Dined on November 6, 2014

The service was great and the food was wonderful! We had the solovic special.

SeaK (Baltimore)
5.0  Dined on November 2, 2014

What a little gem! Authentic, eastern Europen fare served like momma would. The food was delicious and adventurous. All items were freshly prepared by hand. The desserts were simply amazing and homemade, so be sure to save room. The staff was attentive and gracious. We had a wonderful birthday celebration and will be back.

vipSaki (Baltimore)
3.0  Dined on November 1, 2014

Interesting place. No wine list and the recommended bottle was Bulgarian....we went with a California Zin.
Great authentic food. So-so service.
Food was good enough that we would definitely go back.

criticaleye (London)
4.0  Dined on October 24, 2014

To eat authentic polish/slavic food. Does not have the qualities of a restaurant that gives a complete dining experience. That is acceptable for tasting the exotic food and drinks. It reflects the laid back attitude in those parts of the world.

vipPerfectBite (Baltimore)
4.0  Dined on October 18, 2014

We love this place because there are always multiple, interesting vegetarian and fin fish options. The manager is attentive and pleasant. And there's always live music on Saturday evening.

DCHealthyFoodie (Washington DC)
2.0  Dined on October 12, 2014

My husband and I went for dinner on a Sunday night. The ambiance was so cute and I immediately liked the place. Unfortunately, the food was not so good. The periogies didn't have much flavor, potato pancakes were flat and not crispy. The service was disappointing: We ordered a large selection of appetizers and they brought them all at once, even after we asked them to spread them out so we could slowly enjoy our meal. The live guitar music was nice, but it was weird that there was no one else at the restaurant and only one person at the bar. I wanted to like this place as I love Eastern European food and liked the atmosphere, but I wouldn't go back or recommend it.