The Abbey Burger Bistro1041 Marshall St., (443) 453-9698, abbeyburgerbistro.com$$, L, D, Out, 10 p.m.
The slightly Harry Potter-esque atmosphere doesn’t detract from this thoroughly American eatery, which offers a build-your-own burger checklist. Highlights: elk, kangaroo, pretzel rolls, Wisconsin manchego, white truffle oil, and herb yogurt.
Baba’s Mediterranean Kitchen745 E. Fort Ave., (410) 727-7482, babaskitchen.net$, L, D, BYOB, Out
The charming mint-green corner café is helmed by a CFO—chief falafel officer—who dishes up some of the best falafel in the city at a more-than-reasonable price. Look for the zucchini fries.
Blue Agave Restaurante y Tequileria1032 Light St., (410) 576-3938, blueagaverestaurant.com$$, L, D, Out, 10 p.m., R
The most refined of Fed Hill’s Mexican offerings—but lest you get the wrong impression, there’s plenty of energy in the exposed-brick dining room. If you polish off a 2-foot burrito in one half-hour go, you eat for free and get your name on the wall and a free T-shirt.
Cowboys and Rednecks1117 S. Charles St., (410) 223-2269, cnrpub.com$$, L, D, Br, Out
A laid-back Fed Hill hangout that offers the standard selection of bar food. The house-made kettle chips are satisfyingly crunchy.
Grilled Cheese & Co.1036 Light St., (410) 244-6333, ilovegrilledcheese.com$, L, D, 10 p.m., DV
Vic Corbi’s beautiful gourmet grilled-cheese dream, hashed out over an afternoon of golf in 2005, has grown up and returned to its source in Federal Hill. So crazy it worked. Other locations in Catonsville, Sykesville, and on Russell Street downtown.
Langermann’s on Light1542 Light St., (410) 528-1200, langermanns.com/light$$, L, D, Br
While the jazz brunches at the second incarnation of the Canton Southern-food establishment draw a good crowd, the well-executed classics like grits, fried chicken, and fried green tomatoes keep everyone coming back.
Mad River Bar and Grille1110 S. Charles St., (410) 727-2333, madriverbaltimore.com$$, L, D, 10 p.m.
Light on ambiance but heavy on the youngest, loudest residents of Fed Hill, this nighttime hotspot, in a converted bank, offers pub food aplenty.
Magerks Pub And Grill1061 S. Charles St., (410) 576-9230, magerks.com/baltimore$, L, D, Out, 10 p.m.
This Cross Street staple added sushi to its lunch menu, but if you’re looking for something less light, try the immense roast beef club, which delivers that painfully full feeling for your buck.
Matsuri1105 S. Charles St., (410) 752-8561, matsuri.us$$, L, D, Out
Matsuri has the Japanese market cornered in Fed Hill. Try the set-price bento box to sample their house salad, miso soup, and sushi offerings.
Metropolitan CoffeeHouse and Wine Bar 902 S. Charles St., (410) 234-0235, metrobalto.com$$, B, L, D, Br, Out
Few places as nice as this dark-stained wooden bar serve hot breakfasts every day; of that menu, try the Mexican omelet with the chorizo. Order appetizers later in the day, particularly the fried goat cheese.
Mr. Rain’s Fun House American Visionary Art Museum, 800 Key Highway, (443) 524-7379, mrrainsfunhouse.com$$$, L, D, Br, Out, R
A quintessentially Baltimore restaurant—on par with Papermoon Diner in its aesthetic extraordinariness—don’t dismiss this as museum food. Mr. Rain’s treats food as high art, and your taste buds will benefit from the culture. Check out the $20 prix-fixe lunch menu.
Mother’s Federal Hill Grille1113 S. Charles St., (410) 244-8686, mothersgrille.com$$, L, D, Br, P, Out, 10 p.m., DV
Wedge past the clusters of rowdy 20-somethings and post up at the bar to order from the decent selection of quality bar food: potent buffalo shrimp, a well-sauced Ray Rice shortrib sandwich, and a filet-and-shrimp Caesar salad. A second location is in Arnold, Md.
No Way Jose Café 38 E. Cross St., (410) 752-2837, nowayjosecafe.com$, L, D, BR, 10 p.m.
Down-to-earth and festive, No Way Jose serves up authentic Mexican fare—street corn with cotija cheese, churros and chocolate, and chicken flautas.
Nobles Bar and Grill1024 S. Charles St., (410) 727-1355, noblesbarandgrill.com$, D
Though one might be more in the mood for a liquid diet when in Nobles, they whip up some delicious, greasy grub to sop up booze.
Porters of Federal Hill1032 Riverside Ave., (410) 332-7345, portersfederalhill.com$$, D, Br
It’s classic Baltimore corner bars like this where you’ll find the real neighborhood drinking (not always easy to find in Fed Hill). But don’t sleep on the food. The ham-and-Old Bay-loaded Chesapeake fries are basic but better than serviceable.
Regi’s American Bistro 1002 Light St., (410) 539-7344, regisamericanbistro.com$$, L, D, Br, Out
The longstanding Federal Hill haunt was one of the first to ride the tater tot wave that’s swept Baltimore. Order a great rendition of bacon-brie-and-Parmesan spuds here. Or go with something bolder, like the suckling pig carnitas.
Ropewalk Tavern1209 S. Charles St., (410) 727-1298, ropewalktavern.com$$, L, D
A cavernous nighttime hot spot that attracts a young crowd with its daily bargains. The solid Gipper hamburger answers the question, “Where’s the beef?” If you’re not feeling Reaganesque, try the wings.
The Rowhouse Grille1400 Light St., (443) 438-7289, therowhousegrille.com$$, D, Br
A prime example of the Baltimore rowhouse: Exposed brick and hardwood floors complement the New American menu. A good-sized selection of mussels preparations, served with addictive fries, make the shellfish an obvious choice.
Ryleigh’s Oyster 36 E. Cross St., (410) 539-2093, ryleighs.com$$, L, D, Br, R
Once home to Baltimore’s first brewpub, Ryleigh’s has long since transformed into a vaunted warm-weather hangout for the beautiful people of Federal Hill. Oysters are a guaranteed win, but try out the other seafood options too.
Sobo CafÉ6 W. Cross St., (410) 752-1518, sobocafe.net $$, L, D, Br, Out
A brightly colored eatery that samples the best dishes from every corner of the globe. Rosemary hummus, Chinese chicken, liver and onions, and bouillabaisse.
Social Pub and Pie25 E. Cross St., (410) 234-0376, socialpubbaltimore.com$$, L, D, 10 p.m.
The only coal-fired pizza on Cross Street, this watering hole gets jam-packed for football games. Slices are thin, sauce is homemade, and pies are half-price on Tuesdays.
Stalking Horse26 E. Cross St., (410) 244-6722, stalkinghorsebaltimore.com$, D, Out
Reliably tasty deep-fried foods, like meaty garlic-Parmesan buffalo wings and special game-day fried pickles, are served up here, along with a myriad of loaded waffle fries. Easy on the wallet, if not on the waistline. Lunch is served on Saturday and Sunday.
Tabrizi’s500 Harborview Drive, (410) 727-3663, tabrizis.com$$, D, P, Out, R
A ritzy, seasonally operating waterfront venue popular for weddings, Tabrizi’s’ elegant Mediterranean food covers the geographical spread, with Levantine dishes like tabbouleh and baba ghanouj side by side with beef bourguignon and paella tarts.
Thai Arroy1019 Light St., (410) 385-8587, thaiarroy.com$$, L, D, Out
Select your spice level at this Fed Hill staple. Duck drunken noodles come out steaming, nicely balancing sweet and savory. Tom kha soup, ordered spicy, packs just the right amount of heat.
Thai Yum1006 Light St., (410) 528-2146, thaiyum.com$$, L, D, Br, Out
Slightly fancier than Thai Arroy, Thai Yum offers street seating when in season, as well as some less traditional entrees like maple-marinated duck breast in peanut sauce, and chili-spiced frog legs.Copyright © 2015, Baltimore City Paper