13.5 Wine Bar1117 W. 36th St., (410) 889-1064, 13.5winebar.com$$, D, Out, 10 p.m.
Yes, the star of this bar is the wine list, and man, it is a helluva wine list. But the gourmet snacks, pizzas, and entrees make for nice pairings.
Alchemy1011 W. 36th St., (410) 366-1163, alchemyon36.com$$$, L, D, Br
Featuring a menu that samples from all over the globe, Alchemy offers fine dining in a handsome-but-cozy space.
The Arthouse1115 W. 36th St., (443) 438-7700$$, D, 10 p.m.
With about a dozen ever-changing pizzas on offer, this addition to the Avenue’s culinary lineup has cornered the market when it comes to good crust and creative toppings, like the celeriac and ’shrooms pizza.
Artifact Coffee1500 Union Ave., (410) 235-1881, artifactcoffee.com$$, B, L
The younger sibling of nearby Woodberry Kitchen, Artifact’s primary focus is, unsurprisingly, coffee. Still, the morning and lunch kitchen has table service. Try the egg sandwich or English muffins with jam made from local fruits.
Birroteca1520 Clipper Road, (443) 708-1934, bmorebirroteca.com$$, D, P, Out
The “Birro” in Birroteca is a nod to the beer list, which features more than 20 selections on draft and some harder-to-find labels. But the gourmet specialty pizzas—such as the “Duck, Duck, Goose”—are what make this spot a favorite for local foodies. Lunch is served on Saturday and Sunday.
Café Hon1002 W. 36th St., (410) 243-1230, cafehon.com$$, L, D, Br, P
With or without a visit from Gordon Ramsay and Kitchen Nightmares, Café Hon has always been about serving comfort food just like mom used to make. The gravy fries, meatloaf, and “Thanksgiving Dinner” always hit the spot.
Corner BYOB850 W. 36th St., (443) 869-5075, cornerbyob.com$$$, D, Br, BYOB, R
Few places in Baltimore offer bear or kangaroo, and yet those are just some of the many eccentricities on the ever-changing menu here. The dishes, many of which draw inspiration from Belgian cuisine, are exquisite.
David’s 1st and 103626 Falls Road, (410) 662-7779$$, L, D
In Hampden’s only true sports bar, the atmosphere is open and casual, the athletic-themed murals could use some work, and the buffalo sauce is so good, they should bottle it.
The Food Market1017 W. 36th St., (410) 366-0606, thefoodmarketbaltimore.com$$$, D, BR, R
Chef Chad Gauss’ embrace of playful menu selections and ethnic and regional favorites like edamame and Amish soft pretzels has made this restaurant one of the hottest dining destinations in town.
Golden West Café1105 W. 36th St., (410) 889-8891, Goldenwestcafe.Com$$, B, L, D, Br, 10 p.m.
Modern Mexican breakfast dishes—served all day—make this one of the most popular hangover/brunch spots in town. The menu is very generous to vegetarians, with the vegan burrito and buffalo tofu being among the highlights. Protip: Order the tater tots whenever possible.
Grano Emporio 3547 Chestnut Ave., (443) 438-7521, granopastabar.com$$$, D, Out
This larger space expands on the pasta offerings of its counterpart on the Avenue with meat dishes and a full bar.
Grano Pasta Bar1031 W. 36th St., (443) 869-3429, granopastabar.com$$$, L, D, BYOB, Out
Duck into this little spot for a simple-yet-authentic Italian plate of pasta. With 10 sauces and six pastas, you can go again and again without having the same thing twice.
Holy Frijoles908 W. 36th St., (410) 235-2326, holyfrijoles.net$$, L, D, 10 p.m.
In last year’s guide, we professed our love for the tacos. Why stop there? You can build your own burritos and chimichangas to your liking, with five meats to choose from (or grilled veggies and beans if you don’t go for the whole carnivore thing).
The Lunch Box1102 W 36th st., (410) 235-4994$, B, L
Old-school Hampden diner offers classic omelets, crispy bacon, and pancakes—refreshingly still referred to as “hotcakes”—along with unfailingly friendly service.
McCabe’s3845 Falls Road, (410) 467-1000, mccabeshampden.com$$, D, R
This charming neighborhood spot offers a menu of modern, refined dishes that elevate the entrees above your standard bar food without hitting you hard in the wallet. Lunch on weekends.
Other Corner Charcuterie Bar850-B W. 36th St., (443) 869-5075$, D, 10 p.m.
This sister of the Corner BYOB offers flavorful charcuterie at remarkably low prices. Small plates featuring relatively exotic centerpieces—a pig’s foot, escargot, frog legs—won’t break the bank either.
Rocket to Venus3360 Chestnut Ave., (410) 235-7887, rockettovenus.com$$, D, Br, 0ut, 10 p.m.
The menu pulls from all over the place and gives a lot of options for vegetarians. The Brussels sprouts are still killer and the grilled Korean gyro has tofu as a substitute for beef. All you meat-lovers, don’t pass on the banh mi.
Suzie’s Soba1009 W. 36th St., (410) 243-0051$$, L, D, Out
Suzie’s serves noodle dishes from Japan, China, Vietnam, and the owner’s native Korea, with plenty of options for vegans. Unlike many Asian restaurants, the dessert menu is not something to pass up.
Woodberry Kitchen 2010 Clipper Park Road, (410) 464-8000, woodberrykitchen.com$$$, D, Br, Out, R
As far as Baltimore dining is concerned, this is the crème de la crème. The farm-to-table menu, curated by Spike Gjerde, continues to evolve, with fresh takes on basic dishes and previously unheard-of entrees continuing to pop up and delight.Copyright © 2015, Baltimore City Paper