The 13th Floor1 E. Chase St., (410) 347-0880, 13floorbelvedere.com$$$, D, R
This remodeled and reinvented institution finally makes use of what may be the best view in Baltimore. Eat risotto, duck confit, or braised shortrib atop the historic Belvedere Hotel.
Akbar Restaurant823 N. Charles St., (410) 539-0944, akbar-restaurant.com$$, L, D, DV
Akbar is rightly renowned for its buffet, but if you like it spicy, go ahead, order your own entree. The channa masala is a favorite.
Alladin Kabob58 W. Biddle St., (443) 708-1112, alladinkabob.com$$, L, D, DV
With a mix of Pakistani and Middle Eastern food, this basement dwelling feels like a wonderful secret. The garlic naan has just the right amount of char from the ovens, and the lamb curry contains tender, succulent hunks of meat.
Aloha Sushi1218 N. Charles St., (443) 759-8531, alohasushimd.com$$, L, D
Aloha offers good and affordable sushi—but it also has a package-goods store that is the only place in the neighborhood to buy beer on a Sunday without paying bar prices. And you can drink it there at small tables, watching sports with an interesting crowd.
B Bistro1501 Bolton St., (410) 383-8600, b-bistro.com$$$, D, Br, Out, R
This Bolton Hill establishment keeps people coming back with high-quality bistro fare. The spring lamb ragout and crispy confit duck leg—when available on the rotating menu—are especially good.
Ban Thai340 N. Charles St., (410) 727-7971, banthai.us$$, L, D
This solid Thai place has a great lunch special. The ambiance is a bit sterile, but the service makes up for it. The kai tom kha is great.
The Brewer’s Art1106 N. Charles St., (410) 547-6925, thebrewersart.com$$$, D, 10 p.m.
Known—nay, famous—for its beer, Brewer’s Art has a seasonally shifting menu that would make a teetotaler a regular. Choose between the bar fare in the hipper, darker regions of the cavernous basement bar, or choose the lighter and fuller fare of upstairs—either way, it’s hard to beat. Don’t miss: fries.
The Bun Shop239 W. Read St., (410) 989-2033$, B, L, D, BYOB, 10 p.m.
This elegantly gilded coffee shop dedicated to bready street food from around the world was a revelation when it opened. Will it last, we asked? Now, despite the numerous long tables and comfy couches, we can hardly find a seat.
Cazbar316 N. Charles St., (410) 528-1222, cazbarbaltimore.com$$$, L, D, 10 p.m., DV
No, it’s not Jazbar, they just drew their C a little too elaborately. But don’t worry, the food at this sleek Turkish restaurant, while full of exceptionally complex flavors, doesn’t overdo it. We recommend the prix-fixe menu with wine. The lamb is great, but stay off the website unless you want to get smashed with loud music and Flash.
City Café1001 Cathedral St., (410) 539-4252, citycafebaltimore.com$$$, L, D, Br, Out
City Café has great lunch and dinner, but their brunch is one of the best, with breakfast burritos, huevos rancheros, chicken and biscuits, and an amazing bloody mary with Old Bay around the rim too—and the newly renovated City Bar space offers it all till 3 p.m. daily.
Dooby’s802 N. Charles St., (410) 702-5144, doobyscoffee.com$$, B, l, D
This new coffee shop/bar/restaurant hybrid has won over the hearts and stomachs of the young Mount Vernon set with an outstanding roast beef sandwich, delectable baked goods, and a healthy draft menu. Mind the laptop policy.
Dougherty’s Irish Pub223 W. Chase St., (410) 752-4059, doughertyspub.com$, L, D, 10 p.m.
Dougherty’s serves classic pub grub—reliable and perfect, with a half a dozen drinks, but not spectacular. Unless the owners happened to have made their turkey pot pie, in which case it is brilliant.
Dukem Ethiopian1100 Maryland Ave., (410) 385-0318, dukemrestaurant.com$$, L, D, Out
One of the greatest cheap meals in Baltimore. The vegetarian platters are low-priced and bountiful, but the lamb and beef tips are enough to make carnivores feel like Haile Selassie himself. The lunch buffet is an insanely good deal.
The Helmand806 N. Charles St., (410) 752-0311, helmand.com$$, D
The Helmand is the place to go for a special meal in Baltimore. Aushak (leek ravioli) and mantwo (onion and beef pastry) are standouts on a menu where everything is great. Be sure to get the kaddo borwani appetizer: baby pumpkin pan-fried with a garlic sauce.
HomeSlyce336 N. Charles St., (443) 501-4000, slycethebar.com$$, L, D, 10 p.m.
Homeslyce brings a solid selection of salads, sandwiches (try the three pigs and cheese), and pizza to Midtown. Also enjoy the titular “slyce”—a pizza rolled up almost like a calzone—in this friendly bar setting, complete with giant TVs, a free pool table, and a downstairs gameroom. There’s another location in Federal Hill.
Iggies818 N. Calvert St., (410) 528-0818, iggiespizza.com$$, L, D, BYOB, Out
Iggies has delicious, super-fresh pizzas with house-made mozzarella. No wait staff, seat yourself, and BYOB, it has a real family vibe. They’ll also sell you the pizza raw so you can cook it in your own oven—but it would be hard to beat theirs.
Indigma801 N. Charles St., (443) 449-6483, indigmarestaurant.com$$, L, D
Since opening up in the palatial space across the street from its former location, Indigma’s chefs have gotten even better than they were before the fire. Not just your same old saag paneer. Try the chettinad chicken with black pepper and lime leaves.
Kumari911 N. Charles St., (410) 547-1600$$, L, D, 10 p.m., DV
Great Indian fare, but go for the traditional Nepalese specials if you want to be wowed. Also, some of the best window seats for people-watching in Mount Vernon.
Kyro Pizza900 Cathedral St., (410) 962-8859, kyropizza.com$$, L, D, BYOB, Out, DV
Kyro has it all: a wide variety of unexpected pizzas—a General Tso’s chicken pizza, for instance—and an assortment of Middle Eastern food. Don’t be a fool, try the foul, a fava-bean dip sort of like hummus.
The Land of Kush840 N. Eutaw St., (410) 225-5874, thelandofkush.com$, L, D, BR
It takes a confident restaurant to attempt vegan soul food, and the Land of Kush pulls it off better than you would have ever thought possible, with heaping platters of mac and “cheese,” barbecue “ribs,” and smoked collard greens that will have you shaking your head in disbelief.
Lumbini Restaurant322 N. Charles St., (410) 244-5556, lumbinirestaurant.com$$, L, D, BYOB, DV
Delicious food, no nonsense, and good service. Great Indian but specializing in Nepalese. When they say spicy, they mean it. And we like that.
Maisy’s313 N. Charles St., (443) 220-0150, maisysbaltimore.com$$, L, D, 10 p.m.
Maisy’s is a homey bar, warmed by the brick oven. It’s always hard to decide between the burgers and the brick-oven pizza, but the nachos are a must. It’s happy hour all day on Sunday.
Marie Louise Bistro904 N. Charles St., (410) 385-9946, marielouisebistrocatering.com$$, B, L, D, Br, Out
This French bistro capitalizes on how much Mount Vernon can feel like a European city. Brunch at one of the wicker tables outside on an autumn Sunday morning is one of the city’s great hidden treasures. Like the crab cake omelet with Boursin cheese, Marie Louise brings out the best of Baltimore and France.
Mick O’Shea’s328 N. Charles St., (410) 539-7504, mickosheas.com$$, L, D, Br, 10 p.m.
Great bar, good food. Solid pizzas, burgers, burritos, and amazing shepherd’s pie or bangers and mash. For an Irish pub, the brunch is surprisingly good, and the bar is so convivial you might come in for bangers and a bloody, and wind up sticking around for a few pints.
Midtown BBQ and Brew15 E. Centre St., (443) 835-2472, midtownbbqandbrew.com$$, L, D
BBQ and Brew offers solid barbecue with five different sauces to choose from (try the mustard) in a friendly tavern setting, with a big ole barrel of peanuts to snack on.
Milk & Honey Market816 Cathedral St., (410) 685-6455, milkandhoneybaltimore.com$, B, L, Out
This small café and market does a booming business with gourmet sandwiches, soups, and an assortment of baked goods. The paninis and the adult grilled cheese are especially good.
Minato Sushi Bar1013 N. Charles St., (410) 332-0332, minatosushibar.com$$, L, D
Come to Minato’s sleek, urbane setting for some of the freshest rolls in town—and bring friends. Variety is the key.
Mughal Garden920 N. Charles St., (410) 547-0001, mughalgarden.com$$, L, D, DV
The lunch buffet here always seems fresh with something unexpected. They call it Indian haute cuisine—and the interior does have a certain old-school charm that might be a little haute but is never haughty.
On the Hill CafÉ1431 John St., (410) 225-9667, onthehillcafe.com$, B, L, D, BYOB, Out
This neighborhood restaurant and café is smart to offer it all. Waffles, bagels, or breakfast burritos in the morning; grass-fed burgers, sandwiches, and more burritos later in the day.
The Owl Bar1 E. Chase St., (410) 347-0888, theowlbar.com$$, L, D, Br, 10 p.m., P
Elegant and laid-back is a hard combo to pull off, but CP’s 2012 “Best Bar” does it in spades. Delicious brick-oven pizzas and heaping helpings of chicken nachos are specialties.
The Prime Rib1101 N. Calvert St., (410) 539-1804, theprimerib.com$$$, D, R
Old-school Baltimore dining at its best, the Prime Rib specializes in steak (of course), but the veal, oysters, and pretty much anything else on the menu are bound to satisfy. And the bar has a great selection of Scotch for that special occasion.
Red Maple930 N. Charles St., (410) 547-0149, 930redmaple.com$, D, 10 p.m.
You wouldn’t expect one of Baltimore’s premier clubs to have such a serious and extensive farm-to-table menu. Duck tacos, lobster mac and cheese (with bacon), and lamb burgers are only a few of the things you might find.
Sascha’s527 N. Charles St., (410) 539-8880, saschas.com$$, L, D, Out, R
This Mount Vernon mainstay captures the charm and quirk of the neighborhood. Its interior looks like an elegant mansion filled with off-kilter art, and the food ranges from small plates and delicious salads to rich, delicious entrees.
Sammy’s Trattoria1200 N. Charles St., (410) 837-9999, sammystrattoria.com$$$, L, D, Out, R
Not your standard red-sauce joint, Sammy’s offers exceptional Italian fare in a low-key but nice environment. The duck ravioli will change your life, and the gnocchi is top-notch.
Sofi’s Crepes1723 N. Charles St., (410) 727-7732, sofiscrepes.com$, L, D, Out
If you’ve ever eaten crepes on a Parisian street, stop in to either location of Sofi’s (a second location is in Belvedere Square) and, a few minutes later, you can be walking along the sidewalk, annoying all of your friends with your memoires de joie de vivre. Buy ’em a crepe and they won’t mind.
Sotto Sopra405 N. Charles St., (410) 625-0534, sottosoprainc.com$$$, L, D, 10 p.m., R
Worth the money, this is not your mother’s Northern Italian fare: It’s your grandmother’s. Simple and elegant meals in a dark and classy joint. Great deals for restaurant week.
Stang of Siam1301 N. Calvert St., (443)453-9142, stangofsiam.com$$, L, D, Out, DV
CP’s “Best Thai Restaurant” in 2012, this new joint upped the ante for Thai restaurants in terms of flavor. The service is not exceptional, but the food is worth putting up with it. The duck curry is out of this world, and the drunken noodles make us drool just thinking about them.
Tavern on the Hill900 Cathedral St., (410) 230-5400, tavernonthehillmtvernon.com$$, B, L, D, BR, Out
Sandwiches, salads, burgers, pasta, and a dedicated hot dog section flesh out the meat of the newcomer’s straightforward menu. The hand-cut fries are outstanding, but the all-day breakfast option, complete with perfect omelets, distinguishes the restaurant’s selection the most. Plus: solid cocktails.
Thai Landing1207 N. Charles St., (410) 727-1234, thailandingmd.com$$, L, D
One of the few local Thai places with clear delineations between levels of spice. We prefer the five-star level, reserved “for addicts, masochists and Thai nationals.”
Thairish804 N. Charles St., (410) 752-5857 $, L, D
Thai and Irish doesn’t necessarily sound like a good combo, but this quick and cheap take-out Thai joint will win you over with its rockin’ curry.
Tio Pepe10 E. Franklin St., (410) 539-4675$$$, L, D, 10 p.m., R
To look at the sign, you might mistake this for a standard Mexican joint. Don’t. First, it’s Spanish, and second, it is ritzy, and we mean both of those in the best possible way. Over 45 years in business ensures that Tio Pepe knows how to do it right.
Turp’s Sports Bar1317 N. Charles St., (410) 347-0349, turpsonline.com$, L, D, Out, 10 p.m.
You don’t have to like sports to like Turp’s. The burgers with sweet potato fries are enough to make you a fan, and in the warm months, the outdoor seating provides a perfect perch to watch Charles Street pass.
Two Boots1203 W. Mount Royal Ave., (410) 625-2668, baltimore.twoboots.com
$$, L, D, BYOB, Out, 10 p.m., DV
Yes, Louisiana and Italy look like boots. Yes, they both have awesome food. That’s the idea behind this brightly colored NYC-based pizza joint. It works. And it’s right across the street from the Mount Royal Tavern, so it’s perfect to stumble over to for a crawfish pizza after a bout of day-drinking.
Waterstone Bar and Grill311 W. Madison St., (410) 225-7475, waterstonebarandgrille.com$$, L, D, R, Out, DV
Waterstone offers a wide array of cuisine, from entrees like the marinated half-pound of New Zealand lamb chops to burgers and sandwiches, and a large selection of sizes and prices. The giant $5 burger, available every day for lunch, is a steal.
Woman’s Industrial Kitchen333 N. Charles St., (410) 244-6450, womansindustrialkitchen.com$, L, BR
Now run by the proprietors of the Souper Freak food truck, the food at the Woman’s Industrial Exchange has gotten a bit of a facelift. They specialize in sandwiches, pot pies, casseroles, and, of course, soup.
XS1307 N. Charles St., (410) 468-0002, xsbaltimore.com$$, B, L, D, BR, Out, 10 p.m., DV
This four-story establishment is one of the most diverse in Baltimore, serving everything from coffee-shop fare to sushi, and featuring live DJs.Copyright © 2015, Baltimore City Paper