Be-One Korean B.B.Q. Restaurant2016 Maryland Ave., (410) 244-5600$$, L, D
The smell of sizzling meat is exactly what you look for in Korean barbecue. Be-One delivers with the highly recommended B.B.Q. Set A: cha dol (brisket), galbi (beef ribs), bulgogi (marinated aged beef), joo mool luck (boneless ribs), and chicken bulgogi.
Bottega1729 Maryland Ave., (443) 708-5709, bottega1729.com$$, D, BYOB
This tiny (like 15-seats tiny) new Station North restaurant is quite possibly the best dining in the city, so book a reservation when you can. Order the smoked goose—or, you know, whatever they make that day.
Canteen1821 n Charles st., (443) 838-1626$, B, L, D
Organic greens growing by the window often become ingredients for carefully constructed salads at this micro-restaurant founded by Dane Nester in the spot that used to be Bohemian Coffee House, also offering inexpensive options like a duck, pickle, and coconut melt ($6.95).
Caribbean Paradise1818 N. Charles St., (410) 332-8422$, L, D
The husband/wife team of chefs Eric and Barbara, Jamaica natives, serve up a heaping platter of jerk chicken slathered in dark, rich gravy, along with all the fixings, for $8.50.
The Chesapeake1701 N. Charles St., (410) 547-2760, thechesapeakebaltimore.com$$$, L, D, R
This highly anticipated newcomer, reopening last year with the same name that it has had since 1933, shoots for New American-meets-Southern fare with seasonal ingredients mixed in when possible.
The Dizz300 W. 30th St., (443) 869-5864, thedizzbaltimore.com$$, L, D, Out, 10 p.m.
A down-home neighborhood bar with a handwritten list of specials, great bar food, and an old-fashioned rotating dessert case with killer pies and cakes? Sign us up. Breakfast on Sundays.
Joe Squared133 W. North Ave., (410) 545-0444, joesquared.com$$, L, D, BR, Out, 10 p.m, DV
Joe Squared makes masterful square pizzas and serves good beer, but they do so much more than that. They make sandwiches—and they won CP’s “Best Wings” in 2012 for the complex flavors on their poultry arms, er, wings.
Jong Kak18 W. 20th St., (410) 837-5231, jongkak.99k.org$$$, L, D, 10 p.m.
We love Jong Kak. Sorry, everyone who eats there pretty much has to say this. One of several great Korean restaurants in town, it offers all your favorites. But go straight to the barbecue. It is cooked over hardwood charcoal.
Lost City Diner1730 N. Charles St., (410) 547-5678, lostcitydiner.com$$, D, Br, 10 p.m.
After a checkered past of openings and closings, Lost City’s latest menu leans more consistently toward diner fare, plus the assortment of shakes, floats, and sundaes you’d expect from such a lavish-looking soda fountain.
Mi Comalito2101 N. Charles St., (410) 837-6005$, B, L, D
Mi Comalito specializes in Mexican, Salvadoran, and Honduran food, and they do all three as well as anyone else in town. Start with the pupusas. They have three kinds: queso, loroco (vine flowers with cheese), and revueltas (mixed beans, pork, and cheese).
Nam Kang2126 Maryland Ave., (410) 685-6237$$, L, D, 10 p.m.
Nam Kang, which stays open till 4 a.m. nightly, has won CP’s “Best Late-Night Dining” so many times, we’ve just about retired the category. The panchen is fabulous and we love the kimchi jigae on a cold night. And did we mention private karaoke rooms?
THE New Wyman Park Restaurant 138 W. 25th St., (410) 235-5100.$, b, L
Friendly, fast diner drawing locals for crispy fries with thick brown gravy and the delicious quarter-cut turkey club, with turkey roasted in-house.
Papermoon Diner227 W. 29th St., (410) 889-4444, papermoondiner24.com$$, B, L, D, P, 10 p.m.
When people talk about Baltimore’s “funkiness,” they might be talking about Papermoon. You’d never find a place with this kind of wacky decor in Washington, D.C., that’s for sure. Bonus: inventive shakes and diner fare, and communal service.
Red Emma’s30 W. North Ave., (410) 230-0450, redemmas.org$, B, L, D
The leftist collective has moved to some swanky new digs in Station North, with bookshelves reaching the ceiling, its own coffee-roasting operation, and a brand new kitchen. There are plenty of vegetarian and vegan options—the tofu Bahn mi is great—with more to come soon as they expand their menu.
Tapas Teatro1711 N. Charles St., (410) 332-0110, tapasteatro.com$$, D, Out
As the name indicates, this outdoor-dining hotspot serves small plates for theatergoers in Station North. The fried cod is delicious, but bring friends to get the most of the wide variety of dishes—and the pitchers of sangria.
South Baltimore/Silo PointBarracudas:
A Locust Point Tavern1230 E. Fort Ave., (410) 685-2832, cudabarracuda.com$$, L, D, Br
You can find Old Bay fries all over town, but seldom do you see a coddie anymore. Barracudas serves ’em up, along with pit beef sandwiches and the standard crab cake. Try the Old Bay mayo-laden shrimp salad sandwich.
Big Matty’s Diner838 E. Fort Ave., (410) 727-706$, B, L
The lunch basics are covered in this unassuming, luncheonette-esque joint. Meaty cold cuts on well-toasted bread. Specials like steak and eggs and baked chicken that cost less than any highfalutin, high-protein bean sprout sandwich you can get elsewhere.
Blue grass Tavern 1500 S. Hanover St., (410) 244-5101, bluegrasstavern.com$$$, L, D, Br, Out, R
Southern-influenced, seasonal, farm-to-table cuisine that reflects the thoughtfulness of its chef: rabbit pot pie with porcini ham gravy, blackened catfish chowder, smoked fried chicken. Try the suggested beer and wine pairings to enhance the experience.
Harborque1125 S. Charles St., (410) 685-7675, harborque.com$$, L, D, Out, 10 p.m.
A rare in-the-city-limits Carolina-style barbecue hub. They pile the meat—be it pulled pork, pit beef, or ham—high on the sesame seed-covered bun. Get an order of hickory-smoked beef brisket slathered with honey-bourbon barbecue sauce.
Hersh’s Pizza and Drinks1843-45 Light St., (443) 438-4948, hershspizza.com$$, D, 10 p.m.
Sure, they fry up some tempting prosciutto balls here, and the roasted cauliflower and meatballs are worth sampling, but if you’re making critical decisions, go for the pizza. Don’t be afraid of the kale-and-pistachio-topped pie.
Hull Street Blues Café1222 Hull St., (410) 727-7476, hullstreetblues.com$$, L, D, Br, R
A charming windowed entrance welcomes guests into this historic saloon-turned-café. Mostly standard café fare (field greens, grilled/blackened protein on ciabatta), with a few different influences (Mediterranean, Mexican, Asian).
Little Havana Restaurante
Y Cantina Cubana1325 Key Highway, (410) 837-9903, littlehavanas.com$$, L, D, Br, Out, 10 p.m., R
A great spot to mingle with the yuppie just-off-work crowd in Fed Hill at happy hour, especially in the summertime. Cuban menu items—a crispy pressed Cuban sammy, pulled chicken breast—pepper the Tex-Mex-type menu.
Liv2Eat1444 Light St., (443) 449-7129, liv2eat.com$$$, D, R
A tiny, living room-like space, Liv2Eat recasts the mom-and-pop-run restaurant: Though a couple runs it, the menu and feel resembles that of a D.C. bar—classy and hip, not to mention top-notch. Order the cookies and milk for dessert.
Mi Ranchito1116 Hollins St., (410) 528-9345$$, L, D, 10 p.m.
Mi Ranchito calls itself a Tex-Mex place, but it might more accurately be called Latin-American since they have no burritos, only one taco dish, one enchilada dish, and a quesadilla, but a wide variety of Peruvian saltados, garnachas, and Salvadoran pupusas.
Miguel’s Cocina Y Cantina 1200 Steuart St., (443), 438-3139, miguelsbaltimore.com$$, L, D, Br
Thoughtful Mexican fare that takes the occasional twist. Look for items served with chipotle butter, and don’t miss the Caesar salads—one adhering to the traditional, Tijuana-born mix of yolky, garlicky dressing; the other, with grilled romaine hearts massaged with Caesar dressing.
Nick’s Fish House and Grill2600 Insulator Drive, (410) 347-4123, nicksfishhouse.com$$, L, D, Out, P
Smack-dab on the water, Nick’s menu doesn’t push any boundaries with its crab pretzel or its Chesapeake chicken, but you really can’t beat the outdoor deck in nice weather. Brunch in summer.
Silo .5 Wine Bar 1200 Steuart St., (443) 438-4044, silo.5winebar.com$$, D
Don’t be deceived by the wall of wine: You’re not in Hampden, but at the sister to 13.5 Wine Bar. A similar menu of elegantly prepared, if somewhat dear starter options pair appropriately with the swank atmosphere.
Wine Market Bistro921 E. Fort Ave., (410) 244-6166, winemarketbistro.com$$$, L, D, Br, P, Out, R
One of SoBo’s ritzier choices. Ingredients are pickled, smoked, candied, marinated, grilled, creamed, and rubbed—and we’re all for it. The prix-fixe brunch option offers a chance to sample Wine Market wares without going broke.