Barracudas: 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.