Bagby Pizza Co.1006 Fleet St., (410) 605-0444, bagbypizza.com$$, L, D, Out
Bagby’s is rightfully known for its brick-oven pizza (try the spicy shrimp or the goat cheese prosciutto), but don’t miss their spectacular salads.
Charleston1000 Lancaster St., (410) 332-7373,charlestonrestaurant.com$$$, D, R
Cindy Wolf and Tony Foreman’s superb restaurant is—like Baltimore—sort of Southern, perched on the Mason-Dixon Line between down-home dishes and fine-dining ingredients, preparations, and presentations.
Chazz: A Bronx Original1415 Aliceanna St., (410) 522-5511,chazzbronxoriginal.com$$, L, D
Don’t let the fact that actor Chazz Palminteri is the owner intimidate you from dining here, on fantastic coal-fired Bronx-style pizza and excellent pastas and salads.
Chiu’s Sushi608 S Exeter St., (410) 752-9666, chuissushi.com$$, L, D, p
Fresh sashimi and hand-rolled sushi, but for something different try the nabe mono (traditional Japanese casseroles). A perfect complement to the traditional environment.
Cinghiale822 Lancaster St., (410) 547-8282, cgeno.com$$$, D, Out, R
Cinghiale gave Tony Foreman and Cindy Wolf a chance to bring authentic Central and Northern Italian cooking to Baltimore—and they did it with flare. If it’s a special occasion and you’re with a big group, go for “La Cucina della Nonna,” second only to your Italian grandmother’s kitchen.
Fleet Street Kitchen1012 Fleet St., (410) 244-5830, fleetstreetkitchen.com$$$, D, p, R
The crown jewel of the Bagby Restaurant Group, this farm-to-table fine-dining newcomer lives up to its promise with standouts like braised veal cheek.
Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar720 Aliceanna St., (410) 332-1666, flemingssteakhouse.com$$$, D, R
Known for their expensive and scrumptious steaks and wines, Fleming’s is also home to some surprisingly cheap happy-hour deals, like a $6 burger. Either way, don’t miss it.
Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant1000 Lancaster St., (410) 230-9501, gordonbiersch.com$$, L, D
Sure, it’s a chain, but this Harbor East joint has seriously good German beer which you might complement with equally tasty California-influenced cuisine such as the farmhouse burger with bacon jam, arugula, and a fried egg.
Grille 700 at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront700 Aliceanna St., (410) 895-1879, grille700.com$$$, B, L, D, Br
Presumably catering primarily to Marriott guests, Grille 700 features a good crab cake to get to get them oriented to Baltimore properly.
James Joyce Irish Pub and Restaurant616 S. President St., (410) 727-5107, thejamesjoycepub.com$$, L, D, Br, Out, 10 p.m.
James Joyce, the great Irish writer and namesake of this pub, became more Irish after he went into a self-imposed lifelong exile from his home. The same may be said of this extremely authentic Irish pub, where it’s possible to appreciate a pint of Guinness right while scarfing down a delicious sandwich to fuel your next literary endeavor.
Lebanese Taverna719 S. President St., (410) 244-5533, lebanesetaverna.com$$, L, D, br, Out
For Middle Eastern food, it’s hard to beat Lebanese Taverna. From the falafel and kebab platters to the salmon harra to the lamb mouzat, every bite is mouth-watering.
Manchurian Rice Co.1010 Aliceanna St., (443) 438-3528, manchurianriceco.com$, L, D, 10 p.m., DV
This clean, tiny, mostly takeout place is perfect for a pan-Asian lunch on the go. The cheap lunch specials include massive portions and, often, an eggroll. (The double-cooked pork is a standout.) While you’re waiting, enjoy DVDs of Japanese gameshows.
The Oceanaire801 Aliceanna St., (443) 872-0000, theoceanaire.com$$$, D, p, R
The Oceanaire may be a national chain, but their seafood sure tastes local, with crab cakes that fall apart when you touch them with your fork (more crab, less filling!). Amazing wine selection and a good happy hour.
Ouzo Bay Greek Kouzina1000 Lancaster St., (443) 708-5818), ouzobay.com$$$, D, Out, R
High-end Greek fare that is worth the price. The house spreads—skordalia (garlic dip), htipiti (roasted red pepper, roasted jalapeño, and feta), taramosalata (a dip made from pureed fish roe), and tzatziki (yogurt, dill, and cucumber)—are better than most place’s entrees.
Pabu725 Aliceanna St., (410) 223-1460, pabuizakaya.com$$, D, R
Serious Japanese dining comes to Charm City, with nigiri made from fish flown in daily from Tokyo’s Tsujiki fish market, and specialties like the “happy spoon,” an oyster swaddled in distinct roes and a slick of ponzu créme fraiche.
Pazo1425 Aliceanna St., (410) 534-7296, pazorestaurant.com$$$, D, R
Going to Pazo feels like a cross between the movies of Pedro Almodóvar and Frederico Fellini: Mediterranean, indulgent, a bit decadent, and yet somehow casual and enormously gratifying.
RA Sushi1390 Lancaster St., (410) 522-3200, rasushi.com$$, L, D, Out
Not just another high-end Harbor East chain restaurant, RA offers some interesting Japanese fusion dishes in addition to the standard rolls, and it wows with a bit of atmosphere.
Roy’s Hawaiian fusion Cuisine720 Aliceanna St., (410) 659-0099, roysrestaurant.com$$$, D
This chain fusion restaurant serves up some awfully tasty dishes from their ever-changing menu, which features prix-fixe and gluten-free options.
Taco Fiesta618 S. Exeter St., (410) 234-3782, tacofiesta.com$, B, L, D, Out
Amid all of Harbor East’s high-end delights, Taco Fiesta has carved out a niche as the go-to spot for great, fresh Tex-Mex specialties at decent prices. The fish tacos and burritos are great, as are the steak nachos, but the star of the show is the salsa bar—with eight varieties to choose from—along with fresh cilantro, onions, and jalapeños.
Talara615 S. President St., (410) 528-9883, talarabaltimore.com$$, D, p, Out, 10 p.m.
Enjoy an extremely wide range of tapas in Talara’s fun, South Beach-y party atmosphere. The ceviche is not to be missed.
Ten Ten1010 Fleet St. (443) 244-6867, bagbys1010.com$$$, L, D, BR
An inviting and comfortable bistro with hearty fare, including a solid charcuterie plate, steak frites, and seared sea trout.
Townhouse Kitchen and Bar1350 Lancaster St., (443) 268-0323, townhousebaltimore.com$$, L, D, Br, Out
With 40 beers on tap, Townhouse is more bar than kitchen, but they make a mean shrimp-and-grits.
Vino Rosina509 S. Exeter St., (410) 528-8600, vinorosina.com$$, D, br, p, Out, R
This sophisticated-but-relaxed restaurant makes an art out of food and wine pairings—so don’t hesitate to ask for advice. Between the grit cake, the Baltimore burger, or the tartare, there’s something to make everyone’s mouth water. But don’t miss what may be the most inventive brunch in town: roasted bone marrow, foie gras terrine, and duck omelet. Wow, just wow!
Wit & Wisdom200 International Drive, (410) 576-5800, witandwisdombaltimore.com$$$, B, L, D, Br, R
Chef Michael Mina’s regional and Southern seafood combines perfectly with the refined dining room with harbor views to create an exquisite experience at the Four Seasons.