Bagby Pizza Co.
1006 Fleet St., (410) 605-0444, bagbypizza.com
$$, L, D, Out, 10 p.m.
Bagby’s is rightfully known for its brick-oven pizza (try the spicy shrimp or the goat cheese-prosciutto), but don’t miss their spectacular salads.
1000 Lancaster St., (410) 332-7373, charlestonrestaurant.com
$$$, 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.
Don’t let the fact that actor Chazz Palminteri is the owner intimidate you from dining on fantastic coal-fired Bronx-style pizza and excellent pastas and salads at this Michael Phelps favorite.
608 S Exeter St., (410) 752-9666, chuissushi.com
$$, L, D
Fresh sashimi and hand-rolled sushi, but for something different try the nabe mono (traditional Japanese casseroles). A perfect complement to the traditional environment.
822 Lancaster St., (410) 547-8282, cgeno.com
$$$, 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 Kitchen
1012 Fleet St., (410) 244-5830, fleetstreetkitchen.com
$$$, D, R
The crown jewel of the Bagby Restaurant Group, this farm-to-table fine-dining newcomer lives up to its promise with standouts like seared rockfish.
Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar
720 Aliceanna St., (410) 332-1666, flemingssteakhouse.com
$$$, 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 Restaurant
1000 Lancaster St., (410) 230-9501, gordonbiersch.com
$$$, L, D
Sure, it’s a chain, but this Harbor East joint has seriously good German beer which you might complement with equally tasty California-influenced cuisine such as the farmhouse burger with bacon jam, arugula, and a fried egg.
Grille 700 at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront
700 Aliceanna St., (410) 895-1879, grille700.com
$$$, B, L, D
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 Restaurant
616 S. President St., (410) 727-5107, thejamesjoycepub.com
$$, L, D, Br, Out, 10 p.m.
James Joyce, the great Irish writer and namesake of this pub, became more Irish after he went into a self-imposed lifelong exile from his home. The same may be said of this extremely authentic Irish pub, where it’s possible to appreciate a pint of Guinness right while scarfing down a delicious sandwich to fuel your next literary endeavor.
719 S. President St., (410) 244-5533, lebanesetaverna.com
$$, L, D, br, Out
For Middle Eastern food, it’s hard to beat Lebanese Taverna. From the falafel and kebabs 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.
801 Aliceanna St., (443) 872-0000, theoceanaire.com
$$$, D, p, R
The Oceanaire may be a national chain, but their seafood sure tastes local, with crab cakes that fall apart when you touch them with your fork (more crab, less filling!). Amazing wine selection and a good happy hour.
Oliver Speck’s Eats & Drinks
507 S. Exeter St., (410) 528-8600, oliverspecks.com
$$, L, D, BR
Top Chef alumna Jessie Sandlin goes hog-wild with smoked and grilled meats at the former Vino Rosina space. Big-plate combos will cost you, but sammies—like pulled pork or bison pastrami—won’t devastate your wallet at all.
Ouzo Bay Greek Kouzina
1000 Lancaster St., (443) 708-5818), ouzobay.com
$$$, D, Out, R
High-end Greek fare that is worth the price. The house spreads—skordalia (garlic dip), htipiti (roasted red pepper, roasted jalapeño, and feta), taramosalata (a dip made from pureed fish roe), and tzatziki (yogurt, dill, and cucumber)—are better than most place’s entrees.
725 Aliceanna St., (410) 223-1460, pabuizakaya.com
$$, 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 crème fraiche.
1425 Aliceanna St., (410) 534-7296, pazorestaurant.com
$$$, D, R
Going to Pazo feels like a cross between the movies of Pedro Almodóvar and Federico Fellini: Mediterranean, indulgent, a bit decadent, and yet somehow casual and enormously gratifying.
1390 Lancaster St., (410) 522-3200, rasushi.com
$$, 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 Cuisine
720 Aliceanna St., (410) 659-0099, roysrestaurant.com
$$$, D, R
This chain fusion restaurant serves up some awfully tasty dishes from their ever-changing menu, which features prix-fixe and gluten-free options.
618 S. Exeter St., (410) 234-3782, tacofiesta.com
$, B, L, D, Out
Amid all of Harbor East’s high-end delights, Taco Fiesta has carved out a niche as the go-to spot for great, fresh Tex-Mex specialties at decent prices. The fish tacos and burritos are great, as are the steak nachos, but the star of the show is the salsa bar—with eight varieties to choose from—along with fresh cilantro, onions, and jalapeños.
615 S. President St., (410) 528-9883, talarabaltimore.com
$$, 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.
1010 Fleet St. (410) 244-6867, bagbys1010.com
$$$, L, D, BR
An inviting and comfortable bistro with hearty fare, including a solid charcuterie plate, steak frites, and seared sea trout.
Wit & Wisdom
200 International Drive, (410) 576-5800, witandwisdombaltimore.com
$$$, 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.