The 13th Floor
1 E. Chase St., (410) 347-0880, 13floorbelvedere.com
$$$, D, R
This remodeled and reinvented institution finally makes use of what may be the best view in Baltimore. Eat risotto, duck confit, or braised shortrib atop the historic Belvedere Hotel.
823 N. Charles St., (410) 539-0944, akbar-restaurant.com
$$, 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.
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.
1218 N. Charles St., (443) 759-8531, alohasushimd.com
$$, L, D
Aloha offers good and affordable sushi—but it also has a package-goods store that is the only place in the neighborhood to buy beer on a Sunday without paying bar prices. And you can drink it there at small tables, watching sports with an interesting crowd.
1501 Bolton St., (410) 383-8600, b-bistro.com
$$$, 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.
340 N. Charles St., (410) 727-7971, banthai.us
$$, L, D
This solid Thai place has a great lunch special. The ambiance is a bit sterile, but the service makes up for it. The kai tom kha is great.
The Brewer’s Art
1106 N. Charles St., (410) 547-6925, thebrewersart.com
$$$, 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 Shop
239 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.
316 N. Charles St., (410) 528-1222, cazbarbaltimore.com
$$$, L, D, 10 p.m., DV
No, it’s not Jazbar, they just drew their C a little too elaborately. But don’t worry, the food at this sleek Turkish restaurant, while full of exceptionally complex flavors, doesn’t overdo it. We recommend the prix-fixe menu with wine. The lamb is great, but stay off the website unless you want to get smashed with loud music and Flash.
1001 Cathedral St., (410) 539-4252, citycafebaltimore.com
$$$, 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.
802 N. Charles St., (410) 702-5144, doobyscoffee.com
$$, B, l, D
This new coffee shop/bar/restaurant hybrid has won over the hearts and stomachs of the young Mount Vernon set with an outstanding roast beef sandwich, delectable baked goods, and a healthy draft menu. Mind the laptop policy.
Dougherty’s Irish Pub
223 W. Chase St., (410) 752-4059, doughertyspub.com
$, L, D, 10 p.m.
Dougherty’s serves classic pub grub—reliable and perfect, with a half a dozen drinks, but not spectacular. Unless the owners happened to have made their turkey pot pie, in which case it is brilliant.
1100 Maryland Ave., (410) 385-0318, dukemrestaurant.com
$$, 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.
806 N. Charles St., (410) 752-0311, helmand.com
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.
336 N. Charles St., (443) 501-4000, slycethebar.com
$$, L, D, 10 p.m.
Homeslyce brings a solid selection of salads, sandwiches (try the three pigs and cheese), and pizza to Midtown. Also enjoy the titular “slyce”—a pizza rolled up almost like a calzone—in this friendly bar setting, complete with giant TVs, a free pool table, and a downstairs gameroom. There’s another location in Federal Hill.
818 N. Calvert St., (410) 528-0818, iggiespizza.com
$$, 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.
801 N. Charles St., (443) 449-6483, indigmarestaurant.com
$$, L, D
Since opening up in the palatial space across the street from its former location, Indigma’s chefs have gotten even better than they were before the fire. Not just your same old saag paneer. Try the chettinad chicken with black pepper and lime leaves.
911 N. Charles St., (410) 547-1600
$$, 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.