The 13th Floor1 E. Chase St., (410) 327-0880,13floorbelvedere.com$$$, D, R
This newly remodeled and reinvented institution finally makes use of what may be the best view in Baltimore. Eat risotto, duck confit, or braised shortrib atop the historic Belvedere Hotel.
Akbar Indian823 N. Charles St., (410) 539-0944, akbar-restaurant.com$$, L, D, Br
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.
Aloha Sushi1218 N. Charles St., (443) 759-8531,alohasushimd.com$$, L, D
Aloha offers good and affordable sushi—but it also has a package-goods store that is the only place in the neighborhood to buy beer on a Sunday without paying bar prices. And you can drink it there at small tables watching sports with an interesting crowd.
B Bistro1501 Bolton St., (410) 383-8600, b-bistro.com$$$, 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.
Ban Thai340 N. Charles St., (410) 727-7971, banthai.us$$, L, D
This solid Thai place has a great lunch special. The ambiance is a bit sterile, but the service makes up for it. The kai tom kha is great.
Brewer’s Art1106 N. Charles St., (410) 547-6925, thebrewersart.com$$$, 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.
Cazbar316 N. Charles St., (410) 528-1222, cazbarbaltimore.com$$$, L, D, 10 p.m.
No, it’s not Jazbar, they just drew their C a little too elaborately. But don’t worry, the food at this sleek Turkish restaurant, while full of exceptionally complex flavors, doesn’t overdo it. We recommend the prixe-fix menu with wine. The lamb is great, but stay off the website unless you want to get smashed with loud music and Flash.
City Café1001 Cathedral St., (410) 539-4252, citycafebaltimore.com$$$, 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.
Dionysus8 E. Preston St., (410) 244-1020, dionysusbar.com$$, D, Br, Out, 10 p.m.
As much a drinkery as a restaurant, Dionysus has a limited menu, but it changes a lot and there’s always something interesting to be found, whether it is shrimp and grits or the enchilladas on Mexican Monday.
Dougherty’s Irish Pub223 W. Chase St., (410) 752-4059, doughertyspub.com$, L, D, 10 p.m.
Dougherty’s serves classic pub grub—reliable and perfect with a half a dozen drinks, but not spectacular. Unless the owners happened to have made their turkey pot pie, in which case it is brilliant
Dukem Ethiopian1100 Maryland Ave., (410) 385-0318, dukemrestaurant.com,$$, 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.
Eden’s Lounge15 W. Eager St., (410) 244-0405, edenslounge.com$$, D, Out, 10 p.m.
Though Eden’s Lounge is billed as an Ethiopian joint, most people in the club environment go for the bar fare to accompany their drinks. Don’t make that mistake: The Ethiopian specials rule.
The Helmand806 N. Charles St., (410) 752-0311, helmand.com$$, D
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.
Home Slyce336 N. Charles St., (443) 501-4000, slycethebar.com$$, L, D, 10 p.m.
This newcomer brings a solid selection of salads, sandwiches (try the three pigs and cheese), and pizza to Midtown. Also enjoy the titular “slyce”—a pizza rolled up almost like a calzone—in this friendly bar setting, complete with giant TVs and a free pool table. There’s another location in Federal Hill.
Iggie’s Pizza818 N. Calvert St., (410) 528-0818, iggiespizza.com$$, L, D, BYOB, Out
Iggie’s has delicious and unexpected, 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.
Indigma801 N. Charles St., (443) 449-6483, indigmarestaurant.com$$, L, D
Since opening up in the palatial space across the street from its former location, Indigma’s chefs have gotten even better than they were before the fire. Not just your same old saag paneer. Try the chicken chettinadu with black pepper and lime leaves.
Joe Squared133 W. North Ave., (410) 545-0444, joesquared.com$$, 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.
Joss Sushi413 N. Charles St., (410) 244-6988, josssushi.com$$$, L, D
The Annapolis institution had a hard time drawing crowds to its North Charles Street location, but the secret seems to be getting out. Great sashimi, a knowledgeable staff, super-cheap lunch specials, and great window seats for people-watching make this a great place for sushi.
Joung Kak18 W. 20th St., (410) 837-5231$$, L, D, 10 p.m.
We love Joung Kak. Sorry, everyone who eats there pretty much has to say this. One of several great Korean restaurants in town, Joung Kak offers all your favorites. But go straight to the barbecue. It is cooked over hardwood charcoal.
Kumari911 N. Charles St., (410) 547-1600$$, L, D, Br, P, 10 p.m., DV
Great Indian fare, but go for the traditional Nepalese specials if you want to be wowed. Also, some of the best window seats for people-watching in Mount Vernon.
Kyro Pizza900 Cathedral St., (410) 962-8859, kyropizza.com$$, L, D, BYOB, DV
Kyro has it all: a wide variety of unexpected pizzas—a General Tso’s chicken pizza, for instance—and an assortment of Middle Eastern food. Don’t be a fool, try the foul, a fava-bean dip sort of like hummus.
Land of Kush840 N. Eutaw St., (410) 225-5874, thelandofkush.com$, L, D, BR
It takes a confident restaurant to attempt vegan soul food, and the Land of Kush pulls it off better than you would have ever thought possible, with heaping platters mac and “cheese,” barbecue “ribs,” and smoked collard greens that will have you shaking your head in disbelief.
Lumbini322 N. Charles St., (410) 244-5556, lumbinirestaurant.com$$, L, D, BYOB, DV
Delicious food, no nonsense, and good service. Great Indian but specializing in Nepalese. When they say spicy, they mean it. And we like that.
Maisy’s313 N. Charles St., (443) 220-0150, maisysbaltimore.com$$, L, D, 10 p.m.
Maisy’s is a clubby bar, not in the pop-bang-boom dancing, techno, clubby way, but in a clubhouse, rhyming with “pub” kind of way. It’s always hard to decide between the burgers and the brick-oven pizza.
Mari Luna Bistro1225 Cathedral St., (410) 637-8013, mariluna.com/bistro$$, L, D
The younger and slightly more upscale sibling of the Reisterstown Road institution is the only Mexican option in the neighborhood (other than Chipotle). But that’s not the only reason to go there. The wide variety of taco options might occasionally haunt your dreams, but not in an indigestion kind of way. Or try a quesadilla with chips and salsa for happy hour at the bar.
Marie Louise Bistro904 N. Charles St., (410) 385-9946, marielouisebistrocatering.com$$, B, L, D, Br, Out
This French bistro capitalizes on how much Mount Vernon can feel like a European city. Brunch at one of the wicker tables outside on an autumn Sunday morning is one of the city’s great hidden treasures. Like the crab cake omelet with boursin cheese, Marie Louise brings out the best of Baltimore and France.
Mick O’Shea’s328 N. Charles St., (410) 539-7504, mickosheas.com$$, L, D, Br, 10 p.m.
Great bar, good food. Solid pizzas, burgers, burritos, and amazing shepherd’s pie or bangers and mash. For an Irish pub, the brunch is surprisingly good, and the bar is so convivial you might come in for bangers and a bloody, and wind up sticking around for a few pints.
Midtown BBQ and Brew15 E. Centre St. (443) 835-2472, midtownbbqandbrew.com$$, L, D
BBQ and Brew offers solid barbecue with three different sauces to choose from (try the mustard) in a friendly tavern setting, with a big ole barrel of peanuts to snack on.
Milk & Honey Market816 Cathedral St., (410) 685-6455, milkandhoneybaltimore.com$$, B, L, Out
This small café and market does a booming business with gourmet sandwiches, soups, and an assortment of baked goods. The paninis and the adult grilled cheese are especially good.
Minato Sushi Bar1013 N. Charles St., (410) 332-0332, minatosushibar.com$$, L, D
Come to Minato’s sleek, urbane setting for some of the freshest rolls in town—and bring friends. Variety is the key.
Mughal Garden920 N. Charles St., (410) 547-0001, mughalgarden.com$$, L, D
The lunch buffet always seems fresh with something unexpected. They call it Indian haute cuisine—and the interior does have a certain old school charm that might be a little haute but is never haughty.
Nam Kang2126 Maryland Ave., (410) 685-6237$$, L, D, 10 p.m.
Nam Kang, which stays open till 4 A.M. nightly, 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?
On the Hill Café1431 John St., (410) 225-9667, onthehillcafe.com$, B, L, D, BYOB, Out
This neighborhood restaurant and café is smart to offer it all. Waffles, bagels, or breakfast burritos in the morning; grass-fed burgers, sandwiches, and more burritos later in the day.
Owl Bar in the Belvedere1 E. Chase St., (410) 347-0888, theowlbar.com$$, L, D, Br, 10 p.m., P
Elegant and laid-back is a hard combo to pull off, but CP’s 2012 “Best Bar” does it in spades. Delicious brick-oven pizzas and heaping helpings of chicken nachos are specialties.
The Prime Rib1101 N. Calvert St., (410) 539-1804, theprimerib.com$$$, D, p, R
Old school Baltimore dining at its best, Prime Rib specializes in steak (of course), but the veal, oysters, and pretty much anything else on the menu are bound to satisfy. And the bar has a great selection of Scotch for that special occasion.
Red Maple930 N. Charles St., (410) 547-0149, 930redmaple.com$, D, 10 p.m.
You wouldn’t expect one of Baltimore’s premier clubs to have such a serious and extensive farm-to-table menu. Duck tacos, lobster mac and cheese (with bacon), and lamb burgers are only a few things you might find.
Sascha’s527 N. Charles St., (410) 539-8880, saschas.com$$, L, D, Out
This Mount Vernon mainstay captures the charm and quirk of the neighborhood. Its interior looks like an elegant mansion filled with off-kilter art, and the food ranges from small plates and delicious salads to nearly overwhelmingly rich entrees.
Sammy’s Trattoria1200 N. Charles St., (410) 837-9999, sammystrattoria.com$$$, L, D, Out, R
Not your standard red-sauce joint, Sammy’s offers exceptional Italian fare in a low-key but nice environment. The duck ravioli will change your life and the gnocchi is top-notch.
Sofi’s Crepes1723 N. Charles St., (410) 727-7732, sofiscrepes.com$, L, D, Out
If you’ve ever eaten crepes on a Parisian street, stop in to either location of Sofi’s (a second location is in Belvedere Square) and, a few minutes later, you can be walking along the sidewalk, annoying all of your friends with yourmemoires de joie de vivre. Buy ’em a crepe and they won’t mind.
Sotto Sopra405 N. Charles St., (410) 625-0534, sottosoprainc.com$$$, L, D, Out, 10 p.m., R
Worth the money, this is not your mother’s Southern Italian fare; it’s your grandmother’s. Simple and elegant meals in a dark and classy joint. Great deals for restaurant week.
Stang of Siam1301 N. Calvert St., (443)453-9142, stangofsiam.com$$, L, D, Out, DV
CP’s “Best Thai Restaurant” in 2012, this new joint upped the ante for Thai restaurants in terms of flavor. The service is not exceptional, but the food is worth putting up with it. The duck curry is out of this world, and the drunken noodles make us drool just thinking about them.
Tapas Teatro1711 N. Charles St., (410) 332-0110, tapasteatro.com$$, D, Out
As the name indicates, small plates for theatergoers in Station North. The monkfish medallions are delicious, but bring friends to get the most of the wide variety of dishes—and the pitchers of sangria.
Thai Landing1207 N. Charles St., (410) 727-1234, thailandingmd.com$$, L, D
One of the few local Thai places with clear delineations between levels of spice. We prefer the five-star level, reserved “for addicts, masochists and Thai nationals.”
Thairish804 N. Charles St., (410) 752-5857$, L, D
Thai and Irish don’t necessarily sound like a good combo, but this quick and cheap take-out Thai joint will win you over with its rockin’ curry.
Tio Pepe10 E. Franklin St., (410) 539-4675$$$, L, D, 10 p.m., R
To look at the sign, you might mistake this for a standard Mexican joint. Don’t. First, it’s Spanish, and second, it is ritzy, and we mean both of those in the best possible way. Over 40 years in business ensures that Tio Pepe knows how to do it right.
Turp’s Sports Bar1317 N. Charles St., (410) 347-0349, turpsonline.com$, L, D, Out, 10 p.m.
You don’t have to like sports to like Turps. The burgers with sweet potato fries are enough to make you a fan, and in the warm months, the outdoor seating provides a perfect perch to watch Charles Street pass.
Two Boots Pizza1203 W. Mount Royal Ave., (410) 625-2668, twoboots.com$$, L, D, Out, 10 p.m., DV
Yes, Louisiana and Italy look like boots. Yes, they both have awesome food. That’s the idea behind this brightly colored NYC-based pizza joint. It works. And it’s right across the street from the Mount Royal Tavern, so it’s perfect to stumble over to for a crawfish pizza after a bout of day-drinking.
Woman’s Industrial Kitchen333 N. Charles St., (410) 244-6450, womansindustrialkitchen.com$, L, BR
Now run by the proprietors of the Souper Freak food truck, the food at the Woman’s Industrial Exchange has gotten a bit of a facelift. They specialize in sandwiches, pot pies, casseroles, and, of course, soup.
XS1307 N. Charles, St., (410), 468-0002, xsbaltimore.com$$, B, L, D, Out, 10 p.m.
This four-story establishment is one of the most diverse in Baltimore, serving everything from coffee-shop fare to sushi, and featuring live DJs.
Zhongshan Restaurant323 Park Ave., (410) 223-1881, zhongshanrestaurantbaltimore.com$$, L, D, DV
The only Chinese joint left in what used to be Baltimore’s Chinatown, Zhongshan is also one of the most authentic Chinese restaurants in Baltimore. The dim sum is enough to make you forget the trade deficit.