The Desert Café

The Desert Café (Jefferson Jackson Steele / July 18, 2014)

Alonso’s

415 W. Cold Spring Lane, (410) 235-3433, alonsos.com

$$, L, D

Endure the uneven service at least once to try the fantastic burgers and above-average pizza. Or go to the bar upstairs and ignore the waiters altogether.

Curb Shoppe Bar and Grille

5736 Falls Road, (410) 433-8299, curbshoppe.com

$, L, D, P

This divey yet charming hole-in-the-wall, bustling with conversation and great burgers ($6 on Saturday nights), has been around since 1934.

An incredibly charming sushi outlet with cozy, compact dining rooms on two floors, standard maki and sashimi, and excellent tempura.

Crepe du Jour

1609 Sulgrave Ave., (410) 542-9000, crepedujour.com

$$, L, D, BR, Out, R 

The quiet Mount Washington storefront offers delicious crepes, both sweet and savory, including lovely seafood and vegetable options.

The Desert Café

1605 Sulgrave Ave., (410) 367-5808

$, L, D, BYOB, Out

Casual Mediterranean outlet with excellent hummus (they sell it in packages as the Wild Pea Hummous), spanikopita, and dolmades, plus: live belly dancing on the first Saturday night of the month.

Earth, Wood and Fire

1407 Clarkview Road, (410) 825-3473, earthwoodfire.com

$$, L, D, P, Out

The expansive, high-ceilinged dining room is a pleasant setting for the excellent coal-fired pizzas, but don’t sleep on the creative small plates, like the grilled portabellos with crab and pesto.

Ethel’s Creole Kitchen

1615 Sulgrave Ave., (410) 664-2971, ethelandramones.com

$$$, L, D, Out

Possibly the best Creole and Cajun cooking in town. You can’t miss with the gumbo. Eat it on the quiet porch, if weather and space allow. Recent renovations are ongoing as of press time, but call to see if they’re open.

Haute Dog Carte

6070 Falls Road, (410) 608-3500, hautedogcarte.com

$, L

Traffic on Falls Road tends to tighten when the Haute Dog stand is out selling its quarter-pound dogs served in crusty rolls hollowed with a hot dog-sized spike and adorned with things like tomato-and-onion jam and bacon.

Johnny’s

4800 Roland Ave., (410) 773-0777, johnnysdownstairs.com

$$, B, L, D, P

Cindy Wolf and Tony Foreman’s latest venture has distinct rooms: one great for sipping delicious coffee and pastry; the other more the setting for a great burger and milkshake. 

Loco Hombre

413 W. Cold Spring Lane, (410) 889-2233, locohombre.com

$$, L, D, P

Slightly more upscale, at least in appearance, than its attached neighbor, Alonso’s. Sample the pan-Latin flavors or order the excellent burgers from next door.

Miss Shirley’s CafÉ

513 W. Cold Spring Lane, (410) 889-5272, missshirleys.com

$$, B, L, P, Out

You’ll want to get there early to beat the rush for what may be the best fancy breakfast in town, with lots of Southern-influenced, seafood-filled options, like the grilled salmon Florentine Benedict. Another location is in the Inner Harbor, on Pratt Street.

Mt. Washington Tavern

5700 Newbury St., (410) 367-6903, mtwashingtontavern.com

$$$, L, D, br, Out, P

The Tavern, overhauled not too long ago after a devastating fire, serves refined country-club food, like a lobster roll, a top-notch crab cake, and a portabello mushroom Wellington.

The Nickel Taphouse

1604 Kelly Ave., (443) 869-6240

$$$, L, D, 10 p.m.

Along with burgers, sandwiches, snacks, spreads, and two options of artisan ham, the menu at this comfortable-yet-refined Buffalo, N.Y.-inspired newbie from chef Robbin Haas, of Birroteca, offers big plates intended for two, including a braised beef brisket.

Petit Louis

4800 Roland Ave., (410) 366-9393, petitlouis.com

$$$, L, D, BR, P, R

A little slice of gay Paris in North Baltimore, from the elegant café atmosphere and impeccable wine list to the perfect steak frites and duck confit.

Roland Park Bagel Co.

500 W. Cold Spring Lane, (410) 889-3333, rolandparkbagelco.com

$, B, L, P

The bagels here get the right crispy-outside/chewy-inside combination to pass muster. Add in great fruit smoothies, sandwiches, salads, and paninis, and you got yourself one of the more pleasant neighborhood bagel places around.