Alchemy

Alchemy (Jefferson Jackson Steele / July 18, 2014)

13.5 Wine Bar

1117 W. 36th St., (410) 889-1064, 13.5winebar.com

$$, D, Out, 10 p.m.

Yes, the star of this bar is the wine list, and man, it is a helluva wine list. But the gourmet snacks, pizzas, and entrees make for nice pairings.

Alchemy

1011 W. 36th St., (410) 366-1163, alchemyon36.com

$$$, L, D, Br

Featuring a menu that samples from all over the globe, Alchemy offers fine dining in a handsome-but-cozy space.

With about a dozen ever-changing pizzas on offer, this addition to the Avenue’s culinary lineup has cornered the market when it comes to good crust and creative toppings, like the celeriac and ’shrooms pizza.

Artifact Coffee

1500 Union Ave., (410) 235-1881, artifactcoffee.com

$$, B, L

The younger sibling of nearby Woodberry Kitchen, Artifact’s primary focus is, unsurprisingly, coffee. Still, the morning and lunch kitchen has table service. Try the egg sandwich or English muffins with jam made from local fruits. 

Birroteca

1520 Clipper Road, (443) 708-1934, bmorebirroteca.com

$$, D, P, Out

The “Birro” in Birroteca is a nod to the beer list, which features more than 20 selections on draft and some harder-to-find labels. But the gourmet specialty pizzas—such as the “Duck, Duck, Goose”—are what make this spot a favorite for local foodies. Lunch is served on Saturday and Sunday.

Café Hon

1002 W. 36th St., (410) 243-1230, cafehon.com

$$, L, D, Br, P

With or without a visit from Gordon Ramsay and Kitchen Nightmares, Café Hon has always been about serving comfort food just like mom used to make. The gravy fries, meatloaf, and “Thanksgiving Dinner” always hit the spot.

Corner BYOB

850 W. 36th St., (443) 869-5075, cornerbyob.com

$$$, D, Br, BYOB, R

Few places in Baltimore offer bear or kangaroo, and yet those are just some of the many eccentricities on the ever-changing menu here. The dishes, many of which draw inspiration from Belgian cuisine, are exquisite.

David’s 1st and 10

3626 Falls Road, (410) 662-7779

$$, L, D

In Hampden’s only true sports bar, the atmosphere is open and casual, the athletic-themed murals could use some work, and the buffalo sauce is so good, they should bottle it.

The Food Market

1017 W. 36th St., (410) 366-0606, thefoodmarketbaltimore.com

$$$, D, BR, R

Chef Chad Gauss’ embrace of playful menu selections and ethnic and regional favorites like edamame and Amish soft pretzels has made this restaurant one of the hottest dining destinations in town.

Golden West Café

1105 W. 36th St., (410) 889-8891, Goldenwestcafe.Com

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

Modern Mexican breakfast dishes—served all day—make this one of the most popular hangover/brunch spots in town. The menu is very generous to vegetarians, with the vegan burrito and buffalo tofu being among the highlights. Protip: Order the tater tots whenever possible.

Grano Emporio 

3547 Chestnut Ave., (443) 438-7521, granopastabar.com

$$$, D, Out

This larger space expands on the pasta offerings of its counterpart on the Avenue with meat dishes and a full bar.

Grano Pasta Bar

1031 W. 36th St., (443) 869-3429, granopastabar.com

$$$, L, D, BYOB, Out

Duck into this little spot for a simple-yet-authentic Italian plate of pasta. With 10 sauces and six pastas, you can go again and again without having the same thing twice.

Holy Frijoles

908 W. 36th St., (410) 235-2326, holyfrijoles.net

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

In last year’s guide, we professed our love for the tacos. Why stop there? You can build your own burritos and chimichangas to your liking, with five meats to choose from (or grilled veggies and beans if you don’t go for the whole carnivore thing).

The Lunch Box

1102 W 36th st., (410) 235-4994

$, B, L

Old-school Hampden diner offers classic omelets, crispy bacon, and pancakes—refreshingly still referred to as “hotcakes”—along with unfailingly friendly service.

McCabe’s

3845 Falls Road, (410) 467-1000, mccabeshampden.com

$$, D, R

This charming neighborhood spot offers a menu of modern, refined dishes that elevate the entrees above your standard bar food without hitting you hard in the wallet. Lunch on weekends.

Other Corner Charcuterie Bar

850-B W. 36th St., (443) 869-5075

$, D, 10 p.m.

This sister of the Corner BYOB offers flavorful charcuterie at remarkably low prices. Small plates featuring relatively exotic centerpieces—a pig’s foot, escargot, frog legs—won’t break the bank either.  

Rocket to Venus

3360 Chestnut Ave., (410) 235-7887, rockettovenus.com

$$, D, Br, 0ut, 10 p.m.

The menu pulls from all over the place and gives a lot of options for vegetarians. The Brussels sprouts are still killer and the grilled Korean gyro has tofu as a substitute for beef. All you meat-lovers, don’t pass on the banh mi.

Suzie’s Soba

1009 W. 36th St., (410) 243-0051

$$, L, D, Out

Suzie’s serves noodle dishes from Japan, China, Vietnam, and the owner’s native Korea, with plenty of options for vegans. Unlike many Asian restaurants, the dessert menu is not something to pass up.

Woodberry Kitchen 

2010 Clipper Park Road, (410) 464-8000, woodberrykitchen.com

$$$, D, Br, Out, R

As far as Baltimore dining is concerned, this is the crème de la crème. The farm-to-table menu, curated by Spike Gjerde, continues to evolve, with fresh takes on basic dishes and previously unheard-of entrees continuing to pop up and delight.