Find the best Baltimore restaurants for lunch meals.
Also see: Baltimore sandwich pictures
1:10 PM EST, December 3, 2012
Don't look for the Roland Park Bakery & Deli in Roland Park.
9:47 AM EDT, October 22, 2012
Shapiro's Cafe was a little erratic when it opened. Its hours of operation seemed whimsical, and the staff sometimes acted surprised when customers walked in.
8:17 AM EDT, October 8, 2012
The Cazbar empire is growing. The downtown Turkish restaurant now operates a full-time food truck, Cazbar on the Go. And this year, chef/owner Haluk Kantar and the Cazbar group have introduced a more casual concept called Homeslyce Pizza Bar.
8:26 AM EDT, September 17, 2012
Down at Power Plant Live, Mex is now the old man on the block. The block has changed.
7:37 AM EDT, July 2, 2012
Downtown eatery packs in the healthy-eating lunch crowd.
4:12 PM EDT, June 3, 2012
Ordering fish and chips at a place named Basta Pasta might seem like a stretch.
8:16 AM EDT, May 29, 2012
Baltimore County Chinese restaurant lives up to its name.
3:33 PM EDT, May 20, 2012
New Highlandtown restaurant holds its own.
4:18 PM EDT, May 13, 2012
Open only since last month, Luigi's Italian Deli in Hampden avoids any of the missteps that invariably are part of a new restaurant.
7:50 AM EDT, April 16, 2012
DiPasquale's may be a ways from Little Italy, but nothing says Italian quite like this no-nonsense market/restaurant near Patterson Park.
7:03 AM EDT, April 23, 2012
The Village Square Cafe is a modest, bright and spotlessly clean place in Roland Park with few pretensions.
4:14 PM EST, February 19, 2012
The only thing more shocking than Italian pasta from a microwave is how great it can be.
4:26 PM EST, February 5, 2012
The many good reasons to check out Miller's Deli in the Greenspring Shopping Center are written on the restaurant's wall. The big menu lists items that can carry you from breakfast through dinner. And liver and onions ($9.99), well, Miller's has that, too.
8:27 AM EST, February 13, 2012
With all the hot spices at work, the first couple forkfuls of Chicken Biryani ($7.99) are liable to leave your lips tingling.
4:00 PM EST, January 15, 2012
An Poitin Stil offers the least expensive bison burger I've seen in these parts, at a penny under 10 bucks. I planned to check it out during this trip to the Timonium Irish pub. But then I saw the Backyard BBQ Burger ($8.99).
5:06 PM EST, December 25, 2011
The roast in the R.B.'s Beef & Cheddar ($7) is stacked so high that, with the curved roll, the sandwich is nearly round — and not much smaller than a softball.
4:17 PM EST, January 8, 2012
What impressed me first about the Kung Pao Chicken ($8.99) at this new Harbor East eatery was its boisterous fire. The pepper heat comes up front, with an intensity many Asian restaurants won't offer unless you ask for it.
3:56 PM EST, December 18, 2011
The Greek cold cut sub at Old World Delicatessen is a big sandwich. Portly. Granted, the largest contributor to its bulk is the roll, a hot dog-bun-class giant that threatens to take over the sandwich at every bite.
4:01 PM EST, November 27, 2011
The dish: Paratha ($8)
3:41 PM EST, December 11, 2011
With the Tortellini Boscaiola ($10), Pazani (a combination of the words pasta, pizza and panini) delivers a rich cream sauce that's remarkably pumpkin orange for a rose.
3:05 PM EDT, October 16, 2011
The dish: turkey and cheddar wrap
3:29 PM EST, November 20, 2011
The dish: Tai Chin ($6.95)
3:57 PM EST, December 4, 2011
The dish: New Orleans-style Muffuletta ($9.25)
4:59 PM EDT, October 9, 2011
The Natty Boh Sausage ($4.59) got picked during this visit to the Dog Bar partly because I'll always choose brats over hot dogs when offered the choice, and partly because, to the extent you are familiar with Dietz & Watson hot dogs, you already know what to expect from the foundation of the Dog Bar's menu: the lowly wiener.
7:45 AM EDT, October 31, 2011
The dish: Baby back rib lunch special
3:44 PM EDT, September 25, 2011
The dish: Chicken Wrap Deluxe, $8.95 at Crush Cafe
3:44 PM EST, November 13, 2011
The Dish: The Rachel
3:36 PM EDT, October 2, 2011
The Beef Brother's $8.49 cheeseburger special could be another food court snoozer that satisfies your cravings but leaves your taste buds sulking.
2:56 PM EST, November 6, 2011
The dish: Curry Chicken meal
2:35 PM EDT, August 28, 2011
Next time you're near Sandy Spring, check out Urban Bar-B-Que, 805 Olney Sandy Spring Road (Highway 108). It's that easy to recommend.
9:27 PM EDT, September 17, 2011
The name alone, Egyptian Pizza, might conjure up any number of curious images, or shut down imagining altogether as you try to get a grip on the juxtaposition. Wait till you see the dining room.
3:43 PM EDT, September 11, 2011
Set along a clotted section of York Road in Cockeysville, Piv's Pub shares its immediate surroundings with car dealerships, a travel agency and a fast-food burger joint.
5:01 PM EDT, October 23, 2011
As the bracing autumn chill becomes dreary winter cold, we take up hot soup as naturally as we do our fleeces, knit hats and Thinsulate-lined gloves. As a defense against winter's frosty ache, Chocolatea's wonton noodle soup ($8) is like long johns for your innards.
2:56 PM EDT, September 4, 2011
With two stadiums just down the road, Pratt Street Ale House is an easy pick for pre- or post-game refreshments.
August 21, 2011
If you're a fan of big chain sub shops, you've probably got your favorite brand, one or more favorite sandwiches and your own peculiar combination of add-ons — like extra cheese, more olives, or three fistfuls of pickles.
August 14, 2011
Martha & Mary's stands along Reisterstown's bustling Main Street, a corridor packed with small shops offering everything from antiques to ski equipment.
4:24 PM EDT, July 31, 2011
The face that Cabanita's Chicken shows passersby on Lombard and Ann streets in Fells Point does little to discourage them from passing on by. It's dark-windowed and worn to a plain, shy late-middle age and a pinch sketchy. Perhaps that was the fate of the last Peruvian chicken joint — El Rinconcito's Peruano — to occupy this space.
11:58 AM EDT, July 17, 2011
You don't have to be a gym rat to enjoy Fresh Fit. But if you don't work out downtown, you probably haven't heard of this sandwich spot.
6:45 PM EDT, July 10, 2011
If you're a fan of Indian buffets and you're anywhere near 322 N. Charles and haven't already discovered Lumbini Restaurant, you owe it to yourself to check out this small, quiet Nepalese/Indian restaurant.
1:45 PM EDT, July 3, 2011
The busy Ellicott City intersection of highways 29 and 40 has its fair share of decent restaurants. They are attracted, no doubt, by the daily influx of shoppers and a healthy customer base in the surrounding residential areas. And it's not a bad stop if you need a rest from chain restaurants.
6:26 PM EDT, June 12, 2011
Choosy diners know that among the myriad offerings in pay-by-weight buffets, they are likely to find much that is mediocre and maybe a few reliable comfort food picks.
2:44 PM EDT, June 26, 2011
Turn off busy Frederick Road in Catonsville onto Mellor Avenue, and in under a block you're passing Duesenberg's. If you see a crowd out front, it's probably lunchtime. Now try to find a place to park.
June 19, 2011
Chances are, a deli that's been in business for 26 years has little left to prove. And with a second shop that's survived competition on a stretch of Lombard Street known as Corned Beef Row, it's a fair bet that it belongs in the upper tiers of the delicatessen pecking order.
6:46 PM EDT, May 1, 2011
Parkton's many charms include gentle hills, the Gunpowder River, and the NCR trail. On the other hand, it's not an easy reach for distant diners with only an hour to spare. With light traffic, you might be able to pull off a round trip, with 30 or so minutes to spare for actual lunch. What kind of motivation would you need to risk going overtime? Soup 'R Natural may have your answer.
3:36 PM EDT, June 5, 2011
Tucked behind a stretch of shopping centers along Route 2, the restaurant bills itself as a place where locals eat. No doubt. After 20 years, they can find it: Garry's Grill & Catering inSeverna Park.
May 22, 2011
It's tough being a vegan at most Baltimore restaurants. Often, you're relegated to a one- or two-item corner of the menu.
8:02 AM EDT, May 16, 2011
When somebody says "German food," you think sauerbraten, spaetzle and a nice Black Forest cake, true? And the phrase "German health food" would simply mean half-portions of strudel and dumplings and schnitzel, right? Not so fast, mein schatzi.
3:53 PM EDT, May 29, 2011
On Snowden River Parkway in Columbia, two little strip malls about a block apart each boast an Indian restaurant.
4:41 PM EDT, April 17, 2011
Any Maryland native familiar with the "Maryland crab cake" served outside the state has likely encountered a substance that doesn't rise even to the level of counterfeit. One wonders: Have they even been flown over the state?
4:45 PM EDT, April 10, 2011
If the first three pillars of restaurant success are location, next up would be the kitchen, with service following in short order. If the location happens to be The Block — Baltimore's notorious XXX district — the choice of a name might take on special significance, too.
February 6, 2011
If you sat down to a bowl of pasta named after a 19th century post-impressionist, would you expect a work of art?
7:35 AM EDT, April 4, 2011
Any place that can shut me up, slow me down and get me to smell the roses wins a spot on my list of favorite places. When it also happens to serve a really great cup of coffee, I designate it a personal four-star restaurant. These places invariably display character that flavors every other trait and detail.
4:00 PM EST, February 27, 2011
Setting seems authentic Chinese, but kitchen doesn't always deliver.
4:35 PM EST, March 6, 2011
Strip mall location offers flavorful, affordable Middle Eastern fare.
3:05 PM EDT, March 27, 2011
I make no secret of my affinity for small, neighborhood restaurants, the ones that draw character from their surroundings while doing wonders for real estate values. Don't feel like cooking? Walk a few blocks. Priceless.
3:57 PM EDT, April 24, 2011
Even when traffic is light, long stretches of Reisterstown Road are often visually busy. Traveling at 35 mph or so, it can be hard to pick out the sign you seek among the competitors.
9:30 PM EST, January 15, 2011
If you're pressed for time but looking for a sit-down lunch, Maiwand Kabob in Columbia is worth a look — provided you're in the neighborhood. The Afghan restaurant, which has other locations in Arundel Mills and Linthicum, is across the parking lot from the Safeway that anchors Harper's Choice Village Center. It's set up to serve people in a hurry. The setting and service are utilitarian and casual, but Maiwand's kitchen offers an exotic alternative to run-of-the-mill chains and taverns.
3:30 PM EDT, March 20, 2011
Enchiladas are my favorite Mexican comfort food. And rightly or not, my preference for a Mexican restaurant often depends on how well it handles this relatively straightforward dish. I've been spoiled in this regard by home-style Mexican kitchens that served pulled meats in robust brown sauces and salsas that were little more than diced jalapenos.
January 23, 2011
What does it take to remain standing for two decades as a neighborhood restaurant? Well, presumably you have the top three keys — location, location, location — covered if you're actually in the neighborhood. But what if your neighborhood is Little Italy? What if, moreover, you're on High Street and you're within easy walking distance of the best the area has to offer?
11:37 PM EST, February 19, 2011
Gimmick's aside, Inner Harbor restaurant/bar churns out impressive barbecue.
January 9, 2011
Driving around looking for a place to park can cut into a lunch hour, and Mama's on the Half Shell, at 2901 O'Donnell St. in Canton, happens to be in a neighborhood where parking is at a premium. Our recent visit required a five-block hike, and we felt lucky to get as close as we do without having to cruise the neighborhood watching lunch minutes tick by. It really helps that Mama's, a tavern for seafood lovers, is worth enduring that inevitable city-life hassle.
1:50 PM EST, January 30, 2011
Sugarbee's Cafe and Grill is baked into a downtown nexus — including a courthouse and surrounding office buildings — that assures it a healthy supply of hungry patrons. At a recent lunch there, we saw customers lined up 12 deep shortly after noon. Convenience isn't the only thing Sugarbee's has going for it. There are at least three other factors, all of which can be summed up in one menu item: chicken pot pie.
4:32 PM EST, December 12, 2010
Kyodai bills itself as Baltimore's only rotating sushi bar. The concept is simple, if at first unintentionally amusing: You sit at the bar with your napkin, chopsticks, soy, wasabi and ginger. The sushi-tenders roll up various concoctions, cut them, usually into quarters, plate them, and place them on a shiny silver conveyor belt that chugs along the inside perimeter of the bar. And as they pass, you reach up and pluck down plates that look right for you. No menu. No wondering what it might look like. The plates come in six colors that correspond to the price of each offering: two colors at $2.95, two at $4.95 and two at $5.95. At the end of the meal, they add up the colors for the grand total.
4:06 PM EST, November 14, 2010
There's probably some Australopithecine lizard brain thing that triggers my sense of conspiratorial intimacy whenever I go below street level to dine or drink. That or something about strangers gathering in dimly lit subterranean chambers appeals to the suppressed romantic in me. Genetic or poetic, it hardly matters when once below ground I'm facing a flank of chafing dishes offering mouth-watering food from the Indian subcontinent.
October 24, 2010
The enclave that is Lotte Plaza is situated on an island, a roughly triangular plot formed by the confluence of highways 29 and 40 that feeds a hurried Ellicott City commercial district. Anchored by a Korean grocery store, the plaza is home to a smattering of restaurants and the usual strip mall suspects made distinctive by Korean subtitles on the doors and windows and a precipitous cultural shift inside. At the far end of the main building, Shin Chon Garden advertises Korean barbecue, which it delivers, along with a bracing (and I suspect for much of its clientele, welcome) out-of-Howard-County experience.
4:11 PM EST, November 21, 2010
Big windows, bold lines and glossy surfaces make the central dining area of The Falls cafe on Kelly Avenue in Mount Washington appear clean, bright and energized. Another part of the dining space offers muted lighting and a sense of privacy conducive to quiet conversation. With one curious exception, The Falls' menu is no less attractive.
4:47 PM EDT, October 10, 2010
Ban Thai, at 340 N. Charles St., is a Baltimore stalwart. I've never left the restaurant dissatisfied with anything, and always felt as if I've had a treat that's taken me out of my rut, which is ironic because I've been in a Ban Thai rut for years. In at least two dozen visits, only once have I ordered anything but their pad Thai.
2:20 PM EST, January 2, 2011
From the outside, One World Cafe looks like it could be a small coffee joint housed in a one-story addition to a much taller brick building on the cusp of the Johns Hopkins' Homewood campus. In fact, if you walk past the few tables up front and the full service bar, you'll find it has a largish dining room with seating to accommodate, by my rough guesstimate, easily 40 to 50 diners. Its interior is not the only way the cafe offers more than meets the eye.
4:47 PM EDT, October 17, 2010
The garish primary school-mural motif greets you at the top of the wheelchair-accessible entryway that slopes down into and festoons the far more serious countenance of the dining room. There, the mingling primary colors, industrial ceiling fixtures, polished marble and sleek hardwood, defies pat description.
5:43 PM EDT, September 12, 2010
Anyone who's struggled to match the grace of a dexterous chopstick handler might think using your fingers and bread is a relative cinch. I'm not so sure. But those who need help mastering the practice will find a valuable teacher in Dukem, 1100 Maryland Ave. Slow learners who require frequent repetition will be especially rewarded.
3:38 PM EST, December 5, 2010
My introduction to Mexican food was a little place in the Midwest called Piedras Negras. The hole-in-the-wall space, ratty decor, tinny mariachi riffs cranked out of an old juke box and flies buzzing bowls of chunky green jalapeno salsa made the restaurant an exotic treat. Only the sparsest of commercial English was spoken. But no matter, the kitchen did all the talking. Piedras Negras spoiled me and, outside of El Paso, Texas, I've never found its equal and was always careful not to judge lesser Mexican joints by the smoggy yellow light of Piedras Negras.
3:09 PM EDT, October 3, 2010
One of my long-standing life questions is, What makes an Irish pub an Irish pub? Is it dark, moody shadows peopled by whispering conspirators nursing black pints amid the rhythmic phthwacking of darts hitting corkboard? Or is it any old joint that serves shepherd pie, taps Guinness and cranks out a Van Morrison number every half hour or so? Probably Irish pubness is like art: a whole lot easier to recognize than define.
2:50 PM EDT, September 5, 2010
Approaching Max's Empanadas at 313 High St. in Little Italy might feel like walking up to someone's home, until you get past the threshold. On the street, only the signs distinguish it from the other homes on the block.
3:54 PM EDT, August 1, 2010
12:05 p.m. We arrive at Liberatore's in Timonium and, as I suspected, I feel underdressed. We're met by men in black bowties. I'd feel better if I were wearing a tie or at least a jacket.
4:12 PM EDT, August 15, 2010
If I hadn't heard from numerous sources that Captain Larry's Bar and Grill, 601 E. Fort Ave., served really good fish tacos, I would never have considered the place for lunch. Or dinner. Or any kind of meal.
3:37 PM EDT, July 18, 2010
The website listed the address as 300 E. Lombard St. and, sure enough, when we arrived, a prominent sign assured us we had landed at those very coordinates. But there was no sign, literally or figuratively, of Rosina Gourmet.
5:15 PM EDT, September 19, 2010
It's one thing for a kitchen to get something right. It's another thing to get something so right it becomes another thing altogether. Clementine, 5402 Harford Road, has a reputation for haute-up comfort food. Based on my sole visit, I can report without qualification that it flat transforms the chicken sandwich.
7:46 AM EDT, August 30, 2010
What if you had a choice between any institutional cafeteria you know and a cafeteria with "commitments" to organically raised produce, food-waste reduction, socially responsible sourcing and a low-carbon diet?
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