13.5 Wine Bar
1117 W. 36th St., (410) 889-1064, 13.5winebar.com
$$, D, Out, 10 p.m.
The Avenue gets a very well-done wine list, along with a very well-turned-out menu of gourmet nibbles, pizzas, and entrées.
1011 W. 36th St., (410) 366-1163, alchemyon36.com
$$$, L, D, Br, Out, 10 p.m.
Alchemy’s menu draws from all corners of the globe, including France, Asia, and the American Southwest, with some very fine dishes resulting (a classic chicken-liver pâté, a chile-rubbed pork tenderloin served with sweet potato tamales). The renovated space is lovely.
1002 W. 36th St., (410) 243-1230, cafehon.com
$$, B, L, D, Br, P
Café Hon is all about home cooking, from chili cheese fries to the meatloaf to unabashedly homely bread pudding. And hey, brunch is back .
850 W. 36th St., (443) 869-5075, cornerbyob.com
$$$, D, Br
Located in a former greasy spoon, Corner BYOB is an upscale bistro with a twist, or maybe a few. Belgian specialties such as mussels or steak frites share the compact menu with items such as roasted bone marrow and the occasional exotic special like bear and kangaroo. There are a few funny policies regarding credit cards and corkage, but just go.
$$, B, L, D, Out, 10 p.m.
This homey fave boasts ace soups, cheap but good burgers, and a rotating list of old-fashioned entrées, written up daily in the familiar loopy handwriting. The Dizz doesn’t just have patrons, it has fans, and for good reason.
$$$, L, D, P
Through a few ups and downs, Dogwood has emerged doing pretty much everything right, balancing casual atmosphere with more formal entrées and a good wine list and house-infused spirits. “Local,” “sustainable,” and “community” are still buzzwords, and the food still excels.
Golden West Café
$$, L, D, Br, 10 p.m.
New Mexican breakfast dishes—available all day—are the West’s forte. Vegans have options here too, and not in that lame portabello-burger kind of way. Think homemade tofu chorizo in a vegan burrito, followed by a slice of vegan cake. Good bar and rock shows at night too.
$$$, L, D, BYOB, Out
The pasta bar is a little bit Hampden, a little bit Napoli, and a whole lotta frantic. Mix and match from among seven pastas and eight sauces (as well as soups, salads, and desserts).
3547 Chestnut Ave., (443) 438-7521, granopastabar.com
$$$, D, Out
Less frenzied and crowded than its 36th Street counterpart, Grano at Chestnut offers the same classic pastas only with tablecloths and table service.
908 W. 36th St., (410) 235-2326, holyfrijoles.net
$$, L, D, 10 p.m.
We love the tacos at this friendly Mexican spot, delish whether filled with ground beef, salty pork, shredded beef, grilled chicken, or black beans, in a hard shell or soft tortillas.
$$$, L, D, br, R, 10p.m.
A neighborhood favorite returns and picks up more or less where it left off, serving exemplary pub-grub faves (e.g. a juicy hamburger made from local beef on a brioche-style bun) in a bustling casual environment.
Rocket to Venus
3360 Chestnut Ave., (410) 235-7887, rockettovenus.com
$$, D, Br, 0ut, 10 p.m.
Retro but not annoyingly so, cool but not overbearingly so, Rocket is a hangout with a smart menu—steak frites, veggie wimpies, and out-of-this world roasted Brussels sprouts. All this, and a contender for the world’s neatest jukebox.
1009 W. 36th St., (410) 243-0051
$$, L, D, Out
This small eatery serves straight-up versions of noodle dishes from Korea, Japan, Vietnam, and beyond: no fusion faux pho here.
$$$, D, R, Out
Spike Gjerde’s shimmering Clipper Mill fantasy of brick, glass, fire, and food seductively exploits the fascination with sustainability, seasonabilty, and localness. The kitchen lavishes attention on good meat, poultry, seafood, and vegetables. Top notch.