614 Water St., (410) 528-0200, volt-aggio.com
Celebrity chef Bryan Voltaggio's first Baltimore restaurant—which opened last year to accompany his popular Washington, D.C. and Frederick joints—offers inventive Italian in a spiffy setting near Power Plant Live.
21 N. Eutaw St., (410) 545-5112, alewifebaltimore.com
Beer, hardwood, tin ceilings, and a very crowded blackboard listing all the beers make this the place to hit after a show at Everyman Theatre. Or before. Nice chicken dishes, black-bean burgers, and Gruyere-cheddar-Grana Padano mac and cheese pair well with the ales. Also, get the fries.
Attman’s Authentic New York Delicatessen
1019 E. Lombard St., (410) 563-2666, attmansdeli.com
Eat lunch here. There's usually a long line. It's for good reason, and they handle it quickly. Be ready to order: hot corned beef on rye, extra lean, with mustard. Or maybe the Reuben. Smile.
2 N. Charles St., (443) 692-6172, bandorestaurant.com
Your old-time railroad-themed joint was never this good, with a Beaux Arts facade and boutique hotel-cool interior. The seasonal menu is not exotic, but it's tastefully done, with as many locally sourced ingredients as possible.
100 E. Pratt St., (410) 637-3440, brioitalian.com
Italian-style opulence in this chain. It has a nice veal scaloppine, and the brunch is a thing. High marks for service and drink specials too.
301 Light St., (410) 244-0838, bubbagump.com
Plenty shrimp to eat—fried, broiled, stuffed, coconut-ed, scampi-ed, and drunken. Nonshrimp items available, plus a kids' menu. Tell them all about Forrest as you enjoy the ambiance of this global brand.
225 N. Charles St., (443) 573-4620, patisseriepoupon.net
Café Poupon is a decidedly French cafe, in the best sense. An offshoot of a Baltimore Street bakery—or patisserie, to be fancy—of the same name, Poupon's bread is fresh, its coffee strong, and its chairs wicker, with blue stripes.
500 E. Pratt St., (443) 703-4064, thecapitalgrille.com
Classy chain with the kind of menu you've come to expect of a classy joint. Chef suggests the sliced filet mignon with cipollini onions and wild mushrooms, but you might be more in the mood for the dry-aged steak au poivre with Courvoisier cream.
Dempsey’s bREW PUB & RESTAURANT
333 W. Camden St., (410) 843-7901, dempseysbaltimore.com
There are times when a full pint glass and a nice burger are a luxury. Game day can be such a time, especially if the Birds are on a good streak. Orioles Hall-of-Famer Rick Dempsey lent his name; food pros do the beer and vittles.
621 E. Pratt St., (443) 453-5961, dickslastresort.com
If you're ready to have fun while consuming the deep-fried goodness that made America great, drop by Dick's in the Power Plant building. Beer makes it even better!
203 N. Paca St., (410) 727-4898, faidleyscrabcakes.com
If you're craving seafood and you've never been to Faidley, drop everything you're doing and go to Lexington Market to order one of Faidley's crab cakes, which are, without a doubt, the best in town. If you have some room left afterward, slurp down a few of the enormous oysters it offers.
621 E. Pratt St., (410) 601-3242.voltfamilymeal.com
Former "Top Chef" contestant Bryan Voltaggio's more down-home enterprise, Family Meal offers high-end comfort food in a comfortable atmosphere where Southern items such as shrimp and grits and fried chicken populate the extensive menu.
Fogo de Chão Churrascaria
600 E. Pratt St., (410) 528-9292, fogodechao.com
Fogo builds a dining experience up from a salad-and-veggie bar worthy of a five-star cruise ship (to which you can limit yourself, if bargain shopping). But unless you're a strict vegetarian (or you overdo the cheese bread—the urge will be there), you'll want to flip your checker to the green side and savor the picanha, fraldinha, or the beef ancho.
Forno Restaurant and Wine Bar
17 N. Eutaw St., (443) 873-9427, fornobaltimore.com
$$$, L, D, BR, R, 10 p.m.
Between the Everyman and the Hippodrome, this elegant but casual restaurant with locally sourced food—which it dubs "coastal cuisine," promising an abundance of seafood—is the perfect place for a pre-show dinner.
Frank & Nic’s West End GrillE
511 W. Pratt St., (410) 685-6800, frankandnics.com
Come through the front door on Paca and discover pub grub in a sports-bar atmosphere at the luxe Zenith apartments. Then again, sports bars don't usually offer white-chocolate martinis and stuffed salmon entrees.
601 E. Pratt St., (410) 347-7625, hardrock.com/baltimore
Remember when the Hard Rock concept was new and exciting? Relive the glory in the Power Plant building. After a few signature cocktails, it will seem like 1987 all over again.
Power Plant Live, 30 Market Place, (410) 962-5566, Joesquared.com
The pizza is excellent at Joe Squared, the downtown spinoff of the homegrown Station North hot spot. Hipster meets tourist over rum, beer, and risotto.
1 E. Pratt St., (410) 244-8994, konagrill.com
There are more than 20 of these out in the world, so they must be doing something right on the steak-and-sushi front—mostly by having a lot more than that. Enjoy your flatbread pizza or noodles or meatloaf.
Harborplace, 201 E. Pratt St., (410) 209-2562, latascausa.com
Traditional small plates and paella make up the dinner menu at this local chain location. Sangria is served.
Harborplace, 201 E. Pratt St., (410) 230-0222, lennysdeli.com
A platter of roast beef or turkey for $10.99. A lean brisket sandwich for $8.99, etc. You can fill your gullet here with nice deli deliciousness for cheap and spend your money at the aquarium instead.
Power Plant Live, 10 Market Place, (410) 223-1105, luckiestavern.com
The classic Vegas vibe in Power Plant Live. Sports on the (high-def) TV, wings in the baskets. No table games, yet . . .
Harborplace, 201 E. Pratt St., (410) 547-9333, mccormickandschmicks.com
Harborplace's slightly more casual McCormick and Schmick's spinoff is full of comfort seafood—like the fish and chips, crab cakes, and fried shrimp—priced for tourists.
711 Eastern Ave., (410) 234-1300, mccormickandschmicks.com
Steaks, seafood, and the patio overlooking the harbor and the USS Constellation means your attention will be split. Nice wine list here.
750 E. Pratt St., (410) 528-5373, missshirleys.com
A high-end yet down-home soul-food joint famous for its brunch (and "Born on the Bay-o" bloody mary, garnished with shrimp and andouille sausage), Miss Shirley's is tourist-friendly but not touristy, and popular with the locals too. Additional location in Roland Park.
300 S. Charles St., (410) 547-8255, mortons.com/baltimore
Morton's is coast-to-coast for a reason. It offers the steak and the sizzle, plus the private dining room for you and your guests so you can feel like the big shots you are.
421 W. Baltimore St., (443) 681-3675, nandosperiperi.com
Sure, it's a chain, but it's a good one. Get its Portuguese flame-grilled chicken either basted in your choice of sauce or in a sandwich. Veggie options, too.
601 E. Pratt St., (410) 685-6600, phillipsseafood.com
Phillip's is the original Baltimore Inner Harbor restaurant. Its jazzed-up space in the Power Plant building offers all the crabs you want.
206 W. Pratt St., (410) 244-8900, prattstreetalehouse.com
Great little brewpub scene with requisite big burgers and various ales on tap. Bonus: You can keep your glass if you pay a little more.
102 W. Clay St., (410) 244-8837, puerto511.com
Jose Victorio Alarcon seems more like an artist than a businessman. This micro restaurant has unbelievable ceviche that will make you forget about your favorite sushi joint.
402 Key Highway, (410) 727-3678, rusty-scupper.com
The Scup still brings it with pro service and excellent, if mostly traditional, food. Views can't be beat either.
600 Water St., (410) 783-0033, ruthschris-waterst.com
Try the steak, lobster, or the steak and lobster. The location on Pier 5 (Eastern Avenue, technically) is somewhat more touristy.
1 E. Pratt St., (410) 962-5503, sullivanssteakhouse.com
With 19 locations from Anchorage to Houston, this place has the formula for success with plenty of winners, from the steakhouse salad to shrimp-and-lobster bisque, to the filet or the giant 16-ounce rib-eye.
Tabor Ethiopian Restaurant
328 Park Ave., (410) 528-7234
The anchor of Baltimore's new Little Ethiopia, Tabor is a vegetarian's dream. With spiced lentils, yellow peas, a tomato, onion, and jalapeno salad, collard greens, potatoes, and beets, you get a ton of textures, flavors, and protein. But the lamb and beef tibs are great too.
32 Market Place, (443) 873-8137, tinroofbars.com
If you go drinking at Power Plant Live, you've got to eat, and this Nashville-based chain offers you the chance to chow on some pub grub with a slight Mexican spin while you listen to live music. More places ought to put tater tots in their breakfast burritos.
Harborplace, 201 E. Pratt St., (410) 483-8968, tirnanogbaltimore.com
The usual pub grub served up by friendly pros in an Irish-pub interior with views of the Inner Harbor. Happy hours, bands, beer, and decent fish and chips—served with mustard sauce instead of malt vinegar. Locations in Philly and NYC as well.
406 N. Paca St., (410) 685-7285, trinacriabaltimore.com
A treasure on Paca Street for more than 100 years, Trinacria boasts some of the best imported meats and cheeses in town, which they will happily prepare in a delicious sandwich like the muffuletta, which includes enough Italian meats to pack lunches for a week and an amazing olive spread. A supplementary sit-down outpost on Park Avenue and Centre Street opened this year.
110 S. Eutaw St., (410) 209-2853, marriott.com
The menu at The Yard is peppered with Baltimore flavors—an Old Bay-rimmed Bloody Mary, crab cakes, crab pretzel—and covers the bases of local-sourcing and sustainable seafood.
323 Park Ave., (410) 223-1881, zhongshanrestaurant.com
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.