Mad River
(J.M. Giordano)

Afters Café

1001 S. Charles St., (410) 244-0909


This sweet spot serves frozen yogurt, pastries, and Illy coffee and espresso drinks, and it's open until 11 on the weekends, for a post-dinner date and jittery fix.

The Abbey Burger Bistro

1041 Marshall St., (443) 453-9698, abbeyburgerbistro.com

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

The slightly Harry Potter-esque atmosphere doesn't detract from this thoroughly American eatery, which offers a build-your-own burger checklist. Highlights: fried plantains, kangaroo, pretzel rolls, Wisconsin manchego, white truffle oil, and herb yogurt.


Baba’s Mediterranean Kitchen

745 E. Fort Ave., (410) 727-7482, babaskitchen.net

$, L, D, BYOB, Out

The charming mint-green corner café is helmed by a CFO—chief falafel officer—who dishes up some of the best falafel in the city at a more-than-reasonable price. Look for the zucchini fries.

Banditos Tacos & Tequila Bar

1118 S. Charles St., (443) 835-1517, banditostnt.com

$$, D, Br

Its specialties are right there in its name: tacos and tequila. But if, for whatever reason, those don't appeal to you, Banditos also offers wings, burgers, and sandwiches, along with your standard drunk-eating snacks, such as nachos, bacon mac and cheese, and chicken tenders.


Blue Agave Restaurante y Tequileria

1032 Light St., (410) 576-3938, blueagaverestaurant.com

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

The most refined of Fed Hill's Mexican offerings—but lest you get the wrong impression, there's plenty of energy in the exposed-brick dining room. If you polish off a 2-foot burrito in one half-hour go, you eat for free and get your name on the wall and a free T-shirt.

Bookmakers Cocktail Club

31 E. Cross St., (443) 438-4039

$$$, D, R, 10 p.m.

This recently opened addition to the Federal Hill dining scene is a bit more upscale than most of its neighbors. Go for its list of handcrafted cocktails, stay for the refined take on American cuisine.

Brothers Sushi

1035 S. Charles St., (410) 837-9888, brotherssushi.com

$$, L, D

Order sushi a la carte or trust the chef's choice of sushi with its sushi bar entrees. For those not into raw fish, Brothers Sushi also offers noodles, fried rice, and teriyaki entrees, as well as bento boxes for both lunch and dinner.


27 E. Cross St.

$$, L, D

Set to open this spring, Corfu, which replaced longtime bar Crazy Lil's, plans to offer Greek tapas dishes, including some family recipes passed down from the restaurateur's grandmother.


Cowboys and Rednecks

1117 S. Charles St., (410) 223-2269, cnrpub.com

$$, L, D, Br, Out

A laid-back Fed Hill hangout that offers the standard selection of bar food. The house-made kettle chips are satisfyingly crunchy.

Felici Café

1035 Light St., (443) 388-9692, felicicafe.com

$, L, D, Out, DV

Felici Café takes "local ingredients" to a whole new level: The café grows its own lettuce. Eat the hyperlocal greens in a salad or get them in liquid form in one of the café's smoothies or juices.

Grilled Cheese & Co.

1036 Light St., (410) 244-6333, ilovegrilledcheese.com

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

Vic Corbi's beautiful gourmet grilled-cheese dream, hashed out over an afternoon of golf in 2005, has grown up and returned to its source in Federal Hill. So crazy it worked. Other locations in Catonsville, Sykesville, and Gambrills.

The Local Fry

21 E. Cross St., (410) 244-1283, thelocalfry.com

$$, D, BYOB, 10 p.m.

This new restaurant hopes to elevate french fries from a side dish to the centerpiece. In addition to dipping fries and poutine, there are lots of loaded fry options—think banh mi fries, with Vietnamese-style pork, radishes, pickled carrots, and more—that can serve as a full meal. Open for lunch on weekends.

Mad River Bar and Grille

1110 S. Charles St., (410) 727-2333, madriverbaltimore.com

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

Light on ambiance but heavy on the youngest, loudest residents of Fed Hill, this nighttime hotspot, in a converted bank, offers pub food aplenty.

MaGerks Pub And Grill

1061 S. Charles St., (410) 576-9230, magerks.com/baltimore

$, L, D, Out

This Cross Street staple added sushi to its lunch menu, but if you're looking for something heavier, try the immense roast beef club, which delivers that painfully full feeling for your buck.


1105 S. Charles St., (410) 752-8561, matsuri.us

$$, L, D, Out

Matsuri has the Japanese market cornered in Fed Hill. Try the bento box to sample its house salad, miso soup, and sushi offerings.

Metropolitan Coffeehouse and Wine Bar

902 S. Charles St., (410) 234-0235, metrobalto.com

$$, B, L, D, Br, Out

Few places as nice as this dark-stained wooden bar serve hot breakfasts every weekday; off that menu, try the Mexican omelet with the chorizo. Order appetizers later in the day, particularly the fried goat cheese.

Mother’s Federal Hill Grille

1113 S. Charles St., (410) 244-8686, mothersgrille.com

$$, L, D, Br, P, Out, 10 p.m., DV

Wedge past the clusters of rowdy twentyomethings and post up at the bar to order from the decent selection of quality bar food: potent buffalo shrimp, Adam's Prime Rib Cheesesteak, and a filet-and-shrimp Caesar salad. A second location is in Arnold.

No Way Jose Café

38 E. Cross St., (410) 752-2837, nowayjosecafe.com

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

Down-to-earth and festive, No Way Jose serves up authentic Mexican fare—street corn with queso fresco on game days, churros and chocolate, and chicken taquitos. Open for lunch Thursday through Sunday.

Nobles Bar and Grill

1024 S. Charles St., (410) 727-1355, noblesbarandgrill.com

$, BR, D

Though one might be more in the mood for a liquid diet when in Nobles, the kitchen whips up some delicious, greasy grub to sop up booze.

Porters of Federal Hill

1032 Riverside Ave., (410) 332-7345, portersfederalhill.com

$$, D, Br

It's classic Baltimore corner bars like this where you'll find the real neighborhood drinking (not always easy to find in Fed Hill). But don't sleep on the food. The ham-and-Old-Bay-loaded Chesapeake fries are basic but better than serviceable.

Regi’s American Bistro

1002 Light St., (410) 539-7344, regisamericanbistro.com

$$, L, D, Br, Out, R, DV

The longstanding Federal Hill haunt was one of the first to ride the tater-tot wave that's swept Baltimore. Order a great rendition of bacon-brie-and-Parmesan spuds here. Or go with something bolder, like the suckling pig carnitas.

Ropewalk Tavern

1209 S. Charles St., (410) 727-1298, ropewalktavern.com

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

A cavernous nighttime hot spot that attracts a young crowd with its daily bargains. The solid Gipper hamburger answers the question, "Where's the beef?" If you're not feeling Reaganesque, try the wings. Open for lunch Friday through Sunday.

The Rowhouse Grille

1400 Light St., (443) 438-7289, therowhousegrille.com

$$, D, Br, R

A prime example of the Baltimore rowhouse: Exposed brick and hardwood floors complement the New American menu. A good-sized selection of mussels preparations, served with addictive fries, makes the shellfish an obvious choice.

Ryleigh’s Oyster

36 E. Cross St., (410) 539-2093, ryleighs.com

$$, L, D, Br

Once home to Baltimore's first brewpub, Ryleigh's has long since transformed into a vaunted warm-weather hangout for the beautiful people of Federal Hill. Oysters are a guaranteed win, but try out the other seafood options too. Other locations in Hunt Valley and Mount Vernon.

SoBo Café

6 W. Cross St., (410) 752-1518, sobocafe.net

$$, L, D, Br, Out, R

A brightly colored eatery that samples the best dishes from every corner of the globe. Rosemary hummus, Korean chicken fried steak, liver and onions, and mushroom Bolognese.

Social Pub & Pie

25 E. Cross St., (410) 234-0376, socialpubbaltimore.com

$, D, Out

The only coal-fired pizza on Cross Street, this watering hole gets jam-packed for football games. Slices are thin, sauce is homemade, and 8-inch pies are just $6 during the week.

Stalking Horse

26 E. Cross St., (410) 244-6722, stalkinghorsebaltimore.com

$$, D, Out

Reliably tasty deep-fried foods, like meaty garlic-Parmesan buffalo wings and fried pickles, are served up here, along with a myriad of loaded waffle fries. Easy on the wallet, if not on the waistline. Lunch is served on Saturday and Sunday.


500 Harborview Drive, (410) 727-3663, tabrizis.com

$$, D, P, Out, R

A ritzy, seasonally operating waterfront venue popular for weddings, Tabrizi's is known for its elegant Mediterranean food that covers the geographical spread, although it'll be featuring a new menu when it reopens this spring.

Thai Arroy

1019 Light St., (410) 385-8587, thaiarroy.com

$$, L, D, Out, BYOB

Select your spice level at this Fed Hill staple. Duck drunken noodles come out steaming, nicely balancing sweet and savory. Tom kha soup, ordered spicy, packs just the right amount of heat.

Thai Yum

1006 Light St., (410) 528-2146, thaiyum.com

$$, L, D, Br, Out

Slightly fancier than Thai Arroy, Thai Yum offers street seating when in season, as well as some less traditional entrees like maple-marinated duck breast in peanut sauce, and asparagus chicken.