614 Water St., (410) 528-0200,
$$$, D, R, P
Former “Top Chef” contestant Bryan Voltaggio’s first Baltimore restaurant—which opened in 2014 to accompany his popular Washington, D.C. and Frederick joints—offers inventive Italian in a spiffy setting near Power Plant Live.
11 N. Eutaw St., (410) 545-5112,
$$, L, D, 10 p.m., R, DV
Beer, hardwood, tin ceilings, and a very crowded blackboard listing all the beers make this the place to hit after a show at nearby 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.
7 N. Calvert St., (443) 869-2942,
$$, B, L, D, Br, DV
A father-son duo operates this cafe in a lovely space that used to be a bank. Small dinner menu of classy American entrees, while the lunch menu has a more extensive collection of sandwiches, salads, and a daily soup.
Attman’s Authentic New York Delicatessen
1019 E. Lombard St., (410) 563-2666,
$$, L, P, BYOB, OUT, DV
Eat lunch here. There’s usually a long line. It’s for good reason, and the staff handles it quickly. Be ready to order: hot corned beef on rye, extra lean, with mustard. Or maybe the Reuben. Smile.
Brio Tuscan Grille
100 E. Pratt St., (410) 637-3440,
$$$, L, D, Br, BYOB, P, OUT, R, DV
Italian-style opulence in this chain. It has a nice veal milanese, and the brunch is a thing. High marks for service and drink specials too.
Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.
301 Light St., Suite 1405, (410) 244-0838,
$$, L, D, OUT, P, R
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,
$, B, L, BR, DV
Café Poupon is a decidedly French cafe, in the best sense. An offshoot of a Baltimore Street bakery—or pâtisserie, to be fancy—of the same name, Poupon’s bread is fresh, its coffee strong, its macarons delightful, and its chairs wicker, with blue stripes.
The Capital Grille
500 E. Pratt St., (443) 703-4064,
$$$, L, D, P, OUT, R
Classy chain with the kind of menu you’ve come to expect of a classy joint. Chef suggests the sliced filet mignon with cipollini onions and wild mushrooms, but you might be more in the mood for the dry-aged steak au poivre with Courvoisier cream.
55 Market Place, (410) 244-5734,
$, L, D, DV
The larger location of the local Peruvian chain (the other Baltimore location is in Highlandtown). Rotisserie chicken is the focus at this fast-casual joint, but there are plenty of other Peruvian dishes on the menu too.
Delights by Mina
105 N. Charles St., (410) 637-3637,
$$, L, BYOB, DV
This West African restaurant was one of CP’s top 10 new restaurants of 2015. The lunch buffet available Thursday through Sunday is a good way to acquaint yourself with such dishes as tiebou yap and chicken yassa. Dinner on the first Friday of every month.
Dempsey’s Brew Pub & Restaurant
333 W. Camden St., (410) 843-7901,
$$, L, D, OUT
There are times when a full pint glass and a nice burger are a luxury. Game day can be such a time, especially if the Birds are on a good streak. Orioles legend Rick Dempsey lent his name; food pros do the beer and vittles.
Dick’s Last Resort
621 E. Pratt St., (443) 453-5961,
$$, B, L, D, Out, 10 P.M.
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,
If you’re craving seafood and you’ve never been to Faidley,’s 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,
$$, L, D, BR, P, OUT, R
Bryan Voltaggio’s more down-home enterprise, Family Meal opened at the very start of 2015 and offers high-end comfort food in a chill atmosphere. Southern items such as shrimp and grits and fried chicken populate the extensive menu.
Fogo de Chão Churrascaria
600 E. Pratt St., (410) 528-9292,
$$$, L, D, BYOB, P, R
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.
■ Where to eat lunch when you have jury duty
B+O American Brasserie
2 N. Charles St., (443) 692-6172,
$$$, B, L, D, BR, R
Yup. Jury duty sucks. Badly. But if you’re forced into doing your civic duty, use it as an excuse to indulge in a lunch that’s way better than the shitty leftovers I’m normally relegated to during the workweek. Take that $15 the city so generously pays us for our service and happily head just a couple of blocks away to B&O American Brasserie. Pull up a spot at the gorgeously appointed bar, order something from its casual-yet-upscale lunch menu (B&O Pit Beef please), and strategize with your bartender on ways to get out of being picked for a trial (I recommend showing up in your pajamas, not that I’ve ever done that). They also have a killer drink menu, which, if you’re the rebellious type, is the perfect way to take the edge off whatever messed-up shit’s about to go down behind those courtroom doors. (Ryan Detter)
17 N. Eutaw St., (443) 873-9427,
$$$, L, D, BR, P, OUT, 10 p.m., R, DV
Located between the Everyman and the Hippodrome, this elegant but casual restaurant is the perfect place for a pre-show dinner or post-show snacks. Upscale handmade pastas—think bitter cocoa maltagliati—and high-end pizzas populate most of the modern Italian menu.
Frank & Nic’s West End Grille
511 W. Pratt St., (410) 685-6800,
$$, L, D, P, Out, 10 p.m., R
Come through the front door on Paca and discover pub grub in a sports-bar atmosphere at the luxe Zenith apartments. Then again, sports bars don’t usually offer white-chocolate martinis and stuffed salmon entrees.
20 W. Baltimore St., (410) 539-8400,
$$$, B, L, D, Br, R
Swankier than your usual hotel-restaurant fare. Contemporary takes on French bistro fare served in the Lord Baltimore Hotel’s elegant, mega-mirrored Versailles Room.
Hard Rock Cafe
601 E. Pratt St., (410) 347-7625,
$$$, L, D, P, Out, 10 p.m., R
Remember when the Hard Rock concept was new and exciting? Relive the glory in the Power Plant building. After a few signature cocktails, it will seem like 1987 all over again.
Power Plant Live, 30 Market Place, (410) 962-5566,
$$, L, D, 10 p.m.
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,
$$$, L, D, P, Out, 10 p.m., R, DV
There are more than 20 of these out in the world, so they must be doing something right on the steak-and-sushi front—mostly by having a lot more than that. Enjoy your flatbread pizza or noodles.
Power Plant Live, 10 Market Place, (410) 223-1105,
$, D, BR, P, Out, 10 p.m.
The classic Vegas vibe in Power Plant Live. Sports on the (high-def) TV, wings in the baskets. They even have a few table games . . .
Luna Del Sea
300 W. Pratt St., (410) 752-8383,
$$$, L, D, Out, 10 p.m., R, DV
Expensive, classic surf-and-turf options, located appropriately near the Baltimore Convention Center and Camden Yards.
Harborplace, 201 E. Pratt St., (410) 547-9333,
$$$, L, D, P, Out, R
Harborplace’s slightly more casual McCormick & Schmick’s spinoff is full of comfort seafood—like the fish and chips, crab cakes, and fried shrimp—priced for tourists.
324 W. Baltimore St., (410) 685-0208,
$$, L, D, BYOB, DV
The Helmand no longer has a monopoly on Afghan food in Baltimore. This spacious restaurant’s menu mostly focuses on kabobs and vegetable side dishes.
40 South St., (410) 244-6810,
$$, L, D, DV
Another Afghan counter-service restaurant, but no relation to the Maiwand Grill. This is the fifth and newest location for the Maryland chain that began in Howard County.
McCormick & Schmick’s
711 Eastern Ave., (410) 234-1300,
$$$, L, D, BYOB, P, OUT, R
Steaks, seafood, and the patio overlooking the harbor and the USS Constellation means your attention will be split. Nice wine list here.
Miss Shirley’s Cafe
750 E. Pratt St., (410) 528-5373,
$$, B, BR, L, P, OUT, DV
A high-end yet down-home soul-food joint famous for its brunch (and “Born on the Bay-o” bloody mary, garnished with shrimp and andouille sausage), Miss Shirley’s is tourist-friendly but not touristy, and popular with the locals too. Additional location in Roland Park.
Morton’s the Steakhouse
300 S. Charles St., (410) 547-8255,
$$$, B, D, P, R
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,
$, L, D, BYOB
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.
■ Where can a vegan and a hard-core carnivore happily share a meal
Tabor Ethiopian Restaurant
328 Park Ave., (410) 528-7234,
Most meat-serving restaurants in Baltimore aren’t vegan friendly, and carnivorous folks would probably roll their eyes at most meat substitutes at the few vegan places in the city. But the vegetable combos at Tabor serve up a ton of vegan textures, flavors, and protein that should satisfy everyone. Ethiopian cuisine is characterized by complex spice mixes and plenty of vegetable dishes, including spiced lentils, yellow peas, collard greens, potatoes, beets, and more. You pick up the food by tearing off pieces of spongy injera bread and using the bread to pinch or scoop up each dish. If the excess of protein in the various lentil dishes (which I highly recommend) doesn’t satisfy the meat-eater at the table, order The Baltimore dining combo ($26.99), designed to serve two to three, which gives you seven vegetable dishes as well as four meat dishes: lega tibs (lean lamb chunks), key wot (spicy lamb stew), special tibs (more meat chunks), and kitfo (classic Ethiopian beef tartare). (Anna Walsh)
601 E. Pratt St., (410) 685-6600,
$$$, L, D, Out, R
Phillips is the original Baltimore Inner Harbor restaurant. Its jazzed-up space in the Power Plant building offers all the crabs you could dream up.
Pratt Street Ale House
206 W. Pratt St., (410) 244-8900,
$$, L, D, Out
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,
$$, D, BYOB, R
Jose Victorio Alarcon seems more like an artist than a businessman. This micro restaurant has unbelievable ceviche that will make you forget about your favorite sushi joint.
402 Key Highway, (410) 727-3678,
$$$, L, D, BR, P, R
The Scup still brings it with pro service and excellent, if mostly traditional, food. Views can’t be beat either.
Ruth’s Chris Steak House
600 Water St., (410) 783-0033,
$$$, D, P, R
Try the steak, lobster, or the steak and lobster. The location on Pier 5 (Eastern Avenue, technically) is somewhat more touristy.
1 E. Pratt St., (410) 962-5503,
$$$, L, D, P, Out, 10 p.m., R
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.
Supano’s Prime Steakhouse
110 Water St., (410) 986-4445,
$$$, L, D, DV, P, OUT, 10 p.m., R
Old-school joint with pricey steaks but reasonably priced sandwiches, pizza, and house-made pastas.
32 Market Place, (443) 873-8137,
$$, L, D, P, 10 p.m., DV
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.
Tír na nÓg
Harborplace, 201 E. Pratt St., (410) 483-8968,
$$, L, D, P, OUT, 10 p.m., R
The usual pub grub served up by friendly pros in an Irish-pub interior with views of the Inner Harbor. Happy hours, bands, beer, and decent fish and chips—served with mustard sauce, if you want an alternative to malt vinegar. Locations in Philly and New York City as well.
406 N. Paca St., (410) 685-7285,
$, B, L
A treasure on Paca Street for more than 100 years, Trinacria boasts some of the best imported meats and cheeses in town, which the staff will happily prepare in a delicious sandwich like the muffuletto, which includes enough Italian meats to pack lunches for a week and an amazing olive spread. A supplementary sit-down outpost on Park Avenue and Centre Street opened last year.
110 S. Eutaw St., (410) 209-2853,
$$, B, L, D, 10 p.m., R
The menu at The Yard is peppered with Baltimore flavors—an Old Bay-rimmed bloody mary, crab cakes, crab dip in a pretzel bowl—and covers the bases of locally sourced and sustainable seafood.
323 Park Ave., (410) 223-1881,
$$, L, D, DV
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.