13.5% Wine + Food
1117 W. 36th St., (410) 889-1064,
$$, D, OUT
When Cyrus Keefer took over the kitchen last year, 13.5% Wine Bar tacked “Food” onto the end of its name, in honor of the restaurant’s redesigned menu with frequently changing, creative dishes. Kitchen open until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.
1011 W. 36th St., (410) 366-1163,
$$$, L, D, BR
Featuring a menu that samples from all over the globe, Alchemy offers fine dining in a handsome-but-cozy space.
Angelo’s Pie in the Sky
3838 Roland Ave., 15th floor, (410) 593-1081
$, L, D, BYOB, DV
There was a giant pizza-slice-size hole left in our heart when Angelo’s pizza shop closed in April 2014, but Angelo Pizza (yes, that’s his real last name) is back at a new location with sandwiches, subs, and the self-proclaimed world’s largest slices of pizza.
3520 Chestnut Ave., (410) 235-0035,
$$$, D, BYOB
You have to trust Chef Steve Monnier here—it’s a fixed six-course menu that changes weekly, though you can also choose just three courses for a lower price—but you can believe that all the French and New American-inspired courses here will be intelligently crafted, locally sourced, and utterly delicious.
1115 W. 36th St., (443) 438-7700,
$$, D, 10 p.m.
With about a dozen pizzas on offer that change seasonally, the Arthouse has cornered the market on the Avenue when it comes to good crust and creative toppings, like the squid and artichoke pizza.
1500 Union Ave., (410) 235-1881,
$$, B, L, P, OUT
The younger sibling of nearby Woodberry Kitchen, Artifact is primarily focused on, unsurprisingly, coffee. Still, the morning and lunch kitchen has table service. Try the egg sandwich or English muffins with jam made from local fruits.
3528 Chestnut Ave., (443) 475-0910,
This artisanal doughnut shop is ostensibly open until 1 p.m., but it frequently sells out of its high-end doughnuts—think filled blackberry mint mascarpone doughnuts or cinnamon sugar doughssants (croissant + doughnut = doughssants)—before its closing time.
1520 Clipper Road, (443) 708-1935,
$$, D, P, OUT
The “Birro” in Birroteca is a nod to the beer list, which features more than 20 selections on draft and some harder-to-find labels. But the gourmet specialty pizzas—such as the Duck Duck Goose—are what make this spot a favorite for local foodies. Lunch is served on Saturday and Sunday. A second location is in Bel Air.
Blue Pit BBQ
1601 Union Ave., (443) 948-5590,
$$, L, D, OUT
This whiskey and barbecue joint provides high-quality, unpretentious versions of your down-home favorites. You’ll be drooling over the ribs and the pulled pork.
3500 Chestnut Ave., (443) 682-9701,
$$, B, L, BR, BYOB, OUT
This casual eatery serves Spanish-inspired cafe cuisine with both lunch and breakfast sandwiches, salads, and soups. It serves a fixed-price four-course BYOB dinner the first Friday and Saturday of every month.
1002 W. 36th St., (410) 243-1230,
$$, L, D, BR, P, OUT
With or without a visit from Gordon Ramsay and “Kitchen Nightmares,” Café Hon has always been about serving comfort food just like mom used to make. The gravy fries, meatloaf, and “Thanksgiving Dinner” always hit the spot.
Cosima Mill No. 1
3000 Falls Road, (443) 708-7352,
$$$, D, P, R
This brand-new high-end restaurant highlights Sicilian and Southern Italian cuisines, with a whole menu of dishes cooked in a wood-fired oven. Free valet parking.
■ Where to meet your friends for coffee and comfortably bring your little ones, too
3400 Chestnut Ave., (410) 469-9784,
$, B, L
When the chances of getting out without little ones in tow are slim to none, the question remains of how to meet up with friends without chasing toddlers around the local franchise coffee shop. Local parents Kathy Kent Schott and Ryan Sterner felt your pain, and answered that question with the opening of their coffee shop, Play Cafe. The area for play filled with toys and activities for children 5 and under is within vision of every seat in the cafe, and the spot provides board games and checkers for older children. The menu features wholesome snacks, meals, drinks, and sweets for the kids, and an array of coffee drinks and healthy sandwiches, salads, and breakfast-style eats for adults. Open for dinner on Friday nights. (Jennifer Waldera),
David’s 1st and 10 Sports Bar
3626 Falls Road, (410) 662-7779
$$, L, D, 10 p.m.
In Hampden’s only true sports bar, the atmosphere is open and casual, the athletic-themed murals could use some work, and the buffalo sauce is so good, they should bottle it.
The Food Market
1017 W. 36th St., (410) 366-0606,
$$$, D, BR, P, R
Chef Chad Gauss’ embrace of playful menu selections and ethnic and regional favorites such as edamame and Amish soft pretzels has made this restaurant one of the hottest dining destinations in town. The brunch is divine. Free valet parking in the evenings.
Golden West Café
1105 W. 36th St., (410) 889-8891,
$$, B, L, D, BR, 10 p.m.
Modern Mexican breakfast dishes—served all day—make this one of the most popular hangover/brunch spots in town, with a menu that’s very generous to vegetarians. It opened up a takeout window last year, so you can get tacos and waffles to munch on as you stroll the Avenue.
3547 Chestnut Ave., (443) 438-7521,
$$$, L, D, OUT, R
This larger space expands on the pasta offerings of its counterpart on the Avenue (see below) with meat dishes and a full bar.
Grano Pasta Bar
1031 W. 36th St., (443) 869-3429,
$$$, L, D, BYOB, OUT
Duck into this little spot for a simple-yet-authentic Italian plate of pasta. With 10 sauces and six pastas, plus gnocchi and potato dumplings, you can go again and again without having the same thing twice.
3446 Chestnut Ave., (410) 235-3870,
$, B, L
This bakery expanded from just selling its goods at the Waverly farmers market to a brick-and-mortar early last year. Everything here is gluten-free, and there are plenty of vegan sweets too, as well as salads, soups, and savory tarts. Open most days until 5 p.m.
908 W. 36th St., (410) 235-2326,
$, L, D, 10 p.m.
We adore its tacos, but if for some reason you would want to eat something other than tacos, you can build your own burritos and chimichangas to your liking, with five meats to choose from (or grilled veggies and beans if you don’t go for the whole carnivore thing).
3600 Clipper Mill Road, (443) 708-3838,
$$$, D, P, R, DV
The menu at this upscale Basque restaurant includes charcuteries, tapas dishes, and entrees, but also pintxos, aka fancy bite-size snacks, such as a single smoked mussel flanked by piquillo peppers and olives. Get one to whet your appetite at the beginning of dinner or order a bunch to snack on at La Cuchara’s sleek 40-seat bar.
Le Garage Beer Bar & Frites
911 W. 36th St., (410) 243-6300,
$$$, D, BR, P, R, 10 p.m.
This basement bar and restaurant proves that French food doesn’t have to be stuffy. If you’re just craving its signature Belgian frites, you can get them to go from the Frites Shop on ground level.
The Lunch Box
1102 W. 36th St., (410) 235-4994
$, B, L
Old-school Hampden diner offers classic omelets, crispy bacon, and pancakes—refreshingly still referred to as “hot cakes”—along with unfailingly friendly service.
Rocket to Venus
3360 Chestnut Ave., (410) 235-7887,
$$, D, BR, OUT, 10 p.m.
The menu pulls from all over the place and gives a lot of options for vegetarians. The Brussels sprouts are still killer and the grilled Korean gyro has tofu as a substitute for beef. Meat lovers, don’t pass on the banh mi.
1103 W. 36th St., (410) 812-1519,
$, L, D, DV, BYOB
This tiny Greek spot has only a handful of tables and a counter in the back to eat at, but it’s worth fighting for a seat to get its inexpensive pita sandwiches.
1009 W. 36th St., (410) 243-0051
$$, L, D, OUT
Suzie’s serves noodle dishes from Japan, China, Vietnam, and Korea, with plenty of options for vegans. Unlike at many Asian restaurants, the dessert menu is not something to pass up.
842 W. 36th St., (410) 889-0999,
$, L, OUT
The Verandah offers Indian street food—appropriate, given how it’s also a fixture at several local farmers markets—that’s simple and tasty, with house-made chutneys available to turn up the spice on your dishes. Open for dinner on Fridays.
2010 Clipper Park Road #126, (410) 464-8000,
$$$, D, BR, OUT, R, P
As far as Baltimore dining is concerned, this is the crème de la crème. The farm-to-table menu, curated by James Beard Award winner Spike Gjerde, continues to evolve, with fresh takes on basic dishes and previously unheard-of entrees continuing to pop up and delight.
■ Where to take a guest who seems to have tried every food there is to try
Corner Charcuterie Bar
850 W. 36th St., (443) 869-5075,
$$$, D, Br, OUT, R
This Hampden spot is split into two separate areas that share the same menu. Formerly a BYOB (it now has a liquor license and plenty of innovative cocktails), Corner Charcuterie sports a more traditional dining environment, with a full dining room, while the newer section, The Other Corner Charcuterie Bar, feels more like a speakeasy. Though traditional charcuterie like sopressata, prosciutto, and hot capicola are available, the meat-focused menu is known for featuring rarely seen proteins on its charcuterie list, such as a duck heart pâté. In addition to charcuterie, the restaurant has sandwiches, entrees, and shared dishes for two that use equally interesting meats to create imaginative dishes like ostrich tartare, beef tongue ravigotte, and roasted pig’s head. The menu changes seasonally, so expect a new selection of unique meats and preparations periodically (perhaps a return of the kangaroo tartare?). (Jennifer Waldera)