1821 N. Charles St., (667) 930-3371,
$, B, L, D
“Celebrating the comic arts and all things geek culture” is how BAMF Cafe describes itself, though you’d probably be able to figure that out from its window displays. Wraps, sandwiches, and the like accompany its decor, as well as specialty espresso drinks.
Be-One Korean BBQ
2016 Maryland Ave., (410) 244-5600
$$, L, D
The smell of sizzling meat is exactly what you look for in Korean barbecue. Be-One delivers with the highly recommended B.B.Q. Set A: cha dol (brisket), galbi (beef ribs), bulgogi (marinated aged beef), joo mool luck (marinated ribeye), and chicken bulgogi.
1818 N. Charles St., (410) 332-8422
$, L, D
The husband/wife team of chefs Eric and Barbara, Jamaica natives, serve up heaping platters of jerk chicken slathered in dark, rich gravy, along with all the fixings, for $8.50.
225 W. 23rd St., (443) 900-8983,
$, D, 10 p.m.
A taqueria and mezcaleria with an authentically Mexican menu and a cool but unpretentious vibe. The tacos are tasty, but tiny, so mix and match a few—and don’t skip the aguachile ceviche.
1709 N. Charles St., (443) 835-2945,
$$, D, 10 p.m.
This brand-new restaurant from the owner of Bottega is French inspired, with more casual dining service in the front and a leisurely dining room in the back. Lunch on weekends.
1910 N. Charles St., (410) 625-4747,
$$, D, 10 p.m.
The Crown, the music venue in Station North, closed its upstairs kitchen last year and Crown Seoul opened downstairs with a full menu of Korean food, including barbecue. If you still want to eat while you listen to music at The Crown, you can place an order downstairs and have them bring it to you upstairs.
300 W. 30th St., (443) 869-5864,
$$, L, D, BR, OUT, 10 p.m.
A down-home neighborhood bar with great bar food and an old-fashioned rotating dessert case with killer pies and cakes? Sign us up. Breakfast on weekends, and it’s incredibly cheap.
33 W. North Ave., (410) 545-0444,
$$, L, D, OUT, 10 p.m, DV
This Station North mainstay recently moved to a larger location a block away from its old spot, meaning you can enjoy its fully loaded square pizzas and its frequent live entertainment with a little more breathing room.
Liam Flynn’s Ale House
22 W. North Ave., (410) 244-8447,
$$, L, D, OUT
The Scottish and Irish bar food here pairs well with Liam Flynn’s great booze offerings (it’s one of the few places in town with a selection of cask ale). Go for one (or more) of its Scotch eggs—there are three varieties to choose from—and its salmon and brie toastie.
Lost City Diner
1730 N. Charles St., (410) 547-5678,
$$, D, Br, 10 p.m., BYOB
Lots of classic diner fare at this ’50s sci-fi-themed spot, but surprisingly vegan friendly. You can’t go wrong with its multitude of milkshake options. Open for lunch Friday through Sunday.
2101 N. Charles St. (entrance on 21st Street), (410) 837-6033
$$, L, D
Mi Comalito specializes in Mexican, Salvadoran, and Honduran food, and it does all three as well as anyone else in town. Start with the pupusas. There’s a bar with a pool table hidden away upstairs.
Nak Won Restaurant
12 W. 20th St., (410) 244-5501,
$$, L, D, 10 p.m., DV
One of many Korean late-night spots within a few blocks of each other, Nak Won has noodle bowls and hot pots, but it bills its specialty as Korean barbecue and has a whole menu page of dishes to prove it.
■ Where to get good late-night dining
18 W. 20th St., (410) 837-5231
$$, L, D, P, 10 p.m.
There are multiple late-night Korean spots in Station North, but Jong Kak is my personal favorite. It’s open until 4 a.m. with a polite staff and a bright but very low-key atmosphere, making it an ideal place to fill your stomach after a late night of dancing at The Crown or the Ottobar. Banchan, small side dishes that include kimchi, vegetables, and an egg casserole, accompany whatever you order, and the expansive menu means you’re going to find something to satisfy your late-night cravings no matter what you’re in the mood for. For a snack to soak up the alcohol, split the seafood pancake with some friends. If you’ve really worked up an appetite, tell the staff when you’re getting a table that you want Korean barbecue, and gorge yourself on delicious slices of meat that the staff cooks for you right on the center of your table. (Anna Walsh)
2126 Maryland Ave., (410) 685-6237
$$, L, D, 10 p.m.
Nam Kang, which stays open till 4 a.m. nightly, has fabulous banchan, and we love the kimchi jigae on a cold night.
Nancy by SNAC
131 W. North Ave., (410) 685-0039,
$, B, L, BYOB
Housed in MICA’s Fred Lazarus IV Center, this cafe features many of the American dishes with flair found at its sister restaurant down on North Charles Street, including a highly touted pulled pork sandwich. They also serve dinner on Fridays.
The New Wyman Park Restaurant
138 W. 25th St., (410) 235-5100
$, B, L
Friendly, fast diner drawing locals for crispy fries with thick brown gravy and the delicious quarter-cut turkey club, with turkey roasted in house.
227 W. 29th St., (410) 889-4444,
$$, B, L, D, P, 10 p.m.
When people talk about Baltimore’s “funkiness,” they might be talking about Papermoon and its wacky decor. Bonus: inventive shakes, diner fare, and communal service.
Parts & Labor
2600 N. Howard St., (443) 873-8887,
$$$, D, R, OUT
Part of Spike Gjerde’s local restaurant empire, Parts & Labor is both a restaurant and butcher shop. You can shop for choice cuts of meat by day, and come back for dinner service to eat rib-eyes, filets, and more. Also enjoy cured meats and organ varieties.
Pen & Quill
1701 N. Charles St., (410) 601-3588,
$$$, D, R, 10 p.m.
The fourth restaurant in the Karzai family’s portfolio, Pen & Quill aims for a slightly younger audience than the Karzais’ other spots with a late-night menu, excellent cocktails, and cuisine that’s upscale but not stuffy.
30 W. North Ave., (443) 602-7585,
$, B, L, D, BR
The leftist collective has swanky digs in Station North, with bookshelves reaching the ceiling, its own coffee-roasting operation, and a menu with bagels, sandwiches, and more, plus plenty of vegetarian and vegan options.
1723 N. Charles St., (410) 727-7732,
$, L, D, Out
If you’ve ever eaten crepes on a Parisian street, stop into Sofi’s (there’s another outpost in Belvedere Square) and, a few minutes later, you can be walking along the sidewalk, annoying all of your friends with your memoires de joie de vivre. Buy ’em a crepe and they won’t mind.
Station North Arts Cafe
1816 N. Charles St., (410) 625-6440,
$$, B, L
An old stalwart of the neighborhood, this cafe and art gallery serves breakfast staples like French toast and Belgian waffles all day and boasts a lunch menu of hot dogs and more than a dozen sandwiches.
1711 N. Charles St., (410) 332-0110,
$$, D, OUT, 10 p.m.
As the name indicates, this outdoor-dining hot spot serves small plates for theatergoers in Station North. Bring friends to get the most of the wide variety of dishes—and the pitchers of sangria.
■ Where to take your friends from D.C. to impress them
1729 Maryland Ave., (443) 708-5709,
$$$, D, BYOB, R
First off, it’s right by the train station so it’s a good way to get them in and out as quickly as possible (kidding), and second, Bottega’s lack of pretension is sure to be a breath of fresh air for what we imagine D.C.-ers are used to. Even to Baltimoreans, people who live and die by the corner bar and pit beef stands, Bottega’s pleasant atmosphere should be appealing. Think of sitting in a northern Italian grandmother’s kitchen, tasting old family recipes, and you’ll start to get close to what you’ll experience at this tiny Station North restaurant. The menu is written daily on a small chalkboard, the 20-something seats are surrounded by what feels like a mix between Julia Child’s library and an Italian pantry, and the tables are lit by candles. And the food’s even more special, with almost everything made in house and with a depth of flavor that only comes from a kitchen that obviously puts a lot of love and thought into each dish. It’s BYOB and the menu—which changes daily—is split up between appetizers, pastas, and entrees with a variety of sides, but I recommend sharing a bit of everything. Because you’ll most certainly want to try its house-made pastas while still leaving enough room to indulge in such dishes as braised beef ribs, pork and ricotta meatballs, and whole roasted bronzino. And the best part? The disbelief on your friends’ faces when you show them the bill. (Ryan Detter)