Published: August 16, 2010
Baltimore may have its problems, but finding a cheap and tasty bite isn’t one of them. Still, some areas have more to offer than others. Students at Hopkins, MICA, and UB can walk to more delicious bargain noshes than we could fit here. Morgan students only sang the praises of one nearby option, and Coppin students told us the most popular places to eat were the chains at Mondawmin Mall. Schools outside the city are a mixed bag, and often the restaurants are more in driving or bussing than walking distance.
By Johns Hopkins University
3120 St. Paul St., (410) 243-5200, carmascafe.com
Carma’s Café is a small but cozy hideout that offers warm drinks, paninis, and scrumptious baked goods.
Charles Village Pub
3107 St. Paul St., (410) 243-1611, cvptowson.com
Bar food heaven. XXL garbage nachos, fish and chips, potato skins, and a cheap-as-hell Sunday brunch menu with $3 bloody marys and mimosas.
3811 Canterbury Road, (410) 366-0095, chocolateacafe.com
Chocolatea offers sweet liquid bliss in the form of warm strawberry Nutella, pumpkin spice, and peppermint candy lattes, as well as white, green, herbal, and oolong teas, plus breakfast staples and Asian lunch items.
300 W. 30th St., (443) 869-5864
The Dizz is a Remington institution, offering ace soups, cheap burgers, a mouthwatering turkey club, and a rotating list of old-fashioned entrées, written up daily in loopy handwriting.
M&J’s Soul Food
102 E. 25th St., (410) 235-7685, mandjsoulfood.com
M&J’s is a welcome alternative to boilerplate carry-out fare—why settle for pizza or subs when divine orders of barbecue ribs or made-to-order fried chicken can be had for about the same price?
New Wyman Park Restaurant
138 W. 25th St., (410) 235-5100
A good old-school choice if you’re craving breakfast food, although the sandwiches and entrées are also pleasant, and all are priced low.
One World Café
100 West University Parkway, (410) 235-5777, one-world-cafe.com
One World is a cozy, genuine respite with good food, good coffee, and beer. And the vegetarian menu can give any place in town a run for its money.
227 W. 29th St., (410) 889-4444, papermoondiner24.com
PaperMoon’s décor looks like the result of a disturbed 7-year-old boy who got hold of all his sister’s playthings. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are available all day with a variety of vegetarian and vegan options.
3130 Greenmount Ave., (410) 467-7698
An old-fashioned diner with counter seating that gives diners a front-row seat for the flapjack- and patty-flipping. Breakfast and lunch classics; no dinner service.
Sweet Sin bakery
123 W. 27th St., (410) 464-7211, glutenfreedesserts.com
Sweet Sin Bakery focuses on gluten-free dishes with savory fare in the form of appetizers and entrées and a dazzling array of cupcakes including soy- and dairy-free options as well.
University Mini Mart
3201-G St. Paul St., (410) 366-6630
Open 24 hours, UMM has solid Middle Eastern offerings like the falafel and hummus sandwich.
By University of Baltimore/Maryland Institute College of Art
Aloha Sushi and Aloha Hibachi Grill
1218 N. Charles St., (443) 759-8531, alohasushimd.com
The bar has a divey neighborhood feel, the sushi restaurant keeps prices low while still offering fresh fish, and the Hibachi Grill offers Korean and Japanese delicacies.
1100 Maryland Ave., (410) 385-0318, dukemrestaurant.com
Dukem’s Ethiopian specialties arrive on giant spongy buckwheat pancakes called injera. Diners tear off pieces of bread to scoop up tasty treats such as lamb, beef, or veggies, stewed until tender in exotic spice mixes.
2118 Maryland Ave., (410) 637-3089, ibarbalt.com
The Buffalo wings, bright orange things that look like they’ve been cooked in the heart of Chernobyl, are tasty and dangerous (and half price on Wednesdays). Beyond that, expect the usual bar food and a friendly atmosphere.
Kader’s Café Mocha
1501 St. Paul St., (410) 962-5717
Kader’s slate of sandwiches are comfortingly filling without being overstuffed, and the paninis are cheese-filled crunchy goodness, but the roasted salmon sandwich occupies a special place in the heart.
On the Hill Café and Market
1431 John St., (410) 225-9667, onthehillcafe.com
Inexpensive soups, sandwiches, burritos, and salads are the mainstays of the menu, but rounding it out are homemade quiches, savory tarts, and burgers.
1723 N. Charles St., (410) 727-7732, sofiscrepes.com
Sofi’s serves a variety of dessert crêpes alongside a menu of heartier savory crêpes big enough for a smallish meal in its cramped quarters next to the Charles Theatre. It gets packed quickly, but the line moves fast.
11 W. Preston St., (410) 528-1003, soupsonbalto.com
Soups are, of course, the thing at this small no-frills spot. The daily vegan, vegetarian, and meat varieties ladled out here are wonderful. The surprise is how amazing the sandwiches are.
By Morgan State University
1518 Havenwood Road, (410) 889-2055
Sunny’s Subs comes pretty close to a perfect chicken box, with giant-sized chicken wings standard and the option to add other pieces, along with fries and a roll. Don’t sleep on the spicy sweet sauce.
By Loyola University/College of Notre Dame of Maryland
529 E. Belvedere Ave., (410) 323-2396, atwaters.biz
Atwater’s sells home-style breads and tasty sandwiches at multiple locations, but nothing beats the sheer variety and high quality of its soups. Sandwiches aren’t cheap, but half of one is usually plenty.
501 W. Cold Spring Lane, (410) 235-8118
Everything about the Evergreen clicks—from the laid-back, friendly staff to the delicious-looking muffins and cookies to the inventive and tasty salads and sandwiches.
Roland Park Bagel Co.
500 W. Cold Spring Lane, (410) 889-3333, rolandparkbagelcompany.com
Roland Park Bagel Co.’s bagels are perfectly delicious, they carry rye and pumpernickel, and offer a counter overlooking the street just right for a nosh and a cuppa joe.
Miss Shirley’s Café
513 W. Cold Spring Lane, (410) 889-5272, missshirleys.com
A popular brunch spot, Miss Shirley’s offers traditional breakfast fare dressed up for company—sweet corn cakes Benedict, applewood bacon, and so on. It tends to get jammed on weekends, but is so worth the wait.
Swallow at the Hollow
5921 York Road, (410) 532-7542
Best known as a bar, the Swallow packs in students with half-price burgers—big, juicy, and maybe the best in town—on Sunday and Wednesday nights.
By Towson University/Goucher College
798 Kenilworth Drive, Towson, (410) 938-8775, atwaters.biz
The same great ingredients and careful preparation go at this Baltimore County location of the local slow-food-ish chain.
14 Allegheny Ave., Towson, (410) 321-1880, burgerbrosburgers.com
Burger Brothers, a locally run Five Guys-type joint, serves charbroiled burgers with all the flavor of a backyard barbecue.
Di Pasquales Café and deli
3 Allegheny Avenue, Towson, (410) 821-5352
The Towson branch of this Southeast Baltimore staple offers delicious sandwiches of thick slabs of bread filled with Italian meats, luscious cheeses, and veggies.
Fortunato Brothers Pizza
6374 York Road, Towson, (410) 377-7300
The pies at this unassuming shopping-center storefront keep a steady stream of Towson students, teens, moms and dads, and random passers-by listening for their order number. No credit cards and no delivery.
13 Allegheny Ave., Towson, (410) 821-8005
This popular little Persian restaurant wins awards for its kabobs. Deliciously marinated, flame-broiled meat-on-a-stick served with perfect rice and house-baked pita.
Pho Dat Thanh
510 York Road, Towson, (410) 296-9118.
Pho Dat Thanh offers serviceable pho and other Vietnamese favorites, such as shrimp salad and grape leaves stuffed with grilled meat.
714 York Road, Towson, (410) 494-0061
Towson’s only chicken rosticceria is home to Mexican, Peruvian, Salvadoran, and Ecuadoran dishes, but the roasted chicken—moist and deeply flavorful with crispy seasoning-encrusted skin—is the thing to get.
13 Allegheny Ave., Towson, (410) 296-0799, ziascafe.com
This small café and juice bar right off Towson Circle will blend you some carrots, or pineapple, or tomato, or any number of combinations of those and other fruits and vegetables.
By University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Leon’s Triple L Restaurant and Lounge
5309 East Drive, Arbutus, (410) 242-9832, arbutusbiz.com/leons
Leon’s has operated in the same spot for almost half a century, serving basic diner staples (burgers, omelets, and club sandwiches) as well as Maryland favorites such as crab fluff. Breakfast too.
Sorrento of Arbutus
5401 East Drive, Arbutus, (410) 242-6474, sorrentoofarbutus.net
This casual joint sports a massive menu featuring everything from carry-out fare (fried chicken and pizza) to diner-type dishes (hot roast beef with gravy and fried-shrimp dinners) to homestyle specialties (chicken and veal parmigiana).
Worth Seeking Out
Andy Nelson’s BBQ
11007 York Road, Cockeysville, (410) 527-1226, andynelsonsbbq.com
Ribs are a must-eat, the pulled-pork sandwich is orgasmic, and all the homemade sides like collard greens, corn bread, and barbecue beans are fantastic.
1019 E. Lombard St., (410) 563-2666, attmansdeli.com
One of the few “real” delis left in the city. Chicken salad is good, shrimp salad and pastrami are very good, and corned beef is excellent. Essential sides include half-done pickles and matzo ball soup. Be ready and order assertively.
Mekong Delta Café
105 W. Saratoga St., (410) 244-8677
The affordable fare at this welcoming ma-and-pa Vietnamese café is screamingly fresh. Soups are the true stars.
1626 Aliceanna St., (410) 276-6606, liquidearth.com
Liquid Earth’s offers a full range of vegetarian and vegan dining, from the filly cheese phake (tofu, not cow) to raw food “tacos” made with collard green leaves for shells and filled with nuts and veggies, and smoothie aficionados will be thrilled.
313 S. High St., (410) 547-7900, maxempanadas.com
At Max’s, delicious savory bits are stuffed in a tightly wound dough wrapper and baked to flaky perfection. The long list of fillings includes ham, cheese, olive, chorizo, mixed vegetables, Bolivian salteña, and ground beef.
1716 Eastern Ave., (410) 276-3741
As the name indicates, Sinaloa is a tortilla bakery, so the flaky fresh-made tortillas are indeed marvelous, as are the irresistibly light and crisp house-made tortilla chips and the most delicious and authentic taco fillings in Baltimore.
600 Oldham St., (410) 675-5292, samosrestaurant.com
This Greektown eatery is constantly busy, and why shouldn’t it be when the food is so tasty and prices so reasonable? No fancy atmosphere here just creamy taramosalata, perfect grilled octopus, and juicy souvlaki. ?