Eat Special Issue
A GUIDE TO THE ICONS
$ = Inexpensive; “entrees” barely crack $10.
$$ = Entrees in the $10-$20 range, other than a few specials or the crab cakes.
$$$ Entrees $20 and up.
BYOB = The restaurant has no liquor license but allows you to bring your own booze. You may have heard of this.
P = On-site parking, i.e. a dedicated lot or garage.
T = Valet parking (for most places, this is weekends-only).
Out = Outdoor dining in season. Note: It could be a lovely deck, but it may be just a couple of tables on the sidewalk.
10pm = Serves food after 10 p.m. Many local restaurants will serve until 11 p.m. on weekends, but spots bearing this icon go further somehow.
B = Breakfast.
L = Lunch.
D = Dinner.
Br = Brunch on weekends.
Vg = Specializes in vegetarian/vegan friendliness. Almost all restaurants these days offer vegetarian options, and when asked by someone compiling a dining guide, many restaurants say that they can accommodate vegans on request, but this icon indicates vegetarian/vegan friendliness as a primary mission.
Rsv = Reservations are suggested, particularly for weekend dining.
Del = Delivery to a limited area, though many restaurants that don’t do phone-order delivery use web-based services such as carryout.com.
Published: March 2, 2011
4714-4718 Eastern Ave., (410) 675-3384, acropolisbaltimore.com
$$ L D
There’s hearty and wholesome fare for Olympian appetites at this casual and cavernous Greektown mainstay. Lamb, seafood, and crab cakes are the house specialties, and all of the ancient favorites are on tap.
601 S. Clinton St., (410) 522-2929, annabelleetavern.com
$$ Out 10pm d
This small Poe-themed bar/restaurant’s upscale comfort food—duck-fat fries, Kobe beef sliders—is particularly tasty. The specials menu features interesting items at reasonable prices, and the bar feels like a neighborhood hangout.
641 S. Montford Ave., (410) 732-3000, birchesrestaurant.com
$$$ 0 d Rsv
The hard-wood grill menu of superb burgers and pizzas disappears from this delectable corner-bar/comfy dining room on weekends, compelling diners to experiment with Birches’ more expressive fare—beautifully executed steaks, risotto dishes, and salads.
2901 E. Baltimore St., (410) 276-0820, bistrorx.net
$$$ Out 10pm D Br Rsv
A newish Patterson Park neighborhood joint with creative take on pub grub and a serious wine list for what ails ya. Lunch served on Saturdays.
938 S. Conkling St., (443) 388-9363, bluehilltavern.com
$$$ Vg Out L D Rsv
Blue Hill Tavern lights up Conkling Street with its clubby atmosphere and inventive food. Steak and eggs is really an appetizer of sirloin carpaccio with two tiny fried quail eggs; hot-from-the-fryer pumpkin doughnuts make a fine dessert.
2780 Lighthouse Point, (410) 558-0202, bobrooks.com
$$$ P Out L D
True fact: Steamed crabs taste better when eaten with a water view, Bo Brooks offers reliably large, meaty crustaceans at a primo waterfront location with stellar harbor views. The crabs in all forms are always excellent here.
3301 Boston St., (410) 276-8900, cantondockside.com
$$$ P Out L D
Not the homey little shack implied in the name, but a fairly schamcy restaurant that specializes in steamed crabs.
2127 Boston St., (410) 327-8600, captainjameslanding.com
$$$ P Out 10pm B L D
The belly-swelling portions make the $20-plus entrées worth every penny. What remains of your crab-stuffed flounder with asparagus, giant lobster tails, or New York strip will still be delicious at home. There’s a less-rarified open-all-night, carryout side too.
2918 O’Donnell St., (410) 522-4220, claddaghonline.com
$$$ Out 10pm L D Br
Standard bar food, including remarkably good wings, for the drinkers upstairs, with more genteel food such as rack of lamb and steaks if you’re sitting downstairs. The real secret here is its very good brunch.
611 S. Fagley St., (410) 563-7577, eichenkranz.com
$$ P B L D
Here are schnitzel and wurst for Haussner’s refugees, but also twists on international fare: spinach pies with sweet marinara, zucchini in tempura. Nightly specials are eye-popping full dinners at $7.50 or less.
2903 O’Donnell St., (410) 675-1880, finsonthesquare.com
$$$ Out L D Br
A little bit of Margaritaville in Canton, this tropical-themed bar and grill serves up pub grub with a special bent toward seafood.
2318 Fleet St. (410) 732-1961 geckosonline.com
$$ P 10pm L D
Geckos’ serves surprisingly good Southwestern cuisine in cheerful Santa Fe-influenced surroundings. The food tastes fresh and wholesome, and there are good selections for vegetarians.
4805 Eastern Ave., (410) 633-3750, ikarosrestaurant.com
$$ Out L D Rsv
Greektown’s Old Faithful still packs ’em in. The basics—Greek salad, stuffed grape leaves, tender braised lamb, moussaka—can’t go wrong. Save room for baklava.
3123 Elliott St., (410) 878-6542, jacksbistro.net
$$$ 10pm d
Nice people, nice little side-street place, infused with chef/owner Ted Stelzenmuller’s good humor and food-love. A playful menu—Swedish street food!—diverts and amuses but also satisfies with solid fare such as a Guinness filet mignon.
2400 Boston St., (410) 534-3287, langermanns.com
$$$ P Out L D Br
“Southern. Inspired.” is Langermann’s motto, and it shows in many of the dishes, from the biscuits and jalapeño-spiked cornbread to appetizers such as fried green tomatoes and catfish fingers. Skip the crab cakes in favor of savory shrimp and grits.
2900 O’Donnell St., (410) 675-9235, looneyspubmd.com
$$ Out 10pm L D Br
Homey Looney’s is relatively cheap, it has good food and beer, and you can catch a baseball game, a football game, or whatever sport is in season on one of the TVs. The crab cakes outstrip the usual pub-grub versions.
2901 O’Donnell St., (410) 276-3160
$$$ Out 10pm L D Br
The Canton eatery succeeds through modesty; you can order your fish fried and not feel like a rube. Oysters come grilled, fried, on the half shell, on horseback, and in shooters, and they must really have aphrodisiacal qualities, because we love this place.
3131 Eastern Ave., (410) 276-8755, matthewspizza.com
$ L D
Matthew’s legendary thick-crust pizza is crispy on the bottom and doughy all the way up to the choice toppings. It fills you up real quick. Highlandtown ambience and cheerful service.
MI VIEJO PUEBLITO (aka FIESTA MEXICANA)
601 S. Conkling St., (410) 522-0007, miviejopueblito.net
$$ BYOB B L D
Mole is the draw at this bright, homey Mexican restaurant in the process of changing its name to Fiesta Mexicana, but don’t overlook tender rajas tamales, stuffed with jalapeño and cheese, or a bathtub-sized bowl of posole with hominy as large as your thumb.
153 N. Patterson Park Ave., (410) 732-5133
$$ B Br
Elaborately conceived Benedicts, omelets, French toast, and pancakes tempt at this venerable old Vermont-style breakfast/brunch-only spot, though the wait can be bafflingly long. Weekends only.
2907 O’Donnell St., (410) 675-0898, nachomamascanton.com
$$ 10pm L D
A divey, kitschy joint that serves tortilla chips in a hub cap, Nacho Mama’s is a Canton institution that combines a shrine to Elvis and walls covered with Natty Boh paraphernalia with messy Mexican food and a touch of Cajun flavor.
2821 O’Donnell St., (410) 522-7678, portsidetavern.com
$$ Out 10pm D Br
Pizzas and burgers headline a pub-grub menu. Appetizers come off well, soups even better.
2819 O’Donnell St., (410) 675-9300, rosinagourmet.com
$ B L
This charming Canton lunch spot offers familiar-sounding sandwiches—from the smoked turkey to the tuna melt—dressed in fancier duds: Jarslberg cheese and basil pesto mayo on focaccia for the turkey, artichoke hearts and oregano on wheat roll for the tuna.
2844 Hudson St., (410) 327-2883, sauteofbaltimore.com
$$$ Vg Out L D Br Rsv
A handsome neighborhood place trying to serve up some quality food without being pretentious or elitist and doing a good job of it. The usual suspects get welcome twists and tweaks (e.g. pulled duck nachos). Lunch served weekends only.
2840 O’Donnell St., (410) 276-2977, speakeasysaloon.com
$$$ Out 10pm L D Br
A handsome bar/restaurant offering an ambitious menu of pubby staples and big-deal entrees (rack of lamb) with a beguiling Greek influence throughout. Lunch served Saturdays only.
700 S. Potomac St., (410) 342-0280
$$ Out D
This enterprising spot does its best work with meat: a perfect espresso-rubbed flatiron steak, braised short ribs. The bar downstairs offers hamburgers, beer-battered onion rings, and sports on TV.
4710 Eastern Ave., (410) 276-4484
A big part of the Zorba’s experience is watching spits laden with chicken, lamb, and pork revolve over hot coals. The taramosalata and moussaka lack spicy bite, but the kontosouvli is delicious and plentiful.