Eat Special Issue
Mount Vernon/Bolton Hill/Station North
Ban Thai, Feast, Land of Kush, and more
Published: March 7, 2012
823 N. Charles St., (410) 539-0944, akbar-restaurant.com
$$, L, D
They know what they’re doing at this intimate Indian restaurant: It’s quiet inside, elegant, almost, and the staff will make you feel like a regular even on your first trip. Keema naan to start (lamb-stuffed flatbread), then tandoori shrimp, and/or anything korma.
1218 N. Charles St., (443) 759-8531, alohasushimd.com
$$, L, D
Everything about Aloha Sushi is just right. The quiet dining room is dressed simply, service is friendly and prompt, and the food is pleasantly affordable.
B, Bolton Hill Bistro
1501 Bolton St., (410) 383-8600, b-bistro.com
$$$, D, Br, R, Out
B is one of those neighborhood restaurants that feels like a well-kept secret even though it’s been around for years. The ever-changing array of homemade ravioli and seasonal fare impresses.
340 N. Charles St., (410) 727-7971, banthai.us
$$, L, D
The mee krob, “sweet and crunchy noodles with pork, shrimp and bean sprouts,” is a brilliant bit of almost-certainly-bad-for-you goodness. The menu is extensive, from the mild pad woon sen to several pleasingly hot dishes like kratiam prik Thai.
1106 N. Charles St., (410) 547-6925
The bar menu has been streamlined, but the real action is the exquisite main dining rooms of this stupendous Mount Vernon townhouse. Don’t miss the steak frites (and the rosemary garlic fries). In fact, if you’ve never made it past the taps in the front of the building, you’re missing out.
316 N. Charles St., (410) 528-1222
$$$, L, D
This handsome midtown Turkish restaurant scores its biggest points with luscious eggplant-based appetizers and with its pide—boat-shaped pizzas.
1001 Cathedral St., (410) 539-4252, citycafebaltimore.com
$$$, L, D, Br, Out
Other Baltimore neighborhoods would be lucky to have such an adaptable neighborhood spot, from quick breakfast pastries and coffee on the go to good lunch staples to an increasingly ambitious dinner menu.
8 E. Preston St., (410) 244-1020, dionysus.com
$$, D, Br, Out
Word doesn’t seem to have spread about the dining room at Dionysus. Specials include tenderloin of beef, crab cakes, a chicken dish, two fish plates, and an eggplant manicotti. And appetizers are stellar.
Dougherty’s Irish Pub
223 W. Chase St., (410) 752-4059
$, L, D, 10 p.m.
Your typical neighborhood bar, a bit dim though spacious. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the pub grub that fills out the menu here: burgers, fish and chips, and hot and cold deli sandwiches.
1100 Maryland Ave., (410) 385-0318, dukemrestaurant.com
$$, L, D, Out
Delicious, satisfying, and inexpensive Ethiopian cuisine in a setting marked by cramped conviviality and the lovely urban weirdness of exotic food in a corner-bar space.
917 Cathedral St., (410) 244-5122, facebook.com/evillabaltimorenightlife
This swankish new dance club/lounge carved out of a rowhouse on busy Cathedral boasts a small menu of Ethiopian-influenced apps and entrées.
15 W. Eager St., (410) 244-0405, edenslounge.com
$$, D, Out, 10 p.m.
A swank club attracting a steady, well-dressed crowd in the evening, Eden’s also offers a small-plates menu, with dishes that are promising and niftily presented.
4 E. Madison St., (410) 605-2020, 4eastmadisoninn.com
$$$, D, R, BYOB, Out
Located in the snug dining room of 4 East Madison Inn, Feast offers homey, sustainably sourced comfort food with a gourmet twist and sweet service. Desserts prompt a “just like Mom used to make” thumbs ups.
806 N. Charles St., (410) 752-0311, helmand.com
Baltimore’s beloved Afghan restaurant is also consistently one of the city’s best and a long-time first-date staple. Dishes such as aushak, kaddo bolani, and shornakhod are deliciously different.
818 N. Calvert St., (410) 528-0818, iggiespizza.com
$$, L, D, BYOB, Out
The crust at this pizza restaurant is thin with a good balance of crunchy and chewy, but really it’s mostly a vehicle for the gourmet toppings.
Joe Squared Pizza And Bar
133 W. North Ave., (410) 545-0444, joesquared.com
$$, L, D, Br , P, Out, 10 p.m.
Joe Squared’s signature square pizza is baked in a coal-fired grill and comes in a slew of adventurous and bizarre combinations—say, Irish pizza with corned beef on it. Lots of music, DJs, and other evening entertainment.
Joss Café and Sushi Bar
413 N. Charles St., (410) 244-6988, josssushi.com
$$, L, D, dv
Joss is just the kind of mod, hip sushi bar Baltimore has been lacking. Fish is fresher than fresh, and the selection goes beyond spicy tuna or California roll. If the wasabi shumai are any indication, cooked food here is no afterthought.
18 W. 20th St., (410) 837-5231
$$, L, D, 10 p.m.
One of a few remaining full-scale restaurants in Baltimore’s Koreatown, this family-style, plain-spoken joint specializes in fiery barbecue, plus hot pots, noodle dishes, etc.
Kumari Restaurant and Bar
911 N. Charles St., (410) 547-1600, kumarirestaurantnbar.com
$$, L, D, Br, dv, Out, 10 p.m.
Nepalese restaurant Kumari does most of its work in the tandoor, or creamily kormaed, very Indian style. The crispy breads are a real treat.
900 Cathedral St., (410) 962-8859, kyropizza.com
$$, L, D, dv, BYOB
A reliable source of Middle Eastern faves and pizzas with gourmet toppings (e.g. tandoori chicken). Anything that comes out of the wood-burning oven is worth eating.
Land of Kush
40 N. Eutaw St., (410) 225-5874, thelandofkush.com
$, L, D
“Vegan soul food” is not an oxymoron, and this newish storefront will make you a believer. Boneless “ribs” to die for, a live-kale salad with a super-garlicky dressing to cure what ails you, and a house-made ginger drink to wash it all down. Now you’re living right.
322 N. Charles St., (410) 244-5556, lumbinirestaurant.com
$$, L, D, dv, BYOB
The northern Indian food is just fine, but the Nepalese dishes, especially the chicken momo (big, fluffy dumplings) and the sukait, a cured lamb appetizer, are fascinating and delicious.
313 N. Charles St., (443) 220-0150, maisysbaltimore.com
$$, L, D, 10p.m.
Casual fare affordably priced is Maisy’s raison d’etre. All entrées, except the crab cakes, are under $20, including generously sized pizzas from the restaurant’s wood-burning oven.
Mari Luna Bistro
1225 Cathedral St., (410) 637-8013, mariluna.com
$$, L, D
The third and latest of Jaime Luna’s Mari Luna restaurants brings slightly upscale Mexican fare to the cultural district. Tacos filled with red snapper or tender goat shine, and a seafood-laden paella is a bargain.
Marie Louise Bistro
904 N. Charles St., (410) 385-9946, marielouisebistro catering.com
$$, L, D, Br, Out
Reasonably priced and casual French-American food prepared with thought and care is the restaurant’s bailiwick, but the unassuming space adds a comfortable upstairs bar, a mini-pétisserie, and a brunch menu.
328 N. Charles St., (410) 539-7504, mickosheas.com
$$, L, D, Br, 10 p.m.
This midtown Irish standby adroitly accommodates pub grub with solid light fare and sandwiches. The fish and chips are terrific.
Midtown BBQ and Brew
15 E. Centre St., (443) 835-2472, midtownbbqandbrew.com
$$, L, D
Barbecue in Mount Vernon? Yes, it’s true, and it’s not bad at all. Pulled pork with Memphis-style, South Carolina-style, or Thai-style sauce is a standout, the sides impress, and the rest of the menu features plenty of options if you’re not ready to go whole hog with ’cue, so to speak.
Milk and Honey Market
816 Cathedral St., (410) 685-6455, milkandhoneybaltimore.com
$, B, L, D, Out
This bright storefront cafe, coffeeshop, and gourmet market features a clutch of tables and a small menu of locally sourced goodness assembled into sandwich form, plus other coffeeshop treats, breakfast, etc.
1013 N. Charles St., (410) 332-0332, minatosushibar.com
$$, L, D
The menu at this innocuously stylish sushi spot offers a dependable assortment of deliciousness. Start with an octopus and seaweed salad, then order an assortment of rolls and individual pieces. Friendly, efficient, and noninvasive service.
920 N. Charles St., (410) 547-0001, mughalgarden.com
$$, L, D
The interior is so ’60s it’s almost fresh. Attention is paid to the Indian cuisine basics, and the lunch buffet offers a wide and consistent variety.
2126 Maryland Ave., (410) 685-6237
$$., L, D, 10 p.m
This homely basement-level eating den is still one of best late-late-night destinations in town. Banchan come out soon enough, and then bulgogi, seafood pancakes, octopus casseroles, and hot pots. The lunch specials rule.
On the Hill Café and Market
1431 John St., (410) 225-9667, onthehillcafe.com
$, B, L, D, BYOB, Out
Inexpensive soups, sandwiches, burritos, and salads are the mainstays of the menu at this wee corner spot, but rounding it out are homemade quiches, savory and sweet tartlets, burgers, and a couple of vegetarian sandwiches.
Owl Bar and Grill
1 E. Chase St., (410) 347-0888, theowlbar.com
$$, L, D, Br, P
Once you get done explaining the significance of the owl statue above the bar, the food is pretty good. The menu ranges from enormous paninis to brick-oven pizzas to pan-seared ahi tuna.
The Prime Rib
1101 N. Calvert St., (410) 539-1804, theprimerib.com
$$$, D, R, P
One of the few survivors of old-school Baltimore fine dining, the Prime Rib possesses that rare confluence of supremely good service, genuinely swank environs, and, of course, utterly superlative cuisine.
930 N. Charles St., (410) 385-0520, 930redmaple.com
$, D, 10 p.m.
The bar/nightclub’s ever-changing menu of adventurous finger food doesn’t settle on one cuisine and nothing is entrée-sized, but it’s easy to split a variety of small plates among friends.
Sascha’s 527 Café
527 N. Charles St., (410) 539-8880, saschas.com
$$, L, D, dv, Out, 10 p.m.
Sascha’s is sexy, with understated lighting and soaring 16-foot-high ceilings. The menu offers a variety of clever small plates—bison sliders, mini fish tacos—substantial entrées, and even larger salads.
1200 N. Charles St., (410) 837-9999, sammystrattoria.com
$$$, L, D, R, v, Out
Southern Italian dining with just enough upmarket panache. Pasta dishes are served in big portions, with fresh herbs and smart sauces. Garlicky broccoli rabe and a classically creamy house salad raise the pleasure index.
1723 N. Charles St., (410) 727-7732, Sofiscrepes.Com
$, L, D
Tiny Sofi’s serves a variety of dessert crépes alongside a menu of heartier savory crépes that are big enough for a smallish meal.
405 N. Charles St., (410) 625-0534, sottosoprainc.com
$$$, L, D, R, 10 p.m.
Sotto Sopra offers an uptown take on Little Italy with homemade pastas and sauces without heavy-handedness. Gnocchi so light only a smear of sauce weighs it down, or ravioli stuffed with duck rather than ricotta.
Stang of Siam
200 E. Preston St., (443) 453-9142
$$, l, d
Style-y décor, a multilevel dining room, and a full bar highlight this center-city Thai restaurant, with a menu of suitably uptown preparations of classics such as drunken noodles and tom yum goong soup.
1711 N. Charles St., (410) 332-0110, tapasteatro.com
$$, D, Out, 10 p.m.
If Tapas Teatro’s popularity has waned, you’d never know it. This Charles Street favorite still buzzes with the drone of theatergoers lifting pitchers of sangria and nibbling pulpo y patatas (octopus and potatoes), electric-green pea fritters, and albondigas.
1207 N. Charles St., (410) 727-1234
$$, L, D
Spicy or mild, meaty or meatless, there are plenty of choices. Don’t neglect appetizers such as rice cakes with minced shrimp and chicken in peanut-coconut-cream sauce.
804 N. Charles St., (410) 752-5857
$, L, D
Thai food counter and takeout joint offers a range of dishes in meat and vegetarian categories at very reasonable prices.
Tio Pepe Restaurante
10 E. Franklin St., (410) 539-4675
$$$, L, D, R
After 40 years, dinner at Tio Pepe is still an event. Old-school luxury dining featuring lots of classic sauces and the kind of flawless formal service nearly extinct in contemporary restaurants.
Turp’s Sports Bar and Restaurant
1317 N. Charles St., (410) 347-0349, turpsonline.com
$$, L, D, Out, 10 p.m.
Sometimes you need a place with good food and the game on, and Turp’s and its expansive menu fit that bill.
Two Boots Pizza
1203 W. Mount Royal Avenue, (410) 625-2668, twoboots.com
$$, L, D
The hallowed Lower East Side pizza joint expanded to . . . Baltimore, which is a little weird, but we aren’t complaining one bit, and after a stint downtown it settled amid MICA and UB students. Perfect. The gourmet pies (Tasso ham, anyone?) rule and the bright, colorful space blasts away the usual pizza-parlor dinge.
Woman’s Industrial Kitchen
333 N. Charles St., (410) 244-6450, womansindustrialkitchen.com
Eating at the restaurant in Women’s Industrial Exchange (est. 1880) used to be like dining in a museum, with uniformed waitresses, the chicken salad plate, and the tomato aspic. Then the folks behind the Souper Freaks food truck got hold of it and updated the same menu with top ingredients. Now it’s comfort food done right.
1307 N. Charles St., (410) 468-0002, xsbaltimore.com
$$, B, L, D, Out, 10 p.m.
Salads, panini, omelets, gelati, and a menu of sushi and other Japanese standards served up in a soaring four-story space.
323 Park Ave., (410) 223-1881
$$, L, D
The menu focuses more on reliable Chinese staples. Fried taro dumplings and beef tripe with ginger and scallions are standouts among the very reasonably priced dim sum.