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Alma Cocina’s Venezuelan food
Station North’s Alma Cocina is known for its artfully plated Venezuelan dishes.
Alma Cocina/Facebook

Baltimore’s 38 Essential Restaurants

Where to eat Venezuelan food, crab cakes, and giant biscuits

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Station North’s Alma Cocina is known for its artfully plated Venezuelan dishes.
| Alma Cocina/Facebook

This map aims to represent Charm City’s current culinary identity, showcasing a mix of Baltimore’s emblematic crab cakes and treats from the Chesapeake Bay, plus globetrotting restaurants where chefs showcase dishes from Venezuela, France, Japan, Egypt, Mexico, and Ethiopia as they add new flavors to local eateries.

The pandemic forced some of Baltimore’s favorites to shutter temporarily or forever. Woodberry Kitchen, the Obamas’ go-to restaurant in the area, is currently open only for private events. Meanwhile, Larder, known for its collection of fermented and other preserved foods, closed permanently in December 2021.

And while the pandemic hasn’t stopped plenty of new and noteworthy spots from opening in Baltimore, like Mera Kitchen Collective’s new brick-and-mortar, restaurants on this map must be at least six months old.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. The Corner Pantry

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6080 Falls Rd
Baltimore, MD 21212
(667) 308-2331
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At this sophisticated British café located in the Lake Falls Village shopping center, light, spongy crumpets; softball-sized cheddar biscuits; and gluten-free Nutella financiers emerge from the ovens each day. Breakfast draws a crowd with favorites like the “Fat Egg Sammy,” a griddled and buttered crumpet with a fried egg topped with either TCP bacon or ham. Fridays put fish and chips, another of chef Neill Howell’s homages to his English roots, on the menu.

2. Ethel's Creole Kitchen

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1615 Sulgrave Ave
Baltimore, MD 21209
(410) 664-2971
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New Orleans meets Baltimore at Ethel’s Creole Kitchen, where chefs Ed Bloom and Nick Creamer capture the essence of Crescent City flavors in their two-story restaurant. Under the tutelage of the late Louisiana chef Paul Prudhomme, Bloom picked up a love for Creole and Cajun cuisine. He and Creamer use Maryland staples to put a local spin on New Orleans classics like jambalaya, gumbo, and fried Chesapeake oysters served with remoulade. To really get into the spirit, order a sazerac, the official cocktail of New Orleans.

short rib mac and cheese pasta
Short rib mac and cheese makes a filling meal at Ethel’s.
Ethel’s Creole Kitchen/Facebook

3. EJJI Ramen

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529 E Belvedere Ave
Baltimore, MD 21212
(410) 435-8688
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Stand behind the glass at the counter and watch the kitchen staff stretch, wrap, and slice fresh ramen noodles that are more than three feet long at this Malaysian restaurant. Menus vary at each location (one in Belvedere Square market and one in Whole Foods in Harbor East) but expect warming bowls like truffle miso mazemen, which includes spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, Parmesan cheese with thin ramen tossed in truffle miso butter sauce. Gluten-free options are available at both locations.

4. Petit Louis Bistro

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4800 Roland Ave
Baltimore, MD 21210
(410) 366-9393
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At this charming, unfussy French bistro in pedestrian-friendly Roland Park, diners have been tearing into warm French bread while diving into escargot, duck confit, and trout amandine for more than two decades. Chilled glasses of Sauternes and steaming bowls of French onion soup (with expertly browned cheese crust dripping over the edge of the bowl) alongside patina walls take diners directly to Europe without a trip out of Baltimore. Plus, there’s plenty of indoor and outdoor seating.

interior of Petit Louis Bistro
Petit Louis Bistro’s interior is warm and intimate.
Petit Louis Bistro/Facebook

5. Maggie's Farm

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4341 Harford Rd
Baltimore, MD 21214
(410) 254-2376
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This Lauraville neighborhood restaurant is committed to supporting local farms. Piloted by Chef Andrew Weinzirl, Maggie’s Farm is a local destination for comfort food and Maryland staples. Enjoy the burger, Maryland crab cake, and fried green tomatoes inside or on the patio.

a huge burger with pickles, tomato, cheese, lettuce, and grilled onions on a toasted bun
Maggie’s Farm serves a hearty burger.
Maggie’s Farm/Facebook

6. Cypriana

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105 W 39th St
Baltimore, MD 21210
(410) 837-7482
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Even after a couple decades in the same location, visitors and locals are still discovering the creamy hummus, sesame-roasted feta, and fluffy pita that comes out of the wood-burning oven at this Cyprus restaurant. Contemporary renditions of classic Greek and Turkish cuisine like octopus, kebabs, falafel, baklava, or loukoumades (yeasty donuts topped with honey syrup) all are solid choices.

two pitas with an assortment of salads
Cypriana makes its own fresh, steaming pita.
Cypriana/Baltimore

7. The Local Fry

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711 W 40th St Suite 152
Baltimore, MD 21211
(667) 210-2633
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Located at The Rotunda in Baltimore, the compact restaurant recently got a redesign to make it look as if French fries are hanging from the ceiling. Sadly, the ceiling fries aren’t real. Fries with toppings that range from cheese curds, Korean barbecue, and kimchi predictably anchor the menu, but banh mi, po’boys, rice bowls, and chicken wings (or tofu bites for a veg option) are also on tap.

fries topped with bulgogi, fried, egg, and scallions
Korean barbecue cheesesteak fries at The Local Fry offer the addition of fried egg.
The Local Fry/Facebook

8. Good Neighbor

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3827 Falls Rd
Baltimore, MD 21211
(443) 627-8919
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An unassuming haven on Falls Road just a few blocks from “The Avenue,” (Hampden’s offbeat dining and shopping destination), Good Neighbor’s enchanting storefront and tranquil outdoor garden sells lovely, functional ceramics; sleek, modern furniture; and books so pretty they should be judged by their covers. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg: Chef Durian Neal has created a menu of chaat dinner plates and playful breakfast toasts that are as thoughtfully considered as everything else at Good Neighbor.

food on colorful plates
Good Neighbor serves its dishes on pretty plates
Good Neighbor/Facebook

9. Dylan's Oyster Cellar

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3601 Chestnut Ave
Baltimore, MD 21211
(443) 759-6595
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When Dylan’s Oyster Cellar opened in Hampden, some started proclaiming oysters Baltimore’s new crab cake. Shuckers can unhinge a rotating variety of fresh, raw oysters in a room with cookbooks lining the walls. The smash burger and whole fish dishes are also worth trying. 

a raw oyster on the half shell.
Dylan’s Oyster Cellar offers oysters to take home and shuck as well.
Dylan’s Oyster Cellar/Facebook

10. The Food Market

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1017 W 36th St
Baltimore, MD 21211
(410) 366-0606
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Hampden’s “King of the Avenue,” chef Chad Guass, packs enormous flavors into a menu filled with hearty comfort food hits like Amish soft pretzels with beer cheese fondue, mozzarella sticks, meatloaf with cheesy pesto potatoes, and crab cakes with lobster mac and cheese. The Baltimore club sandwich raises the bar of a classic BLT by piling a crab cake and shrimp salad on a soft potato bread. Check out the Heath bar-flavored bread pudding for dessert.

11. La Cuchara

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3600 Clipper Mill Rd
Baltimore, MD 21211
(443) 708-3838
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Located in Baltimore’s historic Meadow Mill, La Cuchara brings vibrance to a space that was formerly home to the London Fog raincoat company. The center dining room and ample bar offer views into the kitchen, where chef Ben Lefenfeld prepares Basque dishes like pan con tomate, strip steak with guajillo chile butter, and chilled seafood. The seasonal menu changes daily.

wood-grilled calamari, chiles, and scallions in an iron skillet over a flame
The menu changes often at La Cuchara, bringing Basque-inspired dishes like calamari a la plancha with Calabrian chiles, anchovy oil, and scallions.
La Cuchara/Facebook

12. Crust by Mack

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3300 Clipper Mill Rd
Baltimore, MD 21211
(443) 414-8048
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Since opening in Whitehall Mill Market, no kitchen or chef has received more accolades for buttery, flaky pastries and crab pies than Crust’s chef Amanda Mack. Arrive early or order online on weekends because the menu favorites usually sell out. A relocation to Mount Vernon is in the works for summer 2022. 

13. My Mama's Vegan

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2915 Greenmount Ave
Baltimore, MD 21218
(443) 388-8189
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At this Greenmount Avenue vegan restaurant, owner Debonette Wyatt-James makes the case that delicious comfort food does not need meat or dairy. Diners swear by fried cauliflower bites, tacos, fried chik’n that taste better than poultry. An outdoor space and community garden are on the horizon soon. 

14. Blacksauce Kitchen

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401 W 29th St
Baltimore, MD 21211
(443) 470-9544
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Black Sauce Kitchen is known for its biscuits, but the partly mobile kitchen (found at farmers markets and at its 29th Street storefront) dishes items like braised lamb, crispy eggplant, or oxtail offered on buoyant breads. The market menu can vary from the storefront, so check before going.

15. Clavel

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225 W 23rd St
Baltimore, MD 21211
(443) 900-8983
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Plants in clay pots, twinkling string lights, and simple white walls transport diners at this concrete, Sinaloa-style taqueria in Old Goucher as plates of bubbling queso and silver trays of tacos, ceviches, and more from fly out of the kitchen. Smoky mezcal stars at the James Beard-nominated bar and the chefs grind their own corn for masa in a newly added nixtamalería. 

16. Le Comptoir du Vin

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1729 Maryland Ave
Baltimore, MD 21201
(443) 297-7384
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This European bistro showcases French-leaning dishes with a compact, rotating menu scrawled and updated on a chalkboard. Take a seat in the intimate dining room or in the cozy, heated outdoor area for dishes like classic pub toasties, jarred pâté, poached ox tongue or smoked haddock pie, pistachio pavlova, and natural wine.

17. foraged. a hyper-seasonal eatery

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1709 N Charles St
Baltimore, MD 21201
(410) 235-0035
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Chef and owner Chris Amendola built this Station North restaurant around his passion for foraging and finding seasonal ingredients in the woods. His hit dish is a mushroom stew with homemade ricotta, poached egg, fines herbs, and pine nuts. Meanwhile, lion’s mane mushrooms turn up in a vegan Maryland “crab” cake served with remoulade. One part of the menu is devoted to pig snout, chin, socket, tongue, and ears.

18. Alma Cocina Latina

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1701 N Charles St
Baltimore, MD 21201
(667) 212-4273
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This transportive dining room at this Venezuelan Station North oasis features a diverse tangle of healthy, green plants, playful wall murals of a fish and a rooster, and a playlist of Latin music in the background. Meanwhile, rising Venezuelan chef David Zamudio meticulously plates Latin gyoza, Caribbean scallops, stuffed arepas, and a stunning burrata salad bursting with South American ingredients. Most of their menu is gluten free, with lots of vegan and vegetarian options. A new three-course tasting menu is $55. Alma was where top chef Enrique Limardo got his start before heading to D.C. to open Seven Reasons.

19. Magdalena Restaurant

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205 E Biddle St
Baltimore, MD 21202
(410) 514-0303
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After shutting down during the pandemic, the restaurant inside the luxe Ivy Hotel reopened in April with a new “Maryland bistro” menu full of dishes like summer vegetable bucatini and a filet of halibut with creamed corn, chanterelles, and sungold tomatoes. Exceptional desserts from pastry chef Cassidy Lueck include an almond cake served with a scoop of goat milk ice cream; and a strawberry chocolate tart with miso caramel, peanut butter mousse, and candied peanuts. There’s also an extensive selection of whiskeys and cocktails.

20. The Helmand

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806 N Charles St
Baltimore, MD 21201
(410) 752-0311
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This venerable Afghani restaurant has delighted Mount Vernon residents for over 30 years with kaddo borwani, baked baby pumpkin dolloped with yogurt, and mantwo, a pastry stuffed with beef and onions. If choosing one dish seems overwhelming, go with a group of five or more and ask for “family style” service, and the staff will drop off a variety of large portions to share. The restaurant offers takeout, limited delivery, and indoor dining. There’s also a smattering of sidewalk tables along Charles Street.

a table spread with food and red wine
The Helmand was named after the owner’s eldest son, as well as for the Helmand River that runs through the predominantly dry country of Afghanistan.
The Helmand/Facebook

21. Fishnet

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Mount Vernon Marketplace, 520 Park Ave
Baltimore, MD 21201
(443) 869-6399
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Tucked between a plethora of dining stall options at Mount Vernon Marketplace, the Turkish fish sandwich stop embraces Baltimore’s love for seafood, with grilled or fried selections on bread, or over rice or salad. The “Real MVP,” a nod to diehard regulars known by name, piles cornmeal-fried hake, melted cheddar, lettuce, tomato, lemon-dill mayo and hot sauce on a brioche bun. Sides include mac ‘n’ cheese or French fries. Online ordering or dining in the market are both options. The College Park original closed in 2019, and this is the only one left.

22. Restaurante Tio Pepe

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10 E Franklin St
Baltimore, MD 21202
(410) 539-4675
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This subterranean, white-tablecloth dining room at this Franklin Street Spanish and Mediterranean restaurant opened in the late ‘60s. Since then, generations of Baltimoreans have celebrated birthdays and special occasions, and each likely included an order of puffed potatoes. Some of its waitstaff has been there since day one, which adds to its nostalgic appeal.

23. Cocina Luchadoras

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253 S Broadway
Baltimore, MD 21231
(410) 732-4000
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At this feel-good, family-run Mexican cafe pulsing with lively, Latin music, queso birria tacos, tortas, breakfast burritos, and huevos rancheros all come out of the kitchen. A pink-hued dining room and a heartfelt hospitality add to an atmosphere that feels like a party.

24. Samos Restaurant

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600 Oldham St
Baltimore, MD 21224
(410) 675-5292
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Greek pottery and frescoes of Greek islands adorn the walls at this old-school, cash-only Oldham Street restaurant known for hit gyros, garlic shrimp, and spanakopita. Call in for takeout or BYOB for indoor and outdoor dining. Sister restaurant Samos Greek Island Grill has locations in Canton and Locust Point. 

25. Ekiben

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1622 Eastern Ave
Baltimore, MD 21231

Revered co-owners Steve Chu and Ephrem Abebe diligently source flavors from Ethiopia, Taiwan, Thailand, and India at both the Fells Point and the Hampden location, sticking to takeout only. Diners happily wait in line for favorites like tempura broccoli, “tofu brah” with spicy peanut sauce, or Taiwanese curry chicken on pillowy steamed gluten-free buns or rice bowls. Follow the busy restaurant’s Instagram page to see the latest menus, the food truck’s whereabouts, and updates on a future shop in Federal Hill.

Taiwanese curry fried chicken thigh topped with spicy sambal mayo, pickles, and fresh herbs.
A Taiwanese curry fried chicken thigh gets topped with spicy sambal mayo, pickles, and fresh herbs.
Ekiben/Facebook

26. BLK Swan

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1302 Fleet St
Baltimore, MD 21202
(443) 552-1956
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The new Harbor East restaurant unites art and style, from the oversized bird’s nest to the Kendrick Lamar quotes plastered on the wall. BLK Swan pays homage to Baltimore staples, including the chicken box and fried lake trout (available for brunch). On weekend nights, DJs spin all kinds of music genres like R&B, EDM, and pop.

27. Tagliata

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1012 Fleet St
Baltimore, MD 21202
(410) 244-5830
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Harbor East’s buzzy Tuscan showpiece puts its pasta-rolling action on full display, and half-portion options encourage patrons to sample its bolognese and blue crab-topped squid ink campanelle in one sitting. The county’s Cunningham Farms fuels the restaurant’s charcuterie selection, while steaks hail from Chicago’s Meats by Linz. A dizzying wine list that’s heavy on Italian grapes claims to be the biggest in Baltimore, and a pianist tickling a 1926 Steinway any night of the week adds a romantic touch.

28. Thai Street

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Broadway Market 1640, Aliceanna St #11
Baltimore, MD 21231
(667) 212-5906
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The Thai stall in Fell’s Point’s historic Broadway Market has quickly become a neighborhood staple. Recipes passed down through generations use traditional techniques with a street vendor twist as the kitchen puts out regional specialties like khao soi, red or green curry, pad see ew, and a signature pineapple fried rice. Dishes can come very spicy, so keep that in mind when selecting a spice level. 

Khao Soi with chicken, egg noodle, coconut milk, red onion, fried shallot, and crispy noodle.
Khao Soi has chicken, egg noodle, coconut milk, red onion, fried shallot, and crispy noodle.
Thai Street/Facebook

29. LIORA

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The "Charm'tastic Mile, 414 Light St
Baltimore, MD 21202
(443) 449-7184
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Baltimore’s first fancy, all-vegan restaurant emerged last summer at the foot of a flashy Inner Harbor high-rise condo. Owner Matthew Kenney, who runs a meat-free empire of restaurants from Sydney to São Paolo, tapped Natalie Carter from The Great Sage in Clarksville to lead the local kitchen. Go for the kelp noodle cacio e pepe, believable “crab” cakes, beet Reubens, and queso built with walnut chorizo. Bright lavender rose syrup and carrot-infused mezcal cocktails pop in the sleek, sun-drenched space, especially during brunch. At adjoining sister spot Double Zero, gigantic calzones built with cashew mozzarella are the star. 

30. Ramen Utsuke

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414 Light St Ste 103
Baltimore, MD 21202
(443) 563-2977
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In Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, bowls brim with Japanese Kyushu-style tonkotsu ramen and miso ramen, while affordable bento boxes are stuffed with tempura-fried seafood or chicken, teriyaki, and more served alongside rice, seaweed salad, cabbage, Japanese potato croquettes, green beans, and sauce for dipping. The Oriole park ramen, like its namesake, has become a downtown favorite among Oriole loyalists. Vegan options are also available. 

31. NiHao

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2322 Boston St
Baltimore, MD 21224
(443) 835-2036
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Though it only debuted in the summer of 2020, NiHao is already gaining national attention for its top-notch Sichuan cooking; it’s a 2022 James Beard Award semifinalist for best new restaurant. Lydia Chang and JBA-nominated pastry pro Pichet Ong own and operate this 120-seat Canton restaurant where they serve a Chinese menu incorporating vegetarian hits like crispy eggplant and chili cauliflower alongside spicy mala dishes, weekend dim sum, and Peking duck from executive chef Antoni Szachowicz.

a whole, sliced Peking duck on a plate surrounded by other plates of Chinese food
The whole Peking duck is one of the most popular dishes on NiHao’s menu.
NiHao/Facebook

32. Duck Duck Goose

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814 S Broadway
Baltimore, MD 21231
(443) 869-2129
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Ashish Alfred’s showcases his precise culinary technique in dishes like a crowd-pleasing croque madame, succulent duck confit, and a burger blanketed by rich foie gras, blueberry jam, and gruyere cheese at his beloved Fells Point French brasserie. Oysters on tiered plates arrive in a chic space lined with burgundy booths and white tiled floor. Duck Duck Goose also has locations in D.C. and Bethesda.

33. Café Dear Leon

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2929 O'Donnell St
Baltimore, MD 21224
(667) 312-2977
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Lines often stretch down the sidewalk in front of this petite Canton pastry shop, where Cheolsoo Lee, Sungae Lee, and Min Kim serve tamago sando (Japanese egg sandwich), smoked salmon on everything focaccia, and frittata sandwiches. Items are released daily according to a strict itinerary, so plan accordingly to score oat scones (6 a.m.), pain au chocolate (9 a.m.), and crab and egg sandwiches (11 a.m.).

34. Cindy Lou's Fish House

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1215 Wills St
Baltimore, MD 21231
(443) 960-8670
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Expansive harbor views surround the opulent dining room at this upscale fish house on the ground floor of the Canopy by Hilton hotel in the new Harbor Point waterfront neighborhood. Its James Beard Award multi-nominated chef, Cindy Wolf, serves hits from the South like a fried green tomato stack and a lobster po’boy on a sweet potato roll. Meanwhile, Wolf’s nearby Lowcountry stalwart Charleston is still a splurge-worthy destination for rich lobster bisque and tasting menus starting at $89.

35. SoBo Cafe

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6 W Cross St
Baltimore, MD 21230
(410) 752-1518
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Planted in the post-college town of Federal Hill beyond the limits of the lively bar scene, Sobo recently celebrated 10 years in its row home restaurant space. Embodying the city’s charming hospitality, owners Ana and Linda Leventis treat everyone like family as the cafe hums with locals and new graduates flocking there to impress visiting parents. The Sobo burger with fingerling potatoes and salad is a winning trifecta, and there are plenty of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free dishes. A newly designed parklet space is prime for happy hour.

chicken pot pie
SoBo’s chicken pot pie is topped with flaky pastry.
SoBo Cafe/Facebook

36. Hersh’s

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1843-45 Light St
Baltimore, MD 21230
(443) 438-4948
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This South Baltimore haven from siblings Josh and Stephanie Hershkovitz claimed its place as the city’s top pizza destination when it opened just over 10 years ago. The classic wood-fired Neapolitan margherita is a quintessential masterpiece, with rich red sauce and melted mozzarella on a chewy, stretchy, lightly spotted dough. Crispy cauliflower, burrata, meatballs, and other pizza and pasta are particularly wonderful when enjoyed near the near the wood-fired oven or out on the patio. 

Two Neapolitan-style pizzas
Wood-fired Neapolitan pizza is a specialty on Hersh’s.
Hersh’s/Facebook

37. Papi Cuisine

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2 E Wells St #116
Baltimore, MD 21230
(667) 205-1838
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Diners have a hard time focusing on anything other than the lauded crab cake egg rolls coming out of the kitchen at Papi Cuisine, but the newly planted South Baltimore Afro-Latin fusion restaurant also serves an excellent mac and cheese and many surf and turf options. A new brunch menu with shrimp and smoked gouda grits and fried brûlée French toast is in the works.

38. G & M Restaurant

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804 N Hammonds Ferry Rd
Linthicum Heights, MD 21090
(410) 636-1777
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A necessary pit stop for those headed to or from BWI Airport (and worth a trip over even for those not), these pleasantly oversized crab cakes have been a staple for Baltimoreans for nearly 30 years. G & M dishes plenty of options beyond crab cakes too, like baked stuffed oysters, Maryland crab soup, and more. The restaurant also has an entire side devoted to carryout for those with no time to dine.

large crab cake
G & M has been serving its crab cakes for over 30 years.
G & M Restaurant/Facebook

1. The Corner Pantry

6080 Falls Rd, Baltimore, MD 21212

At this sophisticated British café located in the Lake Falls Village shopping center, light, spongy crumpets; softball-sized cheddar biscuits; and gluten-free Nutella financiers emerge from the ovens each day. Breakfast draws a crowd with favorites like the “Fat Egg Sammy,” a griddled and buttered crumpet with a fried egg topped with either TCP bacon or ham. Fridays put fish and chips, another of chef Neill Howell’s homages to his English roots, on the menu.

6080 Falls Rd
Baltimore, MD 21212

2. Ethel's Creole Kitchen

1615 Sulgrave Ave, Baltimore, MD 21209
short rib mac and cheese pasta
Short rib mac and cheese makes a filling meal at Ethel’s.
Ethel’s Creole Kitchen/Facebook

New Orleans meets Baltimore at Ethel’s Creole Kitchen, where chefs Ed Bloom and Nick Creamer capture the essence of Crescent City flavors in their two-story restaurant. Under the tutelage of the late Louisiana chef Paul Prudhomme, Bloom picked up a love for Creole and Cajun cuisine. He and Creamer use Maryland staples to put a local spin on New Orleans classics like jambalaya, gumbo, and fried Chesapeake oysters served with remoulade. To really get into the spirit, order a sazerac, the official cocktail of New Orleans.

1615 Sulgrave Ave
Baltimore, MD 21209

3. EJJI Ramen

529 E Belvedere Ave, Baltimore, MD 21212

Stand behind the glass at the counter and watch the kitchen staff stretch, wrap, and slice fresh ramen noodles that are more than three feet long at this Malaysian restaurant. Menus vary at each location (one in Belvedere Square market and one in Whole Foods in Harbor East) but expect warming bowls like truffle miso mazemen, which includes spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, Parmesan cheese with thin ramen tossed in truffle miso butter sauce. Gluten-free options are available at both locations.

529 E Belvedere Ave
Baltimore, MD 21212

4. Petit Louis Bistro

4800 Roland Ave, Baltimore, MD 21210
interior of Petit Louis Bistro
Petit Louis Bistro’s interior is warm and intimate.
Petit Louis Bistro/Facebook

At this charming, unfussy French bistro in pedestrian-friendly Roland Park, diners have been tearing into warm French bread while diving into escargot, duck confit, and trout amandine for more than two decades. Chilled glasses of Sauternes and steaming bowls of French onion soup (with expertly browned cheese crust dripping over the edge of the bowl) alongside patina walls take diners directly to Europe without a trip out of Baltimore. Plus, there’s plenty of indoor and outdoor seating.

4800 Roland Ave
Baltimore, MD 21210

5. Maggie's Farm

4341 Harford Rd, Baltimore, MD 21214
a huge burger with pickles, tomato, cheese, lettuce, and grilled onions on a toasted bun
Maggie’s Farm serves a hearty burger.
Maggie’s Farm/Facebook

This Lauraville neighborhood restaurant is committed to supporting local farms. Piloted by Chef Andrew Weinzirl, Maggie’s Farm is a local destination for comfort food and Maryland staples. Enjoy the burger, Maryland crab cake, and fried green tomatoes inside or on the patio.

4341 Harford Rd
Baltimore, MD 21214

6. Cypriana

105 W 39th St, Baltimore, MD 21210
two pitas with an assortment of salads
Cypriana makes its own fresh, steaming pita.
Cypriana/Baltimore

Even after a couple decades in the same location, visitors and locals are still discovering the creamy hummus, sesame-roasted feta, and fluffy pita that comes out of the wood-burning oven at this Cyprus restaurant. Contemporary renditions of classic Greek and Turkish cuisine like octopus, kebabs, falafel, baklava, or loukoumades (yeasty donuts topped with honey syrup) all are solid choices.

105 W 39th St
Baltimore, MD 21210

7. The Local Fry

711 W 40th St Suite 152, Baltimore, MD 21211
fries topped with bulgogi, fried, egg, and scallions
Korean barbecue cheesesteak fries at The Local Fry offer the addition of fried egg.
The Local Fry/Facebook

Located at The Rotunda in Baltimore, the compact restaurant recently got a redesign to make it look as if French fries are hanging from the ceiling. Sadly, the ceiling fries aren’t real. Fries with toppings that range from cheese curds, Korean barbecue, and kimchi predictably anchor the menu, but banh mi, po’boys, rice bowls, and chicken wings (or tofu bites for a veg option) are also on tap.

711 W 40th St Suite 152
Baltimore, MD 21211

8. Good Neighbor

3827 Falls Rd, Baltimore, MD 21211
food on colorful plates
Good Neighbor serves its dishes on pretty plates
Good Neighbor/Facebook

An unassuming haven on Falls Road just a few blocks from “The Avenue,” (Hampden’s offbeat dining and shopping destination), Good Neighbor’s enchanting storefront and tranquil outdoor garden sells lovely, functional ceramics; sleek, modern furniture; and books so pretty they should be judged by their covers. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg: Chef Durian Neal has created a menu of chaat dinner plates and playful breakfast toasts that are as thoughtfully considered as everything else at Good Neighbor.

3827 Falls Rd
Baltimore, MD 21211

9. Dylan's Oyster Cellar

3601 Chestnut Ave, Baltimore, MD 21211
a raw oyster on the half shell.
Dylan’s Oyster Cellar offers oysters to take home and shuck as well.
Dylan’s Oyster Cellar/Facebook

When Dylan’s Oyster Cellar opened in Hampden, some started proclaiming oysters Baltimore’s new crab cake. Shuckers can unhinge a rotating variety of fresh, raw oysters in a room with cookbooks lining the walls. The smash burger and whole fish dishes are also worth trying. 

3601 Chestnut Ave
Baltimore, MD 21211

10. The Food Market

1017 W 36th St, Baltimore, MD 21211

Hampden’s “King of the Avenue,” chef Chad Guass, packs enormous flavors into a menu filled with hearty comfort food hits like Amish soft pretzels with beer cheese fondue, mozzarella sticks, meatloaf with cheesy pesto potatoes, and crab cakes with lobster mac and cheese. The Baltimore club sandwich raises the bar of a classic BLT by piling a crab cake and shrimp salad on a soft potato bread. Check out the Heath bar-flavored bread pudding for dessert.

1017 W 36th St
Baltimore, MD 21211

11. La Cuchara

3600 Clipper Mill Rd, Baltimore, MD 21211
wood-grilled calamari, chiles, and scallions in an iron skillet over a flame
The menu changes often at La Cuchara, bringing Basque-inspired dishes like calamari a la plancha with Calabrian chiles, anchovy oil, and scallions.
La Cuchara/Facebook

Located in Baltimore’s historic Meadow Mill, La Cuchara brings vibrance to a space that was formerly home to the London Fog raincoat company. The center dining room and ample bar offer views into the kitchen, where chef Ben Lefenfeld prepares Basque dishes like pan con tomate, strip steak with guajillo chile butter, and chilled seafood. The seasonal menu changes daily.

3600 Clipper Mill Rd
Baltimore, MD 21211

12. Crust by Mack

3300 Clipper Mill Rd, Baltimore, MD 21211

Since opening in Whitehall Mill Market, no kitchen or chef has received more accolades for buttery, flaky pastries and crab pies than Crust’s chef Amanda Mack. Arrive early or order online on weekends because the menu favorites usually sell out. A relocation to Mount Vernon is in the works for summer 2022. 

3300 Clipper Mill Rd
Baltimore, MD 21211

13. My Mama's Vegan

2915 Greenmount Ave, Baltimore, MD 21218

At this Greenmount Avenue vegan restaurant, owner Debonette Wyatt-James makes the case that delicious comfort food does not need meat or dairy. Diners swear by fried cauliflower bites, tacos, fried chik’n that taste better than poultry. An outdoor space and community garden are on the horizon soon. 

2915 Greenmount Ave
Baltimore, MD 21218

14. Blacksauce Kitchen

401 W 29th St, Baltimore, MD 21211

Black Sauce Kitchen is known for its biscuits, but the partly mobile kitchen (found at farmers markets and at its 29th Street storefront) dishes items like braised lamb, crispy eggplant, or oxtail offered on buoyant breads. The market menu can vary from the storefront, so check before going.

401 W 29th St
Baltimore, MD 21211

15. Clavel

225 W 23rd St, Baltimore, MD 21211

Plants in clay pots, twinkling string lights, and simple white walls transport diners at this concrete, Sinaloa-style taqueria in Old Goucher as plates of bubbling queso and silver trays of tacos, ceviches, and more from fly out of the kitchen. Smoky mezcal stars at the James Beard-nominated bar and the chefs grind their own corn for masa in a newly added nixtamalería. 

225 W 23rd St
Baltimore, MD 21211

Related Maps

16. Le Comptoir du Vin

1729 Maryland Ave, Baltimore, MD 21201

This European bistro showcases French-leaning dishes with a compact, rotating menu scrawled and updated on a chalkboard. Take a seat in the intimate dining room or in the cozy, heated outdoor area for dishes like classic pub toasties, jarred pâté, poached ox tongue or smoked haddock pie, pistachio pavlova, and natural wine.

1729 Maryland Ave
Baltimore, MD 21201

17. foraged. a hyper-seasonal eatery

1709 N Charles St, Baltimore, MD 21201

Chef and owner Chris Amendola built this Station North restaurant around his passion for foraging and finding seasonal ingredients in the woods. His hit dish is a mushroom stew with homemade ricotta, poached egg, fines herbs, and pine nuts. Meanwhile, lion’s mane mushrooms turn up in a vegan Maryland “crab” cake served with remoulade. One part of the menu is devoted to pig snout, chin, socket, tongue, and ears.

1709 N Charles St
Baltimore, MD 21201

18. Alma Cocina Latina

1701 N Charles St, Baltimore, MD 21201

This transportive dining room at this Venezuelan Station North oasis features a diverse tangle of healthy, green plants, playful wall murals of a fish and a rooster, and a playlist of Latin music in the background. Meanwhile, rising Venezuelan chef David Zamudio meticulously plates Latin gyoza, Caribbean scallops, stuffed arepas, and a stunning burrata salad bursting with South American ingredients. Most of their menu is gluten free, with lots of vegan and vegetarian options. A new three-course tasting menu is $55. Alma was where top chef Enrique Limardo got his start before heading to D.C. to open Seven Reasons.

1701 N Charles St
Baltimore, MD 21201

19. Magdalena Restaurant

205 E Biddle St, Baltimore, MD 21202

After shutting down during the pandemic, the restaurant inside the luxe Ivy Hotel reopened in April with a new “Maryland bistro” menu full of dishes like summer vegetable bucatini and a filet of halibut with creamed corn, chanterelles, and sungold tomatoes. Exceptional desserts from pastry chef Cassidy Lueck include an almond cake served with a scoop of goat milk ice cream; and a strawberry chocolate tart with miso caramel, peanut butter mousse, and candied peanuts. There’s also an extensive selection of whiskeys and cocktails.

205 E Biddle St
Baltimore, MD 21202

20. The Helmand

806 N Charles St, Baltimore, MD 21201
a table spread with food and red wine
The Helmand was named after the owner’s eldest son, as well as for the Helmand River that runs through the predominantly dry country of Afghanistan.
The Helmand/Facebook

This venerable Afghani restaurant has delighted Mount Vernon residents for over 30 years with kaddo borwani, baked baby pumpkin dolloped with yogurt, and mantwo, a pastry stuffed with beef and onions. If choosing one dish seems overwhelming, go with a group of five or more and ask for “family style” service, and the staff will drop off a variety of large portions to share. The restaurant offers takeout, limited delivery, and indoor dining. There’s also a smattering of sidewalk tables along Charles Street.

806 N Charles St
Baltimore, MD 21201

21. Fishnet

Mount Vernon Marketplace, 520 Park Ave, Baltimore, MD 21201

Tucked between a plethora of dining stall options at Mount Vernon Marketplace, the Turkish fish sandwich stop embraces Baltimore’s love for seafood, with grilled or fried selections on bread, or over rice or salad. The “Real MVP,” a nod to diehard regulars known by name, piles cornmeal-fried hake, melted cheddar, lettuce, tomato, lemon-dill mayo and hot sauce on a brioche bun. Sides include mac ‘n’ cheese or French fries. Online ordering or dining in the market are both options. The College Park original closed in 2019, and this is the only one left.

Mount Vernon Marketplace, 520 Park Ave
Baltimore, MD 21201

22. Restaurante Tio Pepe

10 E Franklin St, Baltimore, MD 21202

This subterranean, white-tablecloth dining room at this Franklin Street Spanish and Mediterranean restaurant opened in the late ‘60s. Since then, generations of Baltimoreans have celebrated birthdays and special occasions, and each likely included an order of puffed potatoes. Some of its waitstaff has been there since day one, which adds to its nostalgic appeal.

10 E Franklin St
Baltimore, MD 21202

23. Cocina Luchadoras

253 S Broadway, Baltimore, MD 21231

At this feel-good, family-run Mexican cafe pulsing with lively, Latin music, queso birria tacos, tortas, breakfast burritos, and huevos rancheros all come out of the kitchen. A pink-hued dining room and a heartfelt hospitality add to an atmosphere that feels like a party.

253 S Broadway
Baltimore, MD 21231

24. Samos Restaurant

600 Oldham St, Baltimore, MD 21224

Greek pottery and frescoes of Greek islands adorn the walls at this old-school, cash-only Oldham Street restaurant known for hit gyros, garlic shrimp, and spanakopita. Call in for takeout or BYOB for indoor and outdoor dining. Sister restaurant Samos Greek Island Grill has locations in Canton and Locust Point. 

600 Oldham St
Baltimore, MD 21224

25. Ekiben

1622 Eastern Ave, Baltimore, MD 21231
Taiwanese curry fried chicken thigh topped with spicy sambal mayo, pickles, and fresh herbs.
A Taiwanese curry fried chicken thigh gets topped with spicy sambal mayo, pickles, and fresh herbs.
Ekiben/Facebook

Revered co-owners Steve Chu and Ephrem Abebe diligently source flavors from Ethiopia, Taiwan, Thailand, and India at both the Fells Point and the Hampden location, sticking to takeout only. Diners happily wait in line for favorites like tempura broccoli, “tofu brah” with spicy peanut sauce, or Taiwanese curry chicken on pillowy steamed gluten-free buns or rice bowls. Follow the busy restaurant’s Instagram page to see the latest menus, the food truck’s whereabouts, and updates on a future shop in Federal Hill.

1622 Eastern Ave
Baltimore, MD 21231

26. BLK Swan

1302 Fleet St, Baltimore, MD 21202

The new Harbor East restaurant unites art and style, from the oversized bird’s nest to the Kendrick Lamar quotes plastered on the wall. BLK Swan pays homage to Baltimore staples, including the chicken box and fried lake trout (available for brunch). On weekend nights, DJs spin all kinds of music genres like R&B, EDM, and pop.

1302 Fleet St
Baltimore, MD 21202

27. Tagliata

1012 Fleet St, Baltimore, MD 21202

Harbor East’s buzzy Tuscan showpiece puts its pasta-rolling action on full display, and half-portion options encourage patrons to sample its bolognese and blue crab-topped squid ink campanelle in one sitting. The county’s Cunningham Farms fuels the restaurant’s charcuterie selection, while steaks hail from Chicago’s Meats by Linz. A dizzying wine list that’s heavy on Italian grapes claims to be the biggest in Baltimore, and a pianist tickling a 1926 Steinway any night of the week adds a romantic touch.

1012 Fleet St
Baltimore, MD 21202

28. Thai Street

Broadway Market 1640, Aliceanna St #11, Baltimore, MD 21231
Khao Soi with chicken, egg noodle, coconut milk, red onion, fried shallot, and crispy noodle.
Khao Soi has chicken, egg noodle, coconut milk, red onion, fried shallot, and crispy noodle.
Thai Street/Facebook

The Thai stall in Fell’s Point’s historic Broadway Market has quickly become a neighborhood staple. Recipes passed down through generations use traditional techniques with a street vendor twist as the kitchen puts out regional specialties like khao soi, red or green curry, pad see ew, and a signature pineapple fried rice. Dishes can come very spicy, so keep that in mind when selecting a spice level. 

Broadway Market 1640, Aliceanna St #11
Baltimore, MD 21231

29. LIORA

The "Charm'tastic Mile, 414 Light St, Baltimore, MD 21202

Baltimore’s first fancy, all-vegan restaurant emerged last summer at the foot of a flashy Inner Harbor high-rise condo. Owner Matthew Kenney, who runs a meat-free empire of restaurants from Sydney to São Paolo, tapped Natalie Carter from The Great Sage in Clarksville to lead the local kitchen. Go for the kelp noodle cacio e pepe, believable “crab” cakes, beet Reubens, and queso built with walnut chorizo. Bright lavender rose syrup and carrot-infused mezcal cocktails pop in the sleek, sun-drenched space, especially during brunch. At adjoining sister spot Double Zero, gigantic calzones built with cashew mozzarella are the star. 

The "Charm'tastic Mile, 414 Light St
Baltimore, MD 21202

30. Ramen Utsuke

414 Light St Ste 103, Baltimore, MD 21202

In Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, bowls brim with Japanese Kyushu-style tonkotsu ramen and miso ramen, while affordable bento boxes are stuffed with tempura-fried seafood or chicken, teriyaki, and more served alongside rice, seaweed salad, cabbage, Japanese potato croquettes, green beans, and sauce for dipping. The Oriole park ramen, like its namesake, has become a downtown favorite among Oriole loyalists. Vegan options are also available. 

414 Light St Ste 103
Baltimore, MD 21202

31. NiHao

2322 Boston St, Baltimore, MD 21224
a whole, sliced Peking duck on a plate surrounded by other plates of Chinese food
The whole Peking duck is one of the most popular dishes on NiHao’s menu.
NiHao/Facebook

Though it only debuted in the summer of 2020, NiHao is already gaining national attention for its top-notch Sichuan cooking; it’s a 2022 James Beard Award semifinalist for best new restaurant. Lydia Chang and JBA-nominated pastry pro Pichet Ong own and operate this 120-seat Canton restaurant where they serve a Chinese menu incorporating vegetarian hits like crispy eggplant and chili cauliflower alongside spicy mala dishes, weekend dim sum, and Peking duck from executive chef Antoni Szachowicz.

2322 Boston St
Baltimore, MD 21224

32. Duck Duck Goose

814 S Broadway, Baltimore, MD 21231

Ashish Alfred’s showcases his precise culinary technique in dishes like a crowd-pleasing croque madame, succulent duck confit, and a burger blanketed by rich foie gras, blueberry jam, and gruyere cheese at his beloved Fells Point French brasserie. Oysters on tiered plates arrive in a chic space lined with burgundy booths and white tiled floor. Duck Duck Goose also has locations in D.C. and Bethesda.

814 S Broadway
Baltimore, MD 21231

33. Café Dear Leon

2929 O'Donnell St, Baltimore, MD 21224

Lines often stretch down the sidewalk in front of this petite Canton pastry shop, where Cheolsoo Lee, Sungae Lee, and Min Kim serve tamago sando (Japanese egg sandwich), smoked salmon on everything focaccia, and frittata sandwiches. Items are released daily according to a strict itinerary, so plan accordingly to score oat scones (6 a.m.), pain au chocolate (9 a.m.), and crab and egg sandwiches (11 a.m.).

2929 O'Donnell St
Baltimore, MD 21224

34. Cindy Lou's Fish House

1215 Wills St, Baltimore, MD 21231

Expansive harbor views surround the opulent dining room at this upscale fish house on the ground floor of the Canopy by Hilton hotel in the new Harbor Point waterfront neighborhood. Its James Beard Award multi-nominated chef, Cindy Wolf, serves hits from the South like a fried green tomato stack and a lobster po’boy on a sweet potato roll. Meanwhile, Wolf’s nearby Lowcountry stalwart Charleston is still a splurge-worthy destination for rich lobster bisque and tasting menus starting at $89.

1215 Wills St
Baltimore, MD 21231

35. SoBo Cafe

6 W Cross St, Baltimore, MD 21230
chicken pot pie
SoBo’s chicken pot pie is topped with flaky pastry.
SoBo Cafe/Facebook

Planted in the post-college town of Federal Hill beyond the limits of the lively bar scene, Sobo recently celebrated 10 years in its row home restaurant space. Embodying the city’s charming hospitality, owners Ana and Linda Leventis treat everyone like family as the cafe hums with locals and new graduates flocking there to impress visiting parents. The Sobo burger with fingerling potatoes and salad is a winning trifecta, and there are plenty of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free dishes. A newly designed parklet space is prime for happy hour.

6 W Cross St
Baltimore, MD 21230

36. Hersh’s

1843-45 Light St, Baltimore, MD 21230