Relatively inexpensive restaurants in the inner harbor area
I'm going to be visiting Baltimore the latter part of October. I plan on spending a friday day visiting museums, etc. in the inner harbor area. I'm looking for:
1) A place to grab lunch that is small, caters to locals, and relatively inexpensive (sandwiches, soups, etc.)
2) A place to get dinner with the same criteria as #1, but has seafood
The James Joyce is far from being part of a "chain". Yes, there are three pubs opened by the same owners, Jimmy and Carey Fagan. Ireland's Four Courts is located in Arlington VA, the James Joyce is located in Baltimore MD, and the Harp and Fiddle is located in York PA. All three are authentic upscale Irish poubs.
I've not been to the one in York PA but the VA and MD pubs are terrific. Great ambience, excellent food, and friendly staff all make for outstanding craic and a thoroughly enjoyable evening.
This is a fairly common request regarding the inner harbor area so you may want to do a search. That being said
Avoid anything in the Inner Harbor proper..
There isa Kebob place at the corner of Charles Street and Lombard that comes with some good reviews.
Lexington Market is several blocks(7+?) north, walk up Eutaw Street, it has many options
Cross Street Market is several blocks south (7+?), walk down Light Street, also many options.
Walk several blocks east on Lombard Street to Attman's Deli
for great Corned Beef ...
Good place for lunch would be Sascha's 527 on Charles St (527 Charles St). Very cool bistro type place very close to Walter's Art Gallery, MD Historical Society and other cultural stuff in the Mt. Vernon area. http://www.saschas.com/menu.htm. about 8 blocks north of the inner harbor.
Another local lunch place ~4 blocks north of the harbor on Charles St. is Cafe Sweet Melon. Huge buffet type salad and hot food bar, and made-to-order grill stuff.
In general, try to stay AWAY from all the touristy harbor places. One place to try for lunch or a good dinner is Houlihan's, which is at the opposite end of the ESPN Zone/Hard Rock Cafe building on Pratt St. (close to the water).
I would recommend you do a little research and maybe get a quick cab ride to some of the charming neighborhoods directly surrounding downtown Baltimore (many within walking distance too)...then you'll experience some real Baltimore City Charm. Check into Federal Hill (south of Inner Harbor), Little Italy (to the east), Fells Point & Canton (a little further to the east past Little Italy), or Mt. Vernon (cultural area) to the north.
To eat, get the heck out of the Inner Harbor. For lunch, I would go to Little Italy just a couple of blocks from the harbor, or Attman's Deli in the same direction. For dinner, walk up Light Street to Nick's at Cross Street Market, seven blocks from the Maryland Science Center. It's not the best seafood in the world, but we always enjoy it, and it's a lively, fun place to grab a stool on a Friday night. If you are driving, go about a mile southeast of there to LP Steamers, for cheap, unfussy and delicious seafood. Sit on the roof deck if weather permits.
Take the water taxi and head to Canton for good, reasonably priced seafood at Mama's on the Half Shell. It would be a great evening and you'd be doing a lot better on finding "local" than in the Inner Harbor, where nothing is local at all.