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Federal Hill rant

Apolgies in advance for whining ;)

Having recently moved to Federal Hill in Baltimore I've been surprised by the lack of good restaurants in the area. Given the price of housing, and popularity of the neighborhood, I would have thought more quality places would have opened up.

Corks is good, but pretty pricey. Vespa closed. I believe Pazza Luna closed. Haven't been thrilled with the Wine Market. I pretty much head for SoBo or Metropolitan (and the latter isn't outstanding either).

Meanwhile, there seem to be 101 places serving cheap beer, wings, and nachos to the post-college crowd.

What am I missing?

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  1. You aren't missing much. I would include the Bicycle, I think its better than the Wine Market at about the same price and much better than Metropolitan.

    That's the answer for most, but since you are on this board, I will assume you are interested in the food. If that is the case, you are missing plenty.

    1. Fort Charles Pub. Believe it. Put up with the Molly Hatchet and the cigarette smoke and get yourself the city's best crab cake! The burger is THE BEST I've found in the city, and I mean the BURGER. You can eat it without any condiments or the bun.

    2. Steve's Lunch in Cross Street Market. Great ham egg and cheese sandwiches. with jelly?

    3. The fish tacos at Capt Larry's. Some like their crab cakes as well, but I prefer the FCP's crab cakes.

    4. Bruce Lee's Wings in the Cross Street Market. Tasty bird.

    I also see that Dangerous Pies is now in Federal Hill. I haven't been in yet, but their pies in Canton were awesome if abit pricey.

    That should get you started.

    1 Reply
    1. re: KAZ

      Kaz, I walked over to FCP from my new place yesterday at noon based on your rec. I had the burger and a couple of beers. It was absolutely one of the best burgers around -- cooked medium rare and absolutely perfect. The place was nearly empty with the exception of a few regulars who apparently start their drinking early. Total bill for a burger, fries and two Sam Adams was 12 bucks and change -- this is one of the best deals going.

      I had planned on only having one beer, but was brought a second without asking for it, so I went ahead and drank it. As such, I ended up spending Sunday afternoon napping instead of unpacking.

      Thanks! Great place.

    2. I recently moved from Baltimore to Southwest Florida and I used to complain about the lack of restaurants in Baltimore. After being down here for nearly 4 months, I am now regretting all of my complaints. If you like Ethnic food, Baltimore has a ton of restaurants to chose from. A few to get started with: The Ambassador(upscale Authentic Indian and very romantic), Dukem(Ethiopian), The Thai Restaurant on Greenspring(Casual and affordable). Also, try 36th Street in Hampden for some B-more charm! Good Luck.

      1. I would say the same thing about Canton. As someone not from Fed Hill, I virtually never head over since Soigne closed, so I definitely agree with you. However, I'd like to know if you've tried/what you think of the following restaurants:

        Nasu Blanca? I've not been yet, but it's gotten some pretty good reviews for some interesting food. It is pricey, however.

        Tango Tapas? I've eaten there twice in the past but not recently--though it was just reviewed in the Baltimore Sun and that review was more or less in line with my experience. I certainly can't say that it's been consistently but good, but though my food has been up and down, the ups from what I recall were pretty good.

        Cafe Manet? They try hard and are pretty inexpensive.

        Finally, if you like bar food, Captain Larry's is a very good bar for a bite to eat with people. Many people also recommend LP Steamers for crabs.

        Hope this helps, but for good eating, I think Fells Point has a lot more than Federal Hill (True, Timothy Dean, Louisiana, La Cazuela, Asahi, Black Olive, Kali's Court, Pazo, Waterfront, One Eyed Mike's are all worthwhile places to go in my book).

        2 Replies
        1. re: atls21231

          When I first moved up here, Federal Hill had all the "great" places, and the area around Fells Point and Canton were looking for better options.

          So maybe it is cyclical. Neither area is very far from the other so we can all enjoy both.

          1. re: atls21231

            Thanks for the suggestions. I've not tried Tango Tapas - I thought I had read somewhere that the place was overpriced, but I'll have to give it a try. I do like Captain Larry's (a real bargain) and of course Nick's Fish counter in the market is always fun. I think Federal Hill actually does pretty well for inexpensive "Tavern" fare, if not for innovative higher end dining.

          2. Here's the recent review of Tango Tapas: http://www.baltimoresun.com/entertain.... Like I said, I think it really captures the place. So please be forewarned: this is really not a restaurant; when I used to go, I used to go early and eat at the bar. But they did have some really good dishes there (and some not so good ones).

            Yeah, it's amazing that Federal Hill doesn't have better restaurants given the income level of its inhabitants. But I'd be interested in hearing what you think about Nasu Blanca; it's just a hop, skip, and jump away from the Wine Market.

            The only other place I thought of was Lillies -- the tapas place in Harborview, but again, I've not been there.

            1. You may also want to give Hull Street Blues a try.
              Good food in a pleasant atmosphere