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DC Hound just moved to Baltimore (Fed Hill) - Questions

Hey All,

I just moved up to Federal Hill from DC for a new job and I have some questions. I've been searching the boards as best as I can but some of the stuff I'm having a hard time finding.

Delivery in Federal Hill
* Pizza - I've read about Matthew's and Thirsty Dog but they dont deliver. Can I get some suggestions for good local delivery pizza?
*Chinese - Is Sun Hing the only option?

Non-Delivery (and this doesnt need to be in Fed Hill, I'll go anywhere in the city for it)
* Consensus Best Sushi
* Best Mexican (Tex-Mex I guess)- I love fajitas, any suggestions? A place that serves fresh jalapenos (none of that pickled canned stuff), hot chips, and salsa with a kick would be great!
* Korean Food
* Red Sauce Italian Place - I'm not looking for the fru fru Northen style Italian but rather the down home, rustic, Southern Style

Everything else I've pretty much been able to find... I'm excited to try all the crab cake options up here; I havent been to Faidley's yet, which im pretty excited about. We'll see how it competes with the places on the eastern shore!

Thanks! I'm looking forward to exploring a new city's cuisine.

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  1. Welcome to the neighborhood. Federal Hill is a great place to live. Unfortunately, it's not a great place to get a pizza delivered. In fact, it's not a great place to get pizza at all. I haven't tried any of the Chinese delivery places, but i think there's a couple of them.

    My favorite sushi is in Columbia, but Matsuri right by Cross Street market is darned good.

    Best Mexican is Mari Luna in Pikesville. I haven't had anything nearly as good in the area.

    3 Replies
    1. re: JonParker

      Thank you., sir

      In my searching I definitely noticed that there are several places outside of the city that people travel to... I'm just trying to try everything *in* the city first before I start venturing out (convenience factor, plus Im really trying to learn the layout of the city).

      1. re: MarcDC

        In some ways the layout of the city is a major annoyance, especially if you live in Federal Hill. There's a lot of good places that require going around the harbor.

        One other place in Federal Hill that you definitely need to try is Thai Arroy. This is a great little Thai place on Light Street with reasonable prices, good food, and a friendly staff.

        While delivery is not much of an option, takeout is plentiful. Just across from Thai Arroy and just north of Regi's is Elvis, and El Salvadoran/Mexican place with huge burritos and tacos. I haven't tried the nachos there, but everything I've had is good, fresh and cheap.

        What part of Federal Hill are you in? There's probably other places within a couple of blocks of you that I can recommend within easy walking distance.

        1. re: JonParker


          I'm living in the HarborView/Pierside condos so pretty much everything involves some level of walking (which I have no issue doing)

    2. There's another Chinese delivery place further up Light St., across from American Apparel. Can't remember the name though. I recall it being average. Never tried Sun Hing, so I can't compare.

      The fajitas at Nacho Mama's in Canton are pretty good. Monday and Tuesday - $25 for 2 orders of fajitas and a pitcher of margarita.

      I also prefer the Columbia Sushi joints, but I recently went to Sushi-San in Canton and had a white tuna roll (one of their specials - some girl's name) that was outstanding.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Chowtimore

        "The fajitas at Nacho Mama's in Canton are pretty good. Monday and Tuesday - $25 for 2 orders of fajitas and a pitcher of margarita."

        Wow, that is a GREAT deal; I'm definitely going to check that out.

        Thanks for the other recommendations!

        1. re: MarcDC

          There's a similar deal (maybe $20 actually) at No Way Jose (right next to Cross St. Market), I can't remember what day it's on. I've never been able to try it, b/c my husband won't eat fajitas (seriously).

          But I love their chicken chimichangas (sp?). They're huge, easily two meals for me.

      2. As far as sushi goes, you're in luck. Matsuri in Federall Hill is by far the best Sushi in Baltimore.

        I have to disagree with the Nacho Mamas advice. Their food is very hit or miss, with it missing more times than not. But their margaritas are tasty. Try one of the numerous mexican joints in Fells Point instead.

        As for Korean, go to Joung Kak on 20th St for authentic Korean BBQ.

        I prefer the fru fru Northern Italian cuisine, so I can't help you there :)

        6 Replies
        1. re: HungryTed

          Haha, thanks for the help Ted.

          Italian food is supposed to be comfort, family style food, not French inspired nonsense! ;-)

          Matsuri is on the top of my list for the next restaurant to try.

          1. re: MarcDC

            Pazza Luna in Locust Point next door to Fed Hill is very good:
            I like Maria D's on Light Street for a good sloppy pizza.
            Matsuri is my favorite Japanese restaurant in town.
            And of course you have the Cross Street Market for all of your raw bar needs and some damn good sushi - and cheap beer, shhh.

              1. re: hon

                Hon, I have always respected your judgement. I have been to numerous places based on your recommendation and found them just as described. I have been known to tell my girlfriend when taking her someplace new "hon recommended it" and she asks no more questions.

                But Maria D's? I thought that place was just terrible. Like scary terrible.

                1. re: JonParker

                  Oh come on Jon! Good sloppy pizza can definitely be had at Maria D's. I don't think hon (or I) would claim it's anywhere near the best pizza in town. But for a big greasy slice of pizza, it's certainly better than Papa Johns or Dominos.

            1. re: HungryTed

              I can't vouch for the rest of the menu, but I've had the blackened chicken fajitas at Nacho Mama's several times and they have always been good.

            2. I used to live in Fed. Hill, congrats on a great place! For convenient Mexican, Blue Agave can't be beat. It's a tad more upscale than Tex-Mex, but it still has good salsa and margaritas. If you're up for traveling around the Harbor, I'll second the suggestions for Nacho Mamas. On their menu it says something like "We make our food spicy, so tell us if that's a problem" - so it's probably perfect for you.

              For Korean, go to Nam Kang, or Joung Kak - they're both located around midtown.

              For sushi, I personally like Edo in the Harbor. Not as good as its original location out in the 'burbs, but at least it's close by! Judging by our other big sushi thread, I think the consensus is actually Sushi Hana in Towson, about 10 min. north of the city.

              Here's a few more places in your neighborhood that I wish I had discovered sooner before I moved:
              Sobo Cafe (cozy, unpretentious New American)
              Ten-O-Six (excellent Asian fusion)
              Rub (new BBQ place, from the owners of Blue Agave)
              Bicycle (pricey New American)
              Beach Bums (awesome ice cream)
              Regi's (good brunch, comes with mini-muffins)

              9 Replies
              1. re: pattiat600block

                Awesome, thanks for the list Patti! Im compiling a list of everyone's suggestions into a Word doc so this is perfect.

                I totally forgot to look into a good Brunch place, thanks for the Regi's info.

                1. re: MarcDC

                  No problem, I just wish I had this site when I moved to the city. Have fun settling in!

                2. re: pattiat600block

                  Anyone else find Beach Bums in Fed Hill has a strange odor? Also, I frequently get ice crystals in my ice cream. The SO gets annoyed cause I always still want to go back anyway. The Towson location I find to be better, though.

                  1. re: bmorecupcake

                    My fiance and I just moved to Federal Hill and we discovered the Old Malt Shoppe on Fort. They serve straight up Hershey's ice cream on cones, milkshakes, and sundaes. Not fancy but perfect as a neighborhood scoop shop. We've really enjoyed walking there after dinner on nice nights. A friend who lives in the neighborhood and is a die-hard ice cream lover used to go to Beach Bums but she says it's gone down hill lately, which I sadly have to agree with.

                  2. re: pattiat600block

                    I would like to 2nd Ten-O-Six - it's one of those places that gets no love on here, but I think is great! I love their pad thai. And their fish specials are usually really good. I haven't been in awhile, I should probably make a trip.

                    The rest of Patti's list is good too. Definitely check out Sobo. Great neighborhood place. And I love Bicycle, just a little expensive for my budget :)

                    I'm sure you've been in the market, but it's a great place for food. You have to try Bruce Lee's Wings. And I love the noodle place Matsuri runs. I also love the soft pretzels.

                    1. re: pigtowner

                      I actually havent been to Cross Street Market yet but im eagerly anticipating it. I just moved up here this past weekend and due to the hours I work I simply dont have time to go out and eat food or even explore the city. For the most part I end up eating dinner at work (which is nice bc I can expense it) so the only "Fed Hill" food I've had is delivery from Sun Hing one night. :-(

                      I've been to Mama's On The Half Shell about five times (I absolutely love that place, the old bay wings are the best wings ive ever had) and had the crab cake sammich from Bo Brooks (it was good, not great). That's about it....

                      1. re: MarcDC

                        I love Mamas too, great crab cakes and shrimp and oysters and clams and everything else!

                    2. re: pattiat600block

                      I am now in DC but used to live in Baltimore, which I think has great food.

                      For Korean, definitely Jung Kak on 20th and Maryland and Nam Kang (with the green awning?) is good too and open late. For some reason, there is a large Korean community in midtown Baltimore, so there are several great restaurants which are MUCH cheaper than in DC. This is also going to sound silly, but there is a Korean lunch place called "OK Oriental" (I think?) at the Northeast Market near Hopkins Medical campus. Great chicken-bulgolgi style, huge portions and really cheap (relative to DC). Also get the fried string beans tossed in sesame oil. Delicious.

                      SoBo Cafe--I whole heartedly agree; for great comfort food (pork chops and mashed; mac and cheese; chix pot pie).
                      Golden West Cafe in Hamden--great atmosphere, eclectic menu and good food/prices

                      As for Mex/Salvadoran, there are a bunch of new Salvadoran places that opened up recently in Fells Point; the only one I've been to is La Guadalupana (on Eastern?), but that was a long time ago... It was fantastic and authentic; situated as part of a Latino grocery store where you can stock up on queso fresco and fresh tomatillos.

                      Enjoy Baltimore--it's a great city.

                      1. re: monkeygirl99

                        thanks for the suggestions, much appreciated.

                    3. Welcome to the neighborhood! You've done a decent job of research as you've highlighted alot of the weaknesses.

                      There really is no good pizza delivery in the neighborhood. Mikies on Fort Ave delivers and is the go to place for a poker night, we need three large pizzas type of thing, which is not necessarily a full 'hound worthy endorsement.

                      I haven't tried to find any good Chinese since Chi left Light Street about 8 years ago. If there is some out there, please post back and let us know.

                      For sushi, as mentioned earlier, try Matsuri on Charles Street.

                      For Mexican, I think Baltimore does better authentic Mexican / South American than Tex-Mex. Elvis on Light Street is actually really good and definitely try El Taquito in Upper Fells Point.

                      You are out of luck regarding down home rustic Italian. You can find a decent dish or two in Little Italy, but none can be described as down home. The closest you will find is DiPasquali's (Gough Street in Highlandtown). They do killer sandwiches and the like but usually have one pasta dish that changes daily, which is often quite good. The down side is that they closes early, so it really is limited to a late afternoon Saturday type of place. Its definitely worth the trip around the harbor.

                      Again, welcome to the neighborhood. Be sure to post back here as you try out places in the city. Its always good to get a fresh perspective.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: KAZ

                        Thanks for the suggestions KAZ, I will absolutely report back once I try a handful of places... I have a list of all the places I want to try (from my own searching and from this thread) and I will definitely be taking my own notes on them.

                        It's fun moving to a new city. I have the DC scene down pat. Having lived there my whole life it was starting to get to a point where I tried all the "hound" places and was starting to get bored with the scene there. That's not to say there arent several places that will be sorely missed! I'm excited to try everything Baltimore has to offer that's for sure!

                      2. For home style Italian, Little Italy's probably your best bet, check out Chiapperelli's on High Street or Amicci's next door. Like all Little Italy's the world over, everyone has their personal favourites, so it might be just a matter of walking over and cruising the menus, checking the boards, and taste testing to find what you like.
                        I'm a huge fan of the sushi @ Chiu's next to Wholefoods over in Harbour East, it's not that far of a walk or bike ride, if the weather's nice. If i'm out of the city, Sushi Hanna's in Towson is my first stop.
                        Check out Locust Point for brunch spots - Hull Street Blues and the Harvest Table.
                        For everyday coffee shop fare (bagels and coffee) or cafe meal (sandwiches/salads/burgers) try 'The Met' (aka: Metropolitan) on Charles Street in Fed Hill.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: aussiewonder

                          Aussie, I completely forgot about Metropolitan! We actually had a great dinner meal there - definitely not what we expected from the coffee and cafe sandwiches billing. Huge salad, topped with more seared tuna and salmon than I could finish, with mango, pears and avocado... mmm.

                          1. I'm so glad I found this thread, as my fiancee and I are moving to Fed. Hill very shortly as well. Just to add my two cents, tried "Elvis" based largely on good reviews here. Got a chicken burrito, which was good and freaking enormous. As an FYI to something else I read regarding this place, the chips/salsa are no longer free...they cost $2.00, according to the menu (not that I could have/should have eaten more anyway). Am so excited to try the other places talked about on the Chowhound.

                            PS...Tried the fish tacos/fish sandwich at Captain Larry's on Fort Ave. Believe the hype.

                            1. Oh I forgot to ask, what's the go to bagel place in Baltimore? I'm willing to travel anywhere to get great bagels. Let me preface this by saying I looking for a real bagel, not the garbage that Dunkin Donuts, Einstein and Panera serves. For those familiar with NYC something similar to Ess-a-Bagel or Murray's Bagels in the village. A good source for whitefish salad would be great too!

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: MarcDC

                                nothing as good as essa bagel, but goldbergs on reisterstown rd. in pikesvilled has to be the best in the area.

                                Goldberg's New York Bagels
                                1498 Reisterstown Rd, Pikesville, MD 21208

                                1. re: elegantelliot

                                  fantastic! My office is about 4 miles from there so this is a perfect place to stop before I get home.


                                  1. re: elegantelliot

                                    i second this. i know plenty of local chefs who source their bagels from here bc they are SO good. I don't eat whitefish salad but you could check out Attmans or Lennys on 'Corned Beef Row' aka; Lombard street on the edge of little italy/jonestown.

                                    1. re: elegantelliot

                                      Thank you for the recommendation!! I went there this past friday before work and got an everything bagel with nova, cream cheese, and onions; it hit the spot!

                                      This is definitely where im going to be buying my bagels from since it's so close to the office. thanks again

                                  2. OOOH, I've got you for pizza. This will sound weird, but there is an Indian restaurant in Locust Point called Himalayan House that has the best pizza ever. (Think: pizza cooked in a tandoori oven - yum.) The best ones we've had are their Steak Specialty and the one that is like a white pizza, with three cheeses (can't think of the name).

                                    They do deliver to Fed, and their Indian food is absolutely amazing, too. I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that!

                                    As a side bonus, the owner Prem Raja Mahat is a rock star in Nepal and he plays around Baltimore all the time and is about the nicest man in the world. He's actually playing at Ottobar this weekend I think - : )

                                    Check out their website: http://www.thehimalayanhouse.com/inde...

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: terri.m.peters

                                      Haha!! Just last night I went down to the front desk at my condo and asked them if they had any suggestions as far as delivery places go. He gave me a bunch of menus (including Mike's PIzza and Subs, Mustang Pizza, Wok and Roll, some greek place that's open til like 330am, and an Afghan Kebab place) and one of them was Himalayan House. He said, "Now, I've never eaten here but there is one couple in this cooking that swears by them. I hear they have really good Tandoori Chicken but I can't vouch for this place.

                                      Wow, I never would have thought an Indian place would make good pizza. I'll DEFINITELY check that out. Thanks!

                                      1. re: terri.m.peters

                                        ok wow, so I ordered indian food from Himalayan House and I have to say, for delivery indian food it is very good. I had the tandoori chicken, lamb mehti, and a lamb kabob (friends and i ordered). we were very pleased with the quality of the food.

                                        I need to order a pizza from here but the indian food looks so good!

                                      2. I have to agree with Jon that the best Mexican is Mari Luna -- worth the drive to Pikesville. The fajitas are fantastic, but you absolutely must try the shrimp soup. It's slightly thinner than a bisque, but just as rich with bits of grilled shrimp on the bottom. Yum.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: bon_vivant

                                          great, at some point ill go there after work...

                                        2. Just wanted to let you all know that I went to Matsuri tonight for carry out. I got the Ravens Roll and the Princess Roll (honestly, I was on the phone while ordering and these were the two specials that stood out. i didnt realize until after i was off the phone that both of them were basically spicy tuna rolls with different toppings). I just finished both the rolls and I have to say they were very good. The Ravens Roll was great; i love how the eel was ever so slightly charred at the edges, it gave it a nice smokey flavour. The spicy mayo aioli on the Princess Roll had just the right amount of kick (at least for me, but I like things spicy). While I was waiting for the sushi I downed a bottle of Hitachino White Ale, which I've never had before... I thought it was very very good.

                                          All in all I was very happy with it. I grabbed a carry out menu on the way out and I know for a fact I'll be ordering from here in the not too distant future. Thank you for the suggestion.

                                          1. I moved to Federal Hill from DC and three years later still lament that there is almost NO delivery in the neighborhood, except for one crummy Chinese place and the bad pizza chains. Not great Mexican, but good Salvadoran in Fells Point, several places.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: sweetpotater


                                              I agree, the delivery in Federal Hill isn't the best, but I think Ultimate Pizza (on Cross Street) has relatively decent pizza.

                                              For Mexican, Lime (801 Fort Avenue) has great drinks and food. The menu is small, but you can get the standards (tacos, burritos, etc.) and everything has been pretty good.

                                              For Chinese, Café Zen at York Road and Belvedere Avenue is great, although it's about 15 minutes from Federal Hill.

                                            2. Welcome. I divide my time between DC (living in Gaithersburg) and Baltimore (restored rowhouse in Highlandtown), so I have favorites all over the area. Some general observations: 1) The best crab cakes are in unlikely spots such as the Nautilus Diner on York Road and the G&M Cafe which is near BWI Airport; Mo's seafood restaurant out Eastern Avenue (not the one in Little Italy) also excels. If you like gluttony, go there for something like the salmon with crab imperial. 2) Everyone has their favorite neighborhood spot in Canton and mine is Helen's, with half-price wine at the bar until 8 p.m. and their full and excellent menu served there. Mama's is right across the square. 3) The local coffee shops are first-rate. In my area, it's Patterson Perk, while in South Baltimore, Spoons is a relaxing place to sit and drink coffee and have breakfast if your schedule permits. So is the Blue Moon, but you can't walk there. 4) I like the Wine Market in Locust Point although some people on this board have been down on it; be interested in a fresh report. The last two times my wife and I tried to go there the wait was too long, even at the bar. 5) For Chinese get in your car and go back to Washington or to Northern Virginia. It's the black hole, the missing link of Baltimore food, which is curious because we're sated with good sushi. 6) I relax in Baltimore like I never can in DC. You will, too. We may actually retire there....

                                              7 Replies
                                              1. re: jkosnett

                                                great, thanks.

                                                yea, coming from DC and having Rockville so close by, I didnt think baltimore had anything that could compete...

                                                1. re: MarcDC

                                                  Off topic a bit, but for a great lunch across the harbor on Lombard Street
                                                  Attmanns for Corned Beef on Rye with mustard , a done pickle and a Dr. Browns Cream soda
                                                  Weis Deli for a Cloak and Dagger(Corned beef on rye with slaw and russian dressing) pickled tomato and a Dr. Browns Cream soda(always Dr Browns wid corned beef)
                                                  And remember Ft McHenry is in the area and makes for a very good picnic area...

                                                  1. re: Hue

                                                    not off topic at all, thanks!

                                                    1. re: MarcDC

                                                      Hi MarcDC,
                                                      We just moved here also from Manhattan and wanted to second some of the spots already mentioned and add a couple of others and see what people think:
                                                      Harvest Table -- just had brunch there today. Not the greatest atmosphere but it was delish. Just over on Hull St. in Locust Point
                                                      Thai Arroy
                                                      Matsuri (best sushi we've found so far)
                                                      Wine Market
                                                      Cork's (not mentioned but we really liked it -- tried it for restaurant week)
                                                      SoBo Cafe
                                                      Sam's Bagels
                                                      Old Malt Shoppe on Fort

                                                      Let us know if you find other stuff you think is good...

                                                      1. re: yummyseeker

                                                        Hi MarcDC- Welcome! I live in Canton but used to live in Fells and I think there a few Pizza joints you can try out.
                                                        Delivery in Canton which I believe travels around the water is Tutti Gusti this is for your good basic thin crust cheese pizza. I admit I am not an expert pizza eater but they deliver, are reasonably priced and I think their sauce has flavor. The other more upscale option for Pizza which is not deliverybut BYOB I think is Iggies at 818 N. Calvert Street Mount Vernon or Joe's Squared Pizza and Bar at 133 W. North Ave. Charles St North
                                                        There is also carry out option in Fells BOP (brick oven pizza) in Fells Point which has numerous toppings.

                                                        Consensus Best Sushi-Kowalsaki's in Fells is ok, I prefer Sushi in the county Towson or Timonium area San Sushi and San Sushi II.

                                                        Tex-Mex- Canton Austin Grill

                                                        Best Mexican (Tex-Mex I guess)- As for Mexican not texmex there are several in the upper fells point areas on Broadway, Eastern Ave, and Fleet such as:
                                                        La Tortilleria (awesome tacos, fresh tortillas-more carryout joint great salsas)
                                                        La Guadalupanas (market inside as well.)
                                                        Arcos (Northern Mexican mostly, fresh food)
                                                        El Trovador (Mix Central Amer. and Mex. zagat rated)
                                                        El Salvador (el salvadorian food very good)
                                                        El taquito (BYOB-voted City Paper best years ago)

                                                        * Red Sauce Italian Place -This is a toughy in our area...You can try
                                                        Amicci's in little Italy
                                                        Pasticcio'a Italian Kitchen in Canton next the Tex Mex joint Austin Grille
                                                        Tiburzi's in Canton 900 S. Kenwood Ave.
                                                        S'getti Eddie's 410 W. Cold Spring Lane, Roland Park

                                                        1. re: hammocc

                                                          thanks for the extensive mex rundown! i plan on giving amicci's a try as it was recommended by a couple other people as well.

                                                        2. re: yummyseeker

                                                          thanks yummyseeker! as i begin to try these places ill report back... it must be hard moving from nyc to baltimore for several things (pizza, bagels, sushi, italian)

                                                2. i'm too lazy to read thru the posts. but here are my votes. i used to live on Fort Ave. until 2 years ago. i noticed someone mentioning Pazza Luna. It's new owners though, right? so i imagine the shrimp scampi and clam apps are no longer as divine? how is it?

                                                  my picks:
                                                  Best Thai: Thai Arroy
                                                  Best Sushi: Kiku for low-key night... their spicy tuna is heaven.
                                                  Best Fine Dining: Corks
                                                  Best Night Out: The Wine Market (for extra fun, sit at the bar when Kelli is working)

                                                  outside of Fed Hill, you should go to Belvedere Square... Ceriello's for great italian grocery shopping (have some Eggplant Parmigiana while you're there)... Atwater's connected for good soup/sandwiches and local produce. and next door is Greg's Bagels. Their everything bagels are to DIE for. There's CUMIN in them!!!!!!

                                                  other fun joints:
                                                  Pazo for tapas
                                                  Petit Louis (sister restaurant to Pazo and Charleston) for good bistro fare...
                                                  Holy Frijoles for seriously good refried bean taquitos

                                                  Mt. Vernon is a fun place to explore too!!!!