Atwater's, Belvedere Square
It seems that the majority of hounders seem to enjoy Atwaters, the small but sufficient market in Belvedere Square (Baltimore for you DCers :P ) that prides itself in selling local produce. So it's really not a necessity to add on another positive review, but I tend to find that when I'm in a quick pinch to find info on a place, an OP review with the name in the topic is like a chowhound miracle. So here goes.
This past sunday I had decided on a lunch with a friend of mine who is currently in the TFA program. She lives in butcher's hill, and teaching has just been so busy that she hasn't had much of a chance to explore anything outside of canton, federal hill, little italy. I thought Atwaters would be a nice place to sit and chat and catch-up. I hadn't been there for quite some time myself.
We both ordered a cup of soup and a half a sandwich. Both soups were the sweet potato & corn chowder. I ordered the muffaletta (remembered it being very good when I last went) and she had the vegetarian. The soups were fantastic. Coming from living in the south for the past four years (both of us), a hearty corn chowder with bold flavorful spices just hit the spot on a cold day. With large chunks of sweet potato and shrimp and crab, there just wasn't anything not to like.
My muffaletta was likewise tastey though even I'll admit that it wasn't a particularly 'bold' choice on my part (in my defense I plan on going back more frequently these days to try other concoctions). Ham, salami, mortadella, and provolone were predictably on the heavier side of things, but the tapenade was a wonderful mixture of flavors. I know people who aren't fans of tapenade; I am not one of them.
Her vegetarian was fantastic. Roasted red peppers, avacado, cucumbers, goat cheese, and other things I'm sure I'm leaving out mixed surprisingly well together. It's one of those vegetarian dishes that you really don't have to be a vegetarian to love. It's not rabbit food; I gaurantee that.
To round the other things off: the service was acceptable. People were polite and food was brought quickly, our waters were topped off before they hit empty. I don't expect much more from a place like that. We got water, but the root beer on tap was definitely on our minds.
Overall a wonderful lunch. I'm always a fan of anyplace that doesn't shy from flavor and spices and you'll find both here as well as fresh ingredients. I've been told that they use no standard recipes (they just kinda wing it?) which is pretty cool. It's a tad pricier than some other decent deli/cafes, sure ($9.50 for the cup and half sandwich) but the portions are acceptably large. You won't feel skimped, and I think you'll find the extra buck or two spent worth it.
I live nearby, but have only ever eaten there once, shame on me! Is this the type of place I can swing by on the way home to pick up some tasty dinner? Or do they close before that hour? Are there better choices for take-home dinner at Belvedere? I find that parking can be a challenge there- what was your experience?
We go to Atwater's for carry-out at least once a week. We have not purchased a can of soup at the grocery store since they opened and I have no interest in making my own with them that close by.
The Market area closes at 7 PM Mon-Sat, Sunday at 4 PM, but they're open later and have live music in the square Friday nights during the summer. Which I avoid as I do not drink alcohol or have a small child. It's very crowded those nights.
Yes, parking can be difficult.
After Atwater's, I'd choose Ikan Sushi, Cafe Zen then Eygptian Pizza, in that order. The latter two have their own hours. Go to belvederesquare.com for other choices and more info. Search this board for other reviews as well.
Paulyr's times are dead on. However, I'd highly recommend going during sat/sun and buying a quart of soup home and reheating them for dinner or whatever. I even bring them to work with me if I'm itching for the flavor. They reheat surprisingly well. I agree that parking can be hard during the busier hours, but between the three parking areas (atwater side, Egyptian pizza side, and ryan's daughter the irish pub) you should be fine. You can also park a little further down york near the senator lots. It's only about a block or two away.
I've never had the sushi, but I do enjoy cafe zen once in awhile. The Egyptian Pizza is really a 'you have to try it' sort of thing. I know people that swear by the tandoori chicken pizza.
For more info on atwaters go to atwaters.biz and paulyr gave you the belvedere website.
Hope this helps.