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Moving to Federal Hill in Baltimore - Help

I'm putting in an offer on a house in federal hill today; relocating to Baltimore from Boston. I'm looking for some help getting together a list of the places we have to try. My wife and I eat just about anything.

In short, I'm looking for all the places you would eat in Baltimore (primarilly fed hill) one last time before you left if you were moving away.

So far I've heard of the following (but not tried):
- The Bicycle
- Pazo
- The Wine Market
- Jack's Bistro
- Birches
- Matsuri

Any help would be much appreciated. I could really use suggestions on great seafood, italian, cheap eats, high-end dinners for a couple, good lunch spots (near the inner harbor) and places to take clients.

In addition I'm also looking for a:
- large organic grocier
- farmer's market
- fish market
- great independent butcher
- micro-coffee roaster


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  1. Salt, Sammy's trattoria, Iggies,

    1. - large organic grocier
      Our big organic grocer in the city is Whole Foods 2 locations- farther north is Trader Joes
      - farmer's market
      on Sundays there is a large farmer's market under the JFX highway that runs aprox memorial day- Christmas it is absoultly wonderful!
      Year round there is the Waverly Farmer's Market in Charles Village/Waverly- many of the same vendors as downtown but smaller in size (I'm partial to this market as it is closer to me)
      - fish market/ - great independent butcher
      In Federal hill you will be close to Cross street Market, the market has been in a bit of trasition the past few years but is good place to go for fish and meat & cut flowers
      Lexington Market further north is much larger. IMO It often has better selection (definetly in Meat) and sometimes quality. Great for candy and Berger cookies
      - micro-coffee roaster
      Blue Bird is wonderful- local people who offer sustainable and organic artisanal beans http://bluebirdcoffee.com/bluebird.swf - I can't say enough good things about them!
      another good place is Zeke's- again local people. They are at the local farmer's markets and many restuarants in town

      You have a great list of resturants to ck out I highly second CJ's Iggie's rec!

      Also check out these great italian markets:
      Tranacria on Paca st. best aged provolone and homemade olive oil,
      Mastaoloni's on Harford Rd. wonderful sandwiches too.

      3 Replies
      1. re: poached

        Thanks for all the suggestions, we had a great meal at the Bicycle and checked out the Lexington & Cross st. markets.

        Was also wondering if there was a good wine store and a packie with a lot of micro-brews on hand?

        1. re: LiveCJ

          The wine source in hampden & chesapeake wine in canton have great carryout beer selections

          1. re: LiveCJ

            The Wine Market in Fedral hill is a market in addition to the restuarant. I'v never shopped there as wine source among others are closer to me. But I have perused and they had a nice selection of wine and I think some micro brews as well.

            Another really wonderful Wine shop in town is Spirits in MountVernon, corner of Read and Charles. Very helpful & knowledgeable staff. Check them out!

        2. Hull Street Blues for good bar food and some local drafts
          Hit Lomabrd Street(just north of the harbor) for lunch, consensus is Attmans, but I enjoy the Cloak and Dagger and the pickles at Weis's Deli.

          1. Bin 604 is a really nice wine shop next to Whole Foods in the new inner harbor east/fells point area. Their staff is very helpful and they have a system where they track your purchases in case you enjoyed something but forgot the name.

            I second the advice to visit the JFX Farmer's Market. The earlier you can stand to get there the better. I go at 7:30 and rarely have to wait in line for anything. I find the JFX Market to be much bigger and diverse than the Sat. Waverly market. Plus, the pit beef sandwich can't be beat.
            Welcome to Baltimore!

            1. Welcome to the neighborhood! There are a lot of things to comment on so I'll just stick to our area...
              I'm so happy you and your wife enjoyed the Bicycle. From the first time we went there, the BF and I loved it and it is a favorite of ours, especially that back patio on these warm nights.
              Wine Market has a good brunch and happy hour, I have not had dinner there but wouldn't hesitate after positive experiences thus far. The wine shop is good probably the best in our little area but if you want a wider selection, follow all recommendations to the Wine Source in Hampden. It's great!
              Matsuri is delicious as well and many posts on the boards will claim it as the best sushi in the city. Nice to have it in our neighborhood.
              One you hadn't mentioned is Ryleigh's Oyster on Cross Street. Fun for happy hour. Raw bar specials, orange crushes, good spot to watch an O's game if you can't make it to the yard.
              Stop in to Spoons for coffee and breakfast, I've noticed they are carrying beer now as well.
              Check out Dog Pub for nights you feel like pizza and beer.
              Regi's is good for brunch on Sundays
              Places I have yet to go but have heard good things- Sobo Cafe and Thai Arroy. I haven't been to Corks in 5 years but it was good once upon a time...
              The name escapes me now, but there is a bakery on Charles Street that makes gluten free desserts be sure to stop in for a sample. it's just north of the market on the left hand side.
              Glad you enjoyed the Cross Street market, be sure to check out the JFX market on Sundays. I get there around 8am and would recommend going early.

              2 Replies
              1. re: BaltoPhilFood

                I'm just not big on Sobo -- it felt to me like their ambition was bigger than their ability. I wasn't impressed enough with Wine Market to consider dinner there, but it's a nice happy hour. Most of your other recs are spot on.

                Tell me more about Regi's. I haven't made it there yet.

                1. re: JonParker

                  Thanks for the tip on Sobo, no rush to get in there. Still would love to try Thai Arroy.
                  Regi's is a solid brunch, it's been a while but the last time I was there they give you a basket of mini muffins while you look over the menu. They have great egg dishes (most of the options) and vanilla french toast and a few lunch items if you are craving a burger for breakfast. The fruit is always very fresh and every 'eye-opener' I've sampled has always hit the spot. Bacon, potatoes, chorizo in some dishes, etc. I believe they have it on Saturday now as well. No complaints about service either. I'm wondering why I haven't been back more recently! Now I know where I'll be this Saturday morning...

              2. Nicks Seafood in the Cross Street market has a very good fish market, in my opinion. My wife and I go there about once a week to pick up fish/shrimp for dinner. It's also a good lunch spot for a pretty cheap eat (try the shrimp and/or crabcake).

                Also, Thai Arroy is very good (on Charles St. in Federal Hill).

                1 Reply
                1. re: brats_n_curds

                  There is also Nick's Fish House (2600 Insulator Drive...near the Walmart at Port Covington). They have an all you can eat brunch on Sundays that is pretty good.

                2. Nasu Blanca is a very good, odd mix of Spanish and Japanese with some great happy hour deals on small plates/Spanish wine/sake at the bar.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: ko1

                    I totally agree, but sadly Nasu closed down about a month ago.

                    1. re: kelarry

                      OH NO! I guess that's why they hadn't been mentioned.

                  2. The best meat I've found is from Springfield Farms, which is all the way in Sparks, up 83. They have a little retail location on their farm, but you can also order anything you want and get it in a few days. I don't think they call themselves organic, but they're clearly humanely raised and very nice people. If you have kids they can run around the farm and hang out with the lambs and chickens and the gigantically huge pigs, which are actually a little scary looking.

                    If you head up there, there's a Wegmans, which lots of people like for groceries. It's big and has lots of organic produce and pretty good meat and fish selections too.

                    If you have gone to Smitty's yet, they're on the corner of Charles and Cross and have am amazingly good wine/beer selection for a corner liquor store.

                    1. Welcome!
                      The staples that my wife and I survive on (in Fed Hill) are:
                      1. Thai Arroy
                      2. Sun Hing (really fresh, cheap takeout/delivery Chinese)
                      3. Mikie's Pizza (but they're only a tiny bit better than the other mediocre pizza in FedHill)

                      1. Since it sounds like you like to cook you might want to look into a CSA. The one we belong to is One Straw Farm. They have drop-offs all over town plus they take part in farmer's markets: http://www.onestrawfarm.com/