Hottest Restaurants and Bars in Baltimore

A German beer garden, a whiskey bar and a seafood specialist
December 22, 2017
by Zagat Staff

From an all-day Italian eatery helmed by a New York City chef to a sleek destination for Argentinean classics, these are Baltimore's must-hit restaurants right now.

Rye Street Tavern
South Baltimore · $$$

Stationed alongside Port Covington’s Sagamore Spirit Distillery, celebrity chef Andrew Carmellini’s modern gastropub specializes in updated local comforts like crab pot pie, fried chicken and wood-fired seafood bakes plus beer, wine and housemade spirits. The decor reflects the relaxed, coastal cuisine, with warm copper accents, a long bar revealing the kitchen’s open hearth and riverside seating complete with fire pits.
The Elk Room
Cocktail Bar · Little Italy · $$

Hidden behind Harbor East Italian chophouse Tagliata, this dimly lit cocktail den from Atlas Restaurant Group (Ouzo Bay, Azumi) transports patrons back in time with handcrafted classic cocktails and rustic dishes like venison tartare and elk tacos. Vintage touches like taxidermy and crystal chandeliers coupled with nightly live jazz and a strict cell phone ban heighten the bar’s intimate, Prohibition-era ambiance.
The Charles Baltimore
Brunch · Federal Hill · $$

A sports bar with a sophisticated side, this Federal Hill outpost serves revamped pub fare like "Nashville Hot” avocados, parsnip bibimbap and lobster roll rangoon alongside craft cocktails over two spacious stories. The industrial-chic space features whitewashed brick and custom steel and wood beam shelving, plus two bars, multiple TVs and a DJ booth.
Italian · Little Italy · $$$

Italian mainstays drive this upscale Harbor East eatery from Atlas Restaurant Group (Ouzo Bay, Azumi), where dishes like duck confit bruschetta, housemade squid ink campanelle and dry-aged rib-eyes are accompanied by a textbook-sized wine list. Edison bulbs cast a warm glow on an art deco–inspired bar, while a strip of courtyard seating and nightly live music add a European-chic touch.
Ida B's Table
Soul Food · Downtown · $$

Dedicated to civil rights activist and feminist Ida B. Wells, this Downtown outpost offers reimagined soul food like catfish Reubens and 'Southern sushi' (a dirty rice, chicken and pickles rolled in collards) plus creative cocktails. The industrial-chic design completes the down home theme, with exposed beams, brick walls, corrugated tin and picture windows setting a friendly, approachable tone.
Sir Duke Bar & Liquor Store
Fells Point · $$

Marked by a vibrant red-and-black sign, this Fells Point liquor shop–bar serves up local craft beer, cocktails and boozy milkshakes alongside bar bites like wings, tacos and flatbread pizzas under the warm glow of hanging Edison bulbs. Brightly painted, art-filled walls create a lively feel, while crowded glass cabinets show off bottles to go.
Seafood · South Baltimore · $$

From the brothers behind La Cuchara comes this South Baltimore seafood specialist offering regionally sourced catch alongside non-fish options like an upscale burger and fried chicken, plus creative cocktails and Med-focused wines. The rustic-modern space features a communal chef's table with a view of the open kitchen.
R. House
Breakfast · Remington · $

Set in a 50,000-sq.-ft. converted auto body shop in Remington, this happening food hall is home to 10 chef-driven counters dishing up everything from fried chicken and tacos to poke and falafel. The food stalls form the perimeter of the industrial-chic space with R. Bar – a bar serving cocktails, wine and beer – in the center, surrounded by tables for 350 guests.
The Elephant
Mt. Vernon · $$$

Crystal chandeliers, ornate marble fireplaces and rose-colored walls set the stage for modern, global-inspired American cuisine, plus craft cocktails and wine, at this bi-level Mount Vernon hangout also featuring an atrium, two lounges and a marble bar.
HandleBar Cafe
Breakfast · Fells Point · $$

Local mountain bike Hall of Famer Marla Streb and her bartender husband are behind this Fell's Point cycler's hangout blending bike repair and service with a full breakfast to dinner menu of American eats (including build-your-own burritos and wood-fired pizzas), coffee, cocktails and beer. The sprawling, industrial-chic space boasts high ceilings, wood furnishings and a garage door entrance, plus wheel and handlebar decor throughout, of course.