The 10 Best Restaurants In Federal Hill, Baltimore

Photo of Lauren Gruber
9 February 2017

Baltimore’s historic Federal Hill neighborhood has become a hip magnet for young professionals, with a thriving restaurant scene that draws in foodies. Here’s our guide to the best spots in Federal Hill.

Thai Array

This relatively cheap BYOB with traditional Thai dishes is some of best Thai in town. The menu is fairly extensive and includes two types of pad Thais, a second protein option for vegetarians and flavorful sauces and soups. A popular staple here is the drunken noodles and panang curry with fried bananas to top it off. A bonus is that any dish can be made vegan-friendly, and they even carry imitation meats like duck.

1019 Light St Baltimore, MD 21230 410-385-8587

The Abbey Burger Bistro

Bar, Bistro, Pub, Restaurant, American, Wine, Beer, Cocktails, Pub Grub, $$$
The Abbey Burger Bistro, Baltimore
The Abbey Burger Bistro, Baltimore | ©Jeff Kubina/Flickr
The Abbey Burger Bistro is a favorite of the Federal Hill area. This creative burger joint offers a variety of house burgers, like the peanut butter and bacon burger or the crab cake burger. Other options include a bison and lamb burger, with the standard option being roseda black angus or chicken. However, you can also build your own, so almost everything comes customized if desired. There are also vegetarian options like the fried green tomato as well as a homemade veggie burger, and a slew of show-stopping appetizers like the fried pickles. This joint is also a sports bar with 12 TVs, making for a perfectly casual spot.

Matsuri Japanese Restaurant

Restaurant, Japanese, Sushi, Asian, $$$
Piled with praise continually by Baltimore Magazine and Baltimore City Paper,Matsuri is one of the best, if not the best, sushi restaurant in town. It is often visited by Baltimore’s sports celebs and visiting filmmakers. The freshest ingredients, Matsuri also offers great teriyaki and tempura dishes. However, the star of the show is the happy hour specials that can be found from 4.30pm to 7pm during the week.

SoBo Cafe

Bar, Cafe, Restaurant, American, Vegan, Vegetarian, Fast Food, Wine, Beer, Cocktails, Korean, $$$
SoBo Cafe, Baltimore
SoBo Cafe, Baltimore | ©A. Currell/Flickr
Cozy, intimate SoBo Cafe is a perfect addition to the Federal Hill neighborhood. The American restaurant prepares made-from-scratch, seasonal dishes. Their popular items include their Korean chicken fried steak or their soups like the chilled corn, complete with popcorn in it. You can also get wine flights from their full bar. SoBo is a popular destination for locals and visitors fortunate enough to know about it. They also serve a mean brunch on weekends.

Harbor Que

With some of the best BBQ in the district, Harbor Que keeps customers coming back for their Carolina style brisket. While most BBQ joints mask their rough meeting sauces, Harbor Que cooks their lean meat to perfection with its hickory smoked juices. They also have tasty sides of mac n cheese and hush puppies. Although it has no frills, the charming interior greets you with a nice homestyle, country feeling.

1125 S Charles St Baltimore, MD 21230 410-685-7675


Restaurant, American, Vegetarian, Vegan
This charming, farm-to-table restaurant with New American cuisine is a newer addition to the Federal Hill neighborhood. Liv2Eat’s popular items include the tender Amish chicken, the risotto fritters and the loaded crab cakes. Local and seasonal products compromise the menu, and it rotates frequently. For brunch, try the unlimited mimosas or cocktails. If you have kids there is a train set for them to play at, and if the weather is nice, ask to be seated in their ‘secret’ garden section.

Brendali Italian Ristorante

Restaurant, Italian, Fast Food, Vegan, Vegetarian
Another BYOB establishment, Brendali is a hole-in-the-wall Italian restaurant with rave reviews from patrons. The ambience is simple, and the outside is understated, leaving you surprised at the incredible food within. The traditional menu consists of large portions for great prices. Patrons enjoy the calamari and large portions of lasagna. The family-run restaurant also serves their homemade pasta with their made-from-scratch dishes. It is the only Italian restaurant in the neighborhood, but also one of the best in the city.

Byblos Lebanese Cuisine

This hidden gem located in a row-home offers outstanding and authentic Middle Eastern cuisine. Locals often rave about the well-cooked chicken shwarma and lamb, while the spices and flavors of the cardamom and cloves in the teas will leave you invigorated. The teas pair well with other spices in the meal, but nothing is overpowering. Excellent service help make a comforting meal, and it’s also BYOB.

1033 Light St Baltimore, MD 21230 410-209-2495

The outside seating on the top floor of the American Visionary Art Museum
©Ken Mayer/Flickr


Located in the American Visionary Art Museum, Encantada has a powerhouse American menu that includes some vegan and vegetarian options that are the stars. Choose from their cauliflower buffalo wings, the heirloom tomatoes or the gnocchi with its creamy tomato sauce. Their creative drinks come garnished and in colorful presentations. The Cheshire Cat cocktail changes colors as you sip it, while the Melon Spruce has an edible flower. Guests should also check out the outside patio on a nice day. If you’re looking for beautiful presentation as well as taste for a reasonably priced solution, Encantada is the way to go.

800 Key Hwy Baltimore, MD 21230 410-752-1000

The historic and hip Federal Hill district where The Local Fry is located in Baltimore.
©Axel Drainville/Flickr

The Local Fry

The Local Fry gives meaning to the classification of Federal Hill as ‘hip.’ This BYOB diner is a fusion between New American and Korean-inspired plates, with the main feature being their French fry plates. Their trophy dishes include Korean short ribs and the kimchi pork belly fries with a heaping helping of traditional ingredients that play with textures and flavors like heat and saltiness. Also try their bahn mi sandwiches that pack just as much of a punch, and they also have other internationally themed fries on the menu as well.

21 E Cross St Baltimore, MD 21230 410-244-1283

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