Baltimore loves crabs. Soft- or hard-shell crabs, crab cakes, crab dip—the city's passion for clawed crustaceans seems to have no end. Flag down a Baltimore native and ask them where the best crab joint is and you'll get dozens of different options. In addition to crabs and seafood, Baltimore's restaurant landscape includes Afghan, Greek, American, tapas, and other ethnic cuisines. The city's dining choices may not compare to those of New York, or even Washington, but it does have some real standouts and surprises.
Since most of the Inner Harbour only has chain and hotel restaurants, you'll want to head north up Charles Street to Mount Vernon—the city's centre for fine dining. Or, you can go south down Light Street to try Federal Hill's trendy pubs, sushi bars, and bistros. A few blocks east of the Inner Harbour, Little Italy has a host of Italian restaurants, most of which serve classic southern Italian, spaghetti-with-garlic-bread fare. Yet father east, Fells Point has some renowned local restaurants. Charles Village, near Johns Hopkins University, and Hampden, just west, also have some funky casual options. Note that most places generally stop serving by 10 pm, if not earlier.