Rita’s Place - For those who enjoy the tranquility of the late night and early morning, be it through work or insomnia, there is the cozy and friendly Rita’s Place.
Of course, people with a more diurnal schedule are welcome as well. Located at 24th and Charles and tucked under a salon, it’s easy to miss in the bustle of midday foot traffic. While they are open for lunch, the true strength of the restaurant is its breakfast.
There’s nothing fancy going on here, just well prepared morning standards at more than convenient prices. Roll in at six in the morning after your night shift or when you’re starting your day. Order some combination of eggs, toast, sausage or bacon, and a heaping of home-fries with onions for no more than $5. Finally, take a moment to listen to the sounds of a sleepy Baltimore go through its morning stretches for the ideal experience at Rita's.
Bismillah - If you've frequented the many Indian restaurants in the area or are simply in the mood for something new, check out Bismillah located at Charles and 24th St.
Bismillah recently changed owners, but still offers homestyle Pakistani cuisine which, while similar to Indian in many respects, still has many unique dishes of its own. One thing of particular interest is that many of the overbearing flavors of certain Indian dishes are not to be found here. Instead, these basic ingredients get a chance to speak for themselves.
In particular, Bismillah offers several fantastic beef dishes on occasion (the haleem, in particular, is stellar) as well as butter chicken served bone-in with a creamy and spicy sauce that is closer to gravy than traditional curries.
For those dining on a budget, I would suggest the chicken seekh kebab (ground chicken and onions laid in a strip and cooked in a tandoori oven) or the daily lunch buffet. Both are $7.99. The staff is more than friendly and will always try to strike up a conversation while you are waiting for your food or dining in.
Terra Cafe - When it comes to traditional comfort and soul food, there are plenty of places in Baltimore that can claim they do it right, but there are few who take the time-tested classics and put a modern spin on them.
Terra Cafe simultaneously shirks and embraces traditional food in a way that few eateries in this city can truly get away with. Whether it’s their half-dozen twists on basic chicken wings with a honey barbeque sauce that fills your mouth the moment you open the box to wings coated in a sweet and savory Asian plum sauce, or their turkey burger you can be assured that Terra’s claim of eclectic comfort food is all too true.
One cannot talk about Terra Cafe without mentioning their battered fish sub. It’s a dish which has put them on the map in the community and for good reason. The sub features a chipotle mayonnaise that is only rivalled by that served at the sushi bar in South Street Market, caramelized onions, fresh greens, tomato, and a gigantic piece of fried fish seasoned with cayenne and what I can only assume is garlic.
And the topper: all of the dishes I mentioned come with fries, salad, or a buttery quartet of sauteed cabbage, peppers, onions, and mushrooms. And, they are all available for under $7.95. Come in for the friendly atmosphere and great food, or stay for live music and community events hosted throughout the month.