Baltimore-based Atlas Restaurant group, which brought sophisticated seafood to the Harbor East jet set with Azumi and Ouzo Bay, are upping their game with some hearty terrestrial fare. Tagliata is an Italian chophouse with a Sinatra wink to old-school dining, with homemade pastas, hand-cut steaks and chops, and charcuterie. It features a menu created by Chef Partner Julian Marucci of Charleston and Cinghiale, served out of an open kitchen in the former Fleet Street Kitchen space. The airy redesign has rustic bare-wood tables, cane chairs, a dreamy mural and a breezy courtyard strung with street festival bulbs that illuminate outdoor seating. Start with a sampling of house-cured charcuterie, then tuck into a half-portion of handmade pasta made with ramp greens—foraged in an undisclosed location in the countryside by the chef himself—with a briny necklace of cockles and clams. Dinner can be savored with a curated bottle from Baltimore’s largest wine list of more than 1,000 varieties. Add live music at the baby grand every evening and a kitchen that stays open late on the weekends, and you have a recipe for tutto bene. Ring the bell on the unmarked door in the Tagliata courtyard (it’s behind the last tree planter on the left) and hope for one of the 50 seats in The Elk Room, a cozy speakeasy cum English hunting lodge with chandeliers and live jazz. Snag a front row seat at the bar (never mind the enormous elk head looming overhead) and watch as Baltimore’s best bartenders put on a show with fire and ice. 1012 Fleet St. tagilatarestaurant.com; 1010 Fleet St. theelkroom.com —Amy Pelsinsky
Just off The Avenue in Hampden, Bluebird Cocktail Room simply oozes cool—from its understated neon sign to its outdoor porch-swing seating, where guests can dangle their feet while sipping Shibui Highballs. If more stationary seating is preferred, the interior doesn’t disappoint. Bluebird’s large, open space boasts two long tables and several small two-tops, as well as a sizable bar (and several stylish chandeliers). The literary-themed menu is divided into chapters, offering bibliophilic delights like the “Mrs. Dalloway” and “Hemingway Special Daiquiri” alongside old favorites like mint juleps and Pimm’s cups. The food menu is primarily suitable for snacking—warm olives, lentil hummus, lamb meatballs and charcuterie and cheese plates, to name a few options—but the delightful drink menu provides all the satiation you’ll need. Write drunk, edit sober, right? 3602 Hickory Ave. 667-303-3263. facebook.com/thebluebirdbaltimore —Kimberly Uslin
After 71 years in the Filipidis family, Fells Point staple Jimmy’s Restaurant has changed hands…and quite a bit more. Once a greasy spoon best known for its cheap eats and flow of famous patrons (including Hillary Clinton), the diner now offers an expanded menu, a lounge-like ambience with all-new fixtures, outdoor seating and extended hours. What it loses in old-school charm, however, it more than makes up for in epicurean offerings—the new owner, Rudy Keskin of Rudy’s Mediterranean Grille in Columbia, has introduced an authentic Turkish dinner menu featuring hot and cold mezze, moussaka, shish kebabs and other exotic eats. Is it a bit incongruous among the home fries and toast on offer in the A.M.? Maybe—but we prefer to think of it as having something for everyone. 801 S. Broadway, 410-327-3273, facebook.com/jimmysfabulous – K.U.
Frederik De Pue is bringing the flavors of his Belgian upbringing to Annapolis. Housed in a West Annapolis bungalow, Flamant offers such staples as black bass, beef tenderloin and sous vide chicken, but all with a Gallic influence. The marrow-crusted tenderloin, for example, is served with potato croquette and baby turnips, while the fish comes with a dollop of pickled onion. Don’t worry: Mussels are also on the menu. Autumn dishes will be heavy on seasonal meats whenever available, including venison, squab and wild rabbit. “Mostly I cook the things I’d like to eat,” the chef says. Dessert offerings include crepe flambé, a cheese plate and, yes, Belgian chocolate (appearing in the form of a frozen caramel and peanut treat). The 40-seat bistro has 10 seats outside, too, plus a full bar with classic cocktails. But nothing too extreme (“I didn’t want to go with a mixologist,” De Pue says). The nicely edited wine list of about 50 to 60 bottles is “old world and new world,” while the beer selection leans Belgian, natch. De Pue, whose D.C. restaurants included Table and Azure, says he was happy to secure the spot a bit off the beaten track, in a more residential neighborhood. “It was important to find a location I could feel at home—more than a Belgian restaurant, I want to call this a neighborhood restaurant.”17 Annapolis St. flamantmd.com—Martha Thomas