Hours: Open daily from 6:30 a.m. to midnight.

Atmosphere: Genteel comfort.

Price range: From $3.50 for a hamburger to $11.50 for a steak. Most selections under $7.

Credit cards: Major.

Reservations: No.

Special features: High chairs and booster seats. Accessible to handicapped. Nearby metered parking lots.

If you have made a trip to Baltimore to explore the Inner Harbor area and the National Aquarium, you understand the problem of crowds and long lines. Whatever your taste, there is an Inne Harbor food place to satisfy your line-aggravated hunger. But the sitdown restaurants often have long waits and the many stalls offer more food choices than seats.

Far from the madding crowd, although just across the street, is luxurious tranquility: The Hyatt Regency. There are three separate dining areas, each projecting a different mood.

Persons without weary children and in search of a long, elegant meal will enjoy the comfort of the Trellis Garden. If your tastes run more toward drinking, then the Skylights Room at the top of the hotel will inspire you with its breathtaking view of the waterfront. Tables away from the window are available for those seeking light fare.

For a family that wants to escape Harborplace crowds but stay nearby for later shopping, Cascades is the place. Typical of a Hyatt is this hotel's magnificent arrangement.Outside, glass elevators afford panoramic views; inside, few amenities are spared.

The restaurant, located on the atrium level, comes with its own waterfall and its tables spaced to give many diners a waterfront view. On the two crowded days we recently ate there, the wait has been short and we've relaxed in the comfortable chairs nearby.

Cascades does not have the variety of food available across the street, but it serves some memorable dishes.

Our daughter knew that many of the portions were too large for her and agreed to share courses with me. Lunch began with a bowl of hotel-made chicken rice soup ($1.75). Loaded with both chicken and rice in a hearty stock, this soup was the perfect cure for the chilly winds outside. The seafood chowder ($2.25) also had a properly seasoned base.

Soups arrived with crackers and butter. Beer came with its own hors d'oeuvres: a spear of provolone and Italian salami.

Yet the prettiest dish was the chili ($2.75). The menu held no clues that this generous portion of well-seasoned, meaty chili with tomato, pepper, scallion and cheese topping would arrive in a flaky, edible sombrero bowl.

Each of our other selections had similar touches. Fresh slices of pineapple, watermelon and orange decorated every platter. Portions were generous and of top quality. Even our son's basic burger ($3.50) came with lettuce, tomato and perfectly crisp shoestring potatoes.

"Lox a luck" ($6.50) was a blend of colors: hand-sliced pieces of Nova with tomatoes, onions, alfalfa sprouts and lettuce. A separate plate held the bagels and cream cheese wedge. Two easily could share this large platter.

The Chesapeake trio ($5.50) featured smoked turkey, pastrami, corned beef and cheese with horse-radish sauce on marbled rye.

For four, our lunch came to $28.01 including tax and tip.

National Aquarium: Open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday through Thursday; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday. (301) 727-3000.