This is an update from my July 2008 post about the best restaurants. It certainly differs from Howard Magazine's lists as reported by Live in Howard County. I'm sure that it differs from yours, and I would love comments listing your top restaurants or "favorite dishes" -- especially if you'll tell people why you pick them.
My lists change all the time. I'm staking this list to spark a little conversation and as a starting point for people checking out HowChow for the first time. Tomorrow, I'll follow up with a list of great food experiences to supplement these.
A Few Of My (Current) Favorite Things:
I love great food, and great items appear at some places that aren't great restaurants. For example, you won't get anything more than beef and a picnic table at Pioneer Pit Beef. But you can't beat a pretty lunchtime listening to the hum of I-70.
- The burger at Victoria Gastro Pub in Columbia
- Pit beef sandwiches at Pioneer Pit Beef in Woodlawn
- Samauri roll at Sushi King in Columbia
- Salted plum soda or Vietnamese coffee at An Loi Pho in Columbia
- Masala dosas at Mango Grove in Columbia
- Tacos at Pupuseria Lorentia ("The Taco Truck") in Elkridge
- Dim sum for lunch at Asian Court in Ellicott City
- Milkshakes at The Duchess in Ellicott City
- Cupcakes at Touche Touchet bakery in Columbia
- Ceviche at La Palapa Too in Laurel
- The naan and rice pudding ("kheer") at Akbar in Columbia
My Top Restaurants in Howard County:
Not claiming to be "The Ten Best." This is an alphabetical array of recommendations to anyone moving to Howard County. My list tilts to flavorful and affordable, and it changes over time. [I even updated the list in January 2010.] Plus, it omits places like Tersiguel's, King's Contrivance and Aida Bistro that I haven't tried recently enough to post about.
- Bistro Blanc in Glenelg for imaginative, upscale American food (that exceeded even the worst in service) -- new to the list
- Bon Fresco in Columbia for sandwiches -- and for takeout bread -- new to the list
- Cuba de Ayer in Burtonsville for Cuban
- Iron Bridge Wine Company in Columbia for tapas and wine
- Grace Garden in Odenton for authentic Chinese -- with Mrs. HowChow still voting for Jesse Wong's Asean Bistro in Columbia, especially if you can get it delivered
- House of India in Columbia for northern Indian
- Maiwand Kabob in Columbia for Afghan -- new to the list
- Mango Grove in Columbia for southern Indian
- Shin Chon Garden in Ellicott City for Korean
- Sushi Sono in Columbia for sushi -- [updated to the list in January 2010]
Others that make the list: Bethany Seafood Restaurant in Ellicott City for Korean, Pazani Trattoria in Elkridge and Coal Fire in Ellicott City for pizza and Sushi King in Columbia for sushi, especially in the private rooms. Great Sage does great vegetarian food, and there are surely others to work up the list.
Five Places On My List To Try:
My favorite part of HowChow is that it is my excuse to try new places. These are joints on my list to try for the first time or to try again so that I could post:
- Tersiguels in Ellicott City for French
- Aida Bistro in Columbia for Italian
- Tian Chinese Cuisine or HanJoonKwan in Ellicott City for Korean Chinese food
- Cafe de Paris in Columbia for crepes
- King's Contrivance in Columbia for American/French
- Burrito Brothers in Columbia for burritos (mostly because I never noticed it in King's Contrivance) [Update: Closed in early 2010 before I could visit].
Click here for my follow-up about great food in Howard County. If you're looking for more, check out two prior series of posts -- a "tour of Howard County" describing restaurants and markets in specific areas or my guide to what I've learned about Howard County from "best Chinese" and "best takeout" to "best BBQ" and "best burgers." Or check out a listing of ethnic and organic groceries.