Monday, October 18, 2010

Restaurants: Best of Howard County 2010

Best restaurants in Columbia or Ellicott City? The spirit of HowChow is that the great fun is finding your own favorites, but my annual post aims to offer starting points. This is my favorites right now, my "Best of Howard County 2010." 

This is an update from my July 2008 post and my October 2009 post about the best restaurants. 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. Later this week, I'll follow up with a list of great food experiences and great shopping finds 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, R&R Taqueria is a takeout joint, but you can't beat lunch at the counter overlooking the gas pumps.  I arbitrarily forced myself not to repeat anything from my 2009 list.
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.  Plus, it omits places like Tersiguel's and Aida Bistro that I haven't tried recently enough to post about.
Others that make the list: Facci in Laurel for pizza and the house-made pasta, Aida Bistro in Columbia for superb Italian food and wine, Victoria Gastropub in Columbia especially for burgers,  Bethany Seafood Restaurant in Ellicott City for Korean, and Sushi King in Columbia for sushi, especially in the private rooms.

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
  • Second Chance Saloon in Columbia for Old Bay wings
  • Pure Wine Cafe in Ellicott City for small plates
This week, I'm posting a series of "best of" posts starting with best restaurants and best food experiences.  Then some posts about finds at stores -- the best grab and go items and the best ingredients for cooks.  You can click for all the "best of posts" going back.  

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."


Rob said...

I love seeing R&R on top of the list. Rodrigo was gracious enough to let me try his soup just after he returned from Mexico with the recipe. Excellent. BTW, I just finished the other half of a torta with chicken for breakfast.

Tom Coale (HCR) said...

Great job and thank you for this valuable county resource! HoCo Tourism owes you a blue ribbon!

Sarah said...

I'm hungry just looking at this list. We have to get back out to Red Pearl and Iron Bridge and R&R... and try the restarants we haven't been to yet!

For anyone looking for recommendations for Red Pearl's Sichuan menu, my husband and I are both fans of Flounder Filet with Soft Tofu, and the Fried Tofu Stirfry with Pork in Brown Sauce-- both excellent and different from your standard Chinese takeout, though not so different that it's an acquired taste.

Stephanie said...

Stanford Grill - really good food and the best LIVE JAZZ combo Wed thru Sat nights - with live piano the other nights - LIVE MUSIC 7 nights a week - no other place in Howard County that I know of can claim that

Marcia said...

I'd like to throw in T-Bonz in Ellicott City. They really have some nice craft beers and decent sandwiches (pit ham was actually cut off a ham and NOT deli meat). Sandwiches are basic, nothing fancy, but the good beers make up for it. This is a big improvement over the previous restaurant in that spot.

theminx said...

Isn't Odenton in AA county?

I'm voting for Asian Court for best dim sum in HoCo.

Dianne said...

I took your recommendation on Red Pearl and absolutely loved it. And I can vouch for the Old Bay wings at Second Chance Saloon so just say when and we'll meet you there! I think the special on wings is on Monday nights.

HowChow said...

@theminx -- I adopted Catonsville for the H Mart, then Burtonsville for Cuban and Ethiopian. So Odenton doesn't seem so far for great Chinese. ;-) It's the list of the best places for people who live in Howard County.

Sarah@naturaldiabetic said...

My hubby tried R&R and said it was amazing... also love Bon Fresco. Would eat there every day if it was closer. We are trying to make it over to Town Grill - drove right past the other day but couldn't remember if it was the place with the smoked salmon. Love trying new restaurants and love your blog - so helpful in finding local, unique places to eat!

Sean P. said...

It is criminal that you have not tried Tersinguels yet! One of HoCo's best, if not THE best. Ask for the wine cellar table.

-Lauren said...

You will love Tersiguels and Aida Bistro. Both are uniquely delicious. Another place high on my list (as you already have listed a vast majority) is azul 17 for their margaritas, and coal fire for their pizza. Can't wait to see your 2011 list!

MarkM said...

I would also recommend Mimi's Kabob in Clarksville for authentic Afghan. In addition, they also have American fare such as amazing burgers and pizza!