Howard County has a lot to brag about with cities included in America’s Best Places to Live lists and having Maryland’s top-ranked school system. What you may not realize is that Howard County also has a growing culinary scene, centered around Columbia’s Lake Kittamaqundi and reaching out across the rest of this beautiful county.
The top ten restaurants in Howard County in no particular order are:
1. Iron Bridge Wine Co
On the outskirts of Columbia, you’ll find a quaint building that may not look like much on the outside, but on the inside is a restaurant that has been praised by USA Today and The Wine Enthusiast. It’s even a regular on Baltimore Magazine’s list of the Top 50 Restaurants. Iron Bridge Wine Co. is renowned for its casual atmosphere and philosophy that wine is the drink of the common man.
2. The White Oak Tavern
Whether ordering a classic burger or something more exotic like wild boar and duck pot pie, the chefs at the White Oak Tavern utilize meats and produce from more than a dozen local sources for a genuine regional culinary experience. Be sure to pair your meal with one of the approximately 40 craft beers on tap.
3. Luna Bella
This small trattoria specializes in southern Italian cuisine and old world charms. All of your favorite Italian dishes can be found here – lasagna, chicken parmesan, and more. Some of the classic recipes even come from an owner’s grandmother.
4. Clyde’s of Columbia
The best crab cakes in Howard County can be found at Clyde’s of Columbia. And you can enjoy Maryland’s best-known dish and many other American favorites from burgers to ribs to chili while enjoying views of beautiful Lake Kittamaqundi.
5. Sushi Sono
Also located on Lake Kittamaqundi is Sushi Sono, which was named Best Asian Restaurant in Howard County by the Baltimore Sun in 2015. It also made the Washingtonian’s list of 100 Best Restaurants.
6. Stanford Grill
A popular spot for celebrating a milestone or entertaining out-of-town clients, Stanford Grill is a fine-dining destination to impress. Adding to the classy ambiance is the open air kitchen where the chefs prepare their take on American fare for all to see and eagerly await.
7. Victoria Gastro Pub
Sophisticated, yet unpretentious, describes both the atmosphere and culinary twists on classic pub fare at this Howard County hotspot. Enjoy a bucket of duck fat fries while sampling local beers from house brewery Manor Hill Brewing as well as other brews from around the country. And don’t forget to join the Beer Club or the Cork Club for wine enthusiasts.
8. Royal Taj
Royal Taj is a Howard County’s Best of Dining award winner, and with one visit, it’s easy to see why. It’s both elegant and comfortable, much like the Indian food they lovingly serve. Head there for lunch to sample all the different offerings on the buffet, then return for a casual dinner and order what you liked the most.
9. Tino’s Italian Bistro
Winner of Best New Restaurant in Howard County for 2012, Tino’s has kept up its reputation for classic Italian dishes served in a comfortable family environment. Owned by an Italian from New York City bringing fifth generation recipes to Howard County, Tino’s hopes to be around to serve your fifth generation and beyond.
10. Petit Louis Bistro
Bringing delicate, classical Parisian gastronomy to Howard County is Petit Louis Bistro. From succulent steak fries to duck confit to escargot de Bourgogne, this bistro will have you and your taste buds whisked away to Paris with your first bite. Is that Lake Kittamaqundior the Seine?