The 10 Best Restaurants In Howard County, Washington DC

Photo of Oliver Griffin
9 February 2017

Howard County sits between Baltimore and the US capital, Washington DC. The area is known for its superb quality of life. Jam-packed with theatres and galleries, as well as restaurants specialising in American and European cuisine. This isn’t diner country, expect high quality food and exquisite presentation. Here is a list of 10 of the best restaurants in Howard County.

© Akiko Ogata/Flickr

Highland Inn

Restaurant, American, Vegetarian
The Highland Inn, one of the newer additions to Howard County’s restaurant scene, is operated by celebrated local chef Brian Boston. After years of working in his native Baltimore, Boston is now doing what he does best, away from the big city light. While the décor is smart and sophisticated, this is not a stuffy restaurant, and guests can expect a relaxed atmosphere. Food is prepared with the freshest in local ingredients, to present dishes such as Hudson Valley fois gras, served with rhubarb, strawberries and pickled onions, as well as duck two-ways with a beluga lentil salad.


Restaurant, French, American, $$$
Tersiguel's French Country Restaurant, Ellicott City
Tersiguel's French Country Restaurant, Ellicott City | © Courtesy Grille 620
A family restaurant passed on from mother and father to son, Tersiguel’s is a true French treat in the heart of Ellicott, the government seat of Howard County. Serving typically French cuisine with a few American twists, chef and owner Michel has been cooking full time since 1984. Staples of the menu include the classic beef bourguignon, a casserole dish hailing from the heart of Burgundy. Beef is stewed in red wine with bacon and onions until it is meltingly tender, perfect for a filling supper with friends. Fish lovers will enjoy scallops served in the style St. Jacques, as well as fish of the day, which depends on what is available at the market.

Grille 620

Restaurant, Bar, American, Steakhouse, Vegetarian, $$$
Grill 620 is a brand new restaurant in Howard County, but it has already shot up the rankings having been voted Ellicott’s favourite new restaurant of 2014. The menu’s available are versatile and technically brilliant. For example, Grille 620’s raw bar features the very best in barely cooked (and naturally, raw) seafood that is prepared exquisitely. Those who like their food cooked, however, should not be put off. While dishes like cerviche do feature on the main menu, there are also bountiful options of steaks and other meats, as well as options for the vegetarians out there. The food is beautifully presented and well worth the price.

Elkridge Furnace

Restaurant, American, French, Vegan, Vegetarian, $$$
The Elkridge Furnace is something of a historical monument in Howard County, The first site for food and drink was established there in 1744, while an iron-smelting furnace was later introduced in 1750. After moving through several phases, the Inn today houses a terrific restaurant full of historic charm. The food is equally full of history, with a menu that focuses on old-world classics such as paella, which is given an innovative twist with lobster and smoked chicken, and beef flank bolognaise, using high quality steak meat to recreate a timeless classic. The décor of the restaurant hasn’t changed much over time and will provide a really magical experience for those keen to visit.

Toby’s Dinner

Diner, Restaurant, Nightclub, American, Vegan, Vegetarian, Fast Food, Dessert, $$$
Theatre, dinner and entertainment is a sure fire success in any part of the world, and it is for exactly that reason that Toby’s Dinner Theatre is such a hit in its native Howard County. A perfect spot for families with young children, this restaurant serves up great shows with great food. Stage classics, including Shrek the Musical, are adapted to suit the venue, while the menu features a lavish buffet, topped with favourite all-American classics. The Sunday matinee also features a brunch option, allowing for a relaxing weekend morning like no other.

Alexandra’s Restaurant

Restaurant, American, Vegetarian, $$$
Attached to a hotel, Alexandra’s Restaurant in Turf Valley is a great place to eat more food than is physically advisable, simply because the food is delicious and you can sleep it off at the hotel afterwards. Lead by head chef Russell Svoboda, Alexandra’s serves a new brand of American- inspired cuisine with innovative and modern twists. Starters include classic beef sliders, reinvented with luxurious Kobe beef. Also featuring are Colorado lamb chops, served with whipped potatoes and asparagus. A perfect main meal if ever there was one. The restaurant is also famed for its fantastic (and extensive) wine list, which is priced for every budget.

Gadsby’s Bar American

Bar, Restaurant, American, Beer, Wine
Chef Robert Gadsby, originally hailing from Bedford in the UK, has turned the art of American cuisine on its head. Since opening Gadsby’s Bar American in 1994, he and his team have won a string of awards that celebrates his tenacity, his cooking and the service that flows effortlessly throughout the entire restaurant. The restaurant is wholly American. The wine list is 100 per cent domestic; the food – including the three course tasting menu – features fantastic USA comforts. Some such dishes are Gadsby’s roasted Amish chicken, as well as an immensely popular New York strip steak, served with a hearty cheese and onion bread pudding.

Niko Japanese Restaurant

Restaurant, Japanese, $$$
Niko Japanese Restaurant in Baltimore is a quirky sushi shop whose joie de vivre is celebrated by regular and first time customers alike. The friendly ambience, often aided by just a touch of Japanese sake, makes for a memorable evening, as guests chow down on delectable sushi and sashimi. This restaurant serves all the usual favourites, including high-grade tuna, as well as maki, nori and California rolls. Niko Japanese Restaurant allows guest to savour the great tastes of Japan, even if they’re poor on time. It is perfect for a flying visit.

Rumor Mill

Restaurant, American, Contemporary, Vegetarian
The Rumor Mill is an exciting concept restaurant in the heart of Howard County. Serving small plates of food alongside fusion vodkas, guests should prepare themselves for a sophisticated (if slightly boozy) evening. Food is truly experimental. Oysters fried with wasabi packs an explosive yet seductive punch, while asparagus fried in a curried tempura batter is a vegetarian delight. As well as the fusion vodka (which comes in martini or ‘on the rocks’ form) the bar is fully stocked with fine wines and craft beers. The Rumor Mill was started by one man’s obsession with foodie experimentation and guests are now invited to start experimenting themselves.

Azul 17

Market, Restaurant, Mexican
Azul 15 is a much loved, up-market Mexican and South American restaurant in Howard County. The decoration and ambience create a cool yet relaxed atmosphere, a million miles from the busy strip mall that the restaurant sits in. The restaurant serves typical Mexican fare, including tacos, burritos and guacamole. The guacamole is a particular favourite, and has garnered a reputation for being some of the best in the whole of Howard County. As well as the food, the drinks are suitably Mexican, with reasonably priced margaritas making the rounds all night.

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