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Feb 7, 2007 11:45 AM

Dinner in Westminster or Frederick,Md.?

Looking for a place for a surprise birthday dinner in either of these areas northwest of Baltimore. We will be a party of 8-10 and are looking for good food/moderate prices.(15-20.00/person range. Thanks.

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  1. Haven't been for dinner, but have gone to lunch/brunch often with friends at Isabella's in Frederick, I think they're on Market St. It's Spanish & menu is primarily tapas with some paellas. Tapas are typically very good & better than the paella IMHO. Couldn't give a $$/person idea but I remember it as pretty reasonable & good atmosphere, group-friendly, fun place.
    Another is Hagan's Taven on Rte 40 just outside (East) of Frederick. It's more expensive & the waitstaff wear these hokey outfits but the food has been consistently high quality.

    1. In Hagerstown there is a German place that I have never been too but heard good things about. Its called, and please bear in mind that this is probably not how to spell it, Schmankerlstubbe. Might be a little bit too far but I couldn't think of anything else.

      1. The restaurant in Hagerstown is called the Schmankerl Stube, 58 S. Potomac Street
        Hagerstown , Maryland, tel: 301-797-3354. No editorial comment about the restaurant. It's on our "go to" list......

        1. Believe it or not, there is a VERY good, VERY reasonable restaurant in Eldersburg (15 min south of Westminster) called Amante. It is a "pizza and pasta" place, but it's a Seattle chain (yes, the whole situation could get weirder), so the food is to Seattle standards, not the typical Carroll County wasteland ones. If you can get past the not-so-promising-looking exterior (blinking sign and vinyl siding), you'll be surprised (nay, shocked) by the interior. It's cozy and casually sophisticated (well-done faux finishes and murals). Ask to have the group seated by the fireplace. Quatro Formaggio & Margarita pizzas are amazing (our friends who lived in Florence for years agree), Tortellini Special (kind of a carbonara, but a bit more subtle) is divine, their salads are wonderful--Caesar and Cold Bowtie Pasta Salads are to die for (their house dressing is terrific; on the caesar be sure to make use of the fresh lemon). The Lemon Cake is a great desert. Ruffino Reserve Chianti is very good for $25 a bottle, though that may put you out of your price range, if you eat as much as we do. Every one we've taken there loves it (given the dearth of good restaurants around Eldersburg/Sykesville, we eat there a lot). Daniella, the co-owner and hostess, is European, charming and very welcoming.

          1. I'm not a German food fan, and I don't have a lot of experience eating it. However, I had a happenstance dinner at Schmankerl Stube last summer and loved it. Of course, we were in the beer garden on a gorgeous summer evening. It reminded me of Munich.

            I had a really delicious lunch once at the Tasting Room in Frederick. It is downtown and with wine will probably be a bit more than you want to spend. There menu changes frequently and they have a lovely wine list.