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Decent Dining in Towson

Have friends staying in Timonium for the weekend, and we're meeting them for dinner tonight. Thought Towson would be a good meeting spot (we're in the city). Any suggestions that aren't too chain-y? All I can think of is Paolo's and Sushi Hana. (Both are fine, but I like to know ALL of my choices!)

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  1. Szechuan House, JJ's Everyday Cafe, but it's very quiet, Peppermill

    2 Replies
    1. re: chowsearch

      Unless you and your friends are over 60, I wouldn't think you would enjoy the Peppermill.

      1. re: chowsearch

        I only went to JJ"s once, but it was actually really good. I think I had pan-fried trout. My gf had a crabcake that was ok, but the trout was perfect. It probably doesn't get enough mention here.

      2. Cafe Troia has pretty solid Italian food, but it will never knock your socks off. You could also hit Vin, but it's quite expensive. I have never been there and it gets very mixed reviews on this board. Sushi Hana is a good choice for sushi. Cafe Spice is an Indian place across from the library that was nice the last time I went - atmosphere is lacking though. We've also been going to Strapazza recently for inexpensive pasta and pizza,

        A 10 minute drive could get you to Petit Louis in Roland Park. The food is French and pretty good, and the restaurant has a great atmosphere for dining out with friends.

        3 Replies
        1. re: toro head

          We love Petit Louis - live right near there. It's been hit or miss lately, but I still love it. Cafe Troia has disappointed me the past 2-3 times I've been there. Used to be my favorite Italian place. Bummer. Thanks for the ideas!

          1. re: KLuna75

            Didn't Cafe Troia close? I thought I read that...

            1. re: charmedgirl

              Nope, it's open. They now have a couple more tables outside and on Friday and Sat night they have a small jazz ensemble playing outside.

        2. for a nicer place i really enjoy Christopher Daniel but its a little further out then Towson, its more in the Lutherville/Hunt Valley area.

          1 Reply
          1. re: elegantelliot

            Actually, that's a great idea! They are staying right near there. Thanks!

          2. Depending on your mood, Cafe Spice is excellent but i agree, lacks any sort of real atmosphere. I'd avoid VIN @ all costs, the food is over priced, the service horrendous and the whole experience terrible. Sushi Hanna is always a good standby for sushi.

            1. Peppermill is very sub-par. I occasionally go there with my 87-yr old mother, and Im the youngest person. Food is decent and very cheap.


              1. I've had good experiences with Cafe Spice. If you keep going down York Road and you're part the Senator, keep an eye on your left for Bombay Garden. Word is that the chef had been previously working at Columbia's Akbar before--it tastes similar enough, and I adore Akbar. Kyodai Rotating Sushi Bar might help in switching up the atmosphere for sushi. If you're interested in Persian, I am a huge fan of the Spicy Kermani Beef at Orchard Market & Cafe, which is a little out of the way (it's still in Towson... pretty close to the Towson Qdoba, not to be confused with the White Marsh Qdoba) but totally worth trying.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Bunnyx86

                  Cafe Spice is my favorite- the owners are super nice as well as the food being great. They were so great about letting us have our student recital there, we have our bellydance meetup there every month now- email me if you are interested! It certainly livens up the atmosphere! I'm trying to get them interested in bellydance once a month for the general public, too! ( I looked on 'ettiquette' before posting this, and they ask that meetup people put in there email address and leave discussions off chowhound) www.NinaAmaya.com - ninadances@gmail.com

                2. Bluestone in Timonium is pretty good. I love their fried green tomatoes appetizer, and scallops for an entree. Food and atmosphere has always been great.


                  1. Orchard Market & Cafe on Orchard tree lane off Joppa is outstanding. It is BYOB and there is a belly dancer for entertainment on Wednesday nights. Fantastic middle eastern cuisine of all kinds. We also live in the city, but regularly trek to Towson for this treat.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: maddogg280

                      My husband and I just tried Orchard Market recently and it was great! (thanks Chowhounders for pointing us in their direction) A hidden gem- great food. Many of the flavors reminded us of the Helmand. I highly recommend it as a way to beat the chainy vibe of the burbs.

                    2. Kathmandu Kitchen has the best Indian, hands down. Strapazza has decent Italian. Tokyo Express has really good Korean. Sushi Hana for sushi, but there is also a small sushi place off of Putty Hill in the Towson Place shopping center (right next to Panera Bread) that is good too and really cheap. Melting Pot is perfect for a special occasion. Towson Hot Bagels best for breakfast. If you want to drive a little, One World Cafe (not in Towson, but still worth the visit) across from the John's Hopkins Homewood campus has the best vegan and vegetarian. I've got more... I lived in Towson for seven years but sadly had to move closer to work.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: baiciyu

                        I had the worst service experience of my life at One World. We waited over an hour to order despite repeated pleas to take our order. When the food finally came, we had waited 2 hours total and the food was cold. they have good food, but I would never go back there.

                      2. Szechuan House, Bluestone and Vin are all good. For basic home cooking the Towson or Nautilus Diners are pretty good also. Had the worst service of my life recently at Paolo's but perhaps it was just an off-night. Also try the Rib n' Reef in Timonium. Been there several times and wasn't disappointed.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: RichardCrystal

                          I am a big fan of Towson diner....for what they do, they do it well. Vin gets a bad rap on this board, but I am a fan.

                          1. re: tennisgal1206

                            Towson Diner has good, traditionl breakfasts

                          2. re: RichardCrystal

                            Nautilus Diner has tremendous crab cakes. Someone taught these Long Island transplants how to do them right.... it may be a diner, but those are a 10.