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Help a NYer: Places to eat near Rockville/Gaithersburg

Please help out a helpless NYer. I have reason to be in the Rockville/Gaithersburg area semi-regularly over the next several months, but I have no idea where to eat. When I was in town this weekend I followed chowhound and other recommendations to Tako Grille and Joe's Noodle House, both of which I found incredibly disappointing. I know there is supposed to be great ethnic food around Rockville and other parts of the Maryland suburbs, but I don't know where to find it (and I don't know who to trust). Can anyone give me some suggestions? I eat everywhere in NY and price point doesn't matter. It can be ethnic or fancy, scenic or drab, but it has to have great food. Suggestions?

On a related note, is there anywhere to get great crabs without driving to Baltimore or further?

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  1. For good (but NOT NYC style) pizza or calzone, try Zio's on Shady Grove Road just east of 270.

    1. Bombay Bistro. De-lish Indian food. I heard that the new peruvian place is Rockville town enter is suppose too be good. Pho 75 is cheap and can't be beat!

      Bombay Bistro
      98 W Montgomery Ave, Rockville, MD 20850

      1 Reply
      1. re: HilkaryIC

        The peruvian place you refer to is La Canella (sp?) in the Rockville Town Center. I have eaten there with Peruvian relatives and everyone thought it was excellent.

      2. I've really been enjoying Bob's Noodle, much more so than Joe's (which I find to be somewhat hit or miss). I am currently addicted to the ginger chicken casserole from Bob's. For Taiwanese little plates, try A&J. Their fried chicken is great (as are their scallion pancakes).

        2 Replies
        1. re: Jule

          The Soft shell crabs at Bob's Noodles 66 (Taiwanese) is a great preparation. Don't know if SS crabs are all that popular in NYC, so this could be something different for you?

          Sorry you didn't like JNH. It has many fans through the years on Chowhound, especially me. What did you have there?

          1. re: Steve

            What's with all these year (or years) old topics being resurrected the last few days?

        2. Here are some recent conversations that should help:

          Do you want to pick crabs or eat crabcakes? For crabcakes, try Bobby's in Rockville Town center.

          1. Don't eat crabs anywhere this far from the water. If you must, get to Laurel or somewhere blue collar where people still go crabbing. If you are going to Baltimore, you can get great crab without going into the city. I recommend The Crack Pot in the Towson area.

            9 Replies
            1. re: laugh riot

              Sorry, not too much for New Yorkers. I am one myself and the pickings are slim here. I wouldn't recommend Zios. There is a place called Giuseppes that has good pizza. Mama Lucia also has good pizza. Both NY style. I think Il Pizzico may still be good. I agree with Bombay Bistro and was impressed tihe the Peruvian restaurant in Town Center. You may have to go further toward DC to get better food. I

              1. re: laugh riot

                I didn't realize Towson was closer to where the crabs are harvested than DC, very interesting.

                1. re: Steve

                  Rockville/Gathersburg is not exactly the epicenter of good food in the DC area, but there are a couple of places that are good. If you are willing to drive to Wheaton, there are some good choices too.

                  Bombay Bistro is good Indian.
                  I like Il Pizzaco, but they are more upscale and fancy, not pizza.
                  For BBQ go to Urban BBQ in Rockville. (Corner of Twinbrook and Chapman) Try the wings and soul rolls in addition to the brisket, ribs or pulled pork. If you want a good burger, go to Urban Burger in the shopping center at Norbeck Rd. and Bauer Dr. They will cook it the way you want it, no matter how rare.
                  Go to Sam's Market on Rockville Pike to get Gelato.
                  You can get good Dim Sum at New Fortune in Gaithersburg. Better is to go to Hollywood East on the Blvd. in Wheaton.

                  Also in Wheaton, you can get great shwarma at Max's, or really good Thai at Ruan Thai or Nava Thai.

                  In Gaithersburg try Le Palais for good rustic French cooking. A real hidden gem.

                  PampangueƱa Cafe on Frederick Rd. in Derwood is authentic Philippine food. Worth a visit. Inexpensive too. Also try Burma Road.

                  For interesting Greek small plates and a pretty good wine list (also by the glass) and martinis, go to Cava.

                  Drive over to Olney and go to Mannequin Pis for great mussels and Belgian beer. (make a reservation, they are very popular)

                  There are several good sushi places, I like Hinode and Niwano Hana, but there are others that are also popular.

                  I can see how you were disappointed at Joe's, you have to know what is good on that huge menu to be impressed.

                  1. re: dinwiddie

                    Pampanguena is closed. They haven't been the best Philippine restaurant for awhile anyway. The best place is Lumpia Pancit on Muddy Branch in Gaithersburg, in the same shopping center as Sushi Chalet and the Grand Mart. Lumpia Pancit is wonderful.

                    1. re: Transplanted Texan

                      When did they close? I was there a few times last month and it seemed pretty busy?

                      1. re: reiflame

                        I went by yesterday and saw a big 'for lease' sign in the window. Plus the lights were off and it was still prime eating time. Try Lumpia Pancit; you won't be disappointed. I always order the lumpia to go so they fry it up fresh. The adobo is good too. And it's just filled with Filipinos, which reminds me of my many happy years there!

                        1. re: Transplanted Texan

                          Hey, just drove by Pampaguena and it was open! The sign was gone and the lights were on. Have no idea what happened. Maybe I was just on drugs last week??

                  2. re: Steve

                    It's more proximity to where people have a relationship with the Chesapeake Bay. Obviously Towson is closer to the Chesapeake. Nobody in Montgomery County makes their living on the Chesapeake, and the crabs here are a joke compared to what you would get in Baltimore or Baltimore County.

                  3. re: laugh riot

                    Something makes me think I read the Crack Pot closed - not sure.

                  4. You could head to Wheaton and either have Korean at Woo-mi or get some Mexican or Salvadorian dishes at Los Churros. They are both hidden gems.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: jeremiahrakowski

                      I need to get back to Wheaton. There used to be a Salv. place, El Pulgarcito, that was great.

                      1. re: Dennis S

                        I love CAVA in rockville (Greek food) and Moby Dick (Persian food) in Bethesda and Gaithersburg.

                    2. derwood: pana thai, Biscotti (italian)

                      rockville: benjarong (thai), damo sushi (sushi), bobby's crab cakes, ora pomadora (italian bistro/adult pizza, urban bbq, sol de espana (spanish), rio grande cafe (tex/mex)
                      la canela (salvadorian), Big Saigon (Vietnamese/Pho), Pho Nam (Pho), Il Pizzico (Italian), Brooklyn Deli (Jewish deli)

                      wheaton: Max's (falafal, schwarma), Paul Kee (authentic chinese/duck house), Wong Gee (authentic chinese), Nava Thai (Thai), Irene's Papusa's (Papusa's), Woomi Garden (Korean BBQ), Azucar (latin), Thai Ruan,

                      Olney: Le Manequin Pis (belgian/mussels), Aroma (latin/tapas), Riccuiti (italian, adult wood burning stove pizza, Olney Ale House (pub)

                      Bethesda: Rio Grande (tex/mex), Cornicopia (italian grocery and sandwich), Panang (Malasian), Jaleo (tapas),

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: dining with doc

                        The Doc has pretty much boiled it all down. Let me add, in Rockville, in the same strip as Joe's Noodle House, the Persian restaurant (and next door market) Yekta Kabobi for order at the counter kebobs (cornish hen my favorite, with a side of order of yogurt/mint).

                        As to pizza, as a Brooklyn-born and bred girl, my advice is to skip all pizza down here, except for the artisian stuff, like Mia's in Bethesda, or Two Amy's in DC. If you are stuck down here for good, then you make peace with the pizza (and can even enjoy Mama Lucia's and just tolerate the others).

                      2. If you like turkish food there is a really yummy place in a gas station called pizza tempo. They have really yummy pide's, but I wouldn't get there doner kabob. I would say i like their other dishes better like lamachuan. Super yummy. Also their subs are great.


                        Also there is a great persian gelato place called sam's cafe and market. Very yummy gelato, but very strong flavors!


                        Also if you are super craving bubble tea (b/c unfortunately there aren't as many places for bubble tea in maryland as there are in ny sigh! :( ) there is a place in rockville called jumbo jumbo bubble tea. I have tried a few flavors but the only one i like is the mango smoothie bubble tea. I have only tried bubble tea from there and nothing else. So you can see if you like any other flavors.


                        Try not too miss NY too much, I know how that can be!!

                        1. My husband and I are devotee of our local pho restaurants, and after many years eating almost weekly at Pho 95 on Rockville Pike, enjoying their tai nam pho, spring rolls, beef wrapped in grape leaves (discontinued, sadly), and Vietnamese iced coffee, we found that the quality of the broth which is really the foundation of the pho was slipping in quality. My husband said he'd give it a few more times, but alas--the thrill was gone.
                          We've since discovered Big Saigon, also on Rockville Pike, and we're happy again!
                          The place is big (don't ask me why so), the service is very good, and best of all--the pho broth is both hot and delicious, and the beef cooks in the broth as it's brought to your table. Lots of rice noodles, beef, and a big plate of mung bean sprouts, Thai basil and lime make the meal a clean-tasting deliciously satisfying meal. After Thanksgiving, we needed it! They also make some delicious appetizers, especially one we had w/skewered grilled lemon grass beef with broken soft rice noodles--it was so wonderful, and quite large a serving, so we almost couldn't finish our pho that night! Close to Sam's on the Pike where if you have some room, you can stop for one ofo his gelatos, or even down the road to Yogi Berr for a small 'original' cup (tangy/tart) and a perfect ending to a pho meal. During the fall, one of their toppings is pomegranate, and they load lots of plump pomegranate piece w/the seed, and the crunchiness, along w/the smoothness of the original flavor yogurt is just divine. Enjoy!