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High End Restaurants in Columbia?

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Are there any decent upper-scale restaurants in Columbia worth checking out? Inclusive of Bars/lounges etc.

Heard Iron Bridge isn't bad

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  1. Kings Contrivance is a good restaurant, located in a pretty old mansion in the middle of a subdivision. Aida Bistro is supposed to be good, they also have a wine bar. Alexandra's at Turf Valley in Ellicott City, which is right next door, as well as Cocoa Lane. There is a new Mexican Place which is also a lounge, I can't remember the name, but I think it's on Snowden River Parkway. A little further north is Catonsville Gourmet on Frederick Rd which has the best Ahi Tuna appetizer I have ever had and it's BYOB, which I think is a plus. Whever you eat, be sure to post your experience. Good Luck!

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    Kings Contrivance
    10150 Shaker Dr, Columbia, MD 21046

    Catonsville Gourmet
    829 Frederick Rd, Catonsville, MD 21228

    Alexandra's at Turf Valley
    2700 Turf Valley Road, Ellicott City, MD 21042

    7 Replies
    1. re: daynasch

      King's Contrivance? While I haven't been to Cafe de Paris in a few years, it's has to still be better than King's Contrivance! Expensive, yes; nice old mansion setting, yes; boring, bland, dated menu, yes. I guess it all depends what you're looking for, how important food is to the experience, and if you want a modern or "old fashioned" dining experience.

      1. re: Jason1

        And if you do want a King's Contrivance like experience, just go to Tersiguels and get good food as well.

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        Tersiguel's
        8293 Main Street, Ellicott City, MD 21043

        1. re: Jason1

          The criticism of KC is misplaced. No-one would call the menu cutting-edge, but it's certainly less fusty than it used to be ("Thair Seafood Bouillabaise," anyone?) and the cooking is at a high level. And it is a very pretty place.

          1. re: lawhound

            Well then by all means, enjoy it! In my experience, the food served in their restaurant has always had a "catered" feel to it.

            1. re: Jason1

              Wow, Jason1, you must really hate KC! I ate there not too long ago, and yes I agree with you, not the best dinner ever for the money. My pear and arugala salad had canned pears on it and my dessert was terrible (would have rather eaten a hostess cupcake), but the crab cakes were good. But the original poster asked for high end in Columbia, which, in my humble opinion, does not exist. SO KC is pretty high end. If the poster truly wants high end dining, then don't go to Columbia.

          2. re: Jason1

            Tersiguel's has always been the best food in this area. Unfortunately, Columbia is not known for upscale, so there are limited choices. I would skip King's Contrivance. It is decent but definitely nothing special.

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            Tersiguel's
            8293 Main Street, Ellicott City, MD 21043

        2. re: daynasch

          The one time I have been to Kings Contrivance, I would say it's a nice place to go. The menu is solid and up-to-date with no unproven experimental stuff that will disappoint you. Yes, it's in a mansion and seating may be tighter than I would like but the ambiance was good and the food better. Many of folks in my business entertain their clients there and they won't put their business on the line if it's not good. I think their food is solid with no hype needed. The one meal I had at Cafe Paris very much disappointed me. It's very American but what do you expect in the middle of Howard County. Thanks for the rest of the list, I will hit a few of them in the next few.

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          Kings Contrivance
          10150 Shaker Dr, Columbia, MD 21046

        3. Bistro Blanc, not too far from Columbia
          http://www.bistroblancmd.com/?pgid=5

          As mentioned earlier Cafe de Paris
          http://www.cafedepariscolumbia.com/

          and a good resource
          http://howchow.blogspot.com/

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          Bistro Blanc
          3800 Ten Oaks Road, Glenelg, MD 21737

          1. Victoria GastroPub on Snowden River Parkway at Rt. 108 is your best bet. Adventurous dishes prepared with care in an upscale atmosphere and an extensive wine list. Friendly owners (a local family) and managers are attentive to their guests and ensure that all are satisfied with the entire experience. When we have family or other guests from out of town visiting, we always take them to this restaurant. We’ve has several celebratory dinners there, as well. Try the sea bass - outstanding. And it’s the only place I know that has a very good late night menu.

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            Victoria Gastro Pub
            8201 Snowden River Parkway, Columbia, MD 21045

            1 Reply
            1. re: MJ2010

              2nd Victoria Gastropub. Fantastic burger in the Kobe Beef Burger with white truffle cheese sauce. Decadent Lobster grilled cheese, Poutine which is french fries cooked in duck fat served with melted guyere, duck confit and duck gravy. Lots of interesting things on the menu, a huge beer collection, a very good wine selection. love that place

            2. http://www.greystonegrill.com/

              I would highly recommend the Greystone Grill just off rt 100 in Ellicott city.
              Good wine list and a wonderful menu.

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              Greystone Grill
              200 Westgate Cir Ste 104, Annapolis, MD 21401

              3 Replies
              1. re: Rileyobo

                You know, I hardly ever hear anyone praise the Greystone Grill in Columbia, but we've been there a couple of times and have not been disappointed. Service has always been great, and as you said - good wine list, good menu, food well-prepared. Wonder why no one every says much about it?

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                Greystone Grill
                200 Westgate Cir Ste 104, Annapolis, MD 21401

                1. re: ivysmom

                  My one experience there was not good. Service was friendly and helpful, but the steak wasn't good, and nothing else was memorable. It compared unfavorably to Bare Bones, which had a better steak at a much lower price.

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                  Bare Bones Restaurant
                  9150 Baltimore National Pike Ste 20, Ellicott City, MD 21042

                  1. re: ivysmom

                    We just went back to Greystone Grill (had a coupon) and again, I was not disappointed. My husband had some of the best PEI mussels we've had in a long time - very plump and very tender. I had their blue crab & corn soup - not a ton of crab but flavor was very good. My husband's pasta dish with seafood was deemed OK but my chicken with crab, with a shallot sauce, was very good. My wedge salad was nice and crispy too. Service very attentive.

                    This place is still on my "go to" list. But now I'm seeing more very casually dressed customers, at least on the weekend. Didn't used to see that.

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                    Greystone Grill
                    200 Westgate Cir Ste 104, Annapolis, MD 21401

                2. Personally, I like Donna's on Rt 108 and Snowden River. The ambiance is no worse than some of the other places suggested, but the service is great and the food is wonderful.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: skipper

                    High end?

                  2. Aida Bistro is good too, Not the easiest place to find but we have enjoyed many meals there.

                    Have never forgiven King's Contrivance for a burned lobster bisque I had some time ago - when I mentioned to the waiter it was burned, he shrugged his shoulders and moved on. And Cafe de Paris - I was victim to the prankster unscrewing the salt shaker lid, resulting in a mountain of salt on an entree. Again, after noting I hadn't eaten anything and my explaining to the waiter why, he just shrugged and moved on. Yeah I could've called the manager. But I didn't. Just never went back.

                    1. Just throwing out some names because high-end isn't where I spend most of my money.

                      Beyond the places highlighted above, there are other people trying to serve top-end food near Columbia -- Aida Bistro in Columbia, Bistro Blanc in Glenelg, Portalli's in Ellicott City, Azul 17 in Columbia (the place Daynasch was remembering).

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                      Bistro Blanc
                      3800 Ten Oaks Road, Glenelg, MD 21737

                      1. It is a sad but true fact that there is no high end dining in Columbia worth going to. Head in to Washington or Baltimore -- your choices expand astronomically.

                        1. I'd agree with the general thoughts that there's not really high-end in Columbia. I'd consider Tersiguels in Ellicott City in the high end category. Their chef's tasting menu is very good and they do a fine job matching wines.

                          There are many very good less formal places (some, like Tersiguels, are in the general vicinity) mentioned in the posts here. Of the ones I've been to I'd recommend Catonsville Gourmet, Aida Bistro, Victoria Gastro Pub. One I didn't see mentioned was Sushi Sono in Columbia Town Center by the lake. Not really high end but also very good according to Tom Sietsema at the Post.

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                          Tersiguel's
                          8293 Main Street, Ellicott City, MD 21043

                          Catonsville Gourmet
                          829 Frederick Rd, Catonsville, MD 21228

                          Victoria Gastro Pub
                          8201 Snowden River Parkway, Columbia, MD 21045

                          Sushi Sono
                          10215 Wincopin Cir Ste 101, Columbia, MD 21044

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: dacfood

                            sushi sono is very good for sushi!

                          2. Haven't been there in years--but would think that King's Contrivance would be upper-scale along with the french restaurant (which the name escapes me at this time)--Cafe Paris (or something along those lines)).

                            It seems as though Columbia's dining scene relies on the reliables--i.,e. chain resaturants, etc. Or the attraction of the younger, hip set of diners. FoiGras