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something worth eating in Olney/Columbia?

I'm dating a guy who lives in Highland MD, which is about halfway between Columbia and Olney. We eat well when we go into DC on occasion for theater, etc.. but sometimes we're really looking for something closer to home (roughly a 10 mile radius). We're both veggie, and wheat is sometimes an issue. We're right near Great Sage, but it has underwhelmed us so far. Any suggestions for Olney or Columbia or anywhere near in-between? Thanks!

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  1. Great Sage was my first thought. Bistro Blanc is just down MD-32 and they usually have some vegetarian options.

    1. Highland resident here.
      Our #1 regular spot is El Azteca, just a couple hundred yards from Great Sage.
      Unfortunately I don't think they have much to offer that is strictly vegetarian.
      Sushi King over in Columbia is our #2 go to.

      My wife only eats Gluten & Lactose free, and is able to pick very delicious meals from both places. No red or white meat for her either.
      She does like shrimp & crab.

      We have also always been very underwhelmed by Great Sage. Please post back if you find some other options.

      4 Replies
      1. re: mdfoodlover

        Thanks, all! We also do El Azteca - they've got a veggie burrito that is great. We'll check out sushi king. I've also regretted the (temporary) closing of Mango Grove... it's taking them quite a while to open back up!
        One place that I do like a lot, mdfoodlover, is Ricciutti's in Olney - it's right next to the intersection of 650 and Georgia. They try out some creative dishes and focus on locally sourced foods - I have a couple of favorites there. Have you ever tried out the winery/restaurant up 108, 'iron' something? I haven't been there but keep thinking about it.
        I'll keep you posted if I find anything else.

        1. re: jburgard

          We used to go to Ricciutti's semi-regularly when we lived in Olney.
          I think we only had pizza, can't really recall any specific other entrees. We used to go to The Olney Grille pretty regularly as well. I think we switched to Mama Lucia's as our weekly pasta fix shortly after they opened in 199? something.

          Re Iron Bridge. Have never been, but it gets talked up pretty well here & on HowChow. We are not wine drinkers, so I.B's business model is really not our style.

          Do try Sushi King sometime. Great rolls! Pretty in Red is my favorite, but that one probably would not be for you.

          1. re: mdfoodlover

            + 1 for Sushi King. The've been consistently excellent for years now. I'm a huge fan.

          2. re: jburgard

            I have been to the Iron Bridge Wine Company twice, once for a meal and once for a wine tasting. Their food is good, and the snacks they serve with their wine tastings are delicious. Starting next Monday (and for 2 weeks thereafter), Howard County will have their Restaurant Week and Iron Bridge is participating (lunch and dinner); a good chance to try them out if you were thinking about it. Their vegetarian options are limited, but they will have them.

          1. re: hon

            Have they re-opened yet?
            Excellent food!

          2. Try Taste Mezze in Olney. It can be loud but in my experience the food has been really tasty!

            1 Reply
            1. re: dcish

              I just went to the Taste Mezze website - it looks great - we'll try it this weekend!

            2. What about Victoria Gastro Pub? I went to a baby shower there and thought it was wonderful.

              1. There are a lot of choices available. I am not vegetarian but all probably have vegie options. Also depends on your definition of vegetarian.
                Olney: Grill Marx (steaks and seafood, raw bar), The Olney Grill (local pub, good food), Sol de Azteca (tex mex/salvadorean), Le Mannequan Pis (belgian bistro, mussels), Wasabi Zen (great sushi), Taste of Mezze (tapas), Ricuitti's (italian, wood burning stove pizza), Mama Lucia (italian pizza/pasta)
                Howard County: Victoria Gastropub (gourmet pub food), Iron Bridge (small plates, wine bar, gourmet), Sono Sushi (columbia, great sushi/japanese), Jesse Wongs asian bistro (high end chinese), Crossroads Pub (crab house, seafood), Pasta Blitz (pasta, pizza)

                1. You're in luck. Ten miles from Highland just gets you to Rte 40 and 29, so you're up for food through Columbia, up into Ellicott City and down to Burtonsville. I second Victoria, El Azteca, Bistro Blanc and the other places mentioned by other posters.

                  Here are some veggie ideas with easy no-wheat options:

                  1) Veggie bi bim bap, chap chae, and age tofu (hold the fish flakes) or other vegetarian options at Shin Chon Garden in E.C. Add scallion pancakes if you can eat some wheat.
                  2) Vegetarian platter at Sorreti's Ethiopian in Burtonsville. Upgrade to the teff bread for no wheat issues.
                  3) A mezze made from the pumpkin, aushuk, bowlani, etc. (hold the meat garnishes) with rice at Maiwand Kabob in Columbia. You may need to ask about wheat in the dumplings. The hot bread is wonderful if you can have some wheat.
                  4) Great Indian food with rice at any of House of India, Royal Taj, or Flavor of India in Columbia. There is even a counter service Indian on Johns Hopkins Road closer to Highland. That's Tandoori Grill in the shopping center with Facci. I think they do nice curries.
                  5) Facci Ristorante on Johns Hopkins Road. The Web site is ridiculously slow right now, but I think they have both vegetarian and gluten-free options highlighted.
                  6) Vegetarian rolls at Sushi Sono -- both the enormous vegetarian special and smaller ones or variations that you request. (Although you may eat fish if you like Sushi King.)
                  7) All kinds of Chinese food at Red Pearl in Columbia.

                  If wheat is a possibility, then you can also check out the grilled vegetable sandwich (or whatever variation you ask them to make) at Bon Fresco Sandwich Bakery in Columbia.

                  And, of course, we should all flock to Mango Grove when it opens in its new space. I went past about a week ago. It was still a construction site, but they're making progress. They have an entire vegetarian menu with wonderful dosas.

                  I'd suggest other resources, but the Chowhound editors are a bit quick with the delete button. Other people might suggest local blogs or other resources. ;-)