Ellicott City, with its storied past and charming Main Street, is a hidden culinary gem nestled in the rolling hills of Maryland. This quaint town, where history echoes through the old mill and along the railroad tracks, boasts a restaurant scene as rich and inviting as its heritage. The finest restaurants in the area provide a diverse array of culinary treats, ranging from inventive kitchens creating international flavors using regional ingredients to warm, candlelit rooms serving rustic, farm-to-table cuisine. Each establishment, set against the backdrop of historic buildings and winding streets, provides a warm welcome and a taste of Ellicott City’s indomitable spirit. As we embark on a gastronomic journey through this vibrant town, prepare to be enchanted by the flavors that capture the essence of its community.
Located in the heart of Ellicott Historic District, Tersiguel’s French Country Restaurant is a fine-dining French restaurant inside a historic, colonial white brick townhouse building. The interior has tasteful country-chic décor and candle-lit tables with white tablecloths. Tersiguel’s is a farm-to-table bistro using the freshest seasonal ingredients from local farms to create traditional European dishes. Tersigue’s has a full cocktail bar and a pre-fixe six-course menu with all the classic French favorites. I loved their escargot with garlic, shallots, butter, and wine.
Manor Hill Tavern is a local favorite for great beer and hearty bar fare. Located in a series of 19th-century buildings with colorful brick and shingle facades in Old Ellicott City, Manor Hill Tavern maintains the historic feel while lining the old brick and stone walls with local art. The atmosphere is casual, cozy, and family-friendly. Manor Hill has a sister brewery that supplies small-batch brews to accompany a diverse menu of high-quality American meals. There are nine beers on tap from Manor Hills Brewery. The menu has everything from wood-fired pizzas to salads to burgers. I couldn’t get enough of the street fries, thick-cut French fries topped with bacon, sriracha aioli, corn salsa, pickled jalapenos, chives, and smoked tomato ranch.
Alexandra’s is an American fusion restaurant inside the lovely Turf Valley Resort with a bright and airy dining space and outdoor deck overlooking a golf course. Alexandra’s sources their meat and produce from local farms to create many creative twists on American comfort food. Alexandra’s serves breakfast, lunch, Sunday brunch buffet, and dinner with different daily specials like Thursday Steak nights. In addition, there’s live music on Fridays and Saturdays during the dinner hour. I delighted in their crab cake sandwich on a toasted brioche bun with house-made tartar.
Located next to Turf Valley Towne Square, Grille 620 is a fashionable fine-dining seafood restaurant and cocktail lounge. Its industrial-meets-rustic chic décor and smooth background music offer a lively yet refined atmosphere. There’s also a stunning outdoor patio space overlooking the surrounding forests. Grille 620 serves multi-course seafood and steak meals with Mediterranean flavors and expertly curated cocktails, wines, and local beers. I started with the grilled octopus with lemon vinaigrette, followed by a delicious dish of scallops with wild mushroom fricassee, cauliflower puree, basil pesto, and truffle oil.
The Trolley Stop is a family-owned, family-friendly traditional American restaurant in an old 19th-century Inn and Tavern in Oella Estates. According to Ellicott City history, there used to be a trolley stop in front of the locale from the late 1800s till 1955. The Trolley Stop serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The small, traditional breakfast menu has a small selection of American favorites like pancakes, French toast, and omelets. The lunch menu has a massive selection of hot and cold sandwiches, and the dinner menu has budget-friendly steakhouse offerings. I loved their tuna melt on an English muffin.
Mad Chef Kitchen and Bar
Mad Chef Kitchen and Bar is a lively and elegant gastropub located directly across the street from Grille 620 in Turf Valley. Their romantic atmosphere features rustic-chic décor replete with arched doorways and crystal chandeliers. They have the best happy hour in town, where you can mix your own cocktail. The cocktail menu, wine list, and craft beer menu are top-notch. The cocktails are as stunning and colorful as the beautifully plated food on their New American menu. I recommend going for happy hour to get a glass of cheap sangria and a plate of tuna taquitos with Korean slaw, spicy mayo, sesame seeds, and miso dressing in a wonton shell.
Owned by Mexican native and chef Ernesto Puga, Ernesto’s Fine Mexican Food is a bright and vibrant restaurant that serves authentic Mexican cuisine and Tex-Mex specialties. Located just north of Pine Orchard, this colorful restaurant features Mexican-style art, blue-tiled tequila and margarita bar, and thick granite tables. They have all the Mexican favorites, starting with excellent house-made margaritas. I had a top-shelf margarita with an order of guacamole made tableside with fresh jalapenos and cilantro. For a taste of Tex-Mex, I recommend the brisket tacos with jack cheese, onion, poblanos, and avocado.
Located in Dorsey Search, LeeLynn’s Dining Room and Lounge are a New American restaurant and bar with a spectacular outdoor patio surrounded by greenery and shaded by a wooden patio cover. The interior is a casual, country-chic space with live music serenading your lunch or happy hour. The family-friendly and casual atmosphere serves low-priced yet high-quality dishes. I loved the roasted beet salad with red and gold beets, arugula, goat cheese, butternut squash, and dried cranberries with mustard-poppy seed vinaigrette. It was almost too pretty to eat.
The White Oak Tavern is a farm-to-table gastropub with a friendly and casual atmosphere, sourcing its meat, produce, and beer from local farmers and breweries. Located next door to Ernesto’s Mexican restaurant, The White Oak Tavern has one of the most extensive draughts and imported beer lists in Ellicott City. Their menu runs the cultural gamut of comforting pub fare, from wings to tacos. I started with an order of house-made baked white cheddar cornbread with chipotle butter and scallions. Their signature White Oak Burger with dry-aged beef and porter glazed caramelized onions on a brioche bun was a cut above the rest.
Located just east of Saint John’s Village, Stella Notte is a family-friendly Italian-American restaurant with a cute old-school feel. The dining room looks like a 50s family living room with an atrium-like sunroom at one end. They offer moderately priced, comforting Italian dishes that remind you of your Italian grandmother’s cooking- even if you don’t have one! The extensive menu features everything from classic antipasti, pizza, and salads to entrees and pasta. The best part of the pasta menu is that it’s completely customizable. You can choose the type of pasta, protein, veggie, and sauce. I went with fettuccini topped with chicken and broccoli in a fresh basil pesto sauce.
Why Trust Us?
When it comes to local restaurant recommendations, we pride ourselves on being a reliable and trustworthy resource. Our suggestions are not just based on our personal experiences, ensuring a more authentic and well-rounded perspective, but also on extensive online research. We diligently searched the internet and reviewed 6 credible sites and blogs, including Tripadvisor.com and Wanderlog.com.
We compiled all the findings in one location and sorted them by the frequency of mentions to ensure you receive top-notch recommendations. We strive to present you with a curated list of establishments that truly stand out, allowing you to enjoy the best dining experiences possible.
Interested in the sources we consulted? Check out the list of all 6 sites we referenced below this paragraph, offering transparency and an opportunity for our readers to explore further. Our commitment is to deliver trustworthy and unparalleled recommendations, helping you make informed decisions on your culinary journeys.