Colorful, pan-Asian dishes piled high with generous portions emerge hot out of the wok from the kitchen at Chopstixx Cafe. Sifting through the pages of the vast menu, diners will find familiar classics composed of super-fresh ingredients, including spicy General Tso's chicken and pad thai, as well as specialty dishes such as the steamed "Revolution Diet," which features tender shrimp and an array of healthy veggies. The kitchen also whips up crave-worthy bubble teas in fancy flavors such as lychee, passionfruit, and red bean.
The epicurean engineers at Parsa Kabob grill lamb, beef, and seafood with Persian spices and then skewer them with colorful veggies, creating artfully arranged plates of authentic Middle Eastern cuisine. Lamb koobideh ($10.95 for dinner), seasoned ground lamb and the Sultani combination ($16.95) proffers a protein-packed mix of marinated filet mignon and beef that halts hunger more easily than a meat-stuffed piñata. Fresh pita bread and hummus ($4.95) make for lemon and tahini-infused main course intermissions. An array of de-lanced entrees such as falafel sandwiches ($5.95) and jerk-chicken gyros ($6.99) keeps forks, knives, and hands from feeling undervalued.
In 1744, a brick tavern began pouring brews on the edge of the Patapsco River. James and Andrew Ellicott bought the establishment in 1810 and added a stately home for their family. More than a century later, when Daniel and Steve Wecker discovered the former Ellicott property in 1988, it had fallen into disrepair. But, seeing the promise in the neglected building and its surrounding 16 acres of flourishing linden, holly, and magnolia trees, the brothers convinced the state of Maryland to lease them the property. Together, they restored the rooms and much of the original 18th- and 19th-century craftsmanship, transforming it into what is now The Elkridge Furnace Inn. Today, guests walk over original longleaf-pine flooring and admire the stairway’s tiger-maple spindles and the molding’s Colonial-style dogwood motifs on their way to the historic dining room, whose atmosphere helped earn the restaurant a spot among OpenTable's 100 Most Romantic Restaurants in the country.
The restaurant’s lavish French cuisine plays no small part in its success, garnering laudations and media attention from the likes of the Washington Post. Daniel Wecker takes the helm in the kitchen as executive chef, burying game meats—such as rabbit and quail—and fresh seafood beneath rich glazes and beurre blanc sauces. When faced with too many choices from an encyclopedic wine list, diners can consult the menu for recommended vintages to pair with their dish.
The Flores family never dreamed that 15 years after they emigrated from Mexico, Maryland state senator Jim Robey would be on hand at their restaurant opening to whack a celebratory piñata. Yet that's exactly how the business started—with an explosion of candy foretelling a boom of happy customers.
Named for the Flores’s hometown of Nayarit, El Nayar was designed as a reflection of the clan’s personality, which they describe as "authentic Mexican, laid-back, and down-to-earth." They’re proud that amid the exposed-brick columns and blue- and red-tiled counter, immigrants can be found enjoying cactus and eggs beside American businessmen talking shop over tacos and quesadillas. It’s this mentality, along with sizzling fajitas and house-made spicy sauce, that has earned the restaurant an award as a Top 10 Mexican Restaurant by the Baltimore Sun.
Also honored with a Healthy Howard award for the dietary excellence of its menu, the BYOB establishment encourages diners to supplement meals with glasses of a favorite red wine, good for the heart, or shots of tequila, good for hand-walking skills and adding into specialty margaritas.
Former commercial airline pilot Rodrigo Albarran, copiloted by his family and team of chefs, flies vibrant Mexican plates across the runway of R&R Taqueria's eight-stool counter. Though the salsa-spangled morsels emerge from a pair of modest eateries situated at an Elkridge Shell station and the White Marsh Mall food court, the dazzling menu garners praise from a bevy of media palates, including that of Guy Fieri's Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and the Washington Post. Critics laud the zingy salsas prepared throughout the day, tender handmade tamales, and pastor beef marinated slowly in a blend of onions, dried chilis, and pineapple. R&R also loads fresh tacos with lamb or beef, then dapples each with onions and sprigs of fresh cilantro, following the culinary traditions of Mexico City and Mexican-cheese support groups alike.