In Nepal, the sprawling summits and snowcapped peaks of the Himalayas backdrop Lumbini, one of four main Buddhist pilgrimage sites. In Baltimore, simmering curries and spice-laden sauces permeate the atmosphere at Lumbini Restaurant. This bouquet of savory scents dances over crisp white tabletops and drifts to the edges of an elegant dining room, which deepens with the broad landscape mural that guides glances along an outer wall.
Creamy or spicy sauces daub charcoal-roasted chicken, tandoor-barbecued lamb, or stir-fried jumbo shrimp. Veggie entrees blend the same rich sauces over pumpkin, baked eggplant, chickpeas, or house-made cheese. With each meal, diners dig in with classic copper utensils and cover laps with maroon napkins. For parties and events, a private floor accommodates groups celebrating a birthday, an anniversary, or the successful forging of a college degree.
The fragrant aroma of freshly ground ginger and cinnamon wafts from Akbar’s Restaurant’s kitchen, mingling with the smoky scent of meats simmering in a traditional tandoori oven. Rife with spices, buttery marinades, and cream-based sauces, the eatery's Northern Indian cuisine nabbed the title of Best Indian Restaurant from City Paper’s Best of Baltimore 2010. In the dining room, romance sparks amid classical Indian music and walls laden with traditional art and lists of pun-free pickup lines.
Red paper lanterns dangle from the ceiling at Ikko Sushi, casting a warm glow on careful arrangements of colorful sushi. Displays of fresh fish line the sushi bar, where chefs assemble salmon, eel, and crab into kaleidoscopes of texture and color, adorning them with extravagant flourishes of spicy sauce, wasabi, and shredded Japanese currency. Meanwhile, in the kitchen, pots bubble with rice and noodles, as grills sizzle with teriyaki beef, chicken, and pork. Servers tote dishes and cups of imported beer and sake out to tabletops that speckle both the interior and outdoor front patio.
Located inside Mr. Pizza, Yummy Grille prepares a menu of sandwiches and hearty Mediterranean cuisine. Diners can sink teeth into marinated-steak shawarma, chicken-breast kebabs, or a Yummito—the spot's signature tortilla-encased falafel with rice and vegetables.
Back in their native France, Fernand's family owned a farm and Odette's owned a bar in the region of Brittany. When the two met, therefore, it was only a matter of time before they decided to open their own restaurant. But the Tersiguels went above and beyond: they created a chef! Today, their son Michel is the executive chef at their eponymous restaurant.
It was 1964 when, with Michel on the way, the couple first came to New York. Within three days of being hired at Top of the Fair, Fernand was promoted to lead bus boy. And within four years, the Tersiguels had founded their first restaurant, La Poularde. They later opened their second, Chez Fernand, though after nine years of success the restaurant was lost in a fire. Though the experience was upsetting, the couple used it as an opportunity to move downtown to the Old Baltimore Shot Tower.
In 1990 they opened Tersiguel's French Country Restaurant in the heart of Ellicott City, and the family has resurrected their multigenerational commitment to food—and their passion for the industry—by serving seasonal plates of classic French favorites. Escargots, frog legs, and bœuf à la Bourguignonne dance across the menu before house-made chocolate mousse delights palates. Odette's own family recipe is used to make the pâté de Campagne. So deep is the family's dedication to fine food that some customers even sign up just to shadow Michel for a day, following the chef from his 5 a.m. market trip to the kitchen as he prepares that evening's meals and invents his own type of fire to uses in the oven.
Following Baja Fresh?s ethos set in 1990 as a healthy take on fast food, never-frozen meats sizzle atop the grill before they're tucked into made-to-order tacos and burritos. Grilled corn and flour tortillas embrace fish, carnitas, chicken, and steak, and smoky queso fundido sidles onto nachos and into burritos. Between bites, chips scoop up salsa made from farm-fresh produce rather than poured out of a can or fabricated in a space-age replicator. A complimentary salsa bar ensures no mouthful goes unspiced, and guests can scoop up their favorites as they await their dine-in, takeout, or catering orders.