When visiting this city, you should look for the best restaurants in Columbia to suit your dining preference and culinary.
The dining scene in Columbia is family-friendly, with options for kids, adults, and dietary options.
However, this city ranks fifth in the cities to raise a family in America and is one of Baltimore, Washington, metropolitan area’s biggest communities where you will find different restaurants, coffee shops, and parks that the whole family will enjoy.
Hence, most of these restaurants are in the mall in Columbia, a good marketing strategy since more people go to the mall to buy and eat. You will definitely love the food here and will love to go back.
Best Restaurants in Columbia MD
1. Cured 18th & 21st
Tucked off of Little Patuxent Parkway and walking distance from Meriweather Post Pavilion, Cured 18th & 21st is a great spot for dinner, happy hour drinks, or a bite to eat before seeing a show.
However, you can’t go wrong with any of the appetizers, salads, sandwiches, and entrees like the pretzel bites, Brussels, chef’s salad with crispy chicken, and oysters on the half shell.
Interestingly, Cured is the restaurant in the front, and in the back is the 18th & 21st, a speakeasy with frequent jazz bands. Decent bar selection on tap and a wide variety of food options.
Hence, the Philly cheese steak egg rolls with house-made wiz are on point! Not greasy and packed full of meat, the flavor of the filling is very tasty on its own.
And the classic burger with bacon is cooked to perfection, not greasy, and super tasty without any condiments.
Be prepared to spend money here, but the full package makes it worth it. It’s not just dinner; it’s a night of fun and entertainment. Undoubtedly one of the best restaurants in Columbia to dine in.
Address: 10980 Grantchester Wy #110, Columbia, MD 21044
2. Cazbar – Columbia
If you have not experienced Turkish food, this is going to be the best introduction with the perfect decor to enjoy. The menu is on a tablet and very user-friendly to maneuver through with a vegan section.
The servers are very knowledgeable about the culture and how to explain the flavor and dishes. The seating is limited, but you can enjoy indoor and outdoor dining by far one of the best cultural experiences in Howard County and easily one of the best Turkish restaurants in Columbia.
However, their bread is always homemade, soft, and delicious. Order the trio of dips, and you will be in heaven.
My favorite is the beef one, but the babaganoush and hummus are equally superb.
Jokingly, you may never eat a regular pizza again because the pies here are better in every way.
Also, the kebabs are excellent and tender, full of meaty flavor. Words cannot describe how unique the flavors and taste are! You just have to go there to experience it yourself.
Address: 9400 Snowden River Pkwy Ste 112, Columbia, MD 21045
3. The Iron Bridge Wine Company
Right across the street from Clark’s Eliaok Farm, Iron Bridge Wine Company is a small, quaint restaurant.
Iron Bridge also buys local and fresh produce from Clark’s Elioak Farm, illustrating its support for the local community.
Once you step in, there is an awkward waiting area, but generally, you get seated quite quickly.
Though this spot is slightly expensive, you get what you pay for. They offer an appetizer, entree, and dessert of your choice from the main menu.
First, for the appetizer, try the beef tartar, topped with foie gras, sweet blackberry, and a baked cheese crisp. It is slightly awkward to eat as it’s a towered plate, but the dish is sweet and savory.
Also, the cider and bacon steamed mussels; are cooked with bacon, apple cider, and onion. This dish is very savory and deep; the smoky touch of bacon with the tang of the apple cider is very balanced.
Then for your entree, try the plantain gnocchi, beef short ribs ragout, baby arugula, and shaved pecorino cheese. The dish is sweet and perfectly seasoned; beef ribs are bone-in on top of the gnocchi.
Hence, try the butternut pear cappellacci; a sweet and savory dish. Consists of pear, butternut, and a hint of apricot. A very fruity dish that is also well seasoned, and the sauce is fantastic and would be great with other dishes.
For your dessert, try the tiramisu; not too sweet but has a hint of alcohol on the lady’s finger. Mascarpone cheese adds a deep flavor to the dish.
And banana sticky pudding; topped with whip cream and salted caramel ice cream. Very sweet and much more of a savory type of dessert.
Unlike other restaurants in Columbia, this spot has a very nice cocktail menu and an extensive wine menu. So don’t sleep on it.
Address: 10435 MD-108, Columbia, MD 21O44
4. Victoria Gastro Pub
Victoria’s is great for their extensive beer program, sandwiches, and burgers. By extensive, I mean a multi-page beer menu and beer club.
Asides from the busiest times, the parking is ample. The beer list is exceptional, and they have a full bar. They have beers you would struggle to find in other restaurants in Columbia.
Start with the poutine fries. Don’t think twice; treat yourself to it; the duck confit meat melts in your mouth, while the creaminess of the gruyere balances the fat in the dish. Try the cornbread muffins with honey butter if you are vegetarian for a sweet starter.
Let’s talk about the burgers; try the wagyu mushroom burger with truffle cheese and bacon upgrades. No regrets; the burgers are served with house-made spiced pickles, featuring a sweet and flavorful blend with coriander seed. But if you are a pickle purist, get them on the side.
All in all, the food is wonderfully balanced with a great selection of ingredients. Someone has done an exceptional job preparing the menu.
Nonetheless, Victoria Gastro Pub is a cool place for date night or to go with a larger party. Just remember to make reservations!
Address: 8201 Snowden River Pkwy Ste D, Columbia, MD 21045
5. The Food Market
Tucked away behind a large building and hard to find. This well-run restaurant is worth pursuing; chill vibes abound, and an inventive lunch menu that offers something for everyone.
The restaurant is light and airy; it’s really lovely. From the time you walk in, you will be greeted, and they will really take good care of you.
However, you will be met with great service once seated, and the servers will help with your recommendations.
You can start your meal with the big Ole’ Mozzarella sticks, three huge Mozzarella sticks, and then buffalo pickles which are served in a Gorgonzola dressing.
The lamb chops are also noteworthy with candied nuts and apricot jam. The desserts are also good; the half-baked Blondie tastes like cookie dough. Check them out and try some different things.
Address: 10480 Little Patuxent Pkwy G150, Columbia, MD 21044
6. The Walrus Oyster & Ale House
Yes! Finally, a restaurant with a “nice ambiance” and quality food is worth every penny.
Too many restaurants in Columbia miss the mark these days and charge outrageous prices. But here in The Walrus Oyster & Ale House, it is literally worth it.
Family-friendly, good service and food you will be talking about returning to get before the plate in front of you is finished.
Now if you want the best clam chowder, you should be here. Every spoon is full of clams right to the end, and dozen little neck clams on the 1/2 shell. So fresh and so good.
Then for your main course, you can have the braised short ribs dinner, with mashed potatoes and veggies. Or try the seafood fra diavolo a combo of shrimp, scallops, baby clams, and mussels in a spicy tomato sauce with homemade pappardelle pasta.
If you are looking for an inexpensive night out, you may have a harder time budgeting for this place In, but they do some delicious yet less expensive fare. Enjoy!
Address: 10300 Little Patuxent Pkwy Suite 3030, Columbia, MD 21044
7. Rudy’s Mediterranean Grill & Turkish Cuisine
One of the best Turkish restaurants in Columbia. Although Rudy’s Mediterranean Grill And Turkish Cuisine is on the higher end in terms of price, totally worth it for the quality and service.
However, you will get a variety of dishes, from falafel to sigara borage, to lentil soup, to Turkish doner kebab, to lamb chops, to Niagara kofte, to baklava, to Kazan dibi, and chocolate pudding. Each dish is absolutely delicious.
Hence, the falafel is fried with a hard and crispy outer shell. It comes with pita bread and plenty of hummus. And the sigara borage has a very light flavor consisting of hot, flaky, and delicate fried dough wrapped around feta cheese.
Most other dishes also have light flavor/seasoning, including the lentil soup, all the entrees, and the salad that comes with the entrees.
Also, there is salt and pepper on the table if the flavor is too light for you. It’s really a good deal, as the entrees in the brunch special are the same price and size as the non-specials, plus an appetizer and baklava.
Then the Kazan dibi tastes like a creme brulee without the burnt sugar on top, and the chocolate pudding is surprisingly rich and delicious.
Plan a visit on Mondays – Sundays from 11 AM – 10 PM.
Address: 7185 Columbia Gateway Dr, Columbia, MD 21046
8. Maggiano’s Little Italy
Quality service, menu, and atmosphere; Maggiano’s Little Italy has it all! The friendly, considerate, attentive staff immediately makes you feel like an old friend.
The decor is classy, with dark wood, leather-wrapped seats, and warm lighting.
Meanwhile, traditional, nuanced Italian flavors abound, and the menu is impressive; there is no bad option, and every choice is a delicious win!
This spot has also mastered the art of the portion, never giving too much or too little; it’s just always right.
However, located in Columbia Town Center, it is a smart choice equally for intimate date nights or lunches with family, and reservations during peak times are highly recommended.
Speaking of its menu, the family-style menu is the way to go; it’s a buffet brought to your table.
You can get antipasti, a delicious deconstructed bruschetta, one hot appetizer, one salad, two pasta styles, and two “signature cuts.”
Besides, you can keep ordering as many of the appetizers, main courses, and desserts as long as you are still within each course.
For the pasta, try the mushroom ravioli, which you can pair with the chicken Marsala (the sauce is fantastic and loaded with mushrooms).
Another great pasta dish is the beef pappardelle; the beef just melts in your mouth! Their linguini with clam sauce is simple but super tasty. It’s loaded with a ton of clams!
Then there are their desserts, cheesecake, and tiramisu absolutely decadent. Their cheesecake is simple, topped with strawberries, and even better than the cheesecake factory.
Address: 10300 Little Patuxent Pkwy Suite 3160, Columbia, MD 21044
9. The Turn House
First, the restaurant’s setting overlooks a beautiful golf course, which is just beautiful to look down at.
You can sit outside (fire pit), enjoy drinks and a meal, or be seated inside the dining room or expansive bar.
Whichever way, you cannot go wrong wherever you sit! Then you can order some excellent wine and start your meal with a cheese plate and some crab dip (out of this world).
For your entree, try the pasta A’lamatriciana with chicken, which is just the right amount of spicy and has so many different delicious flavors.
Or try the flank steak; it is perfectly cooked and is a rarity from other restaurants in Columbia, and is unbelievably tender.
Then, you can have some homemade vanilla ice cream and apple crisps for your dessert. Yum pretty much sums it up. You will really enjoy the food because you will taste the difference in the ingredients used that are farm-to-table fresh.
However, the presentation of the dishes is over the top and unique. The ambiance and decor add to the experience, rounding out a perfect date night or lunch outing. Definitely, a must-try! Bravo, chef Thomas!
Plan a visit to The Turn House on Mondays – Saturdays from 11 AM – 9 PM and Sundays from 10:30 AM – 9 PM.
Address: 11130 Willow Bottom Dr, Columbia, MD 21044
Planning a road trip to Ocean City? Check out some of our list of the best Restaurants in Ocean City to dine in!
10. Sushi Sono
One of the best sushi restaurants in Columbia; there is nothing you could ask for more.
For starters, the staff is amazing. Upon entering, you are greeted by the Maitre D, and she will ensure you get a seat/table that suits your needs.
If you reserve ahead, you can even get one of their two traditional low tables to sit at. And the staff is all dressed in traditional Japanese attire, which adds so much to the experience!
Then, a hot towel to wash your hands once you sit down just starts the meal right. The staff is friendly and talkative in the best of ways. Everyone is in good spirits and happy to help you out.
However, this is not an all-you-can-eat buffet-style restaurant, but they know how to serve up a feast! The chefs are in front and center, cutting and preparing fresh foods. The hot meals are prepared in the back.
Then the fish here is exceptionally fresh and priced accordingly, don’t go to Sushi Sono thinking you will stuff yourself for under $50. This is a place to be dined and enjoyed.
Also, they do takeaway! If you don’t have time to sit, just call ahead or order up at the bar, and they will gladly put it all in a nice package for you to bring home.
I can’t say enough great things about this place; make sure to visit when you are in Columbia.
Address: 10215 Wincopin Cir, Columbia, MD 21044
11. The Corner Stable
A fixture in the king’s contrivance area for years, The Corner Stable has something for everyone.
The restaurant has a separate bar room for boisterous groups and parties celebrating or watching the big game; the roomy restaurant can accommodate singles to large groups and families.
Hence, the menu is tried-and-true American fare with something for every taste. There is a kids menu for the youngest picky eaters; prices are reasonable too.
Great beer selection and good prices. Crab cakes are tasty, with large pieces of crab and a piece of flavorful bread.
Also, the ribs are tender; the fries are well-executed beach style. Lots of sides to choose from, with many vegetables, and the burgers are great too.
However, The Corner Stable can accommodate good-sized groups because the menu has lots of options, and many tables are six seats, which can easily be combined for larger groups.
This is one of those restaurants in Columbia that has many dishes without being pretentious or pricey.
Also, for the nonlocals out there, remember that it’s not easy to serve a lovely crab cake in a restaurant. The economics of food and meal costs are tough because crab meat is expensive.
Meanwhile, The Corner Stable does as well as any place for this and is much better than most.
Address: 8630 Guilford Rd, Columbia, MD 21046
If you are on the fence, take the plunge; this Mediterranean restaurant is where you should visit when you crave that Greek-inspired food.
Another facet of this business that means a lot to me is that they not only utilize local resources but also post the names and locations of the farms so you can check them out yourself if you would like.
Again, they seem to take “farm to table” seriously at CAVA. In fact, a local DC bakery provides the cookies in the basket by the register. The dark chocolate ones are beyond divine.
Also, something that I think puts this restaurant ahead of other restaurants in Columbia is the beverage options.
The sodas use fair trade certified, organic sugar and are delicious. They also offer a juice selection that includes pumpkin and apple juice.
Moreover, their food is exemplary in taste. Indeed is the healthiest meal someone could get; their sides (pita chips and brownie) are really scrumptious and is worth it.
You have so many choices to choose from, like the greens & grains bowl with basmati rice, with a mixture of other vegetables and three types of sauce.
However, the bowl hits the spot, has excellent flavor, and definitely an explosion of flavors. Then you can top your bowl off with the blueberry lavender drink; there is something for everyone. Stop by, and take your time creating your bowl.
Plan a visit on Mondays – Sundays from 10:45 AM – 10 PM.
Address: 6181 Old Dobbin Ln, Columbia, MD 21045
13. The Ale House Columbia
This restaurant is a nice change of pace among all other restaurants in the Columbia area.
Having a large menu, a great selection of beers, including domestics, and a wide open seating plan, The Ale House Columbia will surely please all who take in the venue.
However, their prices are reasonable, with a few exceptions. The wide open seating plan mainly concerns the bar area as there are other closed dining rooms away from the bar, so you are not constantly bombarded by those watching the games on the 10+ flat screen TVs filling the bar area.
Also, they have outdoor seating. And the restrooms are very clean and well kept.
Hence, their menu has a lot of variety, and despite being an Ale House, they have some delicious cocktails and a good variety of wine in addition to the several beer options on tap.
You should go at least once and try a beer/ale/cider flight from their extensive selection.
Address: 6480 Dobbin Center Way, Columbia, MD 21045
14. Xenia Greek Kouzina
Xenia Greek Kouzina lives up to its name, the law/custom of offering protection and hospitality to strangers.
Every single detail shines in this extravagant Greek restaurant and delivers an experience to remember.
Meanwhile, the menu sings with dishes like Arnisia Plevrakia (lamb ribs), dolmadakia (stuffed grape leaves), Thesaurus Tou Aigaiou (seafood pasta), and Arni Geouvetsi (slowly braised lamb shank). It falls right off the bone!
Also, beautifully prepared craft cocktails drop you right onto the coast of Santorini (must try the Agapi!)
However, they offer Greek fare and fresh seafood while taking you on a beautiful ride with flavors from the Mediterranean in an absolutely beautiful and electric atmosphere!
Then the service is impeccable, and the touch of a pianist during dinner service is classic. Also, the bar is open until 2 AM on Saturdays and Sundays, so you can still enjoy more drinks after dinner with your party.
Bottom line, a lovely place that is very expensive, but you won’t be disappointed in the quality.
Plan a visit daily from 11 AM – 12 AM.
Address: 8850 Columbia 100 Pkwy, Columbia, MD 21045
15. The Periodic Table Restaurant & Bar
There is a lot to like about The Periodic Table Restaurant & Bar. Creative food, craft cocktails, and reasonable prices, all in the large space with a bar and some outdoor seating that has previously housed several restaurants in this convenient but hidden spot off MD-108.
However, the outdoor dining area is a nice option, although it is located next to a parking lot; nonetheless, one takes what one can get in these challenging times.
Hence, the restaurant is new, and the menu changes as they remove and add new dishes.
The Moroccan flatbread is flavorful and the perfect size to share if one is so inclined. And the scallops are delicious, with all the accompaniments accenting the dish quite well.
Also, the beer batter fish and chips are quite delicious, with two huge pieces of crunchy fish fillets paired with lots of fries and a wonderful remold sauce.
Then there is a nice variety of wines with a New Zealand sauvignon blanc, the best choice for your entrees; however, the bar shines in its creation of experimental cocktails as the thermal cool down is enjoyed as the perfect summer libation.
The service is charming, and the general manager moves about the diners to make certain that all is as it should be during the opening weeks of what I am sure will become one of the best restaurants in Columbia.
Address: 8808 Centre Park Dr, Columbia, MD 21045
16. MISSION BBQ
A trip to MISSION BBQ leaves a person with a happy belly and a sense of security. Fall-off-the-bone goodness! It is a casual cafeteria style, but the line moves quickly, and if there is a delay or particular need, they will bring it to your table.
However, the main sides are consistently good, and there are rotating specialties. They roast their corn and potatoes in the same ovens as the meat; there is a divine touch of barbecue flavor!
Also, the portions are large enough to take home leftovers, or you can take advantage of their carry-out with a separate entrance at the Columbia location.
Hence, the restaurant is completely accessible with wide aisles, tables, and some bench seating. There is outdoor seating in good weather, and the hallway to the bathrooms is narrow, as is the entry area, but the accessible stall is large enough for transfers.
Then their customer service is exemplary, second only to their dedication to military/police/fire/rescue cases, like the collection of gear on the walls and insignia stapled in random areas.
Plan a visit on Mondays – Saturdays from 11 AM – 9 PM and Sundays from 11:30 AM – 8 PM.
Address: 6270 Columbia Crossing Cir, Columbia, MD 21045
17. Clove & Cardamom Restaurant
Gem of a restaurant in Columbia!
First thing first, the food is outstanding! The menu is unique, well-designed for a broad palate, kid-friendly, and super unique. The “fusion” style is hard to get right, and Clove & Cardamom Restaurant impresses with how right they got all the items.
Again, the ambiance matches the fusion menu and is hip, modern, and inviting, with no bad dishes. The flavors are delicate, the combinations unique, ingredients fresh.
However, try the scallops, garlic shrimp, chili chicken, Bronzino, and lamb shank. The lamb shank is well done; you could scoop it off the bone with a spoon! What a unique treat, delicate, tender, juicy, and flavorful.
Then the Bronzino comes bone-in but beautifully done, and you can easily scoop it off the bone. All the accompaniments are well designed with their dishes.
Also, the staff is excellent. They will take good care of you and explain all the dishes with passion, its good to know what goes into your food. How much they care for, and that everything is prepared fresh daily.
Good luck, and stay true to your fusion character. A truly unique experience, one of the best restaurants in Columbia.
Address: 6000 Merriweather Dr B115, Columbia, MD 21044
18. Royal Taj Restaurant
First, the ambiance is excellent, dimly lit with colored lighting but with elegant and comfy furniture.
Their liquor bottle selection is jaw-dropping, things you can only dream of getting your hands on; they have multiple bottles of, and not only that, they are just decoratively placed all around the restaurant.
Also, the service is excellent. They always make you feel welcome and essential from your first interaction to your last. An unneeded and unexpected gesture that just explains their excellence.
However, the food is to die for. They are not creamy, buttery, and heavy, which is to be expected for Indian food prepared outside; no, they actually spice well and use the right ingredients to bring richness and flavor.
Hence, try the samosa chaat, chicken tikka masala, saag paneer (spinach, with cheese cubes), and chili chicken. All of the dishes are warm and taste fresh.
While for your dessert, try the vanilla ice cream and gulab jamin; it is heavenly. Or the Punjabi (Indian), 100% authentic.
If you want an upscale atmosphere with a laid-back vibe and some of the best Northern Indian restaurants in Columbia, look no further than Royal Taj Restaurant. Simply outstanding and so tasty.
Address: 8335 Benson Dr, Columbia, MD 21045
19. Pho La Cay
After being closed for almost two years because the entire shopping center had to be rebuilt/remodeled, Pho La Cay is finally open again.
Pho is perfectly seasoned, and the portions are great; the bowl is always filled with pho and your choice of protein.
Also, the beef is always tender/perfectly cooked. The soup is flavorful here, compared to some other restaurants in Columbia, where it just tastes like boiled water. They always give a big lump of sprouts, lime, and basil, which are always fresh.
Easily the best pho in the area, the broth is super clean, accenting the subtle hints of star anise, pork umami, and fresh sauce in each slurp.
What really takes these bowls of pho to the next level are the unique toppings available.
Besides your standard pho offerings of ribeye, shrimp, and brisket, they make combos utilizing fried shrimp crackers, bbq roast pork, quail eggs, and fried shallots, just to name a few.
They also serve several varieties of banh mis that you should not miss.
Proteins include traditional headcheese, lemongrass beef/pork, pork meatball, and marinated tofu. Serving on fresh crunchy french baguettes with pate and pickled veggies.
However, the restaurant has a relaxed neighborhood/family-like vibe. There is plenty of space between tables, and you cant bump into other people, and it’s not noisy. You can actually eat in peace, and the restaurant is also very clean.
Address: 8865 Stanford Blvd #103, Columbia, MD 21045
20. Sushi King
This gem is from a dark, quiet shopping center in Columbia, an unexciting Maryland suburb. The restaurant has nice traditional Japanese decorations, and the waitresses dress in traditional kimonos.
Services are eager and friendly; they even have a tatami for the even more Japanese experience. Sushi King shows it deserves to be called royalty with its fresh cuts of fish and delicious sushi rolls.
Although with over a dozen different sushi restaurants in the Columbia area, this is the best so far. You start to understand that there is a severe difference in fish quality among restaurants, and you will almost immediately tell if a place is using fish that is worth the money.
However, that does lead to their top-end rolls being a bit more expensive but worth the price.
The food here is more on the higher end of sushi, but the rolls are large, and the fish slices are thick and quality fish.
Also, the Nigri here is worth the price since they season it, and it’s not simply rice slapped with a thin slice of finish on top.
Address: 6490 Dobbin Rd Suite F, Columbia, MD 21045
Whether you are a local or a tourist, you must never miss this list of the best restaurants in Columbia. These dining cuisines will give you a memorable experience with your family and loved ones.
Therefore, treat yourself to Columbia, Maryland’s best food and wine!