Restaurants We Love

Restaurants We Love

Baked Goods:
Bagels:  Panera:  Great!!
Donuts:  Bel Air Bakery for twists 
         Sun and Moon Cafe on Edgewood Rd., in Edgewood, for Apple Fritters and Croissants  Their apple fritters are as good as the donut shop my mom and I went to when I was growing up.  They're only open M-F though.
Bread:  Panera:  Great Sourdough
Vaccaro's:  Good food, but overpriced.  The cookies are very expensive.  Their cannolis though are the standard and are very good.

For casual with the kids:
Chipotle:  Great
Five Guys Burgers and Fries:  Great    
       Great burgers and great fries
The Seafood Stop:  Great chicken fingers/fries and fish and chips baskets    (in Fallston)
      We'll get these and then take them to Annie's playground for a picnic.
Buontempo Brothers:   Great pizza   (in Downtown Bel Air)
Panera:  Good and they have great salads
      I haven't found better salads in Harford County, but I keep looking because I love to eat salads out!      
      When I take the kids here, we get them bagels and cream cheese and split a smoothie.  It's a better place
       for lunch with them than dinner.
LaTolteca:  When I was growing up, we had two choices in LA for eating out:  Mexican or Chinese food.  So, going to a good Mexican restaurant makes me feel like I'm back in Cali.  La Tolteca is good mexican.  It's just as good as the place we always went to when I was growing up.

For Crabs:
The Seafood Stop: Great
Their crabs are coated in Old Bay and they really are good.  They'll give you brown paper and the crabs often come with corn.  We know the owners of this spot and they're dear friends.  Even so, I wouldn't go anywhere else to get crabs!

For a sit down, eat-in restaurant with the kids:
All three of these are in Bel Air.
The Open Door Cafe:     Good and sometimes Great.   The desserts are great.  The Chai Tea Latte is exceptional.  But, the service and other food is good and a few things I've had have been okay.  This is one of those restaurants where I think you really have to find what you like and then stick with what you find that's good.  I have started sticking with the gourmet grilled cheese for my meal and it's really quite good.  The Chai is awesome and it's a wonderful place to go for dessert.  But, my meals have been dry and my salad was especially so.  I tend to like sauce on my foods, so that definitely affects how I feel about meals I eat.  Last night we tried it again and it was much better.  The gourmet grilled cheese with field greens was a great value at just under $6!  And my husband loved his Eggplant panini.  They also serve breakfast so this might move up on our ranking of our favorite restaurants, but the one thing that holds me back is that the service has been pretty bad about half of the time we've gone.

Golden Szechuan Inn:  Great, Really Great!
We always love everything we get here.  It is a quiet restaurant, but for some reason our kids are very quiet here.  The food is always wonderful and our kids ask for the General Tso's chicken every time.  They love it even though it's a little spicy.

For a delicious food, with or without kids:
Zen 16 Sushi:  Exceptional  (in Bel Air near Ross)
The sushi and other dishes here are exceptional.  If you ask them to customize your sushi, they will.  Once I asked them to put tempura flakes on the outside of a roll and it was absolutely yummy!  Recently we did take the kids here and they loved it.  Autumn has requested this restaurant for her birthday--the honey chicken is delicious (in her words).

Bonefish Grille:  Great, sometimes Good   (in Bel Air)
The first time we went here everything was great.  The second time, our meals were good and the appetizer was great.  But, the ambience is great and the price is reasonable considering the food.  I love to go here on a date.

Giovanni's:  Great and even exceptional at times because it's so solidly great (in Edgewood)
We've never, ever had a bad meal or dish at Giovanni's.  My husband is Italian and he loves Italian food.  We have taken the kids here and they've behaved well (they were even quieter than the table next to us), but in general it's not a place I'd go if your kids feel like they want to talk loudly =)

Laurrapin Grille:  Good, but overpriced   I wouldn't recommend it.  (in Havre de Grace)  I wrote a detailed review on my blog in June 2010.

MacGregor's:  Great view of the water and good food.  We went for lunch.  I definitely recommend it over the Laurrapin. (in Havre de Grace)

For an expensive, romantic date meal:  (we're still working on places to go for this one)
Ruth's Chris:  Exceptional  (in Baltimore)
     Our steaks and food were exceptional here.  The price was too.  It was $100 for the two of us, but it was a once in an amazingly long time kind of meal.

Our conclusion last night was that when we want to have a fancy dinner, we need to go to Towson or Baltimore.  

Restaurants that are not our favorites:
Silver Spring Mining Co.:  Moderate/Okay   
The service was okay, but the food wasn't very good.

Laurrapin Grille:  It would be a great restaurant to recommend if it was less expensive, but at the current prices, it is an very overpriced meal if you're wanting to go out for a fancy meal.

Double T Diner:  Moderate/Okay
Diner food is okay, but it's very heavy and it's surprisingly expensive when the bill is added up.  For the same price, the Open Door has much better food and meals.

Chili's:  Moderate food.  The kids love it and they gave me a great dessert on my birthday, but the burgers have shrunk a lot in size as the economy has affected the food they serve.  It used to be a good standby, but our last meal there wasn't very good.  In general, I find the service and food a solid "okay".

These are just our opinions.  We love food a lot and realize that we're picky. =)