20 Best Restaurants in Ellicott City, MD

This article was written by local contributor Zoe Jones & edited by the Travel Lens team.

Best Restaurants in Ellicott City, MD
Liz Albro Photography / shutterstock.com

Ellicott City, a charming historic town nestled between Baltimore and Washington D.C., has long been one of my favorite places to explore and indulge in delicious food.

Over the years, I've had the pleasure of dining at various eateries, each offering a unique experience and tantalizing flavors.

The diverse culinary scene here caters to every palate, whether you're craving authentic international cuisine, classic American comfort food, or innovative farm-to-table creations.

Join me as I share my personal recommendations for the best restaurants in Ellicott City, Maryland, that you simply can't miss!

Tea Horse Sichuan Bistro

I've had the pleasure of dining at Tea Horse Sichuan Bistro a couple of times.

The overall experience has been quite pleasant.

When I first entered the restaurant, I was impressed by the beautiful and clean interior, which features wooden tables and chairs.

I also found it fascinating to see the chefs cooking through a glass window, adding a unique touch to the dining experience.

Regarding the food, I can say that it's generally good.

The starters steal the show with must-try dishes such as chili oil tossed clear noodles and beef lungs in chili sauce.

The main courses I've had were also decent.

The pricing is reasonable, with most dishes ranging between $10 and $20 and fairly large portions.

Tea Horse Sichuan Bistro · 8450 Baltimore National Pike #100, Ellicott City, MD 21043, United States
★★★★★ · Chinese restaurant

Old Mill Cafe

Old Mill Cafe is a charming spot that is a must-visit when you find yourself in historic Ellicott City.

Brimming with an old-timey vibe, they offer a variety of savory fare and pastries all day long, making it a perfect spot for breakfast or a mid-day treat.

You can check out their delightful ambiance in the photos on their website.

Their extensive selection of coffee flavors never disappoints, and their baristas are skilled in crafting authentic Italian espresso drinks.

My personal favorite is their iced coffee, which tastes absolutely amazing.

Paired with their lox and bagel or a breakfast sandwich, it's hard to find a better way to start the day.

The bakery items are always fresh, adding to the overall fantastic experience.

Do keep in mind that Old Mill Cafe is closed on Wednesdays, and you might encounter a short wait due to its popularity.

Old Mill Cafe · 4 Frederick Rd, Ellicott City, MD 21043, United States
★★★★★ · Cafe

UMI Sushi

As a regular visitor to UMI Sushi, I can confidently say that this Japanese restaurant offers some of the best sushi and vegetarian options in town.

My personal favorite is the bean curd avocado sushi, which never disappoints with its freshness and taste.

The hibachi vegetables are amazing as well, with the broccoli being soft and flavorful and the mushrooms, onions, and carrots all cooked to perfection.

The atmosphere at UMI Sushi is also fantastic, especially when you opt for outdoor seating.

The restaurant is situated right by the river, making it the perfect spot to enjoy a meal while taking in the beautiful scenery.

The quality of the sushi is truly top-notch, with seafood sourced from Japan and Hawaii.

It's rare to find sushi places with such high-quality fish, making UMI Sushi a top choice for me.

Another standout feature of this restaurant is its unique mixed drink selection.

And let's not forget the complimentary cheesecake, which is a delightful way to end a satisfying dining experience.

UMI Sushi · 8167 Main St, Ellicott City, MD 21043, United States
★★★★★ · Japanese restaurant

Seoul Pub Sushi Chicken & Beer

One of my usual spots to grab a quick bite is Seoul Pub Sushi Chicken & Beer.

The food here is absolutely amazing, especially their Korean fried chicken with soy garlic and Korean sauce – it's simply irresistible.

If you're a garlic fan like me, you'll love it even more!

The prices are also quite reasonable, and the portions are just right.

I've also tried their seafood pancake, which was fantastic, and their kimchi fried rice, which was equally delicious.

In addition to the fried chicken, another dish I highly recommend is their udon noodles.

They cook them to perfection, and their bulgogi is always mouth-watering and plentiful.

And if you're in the mood for something different, try their Banban Chicken – you'll be licking your fingers clean!

Seoul Pub Sushi Chicken & Beer · United States, Maryland, Ellicott City, Frederick Rd, # D
★★★★★ · Restaurant

Pepper House

Pepper House has quickly become my favorite spot for Sichuanese cuisine.

The Dan Dan Noodles are simply the best I've ever had, and the balance of chili-spice and numbing-spice in their dishes is just perfect.

The service is always fast, and the portions are generous, making it a great place to enjoy a meal with friends and family.

The restaurant itself is clean and beautifully decorated, creating a cozy atmosphere that makes me want to return time and time again.

My friends and I enjoy trying out different dishes every time we visit - from the fried rice and dumplings that the kids adore to the Dandan noodle and hot pot that I can't get enough of.

Pepper House · 10176 Baltimore National Pike STE 105, Ellicott City, MD 21042, United States
★★★★★ · Restaurant

Grille 620

My partner and I recently had the pleasure of dining at Grille 620, and it exceeded all our expectations.

It was a cold evening, but the atmosphere inside was warm and welcoming.

The stylish, wood-trimmed interior perfectly complemented the New American fare on offer.

We started with the Thai shrimp and crab dip appetizers, followed by the seafood fettuccine for my partner and the ribeye and crab cake for me.

The food was exquisite and clearly prepared with care.

I was particularly impressed by the freshness of the ingredients and the interesting flavor combinations.

Throughout our meal, our water glasses were never empty, and the service remained attentive and personable.

We even treated ourselves to the bread pudding for dessert, which was absolutely delicious.

I couldn't help but think about how lovely it would be to dine outside during the warmer months, and I'm already looking forward to trying their brunch menu.

Grille 620 has quickly become a new favorite spot in town for my partner and me.

Grille 620 · 11099 Resort Road Suite 304, Ellicott City, MD 21042, United States
★★★★★ · American restaurant

Fox & Barrel Farm Cafe

One day, I decided to try out this charming family restaurant in our neighborhood called Fox & Barrel Farm Cafe.

I have to say, the place did not disappoint.

The food was delicious, and the eggs were cooked to perfection.

I ordered the Au jus sandwich on a gluten-free roll, and they even turned it into a double sandwich without me asking!

The chips were delightful, and the ambiance of the cafe was both sweet and lovely.

Local art and wares are available for sale, adding to the place's charm.

With all the in-house made baked goods, soups, salads, and sandwiches, my personal favorites were the pickle fries and the breakfast bowl.

The fact that they serve breakfast all day is a huge plus in my book.

Fox & Barrel Farm Cafe · 11707 MD-144, Ellicott City, MD 21042, United States
★★★★★ · Family restaurant

Matcha Time Cafe

Being a part of the Ellicott City community, I always make it a point to visit Matcha Time Cafe whenever I crave authentic Japanese food and a warm, welcoming atmosphere.

This quaint Japanese cafe and gift shop never disappoints with its wide selection of teas, fresh sushi, delicious soups, and tempting sweets.

The first time I visited this little gem tucked away in Historic Downtown Ellicott City, I was instantly smitten by its charming and cozy ambiance.

What sets Matcha Time Cafe apart from other eateries is not just their mouth-watering food but also their exceptional hospitality.

One of my go-to dishes at Matcha Time Cafe is their reasonably priced, hand-made Onigiri – it's Meccha-Oishii!

Matcha Time Cafe · 3785 Hamilton Street Historic, Ellicott City, MD 21043, United States
★★★★★ · Cafe

Mad Chef Kitchen & Bar

One of the best dining experiences I've had recently was at the Mad Chef Kitchen & Bar.

I stumbled upon this gem of an American restaurant while exploring new spots in Maryland.

I never expected this random choice to turn out to be such a fantastic spot for a quick brunch!

From the moment I walked in, the service was friendly and attentive.

Everything I tried, from the coffee to the main courses, was delicious and spot on.

I was particularly impressed by the gyro tacos, which were packed with flavor, and the microgreens added a superb touch.

The crab-loaded tots were also yummy, and I couldn't get enough of the short ribs grilled cheese.

Their crab and artichoke dip was super tasty, and I loved the pretzels served with it.

Mad Chef Kitchen & Bar · 11085 Resort Road #404, Ellicott City, MD 21042, United States
★★★★★ · American restaurant

Shannon's Saloon

Shannon's Saloon has always been my local hangout for a relaxed and hearty meal.

I usually visit this American restaurant with my family on weekends, and we've never been disappointed.

Last Friday, we headed there during prime time, and, as usual, the place was bustling with energy.

We had to wait for a few minutes to get a table, but it wasn't an issue for us.

I ordered the pepper jack chicken sandwich, which was not only delicious but also quite filling - I couldn't even finish it!

Shannon’s Saloon · 9338 Baltimore National Pike, Ellicott City, MD 21042, United States
★★★★★ · American restaurant

Kim Bob Na Ra

I can't help but rave about my recent visit to Kim Bob Na Ra, a small Korean restaurant that I stumbled upon in my neighborhood.

Their menu offers a variety of Korean dishes, and I decided to try the stone-bowl bibimbap.

It was cooked to perfection, with an amazing mix of flavors and textures.

The portion size was generous, leaving me feeling satisfied and eager to return for more.

I also enjoyed the variety of side dishes that accompanied my meal, including kimchi, oshinko, pickled jalapenos, and pickled cabbage.

My partner had the bulgogi, and he couldn't stop raving about how tender and flavorful the meat was.

We were both pleasantly surprised by the bowl of soup that came with our meals, adding a nice touch to the overall dining experience.

Kim Bob Na Ra · 9339 Baltimore National Pike, Ellicott City, MD 21042, United States
★★★★★ · Korean restaurant

Trattoria Amore

Trattoria Amore multiple times offers classic Italian comfort food and thin-crust pizza, all served in a relaxed atmosphere with soccer-inspired decor.

I remember when I first tried their lasagna, it was such a difficult choice to make because their menu has so many mouth-watering options.

With every bite of that piping hot lasagna, I fell in love with its lighter version, accompanied by garlic-toasted bread.

It was so good that I couldn't save any leftovers for the next day.

One thing I can confidently say is that Trattoria Amore's pizza is probably one of the best within a 50-mile radius.

They have multiple locations, and I've also dined at their King's Contrivance location.

But this particular location is perfect for me as it's very close to my home.

I recall visiting the restaurant on a Sunday night, and I had called ahead to order their Combo pizza.

When I got there, I decided to dine in instead of taking it home.

The pizza was served right on time, and the NY-style crust was thin but held its structure well.

The sauce tasted fresh and vibrant, and the cheese had fantastic flavor and pull.

I opted for extra cheese, Hawaiian toppings on one side, and Pepperoni & Italian sausage on the other side, all of which were of great quality and complimented the pizza perfectly.

Trattoria Amore · 4725 Dorsey Hall Dr, Ellicott City, MD 21042, United States
★★★★★ · Pizza restaurant

Yama Sushi

Whenever I'm in the mood for sushi, my other go-to Japanese restaurant is Yama Sushi.

This spot has become my favorite for a night out with friends or a special date night with my partner.

The first thing you'll notice when you walk in is the chic and stylish décor, making it the perfect setting for a memorable dining experience.

The menu at Yama Sushi is extensive, offering a wide array of creative sushi rolls and Japanese entrees.

Some of my personal favorites include Spicy Girl, Waterfall, and Victory Rolls.

I also can't help but indulge in their fried ice cream and tempura cheesecake whenever I visit.

The presentation of every dish is always outstanding, making it hard not to snap a few pictures to share with friends on social media.

What truly sets Yama Sushi apart, however, is the exceptional customer service.

Yama Sushi · 4725-G Dorsey Hall Dr, Ellicott City, MD 21042, United States
★★★★★ · Japanese restaurant

Uma Uma

One of my favorite spots to grab a warm bowl of ramen has to be Uma Uma.

I've been coming here for years, and it never disappoints.

In addition to their delicious ramen, they also serve Japanese steamed buns, dumplings, and yakitori.

The contemporary setting of the restaurant makes it a delightful experience.

On one particularly rainy night, I decided to head to Uma Uma for a comforting meal.

I started off with their takoyaki, which was extremely flavorful and perfectly cooked.

As for the main course, I highly recommend their tonkatsu ramen - it's rich, flavorful, and satisfying.

I also ordered some yakitori, karaage, and calamari on the side, which complemented the meal perfectly.

If you plan on getting an appetizer or side dish, expect to spend around $25-$30 in total, including tip.

Uma Uma · 9380 Baltimore National Pike, Ellicott City, MD 21042, United States
★★★★★ · Ramen restaurant

Phoenix Upper Main

One of my favorite spots to unwind after a long day is Phoenix Upper Main in the heart of Ellicott City.

This brewpub has become my go-to local watering hole, and I cannot sing its praises enough.

The atmosphere is cozy and inviting, and you'll always find friendly faces at the bar.

The selection of microbrews on tap is impressive, and I've never been disappointed with any of the beers I've tried.

They also have an extensive menu of hearty American eats that are perfect for sharing with friends or indulging in a full meal.

Some of my personal favorites are the Bavarian pretzels with beer cheese and the mouthwatering Reuben sandwich.

During the summer months, their outdoor seating area is an absolute delight.

It's the perfect spot to enjoy a cold brew and soak up the sun while taking in the charming surroundings of historic Ellicott City.

Though I've never experienced any issues with the service, it can get a bit busy during peak hours or special events like festivals.

Phoenix Upper Main · 8308 Main St, Ellicott City, MD 21043, United States
★★★★★ · Brewpub


Living in the area for years, I can't believe it took me so long to discover Niko Japanese Restaurant.

I decided to give it a try after hearing about it from a friend and let me tell you, it did not disappoint.

The restaurant can be found on their website here, and it's an unassuming little place tucked away in Ellicott City.

The moment I walked in, I was greeted by a casual and cozy setting with blond-wood interiors, which made me feel right at home.

I tried the orange white roll and Double Trouble, which were both absolutely delicious.

The veggie noodles were perfectly cooked, accompanied by a delightful crunch of broccoli and toasted sesame seeds.

Niko Japanese Restaurant · 3570 St Johns Ln Suite 103, Ellicott City, MD 21042, United States
★★★★★ · Restaurant

Cafe EZ

I recently discovered a fantastic brunch spot called Cafe EZ, and I can't wait to share my experience with you.

I happened to arrive just after breakfast and before lunch, so the place wasn't crowded at all.

The menu offered an extensive range of classic breakfast, lunch, and brunch dishes.

I chose the chicken and waffles, which turned out to be the best I have ever tasted.

I think they may have ruined every other chicken and waffle dish for me!

One thing I particularly appreciated was the speedy and efficient service.

My food arrived in less than 20 minutes, which was fantastic.

Aside from the chicken and waffles, they offer a variety of sweet and savory dishes.

I've also tried their sweet crepes and strawberry cheesecake waffles, which I also loved.

Cafe EZ · 3290 N Ridge Rd, Ellicott City, MD 21043, United States
★★★★★ · Brunch restaurant

Hot Pot Hero Ellicott City

Visiting Hot Pot Hero Ellicott City was an unforgettable experience.

As soon as I entered the restaurant, I was taken by its vibrant and inviting atmosphere.

The place was bustling with a lunchtime crowd, but the service was simply impeccable.

From the moment I sat down, I was offered help with the menu and recommendations for the best soup bases and ingredients.

I opted for the Tom Yum soup, and it was absolutely delicious!

The meat and seafood were so fresh, and the dipping sauces only added to the overall taste experience.

The all-you-can-eat lunch special is a must-try, and I can't wait to go back for more!

Hot Pot Hero Ellicott City · 10045 Baltimore National Pike Ste A4, Ellicott City, MD 21042, United States
★★★★★ · Hot pot restaurant

Honey Pig Restaurant

As a frequent diner of Honey Pig Restaurant, I can confidently say that this place never disappoints.

From the moment I step inside, I'm greeted by the high-energy atmosphere that's perfect for a night out with friends or family.

Its website doesn't exaggerate when it says they offer barbecued meats grilled at your table in a no-nonsense dining room open 24/7.

My first time here was during my pregnancy, and it was one of the few places where I could actually hold down my food.

I've tried everything from brisket to pork belly, rice cakes, and dumplings, and each dish has left me craving more.

Honey Pig Restaurant · 10045 Baltimore National Pike, Ellicott City, MD 21042, United States
★★★★☆ · Korean restaurant

Peri Peri Original

Recently, I stopped by Peri Peri Original with my family to give this place a try.

We were not disappointed at all!

The place has a nice, clean, and cozy environment, making it a perfect spot for a family dinner.

The food service was quick, and the food itself was fresh and delicious.

I still remember those seasoned fries that were incredibly warm and flavorful.

Even my kids enjoyed their chicken tenders!

One of the highlights of the evening was the Nashville hot chicken and lemon herb wings, which I highly recommend trying.

Peri Peri Original · 8450 Baltimore National Pike Suit 140, Ellicott City, MD 21043, United States
★★★★☆ · Halal restaurant

Final Thoughts

Residing in Ellicott City has truly been a delightful experience, especially when it comes to the vast array of delicious dining options available.

With everything from mouth-watering Sichuan cuisine at Tea Horse Sichuan Bistro to cozy cafes like Old Mill Cafe and Matcha Time Cafe, there is always something to satisfy my taste buds.

I believe the diverse culinary scene in Ellicott City is a testament to the town's rich culture and welcoming atmosphere.

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