Fancy, Fun or Fit, Columbia Has a Full Menu of Restaurants

By Pamela Coyle on April 28, 2011 at 2:48 pm EST


Small plates and big options – restaurants in Columbia have both.

AIDA Bistro & Wine Bar has a diverse, eclectic dinner menu grounded in Italian and Mediterranean cooking; it also offers small plates with other global influences and 70 wines by the glass.

Wine and small plates are also the focus at Iron Bridge Wine Company, an intimate spot with tapas-style appetizers, gourmet cheese platters, salads for sharing and sinful desserts.

And wine – some 300 different bottles. Iron Bridge annually wins Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence, as it allows guests to bring their own bottles for a modest corkage fee. What’s more, its “wine guy” suggests bottles for $12 and under that people can buy on their own.

Columbia’s trio of lakes means lakeside restaurants.

Clyde’s of Columbia faces one lake, mixing a classic American menu with scenery that includes birds and waterfowl. Its Victorian-style bar is a popular gathering spot. Right next door, also on Lake Kittamaqundi, is The Tomato Palace. It has 15 different pizzas, 50 seats outdoors for nice weather and tomato-shaped chairs by furniture maker Peter Danko.

Blue Cow Café specializes in fresh sandwiches, soup and ice cream; Café de Paris has French-Country cuisine; Bassett’s Original Turkey has Southern down-home fare, including real mashed potatoes and fresh-roasted turkey. The King’s Contrivance is fine-dining destination in a historic mansion on Shaker Drive.

Columbia offers a world of other flavors, boasting Indian, Chinese, Mexican and Japanese, including sushi bars.

Pick up dessert at Touchet Touchet Bakery and Pastry Shoppe, known for its carrot cake and signature items such as chocolate contrivance cake. Locals flock here, voting the spot Best Bakery in 2007 in Howard Magazine.

A culinary king, Richard Douville offers a personal chef service called Slow Down And Eat! while also teaching cooking classes through the Howard County Recreation Department.

The county also maintains a list of restaurants that meet state guidelines for cleanliness, safety and a menu that give folks the chance to order a healthy meal.

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