Andy Nelson’s Barbeque
11007 York Road, Cockeysville, (410) 527-1226, andynelsonsbbq.com
$$, L, D, P, Out
Everything is slow-smoked over hickory wood. Ribs are a must-eat, the pulled-pork sandwich is orgasmic, and all the homemade sides are fantastic. Wash it all down with some sweet tea.
An Poitin Stil
2323 York Road, Cockeysville, (410) 560-7900, thestill.net
$$, L, D, Br, P, Out, 10 p.m.
An Irish-themed restaurant featuring, besides devoutly tended Guinness, Harp, and Bass, a menu of both heavy-duty American tavern fare and such Old Sod favorites as bangers and mash, Irish stew, and shepherd’s pie.
Bill Bateman’s Bistro
7800 York Road, Towson, (410) 296-2737 (and various other locations), billbateman.com
$$, L, D, P, 10 p.m.
This sports bar-qua-college pub is famous for making more styles of wings than Poland has kielbasas, but other menu highlights include its creamy soups and a superbly fresh California salad.
11 W. Aylesbury Road, Timonium, (410) 561-1100, bluestoneonline.net
$$$ L, D, Br, P, Out,
Though it looks cookie-cutter suburban chain, Bluestone is a dependably above-average destination for fresh, well-executed seafood. Fried green tomatoes with lump crab and the Bluestone salad with pecans are excellent apps.
Breezy Point Seafood Company
9501 Philadelphia Road, Rosedale, (410) 574-7222, breezypointseafood.com
$$, l, d
This Rosedale retail/carryout/eat-in offers the usual steamed crabs and crab cakes, but the rest of the menu brims with great simple fish entrées and, especially, a bounty of fried-seafood riches (the combination platter is ridiculous). Not fancy, but top notch.
31 Allegheny Ave., Towson, (410) 337-0133, cafetroia.com
$$$, L, D, R, Out
Serious fine Italian cuisine in the suburbs, thanks to this long-lived family restaurant, and not just red sauce and so on. Two words: risotto menu.
Grilled Cheese & Co.
500 Edmondson Ave., Catonsville, (410) 747-2610, ilovegrilledcheese.com
$, L, D , P, Out
Who but the lactose-intolerant among us doesn’t love a grilled cheese sandwich? You can order up “the original” here, as well as 10 schmancied-up variations. Also: tomato soup.
Hightopps Backstage Grille
$$, L, D, 10 p.m.
A nice suburban spot for the full spread of sandwiches, salads, burgers, pizzas, and so on.
622 Frederick Road, Catonsville, (410) 744-4422, tajrestaurant.com
$$, L, D , P
Festooned with Indian print cloths and Taj Mahal photos to obscure its strip-center surroundings, Indian Delight is predictable in its selection of staples but never disappointing in its flavors.
1 W. Pennsylvania Ave., Towson, (410) 339-7500
$$, L, D
The rotating self-serve sushi bar is pure instant gratification (you’re eating within seconds of sitting down) and the chief reason to go. There are few flaws with the sushi, and some of the chef’s special rolls are superfine.
25 Crossroads Drive, Owings Mills, (410) 356-3030
$$$, L, D, Out
Renovations have restored the shimmering suburban glamour to this well-tended classic. Sit at the grill line and watch a stunning seafood sampler, a heartwarming tomato tart, and a breathtaking ribeye steak emerge.
15819 Old York Road, Monkton, (410) 771-8155, themanortavern.com
$$$, L, D, Br, R
There are no foodie stunts coming out of the kitchen at this rustic gem—the menu is a straightforward assembly of apps, salads, sandwiches, and entrées—but the burger is Kobe beef, the other meats and ingredients are locally sourced, and everything is prepared with obvious care.
Mari Luna Latin Grille
1010 Reisterstown Road, Pikesville, (410) 653-5151, mariluna.com
$$$, L, D, Br, R, P, Out
Chef/owner Jaime Luna has taken everything that worked at Mari Luna Mexican Grill and made it more sophisticated, but no less comfortable. Pan-Latin cuisine, with dishes from Cuba to Argentina, attentive service, and a chic dining room.
Mari Luna Mexican Grill
1700 Reisterstown Road, Pikesville, (410) 486-9910, mariluna.com
$$$, L, D, Br, R, P, Out
Reasonable prices and generously portioned, authentic Mexican food keeps folks coming back. Service is as warm as the restaurant’s sunshine-colored walls.
The Oregon Grille
1201 Shawan Road, Cockeysville, (410) 771-0505, theoregongrille.com
$$$, L, D, Br
Really well-done American standards are the thing here in the heart of horse country, as might be expected. The lunch menu features the usual sandwiches, salads, etc., and the dinner menu goes heavy on steaks with some seafood. Don’t sleep on the brunch.
Pioneer Pit Beef
1600 North Rolling Road (at Johnnycake Road)., Windsor Mill
Every Baltimorean has a favorite humble roadside shack that smokes and sells pit beef; this is ours. Tender, perfectly done, flavorful slices of it piled on a fluffy bun and better than anyplace else we’ve had it. It closes at 5, isn’t open Sundays, and only takes cash. Be sure to order tiger sauce.
9811 York Road, Cockeysville, (410) 666-7487, pivspub.com
$$, b, l, d
A friendly place for—you guessed it—pub grub, from many variations of nachos on up through salads, sandwiches, burgers, and the occasional schmancy entrée (e.g. rockfish Trevino). Breakfast on the weekends.
$$, P, B, L, D
Suburban House is the place to get your arteries clogged. Even potentially healthy items like beet and potato borscht come with a sour cream side. Bring on the fried potato pancakes, the cheese blintzes, and the heaped-high Reubens.