Restaurant critics are like everyone else: Their favorite restaurants are based on many factors besides good food, and they aren't always the best restaurants -- just the ones they like best. But everyone wants to know what they are anyway, so we've asked Sun restaurant critic Elizabeth Large to pick the ones she'd happily return to even when she's off duty. You'll find the story on Page X.

In this issue of Dining Out we've eliminated reviews by a varietof critics. Instead we've collected mini reviews of the restaurants Elizabeth has visited in the six months since the last guide. The date below each one will tell you when the original review appeared in Sun Magazine or Maryland Live.

The stars in the reviews are a rough guide to quality: (the best Maryland has to offer), (good), (fair or uneven), (poor). Dollar signs suggest cost: $ inexpensive, $$ moderate, $$$ expensive, $$$$ very expensive.

Besides the reviews, we list places by geographical locationHere you'll find addresses, phone numbers, credit cards accepted, specialties, prices and whether a restaurant offers a non-smoking area (NS) or wheelchair access (H).

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