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Dining in Owings Mills

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I've been driving to and from this town sometimes as much as once a week to attend graduate school and then teach graduate courses at McDaniel College (formerly Western Maryland College) for 8 years now. Despite the frequency, I've ventured little beyond Wendy's and McDonald's, though I once had a meal at Baughers and Johanssons, each with little to remember. Really, there's been nothing that has intrigued me no matter which direction I've driven in from. Now, I had some damn good fried chicken at the Royal Farms convenience store today, but I just feel like I HAVE to be missing something here. Am I? I actually don't care for fine dining considering how far I have to drive to and from, but that might enrich the board. I'd love to know a slightly-better-than-decent casual or carryout place to grab a bite to eat before or after class. Got any suggestions? Otherwise, it's Royal Farms every week.



I have some suggestions in the Owings Mills area...a bit of a drive for sure, but might be worth it. Try El Paraiso, Que Rico or Sushi Ya. Hell even Vito's Express.

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El Paraiso is Salvadoran, with some Mexican thrown in. It may not be 100% authentic, but it is so, so much closer to true authentic stuff and it is served up just 5 min from my office. Recommended. Try almost anything, but I love their tacos, their pupusa, their 'burritos mexicanos' and a lot more. Delicious.

Que Rico is all about that darn fine Salvadoran chicken a la El Pollo Rico, Crisp & Juicy and others. They serve it up with rice, but french fries are available and they do a good ob on those. They have a mild 'white' sauce/dip as well as a spicy/green sauce/dip that is also available, both in little plastic containers. So cheap and so good and also just 5 min from my office.

Sushi Ya is probably the best Sushi in all of Owings Mills as I have tried most of them. Don't bother trying the others.

Vito's Express is just a regular Italian deli/joint/sub shop/etc. The make a great Italian Cold Cut sub (get it with everything, half size (which is about 3/4 the size of what a 'full size' is anyway and a lot cheaper). Their meatball sub is good and their fries are just OK in my book. They do an awful lot more, including salads, pastas, other sandwiches and subs and yes of course pizza. They have quite a few unusual pizzas available, too, that are worth a try. Nothing amazing here but good solid food cheap.

Other places to consider might be as follows -- Harryman house is probably the best 'nicer' restaurant in the area, and it serves up pretty decent seafood, particularly their crab soups and crabcakes -- but nothing amazing, just good to very good food served up with no real flair, but generally a good value in a nice space. The Bombay Grill folks that own places in Columbia and Frederick have now opened an Owings Mills outlet that looks promising, but I have not been yet. Bill Bateman's is a bar/pub kind of place with decent wings.

I'd avoid all of the chains, chains and more chains that abound in the Owings Mills area. So many and so mediocre to average and predictable. I'd also avoid NY Pizzeria and Libertore's Italian restaurant (pretty sub-par). There's a new-ish 'chain' (I think) called Nino Taco that is just plain awful (their tacos taste like sloppy joes, and really so does everything else!). There's a place that **sounds** like a non-chain (it is called Hops) but it must be a chain. Why? The service is awful due to significant understaffing at lunch. The food can be good, bordering on very good. But only if you hit it on a good day.

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