Aida Bistro and Wine Bar

Aida Bistro describes itself as “Howard County’s Award Winning Progressive Italian Restaurant”,  Family owned and operated, Aida Bistro has been recognized as “the Best Italian Restaurant in Baltimore & in Howard County for the past seven years”

They continue to say that they support local farmers and feature local fruits, vegetables, herbs and other locally grown food such as Larriland Farms and others.
Aida Bistro & Wine Bar on Urbanspoon
Now to the review…
 
The location is flat-out weird; tucked into an office park, you have no idea what you are getting into.   Once you settle in, things change for the better and you are in for a real treat.   This place has a nice vibe.  The wine menu is intriguing and seems to mostly cover the globe from light and fruity to luscious and  bold, but where are the big California Chardonnays? 
 
Last night, I stepped out with a grilled romaine side salad.   Excellent.   Good texture and not over dressed.  Then went straight for the homemade spaghetti and meatballs.  Easily some of the best pasta I’ve ever eaten.  Do yourself a favor and try the homemade pasta – it is incredible.  This meal was complimented nicely with a Sangiovese/Cabernet blend by the glass.
 
On several differing occasions, I’ve tried the daily specials.   This includes a previous visit where I tried the bone-in veal chop.   It was delightful.   Paired with a Willamette Valley Pinot and things couldn’t have got much better.  But they did – a nice savory mushroom risotto.

After this last visit, I’ve concluded this place is a gem.  Its a little pricey ($$$) but I’ve never been disappointed with the food.   Atmosphere: clean & modern.  The bar side is the dining room to sit in. Be forewarned, it can be noisy.   I’m not thrilled with the alternative dining room.  Feels stuffy and secluded; a deal breaker for me.   The service has varied from excellent to other times depressing (looking around waiting for service).  Not sure what the deal is with this.

Hey beer crowd – Monk’s Blood, 21st Amendment IPA, Allagash White and others are available.   A nice surprise for when you do not want wine.   Side note: nothing on draught here.  
 
Warning: If you don’t like cream and cheese, this might not be the place for you.  
 
I’ll definitely be heading back sometime soon.   Other reviews here.