The worst thing about eating out in Howard County is having to wait in line. On some nights it seems like the whole county wants to eat at the same places at the same time. (Don't get me started about the waits for the chain restaurants at Columbia Mall...)
OpenTable is a terrific website that helps you see what restaurants have reservations available at any time. You can check for times the same day or months ahead, and make the reservation without picking up the phone. And you collect points for each time you use the service -- effectively you get a dollar back with each reservation you fulfill, and there are opportunities for bonus points as well.
Open Table covers hundreds of restaurants in the Baltimore and DC region, and thousands around the country and worldwide. It's great for travelers. For several recent trips out of state I've made reservations at hard-to-get-in places, and saved us the worry of having to choose a place when we got there.
There are currently eight [Update: now ten] Howard County restaurants that participate with OpenTable. I say take advantage of this service whenever you can.
Aida Bistro [OpenTable Link]
Clyde's of Columbia [OpenTable Link]
Iron Bridge Wine Company [OpenTable Link]
The Melting Pot - Columbia [OpenTable Link]
Greystone Grill - Ellicott City [OpenTable Link]
Jordan's Steakhouse [OpenTable Link]
Tersiguel's [OpenTable Link]
oZ Chophouse [OpenTable Link]
Diamondback Tavern [OpenTable Link]
Elkridge Furnace Inn [OpenTable link]
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