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King's Contrivance Restaurant
Ranked #19 of 263 Restaurants in Columbia
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: American, European
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Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic
Dining options: Dinner, Breakfast, Reservations
Reviewed April 9, 2011

went there this evening. wanted to go to bar for a cocktail before dinner. they had a wedding party so bar was off limits. wanted to eat on the porch, off limits too because of wedding party. sat us in a dark corner and got us out asap. $ 200 meal and no atmosphere. could have done that at home. so make sure there is no other event thats more important then you when you book a reservation. so stupid you can,t use the bar as a paying patron. close the whole place to the public if part of the place is off limits . the host is so rude too. he must be related to the owner. only reason he,s still there. after $200 i should be feeling happy, satisfied and content. i,m just down right angry.

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5  Thank llaboy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviews (178)
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168 - 172 of 178 reviews

Reviewed October 29, 2010

Today was my mother's 85th birthday. My family and I decided to celebrate and have dinner at the King's Contrivance Restaurant. The Maitre D was arrogant and rude. He made me feel bad when I asked if we could be seated inside the restaurant because it was chilly on the porch and it was hard to see the menu due to dim lighting. He seemed to be annoyed with me for even asking. Our waitress didn't seem to be experienced or at all attentive to making the evening special for my mother. The service was slow and the food was terrible. The crab cakes were soft, mushy and fell apart. The crab tasted like it had come right out of a can. The butternut squash soup was salty and runny. My pork roast special was dried out and no one went the extra mile to make my mother feel special. The Kings Contrivance Restaurant used to be the castle of all restaurants in Howard County. I felt as though my family and I were treated like peasants tonight.

5  Thank imagine1016
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 13, 2010

We recently had our wedding reception at KC. We met with the Manager twice prior to our date. First to see the restaurant and again to plan our meal with him. We booked our date and paid a deposit. The Manager put our info under the date book and completely forgot about us. When our guests arrived at KC they were told they were at the wrong restaurant because they had no wedding party booked. My husband and I were the last to arrive and were horrified to see all of our guests waiting in the foyer instead of our privately reserved room. As soon as the Manager saw us he remembered who we were. The staff did pull together our room quite quickly but we recieved no apology or compensation. The food was amazing and service was good. Management didn't take our wedding reception seriously enough to promptly write us in their date book instead putting us underneath it.

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9  Thank MDBride42
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 29, 2010

I've been eating at King's Contrivance for years. Overall, it is a really nice place to eat. The cream of crab soup (they call is something entirely unappetizing, like seafood bisque or something) is AMAZING. I'm not a fan of their bread - it is tooth-shattering hard (and sometimes they don't even bring bread). I've only had the vegetarian pasta once, and I was very disappointed - it tasted like it had sat in a fridge for a few days. Hopefully that was just a bad batch. I wish they would add some other unique vegetarian dishes to their menu - pasta with a few veggies thrown in isn't exactly inspired or exciting.

The crab cakes are excellent. The seafood crepes are very good, although may be a little spicy for some. The desserts are absolutely fabulous. I really like the atmosphere at King's Contrivance and the manager is always very friendly an courteous. I've had some pretty awful waitresses, but there are also some good ones. A big plus? My water cup is never empty. That is something that is very important to me when I eat out. This is a nice place and I'm glad it has stayed in the area so long. My dad came here when he was a teen!

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1  Thank SummerLove11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 23, 2010

We visited Kings Contrivance in Columbia, MD on the afternoon of Christmas Eve because we didnt feel like cooking Christmas dinner. They weren't open on Christmas day so we decided going on Christmas Eve would be the next best thing. As it turned out we had a mixed party of about 8 people, all whom didnt really have any plans for a Christmas day meal.
They were completely booked for that evening and we could only get a very early reservation. Since they were so busy we were a little concerned that they might rush us to free up the table but that wasn't the case at all. The meal was served at a very pleasant pace that was neither to slow nor to fast. It allowed us just the right amount of time to converse, eat, and relax without feeling hurried. We actually had a very nice table on side of the building that looked out over the grounds so being in a large group actually helped with having a nice table.
We have been to this restaurant before, but its been many years since we were last there. In a pleasant way, not alot has changed in the the many years since we were last there. While not alot has changed, nothing looks dated or worn so the restaurant still maintains its pleasant country home feel even after all these years. The menu continues to have a "continental" style to it and is diverse enough that anyone should find something they will like. Our party tried the duck, veal, fish, and beef and everyone enjoyed their entrees. Appetizers and desserts were excellent as well.
Keep in mind this is a high-end restaurant and so prices are up there. We felt the prices were acceptable for the quality of service and food but certainly not a value.
Other than the prices, there's really nothing unpleasant to say about this restaurant. It has withstood the test of time well and continues to be a Columbia institution.

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1  Thank pricemc1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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