The Culinary Jewel of Historic Ellicott City: Tersiguel’s Country French Restaurant

March 14, 2009 at 12:12 pm (Food, France, Local interest (Baltimore-Washington))

It’s official: Ron and I hereby declare that the best restaurant meals we’ve ever eaten have been served at Tersiguel’s, located downtown in Historic Ellicott City. Wednesday night I had the pan roasted seasonal salmon, while Ron had the rockfish special. Now I note that on the menu,  my entree is more precisely called “saumon mignon.” I don’t exactly know what “mignon” means when used to describe seafood, but I do remember being 21 years old, standing on a street corner in Paris, and having this word applied to me (“Que tu es mignonne”) by a gendarme, no less. Ah, well, that was another country

ellicott-flour-mills Ellicott City was founded in 1772 by the Ellicott brothers John, Andrew, and Joseph. The town was originally called Ellicott’s Mills, after the flour mills built by the brothers. (To read more about the history of Ellicott City, click here.)


ellicottcity The historic district comprises a short stretch of Main Street; the edifices located thereon are a mix of old and new. The newer buildings have for the most replaced those damaged by either flood or fire. The area has sadly suffered both depredations, more than once, in recent history.  Tersiguel’s, originally called Chez Fernand, opened on Main Street in 1975, where it enjoyed great success before being destroyed by fire in 1984. Those of us who prize fine cuisine feared that we had lost this treasured dining venue for good. However, after a stint in downtown Baltimore, the Tersiguel family returned to Ellicott City in 1990 to re-open their eatery as Tersiguel’s Country French Restaurant. (Here is the story, as told on their website.)

Many are the pleasures of dining chez Tersiguel’s: gracious surroundings, a warm, welcoming, and knowledgeable waitstaff, and above all, of course, the cuisine. For those like myself, who can no longer consume with careless abandon the food we once loved – and who still harbor, albeit with some degree of embarrassment, a desire to have a nice big bag of


for breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner!  – it has become a matter of some urgency that the meals that we still can eat be delicious as well as nutritious. In addition, when I first started learning to live with dietary restrictions after years of food-based self-indulgence, I came to understand that the anticipation of delicious fare to come is as important as the actual consuming of same. Any outing to Tersiguel’s stokes the flames of that anticipation.  We feel blessed to have a restaurant of this caliber a mere ten minutes from our front door! And BTW – from time to time, we have dined at other establishments where, although the food itself may be just fine, the portions are – well, I guess the phenomenon is usually described as “nouvelle cuisine.” Ron, who likes hearty servings and never eats between meals, has been known in such situations to stare down at his plate and exclaim, “Hey – I already had my appetizer – I can’t eat these little squiggles around the edge –  where’s the rest of my entree!” (Or words to that effect.)  Such has never been the case at Tersiguel’s.

Right now, in this country, we are living in parlous times. All the more reason to allow yourself, when possible, a few of life’s small but exquisite luxuries. Here is Tersiguel’s current bill of fare. If you can’t quite see your way to having dinner, try going for lunch. Ron and I have never had a meal there that was less than excellent. A goodly number have been superb.

That's Tersiguel's on the right, flying 'le drapeau tricolore'

That's Tersiguel's on the right, flying 'le drapeau tricolore'

In the immortal words of Julia Child, who knew a thing or two about the joys  of French cuisine: Bon Appetit!


  1. Shower Caddy said,

    i would like to think that the best restaurants would serve very delicious and healthy foods .:`

  2. Brian said,

    I was looking for info with this on Google and ran into your write-up. I found it to be nice clear. Thank you

    • Roberta Rood said,

      Brian, Thanks for taking the trouble to post this comment. I’m glad you enjoyed the piece on Tersiguel’s.

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