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What's cooking in Columbus?

d
dog Feb 17, 2003 04:25 PM

Hey fellow chowhounds. What's the restaurant scene like nowadays in Columbus ?Is it still fast food and more fast food?Just curious?Boston chef originally from Columbus.

  1. w
    wayno Feb 17, 2003 05:35 PM

    I'm not from Columbus, but am a recent transplant to the St. Louis area from San Francisco; so, parenthically, the following compliment comes from someone who is otherwise pretty cynical about restaurant eating in the heartland. On a recent biz trip to Columbus, my colleague and I ate at Handke's Cuisine. I probably should have posted a detailed report. It was excellent from start to finish, and the meal would have been well received in any big city.
    So, from my limited impression, it's not ALL fast food.

    1. a
      Ariane Feb 17, 2003 06:43 PM

      Oh, things have changed. I'm in Dayton and go to Columbus every once in a while, and there's no shortage of great ethnic food offerings there. When we go, we usually have lunch at the Blue Nile for great Ethiopian food, pick up some goodies at the Chinese bakery down the street, stop by a good-sized Japanese grocery store on Kenny St. for unusual items, go to Penzey's for a great selection of spices and spice blends, and we used to make a stop at Trader Joe's before they opened one in my hometown. And that's really only a fraction of what's available, I know.

      1. m
        mrnyc Feb 17, 2003 08:27 PM

        improved yes but up from what? its gone from pioneering fast food to lots of bland middle of the road restaurants now that they have some blooming suburbs. not much of a step up but thats how the locals like it. though not in the actual population, there is a smattering of ethnic eats, but none are standouts. remember, this is the town that tore down the mammoth and goofy, yet iconic polynesean KAHIKI restaurant to build a walmart.

        3 Replies
        1. re: mrnyc
          abbefaith Mar 10, 2008 08:43 PM

          there's no walmart anywhere near the old kahiki location. just for the record...

          1. re: abbefaith
            Ditdah Mar 11, 2008 08:22 AM

            It was actualy Walgreens that bought the site and tore down the restaurant. I haven't been out that way recently, but I heard that the Walgreen's on the site has already closed. The food was decent but wasn't amazing, but the experience was fun. I miss the place because of the memories.

          2. re: mrnyc
            r
            raflin Apr 28, 2008 08:40 AM

            I'm not sure from your post in you live in Columbus, but either way, you appeantly have not done much research when it comes to finding excellent Columbus restaurants. I have friends/relatives from all over the country who cosistently compliment the restaurants in Columbus. Sure, we have fast food (what city anywhere in the world DOESN'T these days?) We're not NYC, or San Francisco, or Chicago, but we do have some EXCELLENT restaurants here.

            For a great dining experience, try going to some of the locally owned and operated restaurants like Alana's, Z Cucina, Trattoria Roma, Lindy's, The Blue Nile, the Refectory, Thurmans, Barcelona, Rigsby's, the list goes on and on.

          3. d
            Dave in Columbus Feb 18, 2003 07:07 AM

            Seems to me that plenty is cooking in Columbus these days. Chef Hartmut Handke came in sixth in the Bocuse D'Or, the Refectory keeps winning that prize from Wine Spectator, and L'Antibe has the best classical French food in the state (okay, it's Ohio, but still). Shaw's Restaurant in nearby Lancaster, too, has a fantastic wine list and creative seasonal menus alongside classic chophouse selections.

            Plus, there's good Japanese (Otani, Sapporo Wind, and Restaurant Japan), Indian (Indian Oven, Taj Palace, and others), and Chinese (including dim sum at Fortune and Shangri La). The Cuban food at the Starliner Diner is tasty, hearty, and cheap, and good taquerias keep springing up (like that new place on Bethel Road, whose name I've forgotten). That's not to mention seriously good bar food at the Thurman Cafe and Olde Mohawk.

            There's fast food and chain food aplenty in Columbus, but good eats aren't that hard to find either.

            4 Replies
            1. re: Dave in Columbus
              m
              Matt Feb 18, 2003 12:25 PM

              I'll have to make it a point to eat at L'Antibes the next time I'm in Columbus. Maisonette and now Jean-Robert at Pigall's, both in Cincinnati, have set the bar pretty high for French cuisine in Ohio. L'Antibes must be very good!

              1. re: Matt
                m
                mrnyc Feb 20, 2003 12:31 PM

                funny thing is i used to live in the apt right above L'ANTIBES before and when it opened so we got to try things and make comments on the menu. it was working out kinks for quite a long time but the food was always pretty good.

                i know MAISONETTE is supposed to be the best in ohio but have you tried any northeast ohio french? on the westside CHEZ FRANCOIS, LE BISTRO DU BEAUJOLAIS and the venerable SANS SOUCI are also very good. and closer to you dont forget to give L'AUBERGE a try.

                yes there is french in ohio, problem is relatively its all too damn expensive. where are the cheap bistros we have all over new york? you'd think someone would open one by a college or something.

                1. re: Matt
                  m
                  Michael K Mar 30, 2008 06:12 PM

                  I have always found L'Antibes boring, even though the food was good quality and the execution flawless. In contrast ,Maisonette (now out of business) was dated old school cuisine , but I have had impressive food there. Jean-Robert at Pigall's can be excellent on the level of top N.Y. restaurants.

                  1. re: Matt
                    m
                    Michael K Dec 2, 2008 04:13 PM

                    Maisonette was old school and dated and that is why they are no longer in business despite their 5 star rating, but I have had some great meals there on occasion. Jean-Robert at Pigall's is much better (IMHO) and I have had a meal there on par with the top restaurants in N.Y.C. L'Antibes has never delivered a meal that impressed me. The service is very good and the quality of ingredients is good but the food was never inspired and I have always found it boring.

                2. c
                  Chris Feb 19, 2003 05:30 PM

                  Columbus has a lot to offer, if you know where to look. For example, there's a great Vietnamese place on the East Side, in Whitehall, called Pho Little Saigon. They have pho that rivals the best stuff in the D.C. area, where I'm from. The Indian Oven has very solid Indian food, in a beautiful techno-modern setting. And I agree about Handke's - top flight food that would be at home anywhere. I was there earlier this week and had a terrific filet au poivre. Their creme brulee was excellent, too. And, last but not least, there's a great little taco truck on Georgesville Road on the West Side, in the parking lot of a thrift store. I think the taco truck is called Little Mexico - terrific tacos served with fresh cilantro and lime wedges. Great stuff.

                  1. p
                    port Mar 2, 2003 05:23 PM

                    I ate at a place called Betty's in the Short North last year on a business trip...twice! It looks like a bar but has delicious food. I only tried one dish--twice!--the pork with mashed potatoes and green beans. I spent a week in some hotel with terrible hotel restaurants...after a few days I started walking and foudn some good stuff. I'm sort of hoping to get sent back to Columbus sometime so I can have that pork again. Yum!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: port
                      Ditdah Mar 11, 2008 08:24 AM

                      Betty's has, in my opinion, the best food of any bar in the city. It's casual (almost a bit of a dive, but clean), but the menu is amazing!

                      http://www.bettysfoodandspirits.com/

                    2. n
                      nemis Mar 11, 2008 11:43 AM

                      Check this out:
                      the website has a bunch of eateries from Columbus ohio, this is a newer place near Gahanna:
                      http://www.photoeats.com/photos/show/...

                      1. k
                        King SVELT Apr 8, 2008 07:46 AM

                        Columbus is awesome. From hole in the wall eateries to fine dining, I think we have more to offer than ever before. If you are scared to get off the main drag you may miss something. Sure we have the North market, and all the Mitchell restaurants, and steak houses, obnoxious chains (I include Bon Vie and the Easton restaurants--although I like them)! But we have a ton of small ethnic eateries that are authentic and wonderful. Not to mention small family owned restaurants like Nona's in Granville or Betty's or even the Press Grill or 185! And for you snobs (LOL) I lived in NYC for 2 years and Paris for 1.5 (and compared to those cities we stink! But hey, just about every US city pales in comparison! I love it here.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: King SVELT
                          uhockey Apr 14, 2008 08:09 PM

                          I think even the most picky NYC eater would be content with Rosendales or M at Miranova while some of the High Street locations like Rigsby's and Bodega are very similar to the smallish joints in SoHo. I'd additionally offer The Worthington Inn as an incredible dining experience on par with many 'old school' NYC dining spots.

                          1. re: uhockey
                            d
                            dirtgirl Apr 15, 2008 03:57 AM

                            Rigsby's isn't very smallish by NYC standards, it's HUGE! But I agree with the recommendation. Basi Italia in Victorian Village reminds me completely of a NYC restaurant in the east village or park slope. It's a very cozy dining room, offers great inventive dishes, and has a secluded patio out back for the summertime.

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