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Aug 16, 2004 05:48 PM

Restaurant Suggestions For Columbus, Ohio

  • d


I will be visiting Columbus, Ohio, next year with a group of people who will be attending a convention.

They have placed me in charge of researching the restaurant scene in Columbus in hopes of coming up with some good picks.

Therefore, if any of you are knowledgeable of the restaurant cuisine in Columbus, Ohio, I would like to solicit your opinions on the following:

Best Chinese
Best Thai
Best Vietnamese
Best Mexican
Best Steak
Best Fusion
Best Restaurant To Impress A Guest From New York

Okay, that should probably cover all of our favorites.

Any and all suggestions will be deeply appreciated. Thanks in advance.


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  1. That's quite a list! I have a few - Hyde Park Grille on Old Henderson or Mitchell's Steakhouse downtown for best steak, El Vaquero on Riverside Drive for best (maybe not most authentic, but most fun) Mexican, Thai Taste on Henderson for best Thai. For most impressive, I would choose Handke's (Bocuse D'Or winner), L'Antibes, Dagonfly (very funky vegan), or Alana's on High Street (trained by Emeril). I'm sure you'll get a lot more suggestions from others, too. Happy eating!

    1. d
      Dave in Columbus

      Good fusion food can also be found at the Brownstone, Columbus' newest soul food restaurant downtown. The atmosphere is fairly hip, the clientele very diverse, and the catfish and greens are very good. Columbus is lacking in much southeast Asian food, but Saigon Palace (downtown) and Pho Little Saigon (far east side on Hamilton Road) are good, inexpensive noodle shops.

      A unique dessert stop is Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams in the North Market (across the street from the convention center). After a too-long hiatus, this ice cream genuius is back supplying consumers with raspbery marscapone, strawberry buttermilk, and salted cashew (and that's when she's not feeling creative).

      1. my picks are dated but here you go. for steak HPG as suggested is fine, but if you would like old school style steakhouses i'd say THE CLARMONT and THE TOP. i'd agree HANDKE'S is best to impress the big city clientele. for mexican TAPATIO is good and fun. speaking of fun, SCHMIDTS in the german village is good german fun. go native and get the bahama mamas and walk it all off around the pretty neighborhood. LINDEYS down there is also nice. all these can handle groups well. enjoy!

        6 Replies
        1. re: mrnyc
          Dave in Columbus

          Alas, Tapatio has closed. The loss of Tapatio and its neighbbor Strada World Cuisine from the Short North area is a tremendous loss to the local restaurant scene . . .

          1. re: Dave in Columbus

            no kidding? i wondered why no one mentioned it. i loved the cornbread they gave you. too bad.

            1. re: mrnyc
              Dave in Columbus

              Yeah, I'm more distressed about the loss of the red chile flake bread (and the margaritas) than anything else . . .

              1. re: Dave in Columbus

                I just got back from a trip to Columbus. I thought that I had read on a flyer in the North Market that they were closing on Sept 12. Did they close earlier? It wasn't open during lunchtime when we were at the market, but we just assumed that they didn't open until later in the evening. I had heard through what little grapevine that I have in Columbus that the owner is dealing with some health issues and that is the reason for the closing. Not sure how accurate that is, however.

                We had some great chow while we were in Columbus and I'll post a report on it shortly.

                1. re: Dave in Columbus

                  Dave, though I am reading a response of yours from 5 years ago, I can not agree with you more about the lose of Tapatio - their redpepper flake bread and the best margaritas in the world (and I now live in Maragaritaville - Key West). I can not return to Columbus without missing Tapatio. I used to make dinner on bread and maragritas. Often I would also get their black bean hummus or chipolte shrimp on corn cakes. I know Bruce the owner (maybe there were 2 owners?) died several years ago. Any idea of how to get a couple of their recipes - the bread and chipotle shrimp sauce? What a loss. Enjoyed Strada's World Cuisine also. You can't go back!

            2. re: mrnyc

              Ah, Schmidts, the spaetzle with overcooked canned green beans....ambrosia. Garlic knockwurst, gargantuan cream puffs, mmmmm.

              A treat I get only when visiting from the left coast...good spaetzle, like good Greek food and good bagels, are thin on the ground here in earthquake central.

            3. Best Chinese - Asian Gourmet (corner of Morse & Hamilton in the Gahanna area)
              Best Thai - Thai Orchid (on Sawmill Road)
              Best Vietnamese - Good question!
              Best Mexican - Any restaurant in the El Vaquero/La Vaquero restaurant group
              Best Steak - Mitchell's Steakhouse/Hyde Park Grille/Ruth's Chris
              Best Fusion - Not sure
              Best Restaurant To Impress A Guest From New York - M in the Miranova building downtown (

              1. Pretty good choices here for most of these categories. My two cents include some already mentioned (so I second them) and some not. Keep in mind, I am referring to the best FOOD in each category. Some choices may not reflect the best combination of food and atmosphere. I am willing to, and embrace, eating in a dive if the food warrants it. However, most combine both.

                Best Chinese: Hunan House on E. Rt 161 and Hunan Lion on Bethel Rd. Both are excellent.

                Best Thai: In iffy neighborhood, Bangcock on Refugee Rd. for the best food. For food almost as good in a better neighborhood with better atmosphere, Thai Orchid on Sawmill Rd.

                Best Vietnamese: A dearth of choices here...I would leave this option for another trip.

                Best Mexican: Local, any of the Vaquero's family (El Vaquero, La Vaquera, Vaquero's, etc.). There are also some nice little mexican groceries that have popped up with some very good and hard to find choices at their food counters. If you happen across one, try it. I generally stay away from chain restaurants, but an Abuelo's has opened up at Easton Town Center. It is quite good. It began in Texas and can be found throughout Oklahoma and the central south. If you've never been, it is very much worth a try.

                Best Steak: Mitchell's Steakhouse DOWNTOWN, not in the Crosswoods area. Also the Claremont.

                Best Fusion: Funky: Alana's on High St. Rigsby's Cuisine Volatile also on High St.

                Best Restaurant To Impress A Guest From New York: M in the Miranova Building is about as over the top as you can get for Columbus.

                Whatever you choose, have fun and please report back!