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Columbia, MO.........

I will be traveling to Columbia this fall for a Football game and I'm looking for the very best fine dining spot. A recommendation for the very best hotel close by with fine dining and maybe a spa would help also. Thanks.

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  1. I would stay at the holiday inn. Its inexpensive and a cheap cab ride to down town. Fine dinning there is a place right smack dab down town it is a bar/restaurant in the lobby of a hotel. It looked a bit pricey. My wife and I at there food was good. Just up the street there is an indian food restaurant as well. For some late night fun. Try the eastside tavern. Its theme is Sci-fi,horror Rock n roll and cheap booze. I will try and get some more info for ya. good luck "Red"

    1. The downtown hotel you are referring to is the Columbia Regency, and the restaurant is Thai Kitchen, not expensive at all, nor would I call it fine dining, although it is very good Thai food.

      The two restaurants downtown that are the best in fine dining, IMHO, are Sycamore, right on Broadway, a few blocks west of the Regency Hotel, and Cherry Street Wine Cellar and Bistro, sensibly enough located on Cherry Street.

      The Holiday Inn Select on the west side of town is not inexpensive (probably one of the most expensive hotels in town) but they do have a very expensive fine dining restaurant called Churchill's inside it, and I'm sure the hotel has a spa for their customers. If you are wanting to stay downtown, the Columbia Regency is your only option. Might want to call to see if they offer the amenities you are seeking.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Christine

        I second Sycamore. If you did stay at the SC Inn, then Murray's is hard to beat. Murrays is hard to beat anyway. However, Sycamore is "finer" dining that Murrays. Downtown Strada Nova would be my second choice, but I've not been to Cherry Street yet and it has been awhile since going to Strada Nova.

      2. Hotels fill up quickly on football weekends. Don't procrastinate. I recommend Stoney Creek Inn where you can walk to the football game and walk to the best restaurant in Columbia, Murry's which has an eclectic alacarte menu. Good salads, excellent value on the steaks, and who can pass up fried green pepper rings dusted with powdered sugar? Can get packed but worth the wait.

        1. Hi Folks-

          A reminder, this is Chowhound and our mission is to seek and enjoy great food, lodging discussion is off topic for this forum and dilutes our resource. Please, no more lodging discussion.


          1. I like Trattoria Strada Nova, or Ninth Street Trattoria, which is on ... guess what? Ninth Street! Casual atmosphere, a cigar bar, and excellent northern Italian food with a nouvelle twist. Bread and olive oil to start the meal. Good stuff. It's just a block north of Broadway, right downtown.

            1. Oh yeah, Murry's (no a) is great! In fact, we were just there last weekend and absolutely everything was wonderful and tasty. You never can go wrong there, you're right.

              The last time we ate at Trattoria Strada Nova on 9th Street was less than spectacular, but that was at the holidays in December, so maybe that was the excuse? Sorry, I don't think that's a good excuse. We haven't been back since that time. I would rather go to Teller's downtown now.

              Our new favorite restaurant in Columbia is Gaucho's Churrascaria on Southampton. Excellent Brazian grilled meat on skewers, fantastic salad bar (no iceberg lettuce to be seen - yay), and great drinks.

              Mackenzie's is good, too. Have been wanting to try Cherry Hill Brasserie. Maybe on the next birthday.

              1. Brazilian in columbia? I had no idea! Great to hear!

                If you are looking for "nice" places, Addision's is on the lower edge, but still a decent eat. But I say you can't go to columbia without pizza at shakespears, IMO.

                1. While it may not be "fine dining", a great place to eat after a game is Flat Branch Pub. This local brewery makes many of the beers that they have on tap and now boasts a non-smoking environment. They also celebrate events such as Talk Like a Pirate Day (a personal favorite of mine). If you like beer, its definitly worth stopping in and trying their sampler. Especially during football season, people love the great pumpkin ale, a seasonal favorite.

                  2 Replies
                    1. re: heatherkay

                      I love flatbranch and make my friends take me there everytime I visit. Good "california style" pizzas... if there is such a thing. The beer is the real attraction. Also, reasonably impressed with dali's, who has half off tapas on Sundays.

                  1. Dali's in Columbia has closed. It is now Gaucho's Churrascaria Steakhouse, great Brazilian cuisine. One of my favorite places in Columbia. I understand it's the same owner as Dali's, but the manager (father-in-law) is from Brazil. Give it a try!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Christine

                      We ate at Gaucho's last night. The place reeked of stale cigarette butts, making me nauseated and sorry I stayed for dinner. The meats were very good, and the rest of the food was adequate: extensive salad bar, rice, beans, polenta, bananas (fried but mushy as if reheated in microwave). The service was very good, but plates were cold and most of the food lukewarm. The wine list was overpriced with entries at 2 1/2 to 3 times retail, which is shameful.

                      I would go back after the smoking ban takes effect, but definitely not before. I violated my first rule of dining: if it doesn't smell like good food, turn around and walk out!

                    2. Wow, that is a bummer! Yeah, it will be a great thing when the smoking ban goes into full effect in January. I'm glad you at least thought the food and service were good. Give it another try after the smoking ban, and see what you think. I agree about the mushy bananas, and as for the drinks, we usually get mixed ones, and I think they are not as strong as they could be, but I don't think they're overpriced, but if they are watering them down..... I like the Licor 43 after-dinner liqueur. Kind of a clean refreshing vanilla flavor. I know it sounds weird, but since it's straight booze, you don't have to worry about any watering down going on.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Christine

                        Hm, perhaps Gaucho's has yet to hit its stride. In a completely different vein, has everyone been to Taqueria El Rodeo on Nifong? Delicious, and definitely easy on the pocketbook. And I mentioned this a few weeks ago but I'll mention it again - Classy's downtown is a little-known gem. The chef is superb and they will occasionally have multi-course degustations that are easily as good or better than any other restaurant in town.

                      2. Funny you mention Classy's as we had dinner there Sat. night after a showing of Death of A President at the Ragtag Cinema. It was very good. I had the Szechuan Ahi Tuna (med. rare) and hubby had a unique preparation of trout (can't remember what it was, but it was in a caper sauce). Also had their veggie lentil soup that was yummy and their rolls were out of this world. I think they could use the business as there were only 8 other people dining there during the course of our meal.

                        yes, we have also tried Taqueria El Rodeo on Nifong. Had breakfast there one Sunday morning, and we were the only gringos in the place. Authentic, GOOD FOOD! We need to go back. We also like El Rancho on Broadway downtown.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Christine

                          Was lately at Trattoria Strada Nova after about a year's absence. There seems to have been a lot of changes; the waitstaff is a lot more professional than in years past, the winelist has expanded a great deal, and our meal was great. Our server seemed eager to suggest wine pairings with our food, which I was greatly intrigued by. Worth checking out again.

                          1. re: george the debater

                            Good to hear that. It will take awhile for it to resume its place in my top 5 for fine dining in Columbia, which now includes: Cherry Hill Brasserie, Chris McD's, Village Wine Bistro, Sycamore, and Mackenzie's.

                            Wanted to also give a shout-out to GLenn's in Boonville. They are better than they were when they were in dowtown Columbia. The waitstaff is a little too eager, checking back too frequently, and filling up water glasses every 5 minutes, but other than that, the food was spot-on. I recommend taking a little drive to Boonville sometime and checking it out.

                        2. Had a disappointing experience at Sophia's recently. Went in there for an anniversary and ordered a nice bottle of Shiraz. The floor manager who came out to open it gave us an entirely incorrect description of the bottle. Also, I understand most restaurants have to mark their wines up a fair amount, but some of the markups espeically on the reserve list were ridiculous (200-300%).

                          Perhaps the most disconcerting part of the experience was that when her lamb chops came out, one of them was rare, like she'd ordered...the other two were medium well.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: george the debater

                            I'm curious George, have you ever been involved in a restaurant or in any business venture? Please tell me what restaurant you can go to, in Columbia, for a bottle of wine that has a mark-up of less then 200%? Tell me of ANY restaurant that does not use a 30% food, liquor or wine cost as a base for pricing their menus. (Doing the math, that would put the food, liquor and wine at a 333% markup) As to my experience of dining at Sophia's, there have been slips over the many times i have visited. But any time I have mentioned a problem, the response has been astounding! I assume by your post, that you did not give them a chance to know there was a problem and correct it. Alas, there are always people who like to be martyrs and suffer in silence. EVERY restaurant makes mistakes, but you can tell the really good ones by how they respond to problems and my experience is that Sophia's is one of the best! Considering that most of my friends and aquaintances view Sophia's and Addisons in the top six of all restaurants in Columbia, maybe you could give them another chance instead of writing and uninformed diatribe and sullying their fine reputation. Yours Truly, An Informed Patron

                          2. Let me just add to this string ... we were up in Columbia after church on Sunday. There is not one upscale-type restaurant that's even open on Sunday. I guess everyone parties out on Saturday, and no one feels the need to be out on Sunday. Even my favorite bbq place... Buckinghams... was closed! So we ended up at, of all things, Chevys Fresh Mex. OK, the food was fine. But it wasn't what I was wantin! AND.... it was my birthday. So. Eat on Saturday night. No one will be there to greet you on Sunday! You will have to settle for chains! I don't have a problem with restaurants wanting to be closed. In my hometown, though, a lot of people like to be out on Sunday afternoon. Guess Columbia's too progressive for that.

                            1 Reply
                            1. I also find it a bit incovenient that not much is open on Sunday. Addison's, Sophia's and Boone Tavern are open but I don't like them very much. Flat Branch, which I do like, is open. The menu has a corporate-chain feel to it, but there are some things that I consistently like. Of course, Shakespeares is always the old stand-by.