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Foodie traveling to Columbus, OH; Looks for recommendations

Hello Chowhounds. I will be working in Columbus, OH for a couple of days. My co-workers and I are foodies and have a pretty good expense budget, so we are looking for restaurant & beer bar recommendations. We will be staying near the Crossroads Business Park off I-270. Any suggestions (casual to white table cloth) gladly accepted and places to get a good beer (like Winking Lizard) would be great!

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  1. Two nice places I'd recommend are Alana's (2333 N. High) and Handke's (520 S Front). Alana's is my favorite restaurant in Columbus. Helmut Handke wins international competitions.

    Schmidt's (240 E Kossuth) is a Columbus institution. You pig out at the all you can eat sausage buffet and then get a cream puff for dessert.

    Barley's (467 N High) is a good place for a beer. It was a brew pub back before brew pubs were cool. And try their sauerkraut balls.

    1. Barcelona. You won't be disappointed.

      1. I would recommend the Worthington Inn. It is in a historic location near where you're staying, and the menu is creative and uses a lot of locally grown produce. It sometimes has an older crowd, but the food is wonderful and they have nice happy hour specials and a great bar menu if you're looking for something more casual. The website is www.worthingtoninn.com. If you specifically want a Winking Lizard, also, there is one on Bethel Road. Also in Worthington (this suburb is very near to Crosswoods), there is a nice bar called Old Bag of Nails. It has a few locations in Columbus. They have a good beer menu and tasty fish and chips.

        1. If you're going to Columbus, it's not a complete trip without a stop at CAP CITY FINE DINER (http://www.capcityfinediner.com/). Order their Maytag Bleu Cheese Potato Chips. Holy smoke.

          Save room for dessert.

          1. Sarabeth, the Crossroads area has a lot of restaurants, nearly all of them chain outlets, but that doesn't mean they are bad. J. Alexander's, Columbus Fish Market, J. Gilbert's are pretty good. The Short North area on N. High St. is where you will find more unique, Chowish kind of fare. Haiku, Burgundy Room, R. J. Snapper's, Mac's (Scottish bar with great pub food, very cheap), Abrazzi for Italian/steaks. In German Village area I second Barcelona, if weather is nice they have a great patio, also try G. Michael, definitely a white table cloth place. The Mohawk is a great place for a beer and sandwich or blue plate special, very inexpensive. Hope this gives you some choices and diversity. Write back and share where you went and your reviews.

            1. Is Rigsby's still open?

              What about Rubino's pizza in Bexley?

              For the finest in classic french cuisine, go to the Refectory in Dublin.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Devotay

                Rigsby's and Rubino's are both still open and quite good, and I agree with the Refectory recommendation. However, L'Antibes has probably passed every place in town (and probably the state) for classical French.

                Also, in response to an earlier reply and out of a great fear of this brilliant but tempermental chef, his first name is Hartmut. . .

              2. There is also a Winking Lizard at Crosswoods. It's in where Dick Clark's American Bandstand Grill use to be. I've never been to a Winking Lizard before. I may have to try it eventually.

                1. If you're going to be near Crosswoods then you might want to get to Mitchell's Steakhouse. It's in the same class as Morton's and Ruth's Chris -- pricewise, but I consider it a cut above both.

                  1. Definitely agree with Alana's. She's a talented chef. Moretti's out on Sawmill is good post-war Italian food. It's heavy, but the pastas are homemade and the sauces are tremendous.

                    1. Heading through Columbus on our way to Lexington, KY tomorrow. Which of the places mentioned above (or some other place) is our best bet for lunch? (Outdoor cafe dining would be great too, so we don't have to leave the dog chilling in the car.)

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: bslim

                        Barcelona http://www.barcelonacolumbus.com/ is open for lunch and has outdoor seating. Don't know if they'd let you bring in your dog. 614-443-3699 is their number. Another option is Basi Italia http://basi-italia.com/ which also has outdoor seating, but again I don't know if they'd let your dog in. Their number is 614-294-7383.

                        Mozarts http://www.mozartscafe.com/ on High Street usually has a couple of tables on the sidewalk and they might be your best bet, but Basi and Barcelona are better restaurants.

                      2. another great place for beer & pub grub is the old bag of nails pub in worthington's suburban "downtown" on high street. its a tiny & nice place.

                        1. I highly recommend the Burgandy Room in Short North. Great selection of interesting and well-prepared small plates, which you can match up with "flights" of wine. (Also totally agree with Alana's and L'Antibes.)

                          1. There are some restaurants on here that are good places to eat, but I don't think they meet the criteria for an expense account meal. For example, I love Barcelona, but I usually go for lunch and find the prices quite reasonable. That said, you can't go wrong with Barcelona.

                            But given the fact that you have a "pretty good expense budget" I'd stick to Alana's, Handke's, L'Antibes, and the Refectory. Alana's is a place I go whenever I can. I have taken people there who have had expense accounts and they have not been disappointed. Handke's is the kind of place you go when someone else is picking up the check. It is not as good as it should be, but you need to go at least once if you live in Columbus. And I had the best Creme Brulee I have ever had at Handke's. As for getting Hartmut's name wrong in my earlier post, he served my wife a very disappointing meal once, so I'll call him whatever I want. ;-) L'Antibes and the Refectory are places I am willing to spend my own money, but maybe only once every couple of years, like for an anniversary or birthday dinner. You might also enjoy Basi Italia if it is a pleasant night. They have a nice outdoor area.

                            Also be aware that some recommendations on here are for Cameron Mitchell restaurants. These are not independent places but part of a corporation. Which doesn't mean the food isn't good, but I know a lot of people prefer to support independents. So I thought I'd mention it. Also, I have not been overly impressed with several Cameron Mitchell restaurants. Here is the website: http://www.cameronmitchell.com/

                            Additionally, the Winking Lizard http://www.winkinglizard.com/ is a chain of bars. I haven't been to the two in Columbus, but I have been to a couple in northern Ohio. I thought they were good bars, but I associate them with Cleveland. I wouldn't include them as part of the Columbus experience. You can hit a campus area bar like the Varsity Club or a place like the Short North Tavern for some bars that will give you more of a feel for Columbus.

                            1. Just got back from the Varsity Club on Saturday, after spending the night near Cincinnati (Blue Ash Chili). Varsity Club and Out R Inn are best for campus feel, Paninis was great for their sandwhiches and bar atmosphere, although not sure if its down there anymore, like the Winking Lizard (peninsula and cleveland downtown), i think that may be a northern ohio thing. the panini's on south campus was great.

                              J alexanders is great, prime rib recommended, salads are outstanding although i think they are a la carte now.