Round up of Restaurants in Columbia, MO
My husband and I just moved to Columbia a few months ago, so I am anxious to hear about favorites in Columbia -- well known or not. :)
We live very close to Jazz and checked them out for Happy Hour the other day. We just samped the tasty fried food and beer -- both we great. But, I am guessing their "real" food is great too based on the number of cars in their parking lot each night.
There are several excellent restaurants in CoMo, many of which have been discussed in a couple recent threads.
Downtown is a veritable smorgasbord. There is the excellent Sycamore -- their braised short ribs is one of the most luscious (and one of my favorite) Columbia dishes. Classy's is delicious and not very well known - if you can make it to the "early bird special" it is (or perhaps was, by now) only $7.95 and a bargain at twice the price. The Bistro and Wine Bar (is this the right name? used to be Cherry Street Wine Cellar) is great. Somewhat more casual but also worth trying are Addison's and Teller's. Go to Teller's bar late some weekend night and have a martini and eavesdrop on some almost certainly ridiculous conversations. Trattoria used to be excellent but by all accounts has been on a downward slide recently; the bar can be nice on weekends though, and usually not as jam-packed as its neighbor Teller's. Without a doubt acquaint yourself with Shakespeare's Pizza for some of the best pizza you have ever encountered. And don't forget about Booche's and its addictive (and adorable) little burgers.
Away from downtown - I just had lunch at Sophia's which is always great. Chris McD's has been around for a while and is delicious. Murry's often has live jazz (and great food too, but it's not as "live").
That's all I can think of off the top of my head ... I'm sure I have missed some great stuff... Enjoy ...
These are my musings on good lunches in Columbia.
Sycamore-what a quality deal this place is for lunch.
Ernies-homemade soups, twin-chopped cow. Great old-time diner.
Subshop-1/2 vegetarian on whole wheat (extra bacon), well done.
International-soup and gyro special.
Buckingham's-smoked turkey sandwich with beans.
Murry's-great salads, burger, steak sandwich. Eat at the bar.
Wok Express-good pho's. Avoid the fake crab.
Flat Branch-good wood-fired oven pizzas.
Bullpen(on Friday)-catfish special.
Booche's(busy at lunch)-cheeseburger, bowl of red and a frostie. Pool hall nirvana. Don't ask for fries, ever.
We also like Mandarin Express on Broadway downtown by the Regency Hotel, strictly for their Korean food. We were afraid this place had closed, but looks as if it's back up and running again. They also serve Chinese food, but to be honest, have never tried that.
Right beside Mandarin Express is the Thai Kitchen, inside the Regency Hotel. We like it better than Bangkok Gardens, mostly because the atmosphere is quiet and the service is better. Food is plentiful and tasty, too.
For a new Middle Eastern experience, we liked Nikai Grill, almost catty-corner from the International Cafe. Very fresh and tasty, and have been wanting to head back there again soon.
Sky-high Bar and Grill is a lot of fun, and their food is also good for a bar and grill type atmosphere. A little more upscale than most bars and grills. Their Cobb Salad is outstanding, as is their Rock Shrimp Po-Boy. Leave the calamari alone.
We also like the Catfish Corner out on Route B for good catfish meals. Although their clientele is mostly families, old people, and fat people (I know which category I fall into), it sure is good eatin', and they have great desserts, too. Some people don't care for it, but we love it.
Have to agree with all the other recs, and will add the Cherry Hill Brasserie for a great upscale meal at the Village of Cherry Hill. Sure hope this place stays open because it's in an out-of-the-way spot and unless you know where it is, it might pass you by. Absolutely one of the best fine dining meals we've had in Columbia. The salmon I had was excellent, and my hubby's strip steak was outstanding.
As far as Jazz goes, we did not care for it, on the couple of occasions we have eaten there. The food was OK, but the service was sorely lacking. Maybe it has improved and we should try again. It seems as if it's trying too hard to be "authentic" with all the kitschy paraphernalia hanging around. As you can tell, we usually eschew the chains, and I understand that Jazz is part of a small regional chain.
Speaking of catfish again, if you're willing to drive west to Boonville, there's a place over there that has HUGE catfish fillets (at least they were the time we ate there). It's called Mississippi Catfish Shack, and they used to be downtown, but I understand they have moved, or are in the process of moving, out toward I-70 by the Dollar General and Wal-mart. This new location will give them more room. Their breading is kind of spicy on their catfish; I prefer the more mild cornmeal breading at Catfish Corner. They also have buffalo fish and trout? Limited menu but it would be worth the drive for you to try if you like catfish. Like I said, the time we got catfish there, the fillets were huge, but the owner kind of acted like that varies from time to time? Me, I like strips better, don't ask me why.
I don't know if anybody on this board has even mentioned McKenzie's but we enjoy it. It is a small restaurant off of Rangeline (Old Business 63 North). For those familiar with Columbia, it is in the complex with Jason's Custard and the Movie Gallery. They have half price appetizers from 4-7 every night I think and we had broiled rosemary shrimp skewers last night. I thought they were very good. I would say the entrees are in the $15-$25 price range approximately so it isn't just a casual type family place. Very cozy and intimate.
We have been to Mckenzie's once and really liked it. Understand it's a former chef from CC's City Broiler who started his own place. Everything is wood fire-grilled. Churchill's.... believe it or not, in my 20+ years of living in Columbia, I've never made it there, probably because it's located inside a hotel. However, I've never heard anything bad about it. I know it's very expensive, but if you go, post here and tell us what you think.
My husband and I love the Cherry Hill Brasserie! We've been there for our Anniversary, Valentine's Day, wine tastings, and just fun nights out with friends. My girlfriends and I also like to go there on Thursday nights for Ladies' Night with the half-price drinks and fabulous appetizers. (If you have tried the Mango-Chutney Shrimp you are missing out!)
RE: Cherry Hill Brasserie: Absolutely THE best steak I've ever had! Meltingly tender - I could go on and on. My husband and I have dined there for our anniversary - the Chef's Tasting that night was outstanding! The wine pairings were almost magical. Wine tastings are fun, and if you stay for dinner, the tasting's free. And Ladies' Night? Melissa, you are sooo right! I can't get past that Chocolate Martini! Mike, the owner/chef has an almost spooky sense for what my palate is craving. Check it out!