Nice dinner in Columbus Ohio
I lived for several years in Columbus, and most foodies in town have nothing good to say about Cameron Mitchell. His places are the epitome of style over substance (i.e. overblown interior design budgets and "concepts" but mediocre, lowest common denominator food and ingredients), and don't get me started on the collection of mass-market, supermarket wines that he passes off as a wine program.
IMO, try Kihachi--easily one of the top Japanese restaurants in the midwest if not the country. Seriously!
In German Village, bypass the tired and living off its past Lindey's in favor of G. Michael's. For something more casual, try G. Michael's wine bar/small plates restaurant in The Short North called The Burgundy Room. They also recently opened a second Burgundy Room in the NW suburbs.
The Rossi in The Short North is a very tiny but excellent gastropub.
As mentioned previously, L'Antibes and Alana's are both great choices. You'll get a more romantic atmosphere at L'Antibes. At Alana's you'll find one of the best wine programs in the state.
2333 North High Street
Columbus, OH 43202
Don't know if they do gift certificates, but your friends will be very appreciative if they enjoy good food and wine.
Cameron Mitchell is probably the most convenient option, but if your friends are the type to prefer small independents and don't like chains, then it is not a good option. If they like Olive Garden type places, however, CM restaurants are a step or two up (or a step down in the case of Molly Woo's) and they'll be impressed.
L'Antibes is good, but it is a bit fancier than Alana's. I'd recommend it if someone asked for a "romantic" place.
263 East Whittier Street
Columbus, OH 43206
is another option.
I'm not an expert, since I don't live in Columbus, but I'll throw out three options:
1. Cameron Mitchell is the name of a group of fine dining restaurants based in Columbus. Most of their restaurants are in the Columbus area, while the rest are spread around the Midwest. Their restaurants include splurge dining (M), seafood (Mitchell's Fish Market and Mitchell's Ocean Club), steaks (Mitchell's Steakhouse), Asian (Molly Woo's Asian Bistro), Italian (Martini Italian Bistro), and American (Cameron's American Bistro). I have been to several and have found them to be consistently excellent. If you give them a gift certificate, it is valid at ALL of the Cameron Mitchell restaurants - which means that you can give them a very nice dinner while still allowing them to select the type of food that THEY enjoy most. You'll find more information on the Cameron Mitchell website at http://www.cameronmitchell.com (you can click on "gift cards" to purchase them on-line).
2. This year I had a lovely dinner at L'Antibes, just west of downtown. It's a splurge type restaurant, and it was excellent. You can read more on their website at http://www.lantibes.com However, I don't know if they sell gift certificates, and even if they do, they would only be valid at their one location.
3. American Express sells "Be My Guest" gift cards. You can give them a gift card for dining and it's accepted anywhere that takes the American Express credit card. So it's the ultimate flexibility in terms of their ability to use it wherever they want. You can find more information, and order them, on the AmEx website at http://www10.americanexpress.com/sif/...