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Places to eat in Columbia SC

  • j

I have a friend who is heading to Columbia for work over the next few weeks. Are there any restaurants that shouldn't be missed? Food the city is known for?

Thanks in advance!

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  1. Zesto's (several locations) for great broasted/fried chicken, not bad hamburgers either.

    Little Pigs BBQ for some excellent pork BBQ. It's and all-u-can-eat buffet. Out on Alpine road near the Blue Cross Blue Shield tower.

    1. Whoa, what happened to the website? Friend have preferences? How far are they willing to travel? All three meals?

      1. Terra is a relativley new restaurant there that is doing some pretty good food if you're looking for a nice meal. Sandy's Slaw Dogs are great, you'll see them all over town. Gervais & Vine is a decent tapas bar in the vista and Mr Friendly's in five points is also worth a look. Enjoy. Also, check out Goatfeathers in five points for a good pint of beer, a great coffee drink, of a piece of cheescake.

        2 Replies
        1. re: porkstarrchef

          I agree regarding Terra. They have really elevated their game, and are now serving some really nicely prepared fresh, local food.
          Mr. Friendly's is an excellent choice. Cellar on Greene is in the same building as Friendly's and is a great little spot, too, - a wine bar with a limited but excellent menu.
          Divino on Gervais Street is excellent for high-end italian food.
          Rosso is also great for a more modern presentation of italian cuisine, and Solstice in the Northeast is nice.
          Baan Sawaan and Hampton Street Vineyard are solid for a nice dinner, too.
          I am a big, big fan of Hunter-Gatherer, too, a brewpub in view of the State House on South Main St. with a cool but relaxed neighborhood vibe and pretty darn good food. Also on South Main is Al-Amir, a really nice mediterranean place (no alcohol, though).
          For fast food, I am a fan of Zesto's, Angelo's, and Edna's on River Drive.
          Palmetto Pig is overrated, but not bad for BBQ. It's mustard-based, though, so be forewarned. That's not everyone's cup of tea.

          1. re: UrDaddy

            Yeah, chef Mike over at Terra is really hittin' on all cylinders right now. It's my go-to place for a good dinner.

        2. Thanks for the tips. He will be there for work so I would think it would just be dinner or a quick lunch. Not knowing where the plant is he is visiting i really don't know how far he would be willing to drive. I am trying to make sure he goes into the job with as much intelligence as possible!! (nothing is worse then being in a new city and not knowing where to eat and ending up at chillis, applebees, crackerbarrel etc or any of the other chains that are sure to disappoint)

          1 Reply
          1. re: jean9

            OK point well taken. So, if you could, post the plant location as "quick" is integral to location. We are here to help! And dinner - travel how far for what strikes his fancy?

          2. Good point on the quick factor, I will find out where the plant is. As for types of food, just about anything... bar-b-que is a favorite. He isn't that into fish but indian, italian, asian, american would all be considered. When the people from the plant have gone up north to work they have all gone out to dinner together some nights and other nights they were on their own. I think distance wouldn't be a problem in the evenings as long as he can get directions off of the web or from the restaurant.

            2 Replies
            1. re: jean9

              Touch of India is considered one of the best Southern Indian places in the area....

              1. re: jean9

                Here are my suggestions not knowing where he will be. Little Pigs - Alpine Rd.
                I agree with Touch of India - near I-20 and Broad River Rd.; Baan Sawan Thai Bistro - Five Points; Thai Dish - Hwy 378 (Sunset Blvd.); American: Terra - State St.; Hampton Street Vineyard - downtown; Italian: Dianne's - 5 points, Restaurant Divino - Vista. I also agree with Mr. Friendly's and Goatfeather's.

              2. Amen to above. Also - Motor Supply Company on Gervais Street in the Vista. Hasn't failed me yet; menu changes daily. Artworks by Blue Sky.

                Hennessey's on Main Street is a solid bet. Not overly fancy but always satisfying.

                Goatfeathers is good for more than coffee and dessert; try their pizzas! Excellent choices of liqours, beer and wines. The best people-watching spot in town.

                For a great all-American lunch try a pimiento cheeseburger with onion rings at Eddie's on Assembly street. Some of the best burgers in town; don't be in a hurry. They're slow.

                Stick-to-your-ribs plain ole good food can be found at Yesterday's in Five Points. Just look for the cowboy in a bathtub on their roof. The bar is filled with locals.

                A new find that my friends and I just love - The Pizza Man just off Rosewood. Looks like a dive and it basically is. At lunch you can hear Pizza Man belting out Country Western and Classic Rock and Roll from the kitchen. The food is fine.

                Hope your friend enjoys our city!

                1 Reply
                1. re: Ellen of SC


                  I love Motor Supply Co. too! YUM. They have a great brunch, especially if you like bloody marys. I attached my blog, there are some photos of Motor Supply and Mr. Friendly's.

                2. My friend and I frequent Bangkok Thai Restaurant on Garners Ferry....it's a hole in the wall but very tasty.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: gremlin70

                    I second both the Bangkok Thai and Baan Sawan recommendations. Bangkok Thai for the pad thai and panang...Baan Sawan for upscale Thai, particlarly the three flavored duck.

                  2. What BBQ place should someone be sure to try? Looks like there's lots to choose from. I'm looking for a local favorite.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Wellfed

                      Palmetto Pig on Devine street is the BEST in my opinion. Many are good, but this is the best. 530 Devine St, Columbia, SC 29201

                    2. Baan Swan is really good...also for "quick" and different..check out Paul's Philadelphia Eatery in the Vista...they have real phillies and awesome pizza..even tira misu and cannolis. Also, Mr. Friendly's if five points is good but pricey....excellent pimento filet though.

                      1. There are some great restaurants on rosewood. you can go to pizza man where you can get some really good pizza. Or you could try a rockaway pimiento cheese burger at rockaways with a side of their famous pimiento cheese fries. You could also try zestos or rosewood diry bar for a good burger

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: wgso1894

                          This thread began two years ago. The OP asked which restaurants in Columbia "shouldn't be missed" and the first response is Zesto's. Really? Zesto's shouldn't be missed? Come on. And the fries at Rockaways? Those things are right out of Sysco's freezer.

                          1. re: north2south

                            Last time I had the pimento cheese fries at Rockaway's the pimento cheese was Velveeta-like, which I found pretty gross once the leftovers "congealed" in the fridge.