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One night in Columbia, SC

I'll be in Columbia for work next week--staying near I-26/Harbison Blvd and will have a car. Any recommendations for any must-haves in Columbia? I'd prefer no chains. Thanks in advance!

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  1. Gervais and Vine is my favorite in Columbia. Tapas-style small plates and the cooks really know what they're doing. Skip the duck, which they overcook, but everything else I've tried there is top-notch.

    Friends of mine who know from good food swear by Ristorante Divino, just down the street. Fancier vibe. Those are the two best, as far as I know.

    If you're not from the South, try breakfast at a Waffle House: "scattered, smothered, covered double hash browns."

    2 Replies
    1. re: wittlejosh

      thanks wittle, i'm trying g&v on friday and i'll stay away from the duck!

      1. re: wittlejosh

        g&v was a solid rec. the scallops were great, as was the salmon on pistachio paste. the reuben gnocci was a bit extreme, and most of the table didn't appreciate it as much as i did. surprise surprise. :-)

        the wine prices and availability are all affordable. thanks for that one!

      2. While I have enjoyed Gervais & Vine in the past, they fell from grace late last fall after several "off" nights in a row. I agree with the Restorante Divino recommendation. I favor (and not necessarily in order of preference) Motor Supply, Hampton Street Vineyard Bistro both downtown area, and Mr. Friendly's in Five Points on Green Street. I also think Terra (which is on on the corner of Gervais and State just across the river near downtown) is worth a look. I've only been once and with a party of 4 and everything was excellent - just don't know if it's consistent. I like sushi from Inakaya on St. Andrews Rd. Enjoy and please post back!

        1 Reply
        1. re: SweetPea

          I'm glad to hear Inakaya is still open. My wife (a vegetarian) and I lived in Columbia in the late 1990s and that was one of our favorite places (she'd eat vegetables; I'd get the fish). Their nightly specials always were fun and tasty.

          We also adored Motor Supply. While their menus changed nightly, there always was a non-meat entree that even meat eaters would enjoy.

        2. I'm working in the area also, and at least once a week I drive from O'burg to Columbia to eat at Motor Supply Co. Their brunch is excellent and if you're alone you can sit at the bar and not have to wait. I used to like Gervais and Vine when I was in the area a couple of years ago, but haven't been there yet on this trip. Motor Supply, though, is really good.

          1. I agree about Motor Supply and Hampton Street---forgot about tthose!

            Sorry to hear that Gervais and Vine lost its edge. I think I was there last August and had a very good meal. A shame.

            1. Since you have a car ---- For kicks head over to Knox Abbott Drive in Cayce and have a meal at Vella's Deli. They're local and they've been there over 20 years. Wed. night special is ribs.

              1. You HAVE to go to Cafe Strudel. It's just across the Gervais St. Bridge on Meeting St. (?). It's not difficult to find. Really really good food. They bake their breads from scratch, hand-cut their steaks. Their desserts are great, esp. the cheesecake and if you go for brunch, try their salmon bagel. The bagel is an H&H. Everything is really good. Other places to try:
                Goatfeathers in Five Points
                El Burrito on Harden (little blue building)
                Hunter Gatherer near the Vista (good burger, live music on thursdays, brew their own beer)
                I've lived in NYC, LA, various places in Europe. The food scene in Cola is sort of blah, the trick is to avoid the "usual" places.

                1. Agreed, G&V slipped awhile ago, but I've been to Gervais and Vine several times over the past month and had enjoyable meals my meals and good wine at a reasonable price.

                  For Chinese, you MUST go to Miyos on Bower Parkway, just off of Harbison Blvd. The food is always fresh and it is in no way the standard Moo Goo Gai Pan-Fried Rice-Fried Chicken Wings fare. At Miyos, try the Grilled Salmon (comes with a mesculin salad, choice of rice, and garlic green beans), or any of the sushi dishes.

                  In NE Columbia (and part of the Mr. Friendly's family) there is Solstice Kitchen off Clemson and I-20 and one of my favs--Santorini Grill off of Clemson (turn right) on Hardscrabble Rd.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Tastefulgirl

                    I can't believe nobody mentioned the Shrimp and Grits at the Blue Marlin. Is that place not still there? They also serve the best fried shrimp I've ever had, on or off the beach. The service isn't always the best, but the food makes up for it.

                    1. re: burgernfries

                      Love Motor Supply Company. It has been one of my favorite restuarants in Charleston for the past 20 years. Also, Al's Upstairs and has great views of the city.

                      Yesterday's in Five Points has been there a gazillion years and is still very good.

                      Lastly, Devine Foods on Devine Street is the best Greek food I've ever eaten. It is in a little dive shop and is small.

                      1. re: burgernfries

                        Yep. Still there and still serving good shrimp and grits. Also durned fine collards.