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Columbia, S.C. Restaurants

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I want to know from people where they like to eat in Columbia. I've found a few places I really like:
Hunter Gatherer
Cafe Strudel
El Burrito
Med. Tea Room
...but I want other people's opinions. Thanks!

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  1. Burgers or 'dogs: Edna's #1 on River Drive, Eddie's, Zesto's, Rush's, Sandy's.

    Fried chicken: Zesto's and Rush's.

    BBQ: Hudson's, Little Pigs, Boar's Nest.

    Egg rolls: Egg Roll Station.

    Wings, ribs, etc.: Vella's Deli, D's Wings.

    Best lunch, best deli, best sandwiches: DiPrato's and Groucho's (the original in Five Points).

    Finer fare: Motor Supply, Gervais and Vine, Hennesy's, Hampton Street Vineyard, Blue Marlin.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Ellen of SC

      Since I posted this in March Boar's Nest and Eddie's have closed.

      1. re: Ellen of SC

        But isn't Eddie's just closed for remodeling?

        1. re: SweetPea

          I had heard nothing about remodeling. Third-hand story I got was that the building's owner had passed a huge city tax increase to his tenants and Eddie's owner decided it was too much.

          It would be great news if they are not permanently closed.

          1. re: Ellen of SC

            I stopped by the other day (my first time, wouldn't you know it!) and the sign on the door indicated they were closed for a time period for renovations or something. I forgot the time period but it seemed long to me and nobody was in there working on it. It deffinately was not an advertisement for lease space. What I don't understand is if there is a big tax increase, how can they sit there with no revenue? Like the old John Paul's that Garibaldi's took over. I check that out all the time and it looks like nothing is happening - and that's been quite some time, hasn't it?

    2. I 2nd Groucho's.

      Also I've read many Columbia Post on here and no one ever mention's Yesterday's in Five Points. It is one of my favorite home town places. They have a little bit of everything.

      BBQ: Doc's BBQ by the stadium has a wonderful buffet, I think they are only open for lunch.

      Burgers: Rockaways has an awesome cheeseburger.

      Fried Chicken: Bernie's also by the stadium has the closest thing to home made fried chicken I've found.

      Greek/Italian: The house of pizza in South Congaree is family run, and has some of the best pizza/greek salad/pasta in Columbia. I also really like Stephano's in Lexington, which is also family run.

      1 Reply
      1. re: shockingbluerose

        Before Rockaway's burned down they had a mean crawfish ettoufee and raw oyster bar. Standing room only, great place for a drink and some really different ambiance. I went back when I was in town last year and they didn't serve crawfish and were out of oysters. And there was outside seating visible from the road?! Glad that they still don't have a sign on the door but sad to see that it's become a burger joint. Granted, I do love their pimento cheese burger, but I really loved the old Rockaways.

      2. Zesto's, Rosewood dairy bar and bernie's for fried chicken.

        I like the Keg on Rosewood. The friday chicken bog is great.

        Murrays out on Charleston Highway (near the airport) is good. Great burgers and fried chicken.

        Vella's on Knox Abbott

        Med. Tea room and El Amir for Middle Eastern food.

        Egg Roll station for freshly made chinese food

        Blue Cactus for GREAT Korean food

        The Biscuit house by the Stadium for great homemade breakfast biscuits. Lot's of choices for what goes in those biscuits too.

        1. Well, I like all of the above for the most part. It's so hard to say I think I'd add Thai Dish. Their rolls (not the fried ones, the hand rolled somethings) are fabulous. I really like that place. I have frequent occasions to take me quite near there. I've recently decided I don't think I really like Middle Eastern food. I like hummus, but that may be it for me. Maybe I'm just ordering wrong. I do like Zorbas, they have a lunch special that is big enough for two - love the beef tips and mushrooms over rice with salad and bread. Also, I only get "downtown" once a week for lunch and that's if lunch works out. DiPrato's is a lunch favorite, also Gourmet Shop if I can park. I'm liking Sun Ming for Chinese. Blue Cactus didn't ring my bell. I had some killer chili at the Keg recently. I like Hot Dog Heaven for dogs. I like the Burbon Street salad at Doc's Gumbo Grille as well as other things. Za's has been a recent spot for me. Love those crabcake appetizers. And the lunch sashimi special at Inakaya. I've got my eye on a fish market on Gervais Street - had the soft shelled crab sandwich and it was quite tasty.

          1 Reply
          1. re: SweetPea

            Blue Cactus was a bit odd and disjointed. The bulgogi was okay but a bit bland? The pork and kimchi dish was very homestyle and the spices well done. The chap chae was horrible- dark andsoaked, overlimp, yet flavorless? Not a sesame seed or taste of sesame oil to be found? Not enough onions in anything. The condiment cup of dipping sauce with the yaki mondu was nothing more than soy sauce-no sherry, green onion, sesame oil...nothing to make soy sauce a bit more interesting? The eggrolls came with packets of duck sauce just like you get at the Chinese take-away and a small condiment cup of Chinese mustard. The kimchi plate appetizer included standard napa cabbage; uninteresting mung sprouts but a very good carrot kimchi. I would have enjoyed it more had it been served in a nicer fashion. Nice enough staff but... I'll try someplace else next time. It is hard to find good Korean food down south.

          2. This review is about Groucho's in Irmo South Carolina next to Piggly Wiggly on Lake Murray Blvd. I have been eating at Groucho's for the last 20 years and normally really love the "big" sandwiches and the 45 sauce. Well the last 2 times in a row I have gone to the Irmo location I practically needed a magnifying glass to find the meat on my sandwich. First an STP and then just yesterday 12-29-2007, the bacon-turkey club that is supposed to have 4 ounces of turkey. Well mine had about 1/4 inch or maybe 3 or 4 slices of tukey at most. I thought the first time with the STP was an anomoly because Bruce Miller, the chain owner, used to have a reputation for large portion sandwiches, but twice in a row really got my goat.... and I'm talking about a $7 dollar sandwich for the Bacon-Turkey club. The staff also seems rather un-enthused and not very friendly like they don't want to be there. Looks like if I gotta' get my Groucho's fix, I'll be driving to the original 5 Points location. If that disappoints, I'll never be back.

            7 Replies
            1. re: Humpy

              I lived in Columbia for about a year (2001-02) so I may not be up to date on the restaurants but I really liked Garibaldi's and the Mediterranean Tea Room.

              I know the owner of the Columbia Groucho's, all locations... I will pass on any comments you'd like - he really tries to do a great job and puts a lot of effort into his restaurants so I know he'd like to know any feedback.

              1. re: Humpy

                Hummmm...... Well I had a fabulous roast beef sandwich there one time and it was really rare and a big full sandwich and I told them what a great sandwich it was. I frequented the place and they knew me because I would call and ask the condition of the beef. But alas, it was never rare again. They said they had no control over it - it was how it was shipped to them. I guess that day was just my lucky day. I even tried getting it cold and then heating it myself but shoot, I may as well make it myself rather than to go to that trouble. And then I got my mother's thousand island dressing recipe. I've had some other things there - pastrami has been good. Maybe you should tell Bruce. For that matter I should too. I hate to see a business go down - they must think to themselves " If only I had known". So lettuce speak up or forever hold a piece......never mind, I get beyond myself sometimes. But do call, you sound like a valued customer.

                1. re: Humpy

                  I can somewhat concur w/ your experience. I have been to two Groucho's locations here in Charleston over the past year, and have been mildly underwhelmed. There seemed to be a definite lack of meat on the sandwich, and the flavor just wasn't there. Another annoyance was that the one waitress never refilled our drinks. We waited, and finally my husband got up and delivered it himself. We used to be addicted to Groucho's in downtown Cola. It dissapoints me that this is the state they're in now. With all the other options avaliable, I can really say I won't spend my money there anymore. I hope the friend of the owner passes this news along, for the benefit of the franchise.

                  1. re: charlestonfoodiegal

                    Groucho's tried opening a place in Greenville, SC when we lived there several years ago, and it sounds very much like the franchise experience that you all have had. I've always enjoyed the Five Points location though.

                    That being said, I'd kill for an Andy's Deli up here in North Carolina. I miss the R2D2!

                    1. re: Suzy Q

                      Love the Groucho's in 5 Points! Does anyone know what is in the 45 sauce? I don't live in the area anymore and would kill for some right now! :)

                      1. re: palmettomommy

                        It's been a long time since I had any but I'm guessing the basis for it is Russian Dressing with fresh dill added.

                        1. re: Cpt Wafer

                          There's definitely lots of dill in it. You could probably go with some kind of ketchup-mayo mixture with a little extra vinegar (to thin it), and lots of fresh-chopped dill?