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Jun 13, 2008 07:33 AM

Downtown Columbus for a week

Hello all. I'm from NY (upstate, not NYC). I'll be in downtown Columbus for a week at the end of August staying at the Columbus Rennaissance Hotel. I will not have a car but I like to walk and am willing to take public transportation. I'm adventurous, but am female and will be on my own, so I'd prefer not to walk through any unsafe areas.

I'd love some recommendations for lunch close to the hotel and dinner wherever my feet or public transport can take me. Reasonably priced, good food. Ethnic is good. Also would enjoy any local specialties I might not be able to get elsewhere.

Thanks in advance!

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  1. For lunch:
    just down the street (Gay street, east of your hotel about 2 blocks) and in the alley is one of my favorite lunch spots, El Arepazo. It is a Venezualan restaurant and they have great food. On Tuesdays & Fridays from 10:30 to 2pm there is a farmer's market in that alley (Pearly Alley), also, where you can get some good street foods - especially try the chai & samosas.
    Also on Gay Street, a little closer to your hotel, is the Tip Top Kitchen; they have good Midwestern fare. Especially good are the eggplant fries and the Monte Cristo. The salads there are also quite good, atmosphere is very casual and laid-back.

    The restaurant in your hotel, Latitude 41, is good and offers a $10 lunch with appetizer, sandwich and dessert all on one plate.

    There are 2 main touristy parts of town to visit: German Village and the Short North. German village can be found by walking south on 3rd street (your hotel is on 3rd) about 8-10 blocks. My favorite place in German Village is the Book Loft; it's a huge, meandering space with 32 rooms of books. G. Michael's is a nicer (dinner-only) restaurant a half block before you get to the book loft; it's my choice for dinner in German Village.

    Probably the best place to wander around solo in the evenings is the Short North. You can walk there pretty easily (go west on Gay street from your hotel and turn right when you get to High street, then go another 8 blocksish) The Short North is full of shops and galleries, bars and restaurants. You must go to Jeni's Ice Cream in the short North, it's probably the best thing in Columbus. Other standouts are Rigsby's - a nice restaurant with cheap bar snacks and pretty reasonable ($10) lunches.

    We also have a pretty cool public market in Columbus, on your way to the Short North, make a left on Vine Street, which is right across from the wonky-looking building which will be on the right on high street. go one block, you will see the building with the big north market sign. The market is a great place to go for lunch - the Vietnamese place, Lac Viet, is probably my fave.

    And lastly, my personal favorite spot in Columbus to sent visitors is the Franklin Park Conservatory. It will be a (really) long walk from your hotel, but it's one of the best places in the city.

    You will probably want to take a cab back to the hotel at night; our busses stop running around 10, and while there aren't a lot of bad spots betweent the places I've recommended and your hotel, there's a lot of emptiness, especially at night.

    1 Reply
    1. re: lisathewaitress

      Lisa beat me to it, but I second the recommendations of El Arepazo, Tip Top and Lac Viec. There is also a branch of Jeni's ice cream in the North Market, so you could get it there after your vietnamese food.

      public-transit wise you can catch a bus on High Street to head up into the Short North. might be preferable to walking alone at night, though that area has plentiful taxis.

      Other good places to eat downtown include Due Amici (next to Tip Top), Flatiron (on Nationwide Blvd near 4th) and Latitude 41 (in your hotel).

      I also like India Oven on Main Street, which isn't too far but you'd probably be better off taking a cab or bus (otherwise you walk past the greyhound station which attracts drunks & vagrants).

      Oh any by the end of August, Dirty Franks should be open, which is the latest from a local favorite restaurateur featuring a full bar and all sorts of hot dogs. (seriously, this is the kind of thing we get excited about in Columbus!)

    2. I agree with the previous posters (especially about places like El Arapazo and Lac Viet). A couple of other suggestions:

      There is a good sandwhich place downtown -- Isabella's (21 E State St) which is just south of the capitol. There is also a pretty decent Chinese place -- Lee's China Kitchen (65 E State St inside the Capitol Square Plaza).

      If you catch Bus #2 going north on High St (they run frequently) you can get up to the Ohio State campus area and beyond. That gives you a wider set of options including Alana's (2333 N High) for a nice dinner, Jack & Benny's (2563 N High) a Peruvian owned diner that has great breakfasts, and the poorly named Japanese Oriental (2283 N High) which has good Korean food.

      Barley's (467 N High) is near your hotel. They have sauerkraut balls which are the kind of thing you'll only find in the midwest.

      1 Reply
      1. re: kura kura

        Hi fisher - I agree with the above posters as well.
        My "must eats" would be:
        1. G. Michael's. The more I eat outside of Columbus, the more I come to appreciate it - top quality, inventive, great execution in an informal but elegant atmosphere. Servers are knowledgeable, interested and not artificial.

        2. Jeni's ice cream - she's putting Columbus on the map and doing ice cream like nobody else. The thing that impresses me is not just the fanciful combinations (that work) but just her base ice cream: just the texture of it is unlike any other. It's in the North Market which also houses Lac Viet, so you could go for lunch at LV and get some Pho and then a Jeni's cone for dessert - that would be a great day. And people watch - the North Market is always good for that.

        3. Indian Oven - not far but as dirtgirl suggested you should take a cab or bus (it'll be cheap). Best Indian near you and a fun, bright contemporary dining room.

        4. The Rossi - we've only eaten there once but it was quite good and it gets you to another hip neighborhood in Columbus, The Short North. The Rossi is Columbus' version of a Gastro Pub. Located on High St in and around a lot of eclectic shopping - if you get a nice afternoon/evening I'd walk from your hotel there (15 safe blocks) and bus or cab back.

      2. You have gotten some excellent advice from other posters here, but a few more to try:

        Danny's Deli - corner of W. Broad & Front St., about 10 min walk from your hotel has great corned beef, matzo ball soup, huge sandwiches and does take out if you can't find a seat

        The Bar of Modern Art (BOMA) is about a 20 min walk east on Broad St. Very good interesting food, dinner only I believe

        Inside the Columbus Museum of Art on the corner of E. Broad & Washington St., is a small cafeteria that does some very good sandwiches, soup & salad, lunch only. If you are into art, check out their web site, they have some unique items

        If you get public transportation to German Village, try Lindey's (white tablecloth) or The Mohawk (sandwiches, burgers, soup) or the Thurman Cafe (wonderful burgers & beer) for lunch or dinner. The Banana Bean Cafe might be a hike, but they have Floribbean style food, very good.

        In the Arena district, on W. Nationwide Blvd, about 15 min walk from hotel is Rise & Shine diner, semi-decent chain for breakfast/lunch.

        The Elevator Restaurant on N. High between Spring & Long is fairly decent for lunch & dinner as long as your expectations are not high.

        If you make it north on High St. to the Short North, check out North Star, Mac's, Betty's, they are all good.

        Good luck and send us a report on your return.

        If you are adventerous, city buses run north/south on High St. Check out COTA (Central Ohio Transportation Authority) web site for specifics. You can visit the Arena District, Short North, OSU area and Clintonville going north. There should be a bus running south on High St. that would take you to German Village, not sure where it goes, check out COTA for specifics.