Dining in Columbus - Sushi, Middle Eastern and Fine dining
I'll soon be moving from Brooklyn to Columbus, and besides being a bit nervous about the move, am excited to check out the food/dining scene in Columbus. In particular, where would I find the best and freshest sushi? Living in Brooklyn, I have access to amazing Middle Eastern food, most of which are tiny hole-in-the-wall type places...are there similar ones in the Cbus area? Finally, we're moving just in time for my birthday, so where would be a great place to celebrate...I've heard Refectory is good?
One other question - any good West African places, or even just W. African (Nigerian) groceries?
I think Columbus has a lot of sushi options ofr a Midwestern town. It will certainly be different than NYC, but I really like Sushi Ting, Akai Hana (formerly Restaurant Japan), and Otani on 161. Yoshi's on Frantz Road is also consistently good. Kihachi is not really a sushi place. It is great, but it is more fine Japanese dining and not sushi. I would not go to Tyfoon (or Tyfood as someone called it). It is very pretty and trendy and a great place for drinks, but I have not liked the food there at all.
For nice dinners, I love Worthington Inn (especially the patio), Alana's, L'Antibes, G. Michael's and Burgundy Room, although Burgundy Room is more of a wine bar with great small plates and not a white-tablecloth kind of place. I hope you will find some good stuff here!
Thanks everyone, for your replies and all the great information. I can't wait to start eating in Columbus. It's always fun to try new places. Dirtgirl - we were neighbors, as we live in Downtown Brooklyn. Glad to know another NYer is doing well in Columbus...gives me some hope. :-)
I'll be sure to post some reviews as we explore our new home.
You mean the restaurant that people-who've-never-been-to-Gramercy-Tavern compared to Gramercy? lol.
I'm not afraid to share an opinion, even if it is "different" from those who have FRIENDS working at or owning the restaurant. Deepwood COULD be great, but right now it isn't in the top 10 in the city. In NYC, where Gramercy is still a gem, it'd not be in the top 150.
For sushi, my favorite is Sushi-Ko up at the Crosswoods (Rte 23 on the north side of town, just north of 270). Never ever had bad sushi there, and is always super fresh.
For Middle Eastern, Cafe Istanbul http://www.cafeistanbul.com/ (Easton) or Cafe Shish Kebab (Bethel Rd), or Nazareth Deli http://www.nazarethdeli.com/ at Columbus Square (161 @ Cleveland Ave.) - if you go to Nazareth, don't miss out on the lentil rice - it rocks.
The Refectory is my favorite restaurant in town, especially their bistro menu http://www.therefectoryrestaurant.com/page/17hgr/Menus/Bistro.html (served Monday to Thursday nights), which for $22 for 3 courses, is what I think is the best dining bargain in Columbus for the quality of the food. If you want to see what the food looks like, I reviewed my first visit there: http://www.columbusfoodie.com/2007/10/11/review-the-refectory-bistro/
My birthday is tomorrow, and hubs is taking me out to Alana's: http://www.alanas.com/
As for African, it's not really a cuisine I'm familiar with, but I hear that The Blue Nile has excellent Ethiopian: http://bluenilecolumbus.com/ and Darbo Restaurant is the place to go for Somalian: http://www.darborestaurant.com/
Hope this helps...
Best fine dining: M at Miranova, The Worthington Inn, Rosendales, BoMA, Rigsby's. I've been to Babbo, Il Mulino, Gramercy Tavern, EMP, and others and I can honestly ay Rigsby's gnocchi is better than Batalli's and the experience an M was on par with high end NYC.
For sushi.....lol at Kaya.....to compar it to the NYC sushi scene is apauling. I've heared Kihachi is on par, but I've not been. Best/Freshest sushi in Cbus is served at Tyfood and Kooma, but none are remotely close to New York.
I don't eat Middle Eastern, so I can't help there.
Other amazing options in Cbus include Dragonfly for vegetarian, Mozart's for dessert, Jeni's for icecream, Zencha for breakfast (weekends.)
Check out yelp.com/uhockey for my reviews, including recent NYC visit.
The sushi scene in Columbus isn't too stellar -- but I do recommend Sushi Ting (over on Olentangy) or Kaya.
For middle eastern, definitely check out Cafe Istanbul or Cafe Shish Kabob. (They're definitely not hole-in-the-wall type tho.) I've also heard both are run by the same folks.
I personally think Refectory is a bit overrated but a good place nevertheless. Handke's is another good place to celebrate as well.
I just moved from Carroll Gardens to Clintonville two years ago. It's an adjustment but if you have a car, you'll be fine.
Fine dining... Basi Italia in Victorian Village reminds me of something you would find in Brooklyn. Tiny dining room, hidden patio oasis for summer evening dining, limited but thoughtful menu. As others have said, Rigsby's is excellent. I also like Latitude 41 downtown and Rosendales in the Short North.
For middle eastern, check out Aladdin's in Clintonville for an affordable and wide-ranging menu, and as another poster mentioned, Nazareth Deli on 161 and Cleveland Avenue in the Columbus Square shopping center. I absolutely love the spicy chicken with rice and lentils.
Can't help you too much with sushi. I've been happy with Shoku in Grandview and Haiku in the Short North but I was pregnant for the last nine months, so I stayed away from the raw fish and gravitated to things like shrimp tempura rolls and sweet potato rolls. Both have great variety.
You didn't ask, but knowing you're from Brooklyn, for a more casual night out, you might like the Tip Top Kitchen on Gay Street downtown, Surly Girl or Betty's in the Short North. All share the same owner, and have great down-to-earth menus (sweet potato fries at Tip Top!) and excellent beer and cocktail selections.