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Oct 5, 2008 01:13 AM

Eating in or near Columbia, SC

Hi guys,

I apologize if there are other threads that offer some of this info already.

I am going to be spending the last 2 weeks of December in Columbia, SC, visiting and staying with an old-friend who is a tad sick. It's my first time in that area of the USA (I grew up in NYC but now live in Singapore).

Could you guys give me a quick list for what are the BEST must-try restaurants in the area? Or course, I'd be willing to drive a few hours in any direction for great food.

Thanks so much,



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  1. Maurice Bessinger's Piggy Park

    1. If it's South Carolina mustard-based barbecue that you're looking for, Maurice's is grossly overrated. Shealy's in Batesburg-Leesville (30 miles west of Columbia) is much better. Also Hudson's Smokehouse in Lexington.

      More upscale places that are good include:
      -Travinia Italian Kitchen on US 378 in Lexington
      -Motor Supply Co. Bistro on Gervais St in the Congaree Vista
      -Blue Marlin in the Vista
      -Ruth's Chris Steakhouse in the Vista
      -Garibaldi's in Five Points
      -Al's Upstairs on Meeting St. in West Columbia
      -Mr. Friendly's Southern Cafe on Greene Street in Five Points

      If you're willing to drive 2-1/2 hours to Charleston, you'll find the best restaurant scene in the South outside of New Orleans. My personal favorite: Peninsula Grill.

      2 Replies
      1. re: henry66

        Thanks so much. We actually fly into Charleston (flights there worked out better both cost and schedule wise) and will spend a few nights.

        So, what would be the 5 or 10 must eat-in places in Charleston?

        1. re: aunkoh

          If you'll browse this messageboard and/or do a search for ``Charleston,'' you'll find tons of recommendations.

          Besides Peninsula Grill, I would recommend :
          --Red Drum in Mount Pleasant (upscale)
          --J Bistro in Mount Pleasant (upscale, but less expensive)
          --Bowen's Island on the way to Folly Beach (very casual, great oyster roasts)
          --Hyman's Seafood (lots of foodies scorn it as being too touristy, but I've never had a bad meal there)
          -Poe's Tavern on Sullivans Island (neat beachfront setting)
          -Slightly North of Broad, downtown (``Maverick Southern'' cuisine)
          -Hominy Grill, downtown (down home Low Country fare )


      2. I checked your site. Nice kitchen.

        Look, I don't know Singapore at all but I do know NYC. Given your background and what I can judge from your site, I think it would be a mistake for you to come down here looking to be blown away by food. That said, there are some good choices.

        New American with a Southern Twist:
        Mr. Friendly's - overlook the terrible name.
        Motor Supply Company - uneven, but can be quite good; they cannot cook pork right, though.
        Momo's Bistro - In my view this place is quite good; great food w/ an emphasis on local stuff; interesting wine list.

        BBQ (most are lunch only):
        Palmetto Pig, downtown, is just fine.
        Little Pigs (Alpine Road) is somewhat better, I think, but a bit outside the city.
        (I've haven't gone to Maurice's because the reviews have been mixed and I didn't think his Q could be so good as to overpower the bad taste in my mouth that I'd get from supporting a real Confederate sympathizer.)

        DiPrato's (Pickens) - a good, sorta-fancy deli. Make sure you get the hot pita chips.
        Immaculate Consumption (Main) - you'll wait in line, and then wait a while for your sandwich, but this funky shop has an interesting selection of tasty options. Good coffee, too.
        Ela's (Forest Drive) - this is a Polish deli/store. I've only been once, but had what seemed to be a Polish version of a Cuban, and it was pretty good -- not something you see everyday.

        Heather's Artisan Bakery - check her site for hours, and get a ciabatta.
        Hunter Gatherer - the local favorite brewery, with better-than-your-average-brewery food, too.

        2 Replies
        1. re: north2south

          What an amazing list! Thanks so much. I can't wait.

          1. re: aunkoh

            I second Little Pigs as premier SC BBQ. The selection is awesome, but the hours are a bit erratic. Call ahead to make sure they are open.

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