Eating in or near Columbia, SC
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,
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.
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.
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 )