NY Hound Visiting Columbia
Hello all. I am from upstate new york and will be visiting Columbia, SC next month on business. I'll be staying at the Columbia Hilton in the Vista and will not have a car. I've done some searching on this board but haven't found too many recommendations specific to the Vista area.
I'd love some recommendations for lunch and dinner in the area. I'll go anywhere that my feet or public transportation will take me. Nothing fancy, just good food at reasonable prices. Hole-in-the-wall places would be great. Also ethnic or anything that would be typically South Carolina.
Thanks in advance!
Some of the places listed in the other replies are a long hike from the Hilton. For a casual lunch, try Garden Bistro on Gervais. As it's somewhat hidden, you'll need to ask the desk at the Hilton for specific directions. Paul's Philadelphia Eatery is very close to the Hilton -- good food and casual. Many people love the Oyster Bar -- again very close to the Hilton. For more upscale, try Blue Marlin or Motor Supply on Gervais. M Vista is great but a few blocks away on Lady. . .
Hunter Gatherer is great for food, atmosphere, and fresh beer. Motor Supply Co. is excellent but pricey for dinner so go at lunch as suggested above. I've had decent food at Liberty and Blue Marlin. There are some hole-in-the-wall places downtown like Drake's Duck-In or Lizard's Thicket. There is a basement dive bar called The Whig across from the state house. I remember their veggie burger being good. I had no problem walking between downtown and the Vista, its not very far and seems relatively safe.
Was just thinking that Hunter Gatherer Brewery Alehouse is a good one too... Although not in the Vista and over by USC, is really close to the Hilton too. It's at the corner of Main and College St., south of the State House. College St. is two blocks south of Senate (where the Hilton is located). They open at 4 PM I think.
Your hotel is seven and a half blocks (two-thirds of a mile) from Palmetto Pig, a good barbecue joint on the corner of Devine and Pulaski. Lunch only.
Gervais Street is the main street running through the Vista. On it you will find Motor Supply Company, which is open for dinner but is a better deal at lunch or brunch, IMO. Gervais and Vine is a perfectly decent small plates place with fair selection of wines by the glass. If you are in the mood for a big slice of cake, try Nonnah's, also on Gervais. Cloud Nine Market is a good place if you need a chocolate fix; they also have coffee.
A block up from Gervais is Lady Street, which is starting to see some restaurant action. I've only been to M Vista, which is an American-Chinese-semi-pan-Asian place that serves up a still tame, if more elegant version of American Chinese food than you will find at most places.
While Columbia is certanly no mecca for sushi, some good sushi can be found about five blocks from your hotel at Camon, on Assembly.
Across from your hotel is Five Guys, which I like for burgers and fries. They are a Virginia-based chain; perhaps they have made their way up to Albany. Avoid the tex-mex place, Monterrey, next door: it is awful.
The Vista is a nice part of town. If you have time, check out the art galleries around there while you're in town. Here is the business site for the Vista: http://www.vistacolumbia.com/ .