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Sep 30, 2009 10:21 AM

Looking for great food in Columbia, SC

Help! My parents live in Columbia, and I make it there a few times a year. Unfortunately, I've become spoiled with the restaurants available to me in Manhattan, and I can't seem to find a decent meal when I visit them (except, of course, my mother's cooking!).

Can you kind folks on this board recommend good restaurants in Columbia? I'm open to all price ranges and all cuisines. Atmosphere is a consideration, as my parents are octogenarians and have trouble hearing in loud places.


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  1. Aw, that is so sweet!

    Well, it ain't Manhattan, but Mr. Friendly's is good, not to be confused with Friendly's. The website blogs the daily specials.

    1. Well, if we had an idea of where you've eaten and what you didn't like we might be able to more easily recommend a few places.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Cpt Wafer

        Honestly, it's not a case of having eaten at places that were recommended as good and not liking them. I probably just don't know the good restaurants, and there aren't exactly a lot of immediately available sources like Zagat or Michelin to refer to.

        I've been to Harper's in Five Points and some awful "New Orleans" restaurant (don't remember the name) on the river in W. Columbia, just over the Gervais St. bridge. Also, Sunday buffets at the Marriott on Main St. So not really places that chow hounds would probably consider good.

        So I'm open to all your suggestions for "not to be missed" dining!

        1. re: edwardspk

          Gotcha. I know the places you mentioned and understand your opinion. I'll recommend Terra on Meeting St. one block west of the "New Orleans" restaurant. Locally sourced, seasonally adjusted and well prepared food. They have valet parking which may or may not appeal to your parents, IDK.

          Motor Supply may work but the room is somewhat small, often crowded and acoustically "bright". Wouldn't be my first choice given your parameters. They have a valet as well.

          Soltice in the Northeast section of town has some good food and is laid back with a pretty good wine selection.

          The Ristorante Divino is solid and quiet but in no way reaches the level of Italian available in Manhattan. They have a valet as well.

          Your parents would not like Hunter Gatherer. It has a beer hall atmosphere and a decidedly young crowd, It's on the edge of USC campus.

      2. I've only had one meal in Columbia- that was at Di Prato's for lunch. And it was very good.

        1. Have you tried doing a search on here...there are several threads that mention Hunter Gatherer, Terra, Motor Supply and others.

          1. Blue Marlin - upscale southern cuisine
            Gervais & Vine - tapas (smail and quiet)
            Not a Columbia institution but Ruth's Chris has come to town
            Ristorante Divino - italian

            Most places are smoke-free (not sure about Gervais & Vine) and have a quiet atmosphere. Good food and great service.