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Best CHEAP hidden gems in Columbus, OH?

I've lived here for 15 years and know all the main picks (Starliner Diner, Barley's, North Market, Villa Nova, Banana Bean Cafe, ...). What are some great AFFORDABLE hidden gems here? Extra points to centrally located picks (I live in Clintonville) but please don't hold out on me if it's near the outer belt...

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  1. Olive Tree Mediterranean Cafe in Hilliard is excellent. Some of the best Mediterranean food that I have ever eaten, and this comes from one well familiar with Baltimore's Greektown. Metro Columbus is fortunate, as Olive Tree compares favorably to Greektown as well as Bacchus near Washington, DC. Please enjoy the Olive Tree's delicious and reasonably priced food.

    1 Reply
    1. re: elgringoviejo

      Thanks for the recommendation. I'll try it when I am in C-bus after the first of the year.

    2. I had one good meal at Johnny Oak's Po Boy Shrimp Shack. My fries weren't as crispy as I would have liked but they were very tasty. My house made boudin sandwich was also good. And there were several other very interesting sounding items on the menu.

      I was in town for just a couple days and my walk to Johnny Oak's led me directly past a sentimental favorite from my college days: Moy's. Great potstickers, boiled chicken, shrimp with scrambled eggs. Of course, I don't think I've eaten there in ten years.

      All of High Street along the campus area seemed filled with new and interesting eateries. And, of course, lots of dull looking ones, too. Johnny Oak's is expanding. I saw a sign advertising the coming of their cheesesteak shop. I almost ate at a Mexican/Columbian food truck parked in a gas station parking lot. I had my heart set on the Columbian hot dog, so when the proprietor told me that she was out of them, I headed towards Johnny Oak's, so I fared well in the end.

      1. For lunch--El Arepazo downtown is fabulous and the prices hover around $10/person. The cilantro sauce is killer! http://www.elarepazolatingrill.com/in... It's in Pearl Alley (behind Cafe Napolitana, which speaking of, is great NY style pizza--also affordable).

        If you want donuts, the Goodie Shop in UA just reopened--best homemade donuts in Columbus. It's in Tremont Center by the Old Bag.

        1. SO many choices, hard to pick just a few:
          German Village - Brown Bag Deli, Thurman Cafe, The Mohawk, Pistachio Vera (bakery)
          Arena Dist & Short North - Flatiron, Mac's, North Star
          Near East Side & Bexley - Creole Kitchen, Cook Shack BBQ
          Reynoldsburg - Scali

          1. Little Dragon's is a great Chinese restaurant on Morse Rd. The menu has two sections, American-Chinese and Chinese-Chinese. When I was living near C-bus earlier this year I had many culinary adventures here. (Including my first experience with balsam pear, aka bitter melon) My bf doesn't even really like Chinese, yet would always suggest Little Dragon's for dinner if we were in that area.

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            Little Dragons Chinese Restaurant
            1508 Morse Rd, Columbus, OH 43229

            1 Reply
            1. re: justlauralibrarian

              Hometown Cafe & Deli on Bethel Road is a similar place - a 'blue' menu for the real Chinese dishes and a 'yellow' menu for the "white boy chinese."

              They do some great traditional smoked and cured meat platters for appetizers, too.