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Recommendations for Columbus in early March

Hey, folks. My wife and I (two Floridians) will be in Columbus for a few days in early March. We'll probably be staying at or near the Renaissance Columbus Downtown Hotel, but we won't have a car, and my wife has some mobility issues that keep her from doing too much walking. However, we love taking cabs to get around a strange city in search of a good meal, and I'm a huge fan of public transportation and walking when I'm out on my own.

So we're always on the lookout for funky little gastropubs or pubs with great food (although we don't drink), excellent burgers and Mexican food, NY/Jewish-style delis, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern, and local specialties we couldn't get back home. And when she's busy and I'm on my own, I'm always on the lookout for cured meats, sausages, Italian delis and sub shops, etc.

So what are some people's favorites? I love "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives" sort of restaurants, but a slightly more "special occasiony" place would be nice too. Good desserts are always a plus, no matter the price level.

The North Market sounds like a definite destination for us, especially with Jeni's for ice cream, but what are the best places there? That sounds like a place I'll enjoy visiting on my own while my wife is busy at her conference. The online menus for the Explorers Club, Katzinger's Deli, and Rigsby's Kitchen look great, but what do people say about them? Would they be worthwhile choices? What are some other local favorites?

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  1. The Thurman Café is a Columbus burger landmark. It's been on several TV shows and is worth a visit.
    http://thethurmancafe.com/

    The other places you mentioned are all consistently good and worth a visit. Katzinger's is opening in the North Market also but I don't know if they'll be there by the time you arrive. Jeni's is a must try.

    Columbus has a great food truck scene. One good way to try them is for a lunch at Dinin' Hall, where many trucks gather and you can get food and eat at tables. Aromaku and Swoop are my 2 favorite trucks lately.
    http://www.dininhall.com/about.html

    For more upscale, I love G. Michael's in German Village. It's very close by cab. The food is consistent, creative, and delicious, and it has a great atmosphere. Rigsby's is a Columbus staple as well so it would be a good choice also.
    http://gmichaelsbistroandbar.com/

    1. I think Rigsby's is one of the best restaurants in the city, possibly *the* best. I find the food consistently good, as is the service. On Monday nights they have $1 oysters at the bar.

      I always want to like Explorer's Club more than I do.

      Katzingers is great if you don't have regular access to a solid NY deli. If you do, then it's just fine.

      I'd also mention Harvest for artisanal pizza (close by cab), Tip Top, for casual and tasty and very Columbus (and a quick walk from your hotel), and if you're looking for a diners, etc type place, I'd check out Dirty Frank's Hot Dog Palace--a very short cab ride from your hotel.

      People really like El Arepazo, which is also quite close to your hotel, but I haven't made it there yet.

      1. So many of these sound right up our alley. Thank you so much, and if you think of anything else, let me know. Our trip is a little more than a month away, and I'll report back.

        1. My wife and I are regulars at Explorers Club - if there's a special cuisine night, it might be worth trucking all the way down to Merion Village for a visit (Thurman Cafe is also in that area as well.)

          Katzinger's would be worth a visit if you're going to German Village - if you go, stop by Pistacia Vera for some of their macarons.

          Nearer to where you'll be staying, El Arepazo is a nice place that is only open for lunch that gets packed at lunchtime from the downtown business crowd. I'd arrive later (past 1:30 PM) if you want to avoid the lines. Si Senor is a Peruvian sandwich shop that is close by that is quite popular as well. Tip Top is a slight step up from the DD&D style of restaurant but a lot of fun, especially later in the evening (my wife loved the Mac & Cheese there)

          I have not been there yet, but if you don't mind a little kitsch, the Grass Skirt Tiki (same owners as Tip Top) has also opened up relatively nearby as well.

          1. You might enjoy Schmidt's Sausage House in German Village, too. German style food, house made sausages (Bahama Mamas are probably the most popular) and huge, delicious cream puffs, made with a rich pudding type cream.