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9 Best Columbus Restaurants And Cafes

Wondering where to eat in Columbus Ohio during a weekend getaway? Check out our Columbus Food Guide to discover 9 of the best places to eat in Columbus OH. Trust us, you’ll want to hit all of these Columbus restaurants and cafes during your visit to the happening Ohio capital city.

Where to Eat in Columbus Ohio - Macarons at Pistacia Vera

Columbus wasn’t on my radar as a food destination. Really, how good can the Columbus food scene be in a city famous for Ohio State University and Buckeye candy?

Let me cut to the chase: the emerging food scene in Columbus is vibrant and exciting. During my visit, I loved almost everything that I put in my mouth. I had no challenge in finding great food; instead, my problem was narrowing my choices based on time and stomach space.

Welcome to Columbus Sign in Columbus Ohio
This colorful sign greets all visitors at the Port Columbus International Airport. The sign is vibrant just like the city itself.

My positive impression of Columbus started as I stepped out of the airport and into the friendly hands of my awesome host. Without a second thought, John invited me to join his friends for an outdoor happy hour in the happening German Village neighborhood.

Happy hour turned into appetizers and appetizers into dinner. Columbus may be the 15th largest city in the United States, but it also lives up to its reputation of being the biggest small town in America.

Columbus Food Guide | Where To Eat In Columbus

My mission was to try as many of the best Columbus Ohio restaurants in one long weekend for this Columbus restaurant guide, and I was up for the food adventure. I covered a lot of territory during my short time and checked out downtown Columbus restaurants as well as neighborhood cafes, coffee shops and brew pubs.

These were my favorite places to eat in Columbus Ohio.

Columbus Breakfast Options

Columbus takes its food seriously, and breakfast is no exception. Start your weekend days early to crowds at the city’s popular breakfast spots.


Skillet Breakfast in Columbus Ohio
The food at Skillet is made to order with locally sourced products. Pictured here is the stuffed French Toast.

Skillet is a small but popular spot for farm-to-table breakfast in the German Village neighborhood. The small restaurant has a hip but chill vibe, and the food is top-notch.

Although serving sizes are huge, don’t skip extras like scones from Lucky Cat Bakery and the big, juicy slabs of bacon. For my breakfast, I indulged in the stuffed French Toast, a decadent dish where griddled, buttermilk custard bathed slices of multi-grain French bread are stuffed with honey whipped Laurel Valley Cloverton cream and served with locally grown strawberries and Ohio maple. Yum!

Skillet is located at 410 E Whittier St, Columbus, OH 43206, United States.

Pistacia Vera

Quiche at Pistacia Vera in Columbus Ohio
The bacon, swiss chard and onion quiche at Pistacia Vera is made with pâte brisee, double smoked bacon, onion confit, swiss chard and comté cheese. The restaurant also serves a vegetarian option – mushroom quiche.

Also located in the German Village neighborhood, the team at Pistacia Vera is famous for their honey lavender macarons (see photo at the top of the article), but the restaurant also serves a small menu of French-inspired breakfast options like smoked salmon tartare, croque monsieur and quiche. Eating food this good is well worth the inevitable wait.

Pro Tip
Katalina’s is another option for a fun Columbus breakfast. Located in a repurposed gas station, this funky eatery is famous for its Nutella Pancake Balls.

Pistacia Vera is located at 541 S 3rd St, Columbus, OH 43215, United States.

Columbus Lunch Options

Whether you’re looking for a quick bite or a sit-down meal, Columbus offers numerous lunch options at every price point.

North Market

North Market in Columbus Ohio
North Market in Columbus is an indoor public market with an impressive collection of local restaurants and bakeries. The historic market also has a seasonal outdoor farmers market on Saturdays.

It’s easy to graze through the centrally located North Market, an awesome public emporium where 35 lunch stalls serve up amazing local food. You can easily assemble a full course meal where you can eat Columbus favorites including Vietnamese, Polish and Japanese all at the same time.

Save room for dessert. The original Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream shop opened at the North Market in 2002 and is still going strong today. If you’re looking for the best place to eat in Columbus Ohio, you very well may find it at North Market.

North Market is located at 59 Spruce St, Columbus, OH 43215, United States.

Hot Chicken Takeover

Hot Chicken Takeover in Columbus Ohio
Hot Chicken Takeover prepares their chicken as hot as you can take it. Tucked away in a corner of the North Market’s second floor, the plucky restaurant originally started as a pop-up chicken window in Columbus’ Old Towne East neighborhood.

Located on the second floor of the North Market, Hot Chicken Takeover (HCT) serves Nashville style hot chicken to long lines of hungry eaters. Word on the street is that the restaurant sells out most days, so arrive at HCT early for a full selection of the double deep-fried chicken and sweet yet savory banana pudding.

The dining experience is friendly with long, communal tables and free sweet iced tea. More importantly, the food is finger-licking good from the flavorful drumsticks (featuring two heat levels for the daring – hot and holy) to the creamy banana pudding, They also serve some of the best mac ‘n cheese I’ve ever tasted.

Hot Chicken Takeover has multiple Columbus locations including the one I visited in the North Market.


Falafel Sandwich at Brassica in Columbus Ohio
This falafel sandwich at Brassica is colorfully loaded with beets and pickles plus the restaurant’s special sauce.

Fully embracing the locavore movement, Brassica is a stylish, fast casual restaurant in the bustling Short North featuring healthy pita sandwiches served in metal ring molds. Colorful vegetables like green kale and purple beets star on this menu along with a wide variety of meat fillings. Once you pick your toppings and order a craft beer, you’re all set.

Pro Tip
Katzinger’s Delicatessen is another great lunch option. This Jewish deli serves huge sandwiches and “garlicky” pickles.

Brassica is located at 680 N High St, Columbus, OH 43215, United States.

Columbus Dinner Options

Columbus offers a variety of dinner options from outdoor cafés to more formal restaurants. Be sure to make reservations – the popular Columbus OH restaurants fill up during the weekends.

The Guild House

Lamb Burger at The Guild House in Columbus
Appetizers may rule the roost at The Guild House, but don’t discount flavorful entrees like this perfectly cooked Lamb Burger colorfully topped with feta, arugula, pickled shallots and roasted peppers.

Local restaurateur Cameron Mitchell’s hip and trendy Guild House serves farm-to-table cuisine in the equally trendy Joseph Hotel. The Short North restaurant has a cool vibe that begins with its shabby chic decor (think funky green chandeliers and mismatched china) and ends with its upscale clientele.

The eclectic menu features popular small plates. Popular dishes include the prime rib caps served with sweet onion relish and Point Reyes blue cheese as well as the jarred smoked trout with avocado and caper vinaigrette.

The Guild House is located at 624 N High St, Columbus, OH 43215, United States.


Lobster Roll at Lindey's in Columbus Ohio
After 25 years, Lindey’s is still serving timely dishes like this lobster roll.

Still relevant after a quarter century in the German Village neighborhood, Lindey’s charming outdoor pati comes alive in the spring. Their popular happy hour features half-price cocktails along with excellent appetizer selection like ahi tuna tartare topped with pungent wasabi and a generous, shareable ‘farm board’ of artisan cheeses and charcuterie. Despite its age, Lindey’s is one of the best restaurants in Columbus Ohio.

Pro Tip
Harvest Pizzeria is another dinner option. This popular pizzeria prepares creative pizzas like the spicy Yuma pizza.

Lindey’s is located at 169 E Beck St, Columbus, OH 43206, United States.

Columbus Dessert Options

For a city of its size, Columbus has a surprising number of bakeries sprinkled throughout the city. Plan ahead if you want dessert after dinner, as most Columbus bakeries are closed at night.

Laughlin’s Bakery

Pastries at Laughlin's Bakery in Columbus Ohio
Everything at Laughlin’s Bakery looks pretty. More importantly, the pastries taste even better than they look.

** Important Update – Laughlin’s Bakery has permanently closed. **

Originally funded by a Kickstarter campaign, successful Laughlin’s Bakery serves a wide selection of pastries and breads that look as good as they taste. This adorable Short North bakery offers minimal seating, but who cares when the cakes and cookies taste this good.

Overwhelmed by the choices? Order a couple oversized madeleines to enjoy now plus a pretty-in-pink lemon pomegranate haley cake to enjoy later.

Laughlin’s Bakery was located at 15 E 2nd Ave, Columbus, OH 43201, United States. It has permanently closed for business.

Kittie’s Cakes

Kitties Cakes in Columbus Ohio
There’s no need to feel guilty when you eat a miniature cupcake, so you might as well eat two when you go to Kittie’s Cakes.

Proving that bigger isn’t always better, Kittie’s Cakes pack a punch of flavor. The German Village bakery sells a dazzling array of miniature cupcakes, scones, biscuits and cookies They also serve Stumptown coffee along with a splash of pleasant conversation.

Pro Tip
Pattycake Bakery is another great dessert option. This bakery makes vegan treats like sticky buns.

Kittie’s Cakes is located at 495 S 3rd St, Columbus, OH, United States.

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About the Author

Mindi Hirsch

Mindi Hirsch left corporate America to embark on a never-ending quest for the next great meal. The award-winning Food & Travel writer lives in Lisbon with her partner Daryl.

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Article Updates
We update our articles regularly. Some updates are major while others are minor link changes and spelling corrections. Let us know if you see anything that needs to be updated in this article.

I purchased and ate the food featured in this article.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Experience Columbus. Comments submitted may be displayed on other websites owned by the sponsoring brand. All opinions and text are mine.

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Original Publication Date: August 9, 2018


Sunday 19th of February 2023

Hi! Loved your blog, and added a lot of your recommendations to our trip. I was so excited for the lobster roll at Lindey’s, but they unfortunately are no longer serving it. Just wanted to let you know so you can update your recommendation!


Saturday 13th of March 2021

Laughlin's is closed

Daryl and Mindi Hirsch

Saturday 13th of March 2021

What a shame. We've updated the article. Thanks for letting us know!

Karen Dawkins

Tuesday 19th of March 2019

I hope you'll get back to Columbus to try even more restaurants. It's one of the most vibrant, diverse cities I know. I called it home for many years, and go back to visit whenever I can! The city is so much more than Ohio State football (though that's pretty stellar too!)

Daryl and Mindi Hirsch

Wednesday 20th of March 2019

We definitely hope to return to check out all the wonderful places to eat in your city though Daryl is a PSU grad (shhhhh!)

Abigail Smith

Tuesday 16th of October 2018

From a Columbusite: Breakfast: the Crest Gastropub Lunch: Ray Rays BBQ, Momo Ghar,(dumplings), Katzingers Deli (sandwiches), Los Gauchos (authentic Mexican) Dinner: The Table (farm-to-table), The Refectory (white glove, sommelier-curated dishes), Barcelona (paella, creative deserts), Dirty Franks (awesome hot dogs)

Daryl and Mindi Hirsch

Wednesday 17th of October 2018

Thanks for the tips. We'll be sure to check them out the next time we're in town.


Monday 1st of August 2016

I am a total foodie so now I know I have to take a trip to Columbus to eat here. YUM!!!