Wondering where to eat in Columbus Ohio during a weekend getaway? Check out our Columbus Food Guide for 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.
We’ve traveled a lot this year – 60 cities so far and counting. Our travels have taken us across the United States with stops in food-focused cities like Charleston, Austin, San Francisco and Portland. We’ve lived like locals in Lyon, and we’ve eaten our way through European capitals including Amsterdam, Paris and Dublin. With all this travel, Columbus wasn’t on our 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 recent 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.
My positive impression of Columbus started as I stepped out of the airport and into the friendly hands of my awesome Airbnb 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.
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 restaurants 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. These were my favorite places to eat in Columbus Ohio.
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 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. Serving sizes are huge, but 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.
Skillet is located at 410 E Whittier St, Columbus, OH 43206, United States.
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.
Pistacia Vera is located at 541 S 3rd St, Columbus, OH 43215, United States.
Whether you’re looking for a quick bite or a sit-down meal, Columbus offers numerous lunch options at every price point.
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 Creams 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 here.
North Market is located at 59 Spruce St, Columbus, OH 43215, United States.
Hot Chicken Takeover
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 make some of the best mac ‘n cheese I’ve ever tasted.
Hot Chicken Takeover is located at 2, 59 Spruce St, Columbus, OH 43215, United States.
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.
Brassica is located at 680 N High St, Columbus, OH 43215, United States.
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
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 like 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.
Still relevant after a quarter century in the German Village neighborhood, Lindey’s charming outdoor patio comes alive in the spring. Their popular happy hour features half-price cocktails along with excellent appetizer selections 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.
Lindey’s is located at 169 E Beck St, Columbus, OH 43206, United States.
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.
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 is located at 15 E 2nd Ave, Columbus, OH 43201, United States.
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.
Kittie’s Cakes is located at 495 S 3rd St, Columbus, OH, United States.
Hungry for more? Check out our Columbus Brew Guide for some of the best drinks in Columbus Ohio.
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