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Macarons at Pistacia Vera

Columbus Food Guide – Great Columbus Restaurants for a Weekend Visit

In Food Guides, USA by Mindi Hirsch18 Comments

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.

Where to Eat in Columbus Ohio - Macarons at Pistacia Vera

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 New Orleans, 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?

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.

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.

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.

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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 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.

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

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

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 is located at 2, 59 Spruce St, Columbus, OH 43215, United States.


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.

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

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

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 Ohio

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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

Hungry for more? Check out our Columbus Brew Guide for some of the best drinks in Columbus Ohio.

Columbus Meal Map

We’ve included this handy map so you can track your Columbus meals with a smartphone.

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Are you ready to schedule your foodie weekend in Columbus? Click here to research the best rates for hotels in Columbus Ohio.

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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Experience Columbus. The opinions and text are all mine.

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About the Author

Mindi Hirsch is half of the team behind the award-winning Food and Travel website 2foodtrippers. A member of the Society of American Travel Writers, Mindi lives in Lisbon, Portugal with husband Daryl.

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  1. Yum!! May need to add Columbus to the list of possible vacation spots this summer!!

  2. Like you, I hadn’t thought of Columbus, Ohio as a foodie destination before. Everything looked amazing. But I couldn’t get my mind off the stuffed French toast! Will definitely have to try that if I am ever in the area.

  3. Wow! Columbus really has some great foodie options. Skillet and Laughlin’s Bakery would be two of my first stops!

  4. As someone who was born and raised in Columbus, I have seen SO much movement and change in the city. It is actually an extremely diverse city with lots of unique things to experience. Most people are surprised how much the city has to offer and how much they end up loving it. It gives me great pride. Due to its culture and wide array of food and restaurants, Columbus is actually a huge test market for many large chains as well. If a restaurant or food menu item does well here, they will integrate r across the country. Love the props from this article. Hope ou come back and try some of our other neighborhoods! Although German Village is probably one of the most quaint for visitors who like the city feel with a charming quiet neighborhood.

  5. A friend of mine lives in Columbus and she’s always talking about the great food there. I need to visit! That falafel sandwich looks especially good!

  6. So Skillet definitely piqued my interest. Glad to see some new blood in Columbus, thanks for sharing. Very glad you made it to LIndey’s, which has been one of my favorites for about 20 years. The German Village is cool, huh? Did you see Katzingers, the deli I was telling you about?

  7. Hot Chicken Takeover. WHAT? That is probably worth the trip alone!

  8. Oh my goodness! This is a foodie’s delight! I need to try the white lavender cakes!

  9. Your photos make me hungry! But (and I have this problem in a lot of cities), how do I burn off all those calories?! 🙂

    1. We like to walk a lot. This way we burn calories while getting to see the new city. It’s not a perfect solution, but it definitely helps.

  10. I love lavender as a cooking component and love seeing it in several options featured in this article. Go Columbus!!

  11. The lobster roll and the banana cream muffin threw me over the top. I wish I was in the area to try to win this gift card giveaway!

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

  13. 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)

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

  14. 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!)

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

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