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A Culinary Tour Discover The Best Restaurants In Columbus Indiana

Columbus Where taste buds travel the world! Embark on a culinary adventure with our guide to the best restaurants in columbus indiana

Dec 27, 2023471 Shares8566 Views
Forget the bland stereotypes of Midwestern fare. Columbus, Indiana, surprises with a vibrant culinary scene that's as diverse as its artistic spirit. Imagine juicy Hoosier tenderloins nestled alongside spicy Thai curries, cozy cafes serving up artisan pastries, and sleek bistros showcasing avant-garde-tasting menus.
This culinary alchemy isn't just happenstance. Columbus boasts a rich agricultural heritage, fueling a farm-to-table movement that brings fresh, seasonal ingredients to plates. But the city's appetite for innovation is equally strong. Young chefs experiment with global influences, while generations-old family recipes are lovingly preserved and reimagined.
The accolades speak for themselves. Columbus has been named a "foodie mecca" by Rick Steves, while its North Market—a bustling public market brimming with local vendors—has earned recognition as one of America's great public markets. Every year, the city hosts the Columbus Food & Wine Festival, a vibrant celebration of culinary creativity that attracts renowned chefs and epicurean enthusiasts from across the country.

Top-Rated Restaurants To Visit In Columbus

Columbus, Indiana, is a hidden gem bursting with culinary delights. From Hoosier comfort food to international flavors, these top-rated restaurants offer something for every palate.
  • The Commons -Housed in a restored 19th-century bank, The Commons blends historic charm with a modern menu. Savor seasonal Italian fare like house-made ricotta gnocchi or wood-fired roasted branzino amidst exposed brick walls and twinkling lights. Don't miss their weekend brunch featuring ricotta pancakes and their signature Bloody Mary.
  • Nicola -Step into a Parisian brasserie at Nicola, where white tablecloths and soft lighting set the stage for elegant dining. Indulge in French classics like escargot or coq au vin, or try their decadent lobster mac and cheese. Their award-winning wine list adds the perfect touch.
  • Taj Mahal -Craving Indian? Look no further than Taj Mahal, offering authentic flavors and vibrant spices. Start with savory samosas or fragrant lentil soup, then dive into fragrant lamb korma or creamy tikka masala. The lunch buffet is a great option for sampling diverse dishes.
  • Ramen Bar by Eleven Eleven -Slurp your way to satisfaction at Ramen Bar, where rich broths and perfectly cooked noodles take center stage. Customize your bowl with pork belly, kimchi, or a soft-boiled egg, and don't forget to try their gyoza for a perfect appetizer. The casual atmosphere and late-night hours make it ideal for any occasion.
  • The Old Hoosier -Experience Hoosier history on a plate at The Old Hoosier. This casual eatery serves up hearty Midwestern staples like fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and homemade pies. Enjoy live music on weekends and soak up the warm, nostalgic atmosphere.
  • Giuseppe's Cucina -Craving rustic Italian comfort food? Giuseppe's Cucina delivers with their family recipes and generous portions. Share a steaming antipasto platter, then dig into their signature lasagna or melt-in-your-mouth meatballs. The friendly service and bustling atmosphere make it a local favorite.
  • Cham's Thai Kitchen -Transport your taste buds to Thailand at Cham's. Their fragrant curries, Pad Thai variations, and crispy spring rolls are bursting with flavor. Opt for spicy or mild, and be sure to try their homemade mango sticky rice for a sweet ending.
  • Harvest -Farm-to-table goodness shines at Harvest. Their ever-changing menu showcases seasonal ingredients in creative dishes like roasted cauliflower with tahini dressing or pan-seared scallops with risotto. The intimate setting and knowledgeable staff make it a special dining experience.
  • J.D. Unchained BBQ -Get your BBQ fix at J.D. Unchained, where slow-smoked meats and tangy sauces reign supreme. Pile your plate with pulled pork, brisket, or ribs, slathered in their signature Carolina Mustard or Smoky Sweet sauce. Don't forget the mac and cheese, and finish with a slice of their homemade pecan pie.
  • The Mill -For a modern twist on American cuisine, The Mill is your spot. Think elevated burgers with gourmet toppings, crispy fish and chips with lemon aioli, and creative salads bursting with fresh ingredients. The sleek industrial space and vibrant bar scene make it perfect for a casual night out.

Best Family-Friendly Restaurants In Columbus

Two kids enjoying their meal in restaurant
Two kids enjoying their meal in restaurant
Taming hungry little lions in Columbus? Fear not, weary parents! This city offers a smorgasbord of restaurants that cater to pint-sized palates and frazzled family schedules.
  • Tommy's Diner -Step back in time at this classic diner, complete with red vinyl booths and friendly waitresses. Kids devour mini cheeseburgers and milkshakes while parents relive their youth with comfort food favorites. Expect games, crayons, and a welcoming atmosphere.
  • Katalina's -This funky, open-air cafe is a haven for families. The extensive menu features kid-friendly classics like quesadillas and grilled cheese alongside healthy options like veggie burgers and rainbow salad. Plus, outdoor seating and sidewalk chalk keep little ones entertained.
  • ZwanzigZ Pizza & Brewing -Pizza party, anyone? ZwanzigZ offers wood-fired pizzas in kid-approved flavors like cheese and pepperoni, alongside adult-friendly brews. Games, TVs, and plenty of space make it easy for everyone to relax and refuel.
  • Amazing Joe's Grill -Build-your-own burgers are the name of the game at Amazing Joe's. Kids can customize their own creations, while parents can choose from gourmet burgers and salads. Bonus points for the playful decor and arcade games, making it a dining and entertainment destination.
  • Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams -No family outing is complete without dessert! Jeni's is a Columbus institution, serving up creative and whimsical ice cream flavors like Brambleberry Crisp and Salted Caramel. Expect scoops that are a feast for the eyes and taste buds.

International Cuisine In Columbus

Columbus isn't just cornfields and Hoosier hospitality. It's a vibrant tapestry of international flavors where your taste buds can hop continents without leaving your zip code. Buckle up, globetrotters! We're embarking on a delicious culinary journey.
  • Bangkok Kitchen -Craving fiery Thai? Bangkok Kitchen transports you to the bustling streets of Bangkok with its fragrant curries, stir-fried noodle dishes, and sizzling satays. Be warned, the spice level is authentic, so tread carefully (or embrace the heat!). They even offer Thai cooking classes for the adventurous home chef.
  • La Parilla -Hola, Mexican food lovers! La Parilla sizzles with the spirit of Mexico. Fresh-made tortillas cradle vibrant fillings, from slow-braised carnitas to sizzling fajitas. Don't miss the tableside guacamole preparation for a truly immersive experience.
  • Jerusalem Cafe -Step into the Middle East at this charming cafe. Aromatic stews like lamb shank tagine and fragrant hummus with warm pita bread transport you to bustling souks. Vegetarian options abound, and the mint tea is the perfect way to cap off your culinary adventure.
  • La Scala Bistro -Ciao, Italy! La Scala brings a touch of Tuscan charm to Columbus. Dive into plates of fresh pasta made in-house, savor wood-fired pizzas with bubbling mozzarella, and don't miss the melt-in-your-mouth tiramisu. The warm ambiance and Italian staff complete the authentic experience.
  • Omo Ethiopian Cuisine -Get your hands dirty (literally!) at Omo. This traditional Ethiopian restaurant serves up flavorful stews and vegetable dishes, all scooped up with spongy injera bread. It's a communal, interactive dining experience that's as much about cultural immersion as it is about delicious food.

Affordable Dining Best Value Restaurants In Columbus

Girl and boy watching tv in restaurant
Girl and boy watching tv in restaurant
Columbus may be a culinary gem, but that doesn't mean you need a diamond budget to enjoy it. This city brims with fantastic restaurants that offer top-notch flavors without breaking the bank. So, put your wallet away and gear up for a delicious, affordable adventure.
  • The Brick Oven -This hole-in-the-wall pizza joint is a Columbus legend. Their thin-crust pizzas, piled high with fresh ingredients, are legendary for both taste and budget-friendliness. Grab a slice or two, fill up for under $10, and witness pizza perfection.
  • Scotty's Cafe -This diner is a local institution, serving up classic American comfort food at incredibly reasonable prices. Think hearty breakfasts, juicy burgers, and mile-high sandwiches, all for under $15. Don't miss the homemade pie for a sweet and satisfying ending.
  • Brown Bag Deli -Craving a satisfying sandwich? Brown Bag Deli is your haven. Their fresh bread, piled high with creative and delicious fillings, will have you singing for your supper. Build your own or choose from their tempting specials, all for under $10.
  • Condado Tacos -Taco Tuesday isn't just a day at Condado; it's a way of life! This vibrant chain offers build-your-own tacos with endless toppings, from spicy chorizo to tangy barbacoa. Plus, their daily drink specials keep the fun (and affordability) flowing.
  • Momo Ghar -Dive into the world of Nepalese dumplings at Momo Ghar. These little parcels of joy, steamed or fried to perfection, are bursting with flavor and surprisingly filling. Order a plate (or two!) for under $10 and experience a tastebud explosion.

Top Vegan And Vegetarian Restaurants In Columbus

Forget bland salads and wilted lettuce; Columbus's vegan and vegetarian scene is a vibrant feast for the senses! Ditch the meatpacking district and step into a world of innovative plant-based creations, fresh local ingredients, and flavors that explode on the palate.
  • Portia's Cafe -This gem is a haven for raw, organic, and gluten-free delights. Imagine creamy avocado wraps, vibrant Buddha bowls bursting with seasonal produce, and decadent raw desserts that challenge any preconceived notions of "vegan." Plus, their bright atmosphere and friendly staff make it a joy to dine in.
  • Comune (vegetarian with some vegan options) -Elevate your veggie dining experience at Comune. Their seasonal menu showcases the magic of fresh, local ingredients, with dishes like ricotta gnocchi with roasted cauliflower and sage or beet carpaccio with horseradish cream. Reservations are recommended, as this culinary adventure attracts foodies from all over.
  • Seitan's Realm -Craving classic comfort food with a plant-based twist? Seitan's Realm has you covered. You will forget you're not eating meat after trying their vegan fried "chiken" sandwiches, Philadelphia cheesesteaks, "chicken" gyros, and other delectable items. Their breakfast menu is a weekend treat, serving up fluffy vegan pancakes and savory breakfast burritos.
  • Greenhouse Canteen + Bar -This plant-based oasis is a feast for the senses. Sip on craft cocktails while diving into unique dishes like pumpkin Alfredo gnocchi, jackfruit enchiladas, Korean rice cakes, and even pecan pie—all completely vegan and gluten-free! The vibrant atmosphere and commitment to sustainability make it a feel-good dining experience.
  • Nile Vegan -Embark on a culinary journey to Ethiopia without leaving Columbus. Nile Vegan serves up a vibrant array of stews, wraps, and appetizers, all simmered in fragrant spices and served with their iconic injera bread. Be prepared for an explosion of flavors and textures; this is vegan comfort food at its finest.

Best Spots For Coffee And Pastries

Columbus, Indiana, is more than just a charming Midwestern town. It's a haven for coffee connoisseurs and pastry enthusiasts alike, boasting a vibrant café scene that's as diverse as it is delicious. So grab your reusable mug and get ready to embark on a caffeine-fueled adventure.
  • The Commons -Nestled in the heart of downtown Columbus, The Commons is a haven for coffee aficionados and community builders. Their expertly brewed beans, sourced from around the world, shine in every cup. Pair your latte with a decadent croissant or a flaky pain au chocolat, and soak in the warm, inviting atmosphere.
  • Blueprint Coffee & Roasting Co -For the coffee purist, Blueprint Coffee is a must-visit. Their meticulously roasted beans, brewed to perfection, are a symphony for your taste buds. Whether you prefer a classic espresso or a pour-over, their baristas are masters of their craft, ready to guide you to your perfect cup. Don't miss their house-made cinnamon buns; they're legendary for a reason.
  • Third Street Bakery & Cafe -This family-owned bakery is a Columbus institution, serving up fresh-baked pastries and heartwarming homestyle fare since 1972. Their flaky scones, melt-in-your-mouth muffins, and decadent cinnamon rolls are a testament to their commitment to quality ingredients and time-honored recipes. Grab a coffee and a pastry, settle into their cozy nook, and let the aroma of freshly baked bread transport you to a world of pure comfort.
  • The Mug & Beam -For a modern twist on the classic coffee shop, head to The Mug & Beam. This sleek, industrial space boasts a state-of-the-art coffee program, featuring pour-overs, cold brews, and nitro coffees that will tantalize your taste buds. Pair your caffeine fix with a slice of their signature salted caramel cheesecake or a buttery brioche, and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere that draws in locals and visitors alike.
  • Lanier's Bakery & Coffee Bar -Step into a European fairytale at Lanier's Bakery & Coffee Bar. This charming cafe boasts a delightful selection of pastries, from delicate macarons and croissants to rich cheesecakes and decadent tiramisu. Their coffee, sourced from local roasters, is the perfect complement to your sweet treat. Let the Parisian vibes wash over you as you relax on their outdoor patio amid blooming flowers.


Whether you crave Hoosier comfort or global flavors, Columbus, Indiana, is a culinary oasis waiting to be explored. From cozy cafes with artisanal pastries to farm-to-table bistros and vibrant food halls, the city offers a diverse and delicious adventure for every palate. So, grab your fork, ditch the map, and follow your taste buds.
Columbus is ready to tantalize your senses and leave you wanting more. Remember, the best restaurants aren't just on the menu; they're waiting to be discovered in the heart of this charming Midwestern gem. Bon appétit!
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