Skip to main content

Featured Restaurants in Columbia SC

Cuisine Categories:

Featured Bites & Sights - African



andCHICKEN Northeast: 494 Town Center Place. 803-851-7061. Asanka Kitchen’s owners launched a chicken-focused eatery in the Village at Sandhills shopping center. While not strictly African, it puts the kickin’ in your chicken with their signature pineapple, onion, ginger, and garlic flavorings. Plus there’s mac and cheese, spiced up gizzards, and fried plantains. c-$

Harambe Ethiopian Restaurant Five Points: 2006 Senate St., 803-764-5510. Wonderful stews, veggies and curries are served atop injera, a sourdough flatbread made from teff, a North African grain. A warm and inviting restaurant with a large bar that’s slightly out of the main Five Points area, in a good way. $

Featured Bites & Sights - American/Southern



Burger Tavern 77 Shandon/Rosewood: 2631 Devine St., 803-667-9608. Make the most unique burger combo imaginable, or order one of their flavorful menu options. There’s also chicken burgers, salads, and gourmet bar food apps. ¢-$

California Dreaming Downtown: 401 S. Main St., 803-254-6767. Located in a historic railroad station, California Dreaming has been popular ever since it opened in 1984. Serves large salads, burgers, sandwiches, seafood, pasta, chicken and steaks. Excellent mixed drinks, and the honey croissants always are a hit. $

Compton’s Kitchen West Columbia/Cayce: 1118 B Ave., 803-791-0750. With most everything made from scratch, you can’t go wrong at this classic Southern meat-and-three. Lunch menu changes daily, with offerings including fried chicken, fish, pork chops, livers and gizzards and more, plus plenty of classic and healthy sides. Hearty breakfast menu, too. ¢

Drake’s Duck-In Downtown: 1544 Main St., 803-799-9290. Not by any means a fancy place, but home to a damn fine chicken sandwich. Breakfast, fried chicken, burgers, fried bologna sandwiches, more, since 1907. ¢

The Market Restaurant West Columbia/Cayce: 3483 Charleston Hwy., 803-509-5641. Located at the South Carolina State Farmers Market, this restaurant serves breakfast and lunch made with fresh produce from the market itself, so you know it’s fresh and local. ¢-$

Eggs Up Grill Shandon/Rosewood: 2930 Devine St., 803-661-9174. Lexington: 205 Columbia Ave., 803-490-2028. Northeast: 961 Roberts Branch Pkwy., 803-626-1695. Forest Acres: 4711 Forest Dr. 803-820-0742. A South Carolina chain devoted to breakfast foods, from waffles to omelets to loaded home-fry platters, plus lunch foods like burgers, sandwiches and wraps. Especially popular on the weekends. ¢

Flight Deck Lexington: 109-A Old Chapin Rd., 803-957-5990. Family-owned restaurant with an extensive collection of WWII-themed memorabilia and photographs. Menu ranges from burgers and sandwiches to ribs, pizza and Greek specialties. Blue-plate special includes one meat, two veggies, dessert and a drink. ¢

Food Gallery North Columbia: 3702 River Drive, 803-771-0790. Soul food favorites from ox tails to fried turkey wings to mac and cheese, and homemade cakes, with a flavorful meat and three plate. $

Granby Grill Whaley: 612 Whaley St. Suite C., 803-834-6717. Bar food meets diner food at Granby Grill. From bacon, egg and cheese to shrimp and grits, it’s a greasy spoon with Southern touches that isn’t just for college students. ¢

The Grand Downtown: 1621 Main St., 803-726-2323. It’s a boutique bowling alley, dessert bar, regular bar and restaurant all in one. High end bar food — think Southwestern Loaded Waffle Fries — meets classy entrees like pork osso buco in the heart of Main Street. $-$$

Greedy Rascals Rosewood: 1900 Rosewood Drive, 803-977-3356. This walk-up hotdog shop offers up classic slaw and chili dogs, along with creative fare like a waffle wrapped dog with shimeji mushrooms and a port wine reduction. ¢

Griffin Chophouse Lexington: 924 East Main St. 803-957-0863. The rebranded, reopened and renovated former Kingsman Que and Brew is now reborn as Griffin Chophouse. With the same chef but new ownership, it’s now a bastion of aged steaks and barbecue. $-$$

Grill Marks Vista: 711 Gervais St., 803-661-8932. Fancy burgers, fancy shakes (with or without booze) and a great view for watching the goings-on of the Vista from their expansive covered porch. $

It’s a Wrap Cafe Lexington: 5341 Sunset Blvd. 803-490-1000. Now in Lexington, this former Atlanta restaurant serves wraps, smoothies, salads and dishes that have a Jamaican flair. ¢

Just Us Café West Columbia/Cayce: 1208 Knox Abbott Dr., 803-791-5162. Corned beef hash, omelets, pancakes and other classic breakfast foods in a diner-style atmosphere. Also serves hot country lunches, sandwiches and more. ¢

Kiki’s Chicken and Waffles Northeast: 7001 Parklane Rd., 803-699-5422. Harbison/Irmo: 1260 Bower Pkwy., 803-834-5816. Chicken and waffles! And not just any old iteration of this soul food classic — Kiki’s offers a red velvet waffle if you’re feeling fancy. Also offers shrimp and grits and various soul food classics. Bonus trivia: Both Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton have eaten here. ¢

Kingsman Restaurant West Columbia/Cayce: 936 Axtell Dr. (Parkland Shopping Center), 803-796-8622. This longtime Cayce favorite offers everything from fried appetizers, sandwiches, burgers, pizza and wings to salads, lasagna and even liver and onions. Known for its grilled rib eye, which is one of the city’s best. Serves liquor. Busy lunch, lots of atmosphere. ¢-$

Liberty on the Lake Harbison/Irmo: 1602 Marina Rd., 803-667-9715. With sweeping, scenic views of Lake Murray from its multiple decks, Liberty on the Lake is a gorgeous place to knock back a few beers and some tasty, fresh-caught fish or a burger. Some of the same great salads, sandwiches and apps you’ll find at the Liberty in the heart of Columbia. $

Liberty Tap Room & Grill Vista: 828 Gervais St., 803-461-4677. Liberty begins with sturdy American fare but doesn’t end there. It’s known for its delicious salads, and you’ll also find an array of appetizers, soups and colorful entrees, plus a weekend late-night atmosphere. $

Lizard’s Thicket Downtown: 818 Elmwood Ave., 803-779-6407. Blythewood: 711-1 University Village Dr., 803-451-8400. Forest Acres: 3147 Forest Dr., 803-787-8781. Garners Ferry/Southeast: 7938 Garners Ferry Rd., 803-647-0095. Harbison/Irmo: 7569 St. Andrews Rd., 803-732-1225. Lexington: 621 W Main St., 803-951-3555. Lexington: 4616 Augusta Rd., 803-785-5560. Northeast: 10170 Two Notch Rd., 803-419-5662. Northeast: 7620 Two Notch Rd., 803-788-3088. St. Andrews/Dutch Square: 1824 Broad River Rd., 803-798-6427. West Columbia/Cayce: 501 Knox Abbott Dr., 803-791-0314. West Columbia/Cayce: 2234 Sunset Blvd., 803-794-0923. Meat loaf, fried chicken, mac and cheese, fried okra, it’s all a vegetable here. A true local institution that thrives on the meat-and-veggies formula in whatever combination your heart desires. This is what Southern cooking is all about. ¢

Mack’s Cash Grocery

Downtown: 1809 Laurel St., 803-779-9858. Hole-in-the-wall burger joint, usually known as Mack’s on Laurel, is beloved by locals. Thin, juicy burgers and a low-key vibe make this a hidden treasure. ¢

Main Street Public House Downtown: 1556 Main St., 803-834-3409. Downtown hangout offers a well-stocked bar and assorted eats — salads, sandwiches, steaks, pastas and more. The pizzas are a good bet. $

Mathias Sandwich Shop Harbison/Irmo: 7235 St. Andrews Rd., 803-781-4002. Founded in 1946, this sandwich shop is one of the early homes of the pimento burger. Serves breakfast and lunch. ¢

Midlands’ Downtown: 1200 Hampton St., 803-771-7000. This restaurant’s nice, casual feel is something you might come to expect during your time at the Marriott Hotel. Features New Southern classics like shrimp and grits. Stop by for breakfast, lunch or dinner after a long day (or night) in downtown Columbia. $

Momma Rabbit’s Lexington: 5082 Sunset Blvd., 803-356-1330. Fresh soups, salads and sandwiches, plus prepared suppers to take home. Also offers a catering service. $

Original Pancake House Forest Acres: 4840 Forest Dr. (Trenholm Plaza), 803-782-6742. Pancakes as you like them. Offering a full menu including cinnamon-glazed apple pancakes, dutch babies, freshly squeezed juices, homemade fruit syrups and more. And if you’re not in the mood for pancakes, try the meat-lovers omelet. The lines are long for a reason; get there before church lets out and you’ll be in better shape. ¢

Pawleys Front Porch Five Points: 827 Harden St., 803-771-8001. Fancy a fried egg, apple-cured ham, pineapple or a pair of onion rings stuffed between a half-pound patty and a ciabatta bun? Crowds have been lining up outside Pawleys Front Porch ever since its fantastic burgers were featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives back in 2010. $

Rambo’s Fat Cat Biscuits Cottontown: 2430 Main St., 803-881-9060. The immensely popular biscuit food truck and Soda City stand opened a brick and mortar in the north Main Street area. It slings their signature biscuits in the form of breakfast sandwiches and lunchtime offerings. ¢

Ray’s Diner Northeast: 3110 Two Notch Rd., 803-661-8175. The downhome breakfast joint and meat-and-three lunch you’ve been looking for. ¢

The Root Cellar Lexington: 420 Columbia Ave.; 803-359-5436. Fresh Southern ingredients form the backbone of this carefully curated menu, with classic dishes like fried chicken livers and meatloaf given a modern flair. Salads and sandwiches, too. ¢-$

Roy’s Grille Lexington: 711 W Main St., 803-359-0994. Situated inside an Exxon station, this hidden gem barely takes up any space. The grill serves a variety of food including barbecue, which is smoked out back; a variety of breakfast sandwiches, many of which come with their house-smoked bacon; and fish and grits, served every morning. ¢

Sound Bites Eatery Downtown: 1425 Sumter St. Columbia restaurant veterans came together to open this lunch-time sandwich and salad spot in downtown Columbia. A well curated menu includes things like a smoked salmon salad and a Grilled Pblano Cheese. Plus, a small menu of morning eats too. ¢-$.

The War Mouth Downtown: 1209 Franklin St., 803-569-6144. South Carolina food done right, from chicken bog to mustard-fried venison to deviled eggs, with a fine dining flair but no pretensions. The barbecue is out of this world, and there’s a big comfy bar with nice cocktails. $

Featured Bites & Sights - Asian



Duke’s Pad Thai West Columbia/Cayce: 904 Knox Abbott Dr., 803-661-6455. This “street food and noodle bar” recently expanded its menu to offer much more pan-Asian flavors, from ramen to pho to pad Thai, plus shrimp dumplings and Asian-esque tacos. Plenty of vegan options too. Popular takeout spot; call your order in ahead of time. $

JJ Tea House Downtown: 601 Main St., Suite D, 803-834-6666. A Taiwanese street food hub on the first floor of a campus-adjacent apartment, JJ Tea House is a warm little spot. It’s got an extensive bubble tea selection, dumplings, stir fried noodles, and a wide selection of rice and protein plates. ¢

M Kitchen Harbison/Irmo: 340 Columbiana Dr., 803-764-1285. A wide range of Asian favorites, from the healthy to the decadent. Nice modern space with an elegant bar, all convenient to Columbiana Centre. $

M Vista Vista: 701-C Lady St., 803-255-8878. Just like the other Miyo’s locations, M Vista features upscale Chinese cuisine and sushi, but in nicer digs. Besides stir-fries, noodle soups and special sushi rolls, there’s a well-stocked bar. Company also has a space for private events nearby. ¢-$

Miyo’s Harbison/Irmo: 1220 E-2 Bower Pkwy., 803-781-7788. Winner of many Best of Columbia awards for its Shanghai and Sichuan cuisine, Miyo’s features both traditional and innovative dishes served in a comfortable, elegant atmosphere. Also features a sushi bar. ¢-$

Featured Bites & Sights - BBQ/Wings/Ribs



Big-T Bar-B-Que Gadsden: 2520 Congaree Rd., 803-353-0488. Garners Ferry/Southeast: 7535 Garners Ferry Rd., 803-776-7132. Northeast: 1061 Sparkleberry Lane Ext., 803-788-4295. Big T’s turns out some of the best barbecue in town. Pit-cooked pulled pork is the standout, served with hot or mild, slightly sweet mustard-based sauce. The sides are first-rate. Friendly people, generous portions. Top it all off with some homemade chocolate cake. ¢

Carolina Western Pub Vista: 920 Lady St., 803-401-5379. Country music venue and down-home restaurant in the Vista. It’s spread out across two floors — including a dance floor — if that’s your thing.

D’s Wings West Columbia/Cayce: 415 Meeting St., 803-791-4486. Newly moved to Meeting Street, D’s still serves up the same fare they’re known and loved for — wings. So many flavors of wings. They are a neighborhood favorite that also serves up bar apps, salads, sandwiches, desserts, and a surprisingly well-rounded craft beer selection. ¢-$

Doc’s Barbeque and Southern Buffet Garners Ferry/Southeast: 601 Shop Rd., 803-799-1532. Barbecue buffet with famed fried chicken and delicious catfish bites. Order off the menu for tailgating or simply to take home some quality barbecue. ¢

Home Team BBQ Five Points: 700 Harden St. The popular Charleston-area barbecue empire’s — whose only other satellite location is in the posh ski town of Aspen, Colorado — outpost in the Five Points neighborhood has been a hit with its smoked wings and daily specials. Features a strong bar program and a nice patio. ¢-$$

Hudson’s Smokehouse & Saloon Lexington: 4952 Sunset Blvd., 803-356-1070. Lexington: Hudson’s Classic Catering, 931 Old Two Notch Rd., 803-356-1070. In a town full of barbecue joints, Hudson’s distinguishes itself with outstanding ribs — but the pulled pork is great, too. It’s a barbecue buffet and offers mustard-based, ketchup-based and vinegar-and-pepper options. ¢

Hite’s Bar-B-Que West Columbia/Cayce: 240 Dreher Rd., 803-794-4120. Don’t let the plain cinder-block building deter you. No-frills tasty pulled pork barbecue, roasted chicken, ribs and ham, all slow-cooked using wood and it’s affordable. Meats and the usual fixin’s available to go by the pound or the pint. Takeout only on Friday and Saturday. ¢

Little Pigs Northeast: 4927 Alpine Rd., 803-788-8238. Amazing spread of lunch buffet offerings including yams, corn, baked beans, fried okra, onion rings, hush puppies, green beans and more. The three varieties of barbecue are equally served with love and care. Just stellar local barbecue beloved by regulars that fills up quickly at lunch time. ¢

Maurice’s Piggie Park Downtown: 800 Elmwood Ave., 803-256-4377; Harbison/Irmo: 1141 Lake Murray Blvd., 803-732-5555. Lexington: 766 W Main St., 803-359-8789. Lexington: 1010 S Lake Dr., 803-356-1909. Northeast: 252 O’Neil Ct., 803-865-0608. Northeast: 107 Clemson Rd., 803-788-5661. Shandon/Rosewood: 4411 Devine St., 803-782-9547. St. Andrews/Dutch Square: 622 St. Andrews Rd., 803-772-6999. West Columbia/Cayce: 1600 Charleston Hwy., 803-796-0220. This multi-location Midlands barbecue institution pit-cooks its juicy pork, ribs, beef and chicken over hickory coals, and its Carolina Gold mustard-based sauce is legendary. The children and grandchildren of the controversial founder now run it without the social issues of the past. ¢

Midwood Smokehouse Garners Ferry/Southeast: 702 Cross Hill Rd., 803-764-1231. Charlotte-based barbecue spot slings the same ribs, burgers and pulled pork and chicken at its Columbia spot. It all comes with your choice of mustard, vinegar or spicy habanero sauce. When you get to the sides, don’t miss the barbecue baked beans. $

Palmetto Pig Downtown: 530 Devine St., 803-733-2556. All-you-can-eat buffet featuring pulled pork barbecue, hash, green beans, slaw and crispy fried chicken is located conveniently close to USC spots. Be sure to arrive early or late to beat the rush. Discount available for USC students. $

Peebles Shandon/Rosewood: 1332 Rosewood Dr., 803-569-6631. Very large and well-loved chicken wings lead the way in this easy-to-miss building, but Peebles also has bar bites, burgers, seafood and more. $

Railroad BBQ Downtown: 2001 Hampton St., 803-708-5801. Activist Kevin Gray’s longtime coming barbecue joint is open and it’s smokin’. From ribs to pulled pork, it’ll fill your barbecue cravings. $

Publick House Shandon/Rosewood: 2307 Devine St., 803-256-2625. A Devine Street icon, Publick House is beloved for its hot wings. It also offers three types of buffalo wings, as well as a number of other flavors, along with salads, burgers and pasta to round out the menu. Billiards and beers on tap bring regulars back often. ¢

Shealy’s Bar-B-Que House Leesville: 340 E. Columbia Ave., 803-532-8135. Big buffet spread. The pork is lovingly pulled from slow-cooked whole hogs and served with a thick and tangy mustard sauce. Among the best-loved barbecue places in the state, many say it’s worth the drive there. ¢

Southern Belly Five Points: 819 Harden St., 803-764-3512. St. Andrews/Dutch Square: 1410 Colonial Life Blvd., 803-888-7367. Lots of sauces distinguish this barbecue joint, which offers a small but tasty selection of barbecued meat sandwiches. The D’jango is one to keep an eye on, if you’re into eating it spicy. Fries and coleslaw round out your meal. ¢-$

True BBQ West Columbia/Cayce: 1237 D Ave., 803-791-9950. This well-loved and regarded barbecue shop serves pork ribs and classic chopped pork barbecue, smoked on site; hash and rice; barbecue chicken; barbecue sandwiches; and the usual slew of sides and desserts. Choose between Pretty Lady, Sexy Lady or vinegar-based sauce.

Featured Bites & Sights - Bakeries and Desserts


Bakeries and Desserts

Ally & Eloise Bakeshop Forest Acres: 5209-B Forest Dr., 803-708-2982. Downtown: 1332 Main St., 803-851-7005. Eloise is a French bulldog and Ally is a heck of a baker. She turns out fancy cookies, cupcakes, muffins and scones, not to mention fancy layer cakes and bundt cakes galore. Both locations are currently offering order-one-hour-ahead “express menus” or 24-hour-in-advance pre orders. ¢

Blended Bakery Lexington:5076 Sunset Blvd. Suite A., 803.957.5129. The well regarded food truck has a brick and mortar operation now. It’s cooking up a variety of food to pair with its Euro-style bakery items. ¢

Blue Flour Harbison/Irmo: 7703 St. Andrews Rd., 803-407-3603. One of those hybrid coffee and bakery shops that earns top marks in both categories. Offers up custom-made sugar cookies, other cookies, and bars. It’s Main Street location closed last year, but Irmo is still going strong. ¢

Crust Bakehouse Shandon/Rosewood: 2701-B Rosewood Dr. Crust offers daily menus with cookies, scones and other sweet pastries, not to mention delectable breads: focaccias, ciabattas, sourdough, levains and more. And yes, it has no telephone. The goods go fast so check them out on Facebook to reserve something before supply runs out. ¢

Cupcake Down South Vista: 1213 Lincoln St., 803-212-4949. This Charleston import does one thing and one thing only: cupcakes. Of course, they also do them supremely well. They range in size and flavor — from a mega sized chocolate cupcake for birthdays to a host of daily made regular cupcakes. Also offers ice cream, cookies, and cake pops. ¢

Crumbl Cookie Lexington: 5135 Sunset Boulevard Suite J. 803-756-3294. It’s a cookie shop with a capital B brand. The Lexington outpost of this cookie chain opened recently and the company claims to have the “world’s best cookies.” A sleek, minimal space pairs the cookies with branded water, milk and more.

Devine Cinnamon Roll Deli Shandon/Rosewood: 2617 Devine St., 803-465-4947. Big ol’ cinnamon rolls are the major draw here — and not just the classic kind, but eccentric ones too, from bananas foster rolls to coconut cream rolls. The deli also serves lunches that always include a mini cinnamon roll that pairs with hot dogs, sandwiches and more. $

Dessert Please 803-728-1690. The bakery formerly known as My Dessert Bar is a bakery and dessert catering company with everything from cakes to cakepops. ¢-$$

Duck Donuts Shandon/Rosewood: 702 Cross Hill Road, Much-hyped doughnut chain serves up tasty cake-style rings adorned with fancy frostings and sprinklings while you wait. ¢

Insomnia Cookies Five Points: 2013 Devine St., 877-632-6654. Set among the college kids, Insomnia’s Columbia outpost bakes fresh cookies for the late-night crowd. What’s better after a night of drinking than a freshly made chocolate chip cookie? Get some ice cream smashed between two of their cookies, if it suits you. Delivery is available for a $6 minimum (plus tip, of course). ¢

Kaminsky’s Dessert Café Vista: 930 Gervais St., 803-550-9979. Charleston-based dessert bar features milkshakes, spiked coffees, dessert martinis and cocktails, cakes, cider and more. ¢-$

Main Street Bakery North Main: 3307 N. Main St., 803-807-9567. Cozy bakery housed in a brick home serves fresh-made cinnamon rolls, sweet potato pie, cupcakes and more, plus specially made-to-order cakes. Also has a lunch menu with well-regarded hot dogs. ¢

La Paleta Bar

Fort Jackson: 4346 Fort Jackson Blvd., 803.397.2542. Recently opened Mexican dessert bar has all-fruit popsicles, snow cones and candy. A variety of Mexican toppings include chamoy, a sweet and spicy sauce, and tajin, a chile-lime seasoning.

Pelican’s SnoBalls Harbison/Irmo: 6165 St. Andrews Rd., 803-413-5369. Harbison/Irmo: 1600 Dutch Fork Rd., 803-920-2394. Lexington: 517 N. Lake Dr. 803-206-7710. North Columbia: 2845 Main St., 803-917-1316. Northeast: 202 Graces Way, 803-201-9652. Northeast: 2768 Decker Blvd. Unit M, 919-614-2080. Shandon/Rosewood: 1900 Rosewood Dr., 919-614-2080. West Columbia: 442 Meeting St., 803-917-1316. New Orleans-style shaved ice. Yes, it is frozen sugar water, but what else could you be looking for in Columbia’s summer heat? Openings and hours are seasonal. Visit website for more locations. Call for hours. ¢

Scoopy Doo

Five Points: 725 Saluda Ave., 803-765-6999. Sister business to the next door coffee shop Drip, Scoopy Doo offers up housemade gelato and sorbetto incorporating some excellent local ingredients. ¢

Silver Spoon Bake Shop Shandon/Rosewood: 2507 Devine St., 803-673-6374. Housemade pastries, cakes, pies and delicious cookies, plus a coffee bar. Its temporarily closed, but is doing weekly pre-orders. Check out their website for that. $

smallSUGAR Vista: 709 Gervais St., 803-722-7506. A bakery and sandwich/salad shop with top-notch service and lots of fresh food, chef/restaurateur Sarah Simmons’ smallSUGAR is a treasure in the heart of the Vista. Frequent home to their event and holiday dinners as well. $

Sunshine Cafe West Columba: 2250 Sunset Blvd. 803-888-6030. This spot filled the former Carolina Cafe space, and slings much of the same type of fare. We’re talking sandwiches, bagels and coffee. The twist? A new sweets menu for dessert.

Sweet Cream Company Downtown: 1627 Main St., 803-251-3311. / Fancy some handcrafted ice cream or sorbet? Sweet Cream Co. does it best with a frequently shifting rotation of flavors that run the gamut of classics to experimental. Coffee, too. ¢

Sweet Temptations Bakery North Main: 2231 Main St., 803-728-0245. Main Street bakery rolls out cupcakes, traditional and creative cakes and bars. ¢

Featured Bites & Sights - Bar, Club and Pub Food


Bar, Club and Pub Food

Bang Back Pinball Lounge Five Points: 741 Saluda Ave. 803-834-4462. A strictly pinball focused joint opened in Five Points recently and its headed up by an owner and staff that seriously knows their flipper facts. A full kitchen of unique fried bites and a bar with a range of local and domestic taps rounds out the experience. ¢

Bar None

Five Points: 620 Harden St., 803-254-3354. Loved neighborhood bar, Bar None serves food into the wee hours of the morning — including, on certain Tuesdays, the finest smoked chicken wings you’ve ever tasted. Large selection of beers on tap. ¢

British Bulldog Pub Harbison/Irmo: 1220 E10 Bowers Pkwy., 803-227-8918. A British pub with a real British pub menu: everything from roast beef and Yorkshire pudding to meat pies to Scotch eggs to crispy samosas, plus plenty of burgers and salads for the anglophobes. Breakfast served all day. Extensive soccer and rugby viewing schedule, too. $

Cock N’ Bull Pub Shandon/Rosewood: 326 S. Edisto Ave., 803-251-4474. The Cock N’ Bull is an English-style pub with football (that’s soccer, you American) matches a-plenty on the tube. Pub food and daily specials include shepherd’s pie, fish-n-chips, pot roast and more, plus the always amazing shrimp burger. ¢-$

Goat’s Five Points: 2017 Devine St., 803-708-4495. / Rising from the figurative ashes of Goatfeathers is Goat’s, a swanky bar run by one of the top bartenders in town. The menu runs the gamut from philly cheesesteak to finer fare. $

Henry’s Grill and Bar Shandon/Rosewood: 2865 Devine St., 803-708-4705. Northeast: 111 Sparkleberry Crossing, 803-563-5674. West Columbia/Cayce: 2108 State St., 803-661-8494. A comfortable neighborhood bar with tasty burgers, fried pickles and tons of drink specials. Try the Big T burger: a huge, juicy double cheeseburger between two grilled cheese sandwiches. The Sunday brunch rocks and Cayce’s outpost has it on Saturday, too. ¢-$

Jake’s Five Points: 2112 Devine St., 803-708-4788. The bar is called Jake’s and dogs are welcome in its relatively easy-going patio. The kitchen serves out bar bites, while the bar side’s got a great patio that welcomes dogs – they even have a dog whisperer come every so often to keep things cool with the pups. $

Keg Cowboy Lexington: 108 E. Main St., 803-957-2337. Pretty awesome craft beer bar and eatery in downtown Lexington. Rotating specials include house-smoked meats, homemade bread, a weekly pizza night and more. $

Krafty Draft Lexington: 269 Charter Oak Rd., 803-567-2812. This beer pub has good eats with daily specials, sandwiches and snacks. True to its name, it offers a wide assortment of beers, some brewed in-house. $

O’Hara’s Public House Lexington: 131 E Main St., 803-785-4025. Robust pub menu features traditional Irish fare, American bar food and more. Frequently has live music and it recently debuted outdoor seating. $

Rockaway Athletic Club

Shandon/Rosewood: 2719 Rosewood Dr., 803-256-1075. For years, locals have been flocking to Rockaway’s for its revered pimento cheeseburgers and excellent bar food. ¢-$

Thirsty Fellow Vista: 621 Gadsden St., 803-799-1311. Pub food and fresh specials include wings, fish ’n chips, sandwiches, soups, appetizers and an array of stone-fired pizzas. Pizzas are build-your-own style and have a host of options. $

Tin Roof Vista: 1022 Senate St., 803-771-1558. Tin Roof is a music focused joint but also has a bar menu with flair, from the chicken-and-waffle nuggets (served with syrup for dipping) to the awesome quesadillas. The Candy Pig Mac and Cheese is beloved as well. $

Transmission Arcade Downtown: 1712 Main St., 803-667-9140. A much hyped and long awaited arcade bar is finally opened. The most exciting part of the new venture isn’t the games, though. Smokey Loggins of occasional Bar None fame head up the kitchen and serve up what may be the best smoked wings you’ll ever have, they’re branching out too with a host of sides and other meals too. $

Vella’s Restaurant & Tavern West Columbia/Cayce: 829 Knox Abbott Dr., 803-796-4629. Vella’s is downhome cooking, with wings, hamburger steak and fried catfish. There’s also bar classics and even a kids’ menu. ¢-$

The Whig Downtown: 1200 Main St., 803-931-8852. / As iconic a bar as any in Columbia, The Whig is a hip underground bar across from the Statehouse serves burgers, sweet potato fries and a mean chicken sandwich to match its well-curated craft beers and capable cocktails. Also home of the infamous Taco Tuesday where hardshell tacos are whipped out and the rest of the menu is paused. ¢

Featured Bites & Sights - Bistro/New American


Bistro/New American

1801 Grille Vista: 700 Lincoln St., 803-777-1801. A University of South Carolina-themed restaurant that’s fairly swanky. “American tavern-inspired” menu runs the gamut from oysters to burgers to wild-boar-and-bison meatloaf. Classy bar, too. $

The Aristocrat Vista: 1001 Washington St., 803-708-8004. This lowkey hangout has a strong wine selection, craft cocktails and good bites too. Often has live jazz. $

Bistro on the Boulevard Harbison/Irmo: 1085-D Lake Murray Blvd., 803-369-1332. Upscale New American bistro food like salmon oscar and chicken romano meets new Southern classics like shrimp and grits and fried green tomatoes. $

B.L.D. Diner Forest Acres: 484 Forest Drive, 803-931-3595. A made-from-scratch neighborhood diner offers up brunch, dinner and more. $

Black Rooster West Columbia/Cayce: 201 Meeting St. Bourbon chef and owner Kristian Niemi crossed the river to found his long-hoped for “French-ish” bistro concept. With French-Southern fare to a rooftop bar with a fine view of the Congaree River and Columbia skyline, it’s been a hotspot since opening. $-$$

Café Strudel Lexington: 309 S. Lake Drive, 803-490-0895. West Columbia/Cayce: 300 State St., 803-794-6634. Casual restaurant is a West river favorite that offers soups, salads, sandwiches, grill items and coffees. Also hosts a legendary Sunday brunch. ¢

Cola’s Downtown: 1215 Assembly St., 803-451-0051. High-end American bistro with diverse influences. Robust seafood selection, plus steaks, salads and more, plus a lovely bar. Features a large window wall that opens to Assembly Street. $-$$

Columbo’s St. Andrews/Dutch Square: 2100 Bush River Rd. (inside the Radisson Hotel), 803-744-2200. Fine steaks and Southern favorites in this hotel restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner featuring local farms’ ingredients. Offers desserts and happy hour specials. $-$$

Gervais & Vine Vista: 620-A Gervais St., 803-799-8463. Mediterranean wine and tapas bar with many wines by the glass and a wide selection of appetizers. Dishes prepared in an open kitchen and are a fusion of Greek, Italian and Spanish cuisine with Southern influences. A favorite among those in the culinary scene for its quality and value. ¢-$

Hampton Street Vineyard Downtown: 1201 Hampton St., 803-252-0850. A new ownership group has taken over the longtime restaurant and remade it as an American brasserie with the same focus on the wine list. Hosts frequent wine dinners and a strong brunch, too, on Sundays. ¢-$$

Hendrix Downtown: 1649 Main St., 803-834-5132. Upscale restaurant in the historic Hennessey’s building is an ever popular spot in downtown Columbia, with its excellent rooftop views and bar. Main floor kitchen has new leadership, with a shift towards American and Southern cuisine. $-$$

Lula Drake Downtown: 1635 Main St., 803-606-1968. This wine bar offers a small but excellent menu but lets its unique and adventurous wine shine through. Handmade pastas, nightly specials, a top-notch charcuterie and more. $

Motor Supply Co. Bistro Vista: 920 Gervais St., 803-256-6687. An early pioneer of fine dining in the Vista, Motor Supply’s eclectic menu reflects a classic bistro mentality and changes every day. Still regarded as a top eatery in town, it has an upbeat, cosmopolitan atmosphere and excellent food that focuses on local produce.. Especially popular for Sunday brunch. Currently offering take out, reservations required for dine-in. $-$$

Mr. Friendly’s Five Points: 2001-A Greene St., 803-254-7828. Mr. Friendly’s has been serving New Southern cuisine since 1995 — sometimes innovative, sometimes comforting, and at reasonable prices. In addition to its daily menu, Mr. Friendly’s offers nightly specials. A good higher end lunch choice, too. $-$$

Saluda’s Five Points: 751 Saluda Ave., 803-799-9500. This casual fine-dining establishment stands out among its Five Point’s peers with its cutting-edge culinary styles that blend Italian, French and Lowcountry influences. Serves seafood, beef, chicken and vegetarian entrees. Also hosts wine dinners. $$

Spotted Salamander Downtown: 1531 Richland St., 803-546-0249. / Chef-owner Jessica Shillato and her team offer up Southern lunches and a robust catering service. Spotted Salamander has something for everything between its daily specials — from a cheeseburger day to a fried chicken sandwich day — to oft-changing deviled eggs. $

Tazza Kitchen Forest Acres: 4840 Forest Dr. 20, 803-782-0760. This small regional chain avoids franchisee fatigue. It’s a modern but comfortable bistro that features wood-fired pizzas, salads and entrees and apps borrowing from a variety of cuisines. Sports a strong bar program, too. $

Terra West Columbia/Cayce: 100 State St., 803-791-3443. Chef-owner Mike Davis brings together top-quality Southern ingredients and classic European techniques to make creative, original fare in an oft-rotating menu — truly one of the region’s best restaurants. Fantastic view of downtown Columbia from the upscale Vista West location. Looking for something a little simpler? Sit at the cozy bar and try out a brick-oven pizza. $$

Tombo Grille Forest Acres: 4517 Forest Dr., 803-782-9665. They call themselves “THE neighborood bar” in Forest Acres. And whether you’re looking for a great burger, steak or just a snack and a beer, Tombo is a solid choice. Live music several nights a week. $

Featured Bites & Sights - Breweries/Brew Pubs


Breweries/Brew Pubs

Angry Fish Brewing Co. Lexington: 106 Fabrister Lane, Suite C, 803-520-7470. Well-brewed IPAs, sours, lagers and more from this hospitable Lexington spot. Food trucks visit often. Started serving up food recently, too. ¢

Bierkeller Columbia Bierkeller is a nomadic operation that has no true home. The German-style brewery hosts frequent events featuring its astoundingly good brews. We’re partial to the Kellerbier and the Rauchbier, but most any craft beer-loving Columbian has their own favorites. ¢

Columbia Craft Brewing Co. Vista: 520 Greene St., 803-799-6027. Shiny, professional brewery is turning out some great beers and has quickly become a top brewery in town. A jam-packed beer board offers up several sours at any given time and a lager that’s making waves. ¢

CottonTown Brew Lab Cottontown: 1223 Franklin St., 844-427-3952. This neighborhood brewery cranks out some quality beers that you can find on taps across the Midlands, most prominently the Indah Coffee Stout, a collaboration with the across-the-block coffee shop; and the Tropicarolina IPA. No indoor spaces, so make do with their charming outdoor yard area and pincic tables. Temporarily closed as of late October. ¢

Hazelwood Brewing Company Lexington: 711 East Main St., 803-785-3947. Matt Rodgers owns and brews at his Lexington brewer. It’s quickly gained the reputation for some of the better beers in town, along with some unique options too. Large outdoor space makes it an ideal hang. ¢

Hunter-Gatherer Downtown: 900 Main St., 803-748-0540. Shandon/Rosewood: 1402 Jim Hamilton Blvd. The oldest brewery in the city, Hunter-Gatherer slings good brews and awesome food from its Downtown spot. ¢-$

Krafty Draft Lexington: 269 Charter Oak Rd., 803-567-2812. This Lexington-area brewpub serves up plenty of other folks’ beer as well as its own. Good and big ol’ food menu, too. ¢

Old Mill Brew Pub Lexington: 711 E. Main St., 803-785-2337. It’s a brewery in a former cotton mill in downtown Lexington with some fine bar fare, too. Do you need to hear more? Don’t miss their famed 12-Mile Oatmeal Porter. $

River Rat Brewery Stadium/Fairgrounds: 1231 Shop Rd., 803-724-5712. River Rat produces excellent and original craft beers that are as well regarded at competitions as they are locally. Features a lovely outdoor deck, grassy area with cornhole and swank taproom, and a new rooftop area. It’s the oldest production brewery in town, and its location has positioned it as a go-to destination. ¢-$

Savage Craft Ale Works West Columbia: 430 Center St. Savage Craft is the newest, shiniest brewery in the area. Offers a robust food selection that differs through its rooftop, biergarten and taproom. In-house brews and a full bar make it a complete package. ¢-$$

Steel Hands Brewing Cayce: 2350 Foreman St. / Massive, professional new brewery in Cayce has it all, from outdoor spaces with live music to a stacked menu to a canning line. ¢

Swamp Cabbage Brewing Co. Stadium/Fairgrounds: 921 Brookwood Dr., 803-939-2589. Modest brewery near Williams-Brice Stadium boasts a small but strong catalog of beers, from dunkel to red IPA. ¢

Twisted Spur Brewing Vista: 705 Gervais St., 803-764-0203. Vista brewery features a West Coast-influenced menu, from nachos to burgers to oysters on the half shell and much, much more. The beers are brewed on site, they range from rotating sours to a hefeweizen. $

Featured Bites & Sights - Cafe/Coffee House


Café/Coffee House

Azalea Coffee Shandon/Rosewood: 2700 Devine St. 803-851-0694. From the owner of the popular wedding coffee/cocktail trailer 77 Co., comes Azalea Coffee, a brick-and-mortar shop focused on highlighting women. That focus comes from its coffee providers to the menu of offerings that are named after influential women. $

Carolina Cafe Downtown: 925 Sumter St. 803-799-6676. For over 20 years Carolina Cafe has slung what many consider to be the best bagels in town. There’s plenty more too, with soups, coffee, salads and plenty more that fits the “cafe” niche. ¢

College Grounds Café Downtown: 1217 College St., 803-708-9476. Think of it as the younger sister to established upstairs coffeehouse, Cool Beans. College Grounds Café serves sandwiches and other healthy breakfast and brunch foods — bagels, fruit, grits and more — as well as fresh doughnuts made in-house daily. Yum. Lots of vegetarian-friendly options. ¢

Cool Beans Coffee Company Downtown: 1217 College St., 803-779-4277. This near-campus coffee shop offers plenty of space for studying or socializing — but it’s not just for students. Great menu of sandwiches (the curry chicken salad is a longtime favorite), wraps, soups and salads, plus all the coffee drinks you’d expect. It even offers up vegan options, a vegan hot cocoa, for instance. ¢

Curiosity Coffee Bar Downtown: 2327 Main St., 803-357-2889. This Elmwood Park coffee spot brews great coffee too with an eclectic selection to try. A robust food menu, too, that continues to grow. ¢-$

Drip Coffee Downtown: 1441 Main St., 803-799-0067. Five Points: 729 Saluda Ave., 803-661-9545. Specializing in the pour-over method of brewing, Drip brews some fabulous coffee. Besides being a great place for a meeting or first date, it’s a go-to lunch and breakfast spot with surprisingly creative and tasty biscuit sandwiches and pastries. Free Wi-Fi, too. ¢-$

The Haven Coffee House Lexington: 121 E. Main St., 803-356-1402. . Downtown Lexington has a hangout and new ownership has recently adapted it into a late night dessert bar. It now serves tasty breakfast and lunch, desserts, while its night time menu has boozy drinks and more. ¢-$

Immaculate Consumption Downtown: 933 Main St., 803-799-9053. As a fine brewer and roaster of coffee, it’s perhaps better regarded for its wide range of sandwiches and fresh salads. ¢

Indah Coffee

North Columbia: 2238 Sumter St., 803-708-0275. Cozy, airy Cottontown-based coffee roaster has excellent coffee and a recently-revamped menu. It’s a good spot for a quick meeting or to do some work. Downtown spot has a counter, cool vibes and sells some merchandise, too. ¢

Loveland Coffee St. Andrews/Dutch Square: 7001 St. Andrews Rd., 803-466-7168. Irmo: 7475 Carlisle St., Tasty local coffee, served out of a kiosk in a variety of ways, from creative lattes to house-roasted drip coffee to the famous cold brewed coffee concentrate. Loveland recently open a full sized, beautiful coffee house too. ¢

Piecewise Coffee Company Cayce/West Columbia: 2001 State St., 803-594-2106. New shop is bringing finely prepared coffee beverages to Cayce in a relaxed atmosphere. ¢

Featured Bites & Sights - Cajun



Bourbon Downtown: 1214 Main St., 803-403-140. Go for the bourbon, stay for the whiskey and one of the best happy hour deals in town. Serves higher-end Cajun-Creole cuisine like squash jambalaya, bayou burgers, seared duck breast, steaks and more. A recently opened cocktail lounge expansion may just be one of the best spots to sip on a fancy drink in town. $-$$

Private Property Lexington: 220 West Main St., 803-399-8085. Cajun and Creole food in the heart of Lexington, from gumbos to jambalayas — plus big tasty burgers and a few fun extras like Cajun egg rolls. Set in a former home, its got a unique vibe and a white aesthetic. $

Featured Bites & Sights - Caribbean/Latin



The Bodega Kitchen North Main: 4710 N Main St., 803.445.6118. A recently opened food trailer slings bodega-style food and Puerto-Rican dishes alongside one another. ¢

Cabañas Restaurant West Columbia/Cayce: 825 Sunset Blvd., 803-851-1189. Flip to the back of the menu for the Honduran specialties, which are the shining stars of this restaurant, from baleadas (homemade tortillas stuffed with beans, meat and more) to yuca con chicharron (fried or boiled yuca and fried pork rinds) to pupusas. Also features classic Tex-Mex combination plates, tacos and more. $

Fire and Spice Harbison/Irmo: 7971 N. Woodrow St. No. 5, 803-602-5353. Tue-Fri 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Part Caribbean restaurant — jerk chicken, mojo pork, steamed cabbage — and part sandwich shop — cheesesteaks, french dips and more. $

Fusion Cocina Latina Northeast: 1945-6 Decker Blvd. 803-834-3941. Lexington: 109 Old Chapin Suite K. 803-399-1903. A quick hit on Columbia’s International Boulevard, Fusion Cocina Latina offers a range of Latin cuisines. There’s chicharrones, platanos, empanadas and a rockin’ cuban sandwich. Owner Yessica Hernandez opened a second location in Lexington less than a year after her initial Decker Boulevard spot. $

La Isla Bonita Northeast: 1701 Percival Rd. 803-569-6244. Quaint, Puerto Rican restaurant that serves mofongo, Cuban sandwiches, empanadas and a pastry of the day. ¢

Ratio Northeast: 566 Spears Creek Church Road. 803-900-0081. Chef-owner Javier Uriarte’s solo venture is off to a hot start in its first year, building off his well-earned reputation from stints at Hendrix and Motor Supply. With a host of delicious and well-priced tapas, the chef is proving Columbia is ready and eager for trendy cuisine that goes beyond typical expectations. The bar menu offers a range of inventive cocktails and piscos, a Peruvian liquor.

Featured Bites & Sights - Chinese



Egg Roll Chen Shandon/Rosewood: 715 Crowson Rd., 803-787-6820. . A longtime favorite, it gets packed at the dinner hour with everyone from lawyers to construction workers. Egg Roll Chen makes a range of Chinese and other Asian favorites: Spicy Taiwan Beef, Hot and Nutty Chicken, lo mein and the famous Mamasan’s Beef Noodle Soup. It has a drive through pickup window as well. ¢

Egg Roll Station

West Columbia/Cayce: 135 Sunset Blvd., 803-791-4060. Beloved by generations of Columbians, Egg Roll Station prepares inexpensive, fresh Chinese-American standards to order while you watch. Go Cocks; go Egg Rolls. ¢

Sun Ming Harbison/Irmo: 7509 St. Andrews Rd., 803-732-4488. For some of the best Chinese dining in the Midlands, order off the traditional Chinese menu, which features such dishes as chicken feet with black mushrooms and spicy chicken ding. Like most Chinese restaurants, it’s more than able to fill your Chinese-American cravings for Mongolian beef and sweet and sour chicken. $

Tea Pot West Columbia/Cayce: 829 Kox Abbott Drive. 803-796-5888. A snug, currently take out-only Chinese eatery in Cayce. Offers the usual suspects, but also offers up a tidy menu of traditional Chinese dishes. ¢-$

Featured Bites & Sights - Deli



Andy’s Deli Five Points: 2005 Greene St., 803-799-2639. Five Points mainstay enjoys a well-deserved reputation for prompt service and consistent quality in its wide range of deli sandwiches. Andy’s Special, which features roast beef, turkey and bacon bits on a hoagie roll, and which comes with that tantalizingly tangy dip, ought to qualify as the official sandwich of the Midlands. Thank you my friend, indeed. ¢

The Cafe at Richland Library Downtown: 1431 Assembly St., 803-814-5925. Sandwiches, salads and snacks, plus coffee and other drinks, are on offer at this comfy cafe in the first-floor entry to Richland Library’s main branch that’s headed up by smallSUGAR owner Sarah Simmons. ¢

DiPrato’s Delicatessen Five Points: 342 Pickens St., 803-779-0606. A stone’s throw from Maxcy Gregg Park, DiPrato’s brings a New York attitude to its gourmet deli selections. Choose from its signature sandwiches, build your own or explore the paninis and salads. A fabulous and well-loved brunch spot, too. ¢-$

Enzo’s Deli Five Points: 2002 Greene St. Suite H., 803-764-7104. Olympia: 600 Heyward St. Foodies take note: Enzo’s Deli is here and already getting a stellar reputation among many in the food community. It pairs an East Coast-style deli with Italian ingredients to make standout sandwiches. From a hot sandwich with grilled vegetables, mozzarella, pesto and balsamic to a cold cut sandwich, it’s hard to go wrong Recently opened an Olympia Mills expansion, dubbed Enzo’s Spuntino that offers up breakfast, in addition to a more streamlined lunch. $

The Gourmet Shop Five Points: 724 Saluda Ave., 803-799-3705. A Five Points icon because of its coveted sidewalk seating and its signature and oft-raved about chicken salad. The store offers a varying selection of coffees, wines, breads, cured meats, cheeses, kitchen gadgets and more. ¢-$

Groucho’s Blythewood: 730 University Village Dr., 803-754-4509. Five Points: 611 Harden St., 803-799-5708. Forest Acres: 4717 Forest Dr., 803-790-0801. Harbison/Irmo: 800 Lake Murray Blvd., 803-749-4515. Harbison/Irmo: 700 Columbiana Drive Suite B. 803-749-4515. Lexington: 117 1/2 East Main St., 803-356-8800. West Columbia/Cayce: 2265 Sunset Blvd., 803-796-7826. Northeast: 111 Sparkleberry Crossing, 803-419-6767. Open since 1941, Groucho’s is a beloved lunchtime meeting place for the students and business people of Columbia. Across its numerous locations it serves up tasty sandwiches like The Apollo and the STP Dippers. Both are locally famous for good reason. ¢

No Name Deli Downtown: 2042 Marion St., 803-252-0480. This popular downtown lunch spot is anything but anonymous. Grab a tray and line up for sandwiches (hot or cold), salads, daily specials and soup. Pay at the register when you get your food, though be sure to bring cash or a check — no cards, but there is an ATM inside. Separate counter for to-go order pickup helps long lines disappear quickly. ¢

Featured Bites & Sights - Distilleries and Wineries


Distilleries and Wineries

Enoree River Winery Newberry: 1650 Dusty Rd. Offers wine tastings and tours, with a view of the vineyards. Wines run the gamut from fruit (pomegranate, mango, cranberry) to muscadine wines to traditional dry varietals and blends. The wine gets fun too, with wine slushees and their hosted events.

Hollow Creek Distillery Leesville: 112 Rocky Ridge Rd. Makes small batch, handcrafted moonshine. Like many of the good folks in distilleries they’ve been making hand sanitizer in these trying times. Offers tours and tastings.

Mercer House Estate Winery Lexington: 397 Walter Rawl Rd. Twelve-acre vineyard and winery in Lexington specializes in small-batch muscadine wines, offering tastings and tours. Makes wine jellies and blended wine vinegars, too. Great spot for parties and weddings. Some of their bottles are eclectic — like a 2016 fruit spiced coffee wine.

Featured Bites & Sights - Food Truck


Food Truck

Belgian Waffle Truck Food Truck: 803-606-6780. Serves Liege waffles — a dense, browned version of the Belgian waffle — with toppings both sweet and savory. They sling other waffle-based goods too, like a Croque Monsieur Waffle, a waffle sandwich with smoked ham, mustard and melted swiss cheese. ¢-$

City Limits Q Food Truck: 803-260-7469. From the Texas-style brisket to the St. Louis-style ribs, this stuff is addictive and rightfully is considered some of the best artisan barbecue around. Once you know City Limits will be at an event, pre-ordering is recommended, as they plan to — and do — sell out. $

El Guapos Tacos Food Truck: 803-537-3005. A former chef at Columbia’s The Grand restaurant launched this food truck amid the COVID-19 pandemic. It slings a range of tacos, from the trendy birria to al pastor to butter-and-jalapeno-braised shrimp. ¢

Hott Mess Food Truck: 803-915-6288. Hot Mess has burgers, chicken sandwiches and a number of pairable items like mac-and-cheese balls and fried pickles. It’s not good for you, but it’s good for you, you dig? ¢

Island Noodles Mobile eatery: Island Noodles operates in multiple states, but has a significant presence in South Carolina. They’re regulars at Columbia Craft Brewing Company, Soda City Market and other spots around town. Stir-fried Yaki-Soba noodles served in a Hawaiian style — ginger, garlic and plenty more. ¢

Lil’ House of Pizza Mobile eatery: 803-440-7332. It’s New York-style pizza in Columbia, South Carolina. Often offers up calzones and other goodies, too, like tiramisu. The ‘za comes in a number of flavors and is offered by the pie or slice. ¢-$

Lobster Dogs Food Truck: 403-301-1573 A popular food truck that frequents events in South Carolina, North Carolina and surrounding states. It offers, you guessed it, lobster dogs. But there’s more, too, with crab rolls, shrimp rolls and various stuffed avocados. $

Los Chicanos Food Truck: 803-397-7102. A Soda City staple and now a brewery-bar-beer garden roving favorite. They offer a breakfast at the weekend market, but stick to lunch and dinner options during the other stops. That means quesadillas, nachos, tacos and a whole lot more. ¢

Mary’s Arepas Mobile eatery: 803-465-6628. A longtime favorite around Columbia with its handful of arepas, all made fresh and on the spot. They range from all cheese to a chorizo arepa. They come with a selection of salsas and, while simple, they’re as tasty an option as is around. ¢

The Wurst Wagen Food Truck: 803-463-6637. They claim its “the most authentic German Food and Sausages in town” and with a German-trained master butcher who are we to disagree? They serve a whole lot of delicious German sausages, not to mention occasional doner kebab. There are specials every now and then, so visit them often to get the best prices. For locations and hours, follow the truck on twitter: @BestWurstWagen. ¢

Featured Bites & Sights - French



Crêpes & Croissants Downtown: 1465 Sumter St., 803-462-4779. . A real French crêperie in the heart of downtown Columbia? Oui. Choose from a variety of creative savory and sweet crêpes, in addition to savory tarts, croissants, macarons and a few French desserts. The Nutella-filled crêpe is rather amazing, and the Paris crêpe is a classic. ¢

The Hideout in Weco West Columbia/Cayce: 118 State St., 803-881-1044. It’s more coffee shop than French cafe, but The Hideout in Weco offers up a fair number of French-leaning goods. Food options range from avocado toasts to French apple pie.

Featured Bites & Sights - German



Julia’s German Stammisch

Northeast: 120 Sparkleberry Crossing, 803-738-0630. Old-fashioned, homestyle German comfort cooking, now in a new location. From bratwurst to schnitzel, Julia’s has you covered. Cash only. ¢

Featured Bites & Sights - Greek/Mediterranean/Middle Eastern


Greek/Mediterranean/Middle Eastern

Al-Amir on Main

Downtown: 2431 Main St., 803-401-5882. Well-loved and well-prepared Middle Eastern cuisine from Al-Amir includes hummus, falafel, lamb kabob, mujadara and shawarma. Pizzas, salads, subs and daily dessert specials round out the menu. ¢-$

Arabesque Shandon/Rosewood: 2930 Devine St., 803-779-6299. All your Middle Eastern favorites, from shawarma to tabouli to falafel, not to mention pizzas and — for lunch, at least — wraps and burgers. Also serves alcohol. $

Ariana’s Greek Restaurant West Columbia/Cayce: 1720 Sunset Blvd., 803-796-4430. . A Greek restaurant with an international flair. Along with the gyros, souvlaki, pastichio and moussaka on the menu, you’ll also find Indian samosas and a lamb pilaf that’s considered the national dish of Afghanistan. Plenty of vegetarian options too. Serves out of a to-go window, too, for those interested in dining in. $

Boeshreen Northeast: 2630 Decker Blvd., 803-788-2100. An enticing combination of Mediterranean, Libyan and American dishes make up the menu at this cafe and bakery — burgers, wings, falafel sandwiches, gyros, baba ghanoush, shakshouka — and some Libyan favorites, including pastries. ¢

Green Olive USC/South Main: 922 Main St., 803-764-3740. Middle Eastern favorites done right, from the mezze to the baklava. Soups, breads, salads and grilled meats offer something for everyone. $

Mediterranean Tea Room Shandon/Rosewood: 2601 Devine St., 803-799-3118. Wide selection of Middle Eastern food such as hummus, baba ghanoush, falafel and tabbouleh. Specialty dish is kofta kebob, a combination of lamb and beef mixed with parsley, celery and spices. Entrees include chicken, lamb, beef and vegetarian dishes, plus nightly specials. ¢-$

Pitas Downtown: 1800 Taylor St., 803-343-3454. Tasty, consistent Mediterranean/Middle Eastern fare. Yes, pitas are on the menu, but so are some delicious salads, wraps and more. ¢

Sahara on Main Downtown: 629 Main St., 803-851-1118. Moroccan and Mediterranean food near the USC campus. Features fresh-baked Damascus bread and a range of Middle Eastern favorites. Caterers to students with lots of cheap deals ¢-$

Showmars Lexington: 5318 Sunset Blvd., 803-520-0047. This Charlotte based Greek chain pairs pita sandwiches and pita burgers with entrees like chicken Santorini. Lexington’s Showmars is the first of what is supposed to be multiple in the area.

Featured Bites & Sights - Indian



2Gingers St. Andrews/Dutch Square: 245 Bush River Rd., 803-772-5121 Featuring a range of South and North Indian dishes, 2Gingers, located in the Boozer Shopping Center, satisfies vegetarians and omnivores alike. Its space was recently renovated and the Indian favorite opened back up in August. ¢-$

Delhi Palace St. Andrews/Dutch Square: 542 St. Andrews Rd., 803-750-7760. This much-loved Indian restaurant offers a buffet as well as traditional menu items including rich curries, biryani and a range of Indian breads. Savvy enough to please afficionados and newcomers alike. Next door to a farm fresh Indian and Middle Easter grocery that they frequently advertise. ¢-$

Persis Biryani Indian and Mexican Grill St. Andrews/Dutch Square: 1728 Bush River Rd., 803-851-3687. Mostly an Indian restaurant, Persis Biryani also offers some Mexican favorites on its buffet. ¢-$

Featured Bites & Sights - Italian



Alodia’s Cucina Italiana Harbison/Irmo: 2736 North Lake Dr., 803-781-9814. Lexington: 101 W. Main St., 803-957-1986. Classy Italian dining, from favorites (fettucine alfredo, manicotti, veal piccata) to the fancy (seafood risotto, filet mignon). Recently reopened its Irmo location, after a temporary closure. $-$$

Al’s Upstairs West Columbia/Cayce: 304 Meeting St., 803-794-7404. fine dining on the second floor since 1979. An ideal date night spot specializing in northern Italian cuisine, check out their lobster bisque. It is served with a popular puff pastry dome that locks in flavors and aromas. $$

Bellacino’s Pizza & Grinders

Harbison/Irmo: 1085 Lake Murray Blvd., 803-407-4884. Lexington: 5339 Sunset Blvd., Hwy. 378, 803-957-6767. As the name suggests they got Italian pizza and grinders, or very very large subs. Affordable prices, friendly staff and consistent quality keep this popular local restaurant duo full. ¢

Delucca’s West Columbia/Cayce: 2275 Sunset Blvd., 803-926-5255. This Italian eatery has all the goods you want, from fettuccine Alfredo to ravioli to lasagna. $

Di Vino Rosso Vista: 807 Gervais St., 803-550-9699. The reborn Ristorante Divino has a new space, a partially new ownership group and the same great chefs. Expect high end Italian dishes with creative tweaks from their kitchen. $$

Pasta Fresca Forest Acres: 4722 Forest Dr., 803-787-1838. This local favorite is family-owned and features pasta dishes with fresh, made-from-scratch sauces and pastas. There’s nightly seafood dishes and a strong wine list too. ¢-$

Travinia Italian Kitchen Lexington: 5074 Sunset Dr., 803-957-2422. A small chain of fine dining Italian eateries has a shop in Lexington. It’s menu offers up everything from big, fluffy crab cake to entrees like a filet steak with a Madeira wine demi glace. The soups are particularly good. $-$$

Very’s Restaurant Northeast: 6729 Two Notch Rd., 803-788-6254. The self-proclaimed “Southern king of steaks,” Very’s serves up delicious Philly cheesesteaks, plus old-school Northeastern cuisine from Italian subs and lasagnas to pizzas. ¢-$.

Villa Tronco Downtown: 1213 Blanding St., 803-256-7677. A Columbia favorite since 1940, Villa Tronco serves generous portions of traditional Italian fare such as veal parmigiana, manicotti and linguine with clams. Make sure to leave room for the cheesecake. $

Featured Bites & Sights - Japanese/Sushi



Camon Japanese Restaurant Downtown: 1332 Assembly St., 803-254-5400. The only sushi spot in Columbia’s downtown business district attempts to emulate what you’d find in Japan. Its excellent sushi should get you there, if the digs don’t. Previous employees have recently purchased the restaurant from its longtime owners. $

Ganbei Lexington: 5580-F Sunset Blvd., 803-808-1618. Chic Japanese restaurant and bar features plenty of classics — hibachi items, potstickers, stir frys, fried rice, sushi, donburi, plus some curve balls like baked mussels and spring rolls. $

Inakaya Japanese Restaurant Northeast: 224 O’Neil Ct., 803-699-2626. Elegant seating where outstanding sushi, sashimi and other Japanese cuisine take center stage. Popular with families and large groups for their spectacular Inakaya Boat Specials. $

Inakaya Watanabe St. Andrews/Dutch Square: 655-C St. Andrews Rd., 803-731-2538. Excellent sushi, sashimi and traditional Japanese dishes. $

Menkoi Ramen House Vista: 1004 Gervais St., 803-708-1569. Traditional ramen in various forms, from spicy pork based soups to miso ramen. Great gyoza, onigri and more, too. A forthcoming locations at the Village at Sandhills is opening soon. ¢.

SakiTumi Grill & Sushi Bar Vista: 807 Gervais St., 803-931-0700. Upscale Vista hotspot includes a popular bar area and a separate sushi bar. Extensive sake list complements beer and wine offerings. Plenty of non-sushi items on the menu, including grilled items and tasty appetizers such as the lotus root chips. $

Sakura Japanese Restaurant

Shandon/Rosewood: 4430 Rosewood Dr., 803-776-4747. Saturday lunch 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. A longtime Columbia institution, Sakura opened in a new location after its Forest Acres spot was destroyed by the historic 2015 flood. Serves up sushi and more Japanese goods. $

Saky Garners Ferry/Southeast: 4963 Jackson Blvd. 803-787-5307. Saky serves great sushi as well as soups, noodles and other Japanese favorites right outside the Fort Jackson gates. A cozy and chill spot for a drink and a roll or two. $


Harbison/Irmo: 1290 Bower Pkwy., 803-407-3873. Vista: 700-C Gervais St., 803-312-9911. Trendy, chic sushi bar and restaurant with elegant, contemporary atmosphere and ample seating areas to complement extensive sake, wine and beer selection. $

Featured Bites & Sights - Korean



29 Kitchen Vista: 929 Gervais St., 803-764-3825. Korean gastropub offers traditional and other eclectic cuisine in a beautiful space. Swanky bar with a solid cocktail program, unique desserts too. $


Northeast: 1943 Decker Blvd., 803-790-5506. You’ll feel right at home in this Korean restaurant. It serves up such delights as pork belly grilled right at your table, plus Korean classics and banchan — and beer, of course. ¢-$

Hero Korean Steak House Northeast: 6634 Two Notch Rd., 803-699-9922. Yes, those are live, glowing coals in the middle of your table and, yes, much of the food will be cooked right there. Specializes Korean dishes such as gal bi (short ribs in a house sauce) and hwe dup bob (mixed raw fish and spicy sauce atop rice). ¢-$$

Korea Garden Northeast: 2318 Decker Blvd., 803-760-3888. Traditional Korean foods, from spicy stews to bi bim bap, drinks too. $

O Bok Korean Restaurant

Northeast: 1616 Decker Blvd., 803-787-1100. O Bok doesn’t compromise when it comes to its food. Its Korean dishes include the traditional barbecued beef and stir-fries as well as more unique offerings. Meals are served with a big assortment of banchan, or Korean-style small dishes. ¢

Seoul Restaurant and Grocery

Northeast: 1717 Decker Blvd., 803-790-0090. This charming restaurant and grocery offers homestyle Korean fare in a casual setting. $

Featured Bites & Sights - Mexican/Southwestern



7 Mares

Lexington: 4360 Augusta Rd., 803-520-0067. That’s mar-es, as in Spanish for oceans, not English for girl horses. Serves up the oceans’ bounty, featuring Mexican favorites like red snapper Veracruz-style, lobster soup, ceviche, spicy shrimp, octopus salad and more. Also serves Mexican-American classics like fajitas and carnitas. $

Boca Grande Burritos

Forest Acres: 4525 Forest Drive Suite 2-A., 803-834-4076. Longtime Cantina 76 chef David Grillo has staked out on his own with a fast-casual burrito spot. With a focus on ingredients and quality, Grillo’s new spot offers a handful of burritos and the ability to build your own, plus sides like street corn and frito pie. ¢-$

Cantina 76 Shandon/Rosewood: 2901 Devine St., 803-708-6004. Downtown: 1301 Main St., 803-764-1769. Cantina 76 and its various locations draw everyone from singles at the bar to couples and families. The Tex-Mex gets them in the door, the excellent margaritas and deals keep ‘em there. $

Casa Oaxaca Mexican Restaurant West Columbia/Cayce: 2410 Augusta Rd., Suite H, 803-497-6945. An array of tasty Mexican food with options like huaraches, sopes and tlayudas. $

Chapala Mexican Restaurant Lexington: 1792 S. Lake Dr., 803-957-0840. Irmo: 7001 St. Andrews Rd., 803-749-7071. Mexican-American specialities, from fajitas to chilaquiles, plus the combination platters you’d expect. Lots of tortas if you’ve got a big lunch appetite. $

Coa Agaveria y Cocina Vista: 823-A Lady St., 803-851-5965. under the hip Aloft Hotel, this tequila bar offers upscale Latin food, from grilled octopus to bone marrow to high-end tacos. The bar offerings are can’t miss libations when you’re there $

Family Fresh Mex Downtown: 1200 Main St. 803-518-8339. A popular Soda City Market food truck has followed what is now a somewhat common path: a brick and mortar. Family Fresh Mex has tasty tacos and burritos, plus more, and a robust breakfast menu packed into a small space. ¢

La Estrella

West Columbia/Cayce: 1921 Airport Blvd., 803-739-6520. Grocery store and restaurant. Serves assorted tacos with all the classic fixins: cilantro, lime, corn tortillas and more. Tortas, too. Other items include short ribs served with queso fresco, beans and rice. Includes a butcher and a deli counter. ¢-$

Manny’s Chamoyadas/Manny’s Shaved Ice

West Columbia/Cayce: 1228 Augusta Rd., 803-800-6348. Though it specializes in raspados and chamoyadas — sweet-and-savory drinks in a variety of refreshing flavors — Manny’s also has snacks like elote and other desserts like banana splits and milkshakes. ¢

El Mariachi

West Columbia/Cayce: 1078 Sunset Blvd., No. 8. Its a Mexican store complete with groceries, a bakery and a butcher shop on one side and a beloved Mexican eatery on the other.$

Moctezuma’s Taqueria Garners Ferry/Southeast: 506 Beltline Blvd., 803-888-7498. A bounty of Mexican antojitos like tacos, sopas, huaraches and tortas, plus some Mexican-American restaurant favorites like fajitas and chiles poblanos. They have margaritas, too. A cozy, friendly spot near Shandon, Heathwood, Rosewood and more. $

Publico Kitchen and Tap Five Points: 2013 Greene St., 803-567-5738. A long row of craft beer taps sets the stage for the fun, fresh flavors of Publico. Tacos and other meals are inspired by a host of other countries, all to be had inside or out on their patio. $

Real Mexico St. Andrews/Dutch Square: 2421 Bush River Rd., 803-750-8990. A beloved Mexican restaurant by many, Real Mexico has plenty of Mexican and Southwestern foods, from tortas to carne asada to fajitas to chimichangas to fish tacos. Full bar with margarita specials. $

Sure Fire Tacos and Tortilla Grill Vista: 916 Gervais St., Set in the Vista, this spot has drinks to pair with its tacos, burritos and other Southwestern favorites. ¢

Tacos Nayarit Northeast: 1531 Percival Rd., 803-814-0727. The folks behind the Decker Boulevard food truck have brought their tasty tacos to a sit-down restaurant. It adds to the truck’s menu with a hybrid between a traditional Mexican taco stand and the Americanized made-to-order fast-casual eateries, think a piping hot quesadilla — plus they griddle their own tortillas right behind the counter. ¢-$

Taqueria Jalisco St. Andrews/Dutch Square: 612 St. Andrews Rd., 803-731-5546. A Mexican joint bursting with flavor across its menu of tacos and burritos. Its lunch specials are a great bang for your buck. ¢-$

Tex Mex West Columbia/Cayce: 1215 Augusta Road Suite H. 803-995-5445. A young Mexican restaurants carries that standards, but also offers up an expansive hybrid menu. That means things like hot dogs, which range from a chorizo dog to a Carolina-style dog, to burgers and more.

Tio’s Mexican Cafe Downtown: 921-A Sumter St.,803-252-7229. Locally owned Tex-Mex café distinguished by its extensive and eclectic salsa offerings to pair with its tacos, burritos and other Mexican bites. A full bar features tequilas and beers galore. Open late, and delivers late, too. ¢

Featured Bites & Sights - Pizza



Il Bucato Forest Acres: 1615 N Beltline Blvd., 803-708-3500. From the owner of Five Point’s Saluda comes a decidedly different concept. Il Bucato is a take out only pizza, sandwich and salad joint conceived before the pandemic, but is tailor made for it. The food? So far, so good, say early diners. $

Dano’s Pizza Shandon/Rosewood: 3008 Rosewood Dr., 803-254-3266. New York-style and gourmet pizzas sold by the pie or slice. If you’ve got a little extra time, the Sicilian crust is special. Dinner menu also offers veal parmesan, manicotti and stuffed shells. Not a bad place to drink a beer and watch the game, either — don’t worry it’s a family-friendly spot. ¢-$

Eddie’s Calzones Five Points: 817 Harden St., 803-764-3669. / Has more than 60 variations to choose from including the unique Diablo and cheesecake calzones, while normal options include a chicken bacon rance and straight cheese calzone. Delivery open until 4 a.m. which means you’ll have something to soak up the alcohol any day of the week. ¢

Il Focolare Downtown: 2150 Sumter St. Culinary minds behind smallSUGAR and The Cafe at Richland Library bring pizza to Cottontown, often with delicious, eclectic options. Currently limited reservation only, due to the COVI-19 pandemic, as of late Oct. $

Il Giorgione Pizzeria and Wine Bar Shandon/Rosewood: 2406 Devine St., 803-521-5063. Pizzas and pastas, plus nice touches like an Italian cheese plate and lovely arugula salads are served in a warm space and a charming patio area. Good selection of affordable Italian wines. $

LaBrasca’s Pizza Garners Ferry/Southeast: 4365 Fort Jackson Blvd. LaBrasca’s has been serving great pies in Columbia since 1966. While its owners have changed over the years, this humble pizzeria continues in its tradition of offering tasty pizzas at prices that haven’t seemed to change much since they opened. ¢

Mellow Mushroom Vista: 1009 Gervais St., 803-933-9201. Lexington: 5364 Sunset Blvd., 803-359-0778. A popular lunch and dinner spot, Columbia’s two outposts of Mellow Mushroom serve gourmet hand-tossed pies, along with huge calzones, hoagies and salads, all with fresh ingredients. Pizza toppings range from jerk chicken and pineapple to plain-old pepperoni. Large beer selection, with more taps upstairs at the Vista location. $

Nicky’s Pizzeria Five Points: 2123 Greene St., 803-748-9661. Lexington: 102 E. Main St., 803-490-0048. Choose between a traditional New York-style thin crust pizza and a Sicilian-style thick crust — or just pick one of the tasty calzones, subs (warm and cold) or salads on offer. Bottled and draft beer, too. ¢-$

Old Chicago Pizza & Taproom Vista: 802 Gervais St., Ste. 100C, 803-252-3100. .This chain specializes in beers and pies. Combine your barbecue chicken, Hawaiian or Thai pizza with a beer, glass of wine or cocktail. Also offers mac n’ cheese, fish and burgers. They’re everywhere for a reason. ¢-$

Pizza Joint Forest Acres: 3246 Forest Dr., 803-454-1743. This popular Forest Acres spot has pizza, obviously, but it also serves up calzones, strombolis and sandwiches, along with a wide selection of domestic beer and local craft beer to wash it all down. Temporarily closed. ¢-$

Tony’s Pizzalicious West Columbia/Cayce: 975 Knox Abbott Dr., 803-794-5469. Venerated pizza joint in Cayce offers lots of Italian faves. Its Gyro Pizza has been well received by many. ¢-$

Village Idiot Five Points: 2009 Devine St., 803-252-8646. Forest Acres: 4517 Forest Dr., 803-252-8646. Olympia: 612 Whaley St., 803-252-8646. Offering New York-style hand-tossed pizza by the pie or slice for lunch, dinner and delivery, the offshoots of the original Five Points location are go-tos for many who seek pizza. Other featured menu items include sandwiches (Jersey Cheesesteak), wings, calzones and strombolis, pasta (baked ziti), salads and wings. ¢

Za’s Brick Oven Pizza Shandon/Rosewood: 2930 Devine St., 803-771-7334. Pizzas of all sorts, plus salads, sandwiches, pastas, calzones and more round out the menu at this chic Shandon eatery. $

Featured Bites & Sights - Seafood




Blue Fin Seafood Restaurant and Bar Northeast: 461-4 Town Center Place, 803-865-7346. Currently, offering late lunches and dinner with a marine focus, from the lovely crab dip to the lobster ravioli and many fresh fish options. Steaks, chicken and the like will keep the non-seafood-loving happy. $

Blue Marlin Vista: 1200 Lincoln St., 803-799-3838. Specializing in creative seafood dishes with a decidedly Lowcountry flair, Blue Marlin also serves hand-cut steaks and prime rib. Shrimp and grits is a top seller, with the grits coming from right across the street, at Adluh Flour. Well priced for the quality they offer. Private dining facility available. $

Bonefish Grill Forest Acres: 4708 Forest Dr., 803-787-6200. Harbison/Irmo: 1260 Bower Pkwy., 803-407-1599. Based out of St. Petersburg, Florida, Bonefish Grill specializes in fresh seafood and boasts an oak-burning grill and a wide range of sauces. They have a little something for everyone between their pasta, chicken, pork and steak dishes. ¢-$

The Crab Shak St. Andrews: 655 St. Andrews Rd., 803-798-0150. What started as a food truck now has brick-and-mortar outposts. Its crab trays with garlic butter are the specialty, but this restaurant serves up a variety of seafood and sides. $

Oak Grove Fish House Lexington: 309 Oak Drive, 803-821-9006. From the owners of Blue Marlin comes this casual Lexington-area fish eatery. Grilled and fried seafood platters, shrimp and grits, catfish stew, salads and much more. $

Oyster Bar Vista: 1123 Park St., 803-799-4484. A true, old-fashioned oyster bar, and the Vista’s first. Sit at the bar and let your server shuck you some steamed or raw Gulf oysters. Also serves steamed shrimp and scallops, plus shrimp and grits, crab legs and lots of drinks and beer. ¢-$

Palmetto Seafood

Downtown: 2200 Gervais St., 803-254-2503. Part seafood market, part fried seafood counter, Palmetto Seafood will serve you up some fresh, hot, fried fish to go at a heck of a value. A Columbia institution. $

Pearlz Oyster Bar Vista: 936 Gervais St., 803-661-7741. Pearlz specializes in fresh oysters, regional seafood and Lowcountry recipes. Oyster bars may be a concept from yesteryear, but Pearlz’ hip, trendy ambience and signature martinis make it a hotspot for Columbia’s young, urban professional crowd. $

Wild Crab Harbison/Irmo: 275 Park Terrace Dr. Suite 200, 803-661-8888. Cajun- and Creole-style seafood, fried seafood baskets, and combo meals pairing half pounds with sides. $

Featured Bites & Sights - Steakhouse




Cowboy Brazilian Steakhouse Downtown: 1508 Main St., 803-728-0887. Churrascaria-style steakhouse with what you love them for — the enormous salad bar and the never-ending parade of sizzling grilled meats being carried around the dining room. Come hungry. $$

Halls Chophouse Downtown: 1221 Main St., 803-563-5066. The Charleston-based high-end steakhouse features a fabulous view of the Statehouse. Since opening in Columbia, it has become a favorite among the white collars who work Downtown. $$

Rioz Brazilian Steakhouse Harbison/Irmo: 410 Columbiana Dr., 803-708-3151. Giant skewers stacked with meat and a massive salad bar — and you can eat as much as your belly can handle. $$

Ruth’s Chris Steak House Vista: 924-A Senate St. (Hilton Hotel), 803-212-6666. / What can you say, it’s Ruth’s freaking Chris. Among the most fabled steaks on planet Earth, hands down. Just get your wallet ready. $$

Featured Bites & Sights - Thai




Baan Sawan Five Points: 2135 Devine St., 803-252-8992. Baan Sawan is a family operation that serves expertly prepared Thai standards like pad thai and curries, but also offers dishes you won’t find elsewhere — the tom kha matz features duck fat matzo balls — and inventive seafood creations. Spectacular, intimate beer and wine program; well trained staff; classy setting. Currently temporarily closed due to COVID-19, as of December. $-$$

Basil Thai Restaurant Garners Ferry/Southeast: 700 Cross Hill Rd., 803-782-0716. Housed at the upscale Cross Hill Market, this Charleston import features Thai classics and approachable twists thereupon. The kitchen is rounded out by a nice cocktail selection from the bar. $

Bodhi Thai Lexington: 126 E. Main St., 803-957-1994. Classy, high end Thai in downtown Lexington. Pad thai with shrimp and green papaya salad are joined by items like a filet mignon in red curry or pork belly steamed buns. Immaculate presentation; carefully crafted food; daily specials. Take out lunch menu, too. $

Kao Thai Cuisine Vista: 1001 Senate St. Suite 300, 803-569-6881. Kao Thai blends Thai dishes with items from other Asian cuisines, like shumai and roti & curry. Full bar with fancy cocktails. $

Lotus Thai Dining Garners Ferry/Southeast: 7546 Garners Ferry Road Unit 280B. A new Thai restaurant in the Southeast offers more than just Pad Thai and other go-tos. A wide ranging menu offers Lao, Chinese and sushi. Frequent specials offer up fresh seafood in a variety of preparations. $

Mai Thai West Columbia/Cayce: 2249 Sunset Blvd., 803-939-4795. Not just a great Thai restaurant, but also a bubble tea cafe and Asian bakery. Restaurant features Thai classics such as spring rolls and a host of noodle and rice dishes. Entrees such as rainbow duck, whole red snapper and a host of curries round it out. Its lunch specials are reasonably priced, too. $

New Bangkok Restaurant Garners Ferry/Southeast: 7509-H Garners Ferry Rd., 803-851-5559. Go-to Thai restaurant offers all the basics — plus a robust takeout business. ¢-$

Thailand Restaurant

St. Andrews/Dutch Square: 6024 St. Andrews Rd., 803-731-7715. This aptly named spot serves up delicious Thai food. Serves numerous entrées, soups and salads, with choices of mild, medium or hot. $

Featured Bites & Sights - Vegetarian




Good Life Café Downtown: 1614 Main St., 803-726-2310. It’s vegan and it’s awesome. The raw menu and specials feature a tasty and ever-rotating array of mock foods: tacos, tostadas, wraps, sandwiches, tarts and more. Also has a cooked menu with everything from grilled wraps to bean-and-grain bowls. Large selection of fresh squeezed juices and herbal tonics, and some scrumptious desserts. A full bar rounds it all out. $

A Peace of Soul Vegan Kitchen Downtown: 2338 Main St., 803-253-7889. With a new brick-and-mortar location, this popular food truck has become an instant hit in the Cottontown neighborhood. Its entire soul food menu is vegan and uses locally grown and organic produce. Mock meats, sandwiches, vegetable dishes and fresh fruit juices available. ¢

The Reizod Vegan Experience Northeast: 110 Columbia Drive NE, 803-862-0045. All vegan food from a variety of cultural traditions. It’s an experience, as the restaurant often says. ¢

Rosewood Market & Deli Shandon/Rosewood: 2803 Rosewood Dr., 803-765-1083. A natural-foods grocery featuring fresh organic produce, herbs and spices, but a not-so-well-kept secret (it’s in the name after all) is that the deli puts out great food. It serves a diverse selection of hot gourmet meals, salads, breads, pastries and desserts. The daily grain bowl is a standout. ¢

Featured Bites & Sights - Vietnamese




Golden Chopstix

West Columbia/Cayce: 1505 Charleston Hwy., 803-791-0206. Serves Thai and Vietnamese dishes. This low-key restaurant is a delight; the decor is tasteful and simple, and the service is excellent. Dishes are prepared fresh upon ordering — even the curry. Also serves sushi. ¢

Pho Viet Northeast: 2300 Decker Blvd., 803-699-5959. Though it specializes in pho — the fragrant Vietnamese beef soup served with fresh herbs, bean sprouts and more — Pho Viet also serves much more. From spring rolls, to chicken and seafood soups to rice bowls and noodle bowls, it has a little of everything. Also serves jelly pearl drinks and Vietnamese coffee. ¢

Ten Ten Oriental Restaurant Northeast: 2000 Clemson Rd. No. 7, 803-788-7333. A Vietnamese gem, serving up noodle soups, banh xeo and more, plus Chinese favorites. ¢