American/Southern

Backyard Café

West Columbia/Cayce: 940 Old Barnwell Rd., 803-951-0405. thebackyardcafe.com. From the ribeye steak sandwich topped with sauteed onions, peppers, mushrooms and gooey provolone cheese to the salmon caesar salad, the Backyard Cafe has food to suit a range of tastes. Chicken wings, fried flounder and nachos, too. ¢-$ 

Chicken Salad Chick

Harbison/Irmo: 252-Z Harbison Blvd., 803-550-9050, chickensaladchick.com/columbia-sc. Lexington: 5135 Sunset Blvd, Suite A (Lexington Pavilion), 803-356-0146. Serves deli sandwiches, broccoli salad and soup in addition to a variety of chicken salad flavors like Jalapeño Holly and Mimi’s Mix. ¢ 

Compton’s Kitchen

West Columbia/Cayce: 1118 B Ave., 803-791-0750, comptonskitchen.com. 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. ¢

Creekside Restaurant

Lexington: 711 E. Main St., 803-808-0546. facebook.com/Creekside.Lexington. This cozy spot inside the Old Mill serves up classic American breakfasts and lunches every day of the week. ¢

Dupre at the Market

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. Features classic breakfast items, as well as Southern favorites (catfish, fried gizzards), sandwiches, burgers, Greek favorites and more. Also includes a tea room. ¢-$

Flight Deck Lexington

Flight Deck

Flight Deck

Lexington: 109-A Old Chapin Rd., 803-957-5990, shoppesatflightdeck.com. 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. ¢

Garden Grille and Bar at the Hilton Garden Inn

Harbison/Irmo: 434 Columbiana Dr., 803-407-6640. Breakfast buffet in the mornings; dinner menu features appetizers, soups, salads, sandwiches, grilled specialties and more. $ 

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. ¢

Kingsman Restaurant

West Columbia/Cayce: 936 Axtell Dr. (Parkland Shopping Center), 803-796-8622, thekingsmanrestaurant.com. Lexington: 924-C East Main St., 803-957-0863. 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. Lexington location — The Kingsman Que and Brew — serves all the favorites in a larger space. ¢-$

Liberty on the Lake

Harbison/Irmo: 1602 Marina Rd., 803-667-9715, libertytaproom.com. 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. $

Lizard’s Thicket

Harbison/Irmo: 7569 St. Andrews Rd., 803-732-1225, lizardsthicket.com. Lexington: 621 W Main St., 803-951-3555. West Columbia/Cayce: 2240 Airport Blvd., 803-796-7820. 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. Good lord, what more could you want? A true local institution that thrives on the meat-and-veggies formula. This is what Southern cooking is all about. ¢

Mathias Sandwich Shop

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

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. $

The Root Cellar

Lexington: 420 Columbia Ave., 803-359-5436. therootcellarsc.com. Fresh Southern ingredients form the backbone of this carefully curated menu, with classic dishes like fried chicken livers and meatloaf given a modern flair. A classy but low-key place to dine. Salads and sandwiches, too. ¢-$

Roy’s Grille

Lexington: 711 W Main St., 803-359-0994. Situated inside an Exxon station, Roy’s 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. ¢ 


Asian

Antai Asian Dining

Lexington: 5084 Sunset Blvd. (McCauley Sq.), 803-356-0062, antaidining.com. Specializes in both Chinese and Japanese fare. Sushi is on the menu as well as traditional Asian soups and appetizers, chicken, meat and seafood dishes. Strong vegetarian menu and house favorites that include black bean scallops, Beijing duck and honey walnut shrimp. $ 

Duke’s Pad Thai

West Columbia/Cayce: 904 Knox Abbott Dr., 803-661-6455. This “street food and noodle bar” offers pan-Asian flavors galore, from ramen to pho to Thai-style chicken basil. The street foods include shrimp dumplings and Thai sausages on a stick. $

M Kitchen

Harbison/Irmo: 340 Columbiana Dr., 803-764-0558, yourmkitchen.com. A wide range of Asian favorites, from the healthy to the decadent. Nice modern space with elegant bar. $

Miyo’s

Harbison/Irmo: 1220 E-2 Bower Pkwy., 803-781-7788, miyos.com. Lexington: 5594 Sunset Blvd., 803-957-9888. Winner of many Best of Columbia awards for its Shanghai and Sichuan cuisine. Features both traditional and innovative dishes served in a comfortable, elegant atmosphere. Also features sushi. ¢-$$


Barbecue, Wings & Ribs

D’s Wings

West Columbia/Cayce: 920 Axtell Dr., 803-791-4486. A neighborhood favorite west of the river, D’s is both a great bar and a great restaurant. Scores of wing flavors — the house hot wing is a unique experience — plus bar apps, salads, sandwiches and desserts. ¢-$

Hudson’s Smokehouse & Saloon

Lexington: 4952 Sunset Blvd., 803-356-1070, hudsonssmokehouse.com. In a town full of barbecue joints, Hudson’s distinguishes itself with outstanding ribs. Ample, high quality buffet. Offers mustard-based, ketchup-based and vinegar-and-pepper options. ¢

John D. Hite’s

West Columbia/Cayce: 240 Dreher Rd., 803-794-4120, hitesbbq.com. 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. Meats and the usual fixins available to go by the pound or the pint. Takeout only. ¢

Maurice’s Piggie Park

Harbison/Irmo: 1141 Lake Murray Blvd., 803-732-5555, piggiepark.com. Lexington: 766 W. Main St., 803-359-8789. Lexington: 1010 S. Lake Dr., 803-356-1909. West Columbia/Cayce: 1600 Charleston Hwy., 803-796-0220. West Columbia/Cayce: 2450 Augusta Rd., 803-796-4777. This Midlands barbecue institution pit-cooks its juicy pork, ribs, beef and chicken over hickory coals, and its Carolina Gold mustard-based sauce is legendary. ¢

Shealy’s Bar-B-Que House

Leesville: 340 E. Columbia Ave., 803-532-8135, shealysbbq.com. 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. ¢

True BBQ

West Columbia/Cayce: 1237 D Ave., 803-791-9950, true-bbq.com. Serves pork ribs and classic chopped pork barbecue, smoked on site; legendary 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. ¢


Bakeries & Desserts

Blowie’s Sweet Spot

Lexington: 101 E. Main St. Inside the Lexington County Blowfish baseball team’s Blowfish on Main shop is this dessert bar selling Dippin’ Dots, shaved ice, lollipops and more. ¢

Blue Flour

Harbison/Irmo: 7703 St. Andrews Rd., 803-407-3603, blueflour.com. Want a huge, delicious cookie? Of course you do. Blue Flour bakes up new versions each day. Also on the menu: quiches, muffins, cupcakes, coffeecakes, crumbles, plus fresh cold milk and fresh brewed coffee. ¢ 

My Dessert Bar

West Columbia/Cayce: 134 State St., 803-728-1690, mydessertbar.com. Bakery and dessert catering company with everything from cakes to cakepops; also offers brunch on weekends. ¢-$$

Panaderia Odalys

West Columbia/Cayce: 103 N. 12th St., 803-794-3323. Mexican bakery offering a delightful array of pastries and lightly sweetened breads baked in-house daily. Cash only. ¢ 

Pelican’s SnoBalls

Harbison/Irmo: 6165 St. Andrews Rd., 803-413-5369, pelicanssnoballs.com. Harbison/Irmo: 1600 Dutch Fork Rd., 803-920-2394. Lexington: 517 N. Lake Dr., 803-206-7710. West Columbia: 442 Meeting St., 803-917-1316. New Orleans-style shaved ice. Yes, it’s just frozen flavored sugar water, but it’s ridiculously refreshing and comes in a wide variety of flavors. Openings and hours are seasonal. ¢

Smoothie King

Harbison/Irmo: 945-G Lake Murray Blvd., 803-407-2555, smoothieking.com. Lexington: 5336-C Sunset Blvd., 803-520-2289. Dozens of yummy combinations perfect for folks working out, losing weight or wanting something cool on a warm day. ¢

Tropical Smoothie Café

Harbison/Irmo: 150-B Harbison Blvd., 803-217-3112, tropicalsmoothie.com.. Lexington: 5166-H Sunset Blvd., 803-356-0318. An array of freshly made smoothies, from the low-fat to the vitamin-packed to the decadent, as well as wraps, flatbreads and sandwiches. Also serves breakfast. ¢ 


Bar Food & Brewpubs

British Bulldog Pub

Harbison/Irmo: 1220 E10 Bowers Pkwy., 803-227-8918, thebritishbulldogpub.com. 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. $

Capital City Bar and Grill

West Columbia/Cayce: 110 McSwain Dr., 803-391-4002. A sports bar and grill inside the Holiday Inn and Suites, this spot has plenty of TVs and plenty of American menu classics. ¢-$ 

Hemingway’s

Harbison/Irmo: 7467 St. Andrews Rd., 803-749-6020, hemingwaysmusicpub.com. Serves 25 different sandwiches, as well as buffalo wings. Casual atmosphere befits T-shirts and suits alike. Daily lunch specials. Great place for live music. ¢ 

Henry’s Grill and Bar

West Columbia/Cayce: 2108 State St., 803-661-8494, henrysgrillandbar.com. A comfortable neighborhood bar with delicious burgers, fried pickles and tons of drink specials. Cayce location is the third Midlands location for Henry’s. The Sunday brunch rocks. ¢-$

Keg Cowboy Lexington 2019

Keg Cowboy

Keg Cowboy

Lexington: 108 E. Main St., 803-957-2337, facebook.com/KegCowboy.Pretty awesome craft beer bar and eatery in downtown Lexington. Rotating specials include house-smoked meats, homemade bread, tasty sandwiches, veggies. $

Krafty Draft

Lexington: 269 Charter Oak Rd., 803-996-0345, kraftydraft.com. Feast on daily specials, sandwiches and snacks while sampling a wide assortment of beers, some brewed in-house. $

Shooey Malone’s

Lexington: 1605 N. Lake Dr., 803- 520-8604. Pizza, sandwiches, live music and more at this family-friendly bar and grill. $

Lucky’s Burger Shack 

Harbison/Irmo: 7811 Broad River Rd., 803-749-0048. Hand-pattied burgers aren’t the only thing on offer at this dive bar: Daily specials run the American-Southern gamut, from pork chops with rice and gravy to big fried seafood platters. ¢-$ 

New Brookland Tavern

West Columbia/Cayce: 122 State St., 803-791-4413. newbrooklandtavern.com. Haven for live music has a small but well-crafted sandwich menu. $

O'Haras Lexington

O'Hara's Public House

O’Hara’s Public House

Lexington: 131 E Main St., 803-785-4025. oharas-public-house.com. Robust pub menu features traditional Irish fare, American bar food and more. $

Old Mill Brew Pub

Lexington: 711 E. Main St., 803-785-2337, oldmillbrewpub.net. Craft beer? Made on site at a former cotton mill? In downtown Lexington? Yes, Old Mill is doing all this and more — and also serving up some fine, creative bar fare. $

RF’s Corner Grill

Lexington: 712 West Main St., 803-490-7800. Stacked burgers, duck fat fries, brunch, a bar — good stuff. $

Steel Hands Brewery

West Columbia/Cayce: 2350 Foreman St. steelhandsbrewing.com. Massive brewery operation has a robust menu, chill setting and plenty of beer to wash it down with. $

Tipsy Toad Tavern

Chapin: 103 Beaufort St., 803-932-4470, thetipsytoad.com. Good beer selection, American plates, bar food and much more at this beloved Chapin music pub. ¢-$ 

Vella’s Restaurant & Tavern

West Columbia/Cayce: 829 Knox Abbott Dr., 803-796-4629, vellasonline.com. From wings to pork chops, Vella’s has downhome cooking, bar classics and even a kids’ menu. The Monday all-you-can-eat-crab leg nights are legendary. ¢-$


Bistro/New American

@116 Espresso & Wine Bar

West Columbia/Cayce: 116 State St., 803-791-5663, 116state.com. Combines a chill coffee-shop atmosphere with great wine and food. Specials range from soups to seafood to steaks to specialty pizzas, many with Mediterranean and Southern influences. Fabulous Spanish wines, and a famed White Russian menu. Popular brunch spot, too. $

Bistro on the Boulevard

Harbison/Irmo: 1085-D Lake Murray Blvd., 803-369-1332, bistroontheblvd.com. Upscale Southern classics like Lowcountry crab dip and shrimp and grits meet bistro offerings like fancy stuffed pork chops and an Asian salmon burger. $

Copper River Grill

Harbison/Irmo: 1230 Bower Pkwy., 803-749-4647, copperrivergrill.com. Specializes in a little bit of everything — grilled seafood, chicken and steak dishes, sandwiches and burgers and oven-baked pizzas. $

Terra

West Columbia/Cayce: 100 State St., 803-791-3443, terrasc.com. Chef Mike Davis brings together top-quality Southern ingredients and classic European techniques to make creative, original fare — 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 sample a brick-oven pizza. $$


Café & Coffee House

Café Strudel

Lexington: 309 S. Lake Drive, cafestrudel.com. West Columbia/Cayce: 300 State St., 803-794-6634. Casual, bohemian-style restaurant offers soups, salads, sandwiches, grill items and coffees. Also hosts a legendary Sunday brunch. Lexington location set to open soon. ¢

the haven coffeehouse Lexington 2019

The Haven Coffee House

The Haven Coffee House

Lexington: 121 E. Main St., 803-356-1402, thehavencoffeehouse.com. Downtown Lexington has a hangout. Serves tasty breakfast and lunch, desserts. ¢


Cajun

Private Property

Lexington: 220 West Main St., 803-399-8085, privatepropertysc.com. 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. Laidback sports bar vibe. $


Caribbean/Latin

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. Part Caribbean restaurant — jerk chicken, mojo pork, steamed cabbage — and part sandwich shop — cheesesteaks, french dips and more. $

Locos 4 Chicken

Lexington: 2361-A Augusta Hwy., 803-785-5024. locos4chicken.com. Peruvian combos featuring that addictive rotisserie chicken, plus beer, wine, salads, desserts. ¢


Chinese

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 E’Rolls. ¢

Sun Ming

Harbison/Irmo: 7509 St. Andrews Rd., 803-732-4488, sunmingrestaurant.com. For the most authentic Chinese dining in the Midlands, order off the traditional Chinese menu, which features such dishes as chicken feet with black mushrooms or spicy chicken ding. On the other hand, also offers plenty of orange chicken and beef-and-broccoli to satisfy all your Chinese-American desires. $

Tea Pot Chinese Restaurant

West Columbia/Cayce: 829 Knox Abbott Dr., 803-796-7136, teapot-columbia.com. Classic Chinese restaurant is a standby. Dine in, takeout and delivery available. ¢ 


Deli 

Cribb’s Sandwich & Sweet Shop

Lexington: 108-D S. Church St., 803-808-6004. Touting sandwiches and food like grandma used to make, here you’ll find an assortment of reasonably priced sandwich baskets and salads, homemade soups and breakfast entrées. A big spot for pimento cheese. ¢ 

The Deli

Lexington: 821 E Main St., 803-957-3120, newlexdeli.com. Subs, salads and more at this low-key spot. ¢

Groucho’s

Harbison/Irmo: 800 Lake Murray Blvd., 803-749-4515, grouchos.com. Lexington: 117 1/2 East Main St., 803-356-8800. West Columbia/Cayce: 2265 Sunset Blvd., 803-796-7826. Open in Five Points since 1941, Groucho’s is a beloved lunchtime meeting place for the students and businesspeople of Columbia — and there are locations across the Midlands now. The Apollo and the STP Dippers are locally famous for good reason. ¢

Steve’s Deli

West Columbia/Cayce: 1471 Platt Springs Rd., 803-791-9222. West Columbia/Cayce: 748 Main St. (South Congaree), 755-7470. Great local sub place — why go corporate when you can get local that’s even better? Serving Columbians since 1980. ¢ 


Greek/Mediterranean/Middle Eastern

Ariana’s Greek Restaurant

West Columbia/Cayce: 1720 Sunset Blvd., 803-796-4430, arianasofwestcolumbia.com. 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. $

Grecian Gardens

West Columbia/Cayce: 2312 Sunset Blvd., 803-794-7552, greciangardenssc.com. Greek restaurant for the ages. Signature dish is the pasticchio, which the chef accentuates with such extra seasonings as cinnamon and bay leaf. Lots of desserts. Good place for large groups. ¢-$ 

Mediterranean Café

Lexington: 327 W. Main St., 803-356-6294. medcafelexsc.com. Opened by the brother of the Mediterranean Tea Room in Shandon, the Mediterranean Café brings the same authentic and reasonably priced cuisine to Lexington. Menu includes specials featuring fresh seafood and meats, plus Greek salads, tabbouleh, hummus, baba ghannouj, falafel and the usual gyros, pita wraps and kabobs. ¢-$ 

Zorba’s Family Greek Restaurant

Harbison/Irmo: 6169 St. Andrews Rd., 803-772-4617, greekband.com/zorbas.htm. Longtime Columbia institution serving classic Greek salads and pizzas. Generous portions, family friendly atmosphere. ¢ 


Indian

Saffron

West Columbia/Cayce: 1607 Fairlane Dr., 803-931-3104, saffronwestcolumbiasc.com. Modest Indian restaurant offers a menu of favorites, well seasoned and prepared. Excellent naan, tandoori. Menu includes some Chinese and Mexican items. ¢-$


Italian

Alodia’s Cucina Italiana

Harbison/Irmo: 2736 North Lake Dr., 803-781-9814, alodias.com. Lexington: 101 W. Main St., 803-957-1986. Classy Italian dining, from the favorites (fettucine alfredo, manicotti, veal piccata) to the fancy (seafood risotto, pork ribeye). $

Al’s Upstairs

West Columbia/Cayce: 304 Meeting St., 803-794-7404, alsupstairsitalian.com. Italian fine dining since 1979. Lobster bisque is served with a popular puff pastry dome that locks in flavors and aromas. Offers fresh fish, veal, pasta and steaks with nice service and a beautiful view of Columbia’s skyline. $$

Bellacino’s Pizza & Grinders

Harbison/Irmo: 1085 Lake Murray Blvd., 803-407-4884. Lexington: 5339 Sunset Blvd., Hwy. 378, 803-957-6767. Generous portions of hearty Italian pizza and grinders. Affordable prices, friendly staff and consistent quality keep this popular restaurant full. ¢

Delucca’s

West Columbia/Cayce: 2275 Sunset Blvd., 803-926-5255, deluccas.com. Italian eatery featuring traditional favorites such as chicken and veal parmesan and primavera in addition to veal piccata and stuffed eggplant. Also includes pasta, ravioli, pizza, calzone and strombolis. $

Travinia Italian Kitchen

Lexington: 5074 Sunset Dr., 803-957-2422, traviniaitaliankitchen.com. A fine dining Italian eatery with a bit of Southern spice to give the menu a unique flair. Crab cakes are big and fluffy, entrees are excellent across the board and soups are particularly good. Swank bar. $-$$


Japanese/Sushi

Ganbei

Lexington: 5580-F Sunset Blvd., 803-808-1618, ganbeirestaurants.com. Swanky 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. $

Miyabi Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar

Harbison/Irmo: 442 Columbiana Dr., 803-407-1264. Two restaurants in one — sit under the blue, vaulted ceiling in the sushi bar or make friends around a communal teppanyaki table on the steakhouse side. ¢-$$ 

Tsunami

Harbison/Irmo: 1290 Bower Pkwy., 803-407-3873, tsunamicompany.com. Trendy, chic sushi bar and restaurant with elegant, contemporary atmosphere and ample seating areas to complement extensive sake, wine and beer selection. $


Mexican/Southwestern

Casa Oaxaca Mexican Restaurant

West Columbia/Cayce: 2410 Augusta Rd., Suite H, 803-497-6945. Tasty Mexican food, from classic combination plates to rarer specialties. $

Chapala Mexican Restaurant

Lexington: 1792 S. Lake Dr., 803-957-0840. Irmo: 7001 St. Andrews Rd., 803-749-7071. Mexican-American and border region specialties, from fajitas to chilaquiles to fish tacos, plus the combination platters you’d expect. Lots of tortas (sandwiches) if you’ve got a big lunch appetite. $

La Estrella

West Columbia/Cayce: 1921 Airport Blvd., 803-739-6520. 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. Also includes a butcher and a deli counter. ¢-$ 

La Fiesta

West Columbia/Cayce: 1220 Charleston Hwy., 803-796-7004. A full menu of Mexican dishes. Senior citizen discounts. ¢ 

El Jimador

Lexington: 5343 Sunset Blvd., 803-808-0601. eljimadorrestaurante.com. Mexican street food meets bar food meets Mexican-American classics. $

El Mariachi 

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

Manny’s Chamoyadas

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 fun Mexican snacks, plus banana splits and milkshakes. A great stop for the family, or a date that’s not at a bar. ¢

Marisqueria 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. $

El Poblano

Chapin: 2371 Dutch Fork Rd., 803-407-5784. Affordable Mexican-American favorites — plus some great big margaritas — make El Poblano a social hub for the town of Chapin. $

San Jose Mexican Restaurant

Batesburg-Leesville: 410 E Columbia Ave., 803-332-0001. Harbison/Irmo: 10618 Broad River Road, 803-667-9107. Lexington: 115 Northpoint Dr., 803-957-9443. Lexington: 4710 Augusta Road, 803-957-5171. Lexington: 1475 Old Orangeburg Rd, 803-808-0767. Lexington: 851 Highway 378 Suite 105, 803-490-9312. West Columbia/Cayce: 121 Dreher Road, 803-661-9969. Midlands family chain offers a vast array of combination and specialty platters. Happy Hour and lunch specials also available. ¢ 


Pizza

Libby’s of Lexington

Lexington: 116 West Main St., 803-520-4689, libbysoflexington.com. Family-owned Lexington eatery features gourmet pizzas and calzones, plus an array of sandwiches, wraps and apps, all using local meat and seafood whenever possible. ¢ 

Mellow Mushroom

Lexington: 5364 Sunset Blvd., 803-359-0778, mellowmushroomcolumbia.com. A popular lunch and dinner spot, Mellow Mushroom serves 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. $

Nick’s House of Pizza

West Columbia/Cayce: 1082-A Sunset Blvd., 803-794-9240, nickshouseofpizzarestaurant.com. In the classic Greek-food-and-pizza mold, Nick’s serves up baked pasta dishes, Greek sandwiches and subs, and assorted strombolis and pizzas. Try the Greek pizza with feta, tomatoes, onions and gyro meat. $ 

Papa Gio’s

Harbison/Irmo: 7210 Broad River Rd., Suite Q, 803-661-4467. Lexington: 109-J Old Chapin Rd., 803-785-7200. New York style pizzas and Italian food for the whole family. $

The Pompeii Oven

Chapin: 912 Chapin Rd., 803-445-1376, thepompeiioven.com. Super-authentic rustic Italian pizzas, bottomless mimosas, live music — this place has everything. $

Ray’s Pizzeria and Ice Cream Shoppe

Lexington: 5140-E Sunset Blvd., 803-951-0051, rayspizzaandicecream.com. Like the name says, Ray’s serves up pizza — both a Neapolitan thin-crust version and a Sicilian thick-crust version — and ice cream. It also serves up Italian favorites like eggplant parmigiana and cannoli. ¢-$ 

Tony’s Pizzalicious

West Columbia/Cayce: 975 Knox Abbott Dr., 803-794-5469, tonyspizzalicious.com. Opened in 1967 and formerly called simply Tony’s Pizza, this joint has served generations of Lexington County residents. Offers pastas, calzones, pizza, salads and sandwiches, plus Italian-American faves like eggplant parmigiana and baked spaghetti. ¢-$ 


Seafood

Catch 22

Chapin: 223 Columbia Ave., 803-345-7778. Seafood of all sorts, from shrimp and grits to sushi. Burgers and other options for the landlubbers. $ 

Poke Bros

Lexington: 5225 Sunset Blvd., 803-638-1518, eatpokebros.com. Fast casual poke restaurant — you create your own bowl topped with marinated fresh fish or other Hawaiian-inspired delectables. 


Steakhouse

Rioz Brazilian Steakhouse

Harbison/Irmo: 410 Columbiana Dr., 803-708-3151, rioz.com. Giant skewers stacked with meat and a massive salad bar — and you can have as much of it as you want. $$


Thai

Mai Thai

West Columbia/Cayce: 2249 Sunset Blvd., 803-939-4795, maithais.com. Not just a great Thai restaurant, but also a bubble tea cafe and Asian bakery. Restaurant features Thai classics such as spring rolls, stuffed chicken wing appetizers and a host of noodle and rice dishes and entrees such as rainbow duck, whole red snapper and a host of curries. Also offers reasonably priced lunch special entrees. $

Bodhi Thai

Lexington: 126 E. Main St., 803-957-1994, bodhithaidining.com. Classy Thai with a twist in downtown Lexington. Classics like pad thai with shrimp and green papaya salad are joined by items like a filet mignon in red curry or pork belly steamed buns. $


Vietnamese

Golden Chopstix

West Columbia/Cayce: 1505 Charleston Hwy., 803-791-0206. Serves Thai and Vietnamese dishes. This quiet, tucked away restaurant is a pleasant surprise; the decor is tasteful and simple, and the service is excellent. Dishes are prepared fresh when they are ordered — even the curry. Also serves sushi. ¢

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