1. Feed Your Soul At Minnie’s Uptown
Source: Yelp user Alexis T.
Minnie’s Uptown Restaurant
104 8th St
4.5 Stars – 39 Reviews
Since we’re talking Georgia food, how disappointing would it be if we didn’t deliver some brilliant, rib-sticking soul food cooking? Good thing the extraordinary Minnie’s Uptown exists, so we can avoid such a scenario.
In a cafeteria-style dining space under a chalkboard that features the day’s offerings, the team at Minnie’s Uptown serves up everything you’d expect from a place that does buttery, cheesy, and deep-fried soul food 100% right: on the side, you’ll find mac n’ cheese, collard greens, biscuits and gravy, and more. Sweet tea to drink and a slice of pie to finish are good bets too.
But the most popular item at Minnie’s has to be the tender and crunchy fried chicken, juicy and seasoned with love.
2. Next-Level Hushpuppies Await At Ezell’s
Source: Yelp user Ellis B.
Ezell’s Catfish Cabin
4001 Warm Springs Rd
4 Stars – 41 Reviews
If you aren’t familiar with the concept of a hushpuppy (i.e.: your experience travelling in the South is limited to an hour layover in Atlanta) they are essentially fried cornmeal batter balls. Yes, they are as good as they sound.
No place in Columbus does the Southern delicacy better than Ezell’s Catfish Cabin, a homey, low key fish shack, where the sweet and savory puppies get in additional kick from infused jalapenos. Best of all, alongside homemade slaw, the hushpuppies are totally complementary.
As the name would imply there’s also catfish. Succulent, deep-fried, masterfully seasoned catfish. But after diligently working through your free starters, you might just end up taking your main course home.
3. Get Your Sushi Fix at Sumo
Source: Yelp user Ted C.
5751 Milgen Rd
4.5 – 18 Reviews
The Georgia/Alabama area isn’t exactly synonymous with top quality sushi and Japanese eats, but Sumo cuts against the area’s tradition for barbecue and Southern fried food with their affordable sushi specialties.
This mom and pop-style sushi shop, a bit off the beaten path on Milgen Road, serves up sushi and other Japanese dishes with care, including Bento Boxes, which let patrons sample sushi and sashimi alongside street-style Japanese meat dishes like spicy chicken and sesame beef.
For a next-level sushi experience go for one of the VIP rolls, like the Last Samurai, stuffed with fresh spicy salmon and topped off with eel and avocado. Since it’s one of the only sushi games in town, the folks of Columbus are lucky to have an option this good.
4. Get Your Money’s Worth And More At Burt’s Butcher Shoppe
Source: Yelp user Viva C.
Burt’s Butcher Shoppe & Eatery
2932 Warm Springs Rd
4 Stars – 36 Reviews
The words “cheap” and “steak” generally aren’t two words that you want to see paired up. But the family-owned and completely frills free Burt’s will alter your perception of how a far a buck will get you when it comes to steak.
At shy of $17 dollars, Burt’s way tender 10 oz. filet will make you feel damn-near guilty about the pleasure you’re getting compared to the price. For sides, you can’t beat fried okra and mashed potatoes.
5. Embrace Innovation At Epic
Source: Epic Restaurant via Facebook
1201 Front Ave
5 Stars – 29 Reviews
There’s not shortage of cheap and delicious greasy spoon spots on this list. But throw all of those preconceived notions of Columbus-area dining directly out the nearest window when dining at the upscale New American spot, Epic.
Epic’s constantly rotating menu means there are always new and seasonal options from chef Melissa Keating, like pumpkin brulee and vanilla poached lobster tail. But if you ever find yourself in the position to sample their heightened take on shrimp and stone ground grits, seize it. It’s an Epic fan favorite.
Oh, and at Epic, upscale never means “snooty.” Prepare for impeccable service on your guided culinary tour.
6. Go Authentic At La Mexicana
Source: Yelp user Stephen B.
3305 Victory Dr
4.5 Stars – 41 Reviews
Anyone savvy enough to know they’re in the right place for the best authentic Mexican cuisine when they walk into this half-Mexican grocery store half-restaurant is deliciously rewarded. On the menu, you’ll find fresh, authentic takes on Mexican favorites like enchiladas, homemade guac, and burritos.
It’s the Mexican-style tacos, however, that reign supreme on the La Mexicana menu. Served on soft corn tortillas and topped with cilantro and onions, the tacos feature popular Mexican meat choices like chorizo and carne asada. There’s also the less well known, but perhaps even tastier tacos al pastor, featuring a schwarma-like sweet-and-spicy pork meat that makes for a perfect taco centerpiece.
7. Eat All Things Southern And Delicious At The Black Cow
Source: The Black Cow via Facebook
The Black Cow
115 12th St
4 Stars – 56 Reviews
The name implies it might be a chophouse, and while there’s some great beef option on the menu, there’s way more to The Black Cow’s menu than steaks.
Among locals, The Black Cow is one of the most beloved Columbus, Georgia restaurants, and for good reason—inside their 12th Ave. restaurant front, you’ll find everything that’s good about Georgia cooking: seafood, savory grits, steaks, and classic Southern sides like creamed corn, collards and green beans.
For an entree, go for the crunchy tilapia, breaded and browned with bread crumbs and smothered in savory lemon cream sauce, and served with two sides.
8. Find Entertainment And Inspired Entrees At The Loft
Source: Yelp user Frank L.
Downstairs At The Loft
4 Stars – 22 Reviews
When a restaurant doubles as a venue, sometimes the food gets the backburner treatment, and you’re forced to settle for average takes on standards like burgers and chicken sandwiches for too-high prices.
Downstairs at The Loft flips expectations, with affordable-but-inspired gourmet takes on classic dishes like burgers smothered with goat cheese, and tacos served with tempura fried shrimp and a zesty chili glaze.
There’s no shortage of great dinner options, but the house fan favorite is the “unstuffed” chicken, infused with layered with spinach & goat cheese, smothered with lemon butter sauce and served up with a side of roasted red pepper couscous.
9. Go For Deep Fried Everything At Skipper’s
Source: Yelp user Gillian G.
3505 Buena Vista Rd
4.5 Stars – 23 Reviews
Skipper’s is one of those places that leaves you with no choice but to put calorie counting on hold for a meal. You’re going to get a lot of delicious Southern food and almost everything on your plate is going to be deep fried. Tomatoes? Shrimp? Alligator? It’s all going into the fryer and coming out delicious.
But at Skipper’s, which features no-frills cafeteria-style dining space, deep-fried catfish is the main attraction. Dip it liberally into the spicy tartar sauce, and you absolutely can’t go wrong. And best of all of this Southern fried goodness is served up by Skipper, himself.
10. Pho Vy II Is Perfect For Entry-Level Vietnamese Eaters And Diehards Alike
Source: Yelp user Ellis B.
Pho Vy II
5300 Sidney Simmons Blvd
4 Stars – 37 Reviews
If you’ve never had pho (pronounced “fuh”), it’s a Vietnamese soup, and a standalone meal on it’s own. It starts with a meat-based broth—at Pho Vy II the phos are beef-based—with huge rice noodles basil, bean sprouts, onions, and other veggies and seasonings. You’ll have a choice of meats, but topping it off with tender and smoky brisket beef is a classic way to enjoy the meal.
Add Pho Vy’s steamed Vietnamese spring rolls and bubble tea and you’ll be good to go. You won’t have room for anything else.
11. Nosh On Amped Up Southern Favorites At Buckhead
Source: Buckhead Bar & Grill via Facebook
Buckhead Bar & Grill
5010 Armour Rd
: 3.5 Stars – 37 Reviews
Buckhead is another Columbus culinary destination that hits all of the area’s food sweet spots, with steak, seafood, and sides that are thoroughly smacked with cream and butter, and thus made wholly delicious.
They also boast one of the area’s best brunches, with a menu that includes grits dishes and, yes, that perfect Southern marriage of breakfast and lunch: chicken and waffles.
But maybe their best meal-melding creation is their open-faced brisket sandwich, which combines tender beef brisket with onion, garlic, and a gloriously runny sunny side up egg on top.
12. Taj Mahal Will Hit The Indian Sweet Spot For Both Vegetarians And Carnivores
Source: Yelp user Ellis B.
Taj Mahal Restaurant
2009 Auburn Ave
4.5 – 32 Reviews
There are a grand total of two Indian restaurants in Columbus, but residents are still spoiled when it comes to authentic Indian cuisine if they hit Taj Mahal every so often. If you’re going for value, the lunch buffet is pretty much an unbeatable option—you’ll be able to stock up on rice and meat biryanis, street-style Indian fried food and piping hot naan.
But dinner, with sides of naan and samosa, is the best way to experience Taj Mahal. Rich and spicy chicken tikka masala and assorted curries are generally the favorite among Americans eating Indian-style. But at Taj Mahal feel free to adventure off the beaten path with the baigan masala, a vegetarian dish that features fried eggplant cooked in a spicy dark sauce.
13. Learn Why The Local BBQ Diehards Trust Smokey Pig
Source: Yelp user Ted C.
Smokey Pig Barbecue
1617 11th Ave
4 Stars – 14 Reviews
Columbus has its fair share of great BBQ options—Macon Road, Clearview, and Peppers are all favorites that locals who take their pits, sauces, and slow-smoked meats quite seriously. But the unassuming-looking Smokey Pig, which has been serving up mustard-based, oak-smoked pork to discerning folks in the Columbus area is constantly ranked among the regions top spots.
You can’t go wrong with the Old Timer’s Plate, featuring dry-pulled chopped pork pieces smothered in the trademark thin mustard sauce that has made Smokey Pig a local institution. There are pickles, homemade vinegar-based slaw and white bread stacked high on the side, to fill out the place, of course.
14. Find Your Spice Level At Chili Thai
Source: Yelp user Ellis B.
5870 Veterans Pkwy
4 Stars – 75 Reviews
Chili Thai cooks up spicy Thai classics with heat levels that aren’t held back for the sake of their American customers.
You’ll find drunken noodles, a variety of tongue decimating curries, and pad see yu—all worth the reasonable price, and served in generous quantities. Your best bet is to start off with the savory tom yum coconut-based soup and move on to the beef pad Thai with some added spice.
You’ve been forewarned: order food with a heat level above “two chilies” at your own risk.
15. Discover Great Jamaican At Mercy’s
Source: Yelp user Somauda D.
Mercy’s Jamaican Kitchen
5753 Milgen Rd
4.5 Stars – 8 Reviews
Jamaican food is one of those ethnic cuisine styles that’s way overdue to take the US by storm. Anyone in Columbus who’s ever stepped inside the totally innocuous six-table Mercy’s Jamaican Kitchen knows the gastronomical delights of the island nation well, where the Jamaican staff lives up to the country’s reputation for friendliness and serves up home-cooked oxtails, beef patties, curries and shrimp in styrofoam containers.
Because all of the food is made fresh to serve, the menu is in a constant state of flux. But if you can get it, Mercy’s all-star dish has to be the Jamaican jerk chicken, rubbed with just the right level of spice and accompanied by ample sides like rice and beans, mac n’ cheese and slaw.
Featured Image Source: Epic Restaurant via Facebook
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