shrimp and grits

10 Columbus Dishes You Have to Try

Columbus’ food scene is booming. Every month, new restaurants open, new menus pop up and new local produce comes into season. No matter what time of year you visit Columbus, here are our picks (in no particular order) for iconic Columbus dishes that will knock your socks off. Here th

1. Rye Croissant with House-made Jam at Pistacia Vera – There are dozens of dishes Pistacia Vera does better than anyone else, but the most unique among them is the rye croissant. Light and airy with a delicious texture and whole-grain flavor, they are topped with a sprinkling of caraway seeds. Ask for it warm with a side of berry jam (and a latte) and you’ve got a perfect start to your day.

2. Zucchini Pronto at Basi Italia - Tucked inconspicuously in an alley in Victorian Village, Basi can be a challenge to find. Once you’re there, the coziness envelops you. The zucchini pronto is the perfect start to any meal there – barely-cooked matchsticks of zucchini are coated in almonds slow cooked in olive oil, bright lemon and fresh parsley and covered in delicate sheets of aged pecorino.

bahama mama3. Spicy Bahama Mama at Schmidt’s Sausage Haus – This is old-school Columbus right here. Schmidt’s is known for its sausage and its cream puffs, but the very best thing on the menu is this spicy pork sausage. Garlic and cayenne lend a unique flavor, and a good smear of Schmidt’s own mustard is the perfect accompaniment.

4. Shrimp and Grits at G. Michael’s – Low Country cuisine is a forte for this German Village bistro, and Chef David Tetzloff makes the best shrimp and grits this side of Charleston. Plump shrimp are paired with spicy andouille sausage and country ham and topped with a decadent buttery tomato broth. If the weather is amenable, ask for a table on the patio.

5. Northstar Burger at Northstar Cafe – With locations at Easton, the Shorth North and Clintonville, tasting this burger will be easy, and we’ll stake our claim that this is the best veggie burger anywhere. Made of brown rice, a little beet and some secret ingredients and served on a buttered bun with pickles, lettuce and onion, even meat-lovers appreciate the deliciousness of this sandwich.

los guachos6. Tacos al Pastor at Los Guachos Taqueria – Columbus’ taco trucks make national news, and this is one of the best. Find the iconic truck on the west-side or the brick and mortar location at Bethel and Godown.  The $1.50 taco al pastor is the must-try item – pork slow-roasted with pineapple and topped with cilantro and diced onion with a sprinkling of lime – you’ll get back in line for more.

7. Tahiti Blondie at Sugardaddys Sumptuous Sweeties – This is the blondie (brownie without the cocoa) that beat Bobby Flay on his Food Network show Throwdown. These treats are laden with bits of coconut, pineapple, chocolate chunks and cashews and every bit is gooey because the edges are trimmed off (and sold at the counter as “pocket change.”)

8. Huevos Rancheros at Tasi Cafe – For a heartier breakfast, Tasi in the Short North is your pick. The huevos rancheros are elevated beyond the traditional and the result is delicious. Two poached eggs sit atop a bed of roasted tomato sauce with a slight kick of spice. The dish is garnished with a queso fresco- and black bean-filled tortilla – a definite step above toast!

9. Lamb Burger at Till Dynamic Fare – This burger, made of local Ohio lamb and topped with local chevre represents Till in one dish. The restaurant respects biodynamic practices, and elevates local ingredients above anything else. The result is a lamb burger that beats the best of the beef burgers around.

Vieras10. VierasBarcelona – One of the most-ordered (and for good reason) dishes at this Spanish eatery combines seared scallops with bacon, lima beans and unexpected accoutrements like dates and mushrooms. Ask for a patio table and sip a glass of cava and you’ll be in heaven.

If you think we’ve missed one, snap a pic and tweet it to us @ExpCols or tag us in it on Instagram at @ExperienceColumbus!

  • smoosh

    Clintonvile. Hah!

  • KatherineM025

    Columbus is a tiny town of several blocks extending only as far north as the Short North and no further south than German Village. That’s the message I get when read “Experience Columbus”, and why I now rarely come here. These are overcrowded areas with extremely limited access and parking, and thoughtless about the needs of the elderly and disabled, and those with them.
    How about focusing sometimes upon other great places, with parking, that are easier for ‘the rest of us’, and not just the Columbus fashion set.

  • Joe Vargo

    Columbus is the largest city in Ohio – by far, and the 15th largest in the United States. We are proud of our downtown core and the great restaurants you can find there. Many of the restaurants listed offer valet service.

  • John Mark McCollum

    Fish tacos at Las Aguachiles.

  • John Mark McCollum

    Salty. Caramel.

  • AnthonyRodriguez

    How about a patacón from El Arapazo? That thing is amazing with fish or pork! And with locations downtown and in Gahanna, you can get your fix in and out of Columbus.

  • thatgirl

    One of the best dishes in Columbus for sure!! I love it with tilapia! Oh, and the green sauce…..

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  • Deanna Carrigan

    I was on a business trip to Columbus in the early nineties. We went to a German restaurant. I believe it was Schmidt’s. We had these pretzel pieces for an appetizer that were so totally addictive that most of us ended up taking home our entrees because we had made such pigs of ourselves on the pretzel chunks. It seems like they were soft pretzel chunks broiled with a butter honey mustard sauce. I have looked for a recipe for them for years. Can anyone help me out?

  • Joseph Vargo

    Hi Deanna,

    That was definitely Schmidt’s! They are deep fried and served with honey mustard. You will have to come back for a taste!

  • Skreech

    Shaddup… Jesus, people wil complain about anything

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