I think we can all agree that one of the hardest decisions to make, especially if you are in a group setting, is trying to decide on a place to eat. Whether you’re just visiting in Columbus and looking for a good spot for a night or you’re a native and just looking to try something new, it can be hard to find a genuinely great place to eat when there are so many choices to pick from. Don’t worry, you’re not alone, and I’m here to help. After quite a bit of time researching and trial and error, I have come up with a list of what I believe are the very best places to eat in the Columbus area (so far) based on location, food quality, portion size, service and pricing. Trust me, if anyone knows how to have a cheat meal, take it from the human hanger herself – someone who normally is on a very strict diet and workout regimen 24/7. I know how to cheat.
Breakfast – The Original Pancake House My favorite food of all time is chocolate chip pancakes but I usually only have them once a year on my birthday. However, after visiting the Original Pancake House on West Lane Ave this past year for my 21st, I knew immediately I would need to make room for these pancakes in my diet on a weekly basis. Yes, you could say it was love at first bite. The location is relatively very close to OSU campus, is priced well for the large portion sizes and all of the staff members are very quick and extremely polite. I am beyond satisfied every single time I go there and anxiously look forward to the next time I am going.
Forno Kitchen + Bar – Pizza There was a point in time where I went years without having a single slice of pizza. I know…tragic. I gotta say, the only good thing that came out of my last boyfriend was that he introduced me to this place. The pizza is absolutely unreal, the atmosphere is amazing and whether you are looking for a sit down dinner or a bar scene with some appetizers, this is a great spot to have in your back pocket. Not too pricey with great service, all I can say is thank you ex-boyfriend, next.
Marcellas – Italian Restaurant If you are looking for more than just pizza to satisfy your Italian hunger cravings, Marcellas is without a doubt the best Italian restaurant in Columbus. With one location in the Short North and the other in Polaris, it gives you the option to stay close to home if the weather is ugly or get away from campus if you’re looking for an evening away. Their veal meatball appetizer is a MUST try (seriously, if you go and DON’T order this, it would be a sin) and everything on the menu is lights-out in flavor…not to mention the portion sizes are huge. It averages around a normal price range for an Italian restaurant, nothing too up-scale, and is a very relaxing and beautiful indoor dining spot. They have really quick service as well, always one of the most important requirements of being a top restaurant in my book. I have been here several times, and this place never disappoints. My only complaint, if any, is that the bread they give you to start off with is trash, so opt for the veal meatball instead.
ColdStone – Ice Cream I will never forget first trying ColdStone with a friend of mine years ago up in Cleveland and it is still to this day my all time favorite ice cream place. It is extremely expensive but so worth it every single time. I highly recommend trying their signature creations as that’s what they are known for, but feel free to add your own touches to them as well. My favorite is the peanut butter cup perfection signature creation, but I always do half chocolate ice-cream and half coffee ice cream with a couple of mix-ins. They are very fast with orders and it is sure to satisfy every single time. They also have the option of customizing your own pints, as well as have ice cream cakes, sandwiches, etc. The seating varies depending on the location you visit, but they always have their own parking.
Buckeye Donuts – Donuts People really were not kidding when they say Buckeye Donuts is the best – they are. Unfortunately, this is a very small place and parking would be an issue for people who are not on the Ohio State campus, and the line is extremely long. However, these donuts are worth the hassle, I promise. They’re by far the best donuts I’ve ever had, and it’s very cheap as well. Wait, it’s cheap and has amazing quality? Yeah, I can wait. And I promise you’ll want to as well.
Mr. Sushi – Sushi I think it’s safe to say sushi is always a go-to spot for a variety of occasions…I mean, it’s sushi. However, when sushi is done wrong it can be tragic. I am so thankful I took the chance on trying this little spot on North Hamilton road. Mr. Sushi has a huge menu with creative, fun names and every option is delicious. A beautiful interior design that is big enough to fit a decent crowd but is small enough where the experience feels more personal. I did not feel like I was at risk of being lost in the shuffle like one does when visiting a chain restaurant. Aside from the sushi being the best tasting I have ever had, what really impressed me was the service. If you are newer to sushi or are overwhelmed with the menu, do not hesitate to ask the server for recommendations and take them. All of their staff are experts on the menu and are able to provide great options based on what you are looking for. Oh, and the price is right. I have paid way more for sushi that wasn’t half as good as this was. I am never making that mistake again, and now hopefully neither will you. I will be back soon.
Benihana – Hibachi If you’re not into Italian or you’re looking for a wider spread than just a couple of sushi rolls, Benihana is the place to go for hibachi. Benihana has the best food quality and portion sizing for the price that you will spend at a finer dining setting. Their stellar interior is paired with a staff that knows how to work with the volume of people that come in and out, as they are known for handling larger parties.
Pulp – Smoothies There are few Pulp locations so it may be a bit of a drive depending on where you are, but they have their own parking and it is ten times better than any Berry Blendz or smoothie bar. It’s safe to say that with smoothies, you get what you pay for. If you are looking for the ultimate smoothie with fresh ingredients, this is the place to go. The options are endless…to be completely honest it’s like a smoothie bar on steroids with how big their menu is. But I’m not complaining, if I’m going to pay a pretty penny for a beverage, it better be amazing, right?
Always remember that you should treat your body like a temple and be picky with the foods that you put inside of it. It is also important to remember that life is short and it should not be spent eating mediocre food, so I hope this list helps you the next time you are looking for a good place to eat. Ciao for now!