Columbus, Ohio is a great place for foodies. As an Ohioan (now living in Indiana) I have visited my BFFs in Columbus at least twice a year since around 2010 or so, and have been visiting on and off since 2007-ish. I LOVE THIS CITY. There are countless tasty places to visit, so allow me to provide a run-down to all the great folks visiting for ACPA!
The list will start with closest to the Convention Center and then break down by drive-worthy neighborhoods.
Market Hours: Sunday – Monday: 10am – 5pm | Tuesday – Saturday: 9am – 7pm
Established in 1876, there are 35 merchants inside this bustling building – and most of them are food vendors. You meals can range from $5 snacks to $10+, especially if you create a mini-buffet by cruising different vendors. However, no matter what, North Market is way cheaper than any of the nearby restaurants!
You can download a map [here]. There’s plenty of seating on the second floor! Also – they get very busy on the weekend, so prepare to wait.
I highly recommend:
- Fried chicken & waffles at Taste of Belgium
- Pierogis & mashed potatoes at Polish Kitchen
- Coffee at Stauff’s. I love their full location in Grandview Heights neighborhood and this is also great!
- Lentils and multiple healthy veggie options at Little Eater; their produce stand also sells “buckeye” chocolates!!
- Market & Boar has plenty of mac & cheese, pulled pork, grits, etc!
- Adorable & fancy donuts at Destination Donut!
- Jeni’s Ice Cream, because this is a Cbus staple! #lavendaricecream
- Hot Chicken Takeover sells a limited amount of chicken per day + the owner infuses social justice into his work by hiring folks who previously were incarcerated.
- + really, everything. MMM food!
SHORT NORTH RESTAURANTS
The Short North is a cultural district located exactly north of the Convention Center, along High Street. You’ll find vintage shops galore, plus plenty of restaurants and bars. Be sure to visit the following restaurants:
They have brilliant chocolate, marshmallow, jellie, and min options here. The owners are lovely humans – Michelle & Paul. Michelle (pictured below) makes all the delights herself, and previously lived and sold her products in Europe for 12 years. The chocolate is organic and high quality – try the chocolate bars with dried mango & other fruit or the tea cakes that have the softest and most delicious filling. This spot just opened up 3 months ago and is on the way to North Market – so let’s support them!
This casual Mediterranean restaurant follows the Subway method of ordering – as you move along the line, you will direct all aspects of your final meal. Exceptional taste and the price is reasonable for the Short North (this is a pricey area). It’s fancy fast food where you can build your own – choice of salad, sandwich (pita), or hummus platter. Then you can get lentils, protein/veggies, and an assortment of spiced veggies. Warning: I do not recommend the hummus. The restaurant is built by the grandchild of a Lebanese immigrant and this is supposed to be Lebanese hummus, but speaking as someone who dined regularly back home in Toledo, OH Lebanese restaurants & delis, this hummus tasted terrible to me. But hummus is different according to culture, so you may like it!
Feeling like some cajun/creole? This place offers some tasty options. I’m actually a huge fan of the french bread that comes with every order. As for the entrees, I’ve been pleased with about everything so far!
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream [map] [yelp] – 0.4 miles/8 min walk
Yeah, so if you are in Columbus, you need to eat this ice cream. It’s quite famous and utterly delicious. I highly recommend the buckeye flavor, salted caramel, and lavender. There are a couple dozen rich flavors and you are allowed free samples! Note: They also have a location in the North Market!
DOWNTOWN COLUMBUS RESTAURANTS
Omg yes. This place is tucked away in an alley, but boy is it worth the search. The platanos (plantains) & arepas are amazing. In the midwest, generally the only Latinx restaurants are Mexican, so it’s a treat to have South American cuisine! The focus is on Venezuelan & Columbian dishes. Its only open for lunch Mon-Sat, so take care to make it out here. It get busy, and during high times you can expect a 30-minute wait to be seated (its a small space) so I recommend calling ahead for take-out or ordering online.
I began to love Himalayan food at Anyetsang Little Tibet in Bloomington, IN. The momos (dumplings) are AMAZING. It is seriously worth the drive. Plus, it’s right next to a cool comic book shop, Comic Town!
This place is AMAZING and I totally encourage you to drive to it. Nestled in a strip mall, its one of the best Asian restaurants I’ve been to in the midwest. I know authentic cuisine can be difficult to find and I am no expert, but there were many Asian families dining when I’ve been there. There’s a lot of spice – sometimes actually spicy and other dishes just a lot of flavor. It’s also very affordable My breakdown so far:
- Tiger tofu: perfectly fried and soft inside. Great flavor
- Eggplant entree: alright, but I’m also not a big eggplant fan
- BBQ skewers. Great deal because you have to order two of each type of meat and its between $1-$2 per skewer. The spice on the squid is great and the lamb is good.
- Lamb dumplings: holy cow I’ve had dumplings before but never with lamb!!! So good! 12 smal Dumplings at $8, not bad deal and really amazing.
- Hand made noodles: holy cow it’s so amazing!!!! I could eat their noodles all day!!
- Kimchi: best I’ve ever had. Ever. (but I’m a white girl from Ohio, so take that for what you will)
- Spring rolls: Average but good
Lavash Cafe – [map] [yelp] – 5.9 miles/10 minutes (Clintonville)
This Mediterranean cafe will change you life. Oh, it is SO GOOD. There’s kibbeh, falafel, and amazing hummus. The kabob sandwiches will make you weep with joy. Check out their menu and definitely go there if you can!