When you finally get to go out to eat, it’s hard to pick where to go in Columbia because there are many great restaurants right down the street. It can be stressful to decide on a place when your boyfriend wants to go out, a high school friend comes for the weekend, or your parents drop in to visit. I frequently find myself going to the same restaurants over and over again, but it’s fun to try something new, especially when figuring out the right place to treat yourself with your family or friends.
Great for date nights:
- Kampai – $$$
Great atmosphere here. I like sitting in the middle section of the restaurant where one person can sit on the booth side and the other can sit in a chair. Or the upstairs has a loungy vibe with couches and low tables, which is great for happy hour. Kampai always plays good, upbeat music, and the interior design inside is clean and sleek. Makes me feel like I’m in a city somewhere else. I like ordering a miso soup to start out and then sharing two or three sushi rolls with my date.
- Trey’s restaurant – $$$
A little more on the pricey side, but if you’re looking for a quiet, private restaurant to have a romantic night I’d try out Trey’s. It’s next to the Blue Note and has a great atmosphere inside with exposed brick on the walls and European looking water jugs on the tables. I’d recommend splitting mussels and one of their fancy pizzas. Or if you’re both getting entrees, the scallops and the rabbits are both really wonderful.
- Booches – $$
A great option if you’re looking for something more casual. Booches has an old timey character, and there are pool tables if you feel like playing a round or two after dinner. It’s very laid back at Booches – they don’t even have plates, just a simple slip of wax paper. You can order a burger with chips and a soda for a few dollars. Let me warn you, this restaurant is cash only though.
Get your parents to take you here:
- Sycamore – $$$
Such a great, local restaurant to eat with your parents. They have high quality food and a great for you and your parents. I’d recommend starting out with the beet salad – it’s very light and fresh. The scallops, filet, and trout are all really excellent – actually you can’t really go wrong at this restaurant – everything is amazing.
- Wine Cellar and Bistro – $$$
This local restaurant is truly breathtaking. If you are looking for a quiet, low-key place to go out to eat with just you and your parents – this restaurant cannot be beat. Wine Cellar always has fresh, seasonal, organic ingredients in their dishes. I am blown away by the way the head chef puts plates together in a unique and delicious way.
Where to go on a Friday night with friends:
- Bangkok Gardens – $$
This restaurant is my favorite place to go on a Friday night. Bangkok serves Thai food and has a great atmosphere. They offer a variety of Thai dishes that are easy to split with others. Lots of stir-fry and noodle dishes. I recommend starting off the meal sharing the Samosas appetizers, then splitting the Phat Thai or Demon Chicken.
- Flatbranch Pub & Brewery- $$
Amazing variety of food here. Burgers, pastas, entrees, pizzas, sandwiches, appetizers, soups, and salads. A personal favorite of mine is the pub-style meal called Bangers and Mash. The chicken sandwich is also really good.
- Addison’s – $$
Another all-American styled restaurant with appetizers, entrees, salads, pastas, sandwiches, burgers, and pizzas. The nachos bianco appetizer is to die for and could be it’s own meal in and of itself.
Sunday afternoon brunch:
- Cafe Berlin – $$
My personal favorite place to go for brunch on a Sunday. It’s fun to catch up with friends about what happened over the weekend while eating some delicious, local food. They have a unique menu with interesting breakfast combinations you never would have thought of. Like the “starving artist,” which includes biscuits, potatoes, veggies, eggs, and gravy. Their egg’s benedict is fantastic and so are their breakfast rancheros.
- Ernie’s Cafe – $
Good luck getting a table – this place is so great for breakfast. It’s worth the wait though. Plus it’s only about a block away from Stephens. Ernie’s has diner-style breakfast food. They also have great breakfast specials – some only costing about $6.
- Main Squeeze – $$
Main Squeeze’s breakfast burritos and sunrise quesadillas are great, healthy options for brunch. I like going with one of my friends, and we split the breakfast burrito and then we each get our own smoothie or fresh squeezed juice.