Whether they’re Asian or Italian-inspired, there’s no better comfort food than a heaping bowl of warm noodles. Here in Columbia, SC, you’ll find crave-worthy noodles all across town, and we’ve rounded up some of the best that you’d be remiss not to try. Keep reading to find your new go-to dish!
Kao Thai – Drunken Noodles
If you find yourself in the Vista, pop into Kao Thai, located in an old fire station that served as Columbia’s fire department headquarters for 44 years. The Drunken Noodles are a must-order, but once you try them, you’ll have a hard time not coming back for more. Covered in their Sweet n’ Spicy Garlic Sauce, these noodles are topped with onions, bell peppers, carrots, fresh Thai basil leaves, and your choice of protein, including chicken, beef, fried tofu, shrimp. Pair it with the Roti and Curry or the Crispy Brussel Sprouts for a 10/10 meal.
Di Vino Rosso – SC Shrimp Scampi
Located in a historic 1920s building, Di Vino Rosso is a fine-dining spot serving up traditional Italian dishes with local twists. The SC Shrimp Scampi features garlic, shallots, Roma tomato, capers, and mouth-watering lemon butter. Pair it with a glass from their extensive wine list, and cheers to the perfect date night.
Duke’s Pad Thai – Noodle Bar
Duke’s Pad Thai in Cayce is a local favorite when it comes to noodles. If you’re not sure what to order off the menu, you can craft your own Thai creation with their Noodle Bar. Start by choosing your base, with options ranging from Spicy Curry and Miso to even a vegan option called the Vegan Tom Yum. Next, select roast pork, shrimp, chicken, beef meatballs, or tofu as your protein. Last but not least, choose between Japanese udon, ramen, or a gluten-free option for your noodles, and voila! You have yourself a one-of-a-kind bowl of noodles!
Villa Tronco – Eggplant Parmigiana
Not only is Villa Tronco noteworthy for being South Carolina’s oldest restaurant, but their pasta dishes are known by visitors and locals alike. Make your way to the historic building in the Main Street district and ask for the Eggplant Parmigiana, featuring layers of lightly breaded eggplant, parmesan, tomato sauce, and topped with melted mozzarella cheese. While you wait for this delicious main, get the flavor party started with an order of the Calamari or Italian Eggrolls.
Bodhi Thai – Pad Thai
Craving classic Pad Thai? Then Bodhi Thai in Lexington is your spot. Take bliss in a bowl of warm rice noodles with scallions, roasted peanuts, tamarind sauce, fish sauce, eggs, your choice of protein, served with a side of bean sprouts, dried chili, and a lime wedge. If you manage to save room for dessert, treat yourself to the Taro Custard, perfectly created with coconut sugar, toasted meringue, and honey tuile.
I Heart Mac & Cheese – Short Rib Philly Mac
New to the capital city, I Heart Mac & Cheese is a mac-lovers dream. Located in Northeast Columbia, they specialize in made-to-order macaroni and cheese and grilled cheese sandwiches with surprising twists. One of those twists is the Short Rib Philly Mac, which features savory short rib, red onion, mushrooms, and Muenster cheese. Can’t choose between mac & cheese or grilled cheese? Then don’t, because you can have the best of both worlds (literally, the sandwich is called the Best of Both World) with mac & cheese in a grilled cheese.
929 Kitchen & Bar - Japchae
If you’re looking for authentically crafted Korean cuisine, you’ll find it at 929 Kitchen & Bar in the Vista. The Japchae is a must-try with wok-fried potato starch noodles served with red and green bell peppers, onion, scallion, carrot, your choice of protein, and you can customize the heat with mild, medium, or spicy. Order up the Kimchi Cheese Fries or Edamame as a starter to complete your meal.
Lula Drake – Wine & Pasta Collab Nights
Every Wednesday, Lula Drake keeps us on our toes by whipping up new and unique creations for their Wine & Pasta Collab Night. Chef Rachael Harrison and Chef Pierce Bowers of Dorsia Pasta Co. have teamed up to grace us with mouth-watering dishes like Dutch Fork Pumpkin Bucatini Carbonara with Taleggio Mousse, and Fresh Taleggio and Potato Puree Cappellacci with Iberico Ham Cream. Availability is limited, so you’ll want to get there early if you want to get a bite of their next pasta masterpiece.
Menkoi Ramen House – Spicy Ramen
After getting a taste of Menkoi Ramen House, you'll never want to go back to the microwave ramen you became accustomed to eating in college. Try a classic like their Spicy Ramen with yellow noodles in a spicy pork-based soup with marinated pork, fishcake, bean sprouts, spinach, green onions, and boiled egg. Trust us, this generous serving of noodles is kicking with flavor.
Terra – Lamb Mac
You can’t go to Terra in West Columbia without trying their famous Lamb Mac. Once you take a bite of the noodles blended with smoked lamb shoulder, poblano pepper, goat cheese, and fontina, you’ll quickly get what all the hype is about. Pair it will a Charcuterie & Cheese Board or Fried Gulf Oysters and a bottle of wine to pass around the table.
Did we miss your favorite noodle dish? Tell us in the comments and be sure to explore more of Columbia SC's food scene over on our restaurants page.