In Columbia SC, there are more restaurants on tap than there are hours to try them all (we dare you to give it a shot, though!) While you've probably heard the go-to list of fabulous restaurants always recommended to travelers, there are so many local hotspots that may not be on your radar. As usual, we've got you covered. From tried-and-true institutions to new-and-noteworthy additions, these unassuming favorites are more than worth a stop! Pro tip – click on the name of each for exact locations.

Cover Photo Credit: Holly Stewart

The Other Store

The Other Store seem like a convenience store on the outside but take another look and you’ll find a restaurant that locals have been flocking to for 37 years. If you’re lucky enough, you’ll be there for a day they’re serving up a specials like chicken bog or shrimp jambalaya.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Solstice Kitchen

If you're a downtown frequent-flyer, switch it up on your next date night and check out Solstice Kitchen in Northeast Columbia. From the same owner of Mr. Friendly's, this elevated Southern kitchen is sure to keep you coming back for more.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Mathias Sandwich Shop

Famous for Southern classics like pimento cheese, egg salad, and chicken salad sandwiches + a meat and three buffet, Mathias has been a staple for locals for years and sits just outside of downtown in charming Irmo.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Goat’s

Possibly one of the best well-kept secrets in Columbia, Goat’s sits on a side street of Five Points with an eclectic, unexpected vibe. All we have to say here is cheers to Lobster Mac & Cheese and lots of wine options.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The Publick House

No one is making any statements about the best wings in Columbia here - But we can admit that the wing & fry basket at Publick House is a dinner combo for the books. Pair it with a Franziskaner brew and a lemon and tell them we sent you.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Moctezumas Taqueria

There’s a lot of Mexican to choose from in this great city, and while Moctezumas is hidden away between neighborhoods, you can still expect a bit of a wait for dinner. Don’t worry, though, they will make sure you are set with a margarita in hand upon arrival. Locals love the expansive Huaraches and Fajitas sections of the menu.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Schooner’s Bar and Grill

Sitting right off the Lake Murray dam in Irmo, Schooner’s is a watering hole for anyone looking for a laid-back lake atmosphere. They host live music almost every weekend and have a surprising diverse food menu. Think Siracha Ranch Tacos, Philly Cheesesteak Nachos, and a Black Bean Jalapeno Burger.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Rosewood Dairy Bar

While it may seem like sweet treats are their specialty, you would be remiss in not trying a cheeseburger from Rosewood Dairy Bar in the Rosewood neighborhood. We won’t judge if you order an ice cream cone on the side, but please, don’t skip the sprinkles.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The Pizza Joint

Located on Forest Drive, The Pizza Joint is a spot you might pass by if you’re in a hurry, but trust us, you will have regrets if you do. Pick a specialty slice like the Hippie Heaven or go all out with a large cheeseburger pie for the table. You would be remiss not to try the Oven Baked Wings to start.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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No Name Deli

No Name Deli is a check or cash only type of place, but it’s worth the extra step. We recommend checking out the menu before you go if you want to look like a regular, but you can’t go wrong with any of their (large) salad options – the Greek is a favorite to many.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Momma Rabbits Nibbles & Sips

Momma Rabbits is a Lexington gem that has stemmed from eight siblings learning how to grow crops organically and cook fresh meals with that Southern twang. They’re serving up weekend brunch, light nibbles, traditional dinners, and distinctive desserts.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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BLD Diner

Tucked into Trenholm Plaza, you may think BLD Diner specializes in breakfast or strictly diner foods, but it’s got a killer menu for every meal of the day, plus specials that follow the season (ahem, soft shell crab).

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The Mouse Trap

Previously owned by former Gamecock football great, Bill Jerry, The Mouse Trap has recently reopened in its original, tucked away location in the Forest Acres neighborhood. It focuses on a local ingredient-focused menu with hard-to-beat bar specials.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Higher Ground Char House

Higher Ground is a craft burger shop with a laid-back attitude, located in Chapin. Order up something daring like the Death by Bacon or get a little fancy with the Swamp Monster. Pro tip – you can sub the burger for a portabella cap.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Alodia’s Cucina Italiana

With two locations, this little Italian favorite has been getting a lot of buzz for its authentic style. Find your favorite dish in Lexington or Irmo – you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into Old Italy as you walk in the door.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The Kraken Gastropub

With a healthy dose of live music and craft brews, you can bet The Kraken is fueled by the locals and a rollicking good time. Stop in for some true hospitality and the Lobster Grilled Cheese and you’ll fit in in no time.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Tacos Nayarit

A cult-favorite of taco-addicts, this hole-in-the-wall Mexican eatery is one for the books. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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