One of the many wonderful things about Columbia is the juxtaposition between the great outdoors and great culture. Where else can you hike in a national park during the day and experience world-class fine dining at night?
Our region’s temperate climate means we have access to farm-fresh ingredients all year, and, boy, do our city’s chefs know how to use them. Take Motor Supply Company Bistro in the Vista, whose menu changes daily based on the ingredients available. Or you can head over to Cola’s, named both as a nod to Columbia’s nickname, Soda City, and for its home in a restored 1930’s RC Cola bottling plant, has some great modern southern dishes. You’ll want to try shrimp and grits and a fried green tomato BLT.
For many of our chef’s, access to fresh ingredients is about more than flavor, it’s about South Carolina pride. Take Tallulah on Devine Street. This establishment focuses on creating dishes that celebrate the heritage of South Carolina and with items like Carolina Heritage pork chops and pan seared wreck fish, you won’t be disappointed. You can also visit Terra in West Columbia and you’ll see the care that the chef puts into sourcing local ingredients and citing where they come from on the menu.
If you want something a little more traditional, we suggest you head over to Five Points and book a private room at Saluda’s. You’ll have the chance to dine on some truly inspired entrees while enjoying a one-of-a-kind view of central Five Points.
When it comes to traditional, Italian always comes to mind. Rosso Trattoria does a wonderful job of creating a fine Italian dining experience in a laid-back atmosphere.
Don’t forget to explore past the city center. We recommend Solstice in the Northeast part of the city. Known for their atmosphere, seasonal menu, and great wine list, they never disappoint.
So, when you’re visiting Columbia don’t forget to pack your jacket and tie, because when it comes to fine dining, this southern town is all grown up.