Best Restaurants

Out of all the restaurants in a city, 10Best narrows the options to those places with the most appeal and the best reputations. We offer carefully vetted selections to let you explore Columbus dining on your own. If time is really tight, though, and you don't have the leisure to look through all our offerings, we present our Columbus Best Restaurants list. Here, we distill the best businesses down to a special selection of ten. These places promise a stellar experience and a taste of the city that you just can't miss.

Mitchell's Steakhouse
Another popular restaurant run by Cameron Mitchell, here he offers lobster, chops, crab cakes, and heavenly mashed potatoes, but perhaps is best known for the dry-aged steak. Ornate high ceilings, soaring wood post and beam architectural detals, wrought iron arches and dramatic lighting add a sophisticated backdrop. The wine list is one of the best in town. (614-621-2333)

Rigsby's Kitchen
Rigsby's describes itself as "Venice meets Columbus in the heart of the Short North" and indeed this is the place to go for an ever-changing menu of seasonal fare inspired by the cuisine of Italy and the Mediterranean. Sip an aperitif or martini, nibble a small plate of empanadas or spicy shrimp bruschetta or go for the full meal and add a cheese course with artisan fromages both imported and local. Each choice is well complemented by the upscale, metropolitan bistro stmosphere and attentive service. (614-461-7888)

Refectory Restaurant and Lounge
For formal dining in Columbus, the top choice is the Refectory, named to the Columbus Dispatch Best Fine Dining list yearly since 1982. In this refurbished, 19th-century country church, French chef Richard Blondin, who studied with Paul Bocuse, presents superb classic and contemporary French cuisine with flawless service and a well-stocked wine cellar that recently received the Wine Spectator Award for Outstanding Wine Cellars. Begin with pheasant terrine or escargot, proceed to duck magret or beef onglet, and top it off with black forest torte or one of the signature crème brulées. (614-451-9774)

Benevolence Cafe
In the artsy Short North district, this vegetarian café offers a peaceful sanctuary from the bustle of city life. The premise is simple-healthy food made from scratch daily and served on rustic community tables. But the hearty soups such as Gypsy vegetable, dense homemade breads such as Grains of the Goddess, and heaping salad plates ensure that simplicity won't leave you hungry for flavor. Top it all off with some of the best cookies, cakes and cinnamon rolls in the city. (614-221-9330)

Columbus Brewing Company
This brewpub stands out for its great food, as well as its beer selection. The dishes on the menu were developed to compliment a variety of handcrafted beers. Pizzas from the wood-fired oven work with the lighter ales, while the chef recommends nut-encrusted fresh catch to go with the popular Nut Brown Ale. When the weather warrants, outdoor dining draws the after-work crowd. Casual attire is fine. (614-464-2739)

G. Michael's Bistro & Bar
Housed in an historic townhouse in German Village, the award-winning G. Michael's is one of Columbus's favorite restaurants. Elegant touches abound in the brick-lined dining room. Feast on seasonal appetizers and entrees that might include steak Tartare with arugula salad and kettle chips, seared jumbo scallops with spicy mashed sweet potatoes, parmesan-breaded fried chicken with polenta. A winner of Wine Spectator's Award of Excellence, their wine list covers it all from the lightest pinot noir to full-bodies cabs to pair with everything. (614-464-0575)

Handke's Cuisine
Certified master chef and local celebrity Hartmut Handke earns raves for his eclectic New American dishes. The dramatic interior of this revamped 19th century former Schlee Bavarian Brewery with vaulted ceilings and well-appointed dining room takes a backseat to the food when seasonal specials and popular favorites such as Black Angus Tenderloin Steak, poached Chilean Sea Bass, or cream of white asparagus soup arrive at the table. (614-621-2500)

One of the top draws in charming German Village, Lindey's serves steak and pasta dishes in an elegant atmosphere with views of tree-lined cobblestone streets. Start with calamari and shrimp fritto misto and follow with veal saltimbocca, mushroom risotto, or extra-thick New York strip with garlic mashed potatoes. An extensive wine list and an ever-changing selection of classic desserts such as bananas Foster round out the menu. (614-228-4343)

Alana's Food & Wine
"The menu is very seasonal and changes weekly, sometimes daily depending on my mood and what lovely things the local farmers have," says Alana Shock, chef and co-owner of this award-winning restaurant with her sommelier husband. As such, visiting even twice in the same week is certain to be an incomparable and unique experience. From springtime's morels to autumn's harvested vegetables, each item can be paired with a wine to complement the flavors perfectly. Adventurous tasters are invitied to try degustations available Tuesday through Thursday. (614-294-6783)

Basi Italia
Down a narrow street surrounded by private homes, this off-the-beaten-path Italian restaurant lives up to its location by serving creative takes on classic dishes. You won't find red sauce here, instead the husband and wife team of John Dornback & Trish Gentile offer sensational seasonal fare such as a roasted beet carpaccio, Tuscan onion soup, or a grilled ostrich fillet with butternut squash purée in a fig-balsamic reduction. (614-294-7383)

Maps and Directions

Mitchell's Steakhouse 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: American, Steakhouse
Neighborhood: Downtown
Cost: $$$
Rigsby's Kitchen 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: European, Italian, Mediterranean
Neighborhood: Upper Arlington
Cost: $$
Refectory Restaurant and Lounge 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: European, French
Cost: $$
Benevolence Cafe 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: American, Vegetarian
Neighborhood: Downtown
Cost: $
Columbus Brewing Company 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: American
Neighborhood: Downtown
Cost: $$
G. Michael's Bistro & Bar 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: American, European, Italian
Neighborhood: German Village
Cost: $$
Handke's Cuisine 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: American, European, French
Neighborhood: Brewery District
Cost: $$
Lindey's 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: American, European, Italian, New American
Cost: $$
Alana's Food & Wine 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: American, New American
Neighborhood: Downtown
Cost: $$
Basi Italia 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: European, Italian
Neighborhood: Short North
Cost: $$
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