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May 19, 2023
Experience Columbia: Capital City Bites & Sips
The Columbia food scene is buzzing with new and exciting restaurants popping up all the time, while seasoned chefs continue to marvel diners with their culinary creations. Read along for more info on the culinary scene in the capital city.
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 Co. Bistro in the Vista, whose menu changes daily based on the ingredients available. 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 Saluda’s in Five Points. You’ll have the chance to dine on some truly inspired entrees while enjoying a one-of-a-kind view of the center of the district. Don’t forget to explore past the city center. We recommend Private Property in Lexington. Known for their atmosphere, stunning outdoor patio, and a great drink list, they never disappoint.
Our breweries are whipping up more than delicious craft beers. Their creative flavor combos and local ingredients spread from the brewhouse to the kitchen, where chefs take the reins to create tasty bites that complement the beer itself. Once you make it out to Steel Hands in Cayce for one of their delicious brews, you’ll want to hang out all day. Fortunately, their menu of small and large plates is there to sustain your day drinking plans. They serve up everything from salads to nachos, and they even offer a rotating vegetarian/vegan sandwich. The chef-driven menu at Savage Craft in West Columbia goes well beyond your average pub fare. Boasting three different menus—biergarten, rooftop and brunch, the dining experience here varies depending on when you come and where you sit. Pizza and beer are a classic pair, and Hunter-Gatherer Brewery at The Hangar over in the Rosewood neighborhood excels in both. Their Neapolitan-style pizzas feature a chewy, blackened crust and microgreens from City Roots just across the street.
For a casual barbecue lunch in Columbia, Palmetto Pig, Doc’s Barbecue, and Little Pigs offer Southern buffets loaded with pulled pork, mac and cheese, and all the fixin’s. If you make your way outside of town, Farmboy’s in Chapin and Shealy’s in Batesburg-Leesville are worth the drive and are sure to satisfy your BBQ cravings. If you can’t handle the buffet—no one can blame you for lacking self-control—Midwood Smokehouse and Hudson’s offer full-service restaurants with build-your-own barbecue sandwiches featuring beef brisket, pulled pork, or barbecue chicken. If you’re looking for unforgettable BBQ, you’d be remiss if you didn’t stop by Home Team BBQ in Five Points. From the pulled pork sandwich on a Hawaiian bun to smothered BBQ nachos, an afternoon on the Home Team patio enjoying fresh, locally-sourced ingredients and their famous frozen cocktail the Gamechanger, will be sure to delight.
You’ll find a lot more than Southern food in Columbia. This region’s vibrant and diverse community can be seen in the wide variety of international cuisine. Try your Thai prepared with different cultural influences at Baan Sawan Thai Bistro, prepare to be delighted by the stunning presentation at Bodhi Thai Dining or snap up some quick carryout from Duke’s Pad Thai. Korean favorites like bibimbap, bulgogi and japchae noodles await at 929 Kitchen & Bar, while Arirang Korean Restaurant will shock you with the barrage of small plates they bring to your table before you can even get to your meal. Get your fill of Italian cuisine with some perfectly prepared pizzas from Il Focolare, moderately portioned pasta dishes that will leave you full, but comfortable, at Il Giorgione, family favorites at Alodia’s Cucina Italiana, or amidst history at the oldest restaurant in the state—Villa Tronco.
You may be surprised to learn that Columbia has claim to one of the oldest recorded pimento cheese recipes, first written in a fundraising cookbook in 1912. Today you can enjoy pimento cheese at almost any restaurant you stop in, and because no two serve it up the same way, you’ll have plenty of exploring to do to find your favorite. Looking to start your day off the right way? Try Café Strudel Lexington’s famous low country hash browns topped with pimento cheese. Still got a hankering for that cheesy goodness around lunchtime? You’ll need to head to The Root Cellar and order their southern egg rolls filled with homemade pimento cheese, pulled pork, and Root Cellar BBQ sauce—an original and flavorful twist on this southern delicacy. Get a taste for these and more with the Pimento Cheese Passport, featuring 16 local spots.
Learn more about Experience Columbia here!