Having lived in Columbus, OH for nearly five years now, I’ve had many opportunities to sample the restaurants, and have come up with a list of my favorites. Unfortunately, I recently found out that my favorite restaurants, Deepwood, between the Short North and Nationwide Boulevard shut down on New Year’s Eve. Deepwood was an upscale American eatery with charcuterie, soups, seasonable vegetables, and duck, as well as a wonderful selection of bourbon cocktails. In remembrance of Deepwood, I will now run through my revised listing of restaurants.
5. The Pearl – this seafood restaurant is a bit newer on the Columbus dining scene (circa 2013), but from the first time I visited, I loved its many nautical themes and casual atmosphere. It has one of the best oysters on the half shell and Moscow Mules around, and water is usually served in mason jars.
4. Hyde Park – the upscale American steakhouse, replete with a raw bar, hearty soups, seafood sides, chop salads, and carbs galore. The ambiance is wonderful, staff are always top-notch, and it’s truly an experience no matter where you’re sitting in the restaurant.
3. Rigsby’s – while Marcella’s and Martini didn’t quite make the cut (both are fantastic restaurants), both lack the heartiness and simplicity, yet incredible diversity of northern Italian cuisine, incorporating various seasonal vegetables, wines, and meats.
2. Till – by night, Till is an off the beaten path watering hole for the older university/young professional crowd, filled with pizzas, burgers, seafood, and tofu. By day, the restaurant is more of a café with the absolute BEST pour over coffee I’ve ever tasted. My barista had me sample a number of pour over variations from Till’s supply, and she compared them to strange flavors. I settled on a Burundi coffee that she likened to the taste of “car engine.” I can’t say that I’ve ever tasted car engine, but the coffee keeps me coming back. It’s very close to campus on King Avenue, closer to Neil Avenue, and I’ve found myself many a time studying for hours on end at the coffee bar.
Number One Restaurant: L’Antibes (credit: Columbus Restaurants)
1. L’Antibes – in my view, this is Columbus’ best kept secret. Usually when someone asks me my favorite restaurant and I respond with L’Antibes, they usually have no idea what I’m talking about. While its official address is on North High Street in the Short North/Italian Village, its entrance is really on Warren Street. Inside the restaurant stand about ten or so square or round tables seating two to four with white table cloths, lots of natural light, pale yellow walls, and tasteful yet discreet artwork scattered throughout the restaurant. It’s very quiet, which is such a break with all the noisy Columbus restaurants where you can’t hear the people with whom you’re having dinner. The restaurant bills itself as French with American influences. Any of the escargot and salmon dishes are to die for, as well as any of the desserts or dessert wines.