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Columbus, OH

Best Restaurants in ColumbusOur favorites include some of this destination's best restaurants—from fine dining to simple fare.

Whether you're sightseeing, shopping for souvenirs or strolling through such historic neighborhoods as German Village, Columbus' local restaurants tempt at every turn. On the menu are local landmarks as well as newer spots creating a buzz in the culinary world.

For a restaurant with a hip and relaxing cosmopolitan atmosphere, head to Martini Modern Italian, a storefront eatery in the Short North Arts District. Just past the dining room's stark white pillars, you'll see busy chefs preparing a wide variety of authentic Italian appetizers and entrées. Specialties include herb-seared tuna with parmesan risotto, shrimp scampi served over beef tenderloin and rosemary-cured, orange-glazed pork chops. A separate martini bar and an impressive wine list round out the dining experience.

With white tablecloths and an intimate, candlelit dining room, The Refectory Restaurant has been a fine-dining tradition in Upper Arlington since 1980. The 19th-century structure—a former church attached to a schoolhouse—showcases a world-class wine cellar with more than 700 selections. Reflecting the classic and contemporary cuisine of the chef's homeland of Lyon, France, the menu features beluga caviar, mild-spiced duck and venison with plum bordelaise sauce and lyonnaise sausage. Among the tempting desserts are a traditional vanilla crème brûlée and a European cheese plate.

Just east of Columbus, City Barbeque attracts crowds of diners for its down-to-earth Southern specialties, from barbecue chicken and ribs to pulled pork and brisket. The simple dining room features wooden picnic tables adorned with the necessities: rolls of paper towels and a variety of secret-recipe sauces. Made-from-scratch side dishes include such home-style favorites as greens with pork, corn pudding and baked beans. The restaurant also offers carry-out service— you can even order a whole smoked hog!

Aromas drifting from Cafe Istanbul Easton also tempt shoppers at Easton Town Center. Decorated in the style of a Turkish bazaar, the cozy establishment features a wide selection of Mediterranean dishes. Meat and vegetable specialties include moussaka, stuffed cabbage and okra with lamb morsels. A traditional fish entrée from Rize on the Black Sea includes a choice of salmon, flounder or tilapia broiled in a vegetable sauce. The restaurant also makes its own desserts and occasionally features live entertainment. For a breath of fresh air, dine on the seasonal outdoor patio.

Other shopping districts keep hungry visitors just as satisfied. Polaris Fashion Place is home to Molly Woo's Asian Bistro, which specializes in Chinese, Indonesian, Japanese and Korean dishes. Its comfortable, modern Asian dining room is a great place to unwind after a hectic day of bargain-hunting in northern Columbus. Although courteous servers are on hand to offer recommendations, ordering is still a daunting task with such delectable choices as Kung Pao calamari and Mongolian hot pots filled with ginger-sake shrimp and scallops. Enhance these Eastern flavors by sampling Molly Woo's white tea blended with Valencia orange peels.

The Carriage Place shopping center in Dublin is home to the Chile Verde Cafe. Featuring authentic northern New Mexico cuisine—generally more spicy and flavorful than traditional Mexican dishes—the popular family eatery serves up enormous helpings of barbecue-grilled fajita burritos and spicy Southwestern crab cakes. The zesty salsa is prepared fresh, while a large selection of Mexican beers and margaritas are on hand to wash everything down.

Two-story Schmidt's Sausage Haus, a German Village landmark, has served customers since 1886. The eatery re-creates Old World Germany through its signature cuisine—dished up by servers in traditional Bavarian garb—and charming décor, along with live music on most nights. German beers and microbrews complement the restaurant's sausage platters, Wiener schnitzel and cabbage rolls. A buffet also offers a large selection of German and American recipes. With all that food, you may have to make a separate trip for dessert; choices include apple strudel and whopping, half-pound cream puffs.

German Village also is home to Lindey's , another great place to go if you're looking for nearby restaurants when you're in the village. Featuring exciting American cuisine, the establishment fashions itself after an Upper East Side New York bistro. The dinner menu features jumbo lump crab cakes, linguini with shrimp and clams and Lindey's signature tournedos of beef. Lunch and children's menus also are available daily, while brunch is served on weekends. Live jazz plays most Thursday and Friday nights. Stay awhile after your meal to sip a Spanish cappuccino or a New Orleans-style hot toddy with dessert—and who could resist the tiramisu or croissant bread pudding with banana caramel sauce?

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Columbus, OH

Top AAA Diamond Hotels

AAA’s in-person hotel evaluations are unscheduled to ensure the inspector has an experience similar to that of members. To pass inspection, all hotels must meet the same rigorous standards for cleanliness, comfort and hospitality. These hotels receive a AAA Diamond designation that tells members what type of experience to expect.

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Travel Information

City Population



777 ft.

Sales Tax

Columbus has a sales tax of 7.5 percent and a lodging tax of 10 percent. There is an 11 percent concession fee on rental cars picked up at Port Columbus International Airport.



Police (non-emergency)

(614) 645-4545

Fire (non-emergency)

(614) 221-3132

Time and Temperature

(614) 281-8211


Doctors Hospital, (614) 544-1000; Grant Medical Center, (614) 566-9000; Mount Carmel Medical Center (Mount Carmel West Hospital), (614) 234-5000; The Ohio State University Hospital East, (614) 257-3000; The Ohio State University Medical Center, (614) 293-8300; Riverside Methodist Hospital, (614) 566-5000.

Visitor Information

277 W. Nationwide Blvd. Suite 125 Columbus, OH 43215. Phone:(614)221-6623 or (800)354-2657

Air Travel

Port Columbus International Airport

Rental Cars

Hertz offers discounts to AAA members; phone (614) 239-1084 or (800) 654-3080.


Greyhound Lines Inc., (614) 228-2266 or (800) 231-2222, 111 E. Town St. between S. 3rd and S. 4th streets, serves Columbus.


Yellow Cab, (614) 444-4444, is the largest cab company. Fixed fares are $3 base rate, $4.50 for the first mile, 45c for each additional 2/9 mile and $2.25 for each mile outside Franklin County. A $3 surcharge is added for fares originating at the airport.

Public Transportation

Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) provides bus transportation throughout the city and suburbs Mon.-Fri. 5:30 a.m.-11:45 p.m., Sat. 6 a.m.-10 p.m., Sun. 8-7. The basic fare is $2, express fare is $2.75 and transfers are free. Multiday passes and reduced rates for children and senior citizens are available. Passengers must have exact change.

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