Columbus is powerhouse of comfort food favorites, from juicy burgers to zesty pizzas, but this city is also a force in the fine dining world. Read on to discover the best fine dining restaurants in Columbus, Ohio.
Tucked away among the brownstones of Victorian Village is Basi Italia. Head chef John Dornback specializes in Italian and Mediterranean cuisine, serving up hot and cold antipasti and a selection of pasta, fish, and meat dishes. The ‘Zucchini Pronto’ is savory and freshly made, with pecorino cheese and toasted almonds. The classic Eggplant Parmesan with basil pesto, fresh mozzarella, and crushed tomatoes is a must-have. Don’t miss the extensive wine list and superb cocktails, perfect for a summer day on Basi’s charming outdoor patio.
Lindey’s is a favorite among the hipster crowd in German Village. Over the past few years word has gotten out about this stellar fine dining spot. Locals and tourists now flock to this upscale American restaurant on the corner thanks to head chef Brett Fife. The menu at Lindey’s, which rotates seasonally, focuses on reinventing classic surf and turf dishes like the lobster bisque, made with sherry, chives, and diced shrimp. Dishes one would not expect in a white tablecloth setting are on the menu as well, like the popular confit chicken wings marinated in buttermilk and fried with red eye gastrique, spicy coleslaw, and pickled watermelon rind. Don’t miss the decadent ‘Post Mortem’ chocolate brownie dessert.
For sushi made with equal parts perfection and soul, check out Akai Hana in Upper Arlington. This minimalist venue serves traditional Japanese hot and cold plates, sushi, and Korean dishes. The vegetable tempura is lightly battered to give it a delightful airy texture. For the more adventurous, the ‘Spicy Crispy Shrimp’ features whole shrimp sautéed with hot pepper, jalapeños, snow peas, and a yellowtail jaw, which is then salted and grilled. Ramen bowls and meat and fish entrees are also available. The real draw at Akai Hana is the sushi. Made with the freshest ingredients, the specialty rolls are sensational. Be sure to try the ‘Spicy Scallop Roll’ made with scallops, mayo, and chili pepper, and in a strange twist, baked and served hot.
The Refectory is the best of the best when it comes to fine dining in Columbus. Voted ‘Best Fine Dining’ and ‘Best Wine List’ by Columbus Alive in 2014, on top of myriad other awards, The Refectory is an immersive dining experience. The building was originally a church built in 1853, and traces of this old-world charm remain. For example, it can be seen in the exposed high beam ceilings and the walnut siding. Chef Richard Blondin from Lyon offers an American and French fusion menu. Each dish is prepared beautifully. Choose from more than 700 wines to pair with the Buffalo and Confit of Guinea Hen Terrine to start and the Roasted Duck Magret with green olive Bordelaise. Finish with the Lemon Bavarian for dessert. If you’re trying to impress a special someone, this is the place.
Chef David Tetzloff of G. Michael’s Bistro stays true to his South Carolinian roots with his upscale comfort food menu. The selection focuses on local, seasonal food and surf and turf dishes with Southern flare. The Shrimp and Grits starter with country ham, Andouille sausage, tomatoes, scallions, stone-ground yellow grits, and sautéed spinach in a buttery scallion-tomato broth is a favorite among locals. Tetzloff perfects the pork dish with his Maple-Glazed Pork Belly with a bourbon-Tabasco reduction, sautéed arugula, and caramelized onion jam. Don’t miss the happy hour from 5pm to 7pm for the best deals in town.