14 Best Foodie Spots To Enjoy In Columbus, Ohio

When it comes to Midwestern metropolises, Chicago takes top billing for its soaring skyscrapers, iconic architecture and art, and of course, world-class food scene. Just a couple of states over, another city is on the rise — in more ways than one. For all the same reasons as Chicago, from museums and festivals to eclectic neighborhoods and cuisine, Ohio's capital city packs a wallop of cultural awe. With nearly 1 million residents, it ranks as the 14th largest city in the nation (via United States Census Bureau). It's likely only a matter of time before this often underestimated Midwestern metro gains more of the front-and-center position it deserves.

This prominence is particularly true of its low-key staggering food scene. From Italian Village to the Franklinton Art District, Columbus' neighborhoods are teeming with unique and innovative restaurants, bars, bakeries, breweries, and everything in between. With snazzy jazz bars and panoramic rooftop haunts, extravagant tasting menus, historic food halls, and Euro-chic cafés, the city has it all. For proof that Columbus is one of the nation's most underrated powerhouse food cities, here are several foodie spots to check out.

Ginger Rabbit

For a truly transportive taste of old Hollywood in the Midwest, saunter into Ginger Rabbit, a swanky subterranean jazz bar in the Short North. With a vibe and decor inspired by the jazz lounge at the end of "La La Land" (via Columbus Monthly), this glam spot radiates romance in every posh nook.

In addition to nightly live music in a dark basement space bedecked with tall curtains, soft lamps, and velvet furnishings, the sultry bar offers a roster of impressive snacks and sips. This includes caviar, Iberico ham, and stuffed calamari, alongside classic and contemporary cocktails. The namesake drink, the Ginger Rabbit, has a winning combo of gin, sherry, ginger syrup, and carrot juice, while the aptly dubbed All That Jazz is a well-traveled blend of scotch, plum sake, shiso, and soda.

Unsurprisingly, this date night-worthy hot spot is quite in-demand, so reservations are strongly encouraged. And fear not, even if you find yourself there when live music isn't happening, the bar spins vinyl jazz records, ensuring the alluring vibe is always on point.

Chapman's Eat Market

Look no further than Chapman's Eat Market for a clear indication of Columbus' ascending food scene. One of the toughest reservations in town, this newly minted German Village icon is famous for good reason. In 2021, The New York Times ranked it as one of the best new restaurants in the nation. It's a testament to chef BJ Lieberman, his menu of worldly comfort foods, and the restaurant's "Friendly Food, Delicious People" ethos, exemplified by its warm hospitality, commitment to supporting local charities, and an ambiance that feels like a pastel-hued cottage. It's also a rightful coronation for a restaurant that opened in 2020 during the pandemic's peak, initially offering a pared-down menu of burgers, salads, and ice cream to make it through.

Within two years, the restaurant was at full steam, offering dishes inspired by cuisines across the globe, made with the brightest and best local, seasonal ingredients. Dinner starts with a bang of small plates like General Tso's cauliflower and crispy wings glistening in bourbon-fish sauce caramel. Heftier portions include Sea Island red pea falafel salad, chicken and shrimp khao soi, and succulent braised lamb with creamy yellow corn grits and mushroom conserva. One meal here (if you're lucky enough to get a table) is confirmation of its kitchen talent, the heart and soul behind it, and its role in catapulting Columbus onto center stage.


Nestled inside a nondescript space downtown, Veritas brings the wow factor with its spree of elegant dishes, deep wine list, pitch-perfect service, and cozy decor that feels like dining in a pastoral manor. Feasting under a canopy of dried herbs and plants dangling from the ceiling, the comfortable fine dining spot serves tasting menus from an all-glass kitchen, featuring artful dishes inspired by travel and the seasons.

Degustations change seasonally and typically entail five courses, with choose-your-own-adventure options for each. Primary ingredients are listed for every course, but the presentation and preparation are kept a surprise, so guests never know what to expect throughout the meal. Rest assured, flavors never cease to impress, and the plates are always a show-stopping spectacle. Considering the experience and quality, tasting menus at Veritas are also shockingly affordable, with a robust wine list to match. Looking to keep it slightly more casual? There's a snack-filled bar menu with items like confit wings with labneh ranch, oysters with rhubarb mignonette, and caviar with mini Liege waffles.


A century ago, the Open Air building in Old North Columbus was a school for children with tuberculosis, featuring wide-open rooms and huge windows to encourage airflow (via Columbus Underground). Nowadays, that building is home to Understory, a truly one-of-a-kind dining complex and wedding venue with a hip lounge, a fast-casual restaurant, and a vast patio nestled against a forest. The storied space still has the look and feel of a vintage schoolhouse, but instead of textbooks and homework, it's mezcal Negronis and goat cheese croquettes.

The atmosphere alone is immersive, unique, and fun, best savored at the main bar area with a cocktail in hand. Seasonal drinks are ever-changing and fiercely fresh, like the zesty Nola Fizz with Creole bitters, aquavit, strawberry, cucumber, lemon, and Italian apéritif soda. The wine list is small but expertly curated and esoteric (orange wine is available by the glass and bottle, for instance), and the shareable snacks run the gamut from chicken potstickers to buttery burrata with fried bread and Granny Smith agrodolce.

Downstairs, the Commons offers a more casual dining experience with cheese plates, salads, dips, and sandwiches. Take your meal outside to the sprawling patio, which borders the lush Olentangy Trail, and don't be surprised to see deer traipsing through the forest as you chow down on pork rinds with pimento dip.

Lumin Sky Bar and Kitchen

Perched high above the bustling Short North reigns one of the best hotel restaurants in the country. From its eighth-floor locale atop the AC Hotel Downtown Columbus, the skyline vistas at Lumin Sky Bar and Kitchen are stunning, and the chic lounge raises the bar with its eclectic eats and drinks.

The indoor-outdoor restaurant treads heavily in Spanish, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern flavors, offering plates large and small. Dishes like hummus and calamari may sound familiar at first, but unexpected spices and herbs liven things up — hummus gets heated with jalapeños and harissa, while crispy calamari gets glazed in fragrant chorizo oil. Flatbreads are a menu highlight, heaped with the likes of smoked duck and chermoula, and large plates include burly burgers, salmon, and steak. The cocktails are particularly impressive, divvied into light spirits and dark, and spanning the spectrum from espresso martinis to citrusy Old-Fashioneds. Synchronize your meal with sunset, hunker down on the terrace, and prepare for an evening to remember.

Budd Dairy Food Hall

The American food hall scene is thriving, and Columbus stands out with a mighty market distinctly its own. Budd Dairy Food Hall in Italian Village is run by Cameron Mitchell Restaurants, the city's powerhouse restaurant group behind heavy-hitters like El Segundo Mexican Kitchen, Mitchell's Ocean Club, The Pearl, and The Guild House. This multi-story behemoth located in a former dairy plant features 10 kitchens, three bars, and a vast rooftop with panoramic views of one of the country's most underrated skylines.

The rustic-chic property offers a kaleidoscope of eclectic and authentic flavors, from Filipino food and Italian comforts to lobster rolls, barbecue, and poke bowls. Counter-service restaurants are all anchored on the first floor, but customers can take their food and drinks anywhere on the property. So stock up on steamed buns, Polish sausages, pulled chicken sandwiches, and cannoli, grab a locally brewed beer, and mosey around. Beyond the food and views, the hall also features regular events like live music, karaoke, and trivia.

Seventh Son Brewing Co.

Seventh Son Brewing Co. stands out as a singular sensation in Columbus' ever-growing brewery scene, which is kickstarting a beer boom in central Ohio (per Columbus Underground). Open since 2013, long before the current brewery renaissance swept the region, Seventh Son was holding it down in Italian Village, brewing a dynamic array of beers and styles that rotate through the seasons.

In addition to flagship staples, like the Scientist IPA and the Seventh Son American strong ale, the garage-like taproom cycles through inventive offerings like orange- and cacao-infused American porters and passion fruit sours. Beyond beer, the brewery also has a way with cocktails — its crowd-pleasing paloma is one of the best frozen cocktails in the country. Whatever your fancy, grab a drink and head outside to the huge family-friendly patio filled with picnic tables, lounge chairs, and rotating food trucks slinging everything from wood-fired pizza to Indonesian eats.

Fox in the Snow

No matter which location you're patronizing (Italian Village, German Village, or New Albany), Fox in the Snow is one bakery that's easy to spot. Just follow the inevitable line out the front door, weaving its way to a counter laden with some of the most beautiful pastries in town. Rustic and rigorously scratch-made using the highest quality ingredients, the charming cafés feel at once like a classic European-style bakeshop and a contemporary Columbus innovator.

In addition to craft coffee and espresso drinks, Fox in the Snow is best known for its sweets and baked goods. Highlights include buttery croissant morning buns filled with custardy chocolate, sugar-kissed galettes dotted with plump blueberries, sour cream coffee cake, and mile-high buttermilk biscuits flecked with salt and honey. The café is equally versed in savory fare as well — try the fluffy souffléd egg sandwich on crackly ciabatta or the delicate tomato tarts.

Land-Grant Brewing Company

A cornerstone fixture in the gallery-filled Franklinton Arts District, Land-Grant Brewing Company has a lot to love. Convivial and fun, the brewery is family-friendly until 8 p.m. Its resident food trucks waft with the aroma of barbecue and fresh doughnuts, the beer list offers a something-for-everyone portfolio, and the beer garden is both enormous and impossibly cool. Thanks to crafty additions, like a winterized beer garden with beer keg curling rinks (via The Columbus Dispatch), that cool factor is evergreen.

Housed in a 12,000-square-foot facility built as an elevator factory in 1920, Land-Grant opened in 2014. It quickly established itself as a community keystone with its sustainable brewing practices, cornhole leagues, beer garden yoga, and live music. Then there's the beer itself. Inside, the bar offers numerous options, from its lengthy draft line, juicy grapefruit IPAs, and lemony pale ales to watermelon wheat beers, fruited cream ales, and strawberry-cherry-vanilla sours.

Pistacia Vera

At Pistacia Vera, a gorgeous and twee little bakeshop in German Village, it's all about European-style confections done authentically and beautifully. Here, dainty macarons come in a rainbow of colors and fillings, sandwiches come heaped with egg salad, and éclairs come stuffed with the toasted custard of crème brûlée.

Offering brunch, lunch, and a boatload of sweets, this quaint café is among the best bakeries in Columbus (via Edible Columbus), revered for its hearty Euro-style fare and butter-rich pastries. For a meal, try the cheesy mushroom quiche or croque monsieur with smoked cottage ham, aged Emmentaler cheese, Mornay sauce, and Dijon on fluffy brioche. But save room for sugar because the madeleines, palmiers, and cocoa buttermilk cakes are not to be missed. Other originals include the molasses-kissed rye croissant, lavender shortbread cookies, and blueberry cornmeal macarons. Even the espresso drinks go above and beyond, with rotating specials like strawberry matcha and pistachio lattes made with pistachio praline paste.


The fact that Columbus is home to one of the last lesbian bars in America (via The Columbus Dispatch) says a lot about the city's inclusivity and culture. It just so happens that Slammers, a friendly billiards-filled parlor downtown, also serves killer pizza.

An enduring community mainstay, the humble tavern beckons with its rainbow-tinted #lovewins mural, welcoming guests into a cozy and dimly lit space. Popular as a leisurely watering hole, the bar is also famed for its pizza. Thin-crust and crispy, with molten cheese bubbling to the edge of the crackly crust, pies are heaped with the likes of BBQ chicken, pepperoni, ham and pineapple, and taco-style toppings like beef, refried beans, salsa, cheddar, lettuce, tomato, black olives, and tortilla chips. While pizza takes top billing, the bar offers Americana bar fare like wings, quesadillas, subs, garlic bread, fries, and mozzarella sticks, ensuring the food is as comforting as the atmosphere.

North Market

Located in a sprawling historic building constructed in the Short North in 1876, North Market is a stunning food hall that's been a downtown mainstay for years. Now, along with a second location in Bridge Park, the original is a frequent fixture for locals and visitors alike, thanks to its timeless motif and diverse array of edible on-site options. Strolling through the bi-level hall is a festival for the senses, with bright neon lights, flowers, sundries, and aromas clamoring for attention.

Open since 1995, long before food halls were all the rage across the country, North Market has long emphasized cultural inclusion and diversity while uplifting and highlighting local independent businesses and artisans. Nowadays, vendors run the gamut from Somali rice bowls and Nepalese dumplings to Indian curry, Polish pierogi, and Bavarian pretzels, making this one of the most diverse markets in the nation. Especially popular for lunch, North Market merchants include barbecue-seasoned Barrel & Boar, Block's Bagels, Hubert's Polish Kitchen, and Hoyo's Kitchen, which specializes in homegrown Somali cuisine. There's also a bar, a second-floor restaurant called Hot Chicken Takeover, and groceries and gifts galore.

The Lox

For proof that exemplary bagels aren't confined to New York City, pay a visit to The Lox in the Short North — and be prepared to wait in a worthwhile line. After all, any place ranked as having some of the best bagels in the country (via Food & Wine), and one of the best breakfast sandwiches is bound to be busy.

The line moves along steadily at this cool counter-service spot, where the emphasis is on quality over quantity. There are only four flavors of hand-rolled bagels to choose from, including plain, everything, sea salt and herb, and sesame. Described as a hybrid of Montreal and New York styles, each bagel is boiled and baked in a live-fire oven, ensuring a doughy delicacy that's tender and fluffy on the inside, with a delicate crackle and chew on the exterior.

Whether piled on as a sandwich or smeared with jams or cream cheese, the fixings are just as high-quality, from meltingly tender lox and salty pastrami to artichoke spread and peppercorn-infused strawberry jam. Come lunch, offerings get even more ornate, like a fried cauliflower melt with romesco or a vegan "lox" creation that uses nori-cured carrots as makeshift salmon.

Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams

When talking about Columbus' on-the-rise food scene, it's impossible not to mention — and bow down to — Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams. The vision of real-deal dairy queen (and local celebrity) Jeni Britton, she's gone on to open wildly popular scoop shops in cities like Atlanta, Austin, Charleston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and well beyond (via CNBC). But it all started in Columbus, where several locations are dotted around town. Her rampant success is a testament to the fact that her ice cream — from the classic flavors to the whimsical novelties — is simply some of the freshest and highest quality around.

Each ice cream shop wafts with the aroma of fresh waffle cones and draws an inevitable queue of people screaming for ice cream in dazzling new styles, flavors, and colors. Menu mainstays include brambleberry crisp with oat streusel, gooey butter cake, and sweet cream biscuits and peach jam, adjoined by an ever-changing roster of seasonal innovations. On any given day, said flavors could include wedding cake, powdered jelly donut, everything bagel, and banana cream pudding. For a true taste of Britton's magic, try the modest-looking Sunshine, a gray-colored ice cream with surprising notes of tangerine, lemon, and passion fruit. As the menu explains, it "tastes like sunshine on a cloudy day."