8 Best Restaurants in Columbus
Italian restaurant
Columbus: A City of Delicious Eateries

Nobody goes on a trip and leaves their appetite behind. In fact, chances are that all that traveling around is going to work up quite the appetite. Luckily, the top restaurants in Columbus are right here waiting for you – morning, noon and night. This is a big city – in fact, Columbus is the state capital of Ohio. That means that all your favorite big name chains are present, plus these local favorites serving up cuisines from hearty Italian pastas to German bratwursts to Mexican tacos. 

Whether you want the best menus in town or the hidden gems that even some of the local residents of Columbus don’t yet know about – here’s Red Roof's rundown of the best restaurants in Columbus.

server with food
The Greenhouse Canteen

Whatever your stance on a purely plant based diet may be, there’s no denying this cuisine choice is not only growing in popularity – but also where many of the most exquisite flavors in modern dining can be enjoyed. Tucked up close to Ohio State University, The Greenhouse Canteen ranks as one of the top restaurants in Columbus not only for its vegan and vegetarian exclusive menu – but also for just how delicious things are, no matter your favorite flavors. 

Easy on the wallet – and apt to serve up dishes that are easy on the eyes, like quinoa chili nachos and cauliflower wings – The Greenhouse Canteen also boasts a pretty tantalizing dessert menu. Feeling like a nightcap? There are plentiful Australian wines listed on The Green Canteen’s menu – a cosmopolitan way to unwind that won’t put too hefty a dent in your travel budget.

beer glasses cheers
Hofbräuhaus Columbus

Nestled close to the heart of downtown, Hofbräuhaus Columbus is one of the top restaurants in Columbus if you’re looking for dinner and a show – not to mention knocking back a tall and frosty one. Taking its cues from Germanic and Bavarian roots, it stands to reason that this is one of the best restaurants in Columbus for beers on tap from around the world. 

Expect bratwurst and thick steaks aplenty, coupled with snacks like big salty pretzels and the occasional sweet treats. The real appeal of this restaurant, however, are the live music gigs frequently held during evening meals, mixing everything from folk music and rock through to blues and music that hails back to the heartlands of rustic Bavaria itself. 

Whether you’re traveling in the peak of the fall or enjoying the city in the summertime, it’s Oktoberfest every night at Hofbräuhaus – and it’s therefore one of the top restaurants in Columbus. Just take care to enjoy those crisp golden ales responsibly!

sever with plated food
Forno Kitchen and Bar

As one of the best restaurants in Columbus’ Short North Arts District, you’ll enjoy a contemporary menu and a creative crowd when you dine out at Forno Kitchen. Although the name implies an Italian menu – and you’ll certainly find plenty of pasta and pizza dishes accordingly – this is actually a chic and affordable place that’s all American where it counts. 

In fact, you're just as likely to enjoy some homegrown classics here as you are some more traditional Italian dishes, and special mention has to go to any and all chicken dishes on the menu – all crafted with care using the meat of locally raised fowl just a few short miles outside Columbus city limits. 

This is definitely one of the top restaurants in Columbus as far as ambience is concerned. Although there’s a sense of activity and youth to Forno Kitchen, it never feels pretentious or as though diners of any demographic ought not belong. 

The Pearl

Beloved by locals, The Pearl is true to its name – one of the top restaurants in Columbus. The Pearl is open throughout the day and night, yet it's actually its brunch menu that has won it plenty of accolades as one of the best restaurants in Columbus. If you’re heading into the city for a big day of sightseeing, filling up on eggs and bacon comes well advised at The Pearl. 

It’s spacious and cozy, designed as though you’ve wandered into a public house with a contemporary modern edge – and the beers on tap certainly enhance that appeal. Seafood and steaks jostle for your attention on a menu also laden with pub style burgers and tavern ready tasty treats. There are oysters and shellfish for when you’re feeling elegant, or good old fashioned deep fried chicken for when you want comfort food galore.   

burger and fries
The Thurman Café

Sometimes, you don’t want your Columbus restaurant visit to be a big deal. You’re tired and hungry and have been walking around town all morning – it’s time to just flop down and chow down somewhere comfortable. Luckily, some of the best restaurants in Columbus have been created with just that idea in mind –and the first of our comfort food favorites is The Thurman Café. Here, the burgers come stacked like skyscrapers, packed with tender grilled beef patties and heaped with onions, melted cheeses and slick bacon slices. 

Save some room for the fries, not to mention some of the other options The Thurman Café offers – like scorching jalapeno poppers and honey mustard corn dogs. Pizzas, sub sandwiches and chicken aplenty round off a menu that’s all about putting a smile on your face and a song on your lips.

Pies & Pints

We’re sticking with the comfort food for this choice, and how could we not – this is one of the best restaurants in Columbus when you want satisfying tavern style menus that aren’t all airs and graces. Affordable but huge in portions, the dishes at Pies & Pints are all about flavor. Don’t be fooled by the name though – the menu at Pies & Pints is all American and far more varied than the name of this place might suggest. 

In fact, it’s where some of the best pizza in the whole city can be found. The steak and cheese sub sandwich is absolutely crammed with goodness too – not just the signature meat and cheddar, but also red onions galore and salad to suit your palate. Time for dessert? Challenge yourself to save some room accordingly, because there are sweet treats galore just waiting for you. Cheesecakes and sundaes line the menu and are brought to your table swiftly and stylishly.

hot dogs
Dirty Frank's Hot Dog Palace

This is definitely one of the best restaurants in Columbus for hot dogs and street food – and anyone who doesn’t eat meat need not despair, as there are vegan dogs aplenty on the menu too. Dirty Frank's Hot Dog Palace takes pride in burying your dog beneath a heaped host of toppings, sauces and additional appetizers. You can grab a beer or two to accompany your hot dog if you like, yet it’s just as tempting to stick to the sodas and let the flavors of the dogs do all the talking.

Better yet, you barely have to crack open the wallet at Dirty Frank's Hot Dog Palace to unlock truly massive portions – be that a hot dog and fries, a chili dog with all the trimmings or a vegan dog with slatherings of ketchup. 

Taking ideas from places as diverse as Cajun cuisine and Asian fusion food, the team at Dirty Frank's Hot Dog Palace never stops surprising – and are definitely the rightful owners of a place on any list of the top restaurants in Columbus.

bakersfield tex mex restaurant

Sometimes, it just has to be tacos – and at Bakersfield, you’ve got all that and plenty more besides. When those Tex Mex cravings come calling, this is one of the best restaurants in Columbus for Latin American cuisine that ramps up the spice, piles high the portions and goes easy on your eating out budget. 

Soft and fluffy tortillas are packed with onions, salads, meats and cheeses true to your favorite flavors. Crisp cool beers from famous Latin brands are freely available, but you can just as easily sip fresh fruit juices and stick to the healthier options if you prefer. You can dine at the bar or sit at the tall tables with sharing platter for the whole family if you choose. Bakersfield enjoys a lively atmosphere, but it’s definitely family friendly – and the interior design is pretty slick too.

guest room
The Top Restaurants in Columbus Are Sure to Satisfy

Appetizing and affordable, the best restaurants in Columbus are sure to appeal – and when it’s time to head back to your comfortable hotel and "digest the day", Red Roof will be right here waiting to welcome you.