Going out for a meal at a restaurant has become somewhat a social event in today’s culture. We love to meet friends and family and talk over great food. Here in Columbia, South Carolina
we have many good chains but we also have excellent local restaurants. In fact there are so many good local eating establishments that you could try a new one every night for a year. Have you tried Miyo’s, Willy’s, or Catch 22? If not then this is the guide for you. I will go over some of my very favorite local eateries. I hope you get out and enjoy some of these establishments as much as I do.
Recently, I met up with several friends for dinner at Miyo’s. Miyo’s has been around for some time in Columbia, South Carolina but recently expanded to a new location in Harbison. If you haven’t tried this gem, you are missing out. Miyo’s on Bower Parkway is the only one of the several Miyo’s restaurants that serve sushi and it is a great place for a sushi beginner. The California Roll is like Sushi with training wheels and is so fresh here. It contains no raw meats just Avocado, Cucumber and Crab (cooked) rolled in rice and seaweed. My non sushi experienced friends tried a piece of mine but still preferred their beef wrapped asparagus rolls. I love them both! I could eat here several nights a week and have a different type of meal each time. The other locations on Forest drive, Main street, and M CafÃ?Â© on Sumter Street share the same menu minus the sushi. They have a wide selection of very healthy fare and very tasty too as well as the fried stuff that I just can’t seem to keep away from. Go for happy hour at the Harbison location on Bower and get excellent deals on cocktails and special appetizers, like lobster spring rolls and crab wontons for two bucks.
Other very notable Asian restaurants include Sun Ming on St. Andrews road in Irmo and Golden Chopsticks in Cayce on Knox Abbott Road in Columbia, South Carolina. Sun Ming’s menu has many of the familiar favorites you may find at a fast food or buffet style Chinese restaurant but the quality and taste are far and above most of those. Lunch is very reasonable around six dollars, dinner is a little more pricey. Golden Chopsticks specializes in Vietnamese and Thai cuisine. The “Buns” is to die for, it combines the freshness of lettuce, cucumbers, carrots, with rice noodles, peanuts, and cilantro with a homemade dressing. Vegetarians can get this with the vegetarian spring rolls or no topping at all. Shrimp, beef, chicken, and regular egg rolls can be added on top. My favorite is buns with spring rolls and extra peanuts. For around six dollars lunch or dinner, it just cannot be beat.
If you are feeling like a good steak you could head over venture out to Chapin’s Bomb Island Grill. Built for grilling the best steak around, it includes a open air grill in front of the kitchen so that you can see your steak or burger being prepared. They have mastered beef and the salads are great too. Other notable steaks in Columbia include Motor Supply Company on Gervais. The menu changes daily here but the food is always good. Also, Murray’s in Cayce off Knox Abbott. They have specials on prime rib every Friday night and it is one of the best prime ribs I have had; but beware it can be smoky in here if you sit anywhere near the bar area.
Although it’s not like eating in Charleston, South Carolina the seafood here in Columbia can be excellent. Catch 22 is the new kid on the block, Lake Murray Boulevard in Irmo that is. They offer fresh fish and seafood creations that are simple yet delicious. They also offer sushi and non seafood fare. Enjoy sitting outside in the large outdoor dining room and enjoy live music from time to time. I have feeling they will be around for some time.
A Columbia favorite for years in the Blue Marlin located on the corner of Linclon and Gervais in the Vista. The menu runs the gamut of seafood from fried shrimp to stuffed flounder. It’s good and it’s consistent. Go for lunch and select the same great food at lunch time prices.
If you’re in the mood for some down home local favorites or just a restaurant that suits taste all around, you’re in luck, we have so many restaurants here to fit the bill. Mr. Friendly’s New Southern cafe in Five points is top notch, it’s located behind Claussen’s Inn on Greene Street. I’ve never had a bad meal there whether it be the daily lunch special, low country shrimp and Grits, or Buttermilk Fried chicken and that’s just the first two menu offerings. This place is a not to be missed, lunch will set you back around ten dollars with dinner doubling that.
For a cheaper alternative to Southern meals, try the meat and three veggies option at Fran’s on Forest drive. It’s what I imagine Lizard’s Thicket used to be like before they started tasting like mass produced instant foods. Fran’s serves up lunch and dinner under ten dollars with drink and tip. The squash casserole and smoked chicken are some of my favorites although you are sure to find other tempting treats on the menu board that changes daily. The one must haves is the bran muffins, these are no ordinary muffins.
If the blue plate special has your name written on it then head on over to Willy’s Oyster Bar in the Vista. Located next door to the Blue marlin on Lincoln Street, it’s been drawing people in for years. Country fried steak with saw mill gravy and mashed potatoes and green beans always makes me smile. But then again so does the pork chop blue plate and all the others. If blue plates aren’t your thing try the pimento cheese burger or the fried chicken salad. At night this place turns hopping with live music and twenty something’s hanging out drinking beer. The boiled peanuts are free all day long and lunch will set you back around eight bucks. I’ve never had the oyster’s there but I assume there good since it’s their namesake.
Yesterday’s is hard to miss in the middle of Five Points, with the man in the bathtub on the roof it serves as a local reference point. The food here is good too! If you have a crowd that can’t decide on one thing then this is your place. Steaks, salads, tex-mex, and seafood join together to form an extensive menu. It’s worth mentioning that they also serve breakfast that is worth waking up early for. Most entrees can be had for under ten dollars.
Speaking of breakfast, what good would Columbia be without it’s breakfast establishments? The most notable include the Gourmet Shop. They could actually fall under the sandwich shop category too and be a mean contender for the top spot but we are talking breakfast right now. They also serve up breakfast sandwiches and bakery creations, you just can’t beat homemade croissants. This isn’t a stop for biscuits and gravy but if a French loaf with assorted jams and a tall cappuccino are for you then this is your spot. (Step around the corner to Yesterday’s for the Biscuits and gravy). Speaking of Biscuits! The Biscuit House on Bluff Road makes them oh so yummy!! Get them stuffed with anything your heart desires but make sure to try the sweet potato biscuit. Get there early they only serve breakfast. Lastly, the Pancake House off of Forest drive makes the best pancakes, period. Try them stuffed with bananas, fresh blueberries, or even chocolate. If you want pancakes you want to go here. They too are only open for breakfast and they fill up fast on the weekends so get there early.
I have only touched on the restaurant offerings in Columbia, South Carolina . I didn’t even have a chance to tell you about Indian Pavilion, D’s Wings, Hennessey’s, or Mangia Mangia. We have so many good restaurants that you are just going to have to venture out there and see them for yourself. Happy eating!