12 Best Restaurants in Columbia, SC

If you are looking for the best restaurants in Columbia, South Carolina, you’re in luck! Columbia (also known as soda city) is a city buzzing with activity. This city offers everything, from vibrant retail shops to historic landmarks and numerous eateries to explore.

Whether you are looking for a perfect restaurant to host a business lunch or have a romantic outing to celebrate your wedding anniversary, you can find it here. You will also taste almost any food, from sushi, pasta, pizza, steak, oysters, or even a vegan dish.

We’ve put together this list of the best restaurants in Columbia to help you choose a perfect restaurant. Here are some of the best restaurants you should consider:

Saluda’s Restaurant

$$$ | (803) 799-9500 | WEBSITE


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Saluda’s restaurant is one of the upscale restaurants in Columbia where you will get to taste one of the best dishes. Walk inside, and the cozy environment will wow you. The white linen and crystal glassware all give this restaurant an upscale look.

They offer classically prepared dishes, from Shrimp and grits, Filet Mignon, Oysters, Seared scallops, Pasta du Jour, and Sweet Tea Pork Chop. Their seasonal dishes blend succulent meats and fresh ingredients to prepare mouth-watering Southern cuisines with Italian and French influences.

This restaurant is a perfect spot where tourists, business owners, and professionals meet for a pint to celebrate new achievements. Prices range from $5, $20, $35, $45, to $120.


Halls Chophouse Columbia

$$$$ | (803) 563-5066 | WEBSITE


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Halls Chophouse Columbia is a popular steakhouse that serves fresh beef and locally sourced seafood. You can bring your date to get to know each other over a drink and good food. They will add candles to light the romantic mood.

The wait staff will attend to you as soon as you walk in and ensure you have a whale of a time. This restaurant accepts walk-ins, but it’s always advisable to reserve a table.

They are famous for serving the best Steak and Fries, Whiskey Bread Pudding, Shrimp and Grits, Chocolate Cake, She Crab Soup, Fried Calamari, and Prime Steak Tartare.

Prices range from $6, $18, $25, $45, $100.


Cola’s Restaurant

$$ | (803) 451-0051 | WEBSITE


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Cola’s restaurant is an upmarket spot that offers American cuisine and good wine. The food is always delicious, and the atmosphere is relaxing.

They are famous for serving the best Shrimp and Grits, Pan Seared Crab Cakes, Whole Crispy Flounder, Scallops, Fried Pork Chop, Braised Beef, and Chicken Parmigiana. If you are health conscious, they also have healthy options for you. While at it, try out their cocktails or taste their large selection of bottled beers.

Once you taste the food, you will patronize the place again. You have an option to order a takeaway or dine in.

Prices range $7, $17, $35, $45, and $120.


Motor Supply Company Bistro

$$ | (803) 256-6687 | WEBSITE


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Motor Supply Company Bistro specializes in authentic cuisines you can’t find elsewhere. Their chef uses classical French culinary techniques to prepare delicious American, Asian, and healthy dishes. Every ingredient they use is fresh from the local farms.

Some dishes you can order here include Ashley Farm’s Duck Duo, Joyce’s Farm Grilled Chicken, Wild Caught SC Shrimp & Grit, Meatloaf, and Duck Breast. The cocktails are always incredible, and the beer will quench your thirst.

Prices range from $6, $15, $25, $40, to $100.


Blue Marlin

$$ | (803) 799-3838 | WEBSITE


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Blue Marlin is famous for serving excellent seafood dishes prepared from organically sourced fish. They also feature various dishes with the Cajun and Creole influence of the Louisiana Delta.

Southern dishes include Salmon Pontchartrain, Key Lime Pie, Spectacular Shrimp and Grits, Center Cut Filet, Charleston Crab Cake, and Pecan Dusted Calamari. They have outdoor seating where you can sit and enjoy food and Happy-hour drinks.

The wait staff is there to offer you an outstanding service. The team will be attentive and helpful without hovering over you. Interestingly, there is a wheelchair-accessible car park and entrance.

Prices range from $8, $18, $38, $45, to $100.


California Dreaming

$$ | (803) 254-6767 | WEBSITE


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California Dreaming is a spectacular spot in Columbia that serves delicious steak, seafood, Nachos, sandwiches, and pasta. The food is always prepared to perfection, Shrimp Tacos, and the portions are plentiful.

The atmosphere of this restaurant is always relaxing. You can come here to do lunch or dinner. Even more interesting, California Dreaming is one of few restaurants in Columbia with a Braille menu.

They are famous for serving the best She Crab Soup, Seafood Nachos, Baked Potato Soup, Soup House Salad, and Blackened Chicken Pasta. There is a bar on-site where you can order drinks. Prices start at $6, $12, $24, $42, to $120.


Oyster Bar Columbia

$$ | (803) 799-4484 | WEBSITE


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Oyster Bar Columbia is one of the most famous oyster restaurants. What makes them unique is that they shuck the oysters right in front of you. If you’re in Columbia and crave low-country seafood, you should check them out.

They are famous for serving the tastiest raw and steamed oysters, Shrimp, scallops, and beet. You can stop by on a Friday evening with friends and have a good time. You will get to meet university students, tourists, and young professionals.

Prices range from $4, $11, $21, $35, $55, to $120.


Cantina 76

$$ | (803) 764-1769 | WEBSITE


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Cantina 76 is another place you should check out in Columbia. They offer fresh Mexican-inspired cuisine and signature margaritas. The dining experience you will get here is casual, fast, and upbeat, which is what most young professionals and students love.

This restaurant is also a frequent hangout for couples, young professionals, and business owners. Most people come here for a quick lunch or late-night meals and drinks. Once you taste the food, you will also become a regular.

They serve Capital City Oysters, Oyster Shooters, Shrimp and Grits, Cajun Crawfish, steamed Shrimp, Skin Potato Skins, and Raw Oysters. They also offer premium tequilas, beer, and “skinny” margaritas.

Prices range from $4, $10, $18, $25, to $80.


The Melting Pot

$$$ | (803) 731-8500 | WEBSITE


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The Melting Pot offers heated pots of cheese, chocolate, or broth for dipping and cooking. This restaurant is the perfect place to have romantic dining with your spouse or significant other.

It is an LGBTQ-friendly restaurant that offers Happy-hour drinks as well. They also have a kid’s menu if you want to spoil your kids.

Your special someone won’t forget that date. You can have anything to Cheese Fondue, Wisconsin Cheddar, Soup, Strawberry Feta Salad, Shrimp Salmon, or Tuna from red wine and chocolate.

Prices range from $2, $12, $35, $40, to $90.


Cowboy Brazilian Steakhouse

$$$ | (803) 728-0887 | WEBSITE


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This restaurant is an upmarket Brazilian Steakhouse where you will get to taste a variety of sliced tableside meats and a salad bar. It is one of few award-winning steakhouses in Columbia.

To make sure that you enjoy your steak, they have a full bar that serves fine wines, creative cocktails, and ordinary Brazilian mixed drinks. The food is always fresh and tasty!

Servers and meat carvers are always super friendly towards patrons. Popular dishes include lamb, Turtle Cheesecake, Flan, Key Lime Pie, Grilled Pineapple, and Creme brûlée. They have outdoor seating where you can sit and enjoy your drink.

Prices range from $5, $15, $21, $42, to $100.


Hendrix Restaurant

$$ | (803) 834-5132 | WEBSITE


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Hendrix Restaurant is another popular haunt for Columbia locals. They are famous for offering delicious Shrimp and Grits, Cocktails, Brussel Sprouts, Mussels, Scallops, Vegan Paella, Huevos Rancheros, and Deviled Eggs.

The laid-back atmosphere makes it a perfect restaurant to consider for a Friday night out with a group of friends. You will have a great time! They have a great wine list, beer, and cocktail.

Prices range from $10, $18, $32, $50, to $100.


1801 Grille

$$ | (803) 777-1801 | WEBSITE


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1801 Grill is one of the best spots where you will taste farm-to-fork American cuisine. They serve some of the best Brick Oven Wild Bison, Pimento Cheese Burger, Blackened Red Fish, Fried Green Tomatoes, Classic Ceasar Salad, Chicken and Waffles, Bacon Mac, and Cheese, and Burger and Fries.

They have healthy options for health-conscious individuals.

Feel free to bring kids, as they have great amenities for them. Prices range from $6, $13, $30, $65, up to $122.


Final Thoughts

Lastly, if you are new to Columbia, you need to check out this city’s great restaurants. There are many mouth-watering menus of southern-inspired dishes that you can taste—our advice: always make you reserve your table before dropping by. And most importantly, before visiting any restaurants, make sure you compare prices.

Best Restaurants in Columbia

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About Restaurant Observer

Restaurant Observer is the ultimate go-to destination on the web when looking for nothing but fantastic places to genuinely enjoy food across the United States. Inspired by the saying when there’s good food, there’s a good life, Birch Restaurant starts the food blog to scout the best food places across the country.