These Downtown Columbus restaurants are perfect for dinner before a show or a meal in the Arena District! There are even quite a few trendy stops for your morning coffee!
There are so many incredible restaurants in Columbus, Ohio! I had to narrow it down somehow, so this blog post features restaurants in downtown Columbus only!
As someone who lives in Columbus, I’ve spent quite a few years gathering eating experiences at many restaurants in Columbus and I can personally say I have eaten at each of the restaurants on this list! If you’re visiting Columbus, Ohio, welcome! I hope you find something delicious!
There are so many fun things to do in Columbus! If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me on Instagram and follow me there for even more things to do including restaurant recommendations in Columbus, Ohio! Make sure to check out my list of date ideas in Columbus to pair up with one of these meals!
Great Coffee Shops in Downtown Columbus
1. Cafe de Nook
- Address: 175 S 3rd St, Columbus, OH 43215
This coffee shop near Columbus Commons is one of the most unique coffee shops in Columbus! You feel that you’re transported to a cafe in Europe! The decor is french inspired and the coffee shop has a small patio for outdoor seating when it’s warm!
2. The Roosevelt Coffeehouse
- Address: 300 E Long St, Columbus, OH 43215
The Roosevelt Coffeehouse is not just a spot for great coffee, it’s also part of a larger mission to support social justice causes including clean water, hunger and sex trafficking. This coffee shop does have a small parking lot on the side of the building, which is handy!
3. Brioso Coffee
- Address: 329 E Long St, Columbus, OH 43215 (Roastery is at this location)
- Address: 53 N High St, Columbus, OH 43215
Brioso actually has two downtown locations, one on East Long Street and one on North High Street, so chances are there’s one close to where you are when you need a caffeine fix in downtown Columbus! You can enjoy a full service coffee bar and fresh beans!
4. Freedom a la Cart Café + Bakery
- Address: 123 E Spring St, Columbus
Freedom a la Cart is a downtown Columbus coffee shop and cafe with a purpose. This is a great place for coffee, pastries, and made from scratch meals. They’re a great bakery in Columbus to try out when you’re downtown! Freedom a la Cart is part of a larger organization the employs and supports local survivors of sex trafficking.
5. Parable Coffee
- Address: 149 S High St, Columbus, OH 43215
Parable is a large, bright coffee shop with lots of seating. It’s also very close to Columbus Commons! This is a great spot for pastries and specialty espresso drinks.
Downtown Columbus Restaurants that are Perfect for Lunch
- Address: 47 N Pearl St, Columbus, OH 43215
Barroluco specializes in Argentine comfort food and I couldn’t describe it any better! In my opinion, this is one of the best restaurants in downtown Columbus! I always recommend it when someone asks!
The paella and empanadas are a must! If you happen to run across their food truck at an event in Columbus, there will be a line and it will be worth the wait! Your taste buds will be happy!
Make sure to check out the pictures around the restaurant and learn the story of the D’Angelo family who moved to Columbus from Argentina and opened Barroluco!
2. Tiger + Lily
- Address: 19 E Gay St, Columbus, OH 43215
Tiger + Lily offers a great Asian comfort food experience. If you consider noodles and bone broth comfort food, and I certainly do! Their meals are made from scratch with fresh ingredients. Not only are they delicious, but they’re also pretty to look at!
Their menu consists of tasty appetizers, noodle dishes with and without broth, cocktails and bubble tea!
3. Dirty Frank’s Hot Dog Palace
- Address: 248 S 4th St, Columbus, OH 43215
Dirty Frank’s is a totally fun restaurant to eat at in downtown Columbus! Pick from over 25 speciality hot dogs with some pretty creative toppings! Don’t forget their tasty side options like tater tots, mac & cheese bits or Siracha Slaw!
It can get busy at this popular restaurant in downtown Columbus and for good reason! They will have you rethinking the humble hot dog with their tasty creations! Some of my favorite choices have cream cheese on them! Sounds weird, but it works!
4. North Market
- Address: 59 Spruce St, Columbus, OH 43215
The North Market is situated on the edge of downtown Columbus, near the Short North. It’s location makes it an easy destination from either of these Columbus neighborhoods and it is within walking distance of the Columbus Convention Center and many downtown hotels.
The great thing about choosing the North Market for lunch in Columbus is that there is a multitude of options all under one roof! Some of my favorite restaurants inside North Market are Lan Viet, Dos Hermanos and Hot Chicken Takeover.
There’s something for the whole family at North Market! My kids love Sarefino’s Pizzeria and you can’t skip a stop at Jeni’s Spendid Ice Creams for dessert! (Did you know you can get free Jeni’s ice cream on your birthday?) Stauf’s Coffee Roasters also has a stall at North Market if you need a coffee fix!
5. The Woodbury
- Address: 215 E Town St, Columbus, OH 43215
You’ve gotta try The Woodbury! It’s really more than a lunch spot in downtown Columbus! They serve breakfast all day and are open for for dinner Wednesday through Saturday. My husband and I stopped in for brunch to celebrate the first day of school! 😉
I had the French Toast Casserole and my husband had the Homestead Breakfast. We both loved our dishes! You can also stop into The Woodbury for a coffee to go! And they also have bottomless mimosas all day, every day! I’m just sayin’. Something for everyone, no matter what time of day it is!
Restaurants in the Arena District for a Pre-Game Meal
- Address: 220 W Nationwide Blvd, Columbus, OH 43215
I like eating at Nada for their upscale Mexican food (give me all the queso)! It’s right next door to Nationwide Arena so it’s a great option for a meal before a show! They’re also a tasty option for brunch in downtown Columbus on the weekends!
Nada has a great ambiance and decor. It’s also great for a date night dinner in the Arena District! You can make reservations online, which I would highly recommend doing if you’re planning to fit it in before a concert!
2. Goodwood Brewing
- Address: 401 N Front St, Columbus, OH 43215
The menu at Goodwood Brewing features southern favorites like shrimp and grits, blackened catfish and fried green tomatoes! They also have a selection of gourmet burgers and handheld sandwiches! There is really something for everyone!
When you’re in the Arena District, Goodwood Brewing also has a great patio for those pre or post game meals! Make sure to check out their craft cocktails! I enjoyed the Kentucky Sangria! My kids really liked eating here, too!
3. Ted’s Montana Grill
- Address: 191 W Nationwide Blvd, Columbus, OH 43215
I know it’s a chain, but Ted’s Montana Grill was a staple for my husband and I when we first moved to Columbus and were in the Arena District downtown! I love the booths here and the relaxed atmosphere! Plus it’s not everywhere that you can get bison burgers, so if that’s something you’re looking for, look no further!
4. Boston’s Pizza Restaurant and Sports Bar
- Address: 191 W Nationwide Blvd, Columbus, OH 43215
I mean you really can’t go wrong with pizza before or after a game! Boston’s is a great restaurant in the Arena District where a group of people can get together and get pizza! They have outdoor seating in warm weather and it’s also a kid-friendly option in the Arena District!
I tend to think of them just for pizza, but in addition to pizza, Boston’s has a huge menu! They have a lot of appetizer options! They also serve wings, pasta dishes, salads, entrees like chicken and salmon, and a lot of sandwiches!
Boston’s also has a lunch combo which includes a soup, salad and your choice of a sandwich. They also have a decent number of options on their kid’s menu like Create Your Own Pasta and a Kid’s Lasagna!
5. Wario’s Beef and Pork
- Address: 111 W Nationwide Blvd, Columbus, OH 43215
When you’re in the Arena District, you can’t go wrong with Warios. I mean come on. I lived in Philadelphia, PA for 4 years so I have had my fair share of “real” cheesesteaks. This one comes pretty darn close. “Wiz wit” anyone?
The only issue you’re going to have here is seating. I wouldn’t necessarily choose Warios if you need a sit-down restaurant in downtown Columbus for a large group of people. Here you order at the counter and take your sandwich to go.
The restaurant is located inside The Design Center at Marconi Square and there are a few seats in the public area of the building. There is a patio when the weather is warm.
Don’t let the lack of seating sway you though because Wario’s is 100% worth it. Come early because they do sell out!
I’ve had The Steak and The Steak – Wario’s Way, both made with house made cheese wiz. They have other sandwiches that also look amazing, but I just can’t detour from the classic steak! There is also a vegetarian option here: a sandwich made with falafel!
Casual Dinner Restaurants in Downtown Columbus
1. The Little Palace
- Address: 240 S 4th St, Columbus, OH 43215
The Little Palace is an oldie but a goodie! I love the 60’s vibe here! Somehow it’s equal parts casual dive and sophisticated diner. (Sophisticated diner, is that an oxymoron?) Still, I don’t think I’m wrong!
The menu here is eclectic with Italian offerings like stromboli, pizza and lasagna. They also have subs and small sandwiches (feel free to order more than one)! I liked the Crisp Chicken Sandwich and the Lamb Gyro is really flavorful! Make sure to check out their happy hour drink specials on Monday through Friday!
We have taken our kids to eat here and they split one of their Neapolitan Pizzas. I think this is a great option for kid-friendly dining in downtown Columbus!
2. Pecan Penny’s
- Address: 113 E Main St, Columbus, OH 43215
Even if you don’t like BBQ (and who doesn’t??) you’ve got to love Pecan Penny’s for the patio alone! Every time I drive by this restaurant in downtown Columbus, that patio calls out to me!
Seriously though, the food is good, too! I’m not a BBQ expert by any means, but the BBQ at Pecan Penny’s is Texas Style. So if that means anything to you, now you know.
They offer six house-made BBQ sauces and you can order for carry out or catering!
I always think a sampler is the way to go when it comes to BBQ because I can never decide – I just want it all! You can also order sandwiches and salads at Pecan Penny’s and they have a lot of craft cocktail options, local brews on tap, AND boozy slushies!
3. Hadley’s Bar + Kitchen
- Address: 260 S 4th St, Columbus, OH 43215
Hadley’s isn’t just for dinner even though I’ve put it in this category! They offer brunch, lunch and dinner. And boozy milkshakes. There is a great vibe inside the restaurant and it’s in a fun part of downtown Columbus on South 4th Street near 16 Bit Bar, Dirty Franks and Mikey’s Late Night Slice and it’s not too far from neighboring German Village.
Hadley’s has daily meal specials, happy hour drink specials and boozy milkshakes. Wait did I already say that?
4. Sidebar Columbus
- Address: 122 E Main St, Columbus, OH 43215
Sidebar is a recent discovery of mine and I was impressed! I feel like Sidebar can go either way: casual or a little bit fancy! If you want to eat at a downtown restaurant before a show at one of the theatres, Sidebar would be great! I recently ate here with friends before seeing a show at the Southern Theatre which is right down the street! It was super convenient!
I would absolutely recommend going for happy hour to get the most bang for your buck! Sidebar is a tapas restaurant, so you can order a bunch of small plates and share for a delicious meal! During happy hour (currently Monday through Friday from 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM but please check before visiting because these things are always subject to change) select tapas are $8-10 a plate.
If you have a vegetarian in your party, they will be happy as there are a lot of vegetarian options here!
- Address: 132 S High St, Columbus, OH 43215
Condado has many locations around Columbus and the downtown location is right on Columbus Commons! Not only can you have a causal dinner here but they are also open until 11 or 11:30 PM if you. need a late night snack after a show!
Condado has a fun vibe and creative taco options! Choose from taco suggestions from the restaurant or build your own taco from a huge list of ingredients! I also really love the queso here. Or maybe I just love queso in general. Regardless, I always order it!
6. Downtown Tavern
- Address: 201 S High St, Columbus, OH 43215
Downtown Tavern is a convenient location to Ohio Theatre and Columbus Commons. The restaurant is low-key and cozy. They have a “Happy Hour That Never Ends” all day, every day!
The Happy Hour menu includes drinks for $5 and $6. They also have a menu of small plates, burgers, soups, salads and other sandwiches! Downtown Tavern also serves pizza and some large plates.
P.S. they’re also open for brunch on Saturday and Sunday!
7. Pierogi Mountain
- Address: 105 N Grant Ave, Columbus, OH 43215
Pierogi Mountain is a little bit off the beaten path in downtown Columbus, but not too far. It’s close to the Main Library downtown and right next door to The Hills Market!
They have a small parking lot which is convenient, and they have a cozy menu of Eastern European dining options! When the weather is nice, they have a great outdoor patio!
The pierogis I tried were delicious! This is also a place to order poutine in Columbus! Poutine is French fries covered in some kind of gravy and cheese! You can also find schnitzel, kielbasa, sauerkraut balls and potato latkes! Total comfort food!
8. Spaghetti Warehouse
- Address: 150 S High St, Columbus, OH 43215
The new location of Spaghetti Warehouse opened in late 2023 and, I’ll admit, it opened to much controversy. Everyone loved the ambiance of the old location and there were many memories made there!
To be honest, I love the new location! The old one was super cool with the trolley inside, but I love how they’ve given a nod to the train with the train car booths in the middle of the restaurant.
The new location steps it up a notch with an incredible view of downtown and Columbus Commons and some new dishes on the menu. I’m still gonna order the 15-layer lasagna and eat my weight in bread with garlic butter, but if you want to try something new, they’ve got you covered, too!
It’s a great spot for the family to eat before seeing a show in Downtown Columbus or seeing the holiday lights at Columbus Commons. I suggest giving it another chance and making new memories!
I hope this list of downtown Columbus restaurants gives you lots of ideas to choose from when you need a place to eat downtown! From trendy coffee shops to lunch spots in downtown Columbus to some of the best restaurants in Columbus for a casual dinner, I think you’ll find something on this list that makes everyone happy!
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