Restaurants in Columbia, SC

South Carolina’s capital city, Columbia has dining gems galore: grand BBQ parlors where tangy-sweet mustard sauce is the common condiment, pimento cheeseburgers that set the benchmark (pimento cheeseburgers first were created in Columbia in the 1960s), inimitable greasy-spoon diners, and some of the few true artisan bakeries in the state. Of special note for sweet tooths are an ooey-gooey bananas Foster cinnamon roll at the Devine Cinnamon Roll Deli, sublime caramel cakes and cupcakes at Happy Cafe, and a salted espresso brownie at Rise Bakeshop. Rockaway Athletic Club, which is a restaurant, not a gym, makes fine pimento cheeseburgers; and the place itself is unforgettable. There’s no sign at all outside; inside it is an impenitent tavern with a bar known as the South Carolina Liquor Library (boasting the biggest booze inventory in the Southeast). Just inside the front door is a working Zoltar fortune-telling machine. Up the road from Williams-Brice stadium, home of the USC Gamecocks, is a superior fast-food broasted chicken joint called Bernie’s, where cole slaw has a sneaky pepper punch and banana pudding is freckled with bits of Moon Pie. The chicken itself is crazy moist, snug inside a crisp, well-seasoned crust. Bernie’s motto: “Come Try My Chicken.”

Columbia’s Most Famous Dishes

Macaroni & cheese, spangled with herbs, comes in a small cast-iron pot

Macaroni and Cheese

Mountainous sandwich holds pastrami, egg, French fries, cole slaw, and a tomato

Sandwiches

Custard, sliced bananas, crumbled Nilla wafers, and meringue are crowded in a diner bowl

Banana Pudding

Tall, gnarled-top light gold biscuit

Biscuits

Columbia’s Best Restaurants

Big Boy’s Smokehouse

COLUMBIA, SC

Compton’s Kitchen

WEST COLUMBIA, SC

True BBQ

WEST COLUMBIA, SC

Ray’s Diner

COLUMBIA, SC

Drip

COLUMBIA, SC

Maurice’s Piggy Park

WEST COLUMBIA, SC

Rise Bakeshop

COLUMBIA, SC

A chocolate-sheathed ice cream cone and the American flag fly over the Zesto drive-in
Zesto

WEST COLUMBIA, SC

Bernie’s Chicken

COLUMBIA, SC

Rosewood Market

COLUMBIA, SC

Drake’s Duck In

COLUMBIA, SC

Happy Cafe

COLUMBIA, SC

Fusco’s Market

COLUMBIA, SC

Cafe Strudel

WEST COLUMBIA, SC

Devine Cinnamon Roll Deli

COLUMBIA, SC

Mack’s Cash Grocery

COLUMBIA, SC

Terra

WEST COLUMBIA, SC

Backyard Cafe

WEST COLUMBIA, SC

Carolina Buffet - Full Meal
Carolina Buffet

WEST COLUMBIA, SC

Columbia Articles & Guides

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