There are many great things to do in Columbia, SC. The capital city of South Carolina is home to a variety of romantic restaurants that are perfect for quiet dinners and special celebrations. Enjoy farm-to-table cuisine and welcoming southern hospitality at the 1801 Grille; tuck into Cajun-Creole classics and a variety of bourbon and whiskey at Bourbon; or traditional Northern Italian dishes with local twists at Ristorante Divino in the historic Congaree Vista area. Here are some of Columbia’s top spots for romantic dinners and special occasions.
1. Halls Chophouse Columbia
© Halls Chophouse Columbia
Halls Chophouse is the perfect place to go for a romantic date night. Boasting beautiful views, the family steakhouse and iconic dining institution serve a menu of contemporary New American cuisine and fine wines from around the world in an elegant, stylish setting. Tuck into prime 28-day dry aged steaks, grass-fed or Japanese Wagyu filets, or other meat and seafood dishes of bison, duck, lamb, or locally raised trout along with fresh salads, traditional sides and decadent desserts. The refined old-school eatery hosts classic jazz on select evenings and live music every night, as well as soulful sounds during their renowned Gospel Sunday Brunch. Private dining is available in three intimate rooms with set menus for large groups celebrating special occasions. Halls Chophouse is open for dinner Monday through Sunday and brunch and dinner on the weekends.
1221 Main St #150, Columbia, SC 29201, Phone: 803-563-5066
2. Mr. Friendly's New Southern Cafe
© Mr. Friendly's New Southern Café
Founded in the early as a sandwich and cookie shop, Mr. Friendly’s New Southern Cafe has been transformed into a sophisticated, yet casual restaurant that serves a variety of ocean-fresh fish and seafood specials, prime meat, poultry, and game, and other made-from-scratch dishes using fresh locally sourced ingredients. Signature dishes include Blackened Carolina Mahi, Citrus-Herb Roasted NC Rainbow Trout, Togarashi Seared Yellowfin Tuna, Low Country Grilled Pork Tenderloin, and Rosemary Char-Grilled Ribeye. The cuisine is accompanied by an extensive award-winning wine list and a full bar that serves classic cocktails, imported spirits, small batch Bourbon, and micro-brew beers by the bottle and on tap. SC Day Trips offer a great way to explore the surrounding areas.
2001-A Greene Street, Columbia, SC 29201, Phone: 803-254-7828
3. Motor Supply Company Bistro
© Motor Supply Company Bistro
The Motor Supply Company Bistro is an upscale American eatery with a charming outdoor sculpture garden that serves a daily changing menu of New American fare. Set in a beautifully maintained historic brick building that once sold engine supplies, the restaurant prides itself on serving a menu of fresh seafood, prime meats that are butchered in-house, handmade pasta, and fresh salads with locally sourced ingredients. The restaurant hosts a popular Sunday brunch, and the cuisine is accompanied by an extensive wine list featuring vintages from around the world, craft beers on tap and by the bottle, and classic cocktails. The Motor Supply Company Bistro is open for lunch, brunch, and dinner, Tuesday through Saturday.
920 Gervais St, Columbia, SC 29201, Phone: 803-256-6687
4. Terra Restaurant
© Terra Restaurant
Named for the Latin word meaning ‘earth’ or ‘land,’ Terra Restaurant is a casual bistro that serves a Southern-leaning menu of fresh farm-to-table fare prepared with locally sourced ingredients. Boasting breathtaking skyline views, the chef-owned restaurants aim to create harmony and beauty with each plate of food using only the freshest regional produce. Best known for its sweeping views of the Columbia skyline, Terra features an elegant dining room and a charming patio from which the views can be admired. The seasonal, daily-changing menu is paired with a variety of excellent wines, craft beers, and cocktails, and served by the attentive, friendly wait staff.
100 State St, West Columbia, SC 29169, Phone: 803-791-3443
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5. Tazza Kitchen Trenholm Plaza
© Tazza Kitchen Trenholm Plaza
Located in the Trenholm Plaza in Forest Acres, Tazza Kitchen Trenholm Plaza is an elegant, relaxed restaurant and bar that serves authentic Italian and New American fare such as wood-fired pizzas and handmade pasta, spicy tacos, and freshly made salads. The restaurant has chic décor and a vibrant ambiance with an elegant indoor dining room and beautifully landscaped, wraparound patio for alfresco dining in the summer months. The restaurant offers a variety of hearty fare ranging from appetizers, entrées, and desserts along with an extensive selection of fine wines, handcrafted cocktails, craft beers, and specialty coffees. Tazza Kitchen Trenholm Plaza is open for lunch Tuesday through Friday, weekend brunch, and dinner Monday through Sunday.
TRENHOLM PLAZA, 4840 Forest Dr #20, Columbia, SC 29206, Phone: 803-782-0760
6. Restaurants in Columbia, SC: 1801 Grille
© 1801 Grille
Embodying the culture and character of the University of South Carolina, 1801 Grille is a tavern-style restaurant that serves farm-to-table cuisine and welcoming southern hospitality. The restaurant exudes rustic, historic charm with a cozy and comfortable interior, large mahogany tables, and metal chandeliers. The eatery serves a delicious menu created by Executive Chef Jason Bruner and his culinary team. The mouth-watering menu of Southern-inspired dishes is prepared with locally sourced ingredients and features grilled burgers and gourmet sandwiches, wood-fired pizzas, ocean-fresh seafood and sharing plates of calamari, pub chips, sliders, and more. 1801 Grille is open for lunch and dinner, seven days a week.
700 Lincoln St #200, Columbia, SC 29201, Phone: 803-777-1801
7. Cola's Restaurant
Located in a beautifully restored 1930s RC Cola bottling plant, Cola's Restaurant is an upscale tavern that serves eclectic American fare and wines in a casual setting. The restaurant uses fresh, locally sourced ingredients to create a menu of culinary creations influenced by a broad range of ethnic cooking, including fresh seafood, prime steaks, handmade pasta, and crispy salads. Cola's Restaurant has a 40-foot long bar that serves a variety of libations from global wines and craft beers to classic cocktails and other drinks. The restaurant also caters for private functions in one of two private dining rooms that can seat up to 50 people. Cola's Restaurant is open for dinner only, Monday through Saturday.
1215 Assembly St, Columbia, SC 29201, Phone: 803-451-0051
8. Hunter-Gatherer Brewery & Alehouse
© Hunter-Gatherer Brewery & Alehouse
The Hunter-Gatherer Brewery and Alehouse is a cozy, brick-walled brewpub with a relaxed ambiance that serves classic pub fare and local, seasonal specialties alongside English-style ales and craft beers on tap and by the bottle. Located a block behind the statehouse at the corner of College Street and Main Street and opposite the street from City Roots farm, the pub offers a menu of hearty burgers, prime steaks, handmade pizzas, fresh salads, and other upscale fare. Guests can choose from a variety of craft beers, as well as easy-drinking wines and rare vintages, classic and modern cocktails, and imported spirits. The Hunter-Gatherer Brewery and Alehouse is open for dinner and drinks, Monday through Saturday.
900 Main St, Columbia, SC 29201, Phone: 803-748-0540
9. Al's Upstairs Italian Restaurant
© Al's Upstairs Italian Restaurant
Al's Upstairs Italian Restaurant is an elegant Italian white-tablecloth restaurant set within a 100-year-old building overlooking the Columbia skyline. Established in 1979, the restaurant has been voted the most romantic restaurant in Columbia and is renowned for its authentic Italian fare, fine wines, and stylish ambiance. The culinary team uses the freshest locally sourced ingredients to prepare a range of appetizers and entrées such as fresh fish from the Atlantic, prime chops and steaks, rack of lamb, innovative pasta creations and traditional veal and Italian chicken specialties. Al's Upstairs Italian Restaurant is open for dinner only Tuesday through Saturday.
300 Meeting St, West Columbia, SC 29169, Phone: 803-794-7404
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Bourbon is an industrial-style eatery based in the historic Brennen Building that serves Creole-Cajun cuisine and an extensive selection of whiskey. Owned by local restaurateur Kristian Niemi, the restaurant is located just steps from the South Carolina State Capitol building and specializes in bourbon and whiskey, handcrafted cocktails, and a range of Louisiana Bayou flavors. The kitchen serves beloved Cajun-Creole classics like etouffee, gumbo, and jambalaya prepared with locally-sourced ingredients from brunch to late-night. Bourbon is open for brunch, lunch, and dinner, Monday through Sunday.
1214 Main St, Columbia, SC 29201, Phone: 803-403-1404
DiPrato’s is an Italian-style delicatessen and market that serves gourmet meats, cheeses, pickles, fresh salads, vegetables, and ready-made meals, along with craft beers and casual Italian wines. Located a stone's throw from Maxcy Gregg Park, the airy eat-in café serves signature sandwiches made from a delicious array of bread, spreads, toppings, and cheeses such as the triple-decker corned beef Reuben. Other delicious bites include fresh salads and hot panini sandwiches. DiPrato’s serves brunch and lunch, seven days a week.
342 Pickens St, Columbia, SC 29205, Phone: 803-779-0606
12. Fusco's Market
© Fusco's Market
Fusco’s Market is a deli and fresh market that sells homemade sandwiches, salads and casseroles, fine wines from around the world, and delicious made-from-scratch desserts. The market specializes in the highest quality of produce, fresh seasonal vegetables, fruit and herbs, imported meats and cheeses, deli-style gourmet sandwiches, and freshly baked bread and goods. Open for brunch and lunch, Fusco’s Market also offers catering services for private events and functions and has a fine dining restaurant called D.W. Fusco’s for exclusive dining experiences.
2900 Dreher Shoals Rd Suite A, Columbia, SC 29212, Phone: 803-828-9795
13. Hampton Street Vineyard
© Hampton Street Vineyard
Hampton Street Vineyard is an intimate restaurant that serves seasonal New American fare and fine wines in a quiet, romantic setting. Offering fine dining at its best, the softly-lit restaurant is perfect for a date night or celebrating special occasions. Using fresh, locally sourced ingredients to create a quarterly-changing menu of seasonal cuisine, Hampton Street Vineyard also serves an extensive list of wines from around the world, craft beers by the bottle and on tap, and classic, handcrafted cocktails. Hampton Street Vineyard is open for lunch and dinner, Monday through Saturday.
1207 Hampton St, Columbia, SC 29201, Phone: 803-252-0850
14. Rioz Brazilian Steakhouse
© Rioz Brazilian Steakhouse
Rioz Brazilian Steakhouse is an upscale Brazilian churrascaria-style restaurant that serves a fixed-price menu of meats carved tableside, an extensive salad bar with cold and hot items, including fresh seafood and handmade sushi, and a variety of cocktails. Rioz offers diners a unique experience where gauchos bring skewers of over 15 types of sizzling hot meats to the tables where they can select their choice of meat. Once they are done, they flip a token to signal the Gauchos to return for another round. Rioz is available for large group parties, special events, and catering services and is open for dinner only, Monday through Sunday.
410 Columbiana Dr, Columbia, SC 29212, Phone: 803-708-3151
15. Saluda's Restaurant
© Saluda's Restaurant
Set in a century-old building in the heart of the vibrant Five Points neighborhood, Saluda's Restaurant has been one of Columbia’s top dining destinations for more than 20 years. Boasting an antique mahogany bar and white linen tables, Saluda’s serves an innovative, seasonal menu of classic Southern fare with a continental twist. The creative food is accompanied by a curated selection of fine wines from around the world, signature cocktails made with imported spirits, and craft beers on tap and by the bottle. Saluda's Restaurant is open for dinner only, Monday through Sunday.
751 Saluda Ave, Columbia, SC 29205, Phone: 803-799-9500
16. Top of Carolina Restaurant
Top of Carolina American is a refined fine-dining restaurant located on the 18th floor of Capstone House that offers an unrivaled dining experience against a backdrop of with spectacular offering rotating, 360-degree views. Guests will enjoy a creative menu of innovative cuisine, an award-winning wine list, and selection of handcrafted cocktails, and exceptional hospitality and service in an elegant atmosphere with breathtaking views. The revolving restaurant is a fantastic spot for a romantic dinner for two, a celebration of a special occasion or a relaxing Sunday brunch with family and friends and is available to rent for private events such as wedding receptions and conferences. Top of Carolina American is open for brunch and lunch only on Fridays and Sundays.
900 Barnwell St, Columbia, SC 29208, Phone: 803-777-7919
17. Villa Tronco Italian Restaurant
© Villa Tronco Italian Restaurant
Located in a historic 19th-century Firehouse, Villa Tronco Italian Restaurant has been serving traditional Italian fare to the neighborhood for more than 75 years. Family-owned and operated for four generations, Villa Tronco is a warm and welcoming eatery with brick and wood paneling, earthy hues and an Old-World atmosphere. The menu features generous portions of handmade pasta, wood-fired pizza and other Italian favorites like fresh seafood and prime meat dishes, and decadent desserts, all of which are prepared using authentic family recipes and fresh, locally sourced ingredients. The full-service bar serves an extensive list of fine wines from around the world, craft beers on tap and by the bottle, and handcrafted cocktails. Villa Tronco Italian Restaurant is open for lunch Tuesday through Friday, and dinner Tuesday through Saturday.
1213 Blanding St, Columbia, SC 29201, Phone: 803-256-7677
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18. 929 Kitchen & Bar
© 929 Kitchen & Bar
929 Kitchen & Bar is a sophisticated gastropub that serves traditional Korean fare with a contemporary twist, including bibimbap and kimchi nachos. The cool, friendly hangout is located in the Vista with industrial-vibe décor and a warm and welcoming ambiance that serves a variety of Korean cuisine and a robust craft cocktail program. Signature dishes include Braised Seafood, Seafood Stone Bowl Bibimbap, Spicy Squid and Pork Belly Stir-Fry, and Sweet and Spicy Shrimp, which are accompanied by appetizers, a variety of entrées and fresh salads. 929 Kitchen & Bar is open for lunch and dinner, Monday through Sunday.
929 Gervais St, Columbia, SC 29201, Phone: 803-764-3825
19. Alodia's Cucina Italiana
© Alodia's Cucina Italiana
Located in Murray Landing, Alodia's Cucina Italiana is a traditional Italian restaurant adorned with family photos and offering guests an authentic Italian dining experience. Born from the love of an Italian family, Alodia’s Cucina Italiana is a family-owned and operated restaurant that has been tantalizing taste buds with owner Adam Huneau’s age-old recipes. Named after his great-grandmother with locations in Lexington and Irmo, Alodia’s offers a menu of Old Italian tastes and flavors with wood-fired pizzas, homemade pasta and fresh sauces, prime meat and seafood dishes, and sharing platters of antipasto and appetizers. The cuisine is accompanied by a list of fine wines, craft beers, and signature cocktails, and the restaurant is open for lunch and dinner, Monday through Saturday, and breakfast, lunch and dinner on Sundays.
2736 N Lake Dr, Columbia, SC 29212, Phone: 803-781-9814
20. The Aristocrat
© The Aristocrat
The Aristocrat is a stylish gastropub that serves innovative café-style fare and a robust wine list. Inspired by the region’s rich southern heritage, the bistro invites guests to savor the time-honored tradition of wining and dining with a creative menu of New American fare in a casual, relaxed setting. Boasting southern accents, tastes, and flavors, the menu features signature dishes such as Chicken and Waffles, Grilled Green Beans, Baked Ravioli, Firecracker Meatballs, and Bacon Mac ‘N Cheese Bites. The full-service bar serves classic cocktails and a robust wine list curated by a professional sommelier and a certified specialist of spirits. The Aristocrat is open for lunch only on Mondays and lunch and dinner Tuesday through Saturday.
1001 Washington St, Columbia, SC 29201, Phone: 803-708-8004
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