I’ve been living in Columbia for the past 2 1/2 years while attending the University of South Carolina (Go Gamecocks!) and have had the opportunity to explore its restaurants, attractions, and nightlife.
Where to Eat:
Takosushi– An eclectic menu that combines (you guessed it) tacos and sushi. Sounds like a strange combination, but it is absolutely brilliant. Their happy hour menu is the best. I walked out of this place stuffed with an $8 check, which likely hasn’t happened since about 1996. Their sushi selections are creative although they offer the basics as well. I have also ordered fish tacos ($2 a pop during happy hour) which do not disappoint.
Al Amir– a Mediterranean bistro that offers brick-oven pizzas, wraps, and other Mediterranean-inspired dishes such as tabouli salad, baba ghanouj, falafel, and kabobs.
Mediterranean Tea Room- Fresh, healthy Mediterranean food served in monstrous portions. Be prepared to take home lots of leftovers!
Gervais & Vine– the quintessential “girl’s night out” restaurant. Offers tapas plates, pizzas, and tons of different spreads. The food is great, but the ambiance is what makes this restaurant such a hot spot.
The Gourmet Shop– Located in Five Points, this restaurant & culinary shop has soups, sandwiches, and appetizers and the opportunity to dine al fresco. I love eating here on a sunny afternoon to catch up with friends and people-watch.
Di Prato’s– famous for their hot pressed paninis as well as their pimiento cheese spread, this is the perfect spot for a casual gourmet meal. Enjoy a delectable Saturday or Sunday brunch from 10-2. Try the huevos rancheros for a hearty breakfast option.
Yoghut– I average about two trips a week to this new fro-yo locale. It’s self-serve with a variety of different toppings, and funky neon furniture to chill out on. Some of my favorite flavors are Acai-Blueberry, Original Tart, Green Tea, Raspberry Tart, and Pumpkin Cheesecake, although flavors change daily.
Columbia Canal & Riverfront Park– This is my favorite place in Columbia to go running. The path is completely flat and runs between the canal and the Congaree River. With much to look at, including an old ampitheater, and plenty of green space to sprawl out on this spot is also great for a picnic, fishing, and biking.
West Columbia Riverwalk– Just on the opposite side of the Congaree River is West Columbia Riverwalk. Almost entirely shaded by trees, this is a great place to go running once the weather starts to get brutally hot.
Dr. Rocco’s for the infamous Everclear slushie which is dangerously delicious
Red Hots if you wanna get your groove on
Beye’s: one of Columbia’s “chill” bars with couches and often live music
Pour House because everyone you know will end up here at least point in the night
Saloon for country music and karaoke