Ready to eat out? Here are places to try

Those that live in the Columbus area are fortunate: Regardless of what you might be craving to eat, there’s likely a restaurant to suit your fancy.

And let’s face it: It’s been a long, hard year and treating yourself to a meal might just boost your spirits. 

We’ve compiled a list of restaurants that have been reviewed by The Dispatch in the past six months or so, and we’ll continue to add to this list. 

So peruse this sampling and be inspired to try out some of these destinations. But be forewarned: You might want to have a snack handy, because you’re bound to be hungry once you read on!

Pizza places

Wizard of Za, 4214 N. High St., Clintonville

It isn’t uncommon for The Wizard of Za to have multi-week wait times for customers assigned to a waitlist, compiled from a reservation-only online-ordering system, that stretches into the thousands. So be prepared to jump through hoops if you currently want a pie from this breakout business that quickly evolved from a social-media sensation and home-cooked-pizza purveyor into an actual (if unusual) Clintonville pizzeria with a fancy Neapolitan-style oven.

More:Would you wait two months for a pizza? Customers clamor to get on Wizard of Za’s waitlist

Mexican food around Columbus

Barra Tacos & Cocktails, 3051 Northwest Blvd., Upper Arlington

Lobster guacamole at Barra Tacos & Cocktails

More:Behind the Menu | Barra Tacos boasts salsas made in-house, slow-roasted meats

Tacos Don Deme, 75 S. Murray Hill Road, Far West Side

Steak enchiladas with red sauce at Tacos Don Deme photographed on Thursday, May 20, 2021.

Columbus is dotted with so many places that offer delicious tacos nowadays that it’s hard to keep up with them all. The Far West Side is an especially rich area to mine for good Mexican food, and that’s where you’ll find Tacos Don Deme, one of my favorite new Mexican eateries.

Columbus restaurants:Tacos Don Deme one of the best Mexican eateries around

3 Brothers Diner, 3090 Southwest Blvd., Grove City

Shrimp jambalaya

Founded by Nivardo, Filadelfo and Eliseo “Cheo” Cruz-Reyes, the siblings have created a house-made smoked chili sauce that is used in many entrees at the breakfast-through-dinner spot.

Columbus restaurants:Brothers Diner in Grove City turns out flavor-packed dishes

Spicy Cup Cafe, 1977 E. Dublin-Granville Road, North Side

Danishes from the Spicy Cup Cafe photographed on Thursday, March 18, 2021.  (Rob Hardin / Alive)

Spicy Cup Cafe should be on the top of your list if you’re looking for a scratch-cooking spot offering bargains on lovely Mexican-style pastries — such as the best churros in Columbus — as well as first-rate tamales and excellent breakfast sandwiches assembled with wonderful house-baked rolls.

Columbus restaurants: Food review: Spicy Cup Cafe serves up top-rate Mexican dishes, pastries

American cuisine around Columbus

Boxwood Biscuit Co., 19 W. Russell St., Short North

Patti mayonnaise

Boxwood Biscuit Co. entered the Short North dining scene a few months ago with a homestyle breakfast-and-lunch menu with multiple embellishments from veteran local chef Tyler Minnis, co-owner of the operation.

Broken down, the menu keys in on three items — biscuits, fried chicken and gravy.

Columbus restaurants: Biscuits, fried chicken and gravy take flight at Boxwood

French Bistros around Columbus

Nomad Hot Kitchen & Cool Spirits, 2050 Polaris Parkway, Polaris area

The salmon bowl from Nomad Hot Kitchen & Cool Spirits

Even Patrick Daly has a difficult time describing his own restaurant, Nomad Hot Kitchen & Cool Spirits, which he said is more French bistro than upscale.

“I just consider us more of a good restaurant,” Daly said. “There’s something for everyone. …”

Columbus restaurants:Nomad’s coal-fired grills give extra sizzle to bistro-style fare

Gastropubs around Columbus

The Royce Gastropub, 8791 Lyra Drive, near Polaris Fashion Place

Beef short ribs served with braised vegetables over creamy grits and chow chow

When the Royce opened last July near Polaris Fashion Place, owner Walter Carpenter Jr. declared it a polished gastropub. Although customers often laud the restaurant for being much more refined, Carpenter said he’s sticking to his original portrayal.

“We are still in that lane,” he said. “I think the guests look at us a little bit different. We’re a little polished and put our own little touches on things to make it our own.”

Columbus restaurants:The Royce’s ‘polished gastropub’ fare comforting and delicious

Indian cuisine around Columbus

Rooh, 685 N. High St., Short North

Pork belly

Upon its entry into the local dining scene, Rooh promised to be both Indian at its core and progressive in its style of cooking and use of ingredients. “I think the most important thing for us is balance,” said Bhavesh Kishinchand, owner of the local Rooh, which also has a locations in San Francisco and Chicago.

In other words, it’s about making Indian cuisine lighter and approachable both for seasoned and uninitiated eaters.