17 Best Restaurants in Columbus, Georgia to Try Today (2024)

From historic sites, to fascinating museums, to performing arts and more, Columbus is full of so many things to do, you might be too busy to worry about where to grab a meal when you’re in town!

That’s why we’ve compiled this list of the best restaurants in Columbus, Georgia – so you don’t have to think twice!

Whether you’re dining alone, or with friends, family, coworkers, or your partner, there are plenty of places to chow down in this historic city.

Here are 17 of Columbus’s best restaurants!

PS – looking for more Georgia foodie guides? Check out our round-ups of the best restaurants in Savannah, best restaurants in Augusta, best restaurants in Athens, and best restaurants in Marietta!

1. Wicked Hen Restaurant

Photo credit: Wicked Hen Restaurant Facebook page

Don’t worry, it’s not really wicked – unless you mean wicked awesome!

The Wicked Hen Restaurant is run by local chef Bryant Walker, and his passion for the culinary arts is obvious.

Support local farmers when you enjoy a Southern meal that Georgia is known for with a modern twist at this home of New South Cuisine.

The deviled eggs are the perfect appetizer to savor before your entree, or try the flavorful duck egg rolls!

Locals and visitors alike love the lamb burger, which is served alongside the best sweet potato fries you’ll ever eat.


The fresh, local ingredients found at this restaurant are sure to leave you satisfied without feeling overstuffed, but if you feel the need to walk off your meal, head over to Dinglewood Park right across the street!

2. The Black Cow

Photo credit: The Black Cow Facebook page

Comfort food meets an equally comfortable atmosphere at The Black Cow!

This downtown restaurant has a warm, cozy ambience that is sure to put you at ease while you enjoy some good ol’ fashioned Southern cuisine.

Fill up on classic favorites, like chicken and waffles, fried green tomatoes, or shrimp and grits.

Or, try a lesser-known Southern dish, like their mouthwatering pineapple casserole!

This is one of the best places to eat in Columbus if you’re looking for comfort all-around, and it’s conveniently located in the downtown area!

3. Ruth Ann’s

Photo credit: Ruth Ann’s Facebook page

Not sure where to get breakfast in Columbus, GA?

Head over to Ruth Ann’s!

This cozy local diner is open for breakfast, brunch, and lunch, and serves up classic American meals with a home-cooked feel.

Established in 1959, you’ll feel like you stepped back in time before you even set foot inside!

The exterior of this beloved diner has maintained its historic charm, and the bright blue booths indoors harken back to days past.

Whether you’re in the mood for the sweet delicacies of french toast or pancakes, or a savory plate of biscuits and gravy or country fried steak, you’re in for a serving of flavor and friendliness at Ruth Ann’s.

Note: They’re closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, so be sure to plan ahead!

4. The Outskirts

Photo credit: The Outskirts Facebook page

You won’t have to travel too far to reach The Outskirts!

This sports bar & grill located in the northern part of Columbus is the place to be for great food and a good time.

Their weekly line-up includes Monday night football, live music throughout the week, karaoke nights, and more!

Gather here with your friends for a night to remember!

Laugh it up on Wednesday with their comedy night, or play a round of pool with your friends any day of the week.

And, of course, there’s the food!

Enjoy your classic American fare, from burgers to chicken wings to Philly cheesesteak and more!

5. Clearview BBQ

Head over to the nearest ATM and then get on down to Clearview BBQ!

This local barbecue joint in Columbus, GA is so popular, loyal customers don’t even mind that it’s cash-only.

If you’re caught between different menu options, you’ll have some time standing in line to decide on your order.

Yeah, people love this place that much!

The BBQ sandwiches are their biggest sellers, and the Brunswick stew makes a great side.

Locals and visitors alike agree that it’s worth it, but if Clearview BBQ’s cash-or-check-only policy is a dealbreaker for you, check out the next place on our list to satisfy your BBQ cravings!

6. Macon Road BBQ

It doesn’t get more old-school than this!

Macon Road BBQ has been a beloved Columbus establishment for decades, and they just keep serving up some of the best barbecue in town!

Whether you’re in the mood for beef, pork, or chicken BBQ, this place will have you salivating.

The Brunswick stew is a popular side, so be sure to grab a bowl, along with some potato salad and a refreshing iced sweet tea.

In a hurry? This is one of the best restaurants in Columbus, Georgia if you’re looking for to-go orders!

So whether you’re looking to dine-in or eat on the go, this is the place to meet your BBQ needs.

7. Yummy BBQ Korea House

Photo credit: Yummy BBQ Facebook page

Burnt out on the classic American barbecue?

Try something new at Yummy BBQ Korea House!

Satisfy your craving for barbecue with a Korean twist, or go for other classic dishes from Korea.

The bibimbap is especially craveworthy, and their ramen is the best in town!

Can’t decide on an entree?

Get a combination lunch or dinner plate, choosing any two meats so you can have the best of both worlds!

Their cucumber salad is delightfully refreshing on a hot day, and you’ll love the egg rolls so much, you might want to order some extra ones to-go!

8. Saltcellar

Photo credit: Saltcellar Facebook page

Housed in a brick building in downtown Columbus, Saltcellar is the place to go if you’re looking for a flavorful evening.

The kitchen knows their way around seafood, cooking up some of the best lobster fritters, crab cakes, and scallops in town.

Not into the flavors of the ocean? Go for the grilled chicken breast, ribeye steak, or roasted quail!

Kids will enjoy having numerous options from the children’s menu, from classic burgers to delicious steaks and tasty shrimp.

And you’ll definitely want to leave room to try their unique cakes for dessert!

The banana pudding cheesecake is the talk of the town, and the coconut cake is the perfect way to end a summer evening.

9. Uptown Vietnam Cuisine

Photo credit: Uptown Vietnam Cuisine Facebook page

Looking for the best food in Columbus that isn’t just the same ol’ Southern BBQ plates?

Head over to Uptown Vietnam Cuisine and enjoy a hot bowl of pho!

This family-owned and operated restaurant serves up authentic Vietnamese food right on the corner of Broadway and 13th Street downtown.

If pho (the famous Vietnamese soup) isn’t your thing, try a banh mi sandwich, or opt for a satisfying plate of fried rice with your choice of meat (or tofu).

Not as hungry as the rest of your crew? Keep things light with a boba smoothie and some spring rolls!

Their iced Thai Tea is a great way to cool down on a hot day, and you can add tapioca pearls to make it a more filling “bubble tea”.

10. Shangri La Chinese Gourmet

Another great place for some non-American food in Columbus is Shangri La Chinese Gourmet.

This restaurant has some of the most beautiful atmosphere to be found in the city, with gorgeous details throughout the tables, walls, and ceilings.

Located in a simple shopping center, you might not think much of it from the outside.

But inside? It’s rich with beautiful, ornate Chinese decor!

The dark woods and artistic glass displays make this the perfect setting for a romantic dinner date in Columbus – and the food is great, too!

Start off with egg rolls, wontons, or soup, and then order a delicious entree to enjoy with a cup of hot tea.

For dessert, keep things light with a classic fortune cookie, and share your fortune’s insights with your date.

11. Plucked Up Chicken & Biscuits

Photo credit: Plucked Up Chicken & Biscuits Facebook page

It’s no wonder that Plucked Up Chicken & Biscuits is one of the best places to get this classic Southern dish in Columbus!

Open from 7:00 AM to 3:00 PM Monday – Saturday, you’ll find some of the best breakfast and lunch in town here.

Sit at one of the bistro tables outside on a nice day, or enjoy the unique yet cozy decor inside.

You’ll find biscuits galore on the menu, from the classic biscuits and gravy, to a special eggs benedict served on biscuits, to even a sweet plate of french toast biscuits!

Order a biscuit sandwich for breakfast or lunch, and be sure to get a side of their delicious home fries!

12. Rosehill Seafood

Photo credit: Rosehill Seafood Facebook page

This fish market may not look like much from the outside, but there’s a whole world of delicious seafood in there!

Rosehill Seafood’s restaurant and oyster bar has some of the freshest seafood in the city, and their catfish is full of flavor!

The simplicity of the dining area will be completely unnoticed by you and your dining party as you get busy enjoying hush puppies, oyster stew, and a myriad of other oceanic delicacies.

Dining with someone who doesn’t like fish? Chicken fingers, chicken sandwiches, and several fresh salads are also available!

Their coleslaw makes for a refreshing side, and key lime pie is a perfect dessert! 

13. Ole Times Country Buffet

Not sure where to eat in Columbus, GA with picky kids?

Take them to a buffet!

Kids love exercising their free will, and they’ll be thrilled to fill their own plates with tasty comfort food at Ole Times Country Buffet.

This local chain has a huge selection of Southern goodness – the only trouble will be persuading your young ones to put some veggies on their plates!

Hungry diners will love that this buffet is all-you-can-eat, so there’s no need to limit yourself to one serving if the ribs are really hittin’ the spot!

Prices are per person, based by age (kids, adults, and seniors), and are lower during lunch, so try to get there before 4:00 PM if you’re looking for a deal!

14. La Nacional Mexican Buffet

Speaking of buffets, you’ll have your picks of the best Mexican food in town at La Nacional Mexican Buffet!

It looks simple from the outside, and, okay, the seating area inside is pretty understated, too – but the food is great!

Go wild and fill up with all sorts of meal options on a single plate – from fajitas to tamales to quesadillas and more!

Try different salsas and decide which ones pair best with different entrees, and be sure to grab a churro (or two or three!) for dessert.

Heads up: You’ll pay by the weight of your plates, so if you opt for lighter options, you’ll save money.

15. Cafe Le Rue

Photo credit: Cafe Le Rue Facebook page

Cajun cuisine is a staple of the South, and you’ll find some of the best cajun food in Columbus at Cafe Le Rue.

Located near the Columbus Airport, right off of I-185, the New Orleans-inspired decor makes this a fun place to enjoy a nice lunch or dinner.

Fill up on shrimp and grits, a po’boy sandwich, or a shrimp and crawfish étouffée – just make sure to leave room for powdered beignets!

16. El Carrizo

Looking for the perfect place to enjoy some authentic Mexican food with the family?

El Carrizo is where you want to be!

Enchiladas, burritos, tacos and more await at this popular Columbus restaurant.

Got a vegetarian in the group? They’ll have their choice of special meals from the restaurant’s vegetarian menu!

Seafood is available as well – try the shrimp fajitas, or the tequila shrimp!

For the over-21 crowd, frozen margaritas are a great way to add some flavor to the evening – but watch out for a brain freeze!

17. The Loft

Photo credit: The Loft Facebook page

Right in the middle of downtown Columbus, you’ll find The Loft.

This Southern restaurant and bar has a cozy atmosphere and is known for its casual American fare and live entertainment.

Their live music and comedy acts in the upstairs lounge bring a boost of life to the city – just remember to bring extra cash for the cover charge.

Not looking for entertainment? Dining downstairs is an experience enough!

You’ll definitely want to start off with their buffalo chicken dip, and save room for their (generously sized!) desserts.

In between, you’ll enjoy your choice of a wide selection of entrees, from burgers, to sandwiches, to pasta, salmon, ribeye, and more!

Honorable Mention: The Food Mill

The Food Mill is a nonprofit working to eliminate food insecurity in Columbus.

Order a quick bite from their café, or try their catering service if you’re planning a gathering!

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