2012 Year in Review: 42 Restaurant Reviews
I ate a lot in 2012. Well, perhaps I ate just as many meals as anyone else, but when I look back on my restaurant reviews it seems like a tremendous amount of food when viewed all at once. A lot of it was wonderfully delicious, and some of it missed the mark. I’ve decided to put together a quick recap to highlight some of my favorite restaurant experiences of the year since I will be passing the baton in January to a new food writer. It’s been fun, but time to move on. So without further delay, on to the food!
Top 12 (in no particular order):
- Commonwealth Sandwich Bar – Tiny sandwich shop tucked away on South Campus where every ingredient is taken seriously.
- Deepwood Lunch – Fine dining on a budget with high concept dishes executed in affordable lunch price points.
- Harvest Pizzeria – Harvest is hands down the best new artisan pizza restaurant in Columbus. Great food, great drinks (at both Harvest and Curio next door) and an amazing patio ambiance.
- Arepazo Tapas & Wine – May I dare say that this new Gahanna restaurant is better than its original Downtown location (which is by no means bad) with the addition of more seating and a full bar.
- Explorers Club Brunch – I tried this brunch all the way back in January, and only one other brunch came close to topping it. Great latin twists on American brunch staples with a homestyle environment that doesn’t put on airs.
- Katalina’s Cafe Corner – Amazing sandwiches in a small, crowded neighborhood joint. Nothing here will disappoint you.
- Edamame Sushi & Grill – Skip the Easton food court and head over here instead for treat for both the eyes and tongue.
- de-NOVO Bistro & Bar – Haute cuisine done right. The level of attention to detail is off the charts, both in the decor and the dishes at this Downtown addition.
- Milestone 229 Brunch – The other stellar brunch of 2012. Milestone delivers a top notch atmosphere and some knockout unique brunch dishes.
- Black Creek Bistro Lunch – Amazing sandwiches for half the price of dinner. Will make any lunch feel like a special occasion.
- Sí Señor – Flavorful and filling south-american sandwiches at a price point below what you’d expect Downtown for lunch.
- Plantain Cafe – A mix of authentic and americanized cuban dishes, all made to perfection.
(Click any of the photos below to read the reviews — Photos by Jennifer René and Morgan Kelley.)
The Rest (in no particular order):
- Papaya Street Grill – Hidden gem to be discovered in a northwest-area strip mall.
- Barrel 44 in Bexley – Great flatbread and whiskey selection.
- 101 Beer Kitchen – Beer-centric menu is surprisingly delicious for strip mall location.
- The Angry Baker – Works well for brunch, lunch or cakes on the go.
- The Inn Between – Downtown lunch joint relaunched with basic menu staples.
- Park Creek Kitchen – Nice decor, but safe menu items in this Upper Arlington neighborhood space.
- Natalie’s Coal Fired Pizza – Excellent Worthington space, but crowded and slow on busy nights.
- D.P. Dough – Calzones for college students. Open late.
- The Jury Room – Just like your Italian grandmother from northeast Ohio used to make.
- Element Pizza Bar – Downtown artisan pizzas with a great happy hour menu.
- Columbus Brewing Company – Upscale bar food has a few solid entrees to compliment beers.
- Marcella’s Ristorante – Old and New Italian lineup in a great Short North space.
- Villa Nova – Old school Italian food with a menu that hasn’t changed in decades.
- Inferno Burger – Ohio-based burger chain on par with Red Robin.
- Explorers Club Food Cart – Portable dishes from the main menu, but be warned; everything’s spicy.
- Surly Girl Saloon – Short North staple with plenty to get excited about.
- Creole Kitchen – Hole-in-the-wall takeout cajun/creole with a whole lotta soul.
- Grass Skirt Tiki Room – Polynesian-meets-Midwest bar food with amazing drinks and ambiance.
- T. Murray’s Bar & Kitchen – Solid lunches in a nice atmosphere for a reasonable price.
- Oodles Noodles Dumpling Bar – Average Chinese takeout with gigantic portion sizes.
- Downtown MoJoe Lounge – A Thanksgiving lunch special at this swank, modern restaurant.
- Yogi Perogi – Grandview Avenue homemade pierogis for take-out with very small selection.
- Olde Towne Tavern – Newcomer bar with great healthy-slanted bar food menu.
- Zen Cha Bexley – A peculiar mix of styles and cuisines, but somehow works out well.
- Sage American Bistro – Top notch brunch that is worth the wait on a busy Sunday.
- Flatiron Bar & Diner – Go-to restaurant for Downtown cajun food, brisket and barbecue.
- Hubbard Grille Happy Hour – Delicious fruity cocktails, some appetizers miss the mark.
- Pie’s Gourmet Pizza Bistro – Reynoldsburg artisan pizza with great apps and drinks, so-so pizza.
- El Camino Inn – New Downtown lounge with strong margaritas and taco truck tacos.
- Barrio Tapas – RIP. Lots of potential, but it wasn’t enough.