Since coming to Columbia this past August, I have struggled with finding delicious food that costs little money. I believe I have found the top three quintessential Columbia restaurants which are both affordable and great for when parents come to visit.
The first restaurant I found is called Carolina Strip Club. It is hidden in a suite right off Gervais Street. This restaurant serves steaks, pasta and fine wines. This is the perfect place to go when parents are in town and are looking to have a fine dining experience. The food is pricey but delicious. I tried the six-ounce filet mignon, gouda mac and cheese and the house salad during my first visit. The steak was cooked beautifully medium, just as I had ordered it. Not only was the meal delicious but the service was incredible. All of the waitresses and waiters we encountered were friendly and the food was brought to our table quickly after we ordered it. Even the atmosphere was relaxing and the lights were dimmed which contributed to the fine dining experience.
Il Giorgione is another restaurant that should be included in the top quintessential Columbia restaurants. It is located off of Devine Street and serves Italian food. Although the food is high quality, it is relatively inexpensive. My meal, Sciue Sciue, which is a spaghetti like pasta with garlic, oregano, roasted tomatoes and olive oil was only about 10 dollars. The atmosphere was casual but also had a classy appeal. People could enter the restaurant wearing nice dresses or casual attire. This is a great restaurant if you want to go to a fancy dinner with friends but don't want to pay too much money for it.
The last restaurant that I felt must be in the top three quintessential restaurants is Hibachi House and is located off of Main Street. The restaurant is your typical casual Japanese place but the food is outstanding. Every time I go I get the hibachi chicken which comes with rice and vegetables and a side salad with ginger dressing. It has become a favorite for me and my roommate as well as people on my hall. My meal was only about 11 dollars and the portion sizes are large. This is definitely a restaurant that is under the radar but worth every penny.