Both years I’ve put together our Crave 10 list of the city’s best restaurants (last year with the help of an editorial board and this year on my own), I wrestled with whether to include some of my favorite cheap-eats spots—places like Skillet or Harvest Pizzeria, where the food is amazing but the ambiance is, well, a bit lacking.
The dining game is changing, after all. Some of this year’s most exciting new openings, like Veritas Tavern in Delaware, are serving astonishingly good small plates in a laid-back, Spartan setting (unfortunately, it opened too late in the year to qualify for consideration on this list).
But unless I completely changed our evaluation formula, canceling out atmosphere and service and drinks and judging solely by quality of food, it’s not really fair to judge those places on the same scale as fine dining restaurants.
As much as I cherish eating at quirky husband-and-wife-run restaurants (our next-gen mom-and-pops)—and even though my picks this year lean toward the small, chef-driven, farm-to-table model—I don’t think Columbus is quite over the Going Out To Eat experience and all that comes with it: reservations, linen tablecloths, fine wine, attentive service.
Honestly, neither am I.
So consider this a list of our 10 best fine dining restaurants, judged by general vibe, quality of service, wine and cocktail lists, and, of course, food.