If every dish tells a story, then Columbus restaurants are full of some of the best storytellers we know. That's why, this year, in addition to sharing what we love about these 10 great restaurants, we asked chefs about the inspiration and innovation behind the dishes they create.

If every dish tells a story, then Columbus restaurants are full of some of the best storytellers we know. That's why, this year, in addition to sharing what we love about these 10 great restaurants, we asked chefs about the inspiration and innovation behind the dishes they create.

Their answers may surprise you. They surely surprised us, and left us with an even deeper love for the wonderful food they create.

So as you enjoy their stories, a little about how we chose this year's 10 best restaurants. The places on this list were not judged solely on food alone, because restaurants of this caliber-fine dining spots that offer not just good food, but a dining experience-really are the sums of their parts.

When dining out at our Top 10 contenders this year, we considered five criteria: menu and dish execution; ambiance and decor; bar programs (wine, cocktails and/or beer, depending on the restaurant); staff knowledge and service; and how this restaurant is adding to or pushing the conversation forward about food in Columbus.

The final criteria is not something actively discussed in the city-the idea that a good restaurant, a Top-10 worthy restaurant, is more than just a nice place to eat out. The chefs on this list are the game changers; the culinary influential who determine how we will eat each season. They are the ones with a passion to help our dining scene evolve-to bring new styles and techniques to the table, and to make the dishes we know and love even better.

Here, we applaud the talented chefs who made it a great year to dine out in Columbus.

#1: Veritas Tavern >>