9. Alana's

Story by G.A. Benton + Photos by Jodi Miller

Alana's name is literally bent into a little fence that's the entrance to her restaurant and party-time patio. This is certainly fitting, considering Alana Shock's personality is stamped all over her terrific place.

Alana's taste shows up on her walls, which are awash in brash and humor-splashed local art. It's in the music, which weaves a path from voodoo-soaked New Orleans (where Alana trained under Emeril Lagasse), to Piaf's Paris, to a nutty place in America where someone dreamed up a zippy big band version of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame."

And of course Alana's touch is all over her menu, which she composes daily after shopping for the freshest and best ingredients available. See, Alana's been flying the eat-seasonal and go-local flags as long and as vehemently as any restaurant in Columbus.

Still, it's her worldbeat creativity that most distinguishes her eatery. Here, handmade Thai curry pastes share menu space with Moroccan flavors, Colombian arepas, zingy African piri-piri sauces and Indian spice-kissed Ohio-raised pork and steaks.

Vegetables are special too. They're liable to refreshingly brighten an all-cold item menu served on a hot summer night, starring Alana's famous locally grown tomato and peekytoe crab stack and a virtually fatless grilled tomatillo gazpacho.

And holy bacchus if the giant globe-spanning wine list isn't one of the best and best-priced ever printed in Ohio. Toss in creative cocktails concocted with local fruits and local hooches plus pretty housemade pastries and you'll understand why every night could be Mardi Gras at Alana's.

Alana's Food & Wine 2333 N. High St., North Campus 614-294-6783 alanas.com Hours: 5-9 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday, 5 p.m.-close Friday-Saturday

The Crave 10 1. Rigsby's 2. G. Michael's 3. Kihachi 4. Dragonfly 5. Basi Italia 6. Sage 7. Refectory 8. M 9. Alana's 10. Worthington Inn