10 Best Restaurants of 2019: #1 Veritas

G.A. Benton
Beets + Apple + Chevre

Just as a rising tide lifts all boats, our No. 1 restaurant lifts Columbus as a serious fine-dining center and presents a daring, reach-for-the sky example that other eateries might emulate. Understated meets swanky in the largely gray and wood loungelike space where Veritas offers a nationally praised wine list (see: Wine Enthusiast’s 100 Best Wine Restaurants of 2019), outstanding cocktails and delicious, modernist dishes created and artfully arranged under the tutelage of a perfectionist chef-owner who thinks big with small plates.

On Tasting Menus

Chef Josh Dalton believes the first four bites are always the best.

“My favorite meals are tasting menus,” says Veritas owner and executive chef Josh Dalton. A cuisine-exploring avid traveler who has researched and dined in some of the world’s best restaurants, Dalton adds, “Even when I didn’t love a particular tasting-menu dish somewhere, it made me think about food differently. Everything’s delicious at Veritas, but we want you to think about what you’re eating, too.”

When Veritas became the first Columbus restaurant to embrace a tasting-menu-only format last September—it has since added à la carte items back to the menu—the risk of specializing in chef-curated, multicourse meals costing upwards of $85 per customer was high. Also high: the rewards for diners seeking a culinary adventure that lasts about two hours but generates memories lasting far longer.

Explaining his fondness for tasting menus, Dalton says, “If you just eat a big steak, your first four bites are going to be so much better than the last four.”

Providing variety isn’t the only appeal of Veritas’ tasting menu, he continues. “Today’s world has so much turmoil. Our tasting menu offers a chance to slow down and let us pick and serve you dishes we’re excited about; let us show you how beautiful food can be and what hospitality is.”

Describing his seasonally changing tasting menu in August, Dalton says, “You first tease the palate with something light. It’s harvest time, so pristine vegetables will be highlighted. There will be no low points, but you need at least two ‘holy crap!’ spikes.”

The stunning Blue Prawn + Masa + Tomatillo and the crowd-pleasing Prime Strip + Harissa + Potato are such superstars, Dalton says, that the dishes often cause smitten diners to become blissfully quiet.

That silence pleases Dalton, a chef known for his stratospheric standards, because as he puts simply, “My whole life is food, and I enjoy sharing my passion.”

Read about our other Best Restaurants of 2019:

2. Wolf’s Ridge Brewing

3. Watershed Kitchen & Bar

4. Service Bar

5. G. Michael’s Bistro & Bar

6. Comune

7. Refectory Restaurant & Wine Shop

8. Gallerie Bar & Bistro

9. The Guild House

10. Ambrose and Eve

11 W. Gay St., Downtown