Columbus Monthly's Best New Restaurants 2022
From barbecue to sushi, hand-crafted pasta to Southern comfort food, or baklava to croissants, these are the hottest newcomers to the local dining scene.
It takes fortitude to start a restaurant these days. Our Best New Restaurants of the past year (which opened between Nov. 1, 2020, and Oct. 31, 2021) have seen it all—rising food costs, a labor shortage and another COVID-19 surge that echoed the early days of the pandemic. Their gumption and good cooking have inspired us, whether it was dining on hand-crafted pasta at Pelino’s or digging into Modern Southern Table’s Alabama fried chicken. Here are 11 of the hottest newcomers to the local dining scene, plus two honorable mentions for Best Restaurant Refresh and Best New Bar Food.
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What do you get when the top local barbecue artist (James Anderson of Ray Ray’s Hog Pit) hooks up with a top local chef (Bill Glover, former executive chef at Hilton Columbus Downtown)? As Ray Ray’s Meat + Three demonstrates, you get a marriage made in hog heaven. (read more)
Martha Armenta is the star behind this authentic Mexican restaurant, which offers a wide range of birria dishes, chilaquiles, enchiladas and more. (read more)
Chef Jamie George’s Italian- and French-inspired menu highlights local ingredients, house-made charcuterie, scratch pastas and breads. (read more)
Some of the best Sichuan food in Columbus (think: dan dan noodles, spicy fried fish and mapo tofu) is being served at this restaurant in Kenny Centre. (read more)
Chef/owner Sadaya “Daisy” Lewis takes diners on a culinary tour of the South, from gumbo to Geechee red rice to Alabama fried chicken. (read more)
Tulip Café, a small Northwest Side eatery run by two Turkish women, offers delicacies such as manti, doner kebabs, borek, simit and pistachio baklava. (read more)
A Tokyo Sushi Academy-trained chef runs this North Market Bridge Park sushi shop, which offers frech hand rolls and maki rolls as well as yakitori. (read more)
Freedom offers a menu of sandwiches, salads and baked goods—all for a good cause: the nonprofit's mission to support survivors of human trafficking. (read more)
Vinny Pelino and his wife, Christina, serve a prix fixe menu with house-made pasta, made from imported Italian semolina flour, as the main attraction. (read more)
You'll find excellent falafel, baba ghanoush, grilled shawarma, manakish and more at this Lebanese-Mediterranean restaurant from owner Rami Sabra. (read more)
Don Pocha is a destination for interactive Korean barbecue dinners, plus spicy soups, bibimbap and Korean-Chinese specialties like jajangmyeon. (read more)
Best New Bar Food
Great things seem to happen when Annie Williams Pierce, Luke Pierce and chef Tyler Minnis put their heads together. Following Law Bird’s long pandemic pause and the launch of their side project, Boxwood Biscuit Co., the Pierces reopened Law Bird (740 S. High St.) as the wine and cocktail bar it was originally intended to be. Only this time around, the Pierces hired Minnis to handle the bar’s menu of shareables and snacks. (Although calling the food here “bar snacks” seems like an injustice.) Here, classics get a tweak from Minnis: oeufs mayo but with pickled eggs; profiteroles but filled with duck liver instead of pastry cream. The Délice de Bourgogne, a rich, French cow’s milk cheese, paired with crunchy waffle fries is a high-meets-low stroke of genius. The chef also whips up rotating pastas and risottos, and don’t forget the bougie hot dogs, served on Wednesdays.
Best Restaurant Refresh
Chef-driven, risk-taking restaurants have undeniably taken a hit since the pandemic began. That’s why it was so exciting to see The Market Italian Village (1022 Summit St.), now renamed The Market: Food & Drink, reemerge even stronger after a lengthy pandemic hibernation. A&R Creative’s colorful renovation of the interior takes the restaurant in a higher-end direction without being overly formal. Signs of the restaurant’s 2014 origins as a bistro-meets-market, such as retail shelves and cold cases, are gone, making more room for dining tables and cushy booths with velvet cushions. A new chef’s counter, which seats up to four guests, is where chef Carlos Ysaguirre serves special five-course dinners ($110 per person). Ysaguirre took over the kitchen last April, moving here from Chicago and infusing the seasonal menu with new energy in the form of fancy deviled eggs, silky skordalia, handmade pastas and much more. Not to miss is Market’s three-course Sunday Supper, an absolute steal at $35; plus, wine bottles are half off.
This story is from the February 2022 issue of Columbus Monthly.