Columbus Monthly’s 10 Best Restaurants: At No. 4, The Refectory Exudes Elegance, Fine Execution

Beautiful plate presentations, impeccable service and a commendable wine selection are among the reasons the Columbus mainstay has been synonymous with fine dining for more than 40 years

G.A. Benton
Lamb brûlée at The Rectory Restaurant and Wine Shop

Good luck trying to name every once-trendy restaurant that has come and gone since the Refectory became the top local destination for French food decades ago. Much easier to name: The one local restaurant with a link to Paul Bocuse, the colossus of French cooking whose name graces the de facto culinary Olympics, the Bocuse d’Or.

That’s the Refectory, whose longtime chef Richard Blondin—a native of Lyon, France—studied under Bocuse before moving to Ohio.

Blondin’s precise, technique-heavy creations and beautiful plate presentations decorated with haute-cuisine sauces are major reasons why the Refectory has been synonymous with fine dining in Columbus for more than 40 years. Other draws include impeccable service; a duly celebrated wine selection; tasting menu and a la carte options; and the serene, sui generis setting of a converted 19th-century church with stained glass windows, exposed brick, soaring rafter beams and date-night lighting.

The menu is dotted with classics—several are hearty, divulging a French countryside provenance—like succulent veal tenderloin with rich whipped potatoes and a rosemary-inflected bordelaise sauce, and laboriously made with terrines with escargot or forcemeat.

Lighter, contemporary and multinational touches abound, too. The knockout rack of lamb is seaweed-encrusted; sashimi gets embellishments from eggplant marmalade and a yuzu vinaigrette; and the scallop brochette with seafood pastry entrée is leavened by a carrot-ginger wine sauce.

Don’t leave without dessert. Confections like the crème brûlée and belle Helene (poached pear) are so delicious they’d likely make Bocuse—and even Auguste Escoffier—proud. 

The Refectory Restaurant and Wine Shop

1092 Bethel Road, Northwest Columbus, 614-451-9774,

This story is from the “10 Best Restaurants” package in the November 2022 issue of Columbus Monthly.