Top 10 patio picks
It's finally getting warm enough for enjoyably eating outside, so here are our top picks for patio dining in Central Ohio.
2333 N. High St., North Campus
Alana's is housed in a rambling old house right on High Street, so the "patio" is actually a roomy front porch overlooking bustling North Campus. The patio-porch hybrid is fitting, because eating at Alana's is kind of like eating at the home of a great friend who happens to be an excellent cook. The menu is seasonal and changes often based on chef-owner Alana Shock's mood and what she found at the market that week. The daily risotto is always a good bet.
263 E. Whittier St., German Village
Any discussion of the best patios in Columbus has to include German Village's Spanish-influenced Barcelona, which is overflowing with tropical plants and flowers. Add in some white twinkle lights and shareable tapas, and you've got one of the most romantic date spots in the city.
811 Highland St., Victorian Village
Basi is your quintessential neighborhood restaurant. Hidden away among the rambling homes in a Victorian Village alley, the cozy Italian spot boasts a charming courtyard terrace, filled with colorful flowers and ready-to-be-picked herbs.
Bel-Lago Waterfront Bistro
170 N. Sunbury Rd., Westerville
You'll spot the striking bright-blue-and-white building, formerly home to the Hoover Grille, from far away - it looks like it was airlifted in from some stretch of New England coast. The semi-circular covered patio offers some of the best waterside views to be found in Columbus, and they're definitely worth the trek to Westerville.
4089 The Strand East, Easton
There are a few great patios at the shopping mecca known as Easton Town Center, but our favorite is this French-inspired bistro and bar. The outdoor dining area overlooks a lit fountain and is a great place to sit back, sip cocktails, nibble on upscale comfort food like Chicken Crepes and watch the shoppers hurry by.
591 N. High St., Short North
The luxurious outdoor seating area at Eleven, the stylish restaurant and bar attached to sister Hyde Park Prime Steakhouse on the Cap, is made for lingering all evening long. From cozy couches to fireplaces to a fantastic bar that starts inside and stretches outside, the covered and heated patio is a great place to enjoy Eleven's lineup of small plates and complex cocktails.
1369 Grandview Ave., Grandview
When you eat outside at one of the small tables right on Grandview Avenue, you'll feel like you're lunching at a great European sidewalk cafe. The reliably delicious wood-fired pizzeria serves handcrafted old-world-style pizzas with updated toppings like pesto chicken with feta, wild mushrooms with blue cheese and fontina, and grilled asparagus spears with portobellos, prosciutto and roma tomatoes.
5 S. Liberty St., Powell
This spring is a great time to try out Maca, the Spanish-style tapas cafe way up in Powell. Starting April 19, the restaurant will start serving a Sunday brunch from 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. And while the kitchen will close at 2:30, guests can linger on the patio and order half-price sangria pitchers till 5 as part of the new Sit N Sip promotion.
130 Creekside Plaza, Gahanna
At the right time of year (right on the verge of summer, when the trees are green but the temperatures still aren't too high), Mezzo's brick patio is nothing short of magical. Overlooking the Big Walnut Creek and the Creekside fountains, the patio lights up at night with a stone pit fire and hanging strands of white lights.
951 N. High St., Short North
There's no better people-watching in Columbus than in the Short North, and the patio for this oasis of organic and local cuisine gives you a perfect vantage point. Northstar serves an excellent brunch menu, and their massive veggie burger, made with organic brown rice, black beans and beets, is famous citywide.