A throwback to elegant dining with impeccable table service and white linens. If you are looking for a sophisticated Valentine’s Day dinner, you won’t be disappointed with Ruth’s. Sizzling steaks, fresh seafood and a fabulous wine list. Ambient lighting and a rich decor. It’s one of the most special spots in town, to be certain. And thinking about making a night of it? Book yourself in at the Hilton, and your hotel room is just an elevator ride away. Reservations here.
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways… 929 of them! This modern take on Korean offers a menu that finds a fan in everyone. If you like to sit at the bar and have a cocktail before dinner, this is the place. Their custom cocktail menu is amazing and the drinks are potent and wonderful. Have an appetizer there too before being seated. Mandoo is a house favorite – fried Korean-style dumplings – tasty and not too big. The best bulgogi beef will tug at your heartstrings whether ordered in Korean tacos, Bibimbap or Wok Fried Yaki Udon. Are you in love with a vegetarian? Tofu tacos, stir fry, tofu salad and fried tofu Japchae will send her/him to the moon and back! See the full menu here.
Looking for some place different to take your sweetie-pie? In the heart of Forest Acres lies Tombo Grille, THE neighborhood restaurant. They are well-known for their creative comfort food without the drive downtown and parking headaches. Since 2002, Tombo Grille has become synonymous with incredible food, a great wine list and a staff that knows their wine-stuff, high-gravity beers and desserts too good to be missed. Tombo Grille is located in a small plaza on Forest Drive, across from Trader Joe’s. Feel right whether dressed casual or formal. Dine by candlelight. Tombo Grille is a warm, inviting place just right for any occasion. Click here for reservations, or call 803.782.9665 to reserve your table.
If you like hearty comfort foods, and O’Hara’s Public House offers you and your cushlamachree a slate of feel-good heartwarmers like Guinness Stew, Shepherd’s Pie and Pot Roast. You’ll flip over their amazing cheesecake desserts (made with love by a local baker) – so save room. There is a very nicely appointed dining room for your sweetheart dinner. After dinner, enjoy a large bar area where there is often live music, or in nice weather, hang outside on their oversized deck with umbrella tables. More here.
Looking for a dining “experience” for your dinner date? Have you been to Rioz Brazilian Steakhouse lately? They take their Brazilian steakhouse concept to a “whole nuther level” and you’ll love the pampering you’ll receive from their waitstaff and gauchos who keep the food coming. Start with a phenomenal salad bar, and then work through every one of their awesome grilled specialties including Filet Mignon, Lamb Chops and Pork Loin. Make your reservations here: (803) 708-3151
Columbia’s original Japanese restaurant is still around for a good reason… it’s awesome. If you are a fan of sushi or Japanese cuisine, you absolutely will be delighted with Inakaya on O’Neil Court in Northeast Columbia. A charming interior is perfect for date night… why not try the Love Boat for Two? Includes Shrimp and Vegetable Tempura, Teriyaki Chicken, Chicken Karaage, and Fried Dumplings. See the complete menu here.
This Pan-Asian restaurant off Killian Road opened last year, and is a perfect little place to celebrate something special – like your love for each other! Their menu is varied with top items from Chinese and Japanese cuisine, and prepared to perfection. The interior is upscale with linen tablecloths and seating includes private booths. If you like sushi, their sushi chef is a master at his craft, and you will be amazed at his beautiful creations. Their entrees are exquisitely prepared and presentation is tops. You’ll love it. More here.
If you love fresh Mediterranean fare, Ariana’s on Sunset Blvd in West Columbia is always on the mark. Moe, chef and owner, knows his way around a kitchen and prepares Souvlaki, lamb dishes, Chicken Karahi, traditional Gyro to perfection. See the menu here. Small restaurant with intimate seating. Reservations: (803) 796-4430
A newcomer to Columbia’s downtown dinner scene, Hall’s Chophouse has garnered rave reviews on Yelp and Tripadvisor. The restaurant is divided into small rooms with tables and booths, white linens and gorgeous tableware. The staff is attentive and the menu is pricey, but according to reviews, worth it. Take a look here. Make your dinner reservations here.
If romantic dining involves Italian dishes (like spaghetti… think Lady and the Tramp) then your choice should be Alodia’s. With a location in Irmo and one in Lexington, Alodia’s does not require a trip downtown and the hassle of finding parking. Authentic Italian dishes from the owner’s Italian family recipes, the kitchens are directed by an executive chef who has an extensive resume including some of the South’s finest dining establishments. You won’t be disappointed. Take a look at their menu here.
A small restaurant with an intimate feel, excellent service and equally excellent food and drink. This award-winner is a great choice for date night or date lunch. There is always something special on the menu and many of the features are made from locally-sourced ingredients. Creative cuisine, cozy bar area, everything you want for a memorable date. Menu here. Reservations here.
If you want to feel on top of the world (literally), then experience this revolving restaurant on the campus of the University of South Carolina. Only open on Fridays for lunch (a Southern buffet for $15.99) or brunch of Sundays ($23.99), the view is absolutely breathtaking. Small tables against the windows allow for an unobstructed view of Columbia and beyond. Reservations and details here.
If you and your love to share, then try Melting Pot with its Complete Fondue Experience for Two. Choose a cheese fondue to share, each person chooses a salad, pick an entree (and a cooking style to share on the tabletop), and finally a chocolate fondue for dessert! Amazing food and a great experience. More here.