If you had the spare cash, where would you spend it dining in Columbia? Let’s take a look at some options:
Drinks, before or after dinner
Liberty Tap Room in the Vista has Pappy Van Winkle Rye. The restaurant has sold out of other Pappy varieties at the moment but hopes to restock soon. In the meantime, a shot of rye will set you back $70 – just enough to gain some courage for a big night out or to take the edge off of a disappointment. 828 Gervais St., (803) 461-4677, www.libertytaproom.com.
A glass of red? Well, not just any red wine – a bottle of 2005 JL Chave Hermitage, a shiraz from the Rhone Valley in France with a Wine Spectator rating of 98, will cost you $345 at Terra. Pair it with duck (Quack Madame, $10; seared breast, $25) or a rich dish of pork or lamb. Terra is at 100 State St., West Columbia, (803) 791-3443, www.terrasc.com.
While the prices may not seem high in the scheme of things, the appetizer menu at Hampton Street Vineyard will certainly let you feel like you’re living the luxe life. Selections include a torchon of foie gras ($15), beef carpaccio with fried shallots, capers, port Dijon mustard, shaved Parmesan and garlic-thyme-infused olive oil ($14) or plates of artisan cheese ($14) or charcuterie ($17). And Hampton’s servers are always helpful pairing your choices with wines from their vast cellar. 1201 Hampton St., (803) 252-0850, www.hamptonstreetvineyard.com.
Fondue: It never went out of style, and fondue dinners can be quite romantic. Check out Melting Pot’s four-course dining experience: You select one cheese fondue, an individual salad, individual entree (ranging from $33.95 to $47.95 per person, add cold water lobster tail to any selection for additional $10.99) and one chocolate fondue for dessert. Melting Pot is at 1410 Colonial Life Blvd., (803) 731-8500, www.meltingpot.com.
If steak is your thing, then Ruth’s Chris Steak House is your place to dine. Try the 22-ounce bone-in cowboy ribeye, $51; or the 40-ounce porterhouse for two (yes, that’s right … 40 ounces), $87. Pricing is just for the meat portion of the meal: Salads, soups, vegetables, potatoes and such are extra. Located at the Hilton Hotel, 924-A Senate St., (803) 212-6666, www.ruthschris.com.
Ristorante Divino offers a distinctive Italian flair to dining. Try the whole roasted fish of the day (market price) or the herb-roasted bone-in veal chop with marinara sauce, burrata cheese and garlic linguine, $33. If you really want to impress, order a bottle from the restaurant’s reserve selection; a bottle of 1998 Chateau D’Yquem Sauternes, $425, is a sweet wine to pair with poached fish, cheeses or dessert. 803 Gervais St., (803) 799-4550, www.ristorantedivino.com.
At Motor Supply Co. Bistro, the menu changes daily, but most evenings, you can find the restaurant’s signature farm-to-table Carolina Heritage Farms pork chop ($28). To pork out on pork, order the charcuterie board ($15). 920 Gervais St., (803) 256-6687, www.motorsupplycobistro.com.
Desserts and more
How decadent do you want to get? Check out the desserts at The Oak Table: butterscotch bread pudding with bourbon-poached pears, smoked cinnamon ice cream and salted caramel corn, $8; textures of chestnut with chocolate mousse, meringue, puree, crumble and sorbet, $8; or, wines come in flights so why not ice cream and sorbet? Pick three from the daily menu for $8. Not into sweets? The artisanal cheese board is a selection of cheeses, dried fruit, house mustard, jam and sliced baguette, $14. The Oak Table, 1221 Main St., (803) 563-5066, www.theoaktablesc.com.
Kaminsky’s Dessert Cafe, a new offering on Gervais Street next to Pearlz, features adult milkshakes for $9. Perk up with the Wake Up Call, with Van Gogh Double espresso, Bailey’s Irish Cream, vanilla bean ice cream and cold extract coffee. 930 Gervais St., (803) 550-9979, kaminskys.com.
Or how about the establishment that has become reknown the best desserts in Columbia? Nonnah’s offers a wide array of cakes, tarts, pies and cheesecakes. Try the white chocolate ginger cheesecake or the honey walnut tart with chocolate and caramel sauces (both $8.60/slice). 923 Gervais St., (803) 779-9599, www.nonnahs.com.
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