Fine Dining In Columbia, SC: 12 Perfect Restaurants

This article shares the best fine-dining restaurants in Columbia. These are the restaurants that should be top of mind when you have something to celebrate, whether it’s a USC graduation, a special birthday or anniversary, an important promotion or maybe you just want a fancy night out on the town.

The restaurants mentioned in our guide to fine dining in Columbia have excellent food, ambiance and service. And all are very different from one another. There are so many nice restaurants in Columbia and you really can’t go wrong with any on this list.

This is especially true if you are looking for a fancy date night restaurant in Columbia or a high-end restaurant for a business dinner. We are certain the perfect spot is on this list.

Where To Go FOr Fine Dining in Columbia, SC

Guide To Fine Dining Restaurants In Columbia

Below you’ll find a list of our top picks for nicer dinners out in Columbia. We also included a few in West Columbia, as well as a few eateries that are a bit more casual but still check the boxes for a nice night out.

There are so many great restaurants in town, so be sure to check out our list of the best restaurants in Columbia. But if you are specifically looking for fancier restaurants in town, read on!

The best place for a fancy steak dinner in Columbia, SC

If excellent service and amazing steak are on your must-have list when fine dining in Columbia, you will love Hall’s!

This Charleston-based restaurant is definitely having a moment right now in Columbia. It has become a go-to fine dining restaurant and for good reason.

Everything from their ambiance, menu and service-first vibe combine to make it a truly spectacular restaurant in downtown Columbia.

What to order: Hall’s is known for their steaks, so my recommendation is to start there when perusing the menu. They have several different cuts available (wet or dry-aged), all of which are from USDA Prime beef flown in from Allen Brothers of Chicago. Their sides are family-style, so expect large portions!

Parking: Hall’s is located on Main Street just in front of the State House. There is some street parking on Main Street but not much at this end. Valet parking is available, though.

The quintessential fine dining restaurant in Columbia

Motor Supply is an upscale American eatery with an ever-changing farm-to-table menu. It’s located in the Vista near the State House. Not only are they open for dinner, but they also serve weekend brunch and lunch Tuesday-Friday.

What to order: Though the menu changes daily, you can always count on exceptional food at Motor Supply Company Bistro. Their steaks are a sure bet! Salads and pork chops are also always delicious. I also want to mention their cocktails– they have a great selection of featured cocktails.

Parking: Valet parking is available.

The perfect date night restaurant in Columbia

Hampton Street Vineyard is a great option if you like the idea of a small, intimate restaurant. You’ll find French farm-to-table cuisine, excellent wine and a romantic setting at Hampton Street Vineyard.

Each course is delicious and the service is always impeccable. They also have great outdoor seating when weather permits.

Hampton Street Vineyard is located downtown near Main Street. It’s a charming spot with an excellent brunch on the weekends.

What to order: Their charcuterie board is the perfect place to start. Try the Steak Frites— it’s my favorite item on the menu. And definitely don’t miss their dessert options (like the cheesecake!)

Parking: Street parking and valet parking are available.

Our pick for where to celebrate an anniversary in Columbia

Saluda’s is an upscale restaurant in Five Points. They are known for Southern cuisine with French and Italian influences. Complete with white linen tables and an antique mahogany bar, Saluda’s makes for the perfect celebration spot.

We especially recommend Saluda’s for an anniversary dinner or special birthday celebration. They have a private room that you can reserve, so it’s also a great place to dine with a group in Columbia.

What to order: We love their fried green tomatoes appetizer complete with gouda pimento cheese and fresh herb puree. For entrees, try the shrimp & grits— it comes topped with a fried green tomato. Their sea scallops are also great. Please note the menu changes seasonally.

Parking: Valet parking is available.

Best new high-end restaurant in Columbia

Smoked is a gorgeous new seafood restaurant and full oyster bar located on busy Main Street in downtown Columbia. Smoked is open daily for lunch and dinner. They feature a brunch menu on Saturdays and Sundays.

What to order: Smoked has a full oyster bar menu with everything from oyster shooters to a seafood tower with Maine lobster tails, raw oysters on the half shell, shrimp poached in white wine, smoked salmon and smoked crab salad. I personally love their simple blue cheese romaine salad and the Rockefeller Ravioli.

Parking: Valet is available during operating hours. Street parking is also available, as well as the Cannon public parking garage and the Taylor St. public parking garage. 

Best high-end Italian restaurant in Columbia

If you are looking for a fancy night out in Columbia complete with exquisite food and white tablecloths, head to Di Vino Rosso! It’s a fine dining Italian restaurant in Columbia.

Di Vino Rosso’s menu is full of delicious Italian food, including their signature rack of lamb and pappardelle. You can’t go wrong with either!

What to order: Their signature dishes are the rack of lamb and the pappardelle. You can’t go wrong with either!

Parking: Valet parking is available.

Note: Di Vino Rosso was formerly Ristorante Divino. It closed in 2020 and reopened next door under a new name.

Our pick for where to have a business dinner in Columbia

Though Ruth’s Chris isn’t local to Columbia, it’s definitely a destination for a nice night out. Whether it’s to celebrate an anniversary, a special birthday or just a dinner out on the company card, you can expect great food and service.

What to order: Butter-topped steak, of course. After all, that’s their signature dish. Their stuffed mushrooms and creamed spinach are also very tasty.

Parking: Valet parking is available.

Best rooftop bar dining in the Columbia area

casual yet elegant “French-ish” restaurant overlooking the river in West Columbia. They have one of the best rooftop bars in the Columbia area. Patio and rooftop seating is on a first-come basis, but you can make a reservation for the main dining space.

What to order: You’ll find everything from Escargots to an upscale grilled cheese with tomato bisque dipping sauce on the appetizer menu. My top pick for dinner is starting with their Onion Soup Gratinée and pairing it with their Steak Frites. If you like spicy things (and I mean SPICY!!), try their Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich.

Parking: There’s a lot right there at the apartments that you can use as well as a public parking deck near State Street.

Great restaurant for a double date in Columbia

While Terra is actually over the bridge in West Columbia, it still counts as fine dining in Columbia to me! Terra is a chef-driven neighborhood bistro, and it makes such a perfect destination for a date night out.

Awards: Terra topped the list of the Best Restaurant in West Columbia. No surprise there! It also placed as the runner-up for Best Farm-to-Table Restaurant (that one went to Motor Supply) and got an honorable mention for Best Restaurant.

What to order: You can get everything from Steak Frites (and you should) to a wood-fired pizza. Don’t miss their Lamb Mac appetizer if it’s on the menu– it’s so unexpected but wildly delicious. Terra has a pretty small menu with less than 10 small plates and 5 entrees.

Parking: Valet parking is available as well as free parking nearby.

Perfect spot for a fun date night out in Columbia

We love to recommend Cola’s because you get a fine dining-style menu in a pretty cool, laid-back space.

Brick walls, and open garage doors when it’s nice out… it makes for a very fun date night out in Columbia. The building was a former RC Cola bottling company (hence the name!)

What to order: Try the whole crispy flounder with apricot sauce! It sells out and I have heard that people call ahead to reserve one. It’s a much-loved dish in Columbia! If seafood isn’t your scene, check out the fried pork chop with granny smith apple gravy. They also have a great cocktail menu with very reasonable prices.

Parking: Pay-to-park lot next door to Colas. There is also street parking available. No valet parking.

A bit more casual than the others but definitely worth a mention

A great local spot serving up seasonal southern dishes in a relaxed environment. Mr. Friendly’s is our go-to casual restaurant for most cases, whether it’s a night out with friends, lunch in Columbia, a date night or even takeout. We truly mean it when we say we can’t get enough!

What to order: We can’t get enough of their meatloaf special. And anything with grits is always a good bet! We have also always enjoyed their fish entrees.

Parking: There are some parking spots right out front, these can fill up. You can park on Greene Street and easily walk to Mr. Friendlys. Valet is also available.

Family-owned Italian eatery on Devine Street

Il Giorgione is an Italian restaurant in Columbia that has a hidden gem feel. They have delicious pasta and pizzas and a huge wine selection to pair them with.

We recommend the outdoor patio if weather allows. It’s very charming! While it’s not the most upscale place on our list, we think it is definitely worthy of a celebration restaurant.

What to order: We love their rigatoni al dorato, spaghetti alla carbonara, their Caprese salad with house-made mozzarella and all of their desserts!

Parking: There’s a small parking lot at the back of the building and street parking on Devine Street. It’s next to Backstreet Grill, so you may have to walk a bit depending on the time of day.

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