Shops in the vista in Columbia, SC
Exterior of Di Prato's Deli in downtown Columbia, SC
Five Points mural in Columbia, SC's Five Points
Exterior of Groucho's in Columbia, SC's Five Points
Colorful buildings along Saluda Ave in Columbia, SC's Five Points
Brick entrance to Graduate Hotel Inn at UofSC hotel on University of South Carolina's campus

Fine Dining in Columbia, SC: 12 Perfect Restaurants

Fine Dining in Columbia, SC: 12 Perfect Restaurants

A guide to the best high-end restaurants in Columbia, SC

At last, a great list of 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 UofSC graduation, a special birthday or anniversary, an important promotion or maybe you just want a fancy night out on the town.

All of 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 the perfect restaurant for a date night out in Columbia. Whether it’s a fancy restaurant to celebrate an anniversary or the perfect place for a first date in Columbia, we have you covered! All of the restaurants we detail below are great date night restaurants (trust us!)

And maybe you aren’t looking for a fancy date night out– but perhaps you need a restaurant for a business dinner in Columbia. This list is full of high-end restaurants! Most are located in the downtown area of Columbia (Main Street District, The Vista and Five Points) and a few are over the bridge in West Columbia.

A note on awards mentioned

You’ll see in our guide below where we have shared whether any of the places won any awards in the Free Times / Post & Courier Best of Columbia awards for 2022. These awards are taken pretty seriously here and definitely guide the crowds toward trendier places. You’ll see below that Hall’s Chophouse was the big winner in 2022.

Map of the Best Fine Dining Restaurants in Columbia, SC

The Best Fine Dining Restaurants in Columbia, SC

1. Hall’s Chophouse

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.

Awards: Hall’s Chophouse was the big winner in the 2022 Best of Columbia awards. They won everything from the big one (Best Restaurant in Columbia), Best Restaurant on Main St, Best Service, Best Steak and Best Restaurant When Someone Else Is Paying. They were also awarded an honorable mention for their wine list.

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!

Overhead shot of Motor Supply Company table spread in Columbia's The Vista

Location: 1221 Main St #150 | Main St District

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.

2. Motor Supply Company

The quintessential fine dining restaurant in Columbia

Motor Supply is an upscale American eatery with an ever-changing farm-to-table menu. Not only are they open for dinner, but they also serve brunch on the weekends and lunch Tuesday-Friday.

Awards: Motor Supply was voted best farm-to-table restaurant, best chef, and best restaurant in the Vista in 2022 Best of Columbia’s 2022 awards. It was also runner-up for best restaurant in Columbia and ‘best restaurant when someone else is paying‘.

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.

Location: 920 Gervais St | The Vista

Parking: Valet parking is available.

3. Hampton Street Vineyard

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.

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!)

Bar at Hampton Street Vineyard in downtown Columbia SC

Location: 1207 Hampton St | Main Street District

Parking: Street parking and valet parking are available.

4. Saluda’s

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. And the setting, complete with white-linen tables and an antique mahogany bar 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.

Awards: Saluda’s was mentioned as an honorable mention in several of the Best of Columbia 2022 award categories (best shrimp & grits, best service, best place when someone else is paying, best wine line, best chef, best farm-to-table restaurant…) but didn’t outright win any.

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.

Starbucks and Saludas in Columbia, SC's Five Points

Location: 751 Saluda Ave | Five Points

Parking: Valet parking is available.

5. Smoked

Best new high-end restaurant in Columbia

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.

Awards: Smoked took home the coveted Best New Restaurant award. It was also an honorable mention for Best Seafood Restaurant and Best Restaurant When Someone Else Is Paying.

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.

Location: 1643 Main St | Main Street District

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. 

6. Di Vino Rosso

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 true taste of Italy in the heart of The Vista.

Awards: Voted Best Italian Restaurant in the Post & Courier Best of Columbia 2022 awards. They also received an honorable mention for Best Restaurant, Best Restaurant in the Vista and Best Charcuterie Board.

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

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

Location: 807 Gervais St | The Vista

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.

7. Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse

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.

Location: 924-A Senate Street (located in the Hilton) | The Vista

Parking: Valet parking is available.

Back to the table of contents

Fine Dining Restaurants in West Columbia, SC

8. Black Rooster

Best rooftop bar dining in the Columbia area

A 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.

Awards: Runner up for Best Place to Dine Outdoors and Best Restaurant in West Columbia/Cayce

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.

Location: 201 Meeting St | West Columbia

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

9. Al’s Upstairs

Intimate fine dining with a view of downtown Columbia

Al’s Upstairs is a charming Italian restaurant located in West Columbia, but with a great view of the capital city. It’s a go-to spot for locals wanting to celebrate something, like a birthday, anniversary or graduation.

What to order: Their lobster bisque is heavenly! It’s the perfect way to start off an evening out. For entrees, we love their Chicken Parmigiana, Chicken Charleston and Veal Piccata. And their desserts are incredible! We especially love their cheesecake.

View of downtown Columbia from Al's Upstairs in West Columbia, SC

Location: 300 Meeting St | West Columbia

Parking: A parking lot is located all around the building. Additional parking is available at Egg Roll STation.

10. Terra

Great restaurant for a double date in Columbia

Ok, so Terra is actually over the bridge in West Columbia, but it definitely 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.

Location: 100 State St | West Columbia

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

Back to the table of contents

Casual fine-dining restaurants

Below you will find two other restaurants that we love to frequent for date nights that fall between casual and fancy.

While they aren’t necessarily ‘fine dining’, I wanted to include them in case you were looking for a restaurant for a nice night out in Columbia. You’ll find great food and a great atmosphere at both!

11. Cola’s

Perfect spot for a fun date night out in Columbia

I like 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.

Location: 1215 Assembly St | The Vista

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

12. Mr. Friendly’s

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!

Awards: Mr. Friendly’s won the Best Southern Restaurant and Best Restaurant in Five Points in the Best of Columbia 2022 awards.

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.

Exterior of Mr. Friendly's in Five Points area of Columbia, SC

Location: 2001 Greene St | Five Points

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.

Back to the table of contents

Disclaimer: Hours, pricing, menus, etc. may have changed since we last updated this post, so make sure to confirm all of this directly prior to visiting any business or attraction listed on our site. When In Columbia does not accept sponsored posts. All opinions are our own. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.