Columbia isn’t your average college town. Actually, three institutions are located there: the University of Missouri Mizzou, Stephens College, and Columbia College. But, this thriving city has much more to offer tourists to the region than you may imagine.
Let us now discuss the gastronomic possibilities available to you. I was astounded by the number of eateries offered. Anything from a fantastic breakfast to pizza to high-end exquisite dining is available.
Visiting other places in Missouri? Check out our other tasty guides:
- 9 Best Lake Of The Ozarks Restaurants
- 8 Must-Try Restaurants in Springfield Missouri
- 5 Best Things To Do In Columbia MO This Weekend
- 8 Best Restaurants In St Charles MO
- 1 The Top 8 Columbia, Missouri Restaurants
- 1.1 Caf & Steakhouse Ernies
- 1.2 Shakespeare’s Pizza Company
- 1.3 Blufftop Restaurant at Les Bourgeois Vineyards
- 1.4 Meriwether Caf & Cycle Shop is located in Meriwether, Tasmania.
- 1.5 Handmade Sparky’s Ice Cream
- 1.6 Ozark Mountain Biscuit Company & Bar
- 1.7 Smoke & Fire CoMo
- 1.8 Sycamore
- 1.9 Which of these Columbia MO restaurants are you most interested in visiting first? Please share your thoughts in the comments box below!
The Top 8 Columbia, Missouri Restaurants
Caf & Steakhouse Ernies
573-874-78041005 E. Walnut Street
Ernies was one of the most enjoyable locations I visited. The meal was delicious, and the environment was lively and exciting, just what you need first thing in the morning! Breakfast and lunch are served from 6:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Breakfast was my option, and it was a fantastic way to start the day. Chloe was the server, and she was as cheerful and polite as any I’d seen; she clearly enjoys her work!
Although Ernies is famous for its omelets, I decided to sample the Breakfast Sampler instead. This included bacon, sausage, and ham in addition to eggs and hashbrowns. The amounts were big, and the meal was delicious. Handmade French Toast was one dish I tried and shared with my buddies. This delectable delight is cooked with Texas toast and served with plenty of butter and syrup on the side.
Although their breakfast is noteworthy, I’ve been informed that their lunch specials and hearty sandwiches are a must-try for lunch. The Boone County Ham Sandwich and the famed Chopped Cow are just a few of the most popular menu items. This will be my lunch destination the next time I visit Columbia.
Another unique aspect of Ernies is its atmosphere. It’s lovely to be in the European-style seated restaurant and look around at all the memorabilia on the walls. You may locate a giant portrait of Jerry Garcia opposite a street sign on Abbey Road. There is an ancient drive-in movie speaker and a tabletop listing of classic jukebox songs.
Another interesting fact about Ernies: the writer of the Dick Tracy comic strip, Chester Gould, frequented Ernies when his daughter was attending Stephens College. On the wall is an original drawing.
Shakespeare’s Pizza Company
Location in the heart of the city
225 S. Ninth Street, 573-449-2454
There will always be pizza alternatives in a college town. Shakespeare’s is one of the best, having been recognized Best in numerous categories. There are three locations in Columbia, so you can get a notion of how popular they are in the region.
One day, soon after it opened, I had lunch at the downtown facility. Within minutes, lines had developed, and the crew was consistently cranking out pizza. Its menu consists mostly of pizza and salads, with a few additional things. Yet at Shakespeares, pizza suffices. Offered by the slice or full pie, as you and your guests like.
You may mix and match, like I did, but you get what’s available at the moment or wait for your favorite topping to arrive.
At first impression, the restaurant seems to be larger than it appears. Just join the line and wait your time to order at the counter. Decide where you want to sit after you’ve decided on your favourite option. I got a table in the main area by chance. I went around later. On the floor, there is a trail that reminds me of the yellow brick road. It extends through the building to additional rooms with bars, gaming, and other places to relax.
As I strolled into the restaurant, I couldn’t help but imagine what it would be like on a busy night, with all the booths and bars packed with energetic people. It’s no surprise that Good Morning America rated it The Best College Hangout. I can tell you from personal experience that if you find yourself in Columbia, do not pass up the opportunity to visit Shakespeares.
Blufftop Restaurant at Les Bourgeois Vineyards
14020 W. Highway BB, Rocheport, 573-698-2300
The charming village of Rocheport is just a 15-minute drive from Columbia. Les Bourgeois Vineyards is one of the most well-known wineries in Missouri. They are a family-owned and run vineyard with a beautiful blufftop vista of the Missouri River.
In addition to a wine garden and tasting area, the Bistro offers excellent eating. While reservations are recommended, you may eat breakfast, lunch, or supper in stunning settings. Do you have a private event or a special occasion coming up? The Bistro provides a one-of-a-kind setting with an unrivaled vista.
Whether it’s a romantic date night with your significant other or a business lunch with coworkers, you’ll find something delectable on the menu. Try the meat and cheese platter or the Brie flatbread as an appetizer. Warm brie, poached cranberries, fresh apples and berries, pecans, and a sauce prepared with Jeunette Rough make up this wonderful meal (one of Les Bourgeois red wine varieties).
Other menu options include Seafood Cakes, Smash Burgers, and Surf & Turf Kabobs. To compliment your meal, you may choose from a selection of wines manufactured on-site. Whatever you order, neither the food nor the vista will disappoint.
Meriwether Caf & Cycle Shop is located in Meriwether, Tasmania.
Rocheport, 573-698-1222700 1st Street
Meriwether Caf & Cycle Store is also in Rocheport. It’s on the Katy Trail, only a short drive from Columbia. The Katy Trail State Park is the country’s longest rail-to-trail conversion project. You may stroll to Meriwether and hire a bike only a few feet from where the path runs through Rocheport. If you’re looking for a fast meal, go to the Caf, like I did.
What distinguishes Meriwether’s cuisine is that it is really handmade, obtained from local farmers and suppliers. Their cuisine is referred to as basic scratch. As such, sometimes their menu items alter season to season.
My friends and I enjoyed a quiet lunch indoors after our bike ride (outside seating is also available). Fresh peaches, cucumbers, heirloom tomatoes, mint, and basil were tossed in a sherry miso vinaigrette for the Miso Peachy Salad. The salad was delicious and refreshing.
The Native Roots Salad was another dish we tried. Greens, roasted and pickled beets, radishes, microgreens, toasted walnuts, quark (a soft cheese), and honey lavender vinaigrette made up this delicious salad. The typical Meriburger on a potato bun, with all the vegetarian add-ons and a plate of battered fries, completed our day’s meal.
The Meriwether was ideal for a relaxed meal. The dinner was fresh and tasty, and it was delivered with a grin and a giggle. It is certainly worth the few seconds it takes to get here while in Columbia.
Handmade Sparky’s Ice Cream
South 9th Street 573-443-740021 South 9th Street
Sparkys is a distinctive popular hangout for the locals. Don’t miss out since locals know the greatest spots to visit in their city.
An ice cream store here makes small quantities of homemade ice creams, sorbets, and other odd combinations. They are in addition to new flavors including honey lavender and banana Nutella. They create tastes using local ingredients such as Les Bourgeois White Russian and Uprise Candied Bacon.
A visit to Sparkys is a must while in Columbia. Walking through the District, you can’t help but notice the brilliant green on the exterior and pink flooring on the inside. The ice cream and other concoctions, on the other hand, speak for themselves.
Ozark Mountain Biscuit Company & Bar
Hinkson Avenue, 573-447-65471204 Hinkson Ave.
Ozark Mountain Biscuit Company will provide you with the best comfort food and environment experience. Some of the same favorites that started and are currently served in the Ozark Mountain Biscuit Truck may be found at their full-service restaurant, Ozark Mountain Biscuit & Bar. The mobile truck continues to serve customers on Columbia’s streets and at the Farmers Market. Go to the restaurant for a sit-down supper with family and friends.
A dish of Buttermilk Pecan Waffles may appeal to you if you visit the Biscuit & Bar for breakfast. They are accompanied with butter and handmade fruit jam or syrup. Add a fried chicken breast for the ultimate chicken and waffles experience.
There are some unusual options on the menu. Why not try the Sooie Pig, a delectable slab of pulled pork paired with slaw and zesty Arkansauce? Possibly a large platter of fried buttermilk marinated chicken breast with beans, mashed potatoes, gravy, and a biscuit. Do you want something a little lighter? Try the MudPuppy Picnic, which consists of mixed field greens, crispy onions, pickled okra, baby red onions, and sliced radish with a creole molasses vinaigrette. Doesn’t it seem intriguing?
Ozark Mountain Biscuit & Bar is the place to go if you want exquisite down-home food in a welcoming atmosphere.
Smoke & Fire CoMo
600 Paris Road #102 573-443-34734
Barbeque is a major thing in this region of the nation. CoMo Smoke & Fire has its own variation called CoMo BBQ. From the minute you walk through the door, this family-owned and run restaurant makes you feel at ease. The whole family works hard and takes pride in the company they have built, and it shows.
If you like mushrooms, you should start with the Portabella Mushroom Fries. It’s just what you’d expect: an entire portabella, cut thick, battered, then fried for your enjoyment.
Brisket, pig, ribs, and beef, as well as turkey, fish, and chicken, are all available, all served with their original CoMo BBQ sauce. Instead, how about a burger? The Carolina Burger is a must-try. This delicious burger is inspired by Carolina BBQ traditions and served on a brioche bun with pulled pork, house slaw, and your choice of cheese.
You may even order dessert if you are so inclined and have space. Maybe some funnel cake fries or a piece of cheesecake. Breakfast is also available on Saturday and Sunday mornings. CoMo Smoke & Fire has something for everyone.
Phone: 573-874-8090800 E. Broadway
Sycamore is known as one of Columbia’s first farm-to-table restaurants. They take pleasure in offering what is locally and seasonally available. Throughout the years, they have formed unique partnerships with local farmers and producers, enabling them to continue serving Columbia well.
Sycamore is a fine-dining institution with a relaxed atmosphere. While this may seem to be contradictory, the mood is communicated. The customers I observed ranged from a business dinner to students and their parents on move-in weekend, couples, and friends out for dinner after a day of shopping.
Although the menu and alternatives vary on a daily basis, depending on availability, they always offer excellent options. As an appetizer, we split the Parmesan Fries. They were thick-cut fries with shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano on top. This was a must-try for me as a fan of true Italian cheese.
I definitely suggest the Ribeye or Short Ribs as an entree. The Ribeye was accompanied with roasted new potatoes and well prepared fresh vegetables. The steak was seared to seal in the flavor while yet being moist and tender.
Short ribs braised in New Belgian ale are served with caramelized onions and mashed potatoes. The meat was so delicate that it literally came apart. The taste was fantastic.
Sycamore provides an outstanding selection of wines and craft beer to accompany your meal. Dessert is provided after your meal if you so want. The Apple Crisp is without a doubt my top pick.
Columbia’s and the surrounding area’s cuisine options reflect the diversified essence of this dynamic and entertaining city. Columbia not only boasts a flourishing downtown sector, but also a sense of pride that pervades the whole town. This resulted in some unexpected gastronomic pleasures.
I’m looking forward to returning and seeing those I missed.