Holiday Dining Guide

Posted On November 10, 2019

Take the Road Less Traveled This Holiday Season.

When contemplating “holiday dining,” most of us likely conjure up ideas of traditional lunches and dinners at mom’s or grandma’s house. Whether served formally or buffet style, there is sure to be a roast, turkey, or ham, an array of side dishes, and a buffet of delicious desserts to indulge from. While this archetype certainly has its appeal – otherwise it wouldn’t have become so traditional in the first place – there are other options to consider here in the capital city. Some of our best local restaurants are going to be open for the holidays this year with a variety of menu options to choose from. Some will offer traditional holiday fare (think turkey and stuffing for Thanksgiving) and others will simply keep their doors open for regular business hours and offer their full menu to diners who choose the road less traveled. Keep reading to see who will be open and when – and think about treating mom, grandma, or yourself to a holiday meal out on the town this year. 

Tombo Grille

4509 Forest Dr. | 782-9665 | tombogrille.com

Tombo Grille, a leading Forest Acres restaurant serving incredible food, new-favorites wine, and high-gravity beers and desserts will be open on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve this year, both nights by reservation only. Christmas Eve hours will be from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. and New Year’s Eve will be from 5 p.m. until. For both evenings, they will be offering their normal menu, which is full of wonderful items to choose from. Consider the crowd favorite, brussel sprouts served with herb buttermilk dressing as a starter and the traditional meatloaf served with collard greens and brown gravy as an entrée. Remember to call ahead and make a reservation for either evening.

Halls Chophouse Columbia

1221 Main St. | 563-5066 | hallschophouse.com

Halls Chophouse Columbia boasts family-owned fine-dining, with gorgeous interior design and an ideal Main Street location – offering up top-notch steaks, fresh seafood, and more. They will be open on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and New Year’s Eve at normal business hours with their full menu available to guests. Consider ordering the Prime Steak Tartare, served with quail eggs and gaufrette crisps as an appetizer. The entrée menu of steaks is diverse with cuts ranging from porter house, to Tomahawk ribeye, to Japanese Wagyu filet. If chops or seafood are more your style, there are plenty of options in those categories as well. Unwind at the bar and choose from an extensive list of wines and cocktails. 

Tiffany’s Sweets, Eats & Meeting Place

9704 Two Notch Rd. | 736-2253 | tiffanysofcolumbia.com

Tiffany’s Sweets, Eats & Meeting Place has been a favorite in Columbia for years, but did you know they’ve recently relocated to a much larger location on Two Notch Rd. and they’ve expanded their menu? They’re now a full-service delicatessen and remain the delicious, custom bakery locals have loved and trusted for years. Tiffany’s makes all their baked goods using only the finest ingredients and will be open on New Year’s Eve for normal hours, offering their full menu. While they will be closing for Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve, it would be wise to plan ahead and incorporate some of their custom bakery items into your at-home holiday dinner menus. Guests will surely be impressed with one of their chocolate and caramel cakes, or perhaps a cheesecake. The options are endless, and with Tiffany’s help, your event is sure to be a success.

California Dreaming

401 Main St. | 254-6767 | californiadreaming.rest

California Dreaming, located downtown in a charming former train station, has been a mainstay on the Columbia restaurant circuit for decades. They serve a mix of hearty American classics with notable favorites being their California Dreaming salad, accompanied by a melt in your mouth croissant, and the Knob Hill Chicken, topped with ham and Monterey Jack cheese, served with your choice of side. This year, they’ll be open for Thanksgiving from 11 a.m until 6 p.m., offering a limited menu and the option of a traditional Thanksgiving meal. Christmas Eve, they’ll offer their full menu but will close early at 6 p.m. They’re taking Christmas Day off, but will be open for business on both New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day with normal hours and their full menu. 

Cola’s Restaurant

1215 Assembly St. | 451-0051 | colasrestaurant.com

Cola’s Restaurant is an upscale tavern with eclectic American fare and wine, located in a lovingly restored 1930’s RC Cola bottling plant. Cola’s specializes in seafood, steaks, and other culinary creations influenced by a broad range of ethnic cooking with an emphasis on fresh ingredients and locally grown produce. This holiday season, Cola’s will be open on Thanksgiving from 12 p.m. – 8 p.m. with a limited menu and the addition of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner option. They will be open on Christmas Eve with special menu items available; call to ask for hours. They will be open on New Year’s Eve at regular hours and offering their full menu. 

Ruth’s Chris Steak House

924-A Senate St. (in the Hilton Hotel) | 212-6666 | ruthschris.com

Ruth’s Chris Steak House is home to the finest cuts of USDA Prime beef served sizzling on 500-degree plates. They boast a list of award-winning wines and the promise of an unforgettable dining experience. Reservations are always recommended at Ruth’s Chris and that’s no different this holiday season. The world-renowned chain restaurant will be open on Thanksgiving for normal business hours and will offer a special menu with traditional Thanksgiving fare as an option. They will be also be open Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day for their normal business hours with their full menu available to diners.

The British Bulldog Pub

1220 Bower Pkwy E-10 | 227-8918 | thebritishbulldogpub.com

The British Bulldog Pub, it may come as no surprise, is a Brit-owned spot offering a combination of traditional English food and select international cuisine. Try the fish and chips or the beef and cheddar pasty; both are customer favorites. They strive to maintain a comfortable and friendly atmosphere with high quality food and drinks. Speaking of drinks, the pub offers a selection of over 20 draft beers and plenty of European soccer on televisions mounted throughout the establishment. British Bulldog is open 365 days a year and that includes all the holidays. They will be open for normal business hours with their full menu available on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day. However, they will also offer traditional holiday fare on Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve. 

Solstice Kitchen & Wine Bar

841-4 Sparkleberry Ln. | 788-6966 | solsticekitchen.com

Solstice Kitchen & Wine Bar, located in North East Columbia, has a sophisticated-casual atmosphere with fine-dining quality food. The restaurant features a lengthy, curated wine list and attentive, yet “far from stuffy” service both at the bar and in the dining room. Solstice Kitchen & Wine Bar will be open for normal business hours on New Years Eve and will make a great place to toast in the year 2020. Consider their Artisan Cheese Plate for an appetizer, or perhaps the Crispy Fried Gulf Select Oysters. Peruse down the menu to the entrees section and choose from a variety of tempting options, including a Buttermilk Fried Chicken Breast, Pan Seared Lump Crab Cakes, and the “French Onion” 7 oz Hand-Cut CAB Filet Mignon.


751 Saluda Ave. | 799-9500 | saludas.com

Saluda’s is an upscale spot serving reimagined Southern classics with white-linen tables and an antique mahogany bar, in the heart of Five Points. While they won’t be open for Thanksgiving or Christmas Day, you can count them in as a dining-out option for Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. They will be open normal hours both days and will be offering their full menu to guests with special items available as well. Raise your glass filled with wine or spirits from their extensive bar list. Choose from guest-favorite menu items such as Lamb Osso Bucco, Seared Scallops, and Stuffed Acorn Squash. 

1801 Grille

700 Lincoln St. Suite 200 | 219-1119 | 1801grille.com

1801 Grille is a local favorite with a team committed to using the freshest local and regional ingredients to create their American tavern-inspired dishes. They offer a selection of interesting wines, local craft brews, and inspired cocktails. Have one or two while taking in your favorite sports events on one of their eight wide screen televisions at the bar. 1801 Grille will be open on Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day for normal business hours. The full menu will be available with additional specials offered. Menu selections include appetizers of Grit Fries, Bacon Mac & Cheese, and Pub Chips made from potatoes and zucchini, served with your choice of ranch or blue cheese. Entrée options include a selection of specialty brick oven pizzas, blackened mahi, various cuts of steak, and more.

Basil Thai

702 Cross Hill Rd., Suite 300A | 782-0716 | eatatbasil.com

Basil Thai has an infectious atmosphere centered around a dynamic kitchen – the source of some truly fresh, sophisticated, and creative Thai dishes. They will be open for New Year’s Eve with their normal hours, if you dare to usher in 2020 with an exotic dinner. Customer’s favorite items feature traditional Thai flavors of curry, basil, Thai chili sauce, and more. Consider the Pad Prik or Pad Woon Sen for your entrée. Of course, Pad Thai or Basil Duck are delicious options as well. If you find at some point that your mouth is ablaze with the infamous (but optional) Thai heat, cool your palate with a tall rich glass of Thai Tea.

Gervais & Vine

620-A Gervais St. | 799-8463 | gervine.com

Gervais & Vine is a Spanish-style tapas bar in the Vista boasting a list of 40+ wines available by the glass along with a wide selection of craft beers and top-shelf spirits. Guests are afforded a variety of seating options including an outdoor area, lit by strands of twinkling lights, a bar area with views of the open kitchen, and a more intimate seating area tucked towards the back of the restaurant. Gervais & Vine will be open on New Year’s Eve for normal business hours, offering their full menu. If you’re a regular, look for some fresh and exciting changes; the restaurant has welcomed new owners for a new year. 

Al’s Upstairs: 

300 Meeting St. | 794-7404 | alsupstairsitalian.com

Al’s Upstairs has been a cornerstone of the Columbia restaurant scene since 1979. They’ve achieved much success operating with the philosophy that they’re “only as good as the last meal they’ve served.” This dedication to quality combined with a delicious menu offering makes them the perfect place to spend a romantic New Year’s Eve. They’ll be open! Expect normal hours and a special menu, in addition to some standard customer favorites like the Seafood Manicotti, made with Rock shrimp, crab and ricotta, topped with garlic cream and mozzarella. 

Alodia’s Cucina Italiana

2736 North Lake Dr. | 781-9814 | alodias.com

Alodia’s offers guests authentic Italian cuisine made from recipes pulled straight from the pages of the owner’s family cookbook. Their menu options and atmosphere reverberate with the delicious smells and tastes of Old Italy. This holiday season, they’ll be open for Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve for normal hours and with their full menu available, accented by special menu items. Guest favorites include the Burrata Mozzarella – creamy burrata mozzarella cheese served with house made toast points, drizzled with sundried tomato pesto and balsamic reduction. Also consider the Tuscany Chicken, a sautéed chicken breast with sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, red onions, white wine, and chicken broth over angel hair pasta. 

Lamb’s Bread Returns the King Vegan Café and Organic Juice Bar

3600 River Dr. | 373-7491 | facebook.com/lambsbreadvegancafe

Lamb’s Bread will be open for Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and New Year’s Eve for their normal hours and with their full menu available. If you are vegetarian, vegan, or just need a break from all the turkey, this is the spot for you. Their menu is rich with flavors and spices from around the world and healthily prepared southern favorites too. Try the collard greens or the “Goddess Mac and Cheese,” prepared with vegetables, curry, and dairy-free cheese. Other guest favorites include the delicious selection of smoothies, juices, and desserts. The eclectic African décor and friendly, educated staff will surely add the finishing touch to a wonderful, alternative holiday meal.