Holiday Dining Guide 2021
By Camdyn Bruce
The holidays are a time when people unite to celebrate with friends and family. They’re a time of gift-giving and camaraderie, and nothing brings a group of people together like an interesting conversation shared over a good meal. While most envision gathering around a turkey or ham, maybe you’re looking for an alternative this year. Perhaps you want to give the family cook a break and save the hassle of cooking and cleaning. Perhaps you want to treat your significant other to a glamorous New Year’s dinner followed by a night on the town. Whatever the reasoning, if you’re looking for somewhere to eat over the holidays, here is a list of Columbia restaurants that leave nothing to be desired.
4517 Forest Dr. | 803-782-9665 | tombogrille.com
Known for its friendly neighborhood atmosphere and unique Southern fusion dishes, Tombo Grille has become a staple in the Columbia area. With live music, an extensive wine list, and mouth-watering entrees like their Grilled Duroc Bone-in Pork Chop served with crispy fingerling potatoes, caramelized onions and apples, and smothered in a warm apple cider jus, it’s easy to see why this place is a crowd-pleaser. This year Tombo Grille will be open on Christmas Eve from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. with a special menu. On New Year’s Eve, they will be open from 5 p.m. until, offering a special menu and champagne specials. If you’re interested in treating the family to a special meal on either day, make sure to call and book a reservation in advance.
1200 Lincoln St | 803- 799-3838 | bluemarlincolumbia.com
A seafood lover’s delight, Blue Marlin specializes in serving fresh fish, shrimp, crab, and oysters with a Southern creole flair. Open the day before Thanksgiving from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. for lunch and 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. for dinner, this is a great place to take the family for a festive seafood dinner. On Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve this year, they will be open from 11:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. for lunch and 4:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. for dinner. Reservations are highly recommended. Located in the heart of the Vista, consider trying their award-winning shrimp and grits after doing some holiday shopping.
The British Bulldog Pub
1220 Bower Pkwy | 803-227-8918 | thebritishbulldogpub.com
A taste of the U.K. but in your own backyard, The British Bulldog Pub is an authentic English Pub where you can watch a soccer game, get beer on tap, and grab a bite to eat. Open this year on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day from 4 p.m. until 10 p.m., they will offer a limited menu featuring a traditional turkey dinner on Thanksgiving and a holiday plate with ham as the main entree on Christmas. They are also open for regular business hours on New Year’s Day and will offer their regular menu, a mix of traditional bar foods, and traditional English foods like fish and chips and bangers and mash. During the holidays it’s recommended that parties of five or more book a reservation in advance.
Hampton Street Vineyard
1207 Hampton St | 803-252-0850 | hamptonstreetvinyard.com
An upscale American brasserie, Hampton Street Vineyard offers classic French dishes with a twist. Open on Thanksgiving Day from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. via reservation, they will be serving a three-course dinner. The dinner comes with a soup or salad and offers a choice of turkey, prime rib, or fish as an entree, with table shared sides of truffle brioche pudding, green beans almondine, mash potatoes, and cranberry sauce. Open during their normal hours on Christmas Eve by reservation, they will be serving their regular menu with the addition of prime rib. Finally, open on New Year’s Eve during their normal hours by reservation, they will be holding a ticketed event for a special champagne and caviar dinner that evening.
Duke’s Pad Thai Street Food and Noodle Bar
904 Knox Abbott Dr | 803-661-6455 | dukespadthai.com
Open the day before Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and New Year’s Day from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., consider switching things up with some Thai food this holiday season. During the winter, Duke’s Pad Thai offers a custom noodle bar where customers can create their own soup, choosing from three types of noodles, one of six different broths, and up to three proteins. Duke’s Pad Thai is also vegan friendly making it a more inclusive option than most restaurants in the area, and best of all, no reservations required! This holiday season, if you’re looking for something delicious and convenient, drop by and enjoy a Tom Yum or Vegan Tom Yum.
Motor Supply Company Bistro
920 Gervais St | 803-256-6687 | motorsupplycobistro.com
Located on Gervais Street, Motor Supply Company Bistro is a high-end farm-to-table restaurant and a premier destination for those looking for something upscale. The restaurant’s menu rotates daily but has some staple proteins that are always in the lineup, like their signature “Duck Duo.” Also boasting an award-winning wine list, several craft beers, and a special holiday cocktail menu created by the head barman Jake Smith, Motor Supply Company Bistro offers an unforgettable experience for the customer. This year they will be open and serving their regular menu from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. the day before Thanksgiving for those with reservations. They will also be open on New Year’s Eve, offering a special extra lux menu. If you’re looking to impress that special someone and treat them to a night of wining and dining, book a reservation at Motor Supply Company Bistro. You won’t regret it.
924-A Senate Street | 803-212-6666 | ruthschris.net
With great attention to detail, Ruth’s Chris serves every USDA prime steak on a sizzling 500-degree plate so that it stays hot from start to finish. A mainstay in the Columbia area, Ruth’s Chris offers a fantastic dining experience with succulent steaks, a wide array of wines and cocktails, and delectable desserts like their creme brulee. This year the restaurant will be open on Thanksgiving from noon to 9:30 p.m., offering a traditional Thanksgiving dinner in addition to their regular menu. They will also be open on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day, offering their regular menu. Ruth’s Chris will once again be offering take-out this year, so if you’re interested in eating a Ruth’s Chris meal from the comfort of home on any of these special days, make sure to call in advance so that you can place your order for pick up. If you plan to dine in, however, it’s best to book a reservation in advance.
751 Saluda Ave | 803-799- 9500 | saludas.com
Located in the historic Five Points neighborhood, Saluda’s Restaurant is a great place to go if you have family coming in from out of town and want to show them some of the best nightlife that Columbia has to offer. Open the day before Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and New Year’s Eve from 5 p.m. -10 p.m. Saluda’s offers new American cuisine with a fresh fish of the day, several steak options, and of course their famous shrimp and grits. A white tablecloth restaurant, Saldua’s offers a comfortable, elegant vibe. If you’re looking for something a little more exclusive in addition to their main dining room, Saluda’s also has two private dining rooms that can be booked in advance.
201 Meeting St | 803-724-2853 | blackroostersc.com
With a unique menu that can best be described as French-ish, Black Rooster is a fantastic destination for someone interested in trying French cuisine for the first time. With a casual upscale environment and signature dishes like their Salmon Wellington served with a side of sweet potato hash, broccolini, and smothered in a Beurre Noisette sauce, Black Rooster offers a memorable culinary experience, to say the least. Reservations are highly recommended, and Black Rooster will be open the day before Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day this year.
1214 Main St | 803-403-1404 | bourboncolumbia.com
Located on Main Street, Bourbon serves cajun creole dishes in the spirit of the infamous Bourbon Street in New Orleans. Bourbon will be open this year the day before Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve, serving their regular menu. Bourbon will also hold a private ticked event on New Year’s Eve featuring special craft cocktails and heavy hors d’oeuvres. The restaurant will also be open on New Year’s Day this year so if you’re looking for a good way to celebrate the beginning of 2022, feasting on a tender Filet Mignon or a hot bowl of etouffee isn’t a bad way to start your year. That is unless your New Year’s resolution is to eat healthier, but you can always start on Jan. 2.
601 Main St | 803-497-3890 | facebook.com/brunostaqueria
Since opening last New Year’s, Bruno’s Taqueria has made quite a name for itself in a short time by offering traditional authentic Mexican food. Owned by the Bruno family, the restaurant will be open on Thanksgiving Day and will offer special plates. They’ll also be open on Christmas Eve, serving traditional Mexican soups like pozole and menudo in addition to their regular menu. If you’re traveling during the holidays and just want to relax, head to Bruno’s, grab some birria (Beef Stew) tacos, a margarita for the table, and just sit back and enjoy yourself.
Honey River Catering
701 GERVAIS STREET STE 150 #164 | 828-301-2328 | honeyrivercatering.com
A farm-to-table catering service Honey River Catering is here to make your life easier this holiday season. If you’re dead set on serving a traditional turkey dinner this year but are pressed for time, Honey River Catering has your back. All you’ll have to do is cook the turkey. Honey River is offering a variety of traditional Thanksgiving sides that you can order on their website and pick up from their farm the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday before Thanksgiving. If you choose to go this route, Nov.17 is the last day to place an order for your holiday sides. Honey River Catering will also allow pickups on New Year’s Eve this year, so keep an eye on their website to see what specials they run around that time and what the deadlines to order are.