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Columbus has no shortage of fabulous restaurants, everybody knows that.
Food is meant to be enjoyed and shared. A great meal isn’t something reserved just for special occasions – it should be eaten on a daily basis. That’s where lunch comes in. Sometimes, the fact that we have so many fabulous restaurants makes it overwhelming to choose just the right spot to grab lunch.
Luckily, we’ve narrowed it down for you. Whether you’re hoping to grab some tacos or you’re in a salad kind of mood, this list has the perfect, mouthwatering suggestion waiting for you.
Let’s dive right in, friends.
Emmett’s Cafe has been one of my favorite additions to the city. You can stop in for breakfast or lunch, but our lunch suggestion will forever be The Emmything.
It’s roasted chicken on an everything roll, topped with roasted red peppers, prosciutto, white cheddar, and rosemary aioli, and served with a side salad. Also known as, perfection.
Location: 744 S High St, Columbus, OH and 2571 Neil Ave, Columbus, OH
Nada is a sit-down style tacos and cocktails lunch spot. Obviously, you want to start with the chips and queso. But after that, they have an awesome taco “lunchbox” deal that I would highly recommend.
The lunchbox comes with an order of tacos, your choice of side, and a donut. If you’re looking for a little bit more substantial meal they also have some large plates like fried chicken or steak.
Location: 220 W. Nationwide Blvd
The Brown Bag Deli
Brown Bag Deli takes sandwiches to the next level. They have a variety of specialty sandwiches to choose from or you can build your own.
There are also some amazing vegetarian options like the Caprese wrap. If you go during a slightly colder month, I recommend the soup and sandwich combo.
Location: 898 Mohawk Street
Katalina’s is the essence of a trendy brunch. They have both sweet and savory dishes but their pancake balls are what they’re really known for.
This is a nice local place to take the out-of-town guests whether the vibe is brunch or lunch.
Location: Multiple locations
Price: $9-$15+ per meal
Brassica is a fast-casual Mediterranean restaurant, great for a quick lunch during the work day or a more relaxed lunch with your friends.
You get to choose between a salad, a pita sandwich, and a hummus plate. On top of your base, you pick your protein (I recommend the falafel) and any toppings you want.
Location: View multiple locations here.
Price: $9-$15 per meal
Budd Dairy Food Hall
If you’re headed out with a group, or you’re just not exactly sure what you’re in the mood for, then lunch at Budd Dairy Food Hall is the way to go.
With ten different kitchens to choose from, you can find everything from lobster rolls to southern comfort food. The only downside is that the food hall is only open for lunch Thursday through Sunday.
Location: 1086 N 4th St, Columbus, OH 43201
Price: Prices vary by vendor
Tommy’s Diner has been a staple on the West Side for over 3 decades. The food is delicious, the vibes are fantastic, and its close proximity to downtown makes it a very convenient spot to grab a quick lunch. The menu offers traditional diner grub and breakfast is available all day long.
Location: 914 West Broad St, Columbus, OH 43222
This is a hidden gem, if I do say so myself. Lalibela is a delicious Ethiopian restaurant I found a few years ago. The food is amazing and the price is equally as awesome.
It’s a fun spot for a meal with a little more culture. It’s perfect for those big family dinners, with food that’s meant to be shared.
Location: 1111 S. Hamilton Road
Pat and Gracie’s
Pat and Gracie’s has become one of my favorite spots in the whole city. The restaurant’s only been around for about 5 years, but there’s something wonderfully nostalgic about it.
I’ve genuinely never had a bad thing there, but my favorite menu items are their salads. They’re so yummy and absolutely massive.
Location: 138 Graceland Blvd, Columbus, OH 43214
The North Market
North Market is such a convenient place to grab your lunch during the workday. That’s especially true now that you can visit the OG North Market Downtown or the newest North Market at Bridge Park in Dublin.
There are a variety of different food vendors to choose from so you can eat something new every day of the week, which also makes it an easy place to take large groups.
Location: Arena District and Bridge Park (Dublin)
Price: Prices vary per vendor
Wario’s Beef and Pork
If you could only eat one sandwich for the rest of your life, what would it be? I ask because if the answer isn’t that The Steak Sandwich made Wario’s Way, then you need to change your lunch plans and rectify that immediately.
The sandwiches aren’t cheap, but they will blow your mind. Some things are just worth splurging for.
Location: 111 W Nationwide Blvd, Columbus, OH 43215
Yellow Brick Pizza
This pizza joint is perfect if you’re looking to grab a casual lunch with the family or for a lunch date. Of course, they have incredible pizza (the crust is out of this world) but you can also grab a salad, calzones, sandwiches, and more.
Location: 212 Kelton Ave, Columbus, OH 43205 and 415 W Rich St, Columbus, OH 43215
Hai Poke serves up Hawaiian-style fresh bowls. Poke is a traditional Hawaiian dish, containing white rice, tuna, salmon, tofu, or veggies. I think of poke as like deconstructed sushi in a bowl, but that’s less of a definition and more of a vibe.
If you’re more the California roll type of sushi lover, like me, then I recommend you try the veggie poke bowl.
Location: 647 North High Street
The Mad Greek
This longtime Columbus spot will forever be a family favorite for Greek food. The spanakopita is always a good choice, whether you’re dining in or taking to-go.
This is one of those restaurants where you just know that the people in the kitchen have been cooking this food for years. Their clasic gyro is a good choice if you’re looking for something a little more filling.
Location: 210 East Broad Street
Union Cafe is a wonderful sit-down-style lunch spot. It’s a little nicer inside while still being casual, making it a good lunch-meeting location as well.
I’m partial to their tater tot poutine and their pad thai. The best part about lunch at Union is that they have a lunch special for $9.50.
Location: 782 North High Street
At Scotty’s Cafe, everything is made in-house and fresh to order. The restaurant is somewhere between a bistro and deli, and they’ve got all sorts of goodies on the menu to try.
I would personally describe Scotty’s as a hidden gem. It always flies under the radar, but it never ever misses the mark.
Location: 2980 E Broad St, Columbus, OH 43209
Dirty Frank’s Hot Dog Palace
Every Columbus native knows Dirty Franks, making it a unique place to take your out-of-town guests for a casual bite. They even have vegetarian and vegan dogs for our plant-loving friends.
This place can get packed because their restaurant is so small, so I recommend not going at peak lunch times if you’re with a bigger group.
Location: 248 S 4th St, Columbus, OH 43215
This delicious spot has become quite the staple at my house. It’s fast, cheap, and most importantly- it’s so freakin yummy. I particularly like the carnitas tacos, but honestly you can’t go wrong here.
Location: 5445 Roberts Rd, Hilliard, OH 43026
Marino’s Seafood Fish & Chips
Some days call for a delicious, affordable platter of fried foods. Marino’s is a restaurant from another era, offering fish & chips, battered chicken, hush puppies, and more. It’s a nostalgic spot perfect for a rainy day and a tight budget.
Location: 1216 West 5th Ave, Columbus, OH 43212
Icarus Sandwich Shop
Fox in the Snow is an undeniable powerhouse in the breakfast department here in Columbus, so it’s no surprise that their latest venture, Icarus Sandwich Shop is also incredible. Serving up yummy, beautiful sandwiches, Icarus should absolutely be added into your lunch rotation.
Location: 15 E. 2nd Ave. Columbus, OH 43201
Nida’s Thai On High
Nida’s has a wide variety of Asian cuisine such as pad thai, stir fry dishes, and sushi. This is great for a quick sit-down meal during the work day or an outing with your friends. It’s also super reasonably priced whether you’re getting a small bite or a big meal.
Location: 976 North High Street
Katzinger’s Deli is another staple of Columbus for sandwiches and sides. This is a casual lunch break spot during work or you can bring it back to the office.
The half-pound sides are perfect for sharing and they have some awesome dessert choices as well. The Marigene’s Meal of Fortune is amazing if you need help deciding.
Location: 475 South Third Street
Price: $10-$15 per meal
El Arepazo Latin Grill
Arepazo’s three varying locations are all unique to their areas but all have equally delicious menus. For lunch, head to their downtown location to try their latin arepas.
The Columbian chorizo with the sunny-side-up egg looks like the perfect bite for an early lunch. The atmosphere has a great South American vibe as well.
Location: 515 S High St, Columbus, OH
Price: $8-$15 per meal
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