Feb 1, 2023 - Food and Drink

Columbus' most romantic restaurant

The interior of the Refectory, with a bar, exposed wood ceiling beams and stained glass windows

Refectory, a local French dining icon, is located in a former historic church. Photo courtesy of the Refectory

👋 Alissa here. With Valentine's Day just around the corner, lots of us are thinking about special places to wine and dine.

  • If you're considering Refectory, one of Columbus' most acclaimed restaurants, it's fully booked that night.
  • But there are plenty of other opportunities to check it out — I recently visited on a random weekday to see what the fuss was about.

Between the lines: My only familiarity with fancy French food is from "Beauty and the Beast."

Yes, but: The welcoming staff calmed my nerves.

  • I worried about what to wear, but my floral dress was just fine — the restaurant's website kindly notes there's no dress code.
  • And though I can't pronounce "terrine," I enjoyed it all the same.

What I ate: The chef's rotating, five-course menu ($110) is ideal for first-timers wanting to sample many dishes.

  • Mine included scallops, filet mignon, a cheese plate and two types of terrine — one a meaty appetizer and the other a white chocolate dessert.
  • They're small plates, with each bite and flavor thoughtfully planned and prepared. The artful presentation reflects the restaurant's rustic elegance.

Of note: The optional wine pairing for each course ($75) was my highlight, with a sommelier explaining the origins of every pour.

  • The restaurant also boasts a full wine shop, so you can take your favorites home.

The bottom line: While it's an obvious choice for a special occasion, given the price, Refectory is special enough to be the occasion.

  • Book a table when you can and savor the experience.

If you go: 1092 Bethel Road. Reservations available 5:15-8:30pm Wednesday-Thursday; 4:45-9pm Friday-Saturday.


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