Bites & Sights: Columbia SC Restaurants, Attractions, Nightlife and Hotels

Visitors Guide: Summer 2013
By Free Times
Thursday, June 27, 2013 |

Columbia’s famously hot summer weather means it’s time to seriously cool off: Kick off your flip-flops; feast on seafood and salads; sip refreshing cocktails. The Midlands offers plenty of restaurants just right for the hot weather — and some events that put our region’s food front and center.

Held July 20, the Palmetto Tasty Tomato Festival celebrates real, locally grown tomatoes — as opposed to those rubbery orbs one sees in the supermarket during much of the year. With tomato tastings, games that let you toss commercial tomatoes, food trucks, beer and wine and more, the tomato festival is quickly becoming a Columbia institution. Visit for all the details.

If you’re looking for something to do with your Sunday nights this summer, check out The Oak Table’s once-a-month Under the Table series, at which the Oak Table chef and a guest chef will surprise guests with a multi-course meal that’s kept secret until the night of the dinner. It’s BYOB, too, so it’s a good chance to bring out those wines you’ve been saving. You’ll need to sign up ahead of time; visit for details.

Looking for the proper porch on which to enjoy a meal? Here’s a brief list; there are plenty more: At Lake Murray, hit up Liberty on the Lake or Rusty Anchor. In Five Points, try Jake’s, Saluda’s, Harper’s or the sidewalk tables at Gourmet Shop. Across the river , both Café Strudel and Terra sport great patios. In the Vista, Carolina Ale House has a heck of a deck. And for the best view in Columbia, the Rooftop Bar at the downtown Sheraton features a 17th-floor panoramic look at the city.

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