Our Favorite Bites of 2023

December 30, 2023

From exploring new restaurants to revisiting old favorites, cooking at home to finding tasty bites while traveling, we ate well in 2023. It’s hard to whittle down a whole year’s worth of dining, but here are some of the best bites we ate this year!

Mehak Indian Kitchen & Bar

A new Indian spot at Cleveland and 161 in Northland! Read more in You Need to Visit Mehak Indian Kitchen & Bar on Cleveland Avenue.

Speck Italian Eatery

We were fortunate that Josh Dalton moved his modern Italian spot from Delaware to downtown Columbus! Read more in Discover the Modern Flavors of Italy at the New Speck Italian Eatery in Downtown Columbus.

Torchy’s Tacos

Austin-based Torchy’s is now up to three central Ohio locations, and we’ve been loving the tacos, quesos, and more. See how Torchy’s Tacos is Our Newest Obsession.

Over the Counter

It’s been too long since we visited Over the Counter in Worthington, and we were reminded that they produce seriously good bar food. Read about brunch at Over the Counter.

Off Center Patio & Pub

The annual Columbus Food Adventures guide meal took us to Off Center in Hilliard, a family-run spot producing crave-able Puerto Rican fare, vegan dishes, and pizzas. Learn more on their website!

The TikTok Cucumber Sandwich

Yes, we do eat at home! Late in 2022 Beth discovered a cucumber sandwich recipe that went viral on TikTok. We fell in love with its layers of cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, and peppers, and I ended up writing about it for TheKitchn! Read my review of the TikTok Cucumber Sandwich on TheKitchn.com.

Tamales from Patty’s Kitchen

One of our regular stops at the Worthington Farmers Market is Patty’s Kitchen for their tamales. You’ll find them year-round! See why we think Patty’s Kitchen Makes the Best Tamales in Columbus.

Station in Granville

We fell in love with Station in Granville last year, and revisits this year gave us new reasons to love it. They serve great coffee, sandwiches, pastries – all in an old train station! Read how to Have Breakfast in an Old Train Station in Granville.

Cinnamon Roll Tasting

For his birthday, our friend Sam hosted a cinnamon roll tasting! A group of us brought together a delightful mix of locally made and homemade rolls (using well known recipes). It’s a great idea for a party.

Mac and Cheese Tasting

Likewise, Beth had the idea to do a boxed mac and cheese tasting with our nephews and nieces. We cooked up more than a dozen varieties. The winner? Kraft!

Hoagie City

We had heard tell of a great new sandwich shop out in Hilliard, and a chance encounter with it allowed us to add our voices to the praise. Check out Hoagie City in Hilliard, Ohio: A Taste of Philadelphia with Mouthwatering Cheesesteaks and Italian Hoagies.

Main Moon

This Chinese restaurant in Linworth quickly became a family favorite this year, especially for their Szechuan noodle dishes and dumplings. Learn more on their website.

Kati Rolls and More at Joya’s

It was the Year of the Kati Roll at Joya’s. Chef Avishar Barua beat Bobby Flay with his signature roll this year, and it’s easy to see why. Read about how Chef Avishar Barua’s Joya’s Cafe is a Gem in Old Worthington.

Agni

Speaking of chef Avishar, he opened a second restaurant this year, Agni, in the Brewery District. It’s an amazing experience that uses a multi-course menu to highlight his playful approach. Read about Chef Avishar Barua Opens His Much-Anticipated Live Fire Restaurant Agni.

Way Down Yonder

If you know where to look, you can find some amazing New Orleans-inspired meals in town, but we think Way Down Yonder Serves Some of Columbus’ Best New Orleans Fare.

Aaron Clouse’s Pastry Program at Parable

Parable Coffee got even better this year with the addition of a pastry program. Read about why Pastry Chef Aaron Clouse Gives You New Reasons to Visit Parable Coffee.

Hank’s Texas BBQ

I finally made it out to this Clintonville BBQ joint, and I’m not sure what took me so long. The family-run Hank’s produces excellent barbecue in creative preparations. Read more about them on their site!

Restaurant Silla

With new ownership, this already beloved Korean spot on the northwest side got even better this year. It’s especially good when you go as a group! Read more about them on their site.

Frank & Carl’s

This Bridge Park sandwich shop was a highlight from this year. They produce some wonderful sandwiches, sides, even breakfasts! Check out more on their site.

Sabo Sauce Taco Pop-Ups

Sabo Sauce is produced by chef Silas Caeton, who works at The Lox Bagel Shop. About once a month he hosts a taco pop-up in the evening hours, and we were floored by the flavors on our visit. Follow them on Instagram to see when the next one’s happening, and book yourself a seat!

Star Kitchen Cafe

The owners of Gahanna Grill opened this little spot on South High Street, where they serve an excellent collection of sandwiches, chicken tenders, and other snacks. Learn more on their site.

Dirty Frank’s at Crew Games

We caught some amazing Crew games this year at Lower.com Field, including their MLS Cup win! One of my favorite snacks at the stadium is the Cowgirl Carmen hot dog from Dirty Frank’s. I love the history behind it; it’s inspired by Carmen Owens, one of the owners of the bygone Surly Girl Saloon. One of her signature dishes was chili with crushed Frito’s and shredded cheese. I love that it lives on in hot dog form.

Goood Friends at Jackie O’s

The Wario’s team opened a Midwest-inspired sandwich shop called Goood Friends at the brilliant new Jackie O’s downtown. It’s a great combination of good beer and over-the-top sandwiches. Learn more at The Wario’s Team Opens Goood Friends This Week and Oh Man, It’s Goood.

Goodale Station at the Canopy By Hilton

Goodale Station sits on the top floor of the Canopy By Hilton downtown, and chef Johnathan Olson and his team produce unique food and drinks to pair with the views. Read more about Drinks and Dinner on the 12th Floor at Goodale Station.

Rose Dough Donuts

I’m always excited to see new donuts, especially when they’re this accomplished! Learn how you can Get Some of Columbus’ Most Creative Flavors at Rose Dough Donuts.

The Junto Hotel

This year we were able to enjoy a couple visits to the new Junto hotel downtown. It features multiple restaurants, and we’re especially fans of coffee from Maudine’s, drinks in the relaxed Trade Room lobby bar, and late-night smashburgers on the rooftop at the Brass Eye. Read about The 6 Things To Do at the New Junto Hotel.

Tous Les Jours

The Korean-based Tous Les Jours has become a favorite stop for pastries. Read how you can Go On a Pastry Tour at Tous Les Jours Cafe and Bakery!

Ampersand Asian Supper Club

It’s been a year of great ramen! (So much so that I rounded up the Best Spots for Ramen in Columbus.) One of the highlights is Ampersand in the Short North. Great vibe, drinks, snacks, and ramen – including easy vegetarian versions.

Kirin Noodle Bar

Kirin in Clintonville is another favorite from this year! We made multiple visits for their ramen and their sushi.

Best Bites of 2023 On the Road

The Stave in Frankfort

We took a delightful trip with friends to Louisville in February, and enjoyed distillery tours, unique bars, great restaurants. On the early leg of our trip we visited The Stave outside Frankfort, a road-side stop featuring amazing Southern-inspired food. (It pairs perfectly with a tour of Castle & Key Distillery nearby.)

Cocktails and Rye Whiskey at Rabbit Hole

One of the highlights of our time in Louisville was a quick stop for cocktails and tastings at Rabbit Hole Distillery. The newer facility features an excellent top-floor cocktail bar with great views of the city. Read about it amongst other ideas, in Discover the Top Attractions: Best Things to Do in Louisville for Unforgettable Adventures.

Fortitude Bakehouse in London

Owen’s face says it all. Fortitude Bakehouse was a highlight of our trip to London in the spring. We visited almost every morning. See why we think Fortitude Bakehouse is the Best Bakery in London.

English Breakfasts at the Regency Cafe

The Regency Cafe in London’s Westminster neighborhood has been producing inexpensive breakfasts since 1946. Learn about how you can Experience London’s Best English Breakfast at the Historic Regency Cafe.

Dishoom

Dishoom features several locations across the UK (including Edinburgh) that serves simply amazing upscale Indian fare. We enjoyed a dinner there at the Covent Garden location in London.

Seven Dials Market

The Seven Dials Market, next to the Seven Dials and close by London’s Covent Garden, converted an old banana warehouse into a bustling market and bar. There you’ll find a delightful mix of international foods, including a cheese bar with a conveyor belt!

Pie & Mash at Goddards of Greenwich

Out in Greenwich, Goodards has been producing amazing pie and mash since 1890! It’s a homey and filling lunch.

Grilled Cheese at The Lockview in Akron

On a delightful day trip to Akron, we had lunch at The Lockview, a downtown spot known for their grilled cheese sandwiches.

Jolly Roger Seafood House

We made a trip up to Lake Erie with most of my family this year, and our adventures included dinner at the newly relocated Jolly Roger Seafood House for fried perch and walleye.

Quality Seafood Market in Elizabeth City, NC

We’re blessed to be able to visit the Outer Banks regularly, and one of our stops along the way is an overnight in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. We always grab dinner at Quality Seafood Market, where you can mingle with the locals while you taste delicious fried seafood.

Ocracoke Oyster Co.

We love our day trips to Ocracoke Island in the Outer Banks, and one of our new favorite stops is Ocracoke Oyster Co. for fried oysters.

JB’s Downtown Grill in Lancaster

We spent a July evening at the Lancaster Festival, which included dinner at the welcoming and filling JB’s Downtown Grill. The owners are super friendly and the food is made from scratch and hearty. (You can read about their brunch here.)

Campione in Livingston, Montana

In November I visited my brother and sister-in-law in Livingston, Montana, a delightful town that’s worth multiple visits. The first night we snuck bar seats at Campione, a modern Italian spot that’s been rightfully lauded by the New York Times and Food & Wine.

Eastside Coffee in Livingston

Livingston is full of great eats, and another stand-out was Eastside Coffee, known especially for their creative baked goods. We tasted a chile relleño croissant that really blew my mind.

Pepperoni Rolls in Pittsburgh’s Strip District

A late-in-the-year trip to Pittsburgh included a Saturday morning stroll in the Strip District. Two required stops there include fresh tortillas at Reyna’s Foods and monster pepperoni rolls from Sunseri’s.

What were some of your favorite eats of 2023?

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FOOD + TRAVEL WRITER

I go by Dr. Breakfast, but in addition to restaurants and recipes, I write about family travel, breweries and distilleries, the arts, outdoor fun, and so much more.

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