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Anchored by Nationwide Arena - home to NHL's BlueJackets - the arena district offers choices such as bison burgers, Italian dining - two different ways, two sushi bars, a "make-your-own-dinner," and an ice cream parlor, just to name a few of the many dining options at the north end of downtown. In the middle of the action has a whole new meaning in the Arena district: great food.
Imagine a restaurant where you pick from ingredients like lamb, beef tips, calamari, pork, or shrimp, then add some vegetables, choose a sauce and even some spices, then take it to a large grilling area, where it's stir-fried right before your eyes. Better yet, it's buffet-style, so you can experiment with food and sauce combinations. That's the whole premise of BD Mongolian. The atmosphere is light and casual, but beware, during conventions or after events at Nationwide Arena, it's standing room only.
Bringing back a long-lost tradition of platter style dining, where friends and family can gather around and get a chance to pass dishes around, Buca di Beppo offers an atmosphere that is friendly and comfortable, but not too boisterous. The menu includes most red sauces and ragus in the pasta dishes. Dinner runs around $18 per person.
Before Hockey games and other major events at Nationwide Arena, the line usually extends to the door at Chipotle, where guests can order burritos that fill most any appetite. The burritos are filled with rice, choice of meat (steak or chicken), choice of beans (black or refried), mild, medium or hot salsa, sour cream, lettuce, and guacamole. The servings are large and usually cost around $9 per person
The cuisine, atmosphere, and first-class staff at Cotters will be sure to leave a lasting impression whether you are joining them for a casual night out or a special evening. Cotter's features traditional American dishes treated to cuisine tastes and the ambiance is formal, yet casual. Servings are ample and run about $24 per guest.
Damon's is one of the sports bar classics, featuring half and full racks of ribs, as well as other American standards. The atmosphere in Damon's is a little crowded, even given its downtown location. This lends to an overall bar appeal and lands a capacity crowd during Hockeye nights or Convention weekends. Dining is casual and runs around $20 per guest.
The business casual ambiance of the Elevator is cool and inviting, whether you're sidling up to the bar or gathering around a table in the dining room. The Elevator offers modern American fare, with all-world influences. Being a Brew Pub, the Elevator offers a dozen of its own special brews, as well as their "Beer of the Month." Servings are moderate and the cost is approximately $24 per person.
Frog Bear is much more a bar and much less a grill, but that doesn't take away from the taste. If you happen by in the afternoon, you'll miss the bar crowd and be able to fully enjoy the fine, but casual menu at Frog Bear. Live music is featured through the week, concentrating on classic rock cover bands. Servings are medium to large in size and affordable, at around $12 per guest.
At Gordon Biersch, dining focuses around a traditional bar and grill atmosphere, which is light, yet formal, easy-going, yet refined. The menu is contemporary, featuring American cuisine, with some entrees from other cooking styles. Dress is business casual to formal, excluding hockey nights, where "Jersey" is the standard attire. Dinners cost approximately $22 per guest.
Kooma is a traditional Sushi restaurant, or maybe it's a traditional restaurant that serves Sushi. Either way, Kooma features all the Sushi standards: California, Caterpillar, Taki, Sashimi and other rolls and fresh cuts of fresh fish served with sauces and dips. The dining is casual, but strives to be formal. The dinners run about $12 per guest, depending mostly on quantity ordered.
Located on High Street next to Barley's, Martini's Italian offers traditional Italian cuisine served in an elegant restaurant. Martini's is part of the Mitchell's food group, which is a Columbus staple, so the dining is always formal and the dishes are well-prepared. Expect to need a reservation during the weekend, and expect to pay $25 per guest for dinners.
One of Columbus' own, Max and Erma's is casual family dining, featuring a large menu of hamburgers, as well as a wide variety of traditional dinner dishes, from alfredo to stir-fry to a selection of salads prepared using fresh greens. Dining is casual, and usually focused towards middle market consumers, like Applebee's or Damon's. Dinners cost approximately $17 per guest.
With dark, rich oak furnishings and ornate brass detailing, O'Shaugnessy's immediately draws you into its Irish Pub environment. The conversations are lively and intense, and the bar is the focus of the action. Guests can also retreat to a few dining tables, where traditional Irish and American dishes are featured. Dress attire varies, but tends to be business casual. Dinner costs around $22 per guest.
Ted's Montana Grill features a large bar and cozy seating, usually in booths with tall space dividers. The menu features several dishes that can be prepared with either beef or bison, straight from Montana. The dishes are straight-forward and side dishes are usually a la carte. Dress is business casual and dinners cost around $20 per guest.
A nouveau twist on Sushi and Pan-Fry Asian cuisine is what you'll find at Tyfoon. The menu features everything from California rolls to Lobster Won Ton to General Tso's Chicken, done in a haute cuisine style. The atmosphere is hip and upscale, with small two and four seat tables curling around wall dividers and the lounge area. Dress varies, but leans on the formal side. Dinner is around $26.