There are people who love cooking from scratch and people who shudder at the thought of assembling a turkey club sandwich. Rosewood Market and Deli caters to both. Aisles of grocery items help list-makers check off boxes for gluten-free food, pasture-raised meats and eggs, and local raw milks. The produce section harvests organic choices from local farms, and the cheese case displays sticks and slices from around the region and the globe. In the deli, soups, salads, desserts, baked goods, and other items satisfy tastes from vegan to carnivore. Quick meals in the grab-n-go case include sandwiches and salads that can be topped with homemade dressings and spreads, such as tamari gravy dill vinaigrette and a spicy chipotle spread.
Rosewood Market and Deli has matured from its beginnings as the Basil Pot restaurant in 1973. It’s grown while adhering to the idea that “people can take an active, hands-on approach to their own wellness through delicious food,” as it proclaims on its website. A commitment to sustainability permeates the market, from its cardboard-recycling dumpster and reusable produce boxes to its compostable utensils and ability to accept biodegradable credit cards.
For three years running—2011, 2012, and 2013—Columbia Metropolitan magazine has declared Gervais & Vine's wine list the city's best. What earned it the distinction is simple: globe-spanning variety. Its menu hosts everything from California's 2011 J. Lohr pinot noir to South Africa's Spice Route “Chakalaka” and Germany's Dr. L Riesling, which completed medical school during its fermentation. All told, more than 40 wines by the glass fill the list, complementing the Mediterranean-inspired tapas of head chef Jason Holowacz.
When crafting his entrees, Holowacz focuses on pairing. Dishes range from the Spanish flavors of grilled shrimp to Italian favorites such as pizza with goat cheese and herb-infused olive oil, allowing guests to experiment with their white or red selections. For pointers, periodic winemaker dinners and wine tastings cover different varietals and their best edible matches. And while guests sip and sup, inside or on the outdoor patio, Gervais & Vine entertains their ears every Wednesday and Thursday night with live jazz.
Pie-tanza harnesses the culinary power of a wood-burning oven, traditional recipes, and scrupulous seasonings to craft its menu of savory Italian selections. Palate preppers such as fried, stuffed olives filled with sweet tomatoes and rich gorgonzola ($6.79) pave the way for an army of ambrosial entrees, including the three-cheese baked ziti, a portion of penne blanketed in robust cheese and tomato sauce ($10.29). Baked with the earthy aroma of a wood fire, a plethora of piquant pizzas and calzones lure dough cravers with pre-concocted combinations such as sweet onion and bold gorgonzola ($11.29) or the option to create a distinctive pie with pie-tanzas’s 31 toppings ($9.49, $1.49 per topping). Thirsty throats can lubricate bites of meatball parmesan subs ($8.19) with sips from the bar menu, providing the perfect liquid accompaniment to any meal or pizza-themed poetry slam.
Carolina Deli has stood on the frontlines of the lunchtime rush for more than three decades, furnishing empty belly space with fresh sandwiches, salads, house-made sweets, and freshly brewed iced tea. Owners Travis and Melanie Mooney prevail over the homey, family-operated eatery, where Midlands munchers flock five days a week to tackle the shop's diverse menu with their mouths. Carolina Deli's specialty sandwiches, such as the Eagle, stuffed with roast beef, turkey, and bacon, challenge jaw-stretching capabilities with hefty stacks of meats and veggies, and the deli allows diners to design their own meaty, handheld creations. Luncheons, corporate events, and weddings can also treat taste buds to a catered Carolina Deli spread, including an optional, 3-foot tall chocolate fountain, in which guests can dip fruit or "accidentally" drop a penny into before diving in to retrieve it.
Eric Leon, owner and founder, has been wrapping enchiladas and simmering the spices of traditional Mexican cuisine since he was 12 years old. Now, he helms a team of chefs as they bury crispy chimichangas beneath mounds of melted cheese, serve heaps of shrimp and bell peppers in a still-sizzling skillet, and marinate chunks of chicken in a dark, chocolaty mole sauce. Authentic dishes such as these have earned San Jose Mexican Restaurant its spot as Columbia’s Best Mexican Restaurant according to Columbia Metropolitan readers. The eatery’s popularity also stems from the lively environs: the glow of TVs and video games flicker off brick walls, and occasional live music encourages syncopated chewing.
The culinary team at Tsunami fixes up a veritable feast for the eyes with artfully plated Japanese delicacies festooned with sprigs of herbs, splashes of sauce, and colorful garnishes. Flames rage as hibachi chefs blast rib-eye steaks, scallops, and vegetables on their sizzling grills, and the restaurant’s sushi-rolling savants coil specialty rolls such as the Emperor, which surprises tasters with hidden stashes of fried soft-shell crab, cucumber, eel, shrimp, and avocado. At Tsunami's four locations, diners polish off plates in a sleek, modern dining room with candles in faceted glass votives, a bar backlit with lights that slowly change colors, and waiters who can speak fluent binary code.