Restaurants in Columbia

Where do you want to go for dinner? When you’re looking for restaurants in Columbia, MO, you really do have some great options. You’re not just limited to what you can get on campus or downtown. Whether you’re craving Indian food, Mexican, or a simple plate of smothered pork chops, let us help with our list of the best restaurants in Columbia, MO.

Pizza Tree

These are the pizzas of your dreams—at least that’s what proprietor Johnny G. would probably say. And the staff here is likely just as pizza-obsessed. In a shop adorned with pizza-themed art, the pizza-makers craft as much of the ingredients in house as possible to create super-memorable pies. Here’s a sampling of what you’ll find:


  • Banh Mi: highlights of this pie include pork belly glazed with sriracha, kimchi made in house, and chile aioli
  • Steven Cheese: when a simple cheese pizza isn’t enough, opt for this one, topped with white cheddar, house-stretched mozzarella, gouda, and pecorino romano
  • Fortnight: this hearty pie will sate even the hungriest appetite, as it’s piled with four meats—sausage, pepperoni, ground sirloin, and house-made canadian bacon—as well as mushrooms and olives

What is marinara sauce?

Put simply, marinara sauce is a style of tomato sauce, with very exact specifications. Tomato sauce is just what it sounds like—a tomato-based sauce. But it can include several other ingredients, such as wine, tomato paste, butter, and onions—none of which a purist would put into a marinara sauce.


Marinara sauce is composed of five simple ingredients: ripe tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, oregano, and basil—that’s it, save some restaurants’ secret blend of other spices.

Carlito’s Cabo

One of our favorite Mexican restaurants in Columbia, MO, Carlito’s serves classic Mexican fare, such as burritos, tacos, and enchiladas. But also on the menu are authentic Peruvian dishes—a hearty lomo saltado, for example, with stir-fried beef and tomatoes, and Peruvian-style roasted chicken. Take note that you will definitely feel satisfied, as the restaurant’s mission statement is, “No one should leave our restaurant feeling hungry.”

Tiger’s Milk—Ceviche’s Most Important Ingredient


Though it’s found in other cuisines, the seafood salad known as ceviche is said to be the national dish of Peru. And most chefs will tell you that, besides choosing the perfect cuts of fish, the key to a good ceviche is what’s known as the tiger’s milk, which cures the fish so it can be served cold and raw.

“It’s very simple and will show you the power and beauty of Peruvian food,” says chef and author Martin Morales.

This marinade usually begins with a lot of citrus. Chef Martin’s includes the juice of eight limes. Added to this are spices,herbs, and other aromatics, such as ginger, garlic, cilantro, and chile paste. After mixing the raw fish with high-quality sea salt, it’s steeped in the tiger’s milk for a few minutes before serving.


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ABC Chinese Cuisine

This Chinese restaurant, Columbia, MO’s spot for dim sum and other Chinese favorites, makes each entree to order. House specials include fragrant beef tenderloin and hearty pork liver in a tasty brown sauce. Another great feature of this eatery are the private karaoke rooms, where diners can work up an appetite while serenading each other.

Taj Mahal

In this high-ceiling, brightly lit storefront restaurant, the focus remains on the delicious and authentic Indian cuisine. The charcoal clay oven sears tandoori chicken and fish, while diners plunge sections of hot naan into aromatic curry dishes. Cool your palate with sweet yogurt drinks and end the meal with delicate dumplings of gulab jamun—spongy milky balls soaked in a rose-scented syrup. Next door, the market allows diners to stock up on Indian grocery items.


What People Are Saying


“Very nice authentic Indian food. Great hosts. Very calm and peaceful people and very welcoming. We enjoyed the buffet a lot.” – Sania P.


“Tandoori chicken... Perfect.” – Jillian O.


“Food was wonderful. Great selection. All yummy!” – Lynn R.

“Wonderful seasoning and spice. Pleasant staff.” – Christina D.