There’s a reason that the first thing a waiter at Refectory Restaurant & Bistro asks is, “Are we celebrating anything this evening?” The French restaurant embraces its reputation as being the No. 1 dining spot for special occasions in Columbus through its food, service and setting as an 1800s church-turned-fine-dining-establishment. So it’s not uncommon to see glasses of Champagne delivered to tables of two, or a candle inserted into a complimentary dessert. Here, guests are encouraged to order multiple courses of alpaca terrine, quail stuffed with foie gras and truffle mousse, spiced duck with honey passion fruit bordelaise and wildly popular mussel soup that’s both creamy and light and has attracted diners from all over the world.

It’s best to come hungry and with an appetite open for exploration. Can’t make up your mind from a lengthy list of hot and cold starters? Chef Richard Blondin will gladly create a small sampling of some of his favorite dishes that evening. At the Refectory, Blondin sticks to classic preparations of French dishes, but he actively sources local ingredients, too, so what’s on the menu also highlights some of the best of Central Ohio. Plus, it’s guaranteed every dish will arrive to your table beautifully plated on mismatched china (each one is selected to best highlight the food).

And while the food at the Refectory is always good, the service is where the restaurant truly shines. Servers show just the right amount of attentiveness, assuring there’s always a few slices of fresh, warm bread on your plate and a never half-empty water glass. They’re also extremely well-versed on the menu, so trust them to expertly explain flavors and techniques, and to offer the perfect wine pairing for each course from a smart, detailed list.

DETAILS - Insider Information About This Restaurant

DETAILS - Insider Information About This Restaurant