June 24, 2024

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World's finest Food

Here are 12 Columbus restaurants that bring international flavors to the Hilltop

El Jaliciense on Sullivant Avenue is a Mexican restaurant with a colorful mural on the west side of the building.

El Jaliciense on Sullivant Avenue is a Mexican restaurant with a colorful mural on the west side of the building.

The Hilltop gets a bad rap when it comes to restaurants.

One of the first things Dispatch reporters heard when we came to spend a month in the neighborhood as part of the Mobile Newsroom initiative was that there just aren’t a lot of places to eat.

So we started asking for recommendations everywhere we went and found that, not only are there lots of places to eat, there is quite a bit of variety representing cuisine from around the globe.

Food on the Hilltop is an amalgamation of food trucks, carry-out and sit-down restaurants. Reflecting the demographics of the area, there are plenty of Mexican eateries, but the food traditions of other nations also are represented, Peru and Jamaica among them.

Here’s some of the places we visited.

A chicken and rice dish from African Paradise West.

A chicken and rice dish from African Paradise West.

The servings at this African restaurant are large and came complete with mango juice and goat soup. It’s located at 3741 W Broad St. and has a spacious interior, with a private room to the left and several tables.

Ayy Karamba

This eclectic food truck offers Mediterranean and Mexican food varieties and is located in the Great Western Shopping Center parking lot at 3440 W. Broad St. Taco Tuesday at this eclectic food truck features $2 tacos. We tried the falafel, lamb and chicken tacos and a side of rice. Pro tip: Order online for the most convenient service.

Dining review: Intriguing international flavors make Ayy Karamba food truck a Hilltop destination

Dulce Vida Ice Cream Factory

Dispatch reporter Danae King, left, and Aubrey Wright with their Mexican ice cream from Dulce Vida on the Hilltop.

Dispatch reporter Danae King, left, and Aubrey Wright with their Mexican ice cream from Dulce Vida on the Hilltop.

We visited the Dulce Vida Ice Cream Factory at 4201 W. Broad St. on a dark, rainy day, but the parlor was bright and sunny with its colorful interior. Paletas, artisan ice creams, sorbets, milkshakes and some unique creations are featured in the long list of options along the wall. They also offer some classic Mexican snacks for those looking for something savory to go with their sweets.

El Jaliciense

Camarones a la plancha (butterfly grilled shrimp with onion, bell peppers and mushrooms), right, and enchiladas verde at El Jaliciense.

Camarones a la plancha (butterfly grilled shrimp with onion, bell peppers and mushrooms), right, and enchiladas verde at El Jaliciense.

Bright colors abound in this Mexican restaurant located at 3528 Sullivant Ave., the intersection of Sullivant and Josephine avenues. Chairs, tables and booths are adorned with what look to be hand-painted scenes of Mexican culture, and a mural outside the restaurant depicts a muscular Mexican bandito. The atmosphere is great, and there are a variety of dishes on the menu, from fish and chicken to burritos and enchiladas. Worth going for the beautiful mariachi music alone.

El Pollo Perucho

This Peuvian restaurant at 727 Georgesville Road, near Hollywood Casino Columbus, is known for charcoal broiled chicken and serves it up with a variety of sides, including rice and plantains. The waitress offered us a taste of passion fruit juice and we were hooked, sucking down the sweet orange liquid with our meals. The restaurant also has a small market inside for those who want to take some juice and select food items to go.

This Mexican restaurant at the corner of Brown Road and Hopkins Avenue is busy without being overwhelmed during the lunch rush. We found ourselves a booth and feasted on plates of beans, chicken, green peppers and rice. The spot at 1275 Brown Road looks to be a neighborhood favorite, as it was crammed that rainy day with people who didn’t need a menu.

Dining review: Humble mom-and-pop joint delivers top-notch tacos, more

Irie Jamerican Cuisine

Irie Jamerican Cuisine is painted the colors of the Jamaican flag on Sullivant Avenue.

Irie Jamerican Cuisine is painted the colors of the Jamaican flag on Sullivant Avenue.

Painted bright green, yellow and black — the colors of the Jamaican flag — you can’t miss the small building at 2384 Sullivant Ave. As you enter this take-out restaurant, you’re greeted with delicious smells, and the restaurant is known for its jerk chicken.

Joseppi’s Pizza

Joseppi’s, a West Side favorite, has multiple locations around the city. Known for it’s pepperoni pizza, the pie is covered in them. The taco pizza holds its own, too, featuring provolone, cheddar and taco meat topped with lettuce, onion and tomatoes (in addition to sides of taco sauce and sour cream). Some area people recommend Joseppi’s as their favorite pizza in the city. High praise!

La Plaza Tapatia

Two cartons of Fruti Kuikas hard candies purchased at La Plaza Tapatia on the Hilltop.

Two cartons of Fruti Kuikas hard candies purchased at La Plaza Tapatia on the Hilltop.

The international grocery market at 255 Georgesville Road, across the street from Hollywood Casino Columbus, offers a robust grab-and-go area complete with sopes and tacos. After our meal, it was nice to be able to do a little grocery shopping and have our mouths water walking through the extensive candy section, which included Fruti Kuikas hard candies.

Restaurant review: Inexpensive, tasty Mexican fare at La Plaza Tapatia on Hilltop

La Super Torta

Three chicken tostadas from La Super Torta.

Three chicken tostadas from La Super Torta.

This unassuming restaurant at 721 Georgesville Road, a few doors down from El Pollo Perucho, serves up delicious Mexican food. We got a variety of tacos with our chips and guacamole. The restaurant is also known for their burritos, which, word has it, one can easily make into two meals.

Feel like eating some tacos? Here are a few Columbus places to put on your list

Mark Pi’s Feast of the Dragon

This Chinese buffet at 3670 Soldano Blvd. is located near the Great Western Shopping Center. It moved from its former location right as the pandemic was starting in early 2020. It’s now in a spacious place and has a lot of selection in its buffet, which also features ice cream.

Third Way Cafe

Third Way Cafe, 3058 W Broad St., may not be as explicitly international as the other restaurants on this list, but it has to be included on a list of Hilltop food and drink offerings. It is the kind of place that knows regular customers by name and welcomes first-timers warmly. Patrons can take a novel from their book shelf while sipping on a latte or tea. If you skipped breakfast or need an afternoon snack, Third Way also has muffins made by a Hilltop resident and baker.

Dispatch reporters Megan Henry, Danae King, Monroe Trombly and Aubrey Wright contributed to this article.

This story is part of the Dispatch’s Mobile Newsroom initiative, which has included Northland, Driving Park, the Hilltop and now Whitehall. Visit our reporters at the Columbus Metropolitan Library’s Whitehall branch library and read their work at dispatch.com/mobilenewsroom, where you also can sign up for The Mobile Newsroom newsletter.

[email protected]

@DanaeKing

This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Restaurants to try on Columbus’ Hilltop with international cuisine