Best of Columbus 2009

Best Place for a First Date

From the 02/24/2009 edition

Betty's Fine Food & Spirits

680 N. High St., Short North



You've got an interesting new romantic prospect, a first date is looming and the pressure's on. According to Best of Columbus voters, there's no better place to go in this scenario than Betty's. Once you've been, the reasons are obvious.

The flagship eatery of Tip Top and Surly Girl restaurateur Elizabeth Lessner, Betty's is unpretentious and friendly, even on a packed Saturday night. Not a single, high-quality entree on the comfort food-laden menu will stretch your bank account, much less break it.

To loosen things up, share an appetizer of Steve's Afternoon Delight - homemade potato chips done up like nachos. If you're feeling forward, you could suggest splitting one of several dinner plates that are too huge for one, like Marge's Meatloaf or the sensational Parmesan Herb-Crusted Pork Loin.

And if making a meal's worth of get-to-know-you chat is worrisome, Betty's comes to the rescue with a design scheme ripe for free association: vintage pin-ups all over the walls, shelves bedecked with ceramic dogs, gender-themed restrooms custom-painted by Bryan Grey and large front windows for Short North people watching. The bar staff can hook you up with additional conversation lubricants, but remember moderation on your first date, because even a place this fabulous can't make a sloppy drunk look good.

Runners up: North Market, Morton's The Steakhouse