Review: Cafe Illyria Columbus Ohio
If you happen to work in the capital city Columbus of Ohio, you probably enjoy having lunch outside of the office every once in a while. Problem is, finding that one place that can help you stay on a budget but not lose quality in the food and service can be difficult. Thankfully, if you happen to be close to State and Grant street, you will be surprised to find a little place called Café Illyria.
From the outside, you may not at first see it as a restaurant. Tucked in between several apartment complexes, it can be easy to miss if you’re not looking for it. However like most things, it’s not what is on the outside but what’s inside that counts. As you make your way down the steps into the building you’ll notice a nice patio area for outside dining if you wish to enjoy a nice sunny day. Once inside, you’ll feel the welcoming environment. Plenty of tables sit to your left, where the menu is posted on your right. Here’s where Café Illyria really shines.
The name “Illyria” is taken from an ancient region along the coast of the Adriatic sea from Albania northward. Hence, you’ll find several items on the menu have a Cajun style to it. My favorite is the Cajun Chicken Gyro that has the right mix of flavor and Cajun spices. But there is plenty of variety to choose from. Items such as Cheesy Panini, Tuna Melt, Grilled Cheese, Turkey Ruben and even cheeseburgers can make even the pickiest of eaters happy. If hot sandwiches aren’t your thing though, there are homemade salads and soups, all under $4 each.
Each item you order comes with free chips, which aren’t mind blowing but given they are free of charge it’s hard to complain. If chips won’t cut it for you, you can replace them with fries for only a $1 more. The varied selection and great taste of the food choices put this over the top to most places.
In addition they offer breakfast menu items if you go between 8:30-11am. Items include ham, bacon, sausage or veggie omelets, French toast, pancakes and much more. All these are great items if you forgot to cook yourself breakfast and need something to hold you over to lunch.
The drinks are solid including coffee, lattes, soda, orange juice, Snapple and Gatorade. If you need just some high quality H20, they have bottled water as well.
If you’re in the mood for dessert, they have a fine selection as well. Yogurt, muffins, cookies, pie, you name it. All reasonable in size and price.
Which brings up the topic of another strong point: the price. You can stay under $6 per meal, some even under $5. Most places charge only a side for that kind of price. Drinks range from $1-2.50 and sides are around the same as well. If you need lunch that doesn’t sacrifice quality but still a good price, this fits the bill.
The service is friendly and welcoming once you come in. The only issue is at peak hours you may have to wait 20 minutes before your food comes. This could pose a problem for those with short lunch breaks. Still, they offer pickup service where you can call ahead. I recommend this since your wait time will be cut down by more than half usually.
Once your food is ordered, you can wait at a table and watch TV on their HD screen while your food is being made. Again, the wait might take a while during peak hours but the food is certainly worth the wait. They will even bring your order out to you once it is done. Overall the service is good and leaves little to complain about.
As I said before, if you’re looking for a place with reasonable prices but great food, this is the place to go. You can’t go wrong if you are close to State and Grant too. It’s a nice place to go on a nice sunny day as well with a comfortable patio outside to eat at. I give it high marks and recommend going when it’s not at its busiest.