Restaurants to try on Columbus’ Hilltop with international cuisine

The Hilltop has a bad reputation 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 weren’t many places to eat.

So we started asking for recommendations everywhere we went and found that not only were there plenty of places to eat, but there was a wide variety of cuisines from around the world.

Food on the Hilltop is a fusion of food trucks, take-out restaurants and sit-down restaurants. Reflecting the demographics of the region, there are many Mexican restaurants, but the culinary traditions of other nations are also represented, including Peru and Jamaica.

Here are some of the places we visited.

A chicken and rice dish from African Paradise West.

The portions at this African restaurant are hearty and come with mango juice and goat cheese soup. It is 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 varieties of Mediterranean and Mexican dishes and is located in the parking lot of the Great Western Shopping Center at 3440 W. Broad St. Taco Tuesday in this eclectic food truck offers $2 tacos. We tried the falafel, lamb and chicken tacos and a side of rice. Pro Tip: Order online for the most convenient service.

Restoration review: Intriguing International Flavors Make Food Truck Ayy Karamba a Hilltop Destination

Dulce Vida Ice Cream Factory

Expedition reporter Danae King, left, and Aubrey Wright with their Mexican Dulce Vida ice cream on the hill.

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, artisanal ice creams, sorbets, milkshakes and a few unique creations feature in the long list of options along the wall. They also offer classic Mexican snacks for those looking for something salty to go with their sweets.

El Jaliciense

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

Bright colors abound at this Mexican restaurant located at 3528 Sullivant Avenue, at the intersection of Sullivant and Josephine Avenues. Chairs, tables, and booths are adorned with what appear to be hand-painted scenes from Mexican culture, and a mural outside the restaurant depicts a muscular Mexican bandito. The atmosphere is great and there is 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 local restaurant located at 727 Georgesville Road near the Hollywood Casino Columbus is known for its charcoal grilled chicken and serves it with a variety of sides including rice and plantains. The waitress offered us a taste of passion fruit juice and we were smitten, slurping the sweet orange liquid with our meals. The restaurant also has a small market inside for those who want to grab some juice and select takeout.

This Mexican restaurant on 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 place at 1275 Brown Road seems to be a neighborhood favorite, as it was crowded this rainy day with people who didn’t need a menu.

Restoration review: Humble mom-and-pop joint offers top notch tacos, plus

Irie JAmerican Cuisine

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

Painted in bright green, yellow and black – the colors of the Jamaican flag – you can’t miss the small building at 2384 Sullivant Ave. When you enter this takeout restaurant, you are 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 town. Known for its pepperoni pizza, the pie is covered with it. The taco pizza also holds up, with provolone, cheddar, and taco meat topped with lettuce, onion, and tomatoes (plus sides of taco sauce and sour cream). Some locals recommend Joseppi’s as their favorite pizza in town. Praises!

Plaza Tapatia

Two cartons of Fruti Kuikas hard candy bought at La Plaza Tapatia on the hill.

The International Grocery Market at 255 Georgesville Road across from the Hollywood Casino Columbus offers a robust take-out area with sopes and tacos. After our meal, it was nice to be able to pick up some groceries and get your mouth watering as you browsed through the extensive candy section, which included Fruti Kuikas hard candies.

Restaurant review: Cheap and Tasty Mexican Food at La Plaza Tapatia on Hilltop

The 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 delicious Mexican cuisine. We had a variety of tacos with our fries and guacamole. The restaurant is also known for its burritos, which are rumored to be easily made into two meals.

Want to eat tacos? Here are some places in Columbus to put on your bucket list.

Mark Pi’s Dragon Festival

This Chinese buffet at 3670 Soldano Blvd. is located near the Great Western Shopping Centre. It moved from its old location just as the pandemic was starting in early 2020. It is now in a spacious location and offers a great selection in its buffet, which also offers 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 should be included on a list of Hilltop food and drink offerings. It’s the kind of place that knows regulars by name and warmly welcomes newbies. Customers can grab a novel from their shelf while sipping a latte or tea. If you skipped breakfast or need an afternoon snack, Third Way also offers muffins made by a Hilltop resident and baker.

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

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

dking@dispatch.com

@DanaeKing

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