Restaurant review: The Downtown Bistro – Lancaster, OH

Happy Wednesday friends. Keep the faith – the weekend is only two days away.

Sam and I have been making an effort to go on Saturday date nights outside of Columbus. As much as I love my city, we’re both burnt out on driving around and fending off traffic, only to hope we can get in somewhere before it reaches social distancing capacity limits. So instead, we’ve been picking restaurants and places around Central Ohio to try. We love Fairfield County, which is directly southeast/east of Columbus, and at some point want to relocate and settle down there near the county seat Lancaster.

A few months ago while picking up or dropping off (I can never remember which it is anymore) some realtor things for him, we decided to take a walk around downtown Lancaster. We made a pit stop at L-City Coffee + and enjoyed ourselves there. Right next door to the coffee shop is The Downtown Bistro, which we decided to add on our “to try” list.

This past Saturday we finally went down and tried The Downtown Bistro. The short ‘n sweet verdict: dinner was delicious and the trip was a great idea. I can’t recommend it enough.

Here’s the longer review that actually tells you something: the bistro is located in a historic building that used to be a hotel. The interior is beautiful and feels upscale, not like a small-ish restaurant tucked in on Broad Street. I was pleasantly surprised to learn we were going to be sitting in the formal dining room, which featured eclectic paintings on the walls and white trees wrapped in clear mini lights. Overall the setting was romantic, and I wished I had worn something nicer than a long-sleeved t-shirt and jeggings.

We debated if we wanted appetizers. Although the pretzel sticks and homemade beer cheese sounded awesome, I know myself to know two things. The first is that I’d get full on pretzel sticks and spoil dinner. The second is that I was thinking pasta, and that’s definitely a dish you need an empty-ish stomach for.

It’s funny now that I’m thinking about it – a few days before we went to the bistro, I made a comment to Sam about craving the fettuccine alfredo at the Union Grill, which is located in his native Pennsylvania. We wouldn’t make a three hour trip for pasta obviously, and I resigned myself to accept that unless we visit his folks, my pasta fantasies could only remain as such.

Then I looked over the menu and saw it: blackened linguine alfredo.

My pasta fantasies weren’t in vain after all!

The dish came in a large bowl of linguine tossed in the alfredo sauce. Blackened chicken was mixed in and placed on top. The smell alone was divine, and that first taste was perfect. I was in heaven, but discovered that this was definitely a take-home dish – meaning it was so heavy that I couldn’t eat the entire thing in one sitting.

Sam ordered a chicken cordon bleu, which is one of his favorites. He loved his dinner and said it was one of the best dishes he’s had in a long time.

Even though my dinner was rich and I had to ask for a take-home box for half of it, I still wanted to know what desserts were available. One of my favorite desserts in tiramisu, since it’s sweet but not overpowering and the flavor tends to nicely offset whatever I’ve had for dinner. My unofficial rule is that if a restaurant has it, I’m going to order it no matter what. When our waiter asked if we were interested in dessert and told us what they had available, it didn’t require any deliberating. I ordered my tiramisu and split it with Sam.

Tiramisu has never let me down, and this one didn’t either.

Overall, we had a great time at The Downtown Bistro. The food was delicious, the atmosphere perfect mix of relaxed and upscale. The service was impeccable – our waiter was attentive and at one point apologized for a large party coming in and moving a little slower, so he brought out an extra basket of breadsticks to tide us over. First off, he and the rest of the staff were so attentive that we honestly wouldn’t have known they were taking care of a large party had he not mentioned it to us. I appreciate him telling us though, and secondly, everyone was so lovely and professional that it added to the fun of our evening.

Once we sat down in the car, Sam made a comment about how the bistro reminded him of fun dining experiences he used to have as a kid, and going there made him forget about the madness going on in the world. I agree with that take.

So if I had to rate it, The Downtown Bistro in Lancaster gets five stars out of five. Every part of our experience was lovely and we’re talking about when we can go back next. We both loved and recommend our dishes, and I think next time we’re down there I’ll try one of the burgers. And finish it up with tiramisu.

The restaurant is located at 123 N. Broad St. in Lancaster, OH. I linked the restaurant’s website here and Instagram here.

I hope you all enjoy yourselves and show today who’s boss.

Yours in writing,


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