Solstice Kitchen is one of three restaurants in the Columbia area that I consider truly worthy of ""five stars"" (the other two being Mr. Friendly's and Ristorante Divino). I've dined there about ten times since their opening a few years ago, and have never had a bad experience. As far as I know, they have the largest wine selection in Columbia, with a list of over 650 wines by the bottle. The food is always amazing and their menu changes frequently to adjust to seasonal vegetables and availability (much of their product comes from local farms). The atmosphere is fairly casual and laid back (but not ""shorts and t-shirt casual), and the dining room is accentuated with comfortable seating and a great atmosphere. I would suggest joining their mailing list, as the restaurant regularly offers some incredible wine discounts and specials for members of the list. We're always treated to an amuse-bouche from the chef before our meal, which looks like it was prepared with a lot of thought, rather than just throwing something together quickly like some other restaurants do. I realize restaurants don't make a profit by giving out an amuse-bouche, which is why it's so nice to see quality ingredients being used in their preparation.
Diners should make sure to try the gouda mac and cheese, the table side beef or tuna tartare (if offered that night), and any seafood selection, especially with mussels or scallops. The only flaw with this restaurant is its location in Northeast Columbia. Although it's really not much more than a 15 minute drive from downtown Columbia, I would definitely appreciate it if it was closer. Given the restaurant scene in Charleston and even Greenville, it is amazing that Columbia lucked out with such an incredible restaurant nearby.