Refectory, M rated highest by AAA among area restaurants

Make it 64 diamonds and counting for the Refectory Restaurant & Bistro and another 20 diamonds for M.

Two of Columbus’ most heralded dining destinations have again been singled out by AAA as the cream of the Central Ohio crop.

For the 16th consecutive year, the Refectory at 1092 Bethel Road is receiving Four Diamond recognition from the motoring and leisure travel organization, while M at 2 Miranova Place has earned the rating for a fifth time.

The Four Diamond designation is the second-highest award presented by AAA, trailing only the Five Diamond honor.

Ohio has 11 Four Diamond honorees for 2011, but no Five Diamond winners, said spokeswoman Kimberly Schwind. Columbus had a third consistent Four Diamond finisher in Handke’s in the Brewery District until that restaurant closed last year after Chef Hartmut Handke sold it in 2008.

According to AAA, Four Diamond restaurants account for only 2.7 percent of the nearly 28,000 eateries it rates every year. The group also rates lodging, but the 2011 winners for Columbus will not be announced until later this week, Schwind said.