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Dining and Shopping

Best of the Best

Only looking for the best of the best?

These dining establishments are continually listed as the "best of the region" in local and national publications.



20 Brix 101 Main St.
Milford, OH  45150
513-831-2749
A Tavola 1220 Vine St.
Cincinnati, OH  45202
513-246-0192
A Tavola, a bar, trattoria and pizzeria, is now open a few doors away from Senate Restaurant. The offer pizza and bruschetta cooked in a wood-fired oven, and a drink menu of craft cocktails, micro brews, local beers and quality wines. They got their start doing pizza nights at Northside’s Take the Cake cafe.
Abigail Street 1214 Vine St.
Cincinnati, OH  45202
513-421-4040
Abigail Street’s menu takes inspiration from all over, but it fits easily into the new Vine Street scene. The wine bar takes one half of the room and the tables nestle up to a long bench on the opposite wall, with room enough for one plaid-clad waiter to fit between each one. It isn’t quite a cheap night out but as long as you go with people who don’t mind your fork in their plate every few minutes, you will have plenty of delicious things to try. The wine on tap came from closer to home, but still an adventure and international wine loyalists still have an extensive list of bottles to choose from.
Ambar India Restaurant 350 Ludlow Ave.
Cincinnati, OH  45220
513-281-7000
If you've lived, worked or simply passed through Clifton, you've eaten or heard of Ambar. Located in the Clifton gaslight district, this neighborhood staple offer authentic Indian cuisine with plenty of spicy dishes and vegetarian options. Ambar offers a casual but classy experience with white tablecloths, chandeliers overhead and servers eager to please. Dinner specialties include vegetarian Thal, lamb choley or the huge Ambar India Special with aloo tikki and pakora, chicken tandoori, lamb curry, dal, mater paneer, nan and dessert on a silver platter, no less.
Andy's Mediterranean Grille 906 Nassau St.
Cincinnati, OH  45206
513-281-9791
Belly-dancers and an outdoor hookah-smoking area are among the unique features at this local favorite, along with succulent grilled kabobs. It's hard to beat the value either, with 3-course dinners for $25 and 3-course lunches for $8 every day of the week. The owners sell their own marinade and salad dressing for fans to take home as well. Planning a private party or group event? Check out the Cedar Room, which holds up to 90 people and has an authentic Mediterranean feel. Live music and outdoor seating are on tap once the weather warms up.
Bakersfield OTR 1213 Vine St.
Cincinnati, OH  45202
513-579-0446
Bakersfield OTR in now open in the Gateway Quarter. The tacos, tequila and whiskey bar on Vine Street is owned by Joe Lanni. Choose from a selection of 45 tequilas, 45 American whiskeys and a menu of authentic Mexican street food.
Bella Luna 4632 Eastern Ave.
Cincinnati, OH  45226
513-871-5862
Experience all the elegance of a fine restaurant without the smug attitude. Bella Luna serves authentic Italian cuisine in a funky, fresh atmosphere with a fabulous wine selection. The staff and owners go out of their way to make you feel at home here. The wine list is extensive and the menu is full of dishes that have placed highly in past Tastes of Cincinnati. And if you are feeling lucky, consider taking advantage of the "Mystery Wine Bucket" where you pay $30 and take a gambler's chance by selecting a bottle from a bucket of bottles typically priced in the $30 to $60 range.
Boca 114 E 6th Street
Cincinnati, OH  45202
513-542-2022
Boca is Chef David Falk's ode to Europe. Boca's design couples contemporary European and American stylings with touches of rusticity in an airy urban space. The elegant and inviting surroundings welcome guests for an evening cocktail, a small bite before a show at nearby theaters, a casual dinner with friends or a luxurious night out in Cincinnati.
Boi Na Braza 441 Vine St.
Cincinnati, OH  45202
513-421-7111
You like meat and lots of it? This Brazilian steak house is the place to go. Boi Na Braza is a great spot for a special occasion - it's expensive but a unique experience. The restaurant is known as a churrascaria, featuring Brazilian chefs (also known as "gauchos") who serve your food. A meat disk – a slip of paper, green on one side, red on the other – signals when diners are ready for their meat.
Brown Dog Cafe 5893 Pfeiffer Road
Blue Ash, OH  45242
513-794-1610
This highly regarded restaurant and café combines a myriad of cuisines to create an eclectic menu suitable for all appetites. The café offers live music on Saturdays and fresh game instituted in every menu (roast boar tenderloin or pan roast venison loin, anyone?). Chef Shawn McCoy has really taken the upscale casual restaurant to another level with his wide-ranging choices. The décor and cherry wood bar complete the elegantly designed restaurant. Brown Dog offers an expansive drink selection with more than 50 kinds of wines and a comfortable bar area to grab a cocktail before dinner.
Carlo & Johnny 9769 Montgomery Road
Montgomery, OH  45242
513-936-8600
A mansion with a history of gambling and mafia connections is transformed into a Jeff Ruby restaurant with completely over-the-top décor. There are three separate dining rooms each with its own décor and feel, from an old-style Chicago backroom to a swanky Hollywood-inspired room for a romantic date. It all makes for an extravagantly fun evening, especially because there’s also a sushi chef and live entertainment. The largest selection of Jeff Ruby steaks is here; including kobe filet, a bison strip steak and a tomahawk rib. You're always in for a treat at a Ruby establishment, with first-class food and service.
Cumin 3520 Erie Ave.
Cincinnati, OH  45208
513-871-8714
Once a premiere spot for Indian and Indian-fusion cuisine, Cumin has transformed into an eclectic and contemporary dining spot under the vision of chef Owen Maas, who brings his experience at top restaurants in Chicago and New York City to this popular Hyde Park bistro. Choose from openers like cold water lobster ravioli or Japanese eggplant chips and try the Cumin Salad, a unique mix of chickpeas, potatoes, pomegranate, tamarind and cilantro. For the main course, indulge in the roasted pork shoulder or the lighter free-range chicken breast. Vegetarians can enjoy the Heirloom Corn Polenta, complete with chantrelle mushrooms and leek and vermouth fondue. The surroundings inside Cumin are modern and sleek. Bar patrons can expect a top-shelf wine list, chosen by owner Alex Mchaikhi, featuring over 100 different selections from all over the world.
Dee Felice Cafe 529 Main St.
Covington, KY  41011
859-261-2365
Dee Felice Café might be located in Covington’s MainStrasse Village, but inside the doors, you’re transported down to the Big Easy. The interior is designed with historic New Orleans in mind, complete with live jazz and swing music Tuesday through Sunday. During the week, Dee Felice offers an extensive selection of wine, including half-price wine Mondays. For dinner, enjoy steaks, chicken, soups and salads, pasta as well as New Orleans specialties like jambalaya and a variety of Gulf coast seafood, including the Shrimp Creole and Deep Fried Oysters.
El Coyote 7404 State Road
Cincinnati, OH  45230
513-232-5757
Don’t let the name fool you: El Coyote is not only a Mexican restaurant; it's also a steakhouse. This Tex-Mex style cuisine will have you coming back for more. The restaurant is themed with an elegant, woodsy cabin-like decor. In the mood to be wined and dined with a fabulous steak or pork chop? Both are award-winning. To spice it up, try any of the Tex-Mex options, like the famous fajitas, or create your own combo of meaty or vegetarian-friendly delights. Got a really picky eater on your hands? There are always the burgers and fettuccine Alfredo. Plus, margaritas are always a crowd pleaser.
Golden Lamb Restaurant 27 S. Broadway St.
Lebanon, OH  45036
513-932-5065
There is something to be said for tradition, and no one does it better than the oldest inn in Ohio. The Golden Lamb has been in continual operation since December 23, 1803 and uses that experience to create a fine inn and restaurant. The whole building is decorated with antiques that make it feel as much a museum as it is an eatery. Servers bring you food while wearing old-fashioned period costumes, and Jay Mills plays live piano five times a week. Hey, if it’s good enough for 12 U.S. presidents to visit, then it’s certainly worth checking out.
Jag's Steak and Seafood 5980 West Chester Road
West Chester, OH  45069
513-860-5353
Jag’s embraces all that is classy not only in the menu selection and superb drink list, but perhaps most of all in atmosphere. The cuisine is divine, with choices such as chili with Kobe beef, roasted corn and jalapeno crab cakes and black truffle filet mignon. Its six dining rooms are spectacular, with a marble and mahogany piano bar in one of the 2 cocktail lounges. The highlight of Jag’s is most certainly the outdoor heated patio off of the main bar with a trellis of canopy lights intertwined with vines and fire pit tables. Dj Friday nights and live dance bands every Saturday. It's perfect for a romantic evening, to meet new people and to dance and enjoy some of the city's top bands. Live entertainment Monday-Saturday beginning most nights at 6 p.m. Never a cover charge.
Jean-Robert's Table 713 Vine St.
Cincinnati, OH  45202
513-621-4777
Jean-Robert's Table is a relaxed urban bistro from Jean-Robert de Cavel, where you can get a taste of French cuisine in an un-intimidating atmosphere. Setting itself apart from other bistros, Jean-Robert's Table takes it up a notch with menu items like duck breast, a French Chateau Burger, rack of lamb and sea scallops.
Jeff Ruby's Steakhouse 700 Walnut St.
Cincinnati, OH  45202
513-784-1200
This swanky downtown steakhouse is one of Jeff Ruby’s high-end and high-service restaurants. They all serve delicious steaks accompanied by equally edible side dishes, the biggest shrimp, the most luxurious appetizers, with almost-too-attentive servers. This one is distinguished by its glitzy, comfortable setting and its location across the street from the Aronoff. Steaks rule here, but the menu also boasts side-to-share like the Potatoes Anna, the Aronoff Salad and Thin Crisped Lobster Tail.
Jo An Japanese Restaurant 3940 Olympic Blvd.
Erlanger, KY  41018
859-746-2634
Nearly hidden away in an office park building surrounded by business suites, this modest sushi spot is no secret to the local Japanese community. While Jo An is approachable enough for beginners, it’s even more of a treat for those familiar with Japanese cuisine. In addition to a lengthy list of expertly rolled sushi, you’ll also find udon noodles, tempura and Teriyaki. All dishes are made for enjoying at the large sushi bar or within the traditionally minimalist dining rooms.
La Poste Eatery 3410 Telford Ave.
Cincinnati, OH  45220
513-281-3663
La Poste is a new fine dining eatery in Clifton, just around the corner from the Esquire Theatre.
Local 127 413 Vine St.
Cincinnati, OH  45202
513-721-1345
Downtown restaurant specializes in sophisticated American dining. Kyle Johnson, new executive chef, has updated the menu to include more seafood and beef choices with seasonal preparations, including wild striped bass with wheat berries, maitake mushrooms and tatsoi pudding for the fall.
Maury's Tiny Cove Steak House 3908 Harrison Ave.
Cincinnati, OH  45211
513-662-2683
Maury's is a venerable old-school steakhouse operating since 1949 in the heart of Cheviot. Vintage decor and red vinyl booths are intact, as are the friendly servers and the reasonable prices for a quality meal.
Metropole 609 Walnut St.
Cincinnati, OH  45202
513-578-6660
Located in Cincinnati’s new 21c Museum Hotel, Metropole offers a contemporary take on old world fireplace cooking techniques. Led by executive chef Michael Paley, the menu focuses on dishes cooked in a custom-built wood-burning fireplace. A showcase for the region’s sustainable farmers and producers, Metropole’s ever-changing menu features hearth-roasted meats, fish and vegetables; grains; and housemade charcuterie. The bar and lounge are inviting places to explore the rotating selection of craft beers on tap, housemade cocktails, Bourbons and a smart selection of old and new world wines. Designed by architect Deborah Berke Partner Architects, the space highlights original mosaic tile floors, arched windows and architectural details, reestablishing the warmth and vitality of this historic gem.
Mitchell's Fish Market One Levee Way
Newport, KY  41071
859-291-7454
"Fish any fresher would still be in the ocean," is Mitchell's promoise.They serve fish shipped fresh daily from Alaska, Chile and Coasta Rica. Cuisine ranges from Asian to Mediterranean to regional American. Signature dishes include salmon roasted on a cedar plank, laced with balsam, complemented with aspargus and goat cheese. Mitchell's serves crab, lobsters and mussels. You can order a$4 after 4:00 p.m. small plate and choose calamari, mussels or squid. Drink a speciality cocktail made with freshly squeezed grapefruit, lemon, lime or orange juice.
Morton's The Steakhouse 441 Vine St.
Cincinnati, OH  45202
513-621-3111
If you're looking for fine dining, perhaps for a special occasion, you can expect Morton’s brand of quality and prestige with close adherence to all the steakhouse conventions. Luxurious, but not flashy, this location offers view of Fountain Square. They also offer Bar Bites and drink specials during their Power Hour.
Nada 600 Walnut St.
Cincinnati, OH  45202
513-721-6232
Highlights: Located in the glass-fronted space adjoining the Aronoff Center, Nada offers open seating and a bar on the first level featuring premium tequilas and fresh juices, while reserved seating is available on the upper level. Contrasting rustic touches have been added to the contemporary decor. Food overview: The cuisine here is a modernized take on authentic Mexican recipes from a contemporary chef, rather than the usual MexAmerican standards. There are some unusual tacos with unexpected ingrediants, and small plates like ceviche of shrimp and scallop with orange. Entrees include pork green chile stew and lamb shoulder with ancho mole.
Nectar 1000 Delta Ave.
Cincinnati, OH  45208
513-929-0525
At Julie Francis’ restaurant, the food is fresh and light, the portions are perfect and the flavors are clear, almost transparent--it’s more like a silk blouse than a pinstriped suit. She is above all a seasonal cook. You may find sweetbreads on her menu, and eat them if you do – their delicate crust surrounds a firm but velvety interior. In spring, duck might be served as a seared breast on top of warm potato salad and cabbage slaw, and orange marlin came on a garbanzo salad with cucumber and red onion. It’s a simply decorated restaurant, small and sometimes a bit loud.
Nicola's Ristorante 1420 Sycamore St.
Cincinnati, OH  45202
513-721-6200
Who would guess there was an elegant, authentic fine-dining Italian restaurant at the corner of Liberty and Sycamore in Pendleton? Well, there is. At Nicola’s, the Pietoso family serves a refined version of Italian food. Clear your schedule so you have time to do justice to dishes like Belgian endive with pears, Tagliatini with browned cauliflower and lobster or prime strip “Caprese.” In the summer, the small patio is exquisite. Other times of year, the converted cable car house is modern and comfortable. The dessert menu is filled with light Italian treats, delicious after-dinner cordials and coffee drinks--perfect after a filling meal.
Orchids at Palm Court 35 W. Fifth St.
Cincinnati, OH  45202
513-421-9100
The exuberant, gilded French art deco of the Hilton Netherland Plaza makes it one of the best settings in town for any commemorative event, and the careful service makes dinner suitably ceremonious. Be sure to make an entrance by walking up the fabulous stairway from 5th Street. Chef Todd Kelly presents often exotic ingredients in combinations that may seem surprising but taste as if they were always meant for one another. You might start with seared foie gras with lemon waffle, peaches and braised pistachios, move on to wild halibut with Dungeness crab, sunchoke puree, tarragon and haricots verts.
Oriental Wok 5038 Old Taylor Mill Road
Taylor Mill, KY  41015
859-431-3000
Taylor Mill's Oriental Wok is smaller and cosier than its Ft. Mitchell sister. You can choose from two comfortable dining rooms, and order your preferred drink from the full bar. This location serves diverse Oriental Wok specialities, including Bird's Nest Delight and Pearls of the Sea. Mike Wong's restaurant serves plenty of seafood, plus your typical Chow Mein. Vegetarians rejoice with items such as Vegetable Tofu, 5-Spice Tofu Over Spinach and Szechuan Eggplant.
Otto's 521 Main St.
Covington, KY  41011
859-491-6678
Though Otto’s is located on Main Street in Covington’s MainStrasse village, it isn’t rowdy like the neighboring establishments. Otto’s is a funky deli with a relaxed, but certainly not boring atmosphere. This restaurant takes a quirky approach to its décor as well as its dishes, as they are known to put a creative spin on ordinary deli sandwiches. The brightly colored interior and mismatched furniture are reflective of the vibrant and unique flavor combinations of restaurant’s dishes. Diners rave over both the Filet and the Sea Scallops. The certified Black Angus filet is cooked to melt-in-your-mouth perfection and accompanied by a bleu cheese bacon cream sauce; and the seared sea scallops are placed atop a bed of spinach parmesan risotto and garnished with smoked tomato aioli. The restaurant has a full bar and offers over 30 wines that provide a luscious accompaniment to any dish. In warmer weather, patrons can enjoy their meal or glass of wine outdoors by taking advantage of the sidewalk dining or charming back patio. Otto’s hosts live acoustic music on Thursday nights. In the summer, Sunday brunch is served from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., offering dishes like Banana Cheesecake French Toast and the popular BLFGT—bacon, lettuce, fried green tomato served on a toasted croissant with egg and cheese.
Palace Restaurant 601 Vine St.
Cincinnati, OH  45202
513-381-3000
Ladies, if your date's bringing you to Palace Restaurant, he's either ready to go super-steady with you or he's gonna pop out a ring. The Palace offers the top notch dining experience in Cincinnati, appropriately out of the Cincinnatian Hotel. Striving to provide the summit of quality to customers, the menu of American fare is short and changes seasonally, and the waitstaff provides service that is seamless. If you want the elegant experience without the hole in your wallet, make a tradition to attend their afternoon tea each December.
Palomino 505 Vine St.
Cincinnati, OH  45202
513-381-1300
Palomino has an elegant and chic ambiance with an exceptional European-influenced American menu and a great view of Fountain Square. The bar area is more upbeat and happy hour lasts all day featuring specials on drinks, flatbreads and pizzas.
Primavista 810 Matson Place
Cincinnati, OH  45204
513-251-6467
Order a glass of wine and toast to scoring a classy yet cozy spot with a great view. Known and named for its panoramic views of downtown Cincinnati, Primavista is a favorite for romantic Italian cuisine. Peel your eyes away from the windows and view the menu, lauded for its fine Italian, fish and veal. Bon appetite!
Rail House 40 Village Square
Cincinnati, OH  45246
513-772-3333
The former Iron Horse Inn is under new ownship, and it has been renamed the Rail House. Ashley and Jay Silbermann just moved back to town from Florida; they bought the Iron Horse Inn along with Tom Rosenbaum and John Christian. Their intention is to create a more casual, accessible restaurant, so people come more often than for special occasions. They’ll re-open the upstairs, Bracker’s Tavern, as a bourbon lounge and add live entertainment and TVs for watching sports.
Riverside Korean Restaurant 512 Madison Ave.
Covington, KY  41011
859-291-1484
There are two alternatives for seating at this Covington restaurant—in the traditional way at a low table or at a grilling booth where you can cook for yourself when you order two or more grilled entrees. It’s usually pretty bustling in this small space and the food is so delightful that you’ll be happy to sit wherever you can. The dining experience is authentic Korean—there’s even a section of the menu entitled “Adventure Dinners,” where spicy raw skate fish (hong uh hwe) is an option. There are also more mild options for the faint of heart—like the Bibimbab (rice mixed with six kinds of vegetables, beef or tofu and topped with an egg with spicy sauce on the side). Each entrée comes with at least seven side dishes, served in between courses, allowing patrons to sample a wide variety of true Korean fare without committing to an entirely unfamiliar dish. Wash it all down (or quench the inferno on your tongue) with a Korean beer. No desserts.
Ruth's Chris Steak House 100 E. Freedom Way
Cincinnati, OH  45202
513-381-0491
Founded 1965 by Ruth Fertel in New Orleans, Ruth’s Chris Steak House specializes in USDA Prime grade steaks broiled at 1,800 degrees and then served on a 500 degree plate. Also enjoy New Orleans-inspired appetizers, fresh seafood and desserts. Happy Hour Monday-Friday.
Senate 1212 Vine St.
Cincinnati, OH  45202
513-421-2020
Senate, the latest addition to Over-the-Rhine’s Gateway Quarter, is junk food nirvana. It’s a place where they put fried eggs on the hot dogs and sizzle the french fries in duck fat, and you just sit there with your big glass of Belgian beer and scarf it all down.
Terry's Turf Club 4618 Eastern Ave.
Cincinnati, OH  45226
513-533-4222
Consistently battling it out with Zip's for the top burger nod, Terry’s offers a wide variety of signature sauces and toppings to go on its featured burgers but also serves chicken, fish and steak. But don't get too excited and forget the fresh cut fries. The fun decor, neon lights and lazy Susan style fridge complete the traditional diner feel. Terry’s has a decent selection of domestic and imported beers with a small yet fine selection of liquors and wines. Terry’s is packed seven days a week -- your wait may be as long as two hours, especially on Fridays and Saturday. The patio only adds to the popularity in what is quickly becoming a Cincy favorite.
The Celestial Steakhouse 1071 Celestial St.
Cincinnati, OH  45202
513-241-4455
You want to impress a date? Celebrate a special occasion? Perhaps propose marriage? This is your place. The Celestial offers up an ethereal view of downtown Cincinnati and is considered one of the most romantic restaurants in the city. The food, service and atmosphere are excellent. Come here, and you're destined for a special evening. Call ahead and ask for a table with a view. The Incline Lounge offers live music every Friday and Saturday from 8:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m.
The Precinct 311 Delta Ave.
Cincinnati, OH  45226
513-321-5454
The Precinct, which recently opened its new bar, also renovated the restaurant’s dining room, lobby and kitchen. Housed in an historic police station, The Precinct has an upscale atmosphere and top-notch service, making that expense dinner for two worth every penny. Menu items include pan-roasted grouper, wood-grilled swordfish, great salads, appetizers like pan-fried crab cakes and steaks named for Dusty Baker, Marvin Lewis and Cris Collinsworth.
Tony's Steaks and Seafood 12110 Montgomery Road
Cincinnati, OH  45249
513-677-1993
A Tony Ricci restaurant combining the classic American steakhouse with fresh modern fare, an expansive and diverse wine list, matched with award winning service.
Tousey House Tavern 5963 N. Jefferson St.
Burlington, KY  41005
859-586-9900
Tousey House is an 1822 Federal style house serving traditional Southern food. The Wainscott family owns both Tousey House, located in old Burlington, and Ft. Mitchell's Greyhound Grill. Appetizers include fried green tomatoes, lobster and corn fritters and Kentucky Beer Cheese on a warm pretzel bread. The menu also includes salads, sandwiches and luscious entrees such as pan-roasted breast of chicken and Glaze Pork Chop. Tousey Hot Brown is their tasty version of the Kentucky favorite. Tousey House serves some Greyhound Grill favorites like fried chicken and all you can eat cod. Recently, Tousey House began serving Sunday brunch.
Via Vite Restaurant 520 Vine St.
Cincinnati, OH  45202
513-721-8483
Via Vite is directly located on Fountain Square, so you can’t miss it. The restaurant offers a wide selection of Italian food made by the famed chef Cristian Pietoso (including late-night menus until 1 a.m. Monday-Saturday). At night, the restaurant becomes a bar. Via Vite has a terrace and lounge on the second floor overlooking the city. The restaurant also offers happy hour 3 to 7 p.m. Monday-Friday as well as late night drink specials.
Virgil's Cafe 710 Fairfield Ave.
Bellevue, KY  41073
859-491-3287
Virgil's Cafe sports a menu reflecting chef/owner Matthew Buschle's desire to showcase fresh food in an upscale setting. Many ingredients are grown locally, arriving by the truckload from nearby farms and areas including Brown County, or from the gardens of the restaurant's employees. Reservations are recommended by management.


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