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Dining and Shopping

Romantic Dining

Leave the kids at home, and take out your date for an evening of fine food and conversation at Cincinnati's most romantic restaurants:



Argentine Bistro 2875 Town Center Blvd.
Crestview Hills, KY  41017
859-426-1042
Argentine Bean features tapas, paninis, desserts ... even their own argen-tini drink. This is more bistro than coffeehouse, with a new, award-winning chef, who has added some full-size entrees to the typical small-plates menu. But their coffee is still a star and has also won some national awards. Or skip the coffee and try one of their 35 boutique wines. Coming by at night? They have a variety of music every other Friday and Saturday night, like a jazz singer or an international musician from Spain. Additionally, Argentine Bean offers "Cork and Fork" cooking classes taught by executive chef Arthur Leech.
Barresi's Italian Restaurant 4111 Webster Ave.
Cincinnati, OH  45236
513-793-2540
Original owners Sal and Odessa Barresi sold their restaurant to Sarah Wagner back in 2005. She had bused tables there in high school, and then returned after attending culinary school and honing her skills in a few other kitchens. While Wagner has adapted Barresi’s to a new generation of diners, she has remained true to what made this restaurant a classic in the first place: the family recipes. The white tablecloths and candlelight make the dining room very intimate, and the menu is filled with Southern Italian gems such as pesce Florentine and beef tenderloin with crab gorgonzola. Italian classics including Zabaglione and Cannoli are on the dessert menu.
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.
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.
Bombay Brazier 7791 Cooper Road
Cincinnati, OH  45242
513-794-0000
Bombay Brazier, an upscale Indian restaurant, has opened in Montgomery. It has taken the space that was Jimmy D's Steakhouse. Owner Micky Singh says they've decorated in a luxurious Indian style, and have several specialties, including tandoori ribeye, mint chicken, Bombay naan stuffed with mango and pineapple and chicken tikka masala.
 
Bouquet Restaurant and Wine Bar 519 Main St.
Covington, KY  41011
859-491-7777
An artfully elegant antique wood bar surrounded by deep red walls up front gives way to white-clothed tables in back inside this classic narrow rowhouse. Silk curtains, hardwood floors and stained glass offer a perfect spot for a glass of wine, a meal or small plates snack. The restaurant also offers half-price small plates Tuesday-Thursday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. A focused menu offers delectable entrees like salmon, filet mignon, and lamb chops, plus salads and inventive vegetarian dishes too. A variety of small plates is also available. Desserts are brought in from Findlay Market.
Chart House 405 Riverboat Row
Newport, KY  41071
859-261-0300
Make no mistake: This is going to be an impressive dining experience. You get a fabulous riverfront view of Cincinnati as you enjoy delicious seafood or steak. Chart House is an upscale chain with more than 25 locations nationwide. The menu is filled with seafood classics, including Alaskan King Crab. Be sure to finish with the hot chocolate lava cake —they’re famous for it. Also check out the extensive whiskey list. Smoking in bar only.
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.
Emanu East African Restaurant 6063 Montgomery Rd.
Cincinnati, OH  45213
513-351-7686
No forks needed here! In Ethiopia, it is a ritual to break injera – a flat bread made from an Ethiopian grain called teff – and share food on one plate. The bread-breaking process and sharing of a common plate signifies loyalty and friendship, so it’s no surprise that at Emanu in Pleasant Ridge, the air is one of sheer friendliness and hospitality.The variety of meat and vegetable dishes is extraordinary, and the experience is unique -- all qualities that scream, "Try this!"
Embers 8170 Montgomery Road
Cincinnati, OH  45236
513-984-8090
This elegant eatery specializes in steaks, seafood and sushi, and the dark woods, deep colors and low-level lighting inside reflect its name. Embers is a great place to take a special date, but if a big meal isn't in your budget, order up a cocktail at the spacious bar.
Germano's Restaurant 9415 Montgomery Road
Cincinnati, OH  45242
513-794-1155
Many people think of Germano’s famous desserts first: their tiramisu is some of the best in town, the raspberry pie unlike anything else. But it wouldn’t do to skip the food that comes before dessert: traditional, upscale Italian with nice modern and luxurious touches. Gnocchi, scaloppini, and traditional pasta also share the menu with strip steak and potato-crusted salmon Chef/owner Domenic Germano, a native of Campobasso in Italy, is a hands-on owner, and his comfortable dining room feels elegant but homey.
 
Lavomatic Cafe 1211 Vine St.
Cincinnati, OH  45202
513-621-1999
Along with a revamped interior, the Over-the-Rhine restaurant has a new menu with a Charleston Low Country flair. Also look for wine specials during the week.
Maggiano's Little Italy 7875 Montgomery Road
Cincinnati, OH  45236
513-794-0670
Maggiano’s Little Italy, located conveniently in the Kenwood Towne Center, is perfect for a meal with a friend right after a long day of shopping. This Italian-American restaurant is known for its phenomenal Italian food and its large serving portions coming from the great "scratch" kitchen. The bar and lounge area is perfect for any occasion, especially the happy hour (Mondays through Wednesdays) and the live piano playing (Thursday through Sunday evening).
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.
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.
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.
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!
Quarter Bistro 6904 Wooster Pike
Cincinnati, OH  45227
513-271-5400
The Quarter Bistro, formerly known as the Latin Quarter, is a trendy chic restaurant located in the Mariemont village. It is another one of Cincinnati’s fine elegantly casual restaurants perfect for a special date. This bistro offers an eclectic menu drawing from several different types of cuisine and a wonderful patio that seems to always be full on a nice summer evening. The Quarter is conveniently located right next door to the Mariemont Theatre and Greater’s Ice Cream for a great after-meal duo. The contemporary bar has a wide-ranging wine list and offers happy hour Monday-Thursday.
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.
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.
Scotti’s Italian Restaurant 919 Vine St.
Cincinnati, OH  45202
513-721-9484
This place is the real deal when it comes to Italian, complete with the red-checked tablecloths, tile-mosaic walls and wax-covered Chianti bottles. One of the few Italian eateries left without an American spin, the menu at this family-owned and operated restaurant hasn’t changed since 1953. The minestrone is great, the sauce is homemade, and the veal dishes are a favorite. Finish your meal with a few cannolis or the tiramisu. Admire the family photos and newspaper clippings that adorn the walls and the authentic Italian music as you enjoy your meal and a bottle of wine. A word of advice: Make reservations - Scotti’s fills up fast.
Stone Creek Dining Company 9386 Montgomery Road
Cincinnati, OH  45242
513-489-1444
Stone Creek’s contemporary American cuisine is aimed at covering all bases: seafood, steaks, chops, chicken, ribs and pastas. An inviting series of cozy, elegant dining rooms with wood paneling and comfy booths do their part to raise expectations.
Teak Thai Cuisine and Sushi Bar 1051 St. Gregory St.
Cincinnati, OH  45202
513-665-9800
When in a heated discussion over who has the best Thai food in Cincinnati, often times the name “Teak” is a top contender. Located atop Mt. Adams, Teak is packed for dinner practically all year long, so you can usually expect a wait, but the restaurant has a relaxing bar area for patient patrons to grab a drink or two before being seated. The restaurant has a comfortable indoor dining area as well as a spacious outdoor patio that has plenty of feng shui. Teak’s huge menu offers a number of traditional Thai noodle, rice and curry dishes made with chicken, beef, pork, tofu or seafood items like shrimp and scallops. Sushi is also a big favorite here.
The Blind Lemon 936 Hatch St.
Cincinnati, OH  45202
513-241-3885
Blind Lemon is a low-key, romantic bar in historic Mount Adams. It’s tucked away and can be a little hard to find but the bar is covered in old-fashioned décor and pictures autographed by famous celebrities. Live music is played nightly all year round and the New Orleans-ish outside courtyard is a great way to spend an evening drinking with friends or wooing that special someone.
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 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.
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.
Vito's Cafe 654 Highland Ave., Suite 29
Fort Thomas, KY  41075
859-442-9444
Your servers may look like the regular kind who bring you drinks and Italian food, but in between courses, they will jump up between tables or to the grand piano to sing arias, standards or numbers from musicals. Meanwhile, you’re sitting in cushion-y chairs in a cozy, luxurious dining room, dining on classic Italian like Vito’s Wheel of Parmigiano and drinking a glass of fine wine from the large wine list. In fact, you might as well grab a full bottle of wine on Thursdays when it is half price. And on Sunday nights head in for Italian family-style dining for large servings of your favorites that serve two to three people.
Wild Ginger 3655 Edwards Rd.
Cincinnati, OH  45208
513-533-9500
For a fancy date night or celebration, Wild Ginger's upscale sushi, Thai food and hibachi platters is the ultimate way for Asian-cuisine lovers to treat themselves. While known for its extensive sushi selection and tasty Thai food, you can also order a platter made on the spot on the hibachi grill. You might be best served making a reservation; this place gets crowded fast.
York St. Cafe 738 York St.
Newport, KY  41071
859-261-9675
Located in an 1880's-era pharmacy, York St. Café has your prescription for a great night out: It's a romantic restaurant, lounge, live music venue and art gallery all in one. York St.'s Mercantile sells art, antiques and collectibles. It's open Wednesday-Saturday, noon-3 p.m. and 6-9 p.m. On the first floor, the kitchen serves up appetizers of seafood, hummus and babaganoush, salads, sandwiches and entrées of chicken, ribs, fish and steak. Wash it all down with wine, champagne or beer. Following dinner, move out onto the patio for a York St. Coffee, made with Kahlua and Bailey's. York St.'s ambiance is dazzling--vintage crystal chandeliers grace period ceilings, Santa and four reindeer cavort above the second floor bar. On weekends, you're likely to find an art opening in the gallery upstairs, or live jitterbug, swing, rock and roll, blues, jazz or big band music.


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