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Our Guide to Restaurants in Cincinnati

YOUR ULTIMATE GUIDE TO CINCINNATI RESTAURANTS

Article by City Lifestyle

Photography by Stock Images

It's a city that's famous for its chili. Before the Civil War, it was a stop on the Underground Railroad. Neil Armstrong, George Clooney, Steven Spielberg, and Jerry Springer were born here. Nearly 300,000 people call Ohio's third-largest city home. 

This vibrant hub on the Ohio River features a variety of amenities, including excellent dining. Whether you're relocating to the city or stopping by to visit, here's what you need to know about Cincinnati restaurants.

Restaurants Downtown: Something for Everyone

Named by USA Today as "one of six small cities with big food scenes," Cincinnati offers something for everyone. This area is packed with upscale bistros and pubs, steakhouses, and cafes. If you're looking for a cultural experience, you can find a variety of ethnic foods, too, such as European, Vietnamese, and Mexican. 

It's only fitting that a place so close to Kentucky offers Southern-style cuisine, too. Family restaurants and late-night bar & grills thrive in this bustling section of the city. 

New restaurants downtown offer contemporary takes on classic comfort foods amid a hip atmosphere.

OTR Restaurants Cincinnati

Cincinnati''s Over the Rhine (OTR) neighborhood is situated just north of the central business district downtown. So named because of its origins as a German settlement in the 19th century, OTR offers plenty to see and do, for residents and visitors alike. 

Several OTR restaurants have made numerous top 10 (or even top 3) lists, according to local and national food critics. Over the Rhine eateries feature a wide selection of top-notch cuisine, from upscale street food to one-of-a-kind-pizza to Amish chicken. 

You can also find Japanese and Mediterranean dishes. Vine Street seems to be the epicenter of OTR's fine dining establishments, but you'll miss out if you don't try the eateries in other parts of the neighborhood, too.

Hyde Park Eateries

One of Cincinnati's hottest neighborhoods, Hyde Park is teeming with great places to enjoy food and drink.

This area is home to several cozy coffee shops. Restaurants in Hyde Park and East Hyde Park serve up classic American food as well as sushi, Thai, and Italian dishes. Many of these venues are located near fun attractions and landmarks, such as The Mushroom House.

Hyde Park Square

One of the most vibrant places in this community is Hyde Park Square, an impressive collection of around 175 shops and eateries. 

This bustling area of Hyde Park is known for its coffee shops too. You probably won't find any chain restaurants here; they're all one-of-a-kind. Whether you're here for a quiet breakfast or a dinner out with friends, Hyde Park Square gives you access to a full selection of excellent dining options.

Restaurants Near the University of Cincinnati

Looking for a bite to eat around the University of Cincinnati? There are a ton of restaurants on and off-campus. This area features an eclectic collection of places to find food and drink. And, as you might expect in a college community, many of them keep later hours than is typical for restaurants. 

There's even a place to find great cookies if you're in need of a midnight snack. Restaurants near the university include chain places like Jimmy John's, as well as one-of-a-kind eateries that serve up comfort food. 

Want to experience cuisine from around the world? Not far from the University are Mexican, Indian, and Thai restaurants, too.

Restaurants at The Banks: A Dynamite Attraction

The Banks is a dining, shopping, and entertainment destination that draws visitors to the riverfront. It's not far from the Great American Ballpark, so it's a great place to head to before or after a game. From sub shops to steakhouses, this thriving district offers a wide variety of food. 

People come here for the welcoming vibe as much as they do for the food. Bars and restaurants at the Banks draw visitors from all over the city.

Restaurants on the River

Another great place to enjoy a superb dining experience is on the shores of the Ohio River. The dividing line between Ohio and Kentucky features several restaurants with beautiful views of the water and downtown Cincy.

One especially unique venue is Bridgeview Box Park, a cluster of dining spots housed in structures that look like shipping containers. Menu options at restaurants on the river cater to every palate, from steak, seafood, and salad to tacos, chops, and burgers. There's even a floating bar and grill. 

Whether you're looking for an upscale dining experience or something a little more laid-back and casual, you'll find it here.

Restaurants Near Cincinnati Airport

If you're looking for restaurants near the Cincinnati Airport, you'll have plenty of options to choose from. You'll find chain restaurants like Cracker Barrel, Applebee's, and Longhorn Steakhouse.

This area is also home to unique, home-grown eateries that feature Mediterranean food, bar & grill favorites, and Italian fare.

Fountain Square Restaurants: A Beautiful View

Fountain Square is an iconic spot in downtown Cincinnati. Not surprisingly, it's a go-to destination for great entertainment — and food. 

When it comes to international fare, you'll find Italian, Japanese (with a karaoke bar), Spanish, and Latin fare. Fountain square restaurants also serve plenty of American food, including West Coast-style dishes.

Italian Restaurants that Don’t Disappoint

Cincinnati boasts several top-notch Italian restaurants. They serve a variety of pizzas, pasta, salads, and risottos. Many of them also feature fine wines and cocktails on the menu. 

A number of chic Italian eateries are located downtown near Fountain Square, Hyde Park, and Over the Rhine. But you can find great Italian food in other parts of the city, too.

Mexican Restaurants: Taste from our Southern Neighbors

There are plenty of places to get great Mexican food in the local area. Menus feature the kinds of items you might expect — tacos, burritos, taco salads, and more. According to reviews, a number of diners commented about the high quality of the chips, salsa, and guacamole the restaurants around here offer. 

Diners also had positive things to say about prices and portion sizes. Plus, each Mexican restaurant has its own unique vibe. 

Indian Restaurants

Cincinnati may be a small city, but it boasts a wide variety of ethnic food from all over the world, including India. Indian restaurants here offer a wide variety of traditional Indian dishes, such as curry, naan, chapati, and chicken tikka masala.

Healthy vegetarian options are readily available. Many of these restaurants are located in trendy neighborhoods, such as Hyde Park. You can also find a couple of them on or near the University of Cincinnati campus.

Seafood Restaurants Around the Local Area

Even though it's far from the coast, the city has some great seafood restaurants. The city boasts a varied collection of places where you can get lobster, crab, shrimp, and several varieties of fish. At least a few of these places have some non-seafood items on their menus, such as burgers, sandwiches, and even prime rib. 

The smaller eateries have a homey feel. Many of the larger ones are the type of places you might go for a night on the town. In addition to their tasty fare, downtown seafood restaurants provide beautiful views of the Cincinnati skyline.

Cincinnati’s Vegan Restaurants

Looking for a healthy alternative to traditional cuisine? Cincinnati has you covered. 

Many restaurants that are not considered vegetarian or vegan do have items on the menu that aren't made with meat and dairy. Some restaurants that serve ethnic food have some vegan-friendly options on the menu. (You can find vegetarian dishes that trace their origins to Indian, Mexican, and Lebanese culture). 

And if you are looking for a vegan breakfast, try Happy Chicks Bakery, where the menu is all vegan.

Chili Restaurants: Signature Dish

Cincinnatians love their chili, eating about 2 million pounds of it a year. Skyline Chili is the major chili chain around here, but there are dozens of other dining spots where you can order this much-loved comfort food. 

Skyline chili has a sweet flavor that sets it apart from other kinds of chili, and it normally doesn't come with beans or onions. It's often dished out over spaghetti or hot dogs. The Cincinnati area boasts somewhere around 180 chili restaurants, so it's hard to run out of places to try.

German Restaurants

Cincinnati was a prime destination for German immigrants in the 19th century, so their culture has had a tremendous impact on the city. The city is home to German restaurants that serve traditional dishes such as cabbage rolls and schnitzel. 

Several places offer German dishes in conjunction with other ethnic fare, such as French and Italian. You can even find German-style pizza, topped with sausage and sauerkraut. (If those toppings aren't your thing, you can find more traditional pie on the menu, too).

The Scene for Chinese Restaurants

In Cincinnati, there are Chinese restaurants scattered all over the city. They run the gamut from small neighborhood eateries to trendy dining spots. Their menus offer a wide selection of Chinese dishes. 

Chinese restaurants are known for their reasonable prices, generous portions, and fast service. Admittedly, your tab will be somewhat higher at the more upscale places, but that's to be expected, as you're paying for the ambiance as well as the food.

Korean Restaurants

There's no shortage of good Korean food in the local area. Korean restaurants serve a variety of dishes, such as crunchy rolls, seafood, sushi, and ramen. 

Many of these establishments have a reputation for an especially welcoming atmosphere, as well as superb lunch and dinner fare. Some of these restaurants offer Korean food alongside other types of Asian fare. 

Vegetarian Restaurants that You Won’t Stop Talking About

As people are increasingly recognizing the importance of healthy eating, the vegetarian food scene is expanding. You can find several vegetarian restaurants in Cincinnati, as well as other restaurants that list some vegetarian options among their menu items. 

Vegetarian chefs are making this type of diet appeal to a larger crowd by creating tasty desserts and comfort food that doesn't contain meat. That means you can get vegetarian hot dogs, chips, burgers, and more, and top it off with pie or cake.

Thai Restaurants: An Experience

There are several highly recommended Thai Restaurants in and around Cincinnati. They offer tasty traditional dishes. Many also have sushi selections on the menu. If you're looking for healthy vegetarian options, you'll be happy to know that most Thai restaurants offer dishes that don't contain meat.

Steak Restaurants for Carnivores

The city is a hotspot for a good steak. Restaurants here serve up prime cuts of beef and excellent salads and sides. Many steak restaurants also serve chops, seafood, and sushi. 

Whether you are in search of a romantic spot or a place with more of a "club" atmosphere, steak restaurants in Cincinnati have just what you're looking for.

French Restaurants: Back to our European Roots

French-themed cuisine is available throughout the city. Some French restaurants serve food that's exclusively French. 

Others serve American food that's been influenced by French culture. Still, others offer a totally unique take, combining French fare with other ethnic cuisines, such as German and Asian.

Japanese Restaurants

There are several places in and around Cincinnati to enjoy authentic Japanese food. They serve up everything from Asian street food to ramen, curry, sushi, sashimi, and more. 

These are great spots to grab lunch or dinner. And if you're especially committed to a healthy eating plan, you'll be happy to know that vegetarian options are available.

New Restaurants in Cincinnati

With such a vibrant economy and culture, Cincinnati is always attracting new restaurants. They have a contemporary feel and frequently offer unique takes on traditional dishes. 

While the city's trendiest neighborhoods are home to many new restaurants, up-and-coming dining spots can be found all over town.

Dog-Friendly Restaurants: Something for Fido

If you'd like to enjoy a meal with your canine companion in tow, there are several places in Cincinnati where you can do that. 

Many neighborhood bars have patio space where pets are welcome. (They sometimes call it "Yappy Hour"). A few places will let you bring your dog inside, provided the bar isn't too crowded and your pooch is well-behaved. 

Taking hospitality, a step further, some dog-friendly restaurants provide water, treats, and bags in case their pet parents have to clean up after them.

Kid-Friendly Restaurants

When you want to take the kids out to eat, finding a place that both the little ones and adults will really enjoy can be a challenge. The good news is, there are lots of family-friendly restaurants in Cincinnati. 

They offer kids menus or have items on their regular menu that appeal to all ages (pizza, burgers, fries). Many of these places have outdoor play areas for kids and offer entertainment for the whole family. 

Some restaurants cater to an adult audience on the weekends but make their atmosphere especially family-friendly during the week.

Nice Restaurants

Good and fancy restaurants abound in Cincinnati. If you're looking for something especially classy, there are plenty of nice restaurants all over town.

Romantic Restaurants

Romantic restaurants are the perfect place to impress a date or celebrate a wedding anniversary. Restaurants that offer beautiful views of the city and riverfront are popular spots for a dinner for two. 

Eateries with outdoor seating where you can watch a sunset are also highly sought-after for date nights. Some restaurants have an especially romantic ambiance all-around. Others have more of a clubby vibe but have dining areas tucked away for diners who want some quiet couple time. 

Date night doesn't necessarily have to be fancy. Many casual dining establishments have an intimate ambiance that couples love. When planning a romantic evening, it's recommended that you check availability ahead of time and make reservations if the restaurant is in high demand.

Rooftop Restaurants to See the City

If you like spectacular views of the city, then be sure to take advantage of Cincinnati's rooftop restaurants. They provide the perfect place to enjoy the sunshine over lunch or watch the city come alive with lights at night.

Outdoor Restaurants

This city is home to plenty of patio dining. Some outdoor restaurants allow you to bring your dog. 

Outdoor eating is also a popular choice for families with kids. Most patios are open seasonally while the weather cooperates. At least one local outdoor spot is heated and open year-round.

Fun Restaurants

Lots of restaurants in Cincy have an especially fun atmosphere. 

These range from bakeries and donut shops where you can grab a sweet bite for breakfast, to Mexican places and American-style pubs where you can go for lunch and dinner.

Fancy Restaurants for a Special Night Out

Looking for a chic dining experience? There are plenty of fancy restaurants in Cincinnati, especially downtown and in the city's "hip" neighborhoods. These restaurants offer stellar cuisine in a classy atmosphere. Classy restaurants serve a variety of ethnic and American cuisine, often alongside fine wines.

FAQs

How many restaurants are in Cincinnati?

Cincinnati restaurants number at least in the hundreds. It's difficult to pin down exactly how many, especially as COV9D-19 restrictions have forced many to close or restrict capacity.

What are must-try restaurants in Cincinnati?

One premier restaurant to visit is Eighteen at the Radisson, a revolving restaurant that serves brunch, dinner, and dessert. Other must-try restaurants include popular spots as well as more obscure off-the-beaten-path restaurants.

 

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