🥂Fancy / 🍺 Casual / 🥃 In-between

Crown Cantina 🥃
Downtown
Incredibly flavorful Mexican fare, great cocktails and excellent staff. A new favorite. (Get the hamachi!)
crowncantina.com
326 Eighth St, Cincinnati OH 45202

Nolia Kitchen 🥃
Downtown
Small joint with lots of soul. New Orleans inspired fare (and another James Beard nom). A treat.
noliakitchen.com

The Littlefield 🍺
Northside
Craft cocktail, bourbon & beer bar with (tasty) bistro plates & Sunday brunch. Stop by their sister bar next door for a bourbon slush (Second Place)
littlefieldns.com
3934 Spring Grove Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45223

Salazar 🥃
Over the Rhine
Excellent everything: cocktails, sides, starters, main dishes, desserts. Love it all lots. Great vibe to the joint, off the beaten path. Friendly staff. A new favorite.
salazarcincinnati.com
1401 Republic St, Cincinnati, OH 45202

Pho Lang Thang 🍺
Findlay Market
Bahn Mi and other Vietnamese lunch dishes + a new expanded dinner menu that is 🔥. Super tasty
pholangthang.com
114 W Elder St, Cincinnati, OH 45202 

Sotto 🥂
Downtown
Decadent homemade pastas and italian cuisine. Wonderful basement setting.
sottocincinnati.com
118 East Sixth St, Cincinnati, OH 45202

Mita’s 🥃
Downtown
Latin American, tapas, super good yet still easy to score a seat even with a James Beard nomination
mitas.co

Alladin’s Eatery 🍺
Downtown, West Chester & Hyde Park
It’s a medium sized chain, but their Lebanese cuisine is top notch. Great vegetarian options. I crave their menu, often.
aladdinseatery.com
9344 Union Centre Blvd., West Chester OH 45069

Cafe Alma 🍺
Pleasant Ridge
Healthy mediterranean food that leans heavily toward amazing
cafealmacincy.com

Via Vite 🥃
Downtown
Italian in the heart of downtown. Great padio. Get the gnocchi. 
viaviterestaurant.com
520 Vine St, Cincinnati, OH 45202

Nation Kitchen & Bar 🍺
Pendleton / Over the Rhine
Some of the best burgers in the city. Also serves brunch on weekends.
nationkitchenandbar.com
1200 Broadway, Cincinnati, OH 45202

Boca 🥂
Downtown
Favorite of me and many. Pricey, solid, worth it. Get the Brussels Sprouts and whatever else that sounds good.
boca-restaurant.com
114 E 6th St, Cincinnati, OH 45202 

Mazunte 🍺
Madisonville, Downtown
Basic taqueria with exceptional taste and quality. Get the salsa bar and anything else.
mazuntetacos.com
5207 Madison Road Suite 100 Cincinnati, OH 45227

Abigail Street 🥃
Downtown/Over the Rhine
Tapas galore. Super tasty. 
abigailstreet.com
1214 Vine St, Cincinnati, OH 45202 

Melt 🍺
Northside
Great for lunch. Excellent sandwiches, with vegetarian options that rival ones with meat. Get a side of potatoes with curry catsup.
meltcincy.com
4165 Hamilton Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45223

CityBird Tenders 🍺
[ Downtown + all over ] 
It’s like a mini version of Eagle. Quick take-out tenders and fried chicken sandwiches. Get some of their awesome sauces on the side. 
citybirdotr.com
1344 Vine St, Cincinnati, OH 45202

Eli’s BBQ 🍺
Findlay Market and East side
Solid barbeque. If it’s nice, go eat out on the picnic tables.
elisbarbeque.com
3313 Riverside Dr Cincinnati, OH 45226‎

Sugar ‘n Spice ☕️
Reading, Downtown, Blue Ash
A diner with solid Breakfast food, and then some
sugar-n-spice-restaurant.com
4381 Reading Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45229

Maplewood ☕️🍹
Downtown
Another place that feels like brunch all day, but it’s exceptional at that. Salads and a burger round it out. Cocktails too.
maplewoodkitchenandbar.com
525 Race St., Cincinnati, Ohio 45202

Sleepy Bee ☕️
Downtown, College Hill, Oakley, Blue Ash
Breakfast and Brunch. Local. Good.
sleepybeecafe.com

Chili Parlors 🍺
[ all over ]
Chains: Skyline, Gold Star / Non-chains: Empress, Pleasant Ridge Chili, Camp Washington Chili, Price hill Chili, Blue Jay [ northside ]

Northern Kentucky

Otto’s 🥃
Covington, KY / Mainstrasse
Excellent upscale food in a tiny footprint (a bit of outdoor seating).
ottosonmain.com
521 Main St, Covington, KY 41011

Amerasia 🍺
Covington, KY
Small space gets packed for good reason. (Try the fried flounder)
Amerasia on Yelp
521 Madison Ave, Covington, KY 41011 

Riverside Korean 🍺
[ Covington, KY ] 
Authentic and delicious Korean fare.
riversidekoreanrestaurant.com
512 Madison Ave, Covington, KY 41011

Chako Bakery Cafe ☕️
[ Covington, KY ]
Japanese bakery cafe. On Friday only they have a Japanese Curry special that is the thing to get. Otherwise? Every day has food that transports you to another world
611 Main St.
instagram.com/chakobakerycafe

Wunderbar 🍺
Covington, KY
Good German food. Try the pretzel dumplings (good for sharing)
Wunderbar on Yelp
1132 Lee St., Covington, KY 41011

La Mexicana 🍺
Newport, KY
Very authentic taqueria, awesome.
Menu 
642 Monmouth St, Newport, KY 41071

Greyhound Tavern 🍺
Ft. Mitchell KY
Real good fried chicken.
greyhoundtavern.com
2500 Dixie Highway, Fort Mitchell, KY 41017


Things to do when not eating

American Sign Museum ★★★★★
Camp Washington
This is a hidden gem, and I’m biased because I love old signs and neon and design.
signmuseum.org 
1330 Monmouth St, Cincinnati, OH 45225

Jungle Jim’s ★★★★★
North & East
HUGE market with speciality foods from all over the world.
junglejims.com

Carew Tower Observation Deck ★★★★
Get a view of the city from atop a “skyscraper”
441 Vine St., Cincinnati, OH 45202

Closed for good :(

Cincinnati Museum Center / Union Terminal
The arched art-deco building… Ask if the railroad observation room is open and if it is? Go for a great view of the control room and tracks. You should visit just to step inside the entryway though, seriously. The rest of the museum is a’ight.
cincymuseum.org
1301 Western Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45203

Cincinnati Art Museum 
Located in Eden Park (also a great visit, albeit better in Spring/Summer). More traditional art museum, with varied exhibitions. Beautiful setting.
953 Eden Park Dr, Cincinnati, OH 45202
cincinnatiartmuseum.org

Contemporary Arts Center
Downtown
If you like art and architecture, s’worth checking out the latest exhibits.
contemporaryartscenter.org

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
Downtown
Interesting architecture of the building, I haven’t much to say about the museum itself.
freedomcenter.org

Newport on the Levee
I go here for movies, but there’s also an aquarium 🦈, Comedy Club, bars, restaurants (some local) and a DEB store.
newportonthelevee.com

Newport Aquarium
Fish and stuff. Great for kids.
newportaquarium.com

Mt. Adams 
[ near downtown ]
This is the neighborhood that occupies the steep hill next to downtown. It’s very pretty with great views from the Immaculata Church. There are several places to grab a beer or wine.

Krohn Conservatory and Eden Park
near downtown
Plant lovers place. 
cincinnatiparks.com/krohn-conservatory

The Cincinnati Zoo
Clifton
Not just fun for the kids, but events happen year round for all sorts. Great programs and setting. 
cincinnatizoo.org

Coney Island
[ East Side ]
Hit the pool!
coneyislandpark.com

21C Museum Hotel 
[ Downtown ]
If I was visiting Cincinnati and needed a place to stay, this is where I’d land without hesitation. In fact, I have stayed here and it was sublime. Bonus? Drinks on top of the building in the evening, the bar, restaurant, and the art spread out all over every floor. 
21cmuseumhotels.com/cincinnati/

Starlight Drive In
[ East side ]
Because drive-in movies are awesome.
starlitedriveinohio.com

Holiday Auto Theatre
[ Hamilton ]
This one has a bus outside that they decorate for most shows.
holidayautotheatre.com


BEST VIEWS

Incline Public House 
[ Price Hill, West side ] 
Perfect silhouette of the city and surrounding river valley.
2601 W 8th St, Cincinnati, OH 45204

Newport on the Levee
[ Newport, KY ]
Great view from across the way, walk down the to the path along the river and wind over to Covington.
1 Levee Way, Newport, Kentucky 41071

City View Tavern
[ Mt. Adams ]
I’m told to try the Bloody Mary, so I shall! 
403 Oregon St, Cincinnati, OH 45202  

Devou Park 
[ Covington, KY ]

Bellevue Park [ Clifton ]
2191 Ohio Avenue Cincinnati, Oh

Mt. Echo Park [ West Side ]
251 Mt. Echo Park Dr.


LOCAL FLAVORS

  • Chili – Cincinnati style chili is a mix of finely ground beef and cinnamon and chocolate 
  • Goetta – A sausage like mixture either with meat or vegetarian, often with breakfast
  • Frisch’s Big Boy – Some swear by their tartar sauce on the double burger
  • Graeters Ice Cream – They’re all over. Apparently Oprah loves ‘em. Also worthwhile: Aglamesis Brothers in Oakley or Dojo (Northside in summer and Findlay year round), and Jeni’s Scoop Shop.
  • White Castle – aka “sliders” … Tiny square burgers smothered in onions. Gastrohazard craving.