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Camp Washington’s chili-topped spaghetti on a table Gina Weathersby

The 26 Essential Restaurants in Cincinnati

From loaded breakfast burritos to dalgona coffee pie to drive-thru chili-topped spaghetti, here’s what to eat in the Queen City

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The Queen City of the West was in the midst of a dining boom when the coronavirus pandemic hit. Though COVID-19 remains with us, there are already signs that the dining scene is resuming its upward trajectory. Hope is visible in the city’s resilient, stalwart businesses: European-inspired kitchens with deep Germanic roots and shops ladling Cincinnati’s hallmark cinnamon-spiced chili over spaghetti and then smothering it with shredded cheddar. But that renewed energy can also be seen in the Korean shop serving bowls of bibimbap, the landlocked yacht club slinging chicken wings, and the intersection in Over-the-Rhine where you can find arepas and cachapas, fresh Hawaiian poke, and primo American smoked meats served au jus. Helping to piece it all together is the city’s streetcar, which connects dining hubs in the Banks district and Over-the-Rhine.

The city’s dining scene proved tenacious even during the worst of the pandemic, and some of the innovations devised to survive that period have become permanent staples of the industry. Upscale steakhouses no longer scoff at their cuisine being consumed off site; chefs known for pate en croute now offer finish-at-home lasagna; alleyways and entire streets have been transformed into outdoor “streeteries” complete with propane heaters and fire pits; and bars can legally sell to-go cocktails with meals.

The boom has also pushed new food outward. Previously much of the culinary innovation took place in Cincinnati’s urban basin, but chefs and restaurateurs are now turning to the suburbs for second or third locations of their popular concepts. You don’t have to go to one central district to eat well in Cincinnati; pockets of vibrant eateries have popped up in districts across the city, from Nepali cuisine and poutine in the artsy Northside neighborhood, to carnitas and carne asada in College Hill.

Note: The inclusion of restaurants offering dine-in service should not be taken as an endorsement for dining inside. Studies indicate a lower exposure risk to COVID-19 outdoors, but the level of risk is contingent on social distancing and other safety guidelines. Check with each restaurant for up-to-date information on dining offerings. For updated information on coronavirus cases in your area, please visit the City of Cincinnati.

Andy Brownfield has covered the bar and restaurant scene in Cincinnati for seven years. His work for the Cincinnati Business Courier can be seen here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Fat Ben’s Bakery

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(917) 628-8202
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Before opening a downtown pastry window (which has since closed), pastry chef Ben Arington operated a home bakery in the Cincinnati suburb of Mason, amassing a large Instagram following. Since the pandemic, Arington has leaned back into that business, using his platform as a means to show off his custom cakes, doughnuts, and themed quarantine boxes of baked goods, like a ’90s box with ”pastry pockets,” “dunk-a-boos,” cereal cookies, and homemade Zebra Cakes.

A hand holds up a platter with a three-tiered cake, dripping with red syrup, and decorated with sliced fruit and herbs
Fat Ben’s Bakery cake
Ben Arington

2. Catch-a-Fire Pizza

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9290 Kenwood Rd
Cincinnati, OH 45242
(513) 514-0016
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Catch-a-Fire Pizza started as a food truck, set up shop inside Oakley’s MadTree Brewing, and eventually turned into a standalone brick-and-mortar pizzeria in the Cincinnati suburb of Blue Ash in 2020. The restaurant is best known for its wood-fired pizzas, in both traditional varieties and creative American styles like Buffalo chicken or five-cheese barbecue ranch. It also serves up wood-fired appetizers like wings, potato skins, and peppadew peppers filled with basil and goat cheese. The whole menu is available for carryout.

Outdoor dining igloos, lit by string lights, on a darkened patio beside a few small trees
Heated igloos for outdoor seating
Shanny Collins

3. Tortilleria Garcia

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5917 Hamilton Ave
Cincinnati, OH 45224
(513) 541-0568
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Omar Garcia grew up in Michoacan, Mexico, watching his mother and grandmother grind corn from the family farm to make masa for tortillas. He continues the practice, making dough without flour or chemical preservatives, at his three Cincinnati-area locations of Tortilleria Garcia. The tortilla is the star, serving as vehicle for carnitas, pollo, carne asada, and al pastor tacos. The menu also includes tamales, burritos, and rotisserie chicken. There are family dinner packs, tortillas, and masa available to purchase as well.

Tacos at Tortilleria Garcia in Cincinnati
Tacos from Tortilleria Garcia
Tortilleria Garcia [official]

4. The Lonely Pine Steakhouse

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6085 Montgomery Rd
Cincinnati, OH 45213
(513) 351-1012
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Jacob Trevino is best known for his creative bars, like a Polynesian speakeasy entered through a video store, or a Tokyo-style karaoke bar complete with a robot server and private rooms, among other fantastical venues. His first foray into food was the Lonely Pine Steakhouse, inspired by the Route 66 roadside steakhouses of his native Texas. The steakhouse eschews white tablecloths and waitstaff in waistcoats, but still features a menu of Wagyu and dry-aged beef. The in-house butchery also offers up its selection of steaks, as well as prepared sides, for carryout.

Sliced steak, cheesy potatoes, and zoodle salad, on a plate with a steak knife, on a wooden counter
To-go steak and sides, finished at home
Provided by Gorilla Cinema

5. Tickle Pickle Restaurant

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4176 Hamilton Ave
Cincinnati, OH 45223
(513) 954-4003
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Tickle Pickle was originally supposed to be called Buns N Roses, but the current name of the Northside burger restaurant won out in a staff vote. Nonetheless, it kept the rock ’n’ roll theme of the original concept. Burgers have names like Breadzepplin, Meatallica, Slaytar, and yes, even Buns N Roses. All burgers are made with 100 percent Angus beef, topped with everything from jalapeno poppers to bacon, egg, and cheese. Tickle Pickle also has an extensive vegan menu, featuring black bean and Impossible burgers. Food is available for delivery or carryout, and the outdoor patio has propane heaters for the cold months.

A burger in tin foil takeout wrapper beside a to-go cup of mac and cheese
Beef burger with bacon, tomato, and onion, and a side of mac and cheese
Bearded Patriot Photography

6. Bridges Nepali Cuisine

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4165 Hamilton Ave
Cincinnati, OH 45223
(513) 374-9354
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Ashak Chipalu came to the U.S. from his native Nepal, where his family owned restaurants, to pursue a career in nursing. But he found that he missed the flavors of home. He started serving Nepali cuisine as a vendor at Findlay Market before opening restaurants in Northside and downtown. Bridges aims to serve “a completely different Nepali cuisine,” combining familiar dishes like momos with more creative options like bowls, which consist of basmati or brown rice mixed with lentils or yellow peas and topped with hakku chuala (grilled chicken), pork chili, or aloo jhol (bamboo curry with black eyed peas). The menu is available for dine-in service, and the outdoor courtyard is heated in the colder months. Bridges also offers carryout and delivery.

From above, a table filled with Nepali dishes
Woh, momos, and chow mein
Provided by Ashak Chipalu

7. Mazunte Taqueria

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5207 Madison Rd
Cincinnati, OH 45227
(513) 785-0000
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Before opening Mazunte, Josh Wamsley taught English around the world, but a disappointing taco experience during a visit home to Cincinnati inspired him to move to Mexico to learn how to cook. Upon returning, he opened this popular Madisonville taqueria, featuring the street food of Oaxaca. Tacos are the stars here, with chorizo, fish, chicken, pork, steak, or veggies served with avocado salsa, onions, and smoked red salsa atop homemade corn tortillas. The taqueria also serves prepared dishes over rice, like memelitas, tostadas, and chiles rellenos. Mazunte offers carryout and delivery, and just down the road is its Mercado, a larder where you can buy the same ingredients the restaurant uses in its dishes.

A taco loaded with bright cubed beets, cooked mushrooms, and crema
Mushroom and beet taco
Provided by Josh Wamsley

8. Parts & Labor

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3715 Madison Rd
Cincinnati, OH 45209
(513) 371-4464
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Chef Derek dos Anjos operated one of the pioneering restaurants of Over-the-Rhine’s renaissance before closing it in 2018. He’s returned to the restaurant scene with a take-and-bake prepared-meal concept operating out of a deli, and he has plans to open a permanent location in an upcoming food hall. Parts & Labor serves lunch and dinner dishes with a rotating menu that includes items like miso butter grilled cheese, hot chili chickpeas, fried oysters with house tartar sauce, and hush puppies with Benton’s ham and honey butter. Meals can be picked up or delivered.

Various takeout containers of peach salad and shrimp boil
Meal kits
Provided by Derek Dos Anjos

9. Northside Yacht Club

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4231 Spring Grove Ave
Cincinnati, OH 45223
(513) 541-0528
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Fun fact: Northside Yacht Club is one of two landlocked boat clubs in Cincinnati. Founded by two longtime members of Cincinnati’s music scene, the Yacht Club used to be one part punk venue, and one part restaurant, the latter known for smoked wings (or cauliflower “wings,” one of many vegan alternatives on the menu) and award-winning poutine topped with fresh cheese curds and duck-fat gravy. The restaurant is best known for its irreverent limited-time menus that gleefully imitate and elevate classics from chain eateries. Past inventions include “nihilist Arby’s,” where each double roast beef (or seitan) was served with fries and an “inspirational” nihilistic aphorism, and Chronic’s, a CBD-infused take on Sonic in conjunction with a local hemp company, complete with roller-skating servers delivering carryout meals carside.

A tin dish with a sandwich oozing cheese, curly fries, sauces, and a type-written message
Roast beef with cheddar, and nihilist message
Catie Viox

10. Domo

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3825 Edwards Rd
Cincinnati, OH 45244

Chef David Falk is best known for fine dining. His restaurant Boca sits in the downtown space that formerly housed the legendary Maisonette, where Falk himself cut his teeth under French Master Chef Jean-Robert de Cavel. When the pandemic temporarily shut down dining rooms in Ohio, Falk brewed a new concept in the kitchen. What emerged was Domo, a prepared-meal delivery service that offers take-and-bake dishes like lasagna Bolognese and Peruvian whole-roasted chicken. Boca has since reopened, but Domo is going strong and has expanded to include dishes from other guest restaurants around town.

A tin dish of lasagne, along with plates of bread and salad, and glasses and a bottle of red wine
Family-style lasagna
Tayler Richter

11. Dear Restaurant & Butchery

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2710 Erie Ave
Cincinnati, OH 45208
(513) 321-2710
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Dear was created by husband and wife Austin and Ashley Heidt, each of whom has a long history in the hospitality industry. They snatched up a coveted spot on Hyde Park Square and got to work planning an upscale wine-centric menu with an adjacent butchery. Dear serves a fine dining menu created by Top Chef contestant chef Brian Young. New England-inspired dishes get a Southern twist, like choucroute garnie with charred scallion pork sausage, fennel, and apple or chicken-fried mushrooms with pickle, aioli, and Thai chile. The menu is available for carryout and delivery, while the butchery offers to-go charcuterie, preserves, pickles, and prepared dishes like shrimp escabeche and wagyu beef tartare.

Boards of charcuterie, dips, and crackers, on a marble kitchen counter
Charcuterie from Dear’s butchery
Provided by BS LLC

12. Camp Washington Chili

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3005 Colerain Ave
Cincinnati, OH 45225
(513) 541-0061
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Cincinnati’s native dish — an all-meat chili, thinner than a Tex-Mex version, with obvious notes of cinnamon and a hint of chocolate — can be confusing to outsiders. It’s typically served over spaghetti and topped with shredded cheddar for what’s called a three-way (or a four- or five-way, with the addition of onions and/or kidney beans). There are chili parlors across the city devoted to the dish, which traces its roots to Greek immigrants, including the ubiquitous Skyline. Among all the options, go for Camp Washington Chili, a second-generation family-run shop that’s been in the neighborhood of the same name for 80 years, where the chili is a bit thicker and spicier than at rival institutions. If chili isn’t your thing, the restaurant also serves up diner classics like omelets and double-decker sandwiches. If you’re in a hurry, the drive-thru operates 24 hours a day, Monday through Saturday.

A plate of spaghetti topped with chili and cheese, a chili dog topped with cheese in the background, and a soda in a branded cup on a diner table
Chili three-way atop spaghetti, and a chili-cheese Coney
Maria Paprikirk

13. Cafe Mochiko

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1524 Madison Rd
Cincinnati, OH 45206
(513) 559-1000
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Erik Bentz and Elaine Townsend created Mochiko in 2019 to supply pastries to fellow food businesses and directly serve customers a menu of pastries and ramen inspired by yoshoku, or Western-influenced Japanese cuisine. Early in 2021, the pop-up evolved into a brick-and-mortar location in East Walnut Hills. Part bakery, part izakaya, the restaurant offers dishes like omurice, curry tonkatsu, and hamburger served on a fluffy bao bun, as well as sweets like a dalgona coffee pie.

A bowl of ramen, complete with pork, noodles, nori, and egg
Ramen at Mochiko
Provided by Elaine Townsend

14. Jeff Ruby's Precinct

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311 Delta Ave
Cincinnati, OH 45226
(513) 321-5454
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Jeff Ruby, who famously banned O.J. Simpson from his restaurants, is the original larger-than-life food personality of Cincinnati. He has since passed the business on to the second generation of the family, and Ruby’s now has three locations in Cincinnati, but opt for the original Precinct in Columbia-Tusculum, where every steak still comes with a salad and side. In addition to meals in its opulent dining rooms and patio, the Precinct offers carryout, delivery complete with white linen tablecloths, and finish-at-home meal kits.

A steak, sliced on a cutting board, beside a knife, herbs, and a glass of wine
Jeff Ruby’s steak
Provided by Jeff Ruby Culinary Entertainment

15. Elm St. Social Club

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1819 Elm St
Cincinnati, OH 45202
(513) 263-6893
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Chef Jordan Anthony-Brown was set to open Aperture, a mezze-style restaurant in Walnut Hills, when COVID-19 hit. He put that on pause and instead teamed up with friends he worked with at Michelin-starred Rose’s Luxury in Washington, D.C., to open a takeout-only bodega in Over-the-Rhine. Themed after ’80s and ’90s nostalgia, Elm St. Social Club serves breakfast sandwiches all day, including the “Macho Man” burrito with chorizo, crispy potatoes, egg, and salsa. There are also loaded lunch sandos like the Axel F. with brown butter collard greens, roasted mushrooms, and shaved fennel with garlic aioli. The restaurant is takeout-only, and offers finish-at-home dinner kits meant to serve two or four.

A sandwich of turkey, bacon, lettuce, and tomato on griddled bread, with a branded bag of fries beside on a bright countertop
Bushwood sandwich and a side of fries
Provided by Jordan Anthony-Brown

16. Goose & Elder

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1800 Race St
Cincinnati, OH 45202
(513) 579-8400
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Goose & Elder is chef Jose Salazar’s third restaurant. Situated across the street from Findlay Market, Ohio’s longest-operating covered market, it serves a menu of casual American comfort classics like chicken wings, fried bologna sandwiches, and chicken schnitzel, alongside healthier fare like grain bowls, avocado toast, and roasted Brussels sprouts. The entire menu is also available for carryout and delivery, along with picnic meals.

A tall cheeseburger topped with sliced vegetables, bacon, and an egg, on a plate in front of textured wallpaper
Goose burger
Gina Weathersby

17. Pepp & Dolores

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1501 Vine St
Cincinnati, OH 45202
(513) 419-1820
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Pepp & Dolores, the newest restaurant from the Thunderdome Restaurant Group, is a love letter to the Italian grandparents of cofounders Joe and Jon Lanni: Giuseppe (Pepp) and Addolorata (Dolores). All of the entries on its pasta-centric menu are made fresh daily, like mascarpone-filled butternut squash agnolotti or the bigoli, which comes topped with ”nonna’s red sauce,” veal and pork meatballs, and braised pork shoulder. Another family dinner favorite, the Dunk, was inspired by the remnants of salad dressing left at the bottom of the bowl at the Lannis’ grandparents’ table. It consists of olive oil, vinegar, and herbs served with bread for dunking. There’s a ski-lodge-inspired outdoor dining area, and the menu is available for carryout and delivery too.

A tall tent with steel tables and benches, stacks of wood, small trees and wreaths
Ski lodge-themed outdoor dining tent
Emily Lang

18. Boomtown Biscuits & Whiskey

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1201 Broadway St
Cincinnati, OH 45202
(513) 381-2666
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An ode to the pioneering spirit of the California gold rush, Boomtown offers up cast-iron classics like buttermilk biscuits and fried chicken (often the latter is sandwiched between the former and topped with sawmill gravy or gochujang barbecue sauce), as well as elevated takes on homestyle dishes. Chicken and dumplings come with fried garlic gravy. A Thai-inspired dish of shrimp and cheddar grits gets coated in a coconut chile gravy. Boomtown offers all of its dishes for takeout, including kits to make its buttermilk biscuits at home. In colder weather, pull up a seat by the outdoor fire pits.

A fried steak sandwich in sliced biscuit with dripping eggs and gravy in a cast iron skillet
The Unforgiven, country fried hangar steak, eggs, and milk gravy
Christian Gill

19. Longfellow

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1233 Clay St
Cincinnati, OH 45202
(513) 307-4379
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Mike Stankovich worked his way across the Boston and New York bar scenes, most recently as the beverage director at Bushwick destination Roberta’s Pizza, before moving to his wife’s native Cincinnati to open Longfellow. A restaurant without a hood, Longfellow serves up sandwiches like Hungarian casino egg salad, dill pickle, and cheese, or the irreverent “scrap sandwich,” which combines scraps from the deli slicer, butter, pickled shallot, and sport peppers. There are also house-made chips with onion dip and hot dogs, as well as the option to add anchovies to anything. Everything — including bottled cocktails, alongside house-made bitters and digestifs — is served through a walk-up window to be enjoyed at a host of outdoor tables.

A close-up on two fully loaded and sauce-drizzled hotdogs
Casey’s Kraut Dog with sauerkraut, onion, dijon, and sport peppers
Mike Stankovich

20. Homemakers Bar

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39 E 13th St
Cincinnati, OH 45202
(513) 394-7559
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A collaboration between Julia Petiprin and Catherine Manabat, two veterans of the Cincinnati bar and spirits scene, HomeMakers Bar is a modern take on a 1950s cocktail party. The bar serves craft cocktails, hot and cold, as well as retro comfort food including both sweet and savory grilled cheeses, adobo chicken sandwiches, and French onion hummus dip. The entire menu is also available to go, along with bottled cocktails and picnic packs.

Two grilled cheese sandwiches, both sliced in half and stacked, on top of a doily and tin foil wrapper
Sweet and savory grilled cheese options
Julia Petiprin

21. Japp's

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1134 Main St
Cincinnati, OH 45202
(513) 381-0674
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Molly Wellmann is Cincinnati’s original cocktail queen. Back when most bartenders limited drinks to two ingredients like whiskey and cola or gin and tonic, she was making her own bitters, syrups, and tinctures. At Japp’s, she offers a mix of classic cocktails and originals, like the Quit Yer Jibber-Jabbin with gin, absinthe, and bitters. You can also pick up to-go kits of spirits and mixers to shake and drink along with Five O’Clocktails, a cocktail class video series Wellmann launched on Facebook during the pandemic.

Bartender Molly Wellmann, in a home kitchen, with a Pyrex measuring cup and Mason jar full of mint
Molly Wellmann
Molly Wellmann

22. Arnold's Bar & Grill

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210 E 8th St
Cincinnati, OH 45202
(513) 421-6234
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Arnold’s is Cincinnati’s oldest continually operating bar, and it has only had five owners in its 158-year life. While the bar is full of history, it’s not stuck in the past. Chef Kayla Robison dishes up diverse offerings, from a curry lamb pot pie to Greek pasta and a host of burgers. There are vegan and gluten-free menus too. The bar is lively with a cast of regulars and weekly live music, there’s a heated patio, and the entire menu is available for curbside carryout or delivery.

An herb-topped crusty pie in a tin dish
Curry lamb pot pie
Kayla Robison

23. Montgomery Inn Boathouse

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925 Riverside Dr
Cincinnati, OH 45202
(513) 721-7427
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Lists of must-eat Cincinnati foods always include Montgomery Inn’s famous ribs, served in a unique sweet and spicy barbecue sauce. The restaurant’s downtown location not only offers contactless delivery and curbside carryout of its ribs, barbecue chicken, steaks, and seafood, but its outdoor patio has been enclosed and heated to host guests year-round.

A table filled with gold-rimmed dishes, including a plate of sauce-covered ribs in the center, chips, salad, chicken, and pie
Ribs, chicken, salads, and sides from Montgomery Inn meal kit
Annette McCall

24. Fausto at the CAC

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44 E 6th St
Cincinnati, OH 45202
(513) 390-7681
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Brothers Tony and Austin Ferrari opened the Hillside Supper Club and Provener Coffee in San Francisco before returning to their native Cincinnati and opening Mom ’n ’em Coffee & Wine in Camp Washington. Fausto, named after their grandfather, is their second restaurant, opened inside of the Contemporary Arts Center downtown. Fausto’s dining room sits in the lobby of the museum, but make no mistake — it’s a fully functioning restaurant, not a museum cafe. The seasonal California-inspired cuisine includes Carriage House Farms rabbit ravioli, shawarma octopus in sesame pita, a local mushroom melt, and roasted Gerber Farms chicken, all available for delivery or carryout. Fausto also offers prix fixe dinners for preorder, feeding two to four people.

Salmon with sides on a dark plate on a spotlight-lit table with silverware and a bottle of wine
Roasted salmon
Provided by Austin Ferrari

25. Rich's Proper Food and Drink

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701 Madison Ave
Covington, KY 41011
(859) 415-0069
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Rich’s owner Bill Whitlow is a veteran of the hospitality industry, opening the Wiseguy Lounge speakeasy concept for Goodfella’s Pizzeria in three locations across two states. In his first solo outing, he created Rich’s inside an old watch shop in downtown Covington, serving up American pub fare with a Creole twist, with dishes like broiled oysters, braised pork lettuce wraps, and Kentucky bluegrass jambalaya. To sweeten the deal, Whitlow has sourced rare bottles of Kentucky’s native spirit, and special bourbons are available for purchase by the bottle alongside carryout orders of $35 or more.

A fried chicken sandwich, with shredded lettuce and sauce, on a plate in front of a sunny window
Hot honey chicken sandwich
Provided by Bill Whitlow

26. Oriental Wok

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317 Buttermilk Pike
Lakeside Park, KY 41017
(859) 331-3000
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Mike Wong was an engineering executive in Hong Kong before falling in love with America through John Wayne movies. After coming over on a tourist visa in 1972, he took a restaurant job to secure his residency and has been working in the industry ever since. In 1977 he opened the first of his own, and now three generations of the Wong family are operating the family business at two locations. Wong aimed to offer elevated takes on Americanized dishes and traditional Chinese comfort food like faan ke beef (stewed tomatoes with beef and egg). Both locations, in Fort Mitchell and Hyde Park, offer online ordering for carryout too.

Catering trays of food, beside a restaurant menu, on a kitchen counter
Dumplings, crab rangoon, and egg rolls
Provided by Susanna Wong

1. Fat Ben’s Bakery

Mason, OH
A hand holds up a platter with a three-tiered cake, dripping with red syrup, and decorated with sliced fruit and herbs
Fat Ben’s Bakery cake
Ben Arington

Before opening a downtown pastry window (which has since closed), pastry chef Ben Arington operated a home bakery in the Cincinnati suburb of Mason, amassing a large Instagram following. Since the pandemic, Arington has leaned back into that business, using his platform as a means to show off his custom cakes, doughnuts, and themed quarantine boxes of baked goods, like a ’90s box with ”pastry pockets,” “dunk-a-boos,” cereal cookies, and homemade Zebra Cakes.

2. Catch-a-Fire Pizza

9290 Kenwood Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45242
Outdoor dining igloos, lit by string lights, on a darkened patio beside a few small trees
Heated igloos for outdoor seating
Shanny Collins

Catch-a-Fire Pizza started as a food truck, set up shop inside Oakley’s MadTree Brewing, and eventually turned into a standalone brick-and-mortar pizzeria in the Cincinnati suburb of Blue Ash in 2020. The restaurant is best known for its wood-fired pizzas, in both traditional varieties and creative American styles like Buffalo chicken or five-cheese barbecue ranch. It also serves up wood-fired appetizers like wings, potato skins, and peppadew peppers filled with basil and goat cheese. The whole menu is available for carryout.

9290 Kenwood Rd
Cincinnati, OH 45242

3. Tortilleria Garcia

5917 Hamilton Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45224
Tacos at Tortilleria Garcia in Cincinnati
Tacos from Tortilleria Garcia
Tortilleria Garcia [official]

Omar Garcia grew up in Michoacan, Mexico, watching his mother and grandmother grind corn from the family farm to make masa for tortillas. He continues the practice, making dough without flour or chemical preservatives, at his three Cincinnati-area locations of Tortilleria Garcia. The tortilla is the star, serving as vehicle for carnitas, pollo, carne asada, and al pastor tacos. The menu also includes tamales, burritos, and rotisserie chicken. There are family dinner packs, tortillas, and masa available to purchase as well.

5917 Hamilton Ave
Cincinnati, OH 45224

4. The Lonely Pine Steakhouse

6085 Montgomery Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45213
Sliced steak, cheesy potatoes, and zoodle salad, on a plate with a steak knife, on a wooden counter
To-go steak and sides, finished at home
Provided by Gorilla Cinema

Jacob Trevino is best known for his creative bars, like a Polynesian speakeasy entered through a video store, or a Tokyo-style karaoke bar complete with a robot server and private rooms, among other fantastical venues. His first foray into food was the Lonely Pine Steakhouse, inspired by the Route 66 roadside steakhouses of his native Texas. The steakhouse eschews white tablecloths and waitstaff in waistcoats, but still features a menu of Wagyu and dry-aged beef. The in-house butchery also offers up its selection of steaks, as well as prepared sides, for carryout.

6085 Montgomery Rd
Cincinnati, OH 45213

5. Tickle Pickle Restaurant

4176 Hamilton Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45223
A burger in tin foil takeout wrapper beside a to-go cup of mac and cheese
Beef burger with bacon, tomato, and onion, and a side of mac and cheese
Bearded Patriot Photography

Tickle Pickle was originally supposed to be called Buns N Roses, but the current name of the Northside burger restaurant won out in a staff vote. Nonetheless, it kept the rock ’n’ roll theme of the original concept. Burgers have names like Breadzepplin, Meatallica, Slaytar, and yes, even Buns N Roses. All burgers are made with 100 percent Angus beef, topped with everything from jalapeno poppers to bacon, egg, and cheese. Tickle Pickle also has an extensive vegan menu, featuring black bean and Impossible burgers. Food is available for delivery or carryout, and the outdoor patio has propane heaters for the cold months.

4176 Hamilton Ave
Cincinnati, OH 45223

6. Bridges Nepali Cuisine

4165 Hamilton Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45223
From above, a table filled with Nepali dishes
Woh, momos, and chow mein
Provided by Ashak Chipalu

Ashak Chipalu came to the U.S. from his native Nepal, where his family owned restaurants, to pursue a career in nursing. But he found that he missed the flavors of home. He started serving Nepali cuisine as a vendor at Findlay Market before opening restaurants in Northside and downtown. Bridges aims to serve “a completely different Nepali cuisine,” combining familiar dishes like momos with more creative options like bowls, which consist of basmati or brown rice mixed with lentils or yellow peas and topped with hakku chuala (grilled chicken), pork chili, or aloo jhol (bamboo curry with black eyed peas). The menu is available for dine-in service, and the outdoor courtyard is heated in the colder months. Bridges also offers carryout and delivery.

4165 Hamilton Ave
Cincinnati, OH 45223

7. Mazunte Taqueria

5207 Madison Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45227
A taco loaded with bright cubed beets, cooked mushrooms, and crema
Mushroom and beet taco
Provided by Josh Wamsley

Before opening Mazunte, Josh Wamsley taught English around the world, but a disappointing taco experience during a visit home to Cincinnati inspired him to move to Mexico to learn how to cook. Upon returning, he opened this popular Madisonville taqueria, featuring the street food of Oaxaca. Tacos are the stars here, with chorizo, fish, chicken, pork, steak, or veggies served with avocado salsa, onions, and smoked red salsa atop homemade corn tortillas. The taqueria also serves prepared dishes over rice, like memelitas, tostadas, and chiles rellenos. Mazunte offers carryout and delivery, and just down the road is its Mercado, a larder where you can buy the same ingredients the restaurant uses in its dishes.

5207 Madison Rd
Cincinnati, OH 45227

8. Parts & Labor

3715 Madison Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45209
Various takeout containers of peach salad and shrimp boil
Meal kits
Provided by Derek Dos Anjos

Chef Derek dos Anjos operated one of the pioneering restaurants of Over-the-Rhine’s renaissance before closing it in 2018. He’s returned to the restaurant scene with a take-and-bake prepared-meal concept operating out of a deli, and he has plans to open a permanent location in an upcoming food hall. Parts & Labor serves lunch and dinner dishes with a rotating menu that includes items like miso butter grilled cheese, hot chili chickpeas, fried oysters with house tartar sauce, and hush puppies with Benton’s ham and honey butter. Meals can be picked up or delivered.

3715 Madison Rd
Cincinnati, OH 45209

9. Northside Yacht Club

4231 Spring Grove Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45223
A tin dish with a sandwich oozing cheese, curly fries, sauces, and a type-written message
Roast beef with cheddar, and nihilist message
Catie Viox

Fun fact: Northside Yacht Club is one of two landlocked boat clubs in Cincinnati. Founded by two longtime members of Cincinnati’s music scene, the Yacht Club used to be one part punk venue, and one part restaurant, the latter known for smoked wings (or cauliflower “wings,” one of many vegan alternatives on the menu) and award-winning poutine topped with fresh cheese curds and duck-fat gravy. The restaurant is best known for its irreverent limited-time menus that gleefully imitate and elevate classics from chain eateries. Past inventions include “nihilist Arby’s,” where each double roast beef (or seitan) was served with fries and an “inspirational” nihilistic aphorism, and Chronic’s, a CBD-infused take on Sonic in conjunction with a local hemp company, complete with roller-skating servers delivering carryout meals carside.

4231 Spring Grove Ave
Cincinnati, OH 45223

10. Domo

3825 Edwards Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45244
A tin dish of lasagne, along with plates of bread and salad, and glasses and a bottle of red wine
Family-style lasagna
Tayler Richter

Chef David Falk is best known for fine dining. His restaurant Boca sits in the downtown space that formerly housed the legendary Maisonette, where Falk himself cut his teeth under French Master Chef Jean-Robert de Cavel. When the pandemic temporarily shut down dining rooms in Ohio, Falk brewed a new concept in the kitchen. What emerged was Domo, a prepared-meal delivery service that offers take-and-bake dishes like lasagna Bolognese and Peruvian whole-roasted chicken. Boca has since reopened, but Domo is going strong and has expanded to include dishes from other guest restaurants around town.

3825 Edwards Rd
Cincinnati, OH 45244

11. Dear Restaurant & Butchery

2710 Erie Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45208
Boards of charcuterie, dips, and crackers, on a marble kitchen counter
Charcuterie from Dear’s butchery
Provided by BS LLC

Dear was created by husband and wife Austin and Ashley Heidt, each of whom has a long history in the hospitality industry. They snatched up a coveted spot on Hyde Park Square and got to work planning an upscale wine-centric menu with an adjacent butchery. Dear serves a fine dining menu created by Top Chef contestant chef Brian Young. New England-inspired dishes get a Southern twist, like choucroute garnie with charred scallion pork sausage, fennel, and apple or chicken-fried mushrooms with pickle, aioli, and Thai chile. The menu is available for carryout and delivery, while the butchery offers to-go charcuterie, preserves, pickles, and prepared dishes like shrimp escabeche and wagyu beef tartare.

2710 Erie Ave
Cincinnati, OH 45208

12. Camp Washington Chili

3005 Colerain Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45225
A plate of spaghetti topped with chili and cheese, a chili dog topped with cheese in the background, and a soda in a branded cup on a diner table
Chili three-way atop spaghetti, and a chili-cheese Coney
Maria Paprikirk

Cincinnati’s native dish — an all-meat chili, thinner than a Tex-Mex version, with obvious notes of cinnamon and a hint of chocolate — can be confusing to outsiders. It’s typically served over spaghetti and topped with shredded cheddar for what’s called a three-way (or a four- or five-way, with the addition of onions and/or kidney beans). There are chili parlors across the city devoted to the dish, which traces its roots to Greek immigrants, including the ubiquitous Skyline. Among all the options, go for Camp Washington Chili, a second-generation family-run shop that’s been in the neighborhood of the same name for 80 years, where the chili is a bit thicker and spicier than at rival institutions. If chili isn’t your thing, the restaurant also serves up diner classics like omelets and double-decker sandwiches. If you’re in a hurry, the drive-thru operates 24 hours a day, Monday through Saturday.

3005 Colerain Ave
Cincinnati, OH 45225

13. Cafe Mochiko

1524 Madison Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45206
A bowl of ramen, complete with pork, noodles, nori, and egg
Ramen at Mochiko
Provided by Elaine Townsend

Erik Bentz and Elaine Townsend created Mochiko in 2019 to supply pastries to fellow food businesses and directly serve customers a menu of pastries and ramen inspired by yoshoku, or Western-influenced Japanese cuisine. Early in 2021, the pop-up evolved into a brick-and-mortar location in East Walnut Hills. Part bakery, part izakaya, the restaurant offers dishes like omurice, curry tonkatsu, and hamburger served on a fluffy bao bun, as well as sweets like a dalgona coffee pie.

1524 Madison Rd
Cincinnati, OH 45206

14. Jeff Ruby's Precinct

311 Delta Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45226
A steak, sliced on a cutting board, beside a knife, herbs, and a glass of wine
Jeff Ruby’s steak
Provided by Jeff Ruby Culinary Entertainment

Jeff Ruby, who famously banned O.J. Simpson from his restaurants, is the original larger-than-life food personality of Cincinnati. He has since passed the business on to the second generation of the family, and Ruby’s now has three locations in Cincinnati, but opt for the original Precinct in Columbia-Tusculum, where every steak still comes with a salad and side. In addition to meals in its opulent dining rooms and patio, the Precinct offers carryout, delivery complete with white linen tablecloths, and finish-at-home meal kits.

311 Delta Ave
Cincinnati, OH 45226

15. Elm St. Social Club

1819 Elm St, Cincinnati, OH 45202
A sandwich of turkey, bacon, lettuce, and tomato on griddled bread, with a branded bag of fries beside on a bright countertop
Bushwood sandwich and a side of fries
Provided by Jordan Anthony-Brown

Chef Jordan Anthony-Brown was set to open Aperture, a mezze-style restaurant in Walnut Hills, when COVID-19 hit. He put that on pause and instead teamed up with friends he worked with at Michelin-starred Rose’s Luxury in Washington, D.C., to open a takeout-only bodega in Over-the-Rhine. Themed after ’80s and ’90s nostalgia, Elm St. Social Club serves breakfast sandwiches all day, including the “Macho Man” burrito with chorizo, crispy potatoes, egg, and salsa. There are also loaded lunch sandos like the Axel F. with brown butter collard greens, roasted mushrooms, and shaved fennel with garlic aioli. The restaurant is takeout-only, and offers finish-at-home dinner kits meant to serve two or four.

1819 Elm St
Cincinnati, OH 45202

Related Maps

16. Goose & Elder

1800 Race St, Cincinnati, OH 45202
A tall cheeseburger topped with sliced vegetables, bacon, and an egg, on a plate in front of textured wallpaper
Goose burger
Gina Weathersby

Goose & Elder is chef Jose Salazar’s third restaurant. Situated across the street from Findlay Market, Ohio’s longest-operating covered market, it serves a menu of casual American comfort classics like chicken wings, fried bologna sandwiches, and chicken schnitzel, alongside healthier fare like grain bowls, avocado toast, and roasted Brussels sprouts. The entire menu is also available for carryout and delivery, along with picnic meals.

1800 Race St
Cincinnati, OH 45202

17. Pepp & Dolores

1501 Vine St, Cincinnati, OH 45202
A tall tent with steel tables and benches, stacks of wood, small trees and wreaths
Ski lodge-themed outdoor dining tent
Emily Lang

Pepp & Dolores, the newest restaurant from the Thunderdome Restaurant Group, is a love letter to the Italian grandparents of cofounders Joe and Jon Lanni: Giuseppe (Pepp) and Addolorata (Dolores). All of the entries on its pasta-centric menu are made fresh daily, like mascarpone-filled butternut squash agnolotti or the bigoli, which comes topped with ”nonna’s red sauce,” veal and pork meatballs, and braised pork shoulder. Another family dinner favorite, the Dunk, was inspired by the remnants of salad dressing left at the bottom of the bowl at the Lannis’ grandparents’ table. It consists of olive oil, vinegar, and herbs served with bread for dunking. There’s a ski-lodge-inspired outdoor dining area, and the menu is available for carryout and delivery too.

1501 Vine St
Cincinnati, OH 45202

18. Boomtown Biscuits & Whiskey

1201 Broadway St, Cincinnati, OH 45202
A fried steak sandwich in sliced biscuit with dripping eggs and gravy in a cast iron skillet
The Unforgiven, country fried hangar steak, eggs, and milk gravy
Christian Gill

An ode to the pioneering spirit of the California gold rush, Boomtown offers up cast-iron classics like buttermilk biscuits and fried chicken (often the latter is sandwiched between the former and topped with sawmill gravy or gochujang barbecue sauce), as well as elevated takes on homestyle dishes. Chicken and dumplings come with fried garlic gravy. A Thai-inspired dish of shrimp and cheddar grits gets coated in a coconut chile gravy. Boomtown offers all of its dishes for takeout, including kits to make its buttermilk biscuits at home. In colder weather, pull up a seat by the outdoor fire pits.

1201 Broadway St
Cincinnati, OH 45202

19. Longfellow

1233 Clay St, Cincinnati, OH 45202
A close-up on two fully loaded and sauce-drizzled hotdogs
Casey’s Kraut Dog with sauerkraut, onion, dijon, and sport peppers
Mike Stankovich

Mike Stankovich worked his way across the Boston and New York bar scenes, most recently as the beverage director at Bushwick destination Roberta’s Pizza, before moving to his wife’s native Cincinnati to open Longfellow. A restaurant without a hood, Longfellow serves up sandwiches like Hungarian casino egg salad, dill pickle, and cheese, or the irreverent “scrap sandwich,” which combines scraps from the deli slicer, butter, pickled shallot, and sport peppers. There are also house-made chips with onion dip and hot dogs, as well as the option to add anchovies to anything. Everything — including bottled cocktails, alongside house-made bitters and digestifs — is served through a walk-up window to be enjoyed at a host of outdoor tables.

1233 Clay St
Cincinnati, OH 45202

20. Homemakers Bar

39 E 13th St, Cincinnati, OH 45202