The 15 Best Restaurants in Cincinnati

With so much to sample and savor, it’s easy to eat well at any price point in Cincinnati. Whether you’re looking for a decadent brunch, a casual lunch, a quick treat, or an upscale dinner, Cincinnati is serving up a wide selection of meals to remember.

Getting hungry yet? Here are just a few of the most distinctive restaurants to check out during your stay in the Queen City.

01 of 15

Best Overall Dining Experience: Sotto

Sotto

Courtesy of Sotto

Address
118 E 6th St, Cincinnati, OH 45202, USA
Phone +1 513-977-6886

Year after year, Sotto can be counted on to deliver an exemplary dining experience thanks to a winning trifecta of great food, thoughtful service, and elegant atmosphere. The well-edited menu of rustic Italian cuisine takes on a sophisticated hue thanks to high-quality ingredients treated and presented with the utmost respect, and the savvy servers are quick to suggest the best wines to pair with your piatti. Whatever you do, save room for dessert, namely the airy ricotta donuts served with three nearly drinkable sauces for dipping.

02 of 15

Best Cincinnati-Style Chili: Camp Washington Chili

Camp Washington Chili

Courtesy of Camp Washington Chili

Address
3005 Colerain Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45225-1805, USA
Phone +1 513-541-0061

Required eating while in the Queen City is Cincinnati-style chili. You’ll find variations of the cinnamon-spiced stew on menus all across the southwestern Ohio region, but Camp Washington Chili remains a local favorite, consistently ranking among the city’s best. Since 1940, the friendly neighborhood chili parlor has been dishing its namesake recipe into bowls, or ladling it over hot dogs and plates of spaghetti for customers to enjoy. Each dish is topped with an avalanche of shredded cheese (a.k.a. a “3-way”); cheese and chopped onions (a “4-way”); or cheese, onions, and beans (a “5-way”).

03 of 15

Best Fried Chicken: The Eagle

The Eagle

Courtesy of The Eagle

Address
1342 Vine St, Cincinnati, OH 45202, USA
Phone +1 513-802-5007

In the historic Over-the-Rhine district, the Eagle lures customers in with the tantalizing promise (and wafting aroma) of perfectly crisp, juicy fried chicken. Order your dish with classic Southern accompaniments like mac and cheese, spoonbread, succotash, coleslaw, white cheddar grits, collard greens, and tender biscuits drizzled with the hot and spicy house honey. To kick it all off, the jalapeño cheddar hush puppies and brown sugar bacon pair perfectly with pints of craft beer. There’s nothing dainty about eating at the Eagle.

04 of 15

Best Food Market: Findlay Market

Findlay Market

Courtesy of Findlay Market

Address
1801 Race St, Cincinnati, OH 45202, USA
Phone +1 513-665-4839

Can’t decide what kind of food you’re craving? Dating back to the 19th century, Over-the-Rhine’s Findlay Market is a one-stop smorgasbord for all things delicious under one expansive roof. The diverse lineup of several dozen vendors serves everything from breads, baked goods, chocolate, and coffee to meats, cheeses, seafood, sandwiches, barbecue, Mexican fare, and Asian cuisine. You might want to take a parade lap to breathe in all the sights and smells before you make up your mind. If you’re lucky, you might even score a free sample or two.

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05 of 15

Best Ambiance: Orchids at Palm Court

Orchids at Palm Court

Courtesy of Orchids at Palm Court

Address
35 W 5th St #2801, Cincinnati, OH 45202, USA
Phone +1 513-564-6465

Tucked within the gorgeous confines of the downtown Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza Hotel, the Orchids at Palm Court reigns supreme as the only AAA 5-Diamond restaurant in Ohio. This long-time landmark is old-school Cincinnati fine dining at its best, brimming with handsome Art Deco details and boasting a continental European-inspired menu, classic cocktails, and live music. There’s a lot to look at here, but make sure to take note of and appreciate the locally-produced Rookwood pottery features.

06 of 15

Best Pizza: Fireside Pizza

The Fredo pizza

Courtesy of Fireside Pizza

Address
773 E McMillan St, Cincinnati, OH 45206, USA
Phone +1 513-751-3473

Walnut Hills-based Fireside Pizza got its start as a food truck before settling into the restored circa-1870 Fire Company 16 building in 2014. The hand-tossed pies cook quickly in a 700-degree wood-fired oven, arriving at your table steaming hot and laden with premium traditional toppings like red sauce, pepperoni, Italian sausage, veggies, fresh mozzarella, and provolone. Or, taste-test one of the more creative offerings from a rotating list of specials—the seasonal Elote pizza made with sweet corn, chipotle lime crema, cotija cheese, and cilantro has amassed a loyal summertime fan following. Don’t sleep on the craft beer selection, either: Pints are pulled from a custom fire extinguisher tap.

07 of 15

Best Brunch: Boomtown Biscuits & Whiskey

"The Honey Shot"

Courtesy of Boomtown Biscuits & Whiskey

Address
1201 Broadway St, Cincinnati, OH 45202, USA
Phone +1 513-381-2666

With an indulgent menu that offers “flights” of sawmill, peppercorn, and vegan tomato gravies; fried chicken and short rib sandwiches; and cinnamon sugar donut holes, Boomtown Biscuits & Whiskey in the Pendleton District operates under the notion that everything’s better with a biscuit. An underlying current of Western frontier flavor flows through the entire operation, and this weekend hotspot delivers everything you need to seriously brunch like you mean it. Complement your late morning meal with a mimosa or a Bloody Mary, or splash out and explore the well-curated whiskey collection. Just be aware, you may very well need to factor in time for a nap after your visit.

08 of 15

Best Modern Cuisine: Please

Address
1405 Clay St, Cincinnati, OH 45202-7609, USA

Chef/owner and James Beard semi-finalist Ryan Santos cut his culinary teeth cooking in kitchens throughout the country and around the world before launching Please. What started as a pop-up concept in Cincinnati later grew into a permanent bricks-and-mortar spot in the Over-the-Rhine district. Limiting capacity to just 30 customers at a time creates an intimate atmosphere in which guests feel pampered, and the inventive tasting menu rooted in seasonality guarantees a fresh dining experience at each visit. Santos’ global influences shine in dishes like shredded pasta-style enoki mushrooms with walnut milk, and the Danish pancake-like apple aebleskivers with gjetost cheese. All we can say at the end of the meal is "thank you."

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09 of 15

Best Tacos: Mazunte Taqueria

Mazunte

Courtesy of Mazunte

Address
5207 Madison Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45227, USA
Phone +1 513-785-0000

For an authentic taste of Oaxacan street food, set a course to Mazunte Taqueria in Madisonville, where tacos come three to an order. The hand-made corn tortillas here are wrapped around portions of tender pork, chicken, chorizo, fish, steak, or veggies, then garnished with pickled red onion, pico de gallo, and avocado salsa. Additional menu choices like flavorful tamales, enchiladas, pozole, and tostadas eliminate any chance of walking away hungry.  

10 of 15

Best Burger: Tickle Pickle

Address
4176 Hamilton Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45223-2247, USA
Phone +1 513-954-4003

Feast your eyes and your senses on Tickle Pickle, a tongue-in-cheek Northside burger joint. Here, the massive sandwiches go by rock-and-roll call signs like the “Meatallica” with bacon, egg and cheese; the all-American “Breadzeppelin” cheeseburger with all the traditional fixings; and the “Rob Zomwich” with spicy ketchup, peppers, onions, and a jalapeño popper on a pretzel bun. Forget about the fries and ask for sweet potatoes, pasta salad, or locally-made Grippo’s BBQ potato chips on the side instead. And to wash it all down? Why, a “Vanilla Ice” or “Oreo Speedwagon” milkshake, of course.

11 of 15

Best Vegan: Loving Hut

Address
6227 Montgomery Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45213, USA
Phone +1 513-731-2233

At the other end of the culinary spectrum, the Loving Hut proves once and for all that no one who follows a plant-based diet has any reason to feel deprived. Every item on the menu is 100 percent vegan, and offerings go way beyond salads, wraps, and rice bowls. Expect everything from grilled spring rolls and mac and “cheese” to veggie burgers and sausages, pho, and pumpkin chili. Cap off your meal with a slice of vegan chocolate cake.

12 of 15

Best Asian: Bridges Nepali Cuisine

Bridges Nepali Cuisine

Courtesy of Bridges Nepali Cuisine

Sure, there’s plenty of Japanese, Chinese, Thai, and Indian restaurants to consider in Cincinnati, but when’s the last time you ate food from Nepal? Homesick for the flavors of his homeland, Bridges Nepali Cuisine founder Ashak Chipalu now owns two locations (Northside and Downtown), putting his own contemporary spins on his favorite traditional Nepali dishes. Building-block ingredients like rice, noodles, vegetables, chicken, and pork shine in rice bowls, chow mein, soups, and samosas—but the stars of the show are the momos, delicious filled dumplings served with savory dipping sauces.

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13 of 15

Best Sweet Treat: Graeter's Ice Cream

Graeter's Ice Cream

Courtesy of Graeter's Ice Cream

A Cincinnati institution since 1870, family-owned Graeter’s Ice Cream uses a French pot process to churn out its ridiculously rich and creamy finished products, two and a half gallons at a time for ultimate quality control. And don’t expect to find any wimpy little chocolate chips here. Graeter’s drizzles its chocolate into the mix, resulting in irregularly shaped toothsome chunks that stay soft in the ice cream, like finding pieces of buried treasure. With flavors like Dutch milk chocolate, original salted caramel, Oregon strawberry, and brown butter bourbon pecan, it can be tough to decide what to order in a scoop or cone—but you’ll never go wrong asking for the signature black raspberry chip.

 

14 of 15

Best Italian: Pepp & Dolores

Swiss Chard & Sausage cannelloni

Courtesy of Pepp & Dolores

Address
1501 Vine St, Cincinnati, OH 45202, USA
Phone +1 513-419-1820

Authentic Italian comfort food at its finest, Pepp & Dolores dishes up satisfying plates of pasta that would make any Italian nonna proud. A glass of vino to accompany the “Dunk,” a baguette served with herbed olive oil and vinegar for dipping, is the perfect introduction to your meal. Follow it up with soulful pastas adorned with meaty Sunday sauce, roasted beets and goat cheese, seafood, lamb ragu, or pesto or chili-flecked lemon. Everything is made fresh in-house on a daily basis, and you’ve got to love a restaurant that lets you order meatballs as a side to share with the table. Mangia bene, for sure.

15 of 15

Best Brewpub: Taft's Ale House

Taft's Ale House

Courtesy of Taft's Brewing Company

Address
1429 Race St, Cincinnati, OH 45202, USA
Phone +1 513-334-1393

Named for Cincinnati native and the 27th U.S. president, Taft’s Ale House makes its very comfortable home in a beautifully renovated 171-year-old Over-the-Rhine church. Among a menu of gastropub favorites like smoked wings, soft pretzels with beer cheese, burgers, and fish and chips, the tri-tip steak stands out; it's served thick-cut with frites and curry sauce or sliced thin onto sandwiches, salads, sliders, and tacos. Add a frosty pint of Gavel Banger IPA, Nellie’s Key Lime Caribbean Ale, or Maverick Chocolate Porter to your order, and holy moly.  

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The 15 Best Restaurants in Cincinnati