Best of

Here you can view a list of all of my current favorite places. There are so many components regarding why I Love Cincinnati, and below are a few more helpful signifiers as to why. (In alphabetical order, of course.) [Note: not all of these places have been reviewed on Tour de Cincinnati. If a place has been reviewed, it has been linked.]

Best of the Best
These are places I like to go or dream of going often:

American Sign Museum
Findlay Market
Green Papaya (another review)
Senate Pub (another review)

Taste of Belgium

Current Favorite Dishes
Garlic Three Cheese Burger, BRU Burger Bar (CBD)
Goetta, egg, and cheese sandwich, Eckerlin Meats (OTR/Findlay Market)
Loco Moco, E+O Kitchen (Hyde Park)
Shahi Paneer, Delhi Palace (Silverton)

Food and restaurant details, plus recommendations for each:

Asian
It’s really difficult to narrow down my favorite Asian restaurants, given the broad genre. But my go-to Thai, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean restaurants would be:
Bamboo Kitchen (Kenwood) Thai and Vietnamese, formerly Mekong Thai Cuisine – Thai garlic chicken and veggie roll; sesame chicken; pad see ew
Green Papaya (Oakley) Thai – shrimp shumai to start, teriyaki salmon, mango fried rice, and TaTa roll (Another review)

Kyoto Japanese Cuisine (Symmes Twp.) Japanese – hibachi chicken lunch box
Quán Hapa (OTR) Asian streetfood – musubi to start, loco moco
Riverside Korean (Covington) Korean – Beef Bul Go Gi and Dol Sot Bi Bim Bab

Suzie Wong’s (East Walnut Hills) Asian fusion – beef bibimbap, crab rangoon, Mongolian chicken, Thai fried rice, and BonBonerie opera cream cake
Wabi Sabi (Covington)
 half-price sushi – favorite rolls: Bengal, Dancing Shrimp, Dragon, and Volcano

Brewery/Bar/Local Beer Pusher
Blank Slate Brewing Company (East End) favorite brew: all of them are solid, but particularly Fork in the Road, Opera Cream, RYEsing Up, and Shroominous
The Growler House (East Walnut Hills) 30 beers on tap, 15+ of which are dedicated to local breweries
Listermann (Evanston) favorite brew: Shamrock Shake (milk stout), Planetary Eclipse (black IPA), Lateral 562 (oatmeal stout), any and all IPAs. Note: Renegade Grille is now open
rhinehaus (OTR) decent beer selection and fantastic for watching soccer on weekend mornings
Taft’s Ale House (OTR) favorite brew: Maverick chocolate porter, among many others. See also: food!

The Woodburn (East Walnut Hills) favorite brew: Cedar IPA, Steinpils, and Pineapple Saison. Beautiful space

Breakfast
“Hybrid meals are for people who are too lazy to wake up for a proper breakfast.”

Cheapside Cafe (CBD) Challah French toast and breakfast sandwich, and the decor and ambiance are wonderful
Eckerlin Meats (OTR/Findlay Market) goetta, egg, and cheese breakfast sandwich for $3.50
Maplewood (CBD) one of the best breakfast sandwiches around
Taste of Belgium (multiple) ‘Nati Crepe with maple syrup and Belgian frites

Burger
BrewRiver Gastropub (East Walnut Hills) Streetcar Burger
Bru Burger Bar (CBD) Garlic Three Cheese Burger

Gordo’s Pub (Norwood) The Gordo
Quatman Cafe (Norwood) cheeseburger, fries, and drink for $7.50 on Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays
Renegade Street Eats (food truck)/Renegade Grille (inside Listermann) Sausage Burger

Senate Pub (OTR; another review) Senate Burger
Zip’s Cafe
 (Mt. Lookout) Zip Burger

Cheap Eats
There are a ton of outstanding restaurants in the greater Cincinnati area, but not all of them are easy on the wallet. Thankfully there are a number of places that don’t break the bank:
Currito (multiple)
Cincinnati-based build-your-own burrito chain, featuring burritos (even small ones!), bowls, and unique ingredients
Eli’s BBQ (East End, Findlay Market) two all-beef franks with mac and cheese and jalapeño cornbread
Food Trucks (multiple) Renegade Street Eats (sausage burger, wings), C’est Cheese (Bee Sting), Red Sesame (combo #1 spicy)

FUSIAN (multiple) Favorite dish: spicy edamame. See also: sushi’s pretty great, too
Gomez Salsa Cantina Walnut Hills turtle Gomez style and Fire Margarita
Holtman’s Donut Shop (OTR) yeast with chocolate icing and cinnamon/sugar twist
Knockback Nat’s (CBD) smoked wings, hanky panks, great ranch, and counter service

Mazunte Taqueria (Madisonville) Tacos Dorados and grilled corn (seasonal)
Pho Lang Thang (OTR/Findlay Market) Bánh Mì Xá Xíu (Chinese BBQ pork) and Chả Giò (fried spring rolls)
The Root Beer Stand (Sharonville) double cheeseburger, popcorn, and root beer float

Steak Nina (Springfield Twp.) teriyaki wings and some of the best saratoga chips around

Chicken Wings
Delicio (Montgomery, Norwood) coal-fired wings marinated in jalapeño-cilantro-lime vinaigrette, oven-roasted, then topped with a sweet red chili sauce
Mac’s Pizza Pub (multiple) baked and fried bone-in wings preferably with either spicy garlic or Thai chili sauce
Midway Cafe (Ft. Thomas) smoked and flash fried; served with your choice of sauce (I like getting wasabi teriyaki, and BBQ on the side; if you like hot, go for honey sriracha)
Pontiac BBQ (OTR) smoked yet crispy
Renegade Grille (Evanston) smoked, then chargrilled, and topped with teriyaki (see also: chipotle 562, honey sriracha, and sweet/hot Asian chili sauces)
Steak Nina (Springfield Twp.) deep fried and crispy with teriyaki and some of the best ranch around
Taft’s Ale House (OTR) smoked yet crispy

Dog-friendly Venues
Some of our favorite places to take the dog around town
The Growler House (East Walnut Hills) craft beer bar
The Gruff (Covington) pizza and sandwiches
Otto Armleder Park (East End) dog park, Hamilton County Parks
The Pet Spot (Norwood) boarding and doggie daycare
Pet Wants (multiple) pet food and delivery
Washington Park (OTR) dog park
The Woodburn (East Walnut Hills) brewery

French Fried Potatoes
French fries are a food group all their own, and it’s surprising I haven’t set off on a journey of finding the city’s best. In the meantime, I can provide this starting point:
Belgian frites (Taste of Belgium)
Fresh cut fries (Terry’s Turf Club)
Nina Style Rags French fries with melted cheese, bacon, and ranch (Steak Nina)
Poutine served with truffle fries, local cheese curds, braised shortrib, and gravy (Senate Pub)
Ranch Fries Waffle fries with melted cheese, bacon, and ranch (Bacall’s Cafe)

Saratoga chips Fried potatoes served with BBQ (Steak Nina)

Indian
Cincinnati, in my opinion, does Indian right. I’d point out which dish is my favorite at each place, but I always get the same thing when Indian is involved (paneer makhani or shahi paneer, and garlic naan). There are a number of really good places in the area, but my favorites include:
Brij Mohan (Sharonville)

Delhi Palace (Silverton)
Shaan Indian Cuisine (Hyde Park)
Swad Indian Restaurant (North College Hill)

Pizza
Cincinnati gets a lot of crap for not having good pizza. Here’s my rebuttal:
Fireside Pizza (East Walnut Hills)
Fratelli’s Pizzeria (West Chester)
Goodfellas Pizzeria (Covington, OTR)
Italianette (North College Hill, Covington)

Strong’s Brick Oven Pizzeria (Newport)

For more Favorite Five lists, click here.

[Updated 7/10/17]

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