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What's Good in Dayton, Ohio?

  • t

I have to travel to Dayton, Ohio on business next month. I'll be there for two weeks. I've heard from others in my office that Dayton is laden with chain restaurants, and the waits around town are really awful Fridays and Saturdays. Any suggestions???

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  1. If you like Vietnamese, check out Little Saigon on Woodman Drive off of Dorothy Lane. Some of the best phos this side of the Pacific. If you can get out of town, head slightly north-east of Dayton to the village of Yellow Springs and try the Winds Cafe, an eclectic restaurant with different menus for lunch and dinner. It's always sublime.

    1. n
      Niki from Dayton

      Both things you've heard are true (lots of chains, long waits on Fri/Sat eve). That said, there are still good places to eat in Dayton. Best steaks are at the Pine Club, just south of downtown, near UD. They make great lamb chops and hamburgers, too. I like Little Saigon, too, and you won't usually have much of a wait there, as many Daytonians are very white bread and actually PREFER the chains. For good margaritas and nachos grande, try Elsa's on Linden Ave. Order a Bad Juan and an order of nachos grande. For seafood, Jay's in the Oregon district (near downtown) is probably the best (my fave, anyway), and has a good wine list. Another favorite of ours is El Meson, in West Carrolton (south of downtown Dayton). They feature Mexican/Carribean/South American fare, with monthly themes. The whole fried tilapia is usually yummy. For sushi, Izu in north Dayton is good. For pizza, try Marion's, a local chain that does not deliver (eat it there; it's better). It's thin crust and consistently wins the best pizza in Dayton kudos in local polls.

      I've lived here more than 20 years, and can give you more detailed information if you tell me what you're looking for specifically. Also, Cincinnati is only an hour away, Columbus is an an hour and change, so that expands your options...

      Niki

      7 Replies
      1. re: Niki from Dayton
        m
        Mike Gallagher

        Nikki, have you heard of a place in Dayton famous for "Royal Ribs"? I ate there at least 20 years ago and I believe it was near downtown and not far from the river. The specialty was a boneless pork connected diamond shaped entree that I think had bamboo skewers threaded through end to end.

        1. re: Mike Gallagher
          n
          Niki from Dayton

          Nope, doesn't sound familiar. The best rib place is Old Hickory, but I've never heard of royal ribs there. They have a place on Brown St, near University of Dayton, which is near downtown and the river, though. Sorry.....

          1. re: Niki from Dayton

            The place with the Royal Ribs,near the river was ,probably The Grub Steak,on N.Main.I've never had a bad meal there in 30 yrs.

            1. re: Popa Joe

              Yeah, it's definetly Grub Steak, I've eaten there a few times and have always loved it, have never heard a bad thing about the place. Also give Benham's a whirl, its on Warren St. downtown.

          2. re: Mike Gallagher

            Your talking about the Grub Steak on N. Main Street. They also have a second location on U.S. 35 in Beavercreek, though I've heard the N. Main St. location is better (it is the original).

          3. re: Niki from Dayton

            I am trying to get a menu from Marion's Pizza so that I can order some frozen pizzas and have them overnighted to me? Can you be of any help?

            1. re: Jill

              >>

              Good Luck, Mr. Marion is pretty strict, it's pretty much his way or the highway.

          4. Young's Dairy Farm near yellow springs, the Shuckin Shack raw bar north Dayton, Whimpie's deco Diner downtown, the Century tavern, Milano's subs by UD, Elsa's mexican, Cassano's or Marion's pizzas, Cold Beer & Cheeseburgers tavern near WSU, etc. etc. --- what sheltered coward told you you need to eat in stupid chain restaurants there? It's a mini-chowhound heaven if you have a car.

            1. s
              scott frederick

              Got to do El Meson..check out there web site..you will love it!!

              1. I can *heartily* echo the recco for The Winds Cafe in Yellow Springs. Their emphasis is on FRESH, seasonal foods. This is the best dining in the Dayton area, IMO. (It's great dining in any area.)

                Amar India off 725 (Miamisburg Centerville Rd.) near the Dayton Mall has terrific Indian food and good, freindly service.

                Amber Rose on Valley St. has good east European food.

                At the risk of sounding snotty, I'd give a lukewarm recommendation to Jay's. The one meal we had there was nothing more than fair. The menu wasn't all that inspiring, the food didn't seem all that fresh and it wasn't particularly well-prepared. The wine list was indeed good, but it took 30 minutes for us to get a replacement for a bad bottle of mid-priced Chablis. Again, I've only eaten there once, but I most likely won't eat there again.

                Thai West on Chambersburg road has fair, not great Thai food. Their cooking's good, but they suffer from less-than-fresh ingredients.

                Scotese's on North Fairfield in Beavercreek is seriously hit-or-miss for us. We've had one great meal and two mediocre meals there.

                If you like great ice cream or frozen custard, I happily recommend Ritter's Frozen Custard stands. There are a couple in the area and their products are great. Young's Dairy Farm also has great ice cream (not custard).