Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > General Midwest Archive >
Nov 10, 2004 01:36 PM

Cincinnati Reccs

  • d

I'm meeting my aunt in Cincinnati next month and we are looking for reccomendations. She wants French, but both Maisonette and Jean-Robert's at Pigalle are closed on Sundays and Mondays (our only options.) Any suggestions for a nice dinner out, preferably on Sunday?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Thinking along the lines of The Maisonette and Jean-Robert's, The Palace Restaurant in The Cincinnatian Hotel would be another possibility. I can't tell from their website if they're open on Sunday, however.


    1 Reply
    1. re: Matt

      An alternative to the downtown places is The Grand Finale in the beautiful town of Glendale about 10 miles north of downtown. They are open on Sunday (but not Monday) for brunch and dinner. The brunch used to be very popular back when I lived in Cincinnati (about 10 years ago - perhaps someone on the board can give you a more recent opinion). We used to enjoy dinners there as well. They are known for their wonderful desserts, so save some room! The town of Glendale is full of beautiful Victorian mansions and the restaurant itself is in a restored Victorian house.


    2. k

      I'm new to the board, and was looking for dim sum in the Twin Cities, when I saw this post! I'm a native from Cinti, although now live far away, but my parents just moved back there after a 10 yr break in the NYC area, where they got used to eating quite well, so they've had fun scouting out new and wonderful places to eat.

      This board is so cool - answering lots of questions about dim sum in the TC, so I felt I had to contribute.

      So, I asked, and they recommend JeanRo Bistro, which is at 413 Vine St., in downtown Cinti. (513) 621-1465 Closed on Sundays, but dinners on Monday, 6-10 pm. They really like it.

      You can find a review of it by the local newspaper, the Cincinnati Enquirer, on the Enquirer's website,, along with other info about it. If you decide not to go into downtown, you can also use the Enquirer site to locate other French restaurants in the area. (FYI - it may be hard to find a really good restaurant, particularly a French restaurant, open on Sundays in the Queen City. It's a great city, but still a smaller city.
      And, let me put in my last plug for dessert - be sure to have Graeter's ice cream! The best, even Oprah admits (she declared that in May 2002). Run by 3 generations of the same family, and they refuse to franchise it because they want to control the quality. Fabulous - my favorite is the Mocha Chocolate chip. Many people love the Raspberry Chocolate Chip. But it is hard to go wrong with any flavor.

      7 Replies
      1. re: KristenfromCinti

        Thanks for the suggestions, and welcome to Chowhound, Kristen!
        Since you're an ex-pat, I wonder if you've ever mailordered Greater's- is that a good way to try it out? I've never had it and am not going to be in Ohio any time soon but I don't know how many more posts I can read about how it's the best ice cream around without going nuts! But if mail-ordered Graeter's is a pale comparison to the real thing, I don't want to have a bad first impression of it... and $70 for 6 pints seems pretty steep if it's not going to be as good as the stuff in the shops.


        1. re: Chris VR

          Yes, indeedy, I have mail-ordered Graeter's ice cream. Not often, mind you, because it is on the expensive side, but only when I have not been back home for too long and just cannot get along with out it. We got some this summer for us and to give away as "goodbye" gifts, and also just sent some two weeks ago directly to a sick friend. At this point it will be quite a while before I do it again, but then I'll be in Cinti for Christmas so not an issue.

          And yes, it is just as good as getting it in the store. What they send is exactly what they sell in all their stores. Once again showing how picky they are about maintaining quality - they will only mail order it packed in dry ice overnight. So it is imperative that you have someone at home able to take in the shipment. It arrives fine, exactly as if you had bought it in the store (as long as someone is home to get it and you do not have it sitting on your front porch. I made that mistake once, it refroze fairly well, but I don't recommend it!) You can choose to have it arrive on Sat - may be a bit more expensive for that option. I don't recall. (And, if you can stand it, the larger order option is cheaper per pint).

          You can order it through their website directly, or you can go to the website, get the telephone number, and call in your order. The website lists all of the flavors, including the flavor of the month. The website is a bit kludgy (sp?) to use, but if you are patient it all makes sense.

          Don't expect lots of fancy, exotic flavors - it was a big deal when they started creating an Oreo flavor! This is just very, very good, very, very well-made ice cream.

          And since I love this stuff perhaps you can bear a bit more info: They make it by a "French Pot" method - I cannot explain it, but if you watch "Unwrapped" on the Food Channel, and happen to catch their ice cream segment, you'll seem them talk about Graeters. I do know it is made by hand, with the liquid being stirred many, many times in a chilled pot with a big paddle.

          Also, a note about the chip flavors: The chips are all of irregular sizes, from little flakes to huge, misshapen chunks. That's because the chocolate for the chips is added in molten (i.e. liquid) form, and allowed to harden as the ice cream mixture is stirred and stirred. As a kid, it was great seeing which size of chip you had in each bite of ice cream.

          Again, my favorite is mocha chocolate chip. My husband likes mint chocolate. My parents vote for vanilla and chocolate. Some friends swear by the black raspberry chip and the strawberry. And I am partial to lemon sorbet, particularly in the summer but even in the winter if I want a good brisk, not too sweet lemony taste.


          1. re: kristenfromcinti

            You're selling me on it :-)

            Thanks for all the info!

            1. re: Chris VR

              Good luck! I hope you enjoy it - at least I know that you have already heard from others so I won't feel too guilty if you end up not liking it.

              In the interest of full disclosure, I do have a friend who tried the toffee flavor and was not impressed with it. I'm not a toffee person so never tried it, and do not have an opinion on it.

              I'm betting that you'll like it. But do let us know, either way, what you think!

            2. re: kristenfromcinti

              Have you tried Aglamesis Brothers In Oakley Square on Madison Rd.? Personally, I always preferred that ice cream to Graeters. They also have a lot of handmade candies.

              1. re: jlawrence01

                Ah, the great Aglamesis debate! I have friends, good friends, who prefer Aglamesis. They are still my friends; we just don't discuss ice cream.


                If I've had it, I don't remember the experience. I do know people who prefer it - I just cannot give an opinion on it right now. I had Graeters close at hand growing up (when you walk home from school past Graeters in the Square, it's pretty close!). I have not lived in Cinti for any length of time since graduating from college a long time ago, and so on visits home have just concentrated on the old favorites.

                Perhaps I'll give it a go when I'm back at Christmas. I should ask my brother - he lived near Oakley Square for quite a while, although I don't remember him mentioning it. I do know that he found a great pizza place there that he took my mother to recently, now that she is back in town. She liked it so much she accused him of "hiding" it from us! Don't know its name. Obviously we'll have to go for pizza there and have Aglamesis for dessert.

                1. re: kristenfromcinti

                  the pizza joint would be Dewey's, a local chain with a location here in Oakley.

                  Good stuff.

        2. k

          Matt's recommendation got me to thinking about places outside of the city. I cannot comment on his - I've never been to the Grandfinale, but I've hard of it and have heard good things. I also know that Glendale is beautiful.

          If you are willing to go outside of the city, another alternative with a beautiful setting is to go straight East on Route 50 (Central Parkway) - about 10 miles out that way is a little village called Mariemont which is on the National Register for Historical Landmarks. (You'll know when you get there - the road suddenly turns into a divided boulevard with trees in the middle and big sign welcoming you to Mariemont.) It was built as a planned community in the early 1900s and has retained all of its charm. It was modeled after a town in England, so there are lots of Tudor style homes and public buildinges.
          A great restaurant there is the National Exemplar, which is located in the Mariemont Inn, which in turn is located in the village square, right on Route 50, so it is easy to find. They are open for dinner on Sunday, 6-9. My parents go there regularly, and I've been many times, for its excellent, yet relaxed atmosphere, meal. Not French, but great. And there's a Graeter's steps away in the town square! Plus its just a lovely place.

          They are also known for fabulous breakfasts if you want to do Glendale on Sunday and Mariemont on Monday!

          YOu can check out the National Exemplar on the enquirer site, Mariemont has its own site,, but the pics there do not do the village justice. Here's a review of a book about Mariemont - the review is better at describing the village than I am.

          5 Replies
          1. re: KristenfromCinti

            Route 50 East is COLUMBIA Parkway, not Central Parkway.

            1. re: jlawrence01

              ARGH! 50,000 lashes with a wet noodle! You are absolutely correct. COLUMBIA Parkway, immortalized in the movie "Rain Man."

              My only plea is temporary insanity - we just moved from Boston where the main drag through that city is the CENTRAL Artery.

              1. re: kristenfromCinti

                Central Parkway (in Cincinnati) would lead you into parts of Cincinnati that you might not want to head into.

                My first job in the restaurant industry was Frisch's Mainliner on Rt 50 so that was in my stomping ground.

                1. re: jlawrence01

                  You are right, of course. I'd forgetten there was also a Central Parkway. My east side girl roots are showing.

                  I have eaten many a meal at that very Frisch's! I especially miss the tartar sauce - I've tried having it sent to me in the jars, but it doesn't last long enough in my fridge, and nothing can beat it fresh. Another favorite is the hot fudge cake. Excellent breakfasts, too, in addition to the hamburger traditions.

                  My father is especially fond of their breakfast, particularly if he is home alone. I go when we are in town for at least a hamburger.

                  It's a wonder I don't gain 50 lbs whenever I'm there.

                  Any thoughts on Montgomery Ribs barbecue?

                  1. re: kristenfromcinti

                    While I did enjoy the ribs at the Montgomery Inn when I lived in Cincy, they definitely should not be considerd barbecue.

          2. Thanks to both of you for the suggestions. We may actually stay at the Mariemont Inn, so it's nice to know that that is a good choice. I'll let you know where we end up and how it goes.

            I'm totally psyched about the ice cream and I plan on trying the famous Cincinnati chili as well. I've heard Blu Ash is a classic choice.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Devon

              I really love my hometown, and all of its food . . .

              Mariemont Inn is a great choice - although Best Western bought them many years ago, they have maintained the integrity of the Tudor Style of the Inn. I have not stayed there in a bit but know it well (I grew up in Mariemont and my parents are now back there permanently). I'm confident it will be a fine place to stay. The rooms are on the small side, and have the basic Best Western amenities, but the setting of the Inn is great. Go have a drink in the tiny little bar Sotheby's off the main lobby. And take a walk around the Village if you can.

              As for Chili, I'm not familiar with Blue Ash, at all, or whether chili is better there than elsewhere, unfortunately. But the premier chili name in the Queen City is Skyline Chili, and it has locations all over the city. In fact, there is one on Route 50 before you enter Mariemont in the small town called Fairfax. (As you drive east on Route 50 towards Mariemont, it is on your left.)

              Another Chili franchise is called Gold Star, but Skyline is the best known.

              Don't know if you've read about Cinti chili - it is very different than what the rest of the U.S. thinks of as chili. The basic chili is a spicy ground meat sauce rumoured to have multiple spices in it including cinammon. No heavy tomato taste, no chunks of meat or tomatoes or onions in the basic spicy meat sauce. You can get the chili as a bowl on its own with crackers, with cheese, with onions, or with beans, but those are all considered extra. Or the chili can be served on top of spaghetti, with cheese on top (a "three way"), with cheese and either onions or red kidney beans (a "four way") or with all of the above ( a "five way"). Or you can get the chili on a hot dog (a "coney dog). Best bet to understand is to go to

              I'm not a big chili person, but out of loyalty we go once during every visit and I have 2 coney dogs with cheese.

              OK I just have to add - if you want Pizza, go to a LaRosa's franchise. Great pizza, and wonderful sauce. I have my mother ship me cans of the sauce if I have not been there in a while to pick them up myself. (AND NOW I owe you a thank you - I just checked on the web to find out if LaRosa's has a website, which they do. So you can go to the website, If you are interested. But I owe you a thank you because I would never have looked for the site if I wasn't writing this, and now I just learned that they are finally shipping stuff out of state! So now I don't have to bug my mother to ship me cans of sauce.
              BTW - although Route 50 is called Columbia Parkway, (as someone else correctly pointed out) for most of the trip out of the city, it changes names to Wooster Pike, I believe when you enter either Fairfax and Mariemont. But it is still Route 50 and there are Route 50 signs also to keep you on track.

              Have a wonderful trip and I look forward to hearing what you have to say - even if you are less than excited about these places!

              1. re: kristenfromcinti

                I am not a native, but have lived in Cinti for 20 years and do like Skyline Chili. But dont think of it as chili.....think of it as getting spaghetti with a slightly different type of sauce and cheese on top.

                As far as LaRosa's, the recommendation from kdenison is obviously from someone who hasnt spent much time out of Cinti. This may be the worst town in the country for pizza. The big chains are actually among the best. If Buddy LaRosa had grown up in New York or Pittsburgh or Chicago or some other city with more than 3 Italians in the population, he would still be waiting, no make that bussing, tables.

              2. re: Devon

                And should have also added, since you may be staying in the Mariemont Inn, there is another great little restaurant in Mariemont Square (where the Inn is) called The Quarter. Used to be called "The Latin Quarter" but they just changed their name recently because they thought "Latin" tied them down too much on the cuisine they serve. (no change in ownership or cooks; just change in menu and name). A small bar up front, with tables in the back. Another favorite place.

                If you go to the enquirer website, or, you can find a review of it under the name Latin Quarter - but I warn you to read it lightly because the menu has changed so much of the food described there may not be on the menu. It is my understanding, though, that the current menu is supposed to be just as good as the prior menu. (My parents and brother were upset about the changes when they first heard about them, but they have gone since the change and declared the Quarter just as good in this new incarnation. I'm looking forward to trying it at Christmas.
                Of course, you'll need to get out and go to lots of other places, including for whatever reason drew you to the Queen City in the first place. But now you have options!

              3. f
                Free Range Diner

                Jeanro's Bistro on Vine/4th is pretty good.

                Pho Paris in Oakley is a Vietnamese/French fusion number......with French dominating.