We'll be in Cincinnati this summer and was wondering where to eat. I've heard of the Montgomery Inn and it looks good but I don't really know. My wife is southern and would be very skeptical of the fact that a Cinci resto claims to have "Worlds greatest ribs". Something close the the park as well would be nice since we're going to a Reds game.
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Yes, you should try Cincinnati chili, preferably Skyline, although Goldstar? will do in a pinch. As far as I could determine, the chili and German food are the unique cuisines there. The chili is very unlike anywhere else. The gravy is thin and spiced with cinnamon.
Sure it's junk food, but it's superior junk food. How can you resist chili, spaghetti, onions and cheese (a three-way?) with their very vinegary hot sauce. I've been to Ohio on business three times and the first place I go is always Skyline.
I'm not that partial to German food, so didn't really look. Mind you this was back in 1992, but I did go to an OK German restaurant between a Black neighborhood and the University of Cincinnati. And I had some good sausages at a flea market northeast? of Oxford. I was only in Cincinnati on the weekend during which I just couldn't get enough of Skyline.
Cincy Chili may be the greatest food ever invented (well maybe that's a bit over the top). With that being said, it's sort of an acquired taste. So the first time you have it, you will either a. think it's OK, b. think it's disgusting or c. wonder how anyone would call this mess of sauce and pasta chili. So try it a few more times, eventually the subtlety of the cinnamon and chocolate will start to win you over. If you like greek food - especially dishes like pastisu then you'll love the chili here. Skyline is the best, don't let Goldstar's ads fool you - they are not the taste that is taking over... I think the best things on the menu are the 5 way (nothing like adding beans and onions to really work your gut over), the coney (best at Red's games - you get your hot dog and your chili all in one place) and one of their newer items, the chili cheese fries (something i've been hoping they would add for years and something my arteries will lament for the rest of my years...)
It depends largely on what kind of food you are looking for.
Montgomery Inn is overpriced and just average, IMHO. The sauce is rather ketchupy, and depending on where your wife is from in the South, she might find it a pale imitation of what she is accustomed to. Still, it is a source of great pride from many Cincinnatians.
If Italian is your game, many people swear by Nicola's - which is less pasta focused and more heartier Northern Italian fare.
If you like sushi, Kyoto Japan in Mason is one of my favorites - what it's lacking in atmosphere it makes up for in freshness and creativity.
Two new restaurants in Mt. Lookout are pretty good: Aqua, which is seafood and sushi, and Nectar, which is focused on using regional ingredients. Both are somewhat trendy, however, and are fairly loud.
Boca (mentioned above) is also good, as is the newer Honey in Northside.
Sturkey's in Wyoming, and the Precinct in Columbia-Tusculum (so named because it occupies a historic police station), are two other solid choices.
What we're looking for usually when we're travelling is something that we can't get here at home. We have a Little Italy here so Italian is no big deal elsewhere. That said, a cool little pizza and beer joint is always great. In Toronto you can't swing a live fish without hitting a sushi shop so it's not a big deal for something like that on the road.
One other thing I should point out is my wife doesn't eat meat on Friday's.
We had a request on Roadfood for similar information, with the fellow staying in Sharonville, which is just west of Blue Ash. Check out my reply and others here: http://www.roadfood.com/Forums/topic....
The purely cincinnati regional foods are cincinnati style chili and goetta. I urge you to try both.
One other oddity in that area is a Melting Pot location - fondue isn't something I see too commonly outside the occasional episode of "That 70's Show"