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Best Breakfast/Brunch in Cincinnati

I've been searching for over a year and still haven't found a place worthy of the being called the best breakfast/brunch in Cincinnati. A recent brunch at Honey in Northside was pretty good, but their biscuits 'n' gravy stink. I'm looking for someplace that is not only making great versions of old standbys, but is also adding new twists. Additionally, it should be someplace that I can't visit outside of the area (like First Watch or Original Pancake House).

The standard recommendations (listed below) tend to fall flat:

Echo in Hyde Park
Daybreak in Hyde Park
Kellogg Country Kitchen by Lunkin Airport
First Watch (everywhere)
Mokka in Newport
Anchor Grill in Covington
The Coffee Cap in Cheviot
Original Pancake House (everywhere)
Sugar 'n' Spice in Norwood
The Forum in Corryville
Clearview Tavern in Delhi

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  1. Our regular stop for breakfast is First Watch. However on Easter we've been to an incredible buffet at The Omni downtown. I think they offer an abbreviated version on non-holidays. Not a lot of new twists on things but really good food nonetheless.

    Have you been to Grand Finale? Their brunch buffet is pretty good - I love the bread pudding, mini quiche and mini crepes. DeSha's has a good brunch but it is pretty standard. Mimi's Cafe is a chain but new to the area. Last time I went I was disappointed they had taken my favorite off the menu - it was this fabulous sourdough french toast covered with blueberries, strawberries and raspberry sauce. They have some different takes on eggs benedict (w/crabcake, etc).

    1. The Grand Finale regularly wins "best brunch" competitions, but is pricey and you will wait in line outside even when it rains or is below freezing...that's how badly people want to do the brunch there.

      One I like not mentioned here is the Village Diner in Mariemont. Their plump sausage links are extremely good, not like any I have had elsewhere. Very casual and inexpensive. However, it is no better than some other places on your self-styled "not the best" list.

      1. The National Exemplar in Mariemont is also pretty good

        1 Reply
        1. re: TJ Jackson

          FYI, the National Exemplar is essentially serving the First Watch breakfast.

        2. Agreed -- I've yet to find an outstanding breakfast place in Cincinnati, which is odd.

          Tucker's in Over-the-Rhine, on weekends, has made-from-scratch biscuits and gravy, made by the owner's 80-year-old mother.

          And I'm a big fan of Camp Washington Chili's breakfasts -- nothing fancy, just staight-up eggs and goetta.

          1 Reply
          1. re: johnbycz

            I've been to Tucker's and the biscuits and gravy are better than most in town, still not the greatest. I DID enjoy the atmosphere and the friendly service, though. If you are unfamiliar with Over-the-Rhine don't be discouraged by the neighborhood.

            1. I've always been a pretty big fan of First Watch - although if you are looking for a 'biscuits & gravy' kind of place it would fall pretty flat...
              I think it's going to be tough to find any good southern fare in Cincy - although if it's Geotta you're looking for that's a different story. Check out Camp Wash. Chili like johnbycz mentioned.

              1. Mind you, First Watch is a chain. A fairly good chain, but a chain nonetheless

                1. On Father's Day, we went to Clough Pike Market, which is owned by a good French baker. They had good breads and pastries, of course, an omelet station, salads, and your pick from their hot food section. It was unusual, and really most delicious. I believe they're open for brunch each Sunday. Other days, they're an upscale market and wine shop.

                  1. There is a newer place in Northside called RAY'S NORTHSIDE GRILLE (9051 Colerain Ave.). I have had breakfast there alot because it's great. Great grits, home fries and perfectly cooked eggs. Last time I even had a smoked sausage link with my eggs and grits that was smoked in their smoker in the back (I haven't had lunch or dinner, but this is a southern BBQ place after breakfast). Not very expensive either!!

                    1 Reply
                    1. If you haven't tried the Palm Court in the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland hotel, you are missing out. It is pricey, but it is much easier to get a seat than Grand Finale, and in my opinion is MUCH better.

                      The selection and quality are both excellent. As a plus, the art deco of the hotel and restaraunt make for a wonderful atmosphere.

                      1. My favorite place for breakfast/brunch is Jean-Ro's new restaurant, Greenup Cafe, in Covington. It's where the old Wildflower used to be and the food is wonderful. My favorite menu item is the Buttermilk Pancakes with Sweet Corn Relish and Capriole Goat Cheese, but everything I've had has been good so far. I love the building and was devastated when Wildflower closed, so I'm happy to be eating there again.

                        FYI, Pho Paris, his French-Vietnamese restaurant, is relocating from Oakley to Covington, right next door to Greenup, the end of January.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: WhereForArt

                          Just wanted to say thanks for the Greenup Cafe recommendation. We had brunch there this past Sunday and everything was excellent. There was quite a crowd, so we waited about 45 minutes, but we were able to enjoy a cup of coffee and sit outside while we waited. The pancakes, eggs benedict on brioche, and tart du jour were all delicious.

                          Along with Honey and Slims in Northside, which both serve breakfast on the weekends, I would have to say this is one of my new favorite breakfast places in the Queen City.

                        2. You have to go to the Kentucky side of the river.

                          Best brunch is the Greyhound Tavern in Fort Mitchell

                          Best breakfast is the Anchor Grill in Covington (motto: We may doze, but we never close.)