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Re-Post from PA Board: Cincinnati vs. Pittsburgh Dining Scene

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(Re-posting this on the Midwest board so that Cincinnati diners see it). The link to the original: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/393804. Post your feedback there, if you can.

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Pittsburgh and Cincinnati diners--

This week, I was having a debate between the various dining scenes in Cincinnati (my home) and Pittsburgh (my friend's home). We were trying to decide how to describe each city's strengths and weaknesses in dining. We're both pretty "boundary-less" diners-- we'll happily eat great roadside grub and pub food, and also go to four-star restaurants (IF the quality is worth it!).

So, here's how I described Cincinnati's dining scene: great for cheap local food (chili parlors, barbeque), great for high-end dining (Pigall's, Boca, Nicola's, etc), OK for some kinds of ethnic (Indian, sushi), but pretty much lacking in the "middle range" of the spectrum.

And as for Pittsburgh, I heard: really good casual and bar food (brewing company), good Italian, some decent ethnic in certain neighborhoods, but not great for fine dining.

Problem is, neither one of us knows the other's city very well! Thought I'd put it out to the intelligencia of my fellow Hounds. My questions:

-Which city has the edge in Cuisine?
-What are the pros and cons in your mind?
-Finally, just to understand your tastes, what are your favorite dining spots in each town?

These cities are alike in so many respects, interested to see if the same is true of dining!

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  1. Cincinnati has amazing Indian food! (Baba esp.) I just moved to San Francisco from NYC and have eaten at dozens of Indian places and Cincinnati has the best (?)

    Skyline is my all-time favorite fast-food.

    A definite con is the lack of sushi and MIddle Eastern restaurants.

    My favorite places:
    Baba Indian
    Skyline
    Precinct
    Red
    Mt Adams Fishhouse

    2 Replies
    1. re: pwess

      did you eat some anywhere but e6th st in the east village? lol!

      1. re: pwess

        Lack of sushi? There's tons of raw fish in Cincinnati. Aoi, Bangkok Bistro, Beluga, Aqua, Jo An, Matsuya, Miyoshi -- take your pick. There's also lots of raw oysters, at Mitchell's, Mike Fink, McCormick & Schmick and the Knotty Pine.

      2. I am from Cincy but have spent quite a bit of time in Pittsburgh.
        Each city has it's own strengths so I can't pick one over the other for dining. I do think that Pittsburgh has way more to offer in the city itself than in the burbs.
        With steak Cincy wins hands down.
        Indian, chinese, and sushi Cincy.
        Italian Pittsburgh.
        Primanti bros is great but I will stick with skyline.

        4 Replies
        1. re: lks to eat

          This is interesting. I agree the Cincinnati "downtown" scene isn't fantastic-- a couple great restaurants (I'd put Nicola's and Pigall's in that camp), but the choices are four-star or no star.

          Out of curiosity, what's your Cincy steak pick? There certainly are a lot of choices, but not all of them are good. I do wish we had decent Italian food here!

          1. re: rotary11

            Out of curiosity, what's your Cincy steak pick? There certainly are a lot of choices, but not all of them are good.

            The Precinct is one of the best steakhouses in the country let alone Cincinnati. After there everything is pretty much equal.

            1. re: lks to eat

              how can it be one of the best in the country when its not even the best in cinci or the region? morton's edges it or at least equals it, unless for some reason in cinci morton's has much lower quality there than it typically does for some odd reason (i dk).

              no, not the best meat, but the truest most correct steakhouse in the region is the pine club in dayton.

              1. re: mrnyc

                Out of twelve times of eating at mortons I have had to send the steak back for either being over cooked or low quality four times. With only a finite amount of prime beef around I have always found the steaks at the precinct outstanding. The only thing at mortons that is better than the precinct is the bread.