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Apr 20, 2008 02:44 PM

Downtown Cinci-near Westin Hotel

Will be staying at the Westin in downtown Cincinnati for the weekend. Any good places to eat within walking distance?

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  1. JeanRo's French bistro is right across Vine Street from the hotel; probably your best bang for the buck downtown -- very good dining and not too expensive. If your expense account can handle big meals, there's Jean-Robert's at Pigall's (west on Fourth Street a few blocks; French and pricey, but very good), Orchids at the Hilton Netherland (Fifth and Race, good food and the most beautiful room downtown), the Palace at the Cincinnatian Hotel (Sixth and Vine), and Jeff Ruby's steakhouse (Seventh and Walnut, wear gold chains). Vita Vie is on Fountain Square, right across Fifth from the hotel; it's new, got off to a rough start but I've heard good reports lately. Nada is a trendy new Mexican place, very hip, at Sixth and Walnut. We have a few national chains within walking distance -- Palomino, McCormick & Schmick and Rock Bottom Brewery.

    For breakfast, try Hathaway's (in the Carew Tower across Vine from the hotel) or First Watch on Seventh between Vine and Walnut. Shanghai Mama, on Sixth between Main and Sycamore, has good Chinese and is open later.

    And no trip to Cincinnati is complete without Skyline Chili. Take your pick: Seventh and Vine (more of a diner) or Fourth and Sycamore (where bankers get their chili fix).

    4 Replies
    1. re: johnbycz

      That has to be about the most comprehensive list of eating in downtown Cincinnati I've seen in a while.... The only thing I would add is that Menjana on 6th Street (apart of a some hotel that I'm blanking out on) does really nice Middle Eastern food - but is best consumed buffet style which may or may not be in your interest. Also, it's a Muslim Lebanese restaurant - so no alcohol. However, they do have hookahs, so it is one of the few restaurants in Cincinnati where you can smoke inside.

      Quick note on Nada - my parents are huge fans of the owners' other restaurant, Boca (not in walking distance from anything downtown) - and felt that the service at Nada still needs work and as a trendy place is really loud.

      1. re: cresyd

        Is Mejana still there? I can't remember if I heard they closed, or if they just stopped doing the lunch buffet.

        Also forgot to mention the other must-do while in Cincinnati -- Graeter's ice cream. There's one right across from the hotel on Fountain Square. Black raspberry chip!

        One other place to mention, and it's right in the hotel: Ingredients, for lunch. Made-to-order salads, sandwiches and pizza. Very popular and pretty good.

        1. re: johnbycz

          Mejana might be closed - I used to go a lot, but now I've kinda defected to Andy's because the no booze thing has turned off my friends.

          In addition to Ingredients, isn't there a similar place around the corner from the Westin called "Fresh" or something? Same idea of salads/sandwiches with organic/local ingredients.

          1. re: cresyd

            I had heard Mejana was moving at some point early last year; the owner said he couldn't make a go in that location any more. I called the number, and it has been disconnected.

    2. Go to Arnold's for a beer or lunch, possibly dinner if you're looking for something a little lower key ... it's not as upscale as any of the restaurants listed in johnbycz's first paragraph, but it's an interesting local choice. I think the food is good, prices are reasonable and the (now covered) courtyard is very fun when a band is playing (usually jazz or bluegrass).

      210 East 8th Street
      (513) 421-6234

      According to a summer 2007 Business Courier article (http://cincinnati.bizjournals.com/cin... ), Mejana closed and the owner planned to reopen as Pita Grill in the Tri-County mall food court. That's a switch!

      1 Reply
      1. re: tapas

        Thanks for all the great ideas. Looking forward to visiting Cincinnati.

      2. While I wouldn't recommend walking there (neighborhood gets kinda bad as you go north), Scotti's Italian Restaurant on Vine, near Court, maybe a half-mile from where you'll be, is an excellent bet - very authentic, lot of atmosphere, great service, exceptional food.

        6 Replies
        1. re: hereward

          Glad to hear that Scotti's is still good. I asked about a month ago, but no one who replied had been there in ages. When were you there last? Oh, and I don't think it's too bad of a neighborhood to walk from the Westin, although I wouldn't go much farther north. We usually stay at the Garfield House when we're in town, and I'm not uncomfortable walking around that area.

          1. re: Niki in Dayton

            actually, Vine all the way up to 13th should be okay to walk. the new Gateway Quarter is redeveloped and looking great with retail and restaurants like MetroNation and Lavomatic.

            1. re: kingstreet

              Up to 13th on Vine would be ok. But I wouldn't really recommend tourists crossing Central Parkway in general. Obviously it depends on the type of tourist, and I used to live in Prospect Hill and walk home from downtown through Over-the-Rhine - but in general it's not advice I'd give to out of towners unless I knew their style of travel.

              I've also heard some really up and down things about Lavomatic, but I haven't heard anything about MetroNation. Is it any good?

              1. re: cresyd

                To clarify Kingstreet's remark "...with retail and restaurants like MetroNation and Lavomatic" -- Lavomatic is 'restaurant' and Metronation is 'retail'

                1. re: TJ Jackson

                  Thanks again everyone. We had a great time in Cincinnati.

                  Ended up at Nada and had a wonderful meal. Lots of things on their menu that I would like to try. We had rock shrimp with chipotle cream served with corn tamals, and mahi mahi tacos. Both were tasty with very high marks for the tacos. The service was quite good by the way. Some items on the menu seemed overpriced, but I'd definitely go back. Oh, I LOVED the grapefruit sorbet margarita.

                  Graeters ice cream was amazing.

                  The other night we were in town we took a cab to Nicola's. It was a perfect evening. The food quite good, and the service top notch. Nice wine list.

                  1. re: sydney2

                    Glad you enjoyed yourself. Nicola's is my wife's favorite restaurant. Nada is pricey (the fish tacos come to about $5 each, right?) but good.

                    Come back again and spend more money.