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Jul 8, 2008 07:28 PM

Cincinnati Suggestions appreciated! Eastchester, N.Y.

My wife and I will be visiting Cincinnati for the first time next week for 4 days
and we would appreciate suggestions for dining in the Downtown area. We like just about any type of food, decent service, and very little "attitude".
Thank you,

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  1. Good casual french food can be had at Jeanro Bistro, on Walnut near 4th. Open for lunch and dinner.

    My favorite lunch place downtown is Tan Thai on Court near Vine. Lunch only, prices range from 6.95 to 8.95, very good Thai in a clean, understated surroundings.

    A very good pizza can be had at Cafe Martin on Vine between 8th and 9th. 6-8 dollar range for lunch, higher for dinner.

    I have not been there, but a lot of folks have reported excellent food at Nada, which is upscale mexican/small plates and tends to have a younger/noisier crowd. Corner of Walnut and 6th.

    Best high end steakhouse downtown is Jeff Ruby's at 7th and Walnut. Everything is ala carte, and service is formal. I don't recommend the Morton's

    If you are in the mood for seafood, well, uh...this is the midwest. Sorry. We have two chains downtown: Oceanaire and McCormick & Schmicks. Oceanaire recently got 4 stars in the local paper's review, but most others have not been impressed with either eatery.

    A bit outside downtown but a short cab ride away is Montgomery Inn. MI is arguably the most famous restaurant in Cincinnati, and has built it's rep on bbq ribs. Sadly, they do sell ribs, but they aren't bbq, ie they are boiled then grilled then slathered in sweet sauce rather than low-and-slow smoked. Nonetheless, many Cincinnatians (not I) will tell you this is their favorite restaurant in all of Cincinnati. So I mention it here.

    I highly recommend you try two things while in Cincinnati, as these are regional to the area and you generally don't find these outside this area. One is Cincinnati-style Chili, which should be tried as a cheese coney, as a chili-spaghetti plate called a "way", and by itself in a bowl. Skyline and Gold Star are two big chains with several locations downtown, and while their chili may not be the very best, you can walk to one from anywhere in downtown and their product is im my opinion a good enough place to get a sampling of this item. Check out for a better understanding of these items

    Second is goetta, which is a traditionally a breakfast item. Best place to get it downtown in Hathaway's on the first floor of the Carew Tower, which occupies the block surrounded by Vine, Race, 4th, and 5th streets. Here's a link explaining it:

    Hope I helped. Please report back with what you ended up trying - so many folks read the recommendations then never report back, and the report back is the "payoff" that we providing the recommendations look forward to reading later.

    2 Replies
    1. re: TJ Jackson

      Just wanted to thank you folks for taking the time and trouble to respond to our inquiry. We really appreciated the assistance! We dined at JeanRo and my wife had the Steak Frites which she enjoyed very much. I had the Onion Soup which was excellent and the Short Ribs which were OK. Our waiter, Brett, was outstanding!! Kudos to him! My wife had hurt her back earlier
      and we needed a Taxi to go back to our hotel. Brett went outside into the rain, walked to the "Westin" hotel and came back with a cab!! Obviously he went above and beyond!!! We also dined at the Riverfront Club at the Great American Ballpark which is quite pretty. The food, prices, and level of service, was about what we expected and I really enjoyed the fried sour pickles as an app. We also tried the Cheese Coney's and the 4 way chilli at Skyline.... ok..
      also tried the all beef hot dogs at "Roblings" at the ballpark with onions and
      peppers. That was different and good. My wife and I were extremely impressed
      with the courtesy and warm hospitality extended to us by all of the citizens
      of the metro-Cincinnati area. We both intend to come back real soon...
      Thanks to all who made our short trip so enjoyable!

      1. re: alanccrx

        Thanks for the report!

        Even though did not much like the chili, at least you can say you tried it. Broadens your experiences :-)

    2. TJ made many great suggestions. We love JeanRo Bistro. It is a very authentic French Bistro and the steak frites and onion soup is great. We also love Nada. It is right near all the activity in downtown and has a great view of all the street scene. The food is upscale Spanish/Mexican. Very innovative and excellent food. We also enjoy Via Vite. It is right on Fountain square so you can view the action and enjoy great food. Across the street is Palomino's on the second floor above Tiffany's. Great food, ambiance and a good view of the square. We were not impressed with McCormick & Schmicks and have not eaten at Oceanaire but hear it is great. We would suggest that you google each restaurant and look at their menus before you make reservations. Many of them are on Open Table which makes reservations for you.