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Dining in Downtown Cincinnati

Dear Chowhounds,
Please suggest a few good restaraunts in the Downtown area of Cincinnati, OH. I travel a lot and prefer local fare. I will be there for a weeklong conference at the Hilton Nederland and would like suggestions for walking distance or short cab rides. I'm a New Orleanean, so please no seafood, cajun or creole, I won't be impressed. Cheers!

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  1. Howdy!
    I would suggest Tink's. (www.tinkscafe.com) I've not been there before, but my co-worker who has a food blog really liked it!

    1 Reply
    1. re: melanie1128

      To the OP: check on acceptable travel distance before heading off to Tink's. It's a pretty nice restaurant, but it's not downtown.

    2. orchids - the restaurant in your hotel was lovely about a year ago when we did the chef's tasting menu. excellent. one of the best downtown but expensive.
      also high end/expensive is jean robert's. very good. not living in town any more those are my downtown suggestions - well other than to try cincinnati chili (probably at local chain skyline since the good independents are probably too far) or some great local ice cream - graeter's and aglamesis are both quite good.

      1. The aforementioned Jean Robert's is "at Pigall's", and not to be confused with JeanRo's Bistro, a block away. It's less expensive, but still excellent. Both are French; Pigall's is prix fix. I'd also suggest Nada, for upscale Mexican, at Sixth and Walnut. If you like steak, there's Jeff Ruby's at Seventh and Walnut. For lunch, try Skyline, Ingredients or Paula's.

        1. definately hit both Jean Ro Bistro and Jean Robert at Pigall maybe the bistro for lunch and pigalle for dinner! i know the others suggested these...i just wanted to reinforce their suggestions. i have actually driven from detroit solely to stay at the nederland and eat at those 2 places. don't forget to check out your hotel!! its a historic masterpiece of deco design.. the ballrooms and bar/restaurant are amazing.

          1. Everyone has excellent suggestions. In addition to those, I'll offer some suggestions that aren't exactly fine dining, but are worth a lunch trip. Tom's Pot Pies is a great place to try -> http://www.tomspies.com/ The name pretty much says it all. The Alabama Fish bar is a great carry-out only fish counter. Its not in the best of neighborhoods but I've never had any problems when I've gone there.

            4 Replies
            1. re: angs9

              I'll second the recc for Tom's Pot Pies. It's just a little hole-in-the-wall place on Vine between 9th Street and Court, and just pot pies (chicken and alfredo) but boy, are they good! I stopped in there justt after 11 today for the first time and got to meet Tom, a super fella. Also wound up setting a record--I am the only person who put away 3 of his pies at one sitting. He knows my name now. Who knows--maybe it will start a "record breaking" trend of some kind and be good for business.

              1. re: KyMikey

                never heard of this place - good to know. i love a good pot pie.

                1. re: AMFM

                  On our last trip to Cinci for a baseball game, we found a great little family Italian place called Campanello's. Reminded me of the kind of little family place you find everywhere in Boston. Yummy eggplant parm, and other dishes, huge portion sizes and no fancy atmosphere at all, my kind of place :) Skip dessert and try one of the local ice cream places, really good too.

                  1. re: knielson2

                    have heard great things about there.

            2. I suggest www.viaviterestaurant.com even if it's to go outside on the patio and have drinks people watching looking at the square.. The food is delicious and simple.
              I think from that restaurant you get a city feel! Personally I was a little disappointed in Nada.. great OUTDOOR atmosphere but for the price not so impressed.. the presentation was beautiful though. Palomino's also has a great happy hour as well.
              For a Business dinner I suggest Nicola's or Jeff Ruby on Walnut..

              1. My favorite place is Nicholson's Pub on Walnut. Don't be scared by the "Traditional Scottish Cuisine". It's actually very good. The lunch portion of the fish and chips is enough to keep you full all day and their draft beer selection is the best I've ever seen. You can't get better steaks OR seafood than a Ruby's Restaurant. The mashed pototoes with crabmeat is awesome, but it's Ruby's is a little on the pricey side. The last time I was at Campanello's it was very good.

                1. i am from la and really like skyline chili.....but have never had it in cincinnati.....always in indianapolis......i too will be visitng cincinnati in three weeks and would love to try the independent chili places......

                  i must say though i really like skyline chili cause it's not too spicy hot and the cheese i think males it what it is....please correct me if i am wrong....can anybody direct me to the independent ones...?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: jaymor

                    Although I've not been there, I've heard that the best chili is Camp Washington Chili, which is down the hill from the University of Cincinnati (south or uptown Cincy):


                    Another great independent is Blue Ash Chili in, of course, Blue Ash (north Cincy). There are a few Empress Chili's on the westside. Again, I hear they're good but have not eaten the chili, I went for the goetta.