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Cincinnati Restaurants And Markets

Hello All:

I currently live in Los Angeles and I am being transfered to Cincinnati very soon. I absolutely know nothing about the city, particularly restaurants and grocery stores (both big items in my life) and I am a little worried....(maybe for nothing)

I am not sure where I will locate myself just yet but I would love the know a couple of outstanding market options and the names of a few good non chain restaurants that have creative menus that change often. I would also appreciate the name of a couple of very comfortable places that I could use as my "local" place for a relaxed bite afterwork without breaking the bank. Or could they be one in the same?

I've already heard about the chili so we can avoid that for now but it sounds good.

Let me know what you folks think and I really appreciate anything you can offer.


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    1. re: kura kura

      WOW! I just went to Jungle Jims web site thanks to you (Kura) and it looks too good to be true......it must be THE place to shop and looked like it pretty much blows away Whole Foods. Im still looking for restaurants. Does anyone have suggestions?

      1. re: thomtompkins

        what type of things do you want? if you search you will find that people are pretty consistent on what they think are the best. high end: jean robert at pigalls. boca. jean ro bistro.
        some others i hear mentioned are nectar, nada, daveed's, orchid's at the hilton netherland. maybe hugo. there are lots of steak places owned by jeff ruby. slim's is a classic. if you search this board i'm sure you can find more info.
        i'd say there are divey places based on where you want to live (i like the hyde park/oakley area myself were i to move back) but none SO good that i'd pick where to live around them.
        there's a downtown farmer's market and some local little places. grocery store's as a whole are kind of lousy because of the kroger monopoly.

        1. re: AMFM

          Personally, I think Findlay Market (I assume that's the downtown farmer's market AMFM is referring to) is an overpriced, low-quality, waste of time--except for people who live in the area, for them it's one of few available places to shop for groceries. There are a couple of Fresh Markets in the more upscale neighborhoods (see www.freshmarket.com) if you're into that sort of thing.

          1. re: Emm

            admit i haven't been to findlay market in probably 20 years!

            1. re: AMFM

              I've been trying to go to Findlay Market more often this summer ... the Saturday farmer's market is really nice. I typically only buy fruits, veggies and bread at the market, and I don't find them to be overpriced at all -- especially if buying from the produce folks at the end of the main market building. And, if I do end up paying a few dollars more than I would at a grocery chain, I don't mind at all ... I enjoy chatting with and supporting the people connected with the food I'm eating. I've also enjoyed the Hyde Park farmer's market this year too. I highly suggest both.

    2. Hi Thom
      First of all, welcome to Cincinnati. Many years back I lived in the Monterey Bay area and visited LA this summer for a quick weekend. There may be an adjustment of slowing down your RPM's few notches as you visit Cincinnati.
      I am not sure what type of food you enjoy or atmosphere. Here are a few of my favorites for low-key, healthy, budget, or nice hang out spots.
      Atmosphere: The coffee emporium in Hyde Park is a great place to drink great coffee outside on the patio. They have enormous waffles with fresh fruit on the weekends or breakfast vegie burritos.
      Echo in Hyde Park is a little retro diner complete with homemade pies and fabulous meat loaf. Very inexpensive with good food and good people.
      Arthurs in Hyde Park has a great back patio with wonderful lunch items.
      There is a farmers market in Hyde Park on Sundays on Edwards Road. Has fresh baked breads, eggs, flowers, soaps, and all of the main vegies.
      Covington, Ky area: Cocos downtown for a nice evening. Great jazz band and good atmosphere. Chez Noras in Mainstrauss covington is another good evening place for jazz music with a rooftop patio. Food is not my favorite.
      Mount Adams has a coffee shop Koka, that serves fabulous soups. Great place to hang out and read and a good place for a walk.
      Grocery store favorites of mine are Trader Joes in Montgomery, Ohio and Whole Foods in Rookwood Commons shopping area.
      Hope you enjoy - if you need any more info or have specifics that your interested, email and I will try to help!

      9 Replies
      1. re: unwritten

        Thanks for all the great information Unwritten. It looks like you like the Hyde Park area for lots of things so I will need to check that out. And I appreciate the recommendations. From what I've read, there does seem to be some similarities in what people consider to be good restaurants so they must be winners and thats good for me. Im so spolied now living in Pasadena because I have just about any sort of restaurant you could imagine within a mile of my place plus two Trader Joes within four blocks (one of them is the original) and a HUGE two story Whole Foods opened just two blocks from me about a year ago. Its just fantastic and I seem to go there about three or four times a week. Its the only grocery store that you could take a date to and be happy about it. They have a really nice wine bar, a sushi bar, a place where you can set down and eat oysters and drink a beer and a load of ready to make stands that will whip you up just about anything and you set down in reserved seating and chow down. Jungle Jims sounds like that in a way so I feel confortable about that. A question: is Jungle Jims a place you could shop every day or it considered to be a specialty shop reserved for more expensive things you might use once in a while? It looks sort of warehousy but with really high quality and great variety.....Since moving to Pasadena seven years ago I have adopted a shop fresh as I need it style so I end up going to the market every couple of days to get something. If my markets arent close then that will just mean more driving or I'll have to go back to the old way of shopping. I'm probably one of the only guys who like grocery stores so I dont want to do that if I dont have to. Regardless: I will figure it out. I am landing there in a few weeks time to check things out so I'll know more soon and I will keep everything you said in mind. Thanks so much!

        1. re: thomtompkins

          Jungle Jim's is a full-service grocery, and people certainly do shop there for the most mundane staples and personal care items, etc.--assuming its location in a neighboring community north of Cincinnati makes the travel time and distance practical. It's not so much a high-end, gourmet type place as it is just a store with a GINORMOUS selection of food items from all over the world. Otherwise, I'm not sure the "Kroger monopoly" makes the grocery situation here any more difficult than any other community of Cincinnati's type and size.

          I second the recommendation of Cafe Mediterranean. And for some reason, this area is working alive with Italian restaurants. Barresi's is excellent, and you should also visit Primavista sometime early on, because the food is good and the view is simply amazing. (I'd think an adjustment to Cincinnati from LA would be difficult in many respects; but one thing you're likely to appreciate is the beauty of the hilly, riverbank terrain and the city and county park systems.)

          1. re: Emm

            Thanks for the clairification Emm. I have no idea where I am going to land yet and really am clueless. So this is at least a start. I just want it to be somewhere quick and convenient to places like this. Thanks for the heads up on Cafe Med, Barresi's and Primavista. What I am finding out is that for a town this size there seems to be lots of good restaurants to check out and the food culture is strong. That should keep me busy while i settle it. I am actually from Illinois and spent most of my life there so this wont be too much of a shock really. I'm actually ready to get out of LA and my transfer makes it easy to leave. Thanks very much for all the good info Emm.

            1. re: thomtompkins

              i love cincy and i think you'll like it fine. it's gotten better with fresh market and whole foods and trader joes (jungle jims is great) but i live in richmond va now which is MUCH smaller but has much better grocery stores. sorry but true. even cleveland where i lived before had a few local choices. just not a lot of options.
              anyway one of my childhood friends owns barresi's so i love to see it mentioned here. there are lots of great little places i like.
              check out marx bagel's - they're fabulous. and great bakeries across the board. good butcher shops. nice people.

              1. re: thomtompkins

                If you make it to Barresi's, their small bite-size melt-in-your-mouth yeast rolls(?) are so addicting that you will be tempted to make a meal out of them. And save room for their signature dessert--can't recall the name of it, but it is divine...
                And I'm surprised that no one has mentioned Cincinnati chili yet (at the cheap end of the food scale) which is somewhat unique to this area--there's a chili parlor on every other corner it seems. Spaghetti topped with chili, then cheese and either beans and onions or both. Plus cheese coneys (hot dogs with chili, cheese and onions.) Oh well, you'll discover it soon enough.
                Welcome to Cincinnati, one of the great foodie meccas of the Midwest.

                1. re: KyMikey

                  That is probably because of this sentence in the original post:

                  I've already heard about the chili so we can avoid that for now but it sounds good.

                  1. re: KyMikey

                    Ahhh...the zeppoli. They told me once that if you're in the area and call a few minutes ahead, they'll make you a sackful to go <g>.

              2. re: thomtompkins

                Hi Thom -
                I have to add my take on Jungle Jims, since it is mentioned often. Personally I think it is extremely large and overwhelming unless your planning a theme dinner or live close.
                It's funny that you mention the possibility of taking a date to Whole Foods. At the Hyde Park location they have a wine tasting every Friday night and I have popped in to enjoy it before and thought what a great place to start an evening out with someone.
                Like Emm mentioned, Prima Vista is a wonderful spot. It has fabulous views of the city and should be added to your list to take someone for a special evening.
                Where you go will depend on where you hang your hat. Have you already decided on an area?
                This summer I visited Traders Joes in Culver City near LA. I was excited to be able to shop for the weekend with comfort. The restaurants around that area were fabulous. But I have to say I love KY and Ohio due to the fact that you can be hiking in the woods one day or downtown the next!
                Our parks are wonderful if you enjoy the outdoors. I can offer some information on those too if it is something you enjoy.

                1. re: unwritten

                  unwritten: I know what you mean about Culver City. It used to be completely empty. Now it has several well known and popular places like: Fords Filling Station, Fraishe' and Tender Greens. It also houses what some beleive to be the most authentic Mexican restaurant in Los Angeles: Gualegetza. Hard core Xuahacan cooking with not one thing catering to the American palat. And the hiking and dinner .club thing is just up my alley so I will definately be looking into that. I'll be bringing all my " stuff" with me so getting out will be on the agenda. I really appreciate the additional recommendations and I'm glad to hear that Whole Foods has something going on there too. Good to hear.

            2. I second the recommendation for Jungle Jim's. It's a must-see for any foodie. The Whole Foods around here are okay, although I suspect they won't be anything close to what you're used to in L.A.

              In the upscale restaurant category, I can't say enough good things about Boca...Italian -- great food and wonderful service. Boca's sister restaurant, Nada, has a menu somewhat similar to L.A.'s Ciudad. I haven't been to Nada yet, but it's on my list.

              Slightly less upscale, but also excellent is Cafe Mediterranean. It's a fairly new place, but I was very impressed during my first visit. The lamb kabobs were excellent, as was the stuffed cabage roll.

              For sweets, you should check out Graeter's Ice Cream. We recently sent an L.A. relative of ours a Graeter's care package...it's one of the things he misses most about Cincinnati. Aglamesis is also another local ice cream place. The debate always rages in Cincinnati on which is better. For my money its Graeter's, but Aglamesis is good too. Local bakeries Busken and Servatii are good options for donuts/pasteries/cakes.

              Once you figure out the neighborhood you'll call home, it might be easier to recommend casual places for after work.

              2 Replies
              1. re: ries27

                Thanks for the great recommendations ries27. I appreciate it very much. I will save this for future ref. And I like the comparison to Ciudad in LA. I go there pretty regularly on the train from Pasadena and I love the food. So if Nada is similar that should be good a good thing. Thanks.

                1. re: thomtompkins

                  I'm a big fan of Ciudad and the other "Tamales" restaurant, Border Grill. Ciudad has a more extensive menu than Nada -- Nada seems to have more small plates. But it's the only restaurant in Cincinnati I know of that serves "upscale" Latin/Mexican/Spanish dishes. I'll report back about how the quality compares to Ciudad once I have a chance to try Nada.

              2. Hi Thom! I live in Cincinnati and it is great! You will quickly adjust. It is a very easy city to navigate. About the food, Cincinnati chili is tops! It is so good that there is a website dedicated to the consumption and celebration of the chili! www.cheeseconey.com. It will give you all the locations so you can choose between an independent place or a big guy. You can also check out all of the pictures and videos. That will start you off in the right direction! If you have any questions, please feel free, jessica@cheeseconey.com

                1 Reply
                1. re: Jess42

                  HI Jess: thanks for the link to cheeseconey. I already knew about the chilli connection and actualy had it once a few years ago when I BRIEFLY visited Cincinnati on business. BUT.....from what I see its a really large part of the culture here. Its certainly been brought up on this string many times, but what I didnt know was that there seem to be many different places to turn to. I thought there was only the one large chain....who knew.

                2. also, don't forget about Dewey's pizza. They are local and have a cool website where you can see what music is playing in their stores and you can check out their menu. BBQ chicken pizza, Socrate's Revenge, Edgar Allen Poe, Bronx Bomber....those are just a few of their excellent pies! Have fun! P.S. You better grab a gym membership too! This city is known to plump people up!

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Jess42

                    Jess: Ahhhh pizza....I am looking forward to getting a great pizza because LA doesnt do pizza. Its just NOT a pizza town. Aside from all the swank places that LA is known for, the enire area is really just a burger town. They love themselves some burgers.....
                    Cincinnati does really does seem to be a food town. I have to say I am really surprised, I just didnt know what to expect and I am REALLY happy to see so many passionate people adding to this string. I am arriving in Cincinnati on October 1st to start shopping for a place to live (I think downtown or Hyde Park) and I will definately try a few of the places mentioned throughout this string for lunch and dinner. Im getting excited.....

                    1. re: thomtompkins

                      I totally forgot to mention Adriatico's Pizza in Clifton (by Univ. of Cincinnati). It's been years since I've been there, but gets my vote for best pizza anywhere (and I grew up in Philly). They specialize in Sicilian.

                      1. re: thomtompkins

                        no comment on LA here since i've only visited a few times - but frankly who doesn't love burgers! LOL

                        1. re: thomtompkins

                          It depends on what you like in a pizza. I'm from the northeast, and I am used to NY style pizza. I haven't found anything like that here. LaRosa's is not good pizza in my opinion - the sauce is way too sweet.

                      2. There are some nice suggestions here. I don't think anyone's mentioned Clifton/University of Cincinnati places ... my favorites are Cilantro, Myra's Dionysus and Floyd's. There are several Indian restaurants (Ambar is usually where I go, but the others could be just as good) and Thai restaurants (Thai Cafe is my favorite). Tink's and Honey (in nearby Northside) are good upscale options.

                        In Oakley, Kona Bistro is my favorite. No matter when I go and what I order (specials and menu items), I always enjoy my meal. What I love about it is it can be both a special occasion place or an I-just-want-a-good-meal place. Lemongrass Cafe and Bangkok Bistro in Hyde Park are consistently tasty too.

                        Keep us posted on your experiences and finds in Cincinnati ... it will be fun for us to see the city through new tastebuds :)

                        1. I go to Jungle Jim's every Friday to get the sushi. It's as good as the Japanese restaurant near my house and about 25% cheaper. Despite it's enormous size it is very well organized. Definitely a must if you like fresh fish (sometimes difficult to get in the midwest) as they have tanks of live fish like trout, talipia, dungeoness crab, etc.

                          Cincinnati has more great (non-chain) dining options than cities twice its size. Unfortunately, the 5 star Maisonette is now closed, but you can find superb restaurants all over the area. My favorite spot is Nicholson's downtown which is a Scottish pub. Usually the words "British" and "great food" are not used in proximity, but this place is an exception. Cincinnati is known for the ice cream, Graeter's. Simply the best ice cream ever. The area is also famous for ribs, but I don't like Montgomery Inn which claims to have the best. They are really mushy and fall of the bone without a fight. Their sauce is extemely wimpy as well. If you want great Ribs try Jim Dandy's in Sharonville or BBQ Revue in Madisonville.

                          A note about Cincinnati chili--it is a condiment, not a meal. You don't just sit down with a bowl of chili and eat it. You put it on spaghetti or a hot dog and add cheese, beans and onions.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: JohnE O

                            Graeters is great - but aglamesis is just as good imho if not better. it is a great ice cream town!

                          2. Thom,

                            Just checking back in with a few more recommendations...although you've already got plenty in this thread to get you started!

                            If you do end up in Hyde Park there are a few Indian and Thai restaurants in the area. I know you've got those cuisines covered in LA, but a few here a pretty good too. Some of my favorites are:


                            Green Papaya - For my money, the best Thai restaurant in the area. For lunch, Green Papaya offers a "Lunch Box," which includes two entree choices, a spring roll, soup, and rice, all for only $10. It's a great deal, and always delicious.

                            Other Thai places in the area worth a try are: Wild Ginger, Asiana, and Lemon Grass.


                            Cumin - More upscale Indian with interesting dishes and flavor combinations. The choices here are much different than what one might find at a typical Indian restaurant where the buffet in the main attraction. The decor and feel inside are in the vein of some LA establishments.

                            Baba - This is a typical Indian restaurant with a buffet. I go here often because it's close to where I work. There are other, better "regular" Indian places in the area, but this one is pretty good and it's close to Hyde Park.

                            I hope this helps. Be sure to keep us posted on your culinary adventures in our city.

                            1. A little late to this post but just wanted to add a few.
                              Otto's in Covington - better dinner than lunch. Their fried green tomato appetizer, followed by shrimp & grits or their scallops are fantastic. I haven't tried Hugo yet, but this would be a close second for inspired Southern cooking.
                              Also in Covington is Riverside Grill. It's Korean and the Stone bowl is a must for cool nights and you'll have comfort food cravings for it days after.
                              Green Papaya was all ready mentioned but it is worth mentioning again.
                              In Newport KY also just across the river is York Street Cafe
                              Someone mentioned Slims in Northside. A few doors down is Honey & it's also very good.

                              Also to note, to get people in the door many places are offering half price wine nights.
                              Jean Ro on Sundays.
                              The Vineyard in Hyde Park on Wednesdays - Also check out their wine bar a couple doors down where they also have half price bottles.
                              Via Vite downtown happy hour - 1/2 of wine and full bar menu
                              Palomino's has a good happy hour
                              Oceanaire is new in Cincinnati and has half price appetizer & cocktails

                              1. Hello Everyone:

                                I have just returned from Cincinnati after a two week visit. I have to say that this town really surpised me. Very deverse, low traffic, lots to see and do and WAY better than I thought it would be. And the restaurant scene seems great. I rented a loft downtown and I am two blocks from lots of places like Nicholsons, Jean Ro's Bistros etc and am REALLY excited now. I certainly wont have to worry about what to do if I dont want to cook......the only bad part......there are no grocery stores downtown and the nearest one seems quite a ways away so I need to be prepared......

                                And i did try the chili......it was really great, everyone was right. I also ate at Via Vite and it offered some great options including my special: bow tie pasta with a smoked salmon and parmesan cream sauce. Delicious. Nicholsons was a surpise too. Great bar menu (not fair to call it a bar menu really) and lots of interesting beers to choose from and for a quick evening bite I think this will more than likely be my local stumble in to place. But there much more downtown that I havent experienced yet and I wont until I return in another week permanantly. I also went to Montgomery Inn (by the river) for some ribs. And although the ribs were perfect...the room didnt screem barbecue and it took me off guard. Lots of glass and brass railings and it looked like something from 1984....in need of a makeover....but I have to say that the ribs were spectacular and PERFECTLY cooked. Super tender and delicious. Actually everything about it was just great, just didnt love the room.

                                There are a bunch of places I saw in my travels like Reds and Hugo that looked very interesting and I am definately going to go check them out. And a big thank you to all of you who left messages here for me. Your generosity is appreciated and I have printed all of them out and will use them for direction as I get to know the local dining scene.

                                Thanks folks!!!

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: thomtompkins

                                  I know this link is stretching on, but it looks like you are still in the process of getting settled in Cincy. Since you're downtown I thought I'd throw one more idea at you. No one mentioned my favorite restaurant in Cincinnati, Arnolds Bar and Grill, on 8th Street, downtown. Arnold's in the oldest bar in the city and has tons of ambiance. They have a great outdoor patio that is heated in winter and covered from the weather. They have great music in the evenings. A great bar and I have NEVER had a bad meal here-- ever! This is the place I take people when they visit the city. I recommend it highly. It is more New York than LA, but I think you'll like it. Also, if you find yourself the Westside (which I realize is unlikely, but I can try) there is a great small produce market called the, uncreative I know, the Garden Market. They have all the produce essentials and a deli. I often can do most of my week's shopping there. I also second the Myra's suggestion-- it is especially great if you are vegetarian. Always good and SUPER cheap. Finally, Akash has decent Indian (comparing with the aforementioned Ambar) and is downtown too. It is never crowded in the evenings...

                                  1. re: thomtompkins

                                    Thank YOU so much for getting back to us--it's great to see that you think you'll like our town. Good, too, that you're going to give downtown living a try. The community at large needs a good core of young professionals there to give the urban turnaround which is just getting started some momentum.

                                    I forget if Findlay Market was discussed earlier on this thread. Personally I'm not crazy about it and wouldn't want to do my grocery shopping there, but it's an option which should be reasonably convenient for you and I know some people enjoy it. As you noted, though, traffic isn't much of a problem and it won't take you long to get out to the Hyde Park Kroger if you want a large conventional grocery.

                                    Welcome, and best wishes for a successful settling in!

                                    1. re: Emm

                                      is the wild oats (now whole foods i think) still in hyde park? also not too far if it is.

                                    2. re: thomtompkins

                                      Glad to hear you're enjoying your stay. I'm not sure what is near down town in terms of grocery stores that are reasonably safe to shop. I pretty much avoid anything north of Central Pkwy. when downtown. You can try across the river on I-471 (the bright yellow "Big Mac" Bridge) and you'll find the Party Source which is a super enormous liquore store which also has a lot of food items.

                                    3. Thom,

                                      Thanks for checking back in. Be sure to keep us posted as you cross restaurants off your list. Enjoy!

                                      1. Try Avril-Bleh on Court Street for fresh meats. This is the premier butcher in town. There are also a couple on the west side that are excellent. Owner Len is always on site and meats are very fresh. They also do custom orders.

                                        Bridgetown Finer Meats (westside). Great neighborhood butcher. They raise their own cattle also.

                                        Try Findlay for chicken (Busch's), sausage (Kroeger Bros.) and cheeses (various).

                                        Try Keegan's Seafood in Anderson (www.keegansseafood.com). Owner is always on site and very helpful. He has many years in the business.

                                        Kroger in Anderson is one of the best local chain grocery stores. Jungle Jims is a destination store but not very convenient. The Party Source in Belleview is also a destination store. Both are excellent for beer and wine. Shop the Party Source for Liquor's.

                                        Have fun!

                                        7 Replies
                                        1. re: Bearcat1996

                                          Great thread! Lot's of good recommendations for Cincinnati that I didn't know about, either. And I'm a transplant from Pasadena, too! (Oak Knoll Ave. neighborhood then, Anderson Twp. now).

                                          I will say Jungle Jim's is a fun/unique place to shop for the hoidays or a special dinner party. Tourist busses regularly pull into the lot. And as for Kroger's, I was really disappointed with their stores here (especially since this is their home city) but they have recently upgraded a few of them~~the Anderson Twp. 'Town Center' store in particular is one of their best, most complete, stores in the U.S and a prototype for them. We like their 'Dry Aged' beef sold at Anderson Kroger butcher counter ~~this particular beef is not available in most of their stores.). Many folks shop at Bigg's because of their range of organic foods and their fresh fish (at least at Skytop) too.

                                          I share your pain about the lack of groceries downtown. We lived there for 3 months when we moved here. It's really strange to me that Kroger doesn't have some sort of 'good food' presence downtown, just out of civic pride if for no other reason. They could install a grocery like that one in Pasadena near the Elks Club (which isn't called Kroger, but it's owned by Kroger) and is really nice. Oh, well.

                                          And of course I support all the neighborhood farmers' markets which are slowly coming into fruition, although not yet at the level of the farmers' markets in Pasadena or Santa Monica and the like. Some of the local restaurants (like Slim's) shop for their meat at Findlay Market butchers mentioned above, so I do, too, once in a while. And if you go up there, be sure to check out Madison's little produce/cheese shop where they sell their home made gelato which is delicious. There is also a cute little Italian deli in Findlay market (maybe it's call Antoinette's or something like that) that you may want to pop into.

                                          Another old time downtown Cincinnati restaurant that has been out of business for the last several years but is just getting back into business is "Grammer's": I understand they are opening for weekend evenings with a bar menu for now. This restaurant is now owned by the same folks who partner with Jean Robert with Pigall's, Chalk, Jean Ro's, etc.

                                          As someone else said, if you like to cook, check out Party Source across the river. Not only are they the 5th largest liquor/wine store in the U.S. according to one of their managers, but they have a wonderful little cooking school with lots of interesting classes offered. I took a class by Amy Tobin this month and learned a lot about different food sources in the region.

                                          Oh, and for Sushi and Japanese food give JoAnn's near CVG a try . It is there for all the Japanese business men who come in to the Toyota offices and my cousin from Tokyo says it is very good.

                                          Good luck getting re-established in Cincinnati. I think once you turn down your RPMs as someone mentioned, you will really enjoy the slow pace, lack of crowds, easily available tickets to sports/music/plays, and affordable restaurants and housing here.

                                          1. re: dumas

                                            Your post reminds me that just last week I visited the new Kroger adjacent to Kenwood Mall (entrance off Galbraith Rd.) Apparently it's another "prototype" for them, and it's a visual delight. It features a more upscale deli (full line of Boar's Head), gourmet cheese section, and a ginormous selection of prepared foods. In the regular grocery section, they've implemented a new design with super-wide aisles--with no displays cluttering them up. (No connection with Kroger except as a mostly satisfied customer.)

                                            1. re: Emm

                                              It's really nice to have the big aisles in the new Kroger's (especially since the temporary one in Blue Ash had micro-aisles). However, it seems that however big they make the aisles, a corresponding number of selfish idiots will congregate to block your progress. Call it the "Kroger Principle" if you will.

                                              1. re: Emm

                                                Hi everyone:

                                                Emm: I just found the new Kroger near the Kenwood mall this week. Its really nice and seem to be just about the nicest grocery in town, that I know of. It has a fantastic produce section, a good meat counter and is easy to navigate. And everyone was write about Whole Foods in the area. The one off of 71 is about the same size as most in Cali but the meat counter is terrible and thats a shame. So unforunately Im not going there as much as I would lile to. Restaurants Ive tried within the last couple of weeks...:

                                                Nicholsons: close to home and across the street from the theater. A ver y comfortable place to go and they sport a good menu and an excellent beer selection.
                                                Hugo: really well done "southern" cooking and a nice room. They also have a pretty fairly priced wine list and I appreiate that so much.
                                                Boca: swank room and food to match. Possible the best Ive had in town thus far.
                                                Daveeds/ Mt Adams.....the room was a little tired....but the food was killer. I had a wonderful seared scallop salad with frisee lettuce, lobster nuckle with a light vinaigrette dressing. Then I moved on to a seared duck breast with potato puree and I darned near licked the plate. I also really loved their wine list. Lost of choices, good descriptions and fairly priced. I could go here all the time.
                                                Now I want to go to Nicolas...............I heard its great and I need to see what its about. Anybody had a good experience there?

                                                1. re: thomtompkins

                                                  It's great that you keep checking back in to let us know how your local explorations are going. For groceries, also in the Kenwood area check out Fresh Market, 7888 Montgomery Rd. and of course Trader Joe's, 7788 Montgomery Rd. Yep, I love the ultra-wide aisles in the new Kroger.

                                                  1. re: thomtompkins

                                                    I've been disappointed with the produce at Kroger and Biggs lately, overpriced and tired looking. I've been getting produce at Country Fresh on Beechmont Avenue in Anderson. I know there's a second location in Wyoming. Good selection and good prices, and I feel the quality is better that Kroger.

                                                    As for Nicola's, that one of my wife's favorites. Love the lamb shank, and as you might expect they have a great selection of Italian wines. We were planning to eat there Saturday but chose instead to use up an Oceanaire gift certificate. Life is hard sometimes.

                                                    1. re: thomtompkins

                                                      My parents have eaten at Nicolas and liked it - but not as much as Boca which they felt for about the same cost was far superior.

                                              2. Allure near Montgomery is an excellent restaurant. Creative dishes that actually taste good.

                                                If I lived within 50 miles of Jungle Jim's I'd do all my grocery shopping there.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: vtnewbie

                                                  If you had time for one bowl of chili in Cincinnati where should you go?

                                                  I'm looking for a spot that's downtown preferably...old,beat-up,bad part of town is not a problem.

                                                  I've eaten at Arnolds and loved it as well as Tuckers and Slims;two of my favorite restaurants in the US.

                                                  1. re: scrumptiouschef

                                                    Blue Ash Chili (not downtown, though) or Camp Washington (uptown).

                                                2. I just moved from Cincinnati to Cleveland about a month ago and I can tell you the one thing I miss about it the most is Findlay Market. I used to live about a 15 minute walk from there and I was always going early saturday morning. People will tell you that it's a dangerous neighborhood ect but as a relatively short white female I never had any problems. Herbs and spice in findlay market is an excellent place to get pretty much any herb you could ever want.

                                                  As for restaurants I'd say Indigo in hyde park is a wonderful option as is JeanRo Bistro downtown (fourth and vine I think it's on). Both are on the pricey side but the food is wonderful as are the winelists.

                                                  If you are aiming for something that wont hurt your pocketbook I would suggest Melt in Northside. Tons of vegan and vegetarian foods as well as the most kick butt Brunch on Sundays. There is also, as somebody mentioned, Cilantro which is good.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: FoodieCall

                                                    Two things:

                                                    Head down to Cleveland's West Side Market at W25th and Lorain and you'll find that the market offers a lot more option than Findlay Market.

                                                    While I went to Findlay Market nearly weekly for twenty plus years, I would not recommend walking to Findlay Market from the downtown area. I have worked, shopped, went to school and to church in the area, long before the days of gentrification gave people the illusion of safety.

                                                  2. Thom,

                                                    Welcome to our fair city! A suggestion I'd like to pass along to you is order a copy of Insiders' Guide to Cincinnati, 7th by Felix Winternitz (Author), Sacha DeVroomen Bellman (Author) ISBN-10: 0762741805. It covers restaurants, shopping, and lots of local points of interest. I've bought a couple of copies for relocating friends and they both found the book indispensable. It'll make your relocation to the Queen City much more seamless.


                                                    1. As far as grocery stores in Cincinnati go- I have to give a shout-out to the Bigg's in Oakley/Hyde Park!

                                                      It does a fantastic job of having both everyday items and specialty items (great organic/natural section, and less expensive than Whole Foods! Really great cheese selection- with samples!)

                                                      4 Replies
                                                      1. re: leekalee

                                                        Yes! 'Country Fresh Market' on Beechmont is a real 'find' especially for those of us who live out here in Anderson. In the past few months they have reorganized the store and added even more interesting and hard to find products. And I like the Bigg's at Skytop, not especially for veggies, though, although they are passable and have a nice selection of organics. We are bummed about the veggies/fruits at Kroger and refuse to buy them.

                                                        We have eaten at Nicola's several times and like it very much. Service is good, food is quite nice and the interior design is interesting. After a recent trip to NYC and eating in four or five Italian restaurants there (2 Batalis) during the week, we returned to Cincy and had dinner at Nicolas and determined we liked it as well as the NYC and loved it because it was half the cost, parking was cheap and we could easily get a reservation.

                                                        We have tried Boca three times but have not had good experiences (bad service and'/or unremarkable food) so we try to avoid it. We do like Nada (next to the Aronoff) for a fun dinner out.

                                                        Did I mention that we ate at JoAn's, the Japanese restaurant near CVG, on Christmas Eve and had a fun and lovely dinner with our out-of-town guests? They were from San Francisco and were quite impressed with the selection and service (oh, and the sake!).

                                                        Oh, and one more mention: The Spice Shop (I can't remember the real name) down at Findlay Market is a real resource. I tried to buy cardamom at the Krogers and it was $11 for the bottle. Then I went to Findlay Mkt. and was able to buy just one ounce of the spice for a dollar something. I can't forget about that place next time I need to resupply for baking! Here's the link to the spice store:

                                                        1. re: dumas

                                                          Dumas: WOW.....if you can compare Nicolas to Babbo in New York then I have to drop what Im doing and go there right now......Because as far as Italian is concerned: I think Mario Batali (forget that he's a celebrity chef and way overexposed because he can really cook) makes just about the most interesting, inspired and delicious Italian that I can imagine. (His Babbo cookbook is also a must for any Italian lover and a neat look into the restaurant itself) In fact: I have to think his classic dish "mint love letters" with pea/ mint pesto stuffed envelopes tossed in a slightly spicy lamb sausage ragu is just about the greatest pasta dish on the planet...maybe......regardless: thanks for all the information and I will keep you posted. One last thing: I went to the new Kroger again near the Kenwood mall and I found a MURRAYS CHEESE store inside the Kroger. I didnt even know it was there and I had completely missed it. Murrays cheese is New York City's oldest cheese store and their selection is terific with lots of interesting selections. If you are cheese lover: you have to go and check it out. Forget that its a Krogers.

                                                          So Nicolas it is. I have company coming for the weekend and we will go there to check it out on Saturday.

                                                          1. re: thomtompkins

                                                            Well, I qualified my comparison with the Batali's by including more than just the food! I mentioned parking, ease of access, reservations, cost, etc.! These count for a lot in our view since if we can't get to the place with ease (and thus have a few glasses of wine, etc.,) and get rather 'impromptu' reservations, a restaurant wouldn't hold much attraction!

                                                            We do think Nicola's is very good and we enjoy being 'known' to the owners and the featured food is ususually very good.

                                                            We have never seen Mario at any of his places (although we feel like he's our friend from watching his shows!) I suppose we might have a better chance to see him up in Northport (?), MI (practically a Cincinnati suburb, I think from knowing the loads of Cincinnati people who decamp up there for the summer)where he spends his summer vacations, although I don't know if he has a restaurant up there!

                                                            1. re: thomtompkins

                                                              Thomtompkins: Did you take your company to Nicolas on Sat? I'm interested to hear your thoughts about the place. I've lived in Cinti since (OMG) 1991 and consider myself a foodie. I've been to most of the nicer restaurants here, as well as many of the casual ones. I like Nicolas but think Boca is amazing! If you go, you must try the grilled Caesar salad and the carmelized brussel sprouts. They are both outstanding.

                                                              For burgers, as many have said, skip Zip's and hit Quatmans. For a little more upscale, try Terry's Turf Club for burgers with interesting toppings.

                                                              If you're into bagels, you can't beat Marx Hot Bagels in Blue Ash. The owner is like the "Soup Nazi" of bagels so it's interesting to go just for the "atmosphere".

                                                              My husband and I enjoy Via Vite (same ownership as Nicolas) for happy hour - 1/2 price wine and flatbread pizzas, and then walk over to Jean Ro for dinner (the veal shank is back on the menu and very good).

                                                              For hole-in-the-wall Indian, we love Baba India in Oakley (this was mentioned in an earlier comment). Also just tried Emanu in Pleasant Ridge. They specialize in East African cuisine. I thought it was pretty good and in case you go, it is BYO wine.

                                                              For traditional Italian (checkered tablecloths, candles in chianti bottles on the tables), try Scotti's on Vine St. downtown. Nothing fancy....just good Italian food and reasonably priced wine. It's been around for 50 years or so.

                                                              For Thai, I recommend Teak in Mt. Adams or Wild Ginger in Hyde Park. Both have decent sushi too.

                                                              Not sure if you've been to Nada yet, but it has a happening bar atmosphere and serves somewhat upscale Mexican. Very good sangria - not too sweet. Same chef/owner as Boca.

                                                        2. Just saw this thread for the first time...

                                                          We moved away from Cinci a while ago, but are back fairly often. If you end up in Hyde Park / Mt. Lookout, be sure to check out Sunshine Fine Foods. (They've also opened a downtown location, but I've never been there.) Over the last ten years or so it's expanded into a small grocery store, but it's still an old-fashioned butcher shop at heart. High-quality stuff, and the owner, Brian, is always willing to talk meat with somebody who expresses an interest.

                                                          As far as a local place to have a drink and a bite after work, it'll depend on your neighborhood. But if you're near Mt. Adams, check out the City View Tavern. And in Mt. Lookout, there's Zip's. Both are kinda divey, and the food options are extremely limited (stick with the burgers), but they're very comfortable and full of regulars.