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Dec 1, 2008 10:19 AM

Best Lunch in Downtown Cincinnati?

We'll be in the downtown area on Friday, and would like to know your favorite places for lunch. We've been to Arnold's before, and it was fun, but we're looking for something a bit more upscale. Does Jean-Robert's do lunch? If you had an expense account lunch in the downtown area, where would you choose to go? We like all kinds of food, but would like to focus on higher end places this time; somewhere we can order a glass of wine and be blown away by the food. Thanks in advance!

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  1. Nicholson's on Walnut above 6th. It's "Scottish cuisine", but don't be afraid. Very nice interior and lots of variety on the menu. The Finnan Haddie (smoked haddock) is excellent. When I worked downtown I'd go there about 2-3 times a week, but that was mostly due to the 20+ beers on tap.

    I've never been to Jean-Robert's, but I've always heard great things about it.

    3 Replies
    1. re: JohnE O

      i've only been for dinner but it was FAB.
      and in fact...

      1. re: AMFM

        After I posted this yesterday, I surfed Jean-Roberts and found that same seasonal lunch menu, but it looks like it's only for Christmas eve? It says 24 Dec on the menu, and I couldn't find anything indicating they were open for lunch at other times. Anyone know? I guess I could always do the old-fashioned thing and call ;-)

        1. re: Niki in Dayton

          looks like right day wrong week - lunch more specified here...

      1. re: AMFM

        Thanks again....we're leaning toward Jean-Ro's Bistro right now for lunch. We'll report back, wherever we end up!

      2. My one choice for an expense-account lunch would be Nada.

        4 Replies
        1. re: johnbycz

          Next time we'll probably try Nada. We went to JeanRo's Bistro on Friday and it was *fabulous*! I had the split pea soup to start, and while it didn't rock my world, it was very, very good. DH's French onion soup was one of the best versions either of us has tried; perfectly toasted bread that held up to the complex rich broth, just the right amount of cheese, plenty of camelized onions. I had the winter salad with butternut squash, parsnips, and chestnuts, which was excellent, but DH's choice again surpassed mine (which is always fine, cause we both share ;-). He had the warm frisee salad with poached quail egg, duck confit, and beef demi-glace. OMG! This was the best salad either of us ever tasted, and it was complimented by the red burgundy available by the glass. The salad had shredded duck confit, plus an entire thigh and leg of confit, so there was plenty to share! We also shared a tea-poached pear on puff pastry for dessert, and it was very good, although puff pastry can get a bit tough when wet, as happened with this rendition. This wonderful lunch was less than $100 with tax, tip, wine, espresso, and tea, so it's a good value for a special treat!

          1. re: Niki in Dayton

            SO glad you had a wonderful lunch!

            1. re: AMFM

              Glad you like Jean-Ro's Bistro, too. It's one of our favorites for a dependable and fun lunch. Pretty good food, nice wines and beer, and good service.

              And we took our friends from L.A. to Nada last week and they gave it good reviews. It was crowded and a bit loud but that made it kind of fun.

              I am wondering about Via Vita on Fountain Square for lunch? Does anyone have a recent report for it? We like their other restaurant "Nicola's" but they don't serve lunch there anymore. Any thoughts?

              1. re: dumas

                Had lunch at Jean Ro's today actually. Dependable is accurate.

                I find that Nada is already lacking in quality. The tortillas on the tacos are rubbery. (Are they always sitting awhile?) I highly recommend the sopes (even the waiter said it was the same dish but better than the short rib tacos - since it's not rubbery) The lamb shoulder is by far the best meal I've had at Nada. The guac is addictive and the bananas foster dessert is great too - my kids ordered it and we shared. It's the best Mexican that Cincinnati has to offer.

                Regarding Via Vite, it's an excellent restaurant. The menu is smaller but similar to Nicola's and they focus on the pastas more. It's hard to find a table at lunch when the weather is nice. The bartenders are generous, so don't avoid the bar!

                A great place for lunch that is overlooked is Cumin in Hyde Park. It's lunch is quite fun...Naanwich with curry fries are addictive and turn your fingers yellow. It's not typical Indian food and doesn't even smell like an Indian Restaurant. It's very reliable and Hyde Parkers secret local dinner spot. The Martini's are served with the shaker to refill, so you get at least a drink and a half if not 2 full glasses. Super friendly.