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Jun 3, 2009 04:48 PM

Need help for Cincinnati

We will be coming to Cincinnati in a few weeks and we need Chowhound help.

We will have three nights to have dinner. We will be staying downtown - I think at the Westin - but we will have the car, and also don't mind taking public transportation.

Friday and Sunday we can eat anywhere. Saturday we will be going to the opera, so we need to find somewhere close to the Symphony Hall, or a place where we can finish early enough to get there.

I can't eat spicy food, so no Mexican. Also, we get wonderful Chinese and other Asian food here in Philly, so it wouldn't be my first choice. I guess fusion or Thai would be okay.
Fish, seafood, meat, poultry, pasta - all fine.
We aren't looking for fancy, dressy hotel dining.

Any suggestions would be helpful. Thanks in advance.

Sylvia in Philly

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  1. Search the boards -- there's lots here. The Cincinnati Magazine list is as good as any:

    Many fans of Boca and Slim's on this board. I like Nicola's, and its sister restaurant on Fountain Square near your hotel, Via Vite, would make for a good experience. On Saturday morning I'd check out Findlay Market and have breakfast at Tucker's nearby. Another good choice for breakfast is Hathaway's, in the Carew Tower across from the Westin. You're also required to try Cincinnati chili (Skyline is good, but Camp Washington Chili is the Taj Mahal), and a pilgrimage to Jungle Jim's grocery is worth your while. There's also some pretty good Japanese and Korean in the area.

    1. I would suggest staying away from the touristy food spots like Montgomery Inn. Since I grew up in Philly I would guess you haven't had any decent BBQ (at least not there). Try Jim Dandy's on Sharon Rd. right off I-75 (15 minutes or less from downtown). My fave downtown place is Nicholson's Pub on Walnut (about a block from the Westin). Extremely tasty food (even though it's 'Scottish cuisine') and a tremendous beer selection on tap. Casual attire. Since you can get better seafood where you live, you're probably better off trying other fare.

      (And you can always bring me some Tastykakes or Yeunglings).

      2 Replies
      1. re: JohnE O

        It's over an hour from Cincinnati, but Dunaway's in Troy has Yuengling on tap.
        I'll cosign on all of Mr. Bycz's suggestions, to keep it on topic. Camp Washington is right off the Hopple Street exit o I-75, so it's easy access. They have good goetta, too, which is kind of like scapple.

        Dunaway's Beef & Ale
        508 W Main St, Troy, OH 45373

        1. re: Fibber McGee

          Thanks for the head's up on Yuengling. That's at least a sign that it's made it to Ohio.

      2. Thanks for the great suggestions. I've been printing everything out, ready to go. (Except about the Yuengling. Don't know why you don't get it there.)

        I still need help with Saturday night at the opera. It's at the Music Hall, which is at 1241 Elm St. It starts at 7:30, which means we need an early dinner. Is there anything near there?
        I saw an add for a complete prix-fixe dinner at what looks to be a B & B across the street - I think it was called the Music Hall Hotel, but I'm not sure of this. Does anyone know anything about it? Anyplace casual in walking distance?

        I love having the suggestion about breakfast, the market, etc. This is the kind of stuff I can only find on Chowhound!

        6 Replies
        1. re: sylviag

          There's only a couple Yuengling breweries, one (the first one) in Pennsylvania and one in Florida. Distribution is limited due to that. When I asked the bartender at the place in Ohio how they were able to get it, she said she didn't know.

          1. re: sylviag

            You're going to have to stay south of Central Ave. as that's where all the decent dining is located. I've had good dinners at Palomino's which is close to the Westin (although checking their website, they are a chain). Bootsy's (which is next to Nicholson's on Walnut) is a Jeff Ruby's restaurant. I've never had anything but fantastic food at any of his various restaurants.

            Note: If there is an event going on at the Aronoff ( then a lot of the restaurants around Walnut St. can get crowded.

            1. re: sylviag

              I can't think of anything within walking distance of Music Hall. There's Lavomatic nearby; haven't been there and people either think it's great or they think "what's the big deal?" and I've had people tell me not to bother. Nicola's is also a short drive away. Washington Platform is also a short way from Music Hall; the food is decent (specialize in seafood, especially oysters) but not spectacular.

              If you're thinking of eating after the opera, you'll find Cincinnati's late-night dining choices aren't great. There are a few chili parlors open late, but I can't think of a decent restaurant where the kitchen is open after 10 (maybe Bootsy's, till 11 on Saturdays).

              1. re: johnbycz

                Just a couple of comments, with the apology that I seldom eat at downtown restaurants and thus have nothing in the way of recommendations to contribute. I'd suggest if you're concerned about personal security, the areas around Findlay Market, Tuckers and Lavomatic are considered somewhat rough. I'm not suggesting you're about to become a crime victim, but they're definitely not areas I'd walk in at night (or as a woman, alone during the day) primarily because the possibility of aggressive panhandling is very real. Additionally, if your time is at all limited you might want to carefully check the driving time to Troy; I don't know exactly what it is, but my recall is that it's well more than an hour.

                SInce you said you don't mind driving, I'd like to recommend Primavista, an Italian restaurant with good to excellent food and a stunning view of the city. It's not more than 15 to 20 minutes from downtown.

                1. re: Emm

                  That's why I suggested Saturday morning. I've been going to Findlay Market for 25 years and I have never had a problem. This time of the year is the best time to go to Findlay Market, because the goods are starting to come in from the farms and the market is very busy.

                  1. re: Emm

                    It's well over an hour to Troy, it's a bit North of Dayton. I mentioned it because it's the one place in Ohio that has the aforementioned Yuengling. Since the OTS if from Philly, that's nothing really special for them, but for those of us who've enjoyed it elsewhere, we miss when we're in Ohio.

              2. Welcome (in advance) to Cincy, Silvia! Could you bring some Lemon-cello gelato from Toto's (in Ambler) for me? It's the one item we crave consistently! :)

                I have suggestions for you as well. I think for the night of the opera the places I would lean toward is Via Vite (italian), Jeff Ruby's (steak), Bootsy's (Spanish), Nada (Spanish), JeanRo Bistro(French), Nicholsons(Scottish), or Arnolds (Bar food). All of which are local and would keep you close to your hotel and give you an opportunity to see our 5th street Fountain square. A suggestion for another place to explore is Clifton in particular the Ludlow street area. It is not very far away from downtown and a electic shopping and dining area (make sure to walk into the gaslight streets north of Ludlow ave for cool, old houses)

                Reply back if you have any questions.

                1 Reply
                1. re: qkalis

                  You Cincinnati Chowhounds are really good! I love these suggestions.
                  I think what we will do is have an early dinner near the hotel on Saturday (Via Vite opens early, and so do some of the others) and then go to the Music Hall. We don't have to eat right near there if we leave enough time.

                  Our other days we can try some of these other choices.

                  As for gelato - Philadelphia has been enjoying fabulous gelato from Capogiro. It began local and small, but has expanded in Philly and now will be going national. It is expensive, but it is really special.

                  Thanks again for all the help.