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Jun 7, 2009 07:56 PM

Kid Friendly/Veg Friendly in Cincy

My husband & I will be visiting Cincinnati from Chicago for 3 days later this month with our 5 year-old and 2-1/2 year-old. We'll be staying downtown but will have a car. I am mostly vegetarian but will eat fish. Any recommendations (preferably in the cheap/moderate range)?


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  1. My daughter is a vegetarian, and these are her favorites. All are within 15 minutes of downtown

    Melt -- Northside, salads and sandwiches with a vegetarian focus. Even I love this place.
    Cactus Pear -- Clifton, Mexican, a tad upscale for Mexican with a terrific house salsa.
    First Watch -- Breakfast and lunch, many locations, including downtown
    Honey -- Northside, but only for brunch; they don't have a lot of options at dinner time.
    Chipotle -- famous chain Mexican. There's one on Fountain Square downtown.
    Dewey's -- Local chain of upscale pizza with good salads. many locations but none downtown.
    Ambar -- Clifton, Indian.

    There's also Oceanaire and McCormick & Schmick, both seafood, both downtown. Downtown Italian includes Scotti's and Roma Trattoria. In the Westin Hotel is Ingredients, which is fresh salads, sandwiches and pizza, but I don't know their weekend hours.

    I wouldn't consider any of these to be unfriendly to kids, but they're not Chuck E. Cheese, either.

    6 Replies
    1. re: johnbycz

      Thanks for the suggestions. Will definitely try Melt.

      I think we're meeting family for dinner one night at Montgomery Inn Boathouse--any opinions?

      1. re: sbethp

        i have to second Melt as a fantastic vegetarian option and very kid friendly. Aside from that, I'd recommend Shanghai Mama's downtown.

        In terms of vegetarian options at the Montgomery Inn Boathouse - eat a big lunch!

        1. re: sbethp

          You might try searching this board for past discussions of Montgomery Inn, which incidentally is not vegetarian-friendly unless the individual is happy eating various side dishes. Many Cincinnatians think it's a mediocre restaurant that's "resting on its laurels" in this very conservative, tradition-bound community. Other people swear by it. One thing to know is that the ribs are boiled, not smoked, and the sauce is very sweet.

          All that said, I never think it's a good idea to start some kind of family disagreement over something like a meal. It's just food :)

          1. re: sbethp

            This is one man's opinion: I like Montgomery Inn. I've been taking friends, family and business associates there for 20 years, everyone from farmers to PhDs, and the opinion is 95 percent favorable, no exaggeration. No, they're not the greatest ribs on the face of the earth, and yes, there are many areas for improvement (weak salads, for instance), but many many people enjoy the place. Enjoy the setting on the river. Get the saratoga chips, order sauce on the side for your ribs.

            1. re: sbethp

              Thanks all. At Emm's suggestion, I did go back and read past discussions of Montgomery Inn and visited their website. Definitely not the place I'd choose, but since it's my husband's family (Cincinnati locals) whom we're meeting (and I've only met them once before), I'm certainly not going to put up a fight. Thankfully I do eat fish, so there are a few options for me there.

              1. re: sbethp

                Their crab cakes are tasty as are the salads. Actually they do have good food overall, but their ribs (in my opinion) are awful.

            2. I'm also vegetarian and agree that you could find good options at most of the suggested places. Melt, First Watch and Dewey's would probably fit the cheap/moderate and kid-friendly categories best. I've always found something delicious to eat at Honey, but I don't know that I would call it kid-friendly at all. It's really loud, and I would think that normal kid noises would be amplified in a potentially uncomfortable way. It's definitely in the moderate price range.

              In Clifton (just north of downtown/Over-the-Rhine), my favorite places are Myra's and Floyd's (within a few doors of each other on Calhoun Ave; both have nice patios/courtyards); Cilantro (Vietnamese on Clifton Ave.; would be better for take-out than dining in since it's so tiny); Thai Cafe (on Ludlow Ave.; lunch is a better deal than dinner); and Sitwell's (also on Ludlow; good sandwiches and salads).

              Enjoy your visit!