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Jun 14, 2010 04:10 AM

Italian in Cincinnati

Any great recommendations? We can't do super expensive--about $25 with tax without alcohol.

thoughts? We are staying downtown but can drive. We were thinking of Bella Luna in Mount Adams---would that be good?

Bella Luna Cafe
4632 Eastern Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45226

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  1. Cincinnati does not have a lot of great Italian restaurants, except for Boca and Nicola's, and both would qualify as "super expensive." But I like Bella Luna -- quirky joint and the menu changes often. My friends and I have had many good meals there, never bad service. Check for cheap gift certificates (I bought a $25 certificate for $3 there). Also, it is NOT in Mount Adams; it's in a neighborhood called Linwood.

    Downtown is Via Vite, a sister restaurant to Nicola's. The food is very good and it's right on Fountain Square, but it's not cheap. Also downtown is Scotti's, a red-sauce restaurant but I haven't been there is many years. Some people love it. Also also downtown is Campanello's, a classic hole-in-the-wall. I like it (I have a real weakness for their white clam sauce) but it's not a place I'd send out-of-towners. If you have your heart set on Italian, Bella Luna is a good choice.

    Via Vite
    520 Vine Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202

    Bella Luna Cafe
    4632 Eastern Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45226

    1. A really casual place to eat is Jean Paul's Paridiso:

      I haven't explored too much on the menu, but what I've had there has been killer, especially for the price.

      1 Reply
      1. re: JohnE O

        Love Jean Paul's, but it's not really a restaurant, just a couple of tables, no table service, and I don't think it's open past 8 pm or 9 pm. Still, great pizza.

      2. The location isn't terribly convenient, but Vincenzo's is very good:

        1. Agree to all above. Nicola's is my favorite. Via Vite has always been good, but not knocked my sock off like Nicola's.

          For reasonably priced Italian you are outta luck. I went to Maggiano's at Kenwood recently and enjoyed it... We need some good places.

          If you are into making Rainman references then go to Pompilios in Newport. It's time has past, but I have enjoyed a few items there.

          Good Luck!

          Troy, MI, Troy, MI

          Via Vite
          520 Vine Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202

          1. Cincinnati is not good territory for eating Italian. For fine dining Nicola's is good, as is Barrisi's. For something less expensive/more casual, try Vincenzo's or Pitrelli's. I particularly recommend Pitrelli's. Vincenzo's used to be a cult favorite when it was located in an undersized former gas station, but now they've moved to a real restaurant building, and the food has maybe slipped just a little with the expansion. Same for Germano's, which preceded Vincenzo's at the gas station location before moving upscale.

            2 Replies
            1. re: JHHAM

              I'll second Barresi's. My wife's great-aunt has taken us there a few times. It's reeeeeallly good.

              1. re: jmckee

                My husband considers Barresi's the best restaurant of any kind in the Cincinnati area. I'm not sure I'd go that far, but it's absolutely wonderful.