One amazing lunch in Cincinnati
Die-hard San Francisco/Napa foodie is flying into Cincinnati for a series of meetings and will only have availability for ONE lunch.
I read the online Cincinnati magazine for lunch suggestions and would love your input -- if you could only have one:
Mayberry (just a sandwich and salad place?)
Nada (last on my list - I live in California and get plenty of tacos)
or something entirely different that I am missing?
This might be my one-and-only trip to your fair city and I'd like to make my one meal out worthy!
Thanks so much!
A few things: "Fountain Square" is a place, not a restaurant. Via Vite is a restaurant on Fountain Square and it's good but nothing you couldn't get elsewhere. Also, are you looking for lunch food or dinner food at lunch?
Mayberry is very good, kinda homestyle-plus food. Terrific burger, but no more a go-to place than say, Tucker's in Over-the-Rhine, which is an old diner with food you might not be used to finding in diners.
Nada is also very good; it's upscale Mexican (the pork-belly tacos are really good), but it's better when you can have a few drinks.
Haven't been to Jean-Robert's but I've not heard a bad thing about it. That might also be your choice.
You might also consider Senate in Over-the-Rhine. For lunch food, try Tom + Chee, which is grilled cheese and tomato soup, and much better than it sounds.
Personally, when I visit a town and can only get one meal, I go for the local specialty. I've had many disappointments at supposedly "hot" restaurants. In Cincinnati, I'd go for Cincinnati chili. There are Skyline restaurants everywhere, but then there's Camp Washington Chili, a James Beard award winner.
520 Vine Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202
Camp Washington Chili
3005 Colerain Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45225
We lived in Cincinnati for 9 years then moved to the New Haven, CT, area. When we retired we moved back to Cincinnati, so we have been busy since 2006 sampling Cincinnati restaurants. John makes and excellent recommendation in his "eat local" suggestion. The Cincinnati style Chili is unique to this part of the country.
Another place we often take visitors is The Montgomery Inn (specifically the one located near downtown called the Montgomery Inn at the Boathouse). Their specialty is BBQ, but the food is not what we take people here for, the atmosphere and the experience is why people from out of town like this place. Besides the environment in restaurant itself, its location on the banks of the Ohio River is quite nice, especially if the weather cooperates. As far as great food goes, there are several other good places to eat (some of them a little funky), but like I said, I think John's recommendation to eat local was "spot on!"
11314 Tamarco Dr, Cincinnati, OH 45242
I live in Dayton, but eat often in Cincy--including most of the places mentioned. Jean-Robert's Table would be my choice for lunch; while not unique, Jean-Robert's "local credential" is being a top chef in Cincinnati for 20+ years, and his ongoing adaptation of French style to the Cincinnati palate.