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May 13, 2012 10:35 PM

Cincinnati Dining Dilemna

I'm gonna be in CIncy for a few days the end of this month. The wife and I will probably leave the kids with grandma and duck out for a nice dinner one night. I'm looking for somewhere with good/fun food, we like everything. So far I am considering Local 127 and Abigail St. (downtown), Honey (Northside) and Banana Leaf (Mason). Any input would be welcome

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  1. Virgil's Cafe in Bellevue, KY, just across the river. A terrific local place. We've enjoyed a nice lunch there, including an andouille po-boy with their on-site made and smoked andouille and a Buffalo chicken sandwich that my wife called the best sandwich she'd ever had. Then we had an elegant dinner for my wife's birthday, including shrimp and grits, chicken etouffee and their take on a hot brown. Wine and beer list is outstanding, and the bartender makes the best cocktails around. It's a short drive from downtown -- maybe ten minutes tops. And the main drag in Bellevue has some outstanding shops.

    2 Replies
    1. re: jmckee

      Don't often disagree with jmckee, but we ate at Virgil's in January and were underwhelmed. Been to Local 127 in the past but not since it moved; we've had some really good meals there. Honey is one of my favorites, but two cautions: They don't take reservations, and it can be really loud in there, especially if the bar is busy. Our current go-to restaurant when we need a break is Nada -- good drinks, good food (their pork belly taco is one of the best things I've ever eaten) but it's not cheap. It's always busy and they do take reservations. We've also had a couple of really good meals at Otto's in Covington. I'd also suggest getting a beer at the new Moerlein Lager House next to the ballpark. The food is just OK, but the beer and the atmosphere is fun.

      1. re: johnbycz

        I've had a great burger and cocktails at Senate. The place is tiny, but worth a visit if you can get there early to grab a table.

    2. My favorite nice place to eat is the Brown Dog in Blue Ash (it's closer than Mason). Favorite casual place to eat is Ali Baba's on Red Bank Road. Moerlien Lager House has been getting some great reviews. If the Reds aren't playing it may be a good time to check it out.

      1 Reply
      1. re: JohnE O

        I like Brown Dog's sibling Green Dog, on Columbua Parkway. Nice stuff.

      2. I’m probably posting this too late for you, but I’ll write it anyway. You’ve received some great recommendations here already. I’ve had some great meals at Virgil’s, Brown Dog is very good too (very easy to get to if you are out in the NE suburbs), and there are several other places her I need to try. My never fail place to take my wife is to Senate though. This restaurant is located in the Gateway area of Over the Rhine. The restaurants located down in this area make you feel more like you are in NYC, San Francisco, Boston, Minneapolis, etc., not in Cincinnati. That is to Cincinnati’s credit. A Tyvola about 20 steps from Senate is also very good. There are several great bars in this area for an after dinner drink also. We live about 3 miles from the restaurant you asked about in Mason, but we gladly make the 20 mile drive down to the Gateway area for a night out.