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Cincinnati – Late Saturday Afternoon, Findlay Market, Sunday Brunch, Downtown Dinner

nsxtasy Aug 29, 2012 07:31 PM

I’m planning a trip to Cincinnati in a few weeks, to catch a couple of baseball games. I’m looking for absolutely delicious food, money no object. My time frame is limited, and that creates various constraints for what I want to do. My questions concern where to eat three meals: an early dinner Saturday afternoon, Sunday brunch, and Sunday dinner downtown. I apologize in advance for the length of this post, but I know the more information I give, the better the recommendations might fit what I’m looking for. Help me find the best that Cincinnati has to offer!

FINDLAY MARKET / LATE SATURDAY AFTERNOON DINING

I’m going to be arriving downtown at Fountain Square at 2:00 pm and want to be at Great American Ball Park when they open the gates at 5:40 pm. In between will be my main meal of the day. I won’t have a car, but I’m pretty good finding my way around using public transportation. There are two ways I could go on this, and they’re not even mutually exclusive. (a) I’ve been reading about Findlay Market. It’s not far from downtown, well served by numerous bus routes. It sounds interesting enough to check it out, and maybe “graze”. I’m not sure what’s good there, and whether it’s possible to eat enough to make a dinner out of it. (b) If there’s a really great restaurant that is open all afternoon, or even one that starts serving dinner by 4:00 (*maybe* 4:30), that would work. I know there are some chain places downtown (Palomino, Rock Bottom, and Crave near the ballpark) that are okay and would qualify, but I’m wondering whether there is something better and more creative than that. What about Via Vite, which opens at 4:00; is it any good?

So my questions are these:

1. Where can I go for a nice dinner at a place that’s near downtown and open all afternoon (or by 4:00 or so)? Via Vite? Anywhere else?
2. Is Findlay Market a “don’t miss” destination for foodies?
3. Is there enough prepared food at or near Findlay Market to make a meal out of it?

SUNDAY BRUNCH

I’m meeting friends for Sunday brunch, and I want to knock their socks off. They can pick me up at my hotel (not sure where yet) and then drop me off at the ballpark afterwards, so I have a bit of flexibility on location. But not on time; I’d like to be back at GABP by 11:30.

Sunday brunches tend to fall into three categories. First, there are breakfast-focused restaurants, which are usually also open for breakfast during the week. A downside of such places is that they don’t usually accept reservations, and waits to be seated can be lengthy. Second, there are restaurants that are only open for dinner and maybe lunch during the week, but have a special Sunday brunch menu, served a la carte. Many such places accept reservations. Third, there are some restaurants, often in hotels, where they do a big all-you-can-eat buffet. I don’t have any preference for one type versus another. I did some research on the ‘net, and found a bunch of places in the first category, but nothing in the other two, which I would also like to consider. Both Half Day Café and Annabel’s sound great to me, with HDC getting props for a bigger menu, Annabel’s for being closer to downtown. Other places whose menus I looked at include Take the Cake, Mokka, Nada, Melt, and Tucker’s.

So the question here is simple: Where would you go for Sunday brunch, for absolutely great food that will impress your friends and your taste buds?

DOWNTOWN SUNDAY DINNER - SIT-DOWN / CARRY-OUT

At the Sunday ballgame, first pitch is at 1:10 pm. Afterwards, I need to leave for the ride home from Fountain Square at 6:30 pm. Baseball games typically last around three hours, start to finish; however, I can't count on leaving the game at a particular time, since it might be an extra inning thriller that goes 4-5 hours, or it might be a blowout which I wouldn't mind leaving before it ends. And I'll need to be at FS 15-30 minutes early. Therefore, this will be a two-part question.

a. Sit-down dining. Let's say I have two hours between the end of the game and my departure. That ought to be enough time to have a nice sit-down meal in between. I would need a place downtown that's open late afternoon on Sundays. And I’m not big on steakhouses. I’ve found two strong possibilities, Nada and Via Vite, based on their websites. Are these any good? Chains like Crave, Rock Bottom, and Palomino are also possibilities. Any thoughts on these, and/or any other recommendations?

b. Carry-out. Let's say I have an hour between the game and my departure. That wouldn't be enough time to stop and eat anywhere, but I would have time to pick up a meal for carry-out, which I could take with me. (If need be, I could phone in the order ahead of time.) Any recommendations? I don't plan on eating much at the ballpark. I suppose I could call one of the sit-down places I mentioned in the previous paragraph to see if they can do carry-out. I was just wondering if there is anywhere else that’s really set up for carry-out, like a deli or sandwich place.

I promise to report back afterwards on where I went and how everything was.

TIA!

  1. nsxtasy Sep 23, 2012 12:28 PM

    I ended up eating the buffet brunch with my friends at the Cincinnati Hilton Netherland Plaza this morning, and it was absolutely terrific, just as promised. It's a lavish buffet, with all the usual stuff - a carving station, made-to-order omelets, lots of fish dishes, a dessert buffet, etc. It was the perfect suggestion!

    As noted above, my needs for this trip shifted significantly when the times for the ballgames changed. I had dinner last night at Jean Robert's Table, and loved it. They have a knack for delicious food and nicely composed plates, with a variety of tastes and textures.

    As for dinner tonight before the ballgame, I'm not sure what I'm going to do. I'm still pretty full from brunch. :)

    4 Replies
    1. re: nsxtasy
      JohnE O Sep 23, 2012 03:48 PM

      If you see a young man on stilts at the Morlein Lager House making balloon animals, tip him well. (That's my boy).

      1. re: JohnE O
        nsxtasy Sep 24, 2012 06:35 PM

        :)

        Yesterday I also had a light dinner at Orchids of Palm Court, in the same place as I had brunch. It was excellent!

        I should also mention that, along with delicious food, the hotel is just amazing. Orchids of Palm Court and the Sunday brunch buffet are in the Cincinnati Hilton Nederland Plaza. The hotel was built in 1931 in the Art Deco style and subsequently restored, and the decor is astounding, with marble everywhere, hand-painted frescos on the walls and ceilings, etc. What an exquisite setting for a restaurant!

         
        1. re: nsxtasy
          j
          johnbycz Sep 26, 2012 11:48 AM

          Glad you enjoyed your visit. The Palm Court is an amazing room.

          1. re: nsxtasy
            k
            kyra1 Sep 29, 2012 12:06 PM

            I'm glad you got to see the amazing dining room at the Netherlands; it's just so gorgeous. I am sure the food was just as good as the decor. I am glad to hear another positive report about the brunch there.

            Glad you had a good time and come back to Ohio soon!

      2. nsxtasy Sep 8, 2012 11:46 AM

        Well, with the change in time for both ballgames, my plans have changed considerably. Fortunately, this means some prime dinner hours have opened up, and I've responded accordingly. The previous posts have been very helpful to me in revising my plans. Here's what my itinerary now looks like:

        Saturday
        2:00 - Arrive downtown Cincinnati. Grab some light, quick fare from the vendors at Oktoberfest and ice cream from Graeter's, then walk to the ballpark to arrive around when they open the gates at 2:35.
        4:05 - Reds game. Note, most ballgames take 3-3.5 hours.
        8:00 - Dinner reservation at Jean-Robert's Table. From what I've read, Jean-Robert's and Orchids at Palm Court are generally considered the two best and most creative restaurants in town, and their website menus sound splendid.

        Sunday
        10:30 - Brunch with friends at the Hilton Netherland Plaza.
        12:00 - Not sure how I'm going to spend the afternoon, which has suddenly opened up with the change in time for the ballgame. Findlay Market would normally be appealing, but after a big brunch (and possibly before a big dinner - see below), maybe not so much. I might instead spend the afternoon at the zoo, which I once visited and enjoyed. (I know Chowhound is not the place for recommendations that are not related to food.)
        4:30 - Dinner before the game. I'm going to play this by ear, see how I feel. I might go to Moerlein Lager House and see if I can get in as a walk-in. Another option I might consider is dinner at Orchids at Palm Court when they open at 5:30. I'm not so sure about that because the style of food is somewhat similar to my dinner the previous night, and it's in the same hotel where I'm having brunch earlier in the day. But hitting both Jean-Robert's and Orchids in the same trip would make for a great trip, no? :)
        8:00 - Reds game. And after two big meals that day, I don't think I'll be worrying about more food afterwards - good thing, since after the game everything will be closed that late on a Sunday night. With a revised 1:25 a.m. departure, I'll sleep on the ride home.

        I have two more quick questions. Are the cream puffs at Oktoberfest filled with pastry cream (custard) or with whipped cream? And, I see that Montgomery Inn has a couple of booths in the ballpark; is their food comparable to what you get at their restaurant?

        Any additional comments and suggestions are welcome!

        5 Replies
        1. re: nsxtasy
          k
          kyra1 Sep 8, 2012 11:10 PM

          I am working on cream puff intelligence for you! Schmidt's is a German restaurant from Columbus and their food is generally pretty good. I've never eaten their cream puffs but will find out what the filling is. Servatti's is a bakery from Cincinnati and their stuff is very good. Ditto on their cream puffs. I will report back.

          I hadn't thought about Jean-Robert's restaurant; good idea. I haven't been to Table but ate at his previous place (Jean-Ro's Bistro) a number of times and always found it to be very good. I hear the red snapper at Orchids is excellent.

          Of course I would never dream of discussing non-food things here, but if you need other suggestions for Sunday afternoon activities, well, it is my hometown.

          1. re: kyra1
            Niki in Dayton Sep 9, 2012 07:22 AM

            Schmidt's creampuffs have a custard type filling, versus a whipped cream filling. Some folks like one style, some like the other, but personally, I love Schmidt's puffs.

            1. re: kyra1
              nsxtasy Sep 9, 2012 09:19 AM

              >> I hadn't thought about Jean-Robert's restaurant; good idea.

              Yes, my available options expanded dramatically when they changed the Saturday game time from 7:00 (dinner at 4:00) to 4:00 (dinner at 8:00). I'm no longer limited to places that are open all afternoon on Saturdays.

              1. re: kyra1
                k
                kyra1 Sep 10, 2012 07:14 AM

                I called Servatti's, and they were very helpful. Their cream puff filling is a half-and-half mixture of whipped cream and pastry cream (which they called "Bavarian cream"). So now you know about two of the cream puff fillings!

              2. re: nsxtasy
                k
                kyra1 Sep 9, 2012 11:11 AM

                My source confirms that Schmidt's uses a pastry cream filling in their cream puffs, and thinks their mobile food services would offer the same stuff as their restaurant here in Columbus.

              3. j
                johnbycz Sep 7, 2012 01:42 PM

                Another change in plans for you -- ESPN just grabbed the Sunday game, so starting time has been moved to 8 pm from 1 pm. The upside is you can make it to Findlay Market, which is open at noon on Sundays.

                1 Reply
                1. re: johnbycz
                  nsxtasy Sep 7, 2012 02:30 PM

                  Wow. Unbelievable. So much for the rest of my travel plans. :(

                  Thanks for letting me know!!!

                2. k
                  kyra1 Sep 7, 2012 10:17 AM

                  You have helped me on a number of occasions, notably Chicago recommendations, so I would love to return the favor. I am originally from Cincinnati and still have family there. I am not as current on the restaurant scene there as I would like, but let me tell you what I know.

                  Oktoberfest: I have not been in years, but the information you've gotten from other posters seems sound. It is big and noisy and fun. I am not a cream puff person but many people love Schmidt's (from Columbus) and/or Servatti's (from Cincinnati). If you see mettwurst, you might try it, as I feel like it's harder to find outside of Cincinnati, although I don't know what vendor to steer you towards.

                  Dinner: I can't recommend the Montgomery Inn Boathouse, even though it's a family favorite, because I have never loved their ribs, and I haven't been in years so I can't tell you about the quality of the rest of the food. I know many people love the Montgomery Inn, and they are an institution, but you either love the ribs or you don't. From what I know about your food tastes, I fear you would not love them, and I'd hate for you to blow a meal in Cincinnati. However, I agree the location/view/atmosphere are good.

                  I agree with other posters that you may not be as impressed with Nada as we are, since you are coming from Chicago, but I do need to tell you I've dined there three times in the past year and really love the place, especially the patio. I think they have good food and drink and excellent service and think you'd get a good meal there. I love the oyster shooters, the ceviche, the queso with chorizo, the pork cazuela (with the egg), and was impressed with the barbacoa tacos, which I did not expect to like. I'm also a fan of the churros (always fresh, not greasy, not too sweet).

                  I also know Nada serves brunch, but know nothing about it. Maybe someone here can help?

                  For brunch, you might consider a place called Taste of Belgium, in the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood. This would be only a short drive, and I can strongly recommend their exceptional beer list and the goetta crepes. Goetta is a Cincinnati food that I ate reluctantly as a kid (don't tell my German ancestors) but I just LOVED this dish. The atmosphere was good; we sat at a communal table. The owner and servers were very friendly and went to a lot of trouble to make sure we would enjoy our food, and to help me select a beer I would like (they brought me tastes to be certain). They make killer waffles (available at Findlay Market in Cincinnati and the North Market in Columbus) but I dream about those goetta crepes.

                  I have also eaten at Via Vite, although not recently, and the food was solid. It didn't knock my socks off, but it was a good meal, and the space is nice. I would eat there over Rock Bottom for sure.

                  Sadly, I have not yet been to the Moerlein Lager House. I have heard mixed reviews but I plan to try it anyway.

                  Even if you don't eat at the Palm Court at the Hilton, do go have a drink there at the bar, or at least walk through it. Even non-architecture fans are amazed by this room. It used to be the hotel lobby and it's absolutely stunning. I know the chef there is good (Todd Kelly) and have also heard good things about brunch.

                  Oh, and Findlay Market. I've been two or three times in the past year or two and have mixed feelings about it. I want to love it, like I love the North Market in Columbus. The farmers' market is definitely good (and can draw a crowd). The permanent market is a bit mixed. It's not in a great neighborhood (I am not saying this is good or bad, just a fact), although I'm not personally bothered by that. There is a lot of empty space at the market, so be prepared for that. Having said that, I would recommend it, as there isn't anyplace else like it in Cincinnati. Dojo Gelato gets a lot of press and while I thought some of their flavors were very good (the Vietnamese coffee was a favorite with our group), others were, to me, just good. Definitely worth a try. (Madisono's also makes excellent ice cream, in my book. And maybe you know about Graeter's already? I ate that all the time growing up in Cincinnati, although I have to admit I'm now a Jeni's convert.) The spice place, Colonel De, definitely is worth a peek: very friendly and a good assortment. There's a Vietnamese place that gets good press that I can't think of the name of right this second. Pho Lang Thang, maybe? There are also good butchers and other vendors, although I don't know if you're looking to take food home? (If you are, that's another topic.)

                  I feel like this is a little disjointed, but I wanted to respond. Again, you've helped me often, so I wanted to try and help you out as well, especially on my home turf, so to speak. Please do report back and let us know what other questions you have.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: kyra1
                    nsxtasy Sep 7, 2012 10:49 AM

                    That's all terrific, helpful information - thank you!

                    Now that I know my game time has changed, that knocks out Findlay Market, but instead I might grab food from the Oktoberfest vendors when I arrive. Cream puffs sound good. Oh, and I was salivating at the Taste of Belgium website; I LOVE "Liege style" Belgian waffles, the ones made with pearl sugar that caramelizes when cooked, and it was my one "must" stop at Findlay Market. I know they also have a bistro at 12th and Vine, but that's the wrong direction. So unless they have a booth at Oktoberfest, I'm outta luck, oh well. Instead, I may try one of the ice cream places like Graeter's, which is right on Fountain Square, even when they're not doing Oktoberfest. Is Graeter's vs Jeni's one of those Cincinnati vs Columbus competitions? :) They have Jeni's at my local gourmet food market at home, but I've never tried it; they charge $11.99 for a pint!

                    Thanks again for all this helpful information! I'll be in Cincinnati for 28 hours, and it will all help me make the most of my time.

                    1. re: nsxtasy
                      k
                      kyra1 Sep 7, 2012 12:52 PM

                      The waffles are FANTASTIC. I have never been to Belgium, but these waffles are amazing. I actually prefer them at room temperature, although they are also fabulous warm. I hope that one of your trips to Columbus or Cincinnati, you get to sample them. Or that you'll let me ship some to you!

                      I would not say that the ice cream is a competition, although others might see it that way. Graeter's has been in business in Cincinnati for a number of years and is still owned by the Graeter's family, as far as I know. It is "French pot" method ice cream, made in small batches, and has a high fat content. It is what I ate as a kid as the "gold standard" of local ice cream, although Aglamesis is also very good (another story). The flavor to try is black raspberry chocolate chip, or any of the chocolate chip flavors. The liquid chocolate is poured into the frozen ice cream, and flakes off in small and large shards. It's very good ice cream, but it is rich and heavy.

                      Jeni's is more recently native to Columbus. Jeni's is more of an Italian gelato style ice cream, and while it's very smooth and rich-tasting, I am sure it's lower in fat. Her flavors are also a little more unusual. She's a stickler for local ingredients (Snowville Creamery cream and milk) and she's recently expanded to Nashville and Cleveland, but locations are concentrated in Columbus. If you are ever in the area, it is definitely worth a try. Oh, I see you said you can buy pints. They are crazy expensive. The flavor everyone (but me) loves is salty caramel. My favorites tend to be seasonal (strawberry; sweet corn and blackberry; some of her winter flavors; plus the one-offs) but you might try the Reisling poached pear to get an idea of what she can do.

                      That was probably more than you wanted to ever know about Ohio ice cream! I apologize.

                      1. re: kyra1
                        nsxtasy Sep 8, 2012 11:53 AM

                        Actually, I love this information and it's very helpful. In fact, I think I'm going to try one of the Jeni's pints locally, maybe the sweet corn and blackberry. I love the use of corn in sweeter dishes (e.g. Gerard Craft's hot corn soup with a small scoop of creme fraiche ice cream at Niche in St. Louis, and Heather Terhune's amazing sweet corn creme brulee at Sable in Chicago, both of which are savory dishes, not desserts - and I see they have a sweet corn soup on the menu at Orchids at Palm Court). And I'll hit Graeter's on my trip.

                        Thanks for the offer regarding the Liege-style waffles. We have a place in Chicago called Baladoche that makes them fresh. And supermarkets here (including Whole Foods) sell them frozen, under the Julian's brand ( www.juliansrecipe.com ); they're pretty darn good, especially for something so convenient.

                        1. re: nsxtasy
                          nsxtasy Sep 8, 2012 03:33 PM

                          Darn, they were out of the sweet corn and blackberry, so I got a pint of the salty caramel. Ironically, I noticed that they also carry pints of Graeter's there.

                          1. re: nsxtasy
                            k
                            kyra1 Sep 8, 2012 11:06 PM

                            I hope you'll let me know what you think about the ice cream. Again, Jeni's salty caramel is not my favorite (I am not much of a caramel person in general) but it's very, very popular. I am sad you were not able to get the sweet corn and blackberry as I think it's really stellar; a nice balance of flavor and not too sweet. Her ice creams are generally not overly sweet.

                            I am a HUGE fan of the sweet corn creme brulee at Sable. And Sable in general! I think their pretzels are excellent.

                  2. nsxtasy Sep 6, 2012 05:10 PM

                    First of all, thanks again for all the suggestions. Great information!

                    I have a couple of new questions highlighted below.

                    With my trip coming up in a couple of weeks, I went through the website menus of all the restaurants that have been suggested here. I found one which wowed me more than all the others, and that was Moerlein Lager House. So I called them up. Apparently the weekend of my visit coincides with two major local events: Oktoberfest Zinzinnati, and the Hudepohl 14K Brewery Run, and Moerlein is a major sponsor of both events. They told me they are no longer taking any reservations for the entire weekend, due to these events. I asked about walk-ins, and they said that they will accept walk-ins, possibly to be seated at the bar (which would be all right, since I'm dining solo anyway). So I guess I'll chance dining there late Saturday afternoon, early enough (like 4:00-4:30) that I might have a chance they won't be too busy with the baseball crowd, and late enough that the crowd drinking and dining after the marathon might be winding down.

                    QUESTIONS: I have some additional questions about the impact of these two events on my plans. I understand that there will be something like a half million people participating. There will be 30 food vendors around Fountain Square; should I assume they are not Chowhound-worthy? Also, how crowded will it get, downtown and in Over-the-Rhine (where I'm planning to go to Findlay Market and where some of the brewpubs are)? Do they close off streets and reroute public transit, or will I be able to get around? Will Findlay Market be mobbed? I realize that Fountain Square is going to be ground zero for the crowds, but between arriving and departing there, and the proximity of the ballpark, I can't do much to avoid it.

                    For Sunday dinner, I'm leaning towards Palomino, a chain I've enjoyed in Indianapolis but which we don't have in Chicago. (Polenta shortcake! Sicilian donuts!) I made a reservation there for after the game, so I have that option unless I change my mind between now and then.

                    Again, I promise to report back afterwards on where I went and how everything was.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: nsxtasy
                      JohnE O Sep 7, 2012 07:00 AM

                      Zinzinnati has the largest Oktoberfest outside of Germany. There will be tons of people but they will be mostly concentrated right on 4th St. It is definitely Chowhound worthy, but there are good booths and mediocre booths. If nothing else hit Schmidt's Sausage and at least get the cream puff. The Bengals aren't in town that weekend but the Reds have an afternoon game on Saturday and Sunday. I've found that aside from 4th St., the rest of downtown is actually fairly quiet as everyone converges on the event.

                      1. re: JohnE O
                        nsxtasy Sep 7, 2012 07:20 AM

                        Thanks, that's a bit of a relief.

                        On another note, I was all set to go to Half Day Cafe for Sunday brunch, since I was highly impressed with the menu and the reviews, until I noticed their hours: Monday through Saturday. (I even phoned them to confirm this, because at one point they had opened for Sunday brunch, but it's true, they're not open Sundays now.) Arrrgh!!! So, I'll go back to reviewing my other options - the leading ones being Annabel's, Mokka, Take the Cake, and the Hilton Netherland Plaza (thanks johnbycz).

                        1. re: nsxtasy
                          JohnE O Sep 7, 2012 01:44 PM

                          Just in case you need it, here's the link to Oktoberfest: http://www.oktoberfestzinzinnati.com/

                          It's got a handy guide to food and entertainment and other helpful info.

                      2. re: nsxtasy
                        j
                        johnbycz Sep 7, 2012 09:12 AM

                        Oktoberfest is a blast. Around dusk it gets to be shoulder to shoulder for blocks. With the Dodgers in town that weekend the crowd could be especially big, and if the Reds clinch their division that weekend, that will amp up the party. They do close a number of streets including Government Square, which is a central area for the bus system, so if you plan on using the buses you'll have to check how that's been rerouted.

                        I like to get a beer, a sausage, some sauerkraut balls and a cream puff (I like Servatii's) and go sit in the garden in front of P&G headquarters. If you don't like huge crowds, go mid-afternoon. Findlay Market is many blocks from Oktoberfest so there shouldn't be any effect on the crowd. The market has been busy on Saturdays lately, with good weather and farm-fresh goods.

                        Saturday's Reds game starts at 4 pm, so if you want to go to Moerlein, that's a good time to go -- after the ballgame crowd heads into the ballpark. I've eaten at the bar and enjoyed it.

                        Right now OpenTable is showing lots of reservations available at downtown restaurants that Sunday night. Palomino isn't my favorite downtown restaurant but it's good and I think they recently remodeled.

                        1. re: johnbycz
                          nsxtasy Sep 7, 2012 09:50 AM

                          Wow! This is great information and really important information, more than you could have ever guessed when you posted it. You see, I'm going to that Reds game on Saturday (as well as the one on Sunday). When I bought my tickets a couple of weeks ago, it was scheduled for a 7:10 pm start. But you're right, I see from the team website that they changed the start time to 4:05 pm. I can still make it, but this means that I won't have time to go to Findlay Market, since I like to get to the game early. Oh well, at least now I know in advance, so I can adjust my plans accordingly. Thank you SO MUCH!!!

                          Back to the drawing board... I guess I'll stop by Moerlein after the game, and if it's mobbed, at least I won't have lost anything by trying, since it's right next to the ballpark. :)

                      3. c
                        cresyd Sep 4, 2012 03:28 AM

                        I would strongly recommend against the Half Day Cafe - not because the food is bad, but it's potentially further away from the stadium than you want to get. If you're in the Wyoming neighborhood, then it's a lovely place to get a nice brunch. But it's not worth that kinda drive if you want to make the game time.

                        1. nsxtasy Aug 30, 2012 02:07 PM

                          Thanks for all the recommendations so far! Keep 'em coming!

                          1. JohnE O Aug 30, 2012 01:30 PM

                            If you're going to the Reds game I highly recommend Morlein Ale House. It's one of the few non chains by the park with fantastic views, local brews and a pretty big menu. On game days it will get very crowded.

                            In addition to the rec of Tacqueria Mercado (the best Mexican food around and they do carry out) I would also recommend Nicholson's on Walnut about a block from Fountain Square. They're open on Sundays and have a ton of imports on draft. It's still one of my favorite places to eat.

                            The Green Dog http://www.greendogcafe.net/features.... is open for brunch but you'd have to take a short cab ride to get there. I've not been yet but hear good things about the food and they seem to have an eclectic menu.

                            1. j
                              johnbycz Aug 30, 2012 11:37 AM

                              1.) I would absolutely recommend Findlay Market, just because it's a lot of fun, especially this time of year when there are many farmers in. You'll find enough food to graze on. My favorite place to eat there is Pho Lang Tang (Vietnamese) or Tucker's (a block away). There's also a beer garden, and when the wind blows right you can smell the brewing from the nearby Samuel Adams brewery. And get ice cream from Dojo.

                              2.) Downtown dining -- if you're looking for casual, first choices would be Nada or Nicholson's, or even Taqueria Mercado. Scotti's is decent red-sauce Italian, and the restaurant is literally 100 years old. Up Vine Street in Over-the-Rhine you'll find Senate, A Tavola and Bakersfield, with the Lackman for beers. On Main Street in OTR you'll find Mayberry for dinner and Japp's for really great cocktails. As for the places near the ballpark, Moerlein has great beer and OK food. There's a new soul food restaurant there, Mahogany, but I can't vouch for it. And though it's a chain I like Rock Bottom.

                              3.) I avoid brunches because I always eat too much and then can't get off the couch the rest of the day. The Palm Court at the Hilton Netherland downtown has a high quality brunch buffet but it's pricey. The room alone -- restored Art Deco -- will knock your friends' socks off. I also like the Greyhound Tavern in Fort Mitchell for the fried chicken. I usually just go for an honest plate of eggs. There's a First Watch downtown, and I also like Camp Washington Chili for breakfast.

                              4.) Takeout on a Sunday afternoon? Can't think of much, don't know what's open. There's a Chipotle on Fountain Square.

                              1. j
                                jacquelyncoffey Aug 30, 2012 10:32 AM

                                I can't answer all of your questions, but here's what I know. There is definitely plenty of food at Findlay Market, all kinds of good stuff for grazing or sit down. You won't starve there. On a nice Saturday, it is really crowded, so plan accordingly for your time. I've only been there once, and can't wait to go back and eat some more! As for Sunday dinner, most restaurants are closed downtown. However, the Montgomery Inn Boathouse is open, and in my opinion, worth going to. You will need a cab to get there and back, not sure if you can walk from where you're staying, probably not a safe idea anyway. In case you're not familiar with Montgomery Inn, they are famous for their ribs. I am not a big fan of their ribs, but they have lots of other excellent choices on the menu, and quite a nice wine list (at the Boathouse location, anyway). The atmosphere there is great, overlooking the river. Ask the concierge at your hotel for advice also. Hope this helps and you find great food and have a great time.

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: jacquelyncoffey
                                  nsxtasy Aug 30, 2012 11:41 AM

                                  Looks like Montgomery Inn Boathouse will fit both bills for Sunday, dine-in as well as carry-out, and it's only a mile from the ballpark, and a popular local institution. That will work - thanks so much!

                                  1. re: nsxtasy
                                    Niki in Dayton Aug 31, 2012 07:00 AM

                                    Personally, I've never had good food from Montgomery Inn. The ribs are mushy and the sauce is extremely sweet, and the other things I've ordered from the menu have all been sub-par. YMMV, of course. I do like Nicholsons (which is a British pub kind of place) and had a decent meal at Via Vite. You are from the Chicago area, which has great Mexican, so Taqueria Mercado and Nada (both of which I like) probably aren't going to impress.

                                    1. re: Niki in Dayton
                                      j
                                      jacquelyncoffey Aug 31, 2012 07:42 AM

                                      I definitely agree about the ribs, not impressed at all. However, we had some specials at the Boathouse, a scallop appetizer with spinach and a steak special with chimichurri that were both excellent.

                                    2. re: nsxtasy
                                      j
                                      johnbycz Aug 31, 2012 09:28 AM

                                      A few things on the Boathouse ribs: 1.) It's one of the highest grossing restaurants in the country, so I feel safe in saying most people like them. My daughter was a vegetarian till she became pregnant, and one of the first things she wanted after she started eating meat again were the ribs. They are not prepared on premises, however, and I've had racks of ribs there that were not -- how you say? -- young. If your ribs are dry, send 'em back. 2.) Ask for the sauce on the side. 3.) Get the Saratoga chips. 4.) If you dine in, try to get a window seat, upstairs. 5.) It's not as close to the ballpark as it looks, and it's long walk to Fountain Square. And whether Nada is authentic or not, their pork belly taco is one of the best things I've ever eaten.

                                      1. re: johnbycz
                                        JohnE O Aug 31, 2012 06:23 PM

                                        My take on Montgomery Ribs is that there food is good as long as you don't order the ribs.

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