Volleyball Courts Kitchen Is Now Open Great Marina view Private parties Summer Starts Early at The Pavilion.

Our Kitchen is Now Open.

949 Pavilion Street www.mountadamspavilion.com

Sign up now for spring leagues!! www.thesandbarcincinnati.com Open daily. Happy hour Mon-Fri.


4625 Kellogg Avenue - Four Seasons - 513-533-3810



WHERE TO EAT: Locals’ Guide to Dining Out Asian. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 07 BBQ/Ribs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Bistro/Café . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Breakfast/Lunch . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 British/Celtic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Burgers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Cajun . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Casual. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Coffeehouses. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Eastern European . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 French. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 German . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Homestyle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Indian . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Italian . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Mediterranean/Middle Eastern . . 25 Mexican . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 New American . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Pizza . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Russian . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Sandwiches . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Seafood. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Senegalese . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Soul Food . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 South American . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Steakhouses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Takeout/Specialty . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Vegetarian . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35

Favorite Tables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . starting on page 08

elcome to the 2008 “Where to Eat” Dining Guide, CityBeat’s annual springtime roundup of great restaurants in Greater Cincinnati. It’s our food writers’ chance to share their knowledge in one fell swoop (a 36-page swoop) after doling it out in the weekly pages of CityBeat. Following the tradition that started in 2005, rather than bringing you an A to Z list of 900-some places to get a meal in the city, we’ve created a list of 250-plus restaurants to really enjoy yourself. These are the places our food writers recommend to family and friends over and over when asked the eternal question, “Where’s a good place to eat around here?” Our favorite spots are organized by cuisine, as you can see from the lineup below, and include notations if they won a readers poll category in the 2008 Best of Cincinnati® issue. It’s a very subjective approach to Greater Cincinnati’s restaurant scene, we know, and some worthy spots are always left out, particularly newly opened restaurants. But much of CityBeat’s restaurant coverage is based on our writers’ reviews and critical opinions, and this “Where to Eat” guide flows from those reviews. If we missed a new spot that should belong, we’ll be reviewing it soon.


A new feature in this year’s guide is “Favorite Tables,” a profile of intriguing tables at 12 selected restaurants. You’ll find the profiles scattered throughout the listings. When you’re online, check out the Web-only “Where to Eat” updates with area chefs and restaurant owners who have been featured recently in CityBeat’s “Look Who’s Eating” profiles. We have information on new menus at fresh, The Hideaway and Tink’s Café and news about Allyn’s Cafe, The Bonbonerie, Daveed’s at 934, Dean’s Mediterranean Imports, Goodies and The Wine C.A.R.T. We’d like to thank our food writers — Lora Arduser, Anne Mitchell and Heather Smith — for their enthusiastic willingness to plunge in to every meal, asking questions, dissecting challenging sauces and deconstructing complex entrees in order to report back their findings. And we thank Stephen Carter-Novotni, Rebecca Carter-Novotni, Danny Cross, Julie Mullins and Maija Zummo for their work tracking down and confirming the listings information. Get out and try one of these great restaurants soon. Your table is waiting. — John Fox


— Jason Gargano
Arts & Entertainment Editor

520 Vine Street - Fountain Square Tel. (513) 721-8483 Fax (513) 721-1541




Authentic Japanese Cuisine & A Fine Variety of Sushi

Celebrate Mother’s Day at Mei!




Traditional Room Available Reservations Recommended

MON-THU: 11-9 FRI-SAT: 11-10 SUN: CALL

8608 Market Place
(by Go Banana’s)

8021 HAMILTON AVE • MT HEALTHY • 513-931-9100

w w w. m e i j a p a n e s e r e s t a u r a n t . c o m

| 513.891.6880



• HAPPY HOUR 4-7 MON-FRI • S E A S O N A L PAT I O D I N I N G • 1 / 2 P R I C E B O T T L E W I N E N I G H T E V E R Y S U N D AY •
2 7 1 0 E R I E AV E | F O R R E S E R VAT I O N S : 5 1 3 - 3 2 1 - 4 7 2 1

W W W. T E L L E R S O F H Y D E PA R K . C O M


FLAVOR: Amarin is friendly, delicious and a great value. The Thai Jade Noodle is the the most flavorful spinach pasta we’ve ever tasted. Better yet is the duck, a boneless duck half seasoned and crisp fried, sliced and fanned into a big ceramic bowl and surrounded by fresh green beans and carrots. FLAIR: The small space is chic, if not flattering, and comfortably padded chairs surround the dark, wood tables that line the room. 3514 Erie Ave., Hyde Park, 513-321-5533. Open 7 days. $9-$15.

the house include Pad Woon Sen (stir-fried wide noodles with chicken, egg, Napa cabbage, carrots, baby corn and snow peas) and delicious, reasonably priced sushi. FLAIR: If your definition of a neighborhood joint includes sushi, this is the place for you. The modest décor in shades of green, pink and white provide a more feminine environment than many joints and make for a calm, relaxing experience. The service is leisurely and gives you enough time to sit back to enjoy your meal. 3922 Edwards Road, Oakley, 513-351-0999. Open Monday-Saturday. $8-$16.

Open for Lunch, Dinner, and Late Night Fun

Bangkok Bistro
FLAVOR: Offers Thai noodles, curries, seafood, steak and poultry as well as fresh sushi. House specials include Crispy Duck served with a variety of stir-fried vegetables and the Three Flavored Fish with Sweet Chili Sauce. Noodle dishes range from Pad Thai to Drunken Noodles (rice noodles stir fried with shrimp, chicken, vegetables and basil leaves). Sushi lovers should try the Sushi and Sashimi Platter with tuna and salmon sashimi. FLAIR: Exposed brick walls, Asian accents and mismatched wooden tables emphasize the bistro’s casual atmosphere. For newcomers, the savvy and helpful staff will easily guide you through the menu. 3506 Erie Ave., Hyde Park, 513-871-0707. Open 7 days. $10-17.

FLAVOR: A standout among local Japanese places, Ando features elegantly prepared and presented dishes. It delivers simple, finely crafted food with painstaking attention to detail. Sushi rolls are fresh and tasty, and the vegetarian rolls are marvelous. But there are lots of other interesting things to try, too, like Goma Ae (boiled spinach) or Zaru Soba (cold buckwheat noodles). Dinner-for-two sushi and sashimi combinations can offer a better deal than separate entrées. FLAIR: The atmosphere here is serious, perhaps even somber, with muted colors and drapes cloaking the windows. A Zen-like calm prevails. 5889 Pfeiffer Road, Blue Ash, 513-791-8687. Open Tuesday-Sunday. $12-$45.

FLAVOR: A swanky, Zagat-approved AsianAmerican eatery perfectly tailored for Hyde Parkerites to go and eat good sushi while complaining about not being able to find good sushi. The Asian-Western fusion menu also boasts halibut with black truffle polenta, lobster stuffed with crab and plenty of non-marine offerings such as pasta, duck and lamb dishes that combine complex flavors. Want still more fusion? Try the green tea cheesecake. If you’re a hungry night owl, come for the midnight-2 a.m. happy hour Fridays and Saturdays featuring a half-price late-night menu. FLAIR: Ah, the cocktails — the specialty mojitos, the selection of martinis, even a great wine list — all served at Beluga’s hopping bar with thumping music and banks of plasma screen TVs. Look for live DJs Friday and Saturday evenings. 3520 Edwards Road, Hyde Park, 513-5334444. Open Monday-Saturday. $8-$30.

FLAVOR: Along with the clean flavors and soft, velvety texture of the beautiful sushi and sashimi, the menu features traditional Japanese cold and hot appetizers, noodle soups and entrées such as Steamed Pork with Sesame Sauce and Beef or Chicken Teriyaki. FLAIR: An elegant, uncluttered dining space with a semi-circular sushi bar dropped into the center of an otherwise angular room. Dramatic tones of deep red, bronze, gold and orange bleed down the wall of the booths which are separated by frosted panels that give you a delicious sense of privacy. From the time you’re seated and your server provides a warm washcloth to clean your hands, you can relax in their care. Newport on the Levee, Newport, 859-4319400. Open Tuesday-Sunday. $5-$21.

FLAVOR: Asian fusion — something for anyone who enjoys visiting Thailand, Cambodia and Sri Lanka all in one night. The cuisine ranges from the mild-mannered Blackened Ahi Tuna and Grilled Salmon to dramatic Cambodian Oxtail Soup and Sri Lankan curries. Come for happy hour and experience both exotic and Americanized appetizers, including the flavorful garlic and cilantro Crab Cakes with sweet chili aioli and mango chutney and the deeply satisfying Chicken Lettuce Wraps — toasted ground rice stir-fried with chicken, watercress, green onions and cilantro. FLAIR: Some men buy their wives dinner. Others, like the owner of Apsara, hire someone to create a replica of one of Angkor Watt’s walls, with a 40-foot waterfall and reliefs of Apsaras, heavenly Hindu nymphs, and deliver it to her as a gift. The wall is visible from most places in the restaurant, but you can sit at the sushi bar for a close-up. 4785 Lake Forest Drive, Blue Ash, 513-5541040. Open 7 days. $4-$30.

Cilantro Vietnamese Bistro
FLAVOR: Healthy, affordable and quick Vietnamese food featuring stir-fried noodles, vermicelli salads and pho soups, all served vegetarian or with shrimp, pork, chicken or beef. It’s feel-good food with plenty of cilantro and lemongrass to soothe the tummy. Not to worry: fried spring rolls with fiery dipping sauce offer one satisfying guilty pleasure. FLAIR: A small, laid-back diner with good, friendly college vibes and plenty of sizzling action behind the counter. Great for when you’re on the go, but plenty of counter and table seating for dining in. 2516 Clifton Ave., Clifton Heights, 513-2811732. Open 7 days. $6-$6.50.

Wednesday Night Special
12oz. portion of slow roasted prime rib served with garlic mashed potatoes, fresh sauteed green beans, house made au jus and creamy horseradish sauce.



Dancing Wasabi
FLAVOR: It looks like a mild-mannered sushi bar until you see local celebrity sushi chef Charlie Choi mixing up a Hot Mama (one of his Chef’s Special Rolls) behind the bar. With deeply flavorful — and at times indulgent — sushi, such as the tasty Sunday Morning Roll deep-fried with salmon and cream cheese, Dancing Wasabi serves up both creative and traditional Japanese and Korean cuisine. Korean favorites include Bibimbap with marinated beef, fried

Present to server when placing order. Expires 7/30/08

FLAVOR: A Thai/sushi restaurant offering eat in, carryout and delivery services. Specialties of

38 Fountain Square Plaza Cincinnati, OH




a stage for live world music on the weekends, and plenty of coffee/tea/espresso drinks and cocktails for lingering over. Gajah also has beer and wine available now. 3937 Spring Grove Ave., Northside, 513-5913935. Open Wednesday-Saturday. $9.50$22.50.

and friendly, professional service. 215 E. Ninth St., Downtown, 513-665-4950. Open 7 days. $13-$16.

Lemon Grass
FLAVOR: Try the Crab Crispies (crab rangoons) appetizer, as Lemon Grass makes the best in town. From there, anything you choose from the varied menu is a safe bet. Some popular items are the Pad Thai, Yellow Curry or Lemon Grass Noodles served with egg, green and yellow onions, celery, bean sprouts and tomatoes. FLAIR: This family-owned restaurant offers all the comfort of home, with intimate seating, friendly service and an overall good dining atmosphere. It’s centrally located right next to Rookwood Pavilion. 2666 Madison Road, Hyde Park, 513-3212882. Open 7 days. $9-$11.

Green Papaya
FLAVOR: There’s a lot to choose from at Green Papaya: Thai entrées, noodles, fried rice, curries, stir-fries and fish. There are many creative dishes you won’t find in other Thai restaurants, including a health-conscious menu section. The Green Papaya Salad highlights fresh fruit and vegetables with papaya, string beans, carrots, tomato, garlic and roasted peanuts are tossed in fish sauce and limejuice. Takeout options include Lunch Boxes that include soup, appetizer, fruit and a nice selection of sushi and Thai dishes. Try the Bubble Tea — Green Papaya is one of the few local places to carry this Asian beverage of black tapioca pearls. FLAIR: Green Papaya’s interior has an overall calming effect. The gracious staff and bubbling sounds of the fountain in the middle of the dining room will help you slow down for a minute so you can chew in peace. 2942 Wasson Road, Oakley, 513-731-0107. Open 7 days. $9.95-$17.95.


Lu Lu’s Asian Diner
FLAVOR: Noodle soup is the world’s best comfort food and LuLu’s has the best. Favorites on the noodle-intensive menu include Hall Fun (wide rice noodles stir-fried with a ginger soy sauce) and Lard Cha (udon noodles stir-fried in a garlic sauce with bean sprouts, scallions and eggs). Try the Tom Yum soup for a starter (lemongrass, green onion, mushrooms, shrimp and Thai basil seasonings). The Pad Thai is ever popular, and the folks there recommend the curry-spiked Singapore Noodles with chicken and shrimp. FLAIR: Filled with families, especially on the weekends. The dining room is pretty boisterous and has a feel similar to a fast-food joint. The no-nonsense staff will take care of you right away. 135 W. Kemper Road, Springdale, 513-6714949. Open Monday-Saturday. $5.50-$9.50.

LOCATION: 2635 Edmonson Road, Norwood, 513-396-7673 CUISINE: Family-style Italian (i.e., huge dishes) with meals for singles as well TABLE: The Pope Table is where you can spin a bust of Pope Benedict XVI on a Lazy Susan and enjoy candid photos of popes and bishops. (Play “Guess That Bishop!”) The table seats 12-18 and has been known to hold up to 22 for large parties, including visiting nuns and priests. You should ask for reservations. NICKNAME: The Pope Table WHAT MAKES THIS TABLE UNIQUE: You can get pretty rowdy without getting kicked out. The Pope is located at the back of the restaurant in his own room but faces server traffic, so everyone stops by and says “hi.” WHY I LOVE THIS TABLE: The fact that you never know how people will react to a bust of the Pope who looks like a cross between Anthony Hopkins and Jimmy Cagney and stares at you throughout your meal. Our server had experienced the following: A lot of stripping, some covering up of the Pope (diners will put a coat over his head, either in reverence or discomfort) and a lot of drinking (even when nuns and priests visit). WHY THE STAFF LOVES/HATES THIS TABLE: A lot of drinking (which can be good for tips), fun groups and the element of surprise. Not quite as fun, however, when the diners poke the Pope’s forehead with utensils or ask the servers to strip for them. (Heather Smith)

Jo An
FLAVOR: The discerning clientele of Japanese executives from down the road at the Toyota headquarters ensure that the food here is authentic and high quality. The sushi is excellent but don’t limit yourself to that with such a wide variety of options. Choose from the sashimi, tempura, soups, salads, noodles and numerous cold appetizers. The menu also features items that are grilled, steamed or simmered. FLAIR: The beauty of Jo An is that although it’s located in the middle of nowhere (an anonymous office park by the airport), when you’re there it really feels like somewhere else. The great sushi, subdued lighting, minimalist interior and tables full of Japanese businessmen in dark suits will transport you. 3940 Olympic Blvd., Erlanger, 859-746-2634. Open Monday-Saturday. $8 and up at lunchtime; $15 and up at dinner.

FLAVOR: With three pages of appetizers and nine pages in total, Matsuya claims to have the most extensive menu of Cincinnati’s numerous Japanese restaurants. If you go, take a page from the Japanese who rarely make a meal of sushi. Instead, order a bunch of hot and cold appetizers with sushi either at the beginning or the end of the meal. FLAIR: Small, family-run restaurant with knowledgeable and professional servers, many of whom have been with the restaurant since it opened nearly 10 years ago. Clientele is a mix of Japanese businessmen and loyal locals. 7149 Manderlay Drive, Florence, 859-7461199. Open 7 days. $11-$35.

egg, vegetables and rice served steaming in a hot stone pot. FLAIR: Surprises include the well-chosen list of refreshing, ice-cold sakes that evoke warm summer nights, including Snow Maiden, with cream of coconut and passion fruit undertones. Also enjoy playful presentations such as the Mochi Ice Cream, with quintessential green tea ice cream wrapped in a chewy, taffy-like rice cake, and delivered as a Sunday with a cherry on top. Open into the wee hours of the morning on the weekends. 1018 Delta Avenue, Mount Lookout, 513-5339218. Open 7 days. $5-$35.

First Wok
FLAVOR: Fresh-tasting Chinese cuisine with all the usual suspects. Chef specials include Beef and Scallops, Mussels with Black Bean Sauce and Seafood Delight (jumbo shrimp, scallops, lobster and crab meat with assorted vegetables in white sauce.) The lunch buffet is also popular, and kids younger than 3 eat free. FLAIR: An interesting blend of traditional Chinese restaurant décor and 20th-century Jazz. Most business is carryout. When you dine in, expect a more leisurely pace than you get at most Chinese restaurants. 3870 Paxton Ave., Hyde Park, 513-321-8388. Open 7 days. $5.25-12.95.

King Wok
FLAVOR: The flavor of the China Sea, or something like that, with all the usual Chinese favorites and a special emphasis on fresh seafood. Treat yourself to a whole lobster stirfried with slices of fresh ginger and scallions in a buttery sauce. It’s heavenly. Or come for the Chinese Dim Sum that’s now served 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. FLAIR: Look for the neon fish. The atmosphere is casual, perked up by the pink linen napkins, nice China and very friendly service. Your server will bone your fish for ease of eating — now that’s helpful! 203 W. McMillan Ave., Clifton Heights, 513723-1999. Open 7 days. $7-$13 (some prices seasonal and by the pound).

FLAVOR: Offers good, solid Japanese food. From crisp, light Vegetable Tempura to sushi to a traditional bento box (a perfect choice for those who like to graze), dishes are fresh and expertly prepared. Also try the Ebi Shumai (steamed shrimp dumplings), which are light and tasty, or the moist and nicely flavored rendition of Chicken Terikayi. A large selection of specialty sushi rolls is also available. FLAIR: Service is polite and deferential, with Japanese hostesses and servers decked out in traditional garb. The ambiance is airy with lots of light-colored woods. A wall of private rooms is available, and there’s a patio for outdoor dining. 8608 Market Place Lane, Montgomery, 513891-6880. Open Tuesday-Sunday. $12-$23.

Delight Thai Café
FLAVOR: Head here for some of the finest, most authentic Thai in the area. We love the soups like Tom Yum Goong (prawns, lemongrass, lime leaves, chili and lime juice) and the Tom Kah Gai (chicken, lemongrass, lime leaves and coconut milk). The Pad Thai is outstanding, and the curries (green, red, panaang) are particularly good. They also serve sushi. FLAIR: Although a field trip for urbanites to a strip mall in the ’burbs, it’s well worth the drive. The restaurant is pleasant and airy with high ceilings and lots of windows. Service is friendly and professional. 11928 Montgomery Road, Symmes Twp., 513677-6175. Open 7 days. $8-$14.

Gajah Wong West Café
FLAVOR: Subtle and exotic, Northside’s Indonesian café offers invigorating dishes built around aromatic ingredients like coconut milk, lemon grass, Java chilies and ginger. The Rendang is like a tropical pot roast, with slowcooked beef in a richly spiced, dark sauce with a side of watercress sautéed in ginger and garlic. Choose from shrimp, chicken, tofu or tempeh with other entrées, and on warm weekends they light up the outdoor grill for specials like chicken sate. FLAIR: The fenced-in patio is a magical island oasis with big teak tables lit by kerosene lanterns and strings of colored lights. There’s

Ko-Sho Japanese Restaurant
FLAVOR: Ko-Sho is well known to a small group of downtowners who love traditional Japanese food. The Gyoza (sublime shrimp dumplings pan-fried until crispy) is a good starter. Try their tasty and fun-to-eat Shabu-Shabu (thin slices of raw beef cooked tableside on a burner in a furiously bubbling broth. There’s also goodquality sushi and sashimi. Lunch specials are a great value. FLAIR: Ko-Sho is low-key and pretty quiet most of the time. But what it lacks in ambiance and buzz is overcome by its tasty, traditional food


FLAVOR: Opening a bento box of barbecued eel at Miyoshi is better than opening a present on your birthday: delicious, fresh sushi, sashimi and tempura, of course, but also a wide variety of less-familiar authentic dishes. Seafood arrives daily.




take reservations. Winner of “Best Chinese.” 2633 Edmondson Road, Norwood, 513-5314567. Open 7 days. $7-$20.


Riverside Korean Restaurant
FLAVOR: Authentic Korean food in Kentucky? Believe it. We love the Ya Chae Pa Jun (a thin vegetable pancake) or the traditional hot stone pot of Dolsot Bibim Bab (rice with vegetables and beef, chicken, or tofu topped with an egg over easy). Entrées are accompanied by nine tiny bowls of appetizers — each a treat — from fish cake to spinach and kim chi to radish. FLAIR: Unassuming on the outside and easy to miss, it’s another world inside with low tables, silk cushions and exotic music. Wear good socks — you must remove your shoes to sit at the more traditional low tables. 512 Madison Ave., Covington, 859-291-1484. Open Tuesday-Sunday. $12-$36.

FLAIR: Comfortable and simple with a touch of kitschy Asian décor. If you’re not familiar with Vietnamese food, the staff takes the time to explain menu options without making you feel ignorant. There’s never a “one time only” at Song Long — once you’ve eaten here you’ll be back. 1737 Section Road, Roselawn, 513-351-7631. Open Monday-Saturday. $7-$16.

Sukhothai Thai Cuisine
FLAVOR: Sukhothai’s menu offers a number of perfectly prepared traditional dishes, including Pad Thai (the unofficial national dish of Thailand), various curries and a wide selection of stir-fries (which can be made with your choice of a protein, including tofu, shrimp, chicken and duck). Want something more exotic? Try the mango prawns stir-fried in a tamarind sauce or the garlic soft-shell crab. Just be sure to order a Singha (Thai beer) to take the edge off the spicy heat from those curry dishes! FLAIR: Hidden down a winding path behind a car dealership off Montgomery Road, Sukhothai is well worth seeking out. The interior might be simple and a bit bare, but the delicious, highly seasoned food creates its own environment. 8102 Market Place Lane, Montgomery. 513794-0057. Open Monday-Saturday. $6-$18.

Ruthai’s Thai Kitchen

LOCATION: 810 Matson Place in the Queens Tower, Price Hill, 513-2251-6467 CUISINE: Northern Italian TABLE: While pretty much every seat in the house is stellar, the most unique perch are the middle tables on the third tier of the main dining area. NICKNAME: The View WHAT MAKES THIS TABLE UNIQUE: In addition to Primavista’s signature view of downtown Cincinnati, one has the entire main dining room laid out before them, all the better to survey the largely upscale patrons, many of whom are regulars celebrating a special occasion. (The couple next to me on a recent visit was celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary.) WHY I LOVE THIS TABLE: Perhaps just as impressive as the view, the superior selection of wines and the sublime Italian dishes, each of the small, two-person third-tier tables have diners sit side by side, all the better to cozy up to that someone special. WHY THE STAFF LOVES/HATES THIS TABLE: The staff loves it because they have easy access to diners. The staff hates it sometimes because they feel like they’re blocking diners’ view. (Jason Gargano) FLAIR: Excellent, friendly service in a relaxed yet refined setting, with sushi bar seating to watch the action or comfortable tables. Zen garden entry. Reservations required for the private tatami room (non-smoking). 8660 Bankers St., Florence, 859-525-6564. Open Monday-Saturday. $12-$25. pork, chicken, seafood and vegetarian options from Pacific Rim countries in this new Levee location. Come for new Dim Sum brunch 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays featuring traditional cart service. The dining hours are perfect for the service industry crowd or other late-nighters: they serve their full menu nightly until 2 a.m. (Sushi orders must be in by 1:30 a.m.) FLAIR: The Little Pleasures appetizer menu allows diners to try a wide selection of Asian favorites, including delicious lightly fried crispy tofu, crab rangoon, steamed shark-fin dumplings and honey BBQ pork. Newport on the Levee, Newport, 859-261MOON. Open 7 days. $9-$22.

FLAVOR: The specialty of this kitchen has to be the noodle dishes, which come with your choice of vegetables and meat (chicken, pork, beef or seafood). If you don’t favor soy sauce or chewy noodles, try the curries, sushi or the interesting Green Papaya Salad. No worries for picky eaters — Ruthai’s has an extensive menu that can fit any palate and there’s plenty for vegetarians. FLAIR: Tucked into a small space on Mount Lookout Square, Ruthai’s offers comfy seating among Asian knick-knacks and posters. With room to seat only 25, carryout is a bustling business here. 3164 Linwood Ave., Mount Lookout, 513-8717687. Open Tuesday-Sunday. $9-$15.

Sung Korean Bistro
FLAVOR: Sung tries to stay true to authentic Korean food while making it more approachable, offering traditional favorites such as dolsot bibimbab as well as more familiar stir-fried dishes. a phenomenal appetizer option is Haemul Padjun, a pancake with egg, shrimp, crabmeat, squid, green onion and pepper could easily feed four. FLAIR: The dining room includes traditional-style floor seating in the back of the room. There are plans for a sushi bar in the works. 700 Elm St., Downtown, 513-721-SUNG. Open Tuesday-Sunday. $14-$19.

Sake Bomb
FLAVOR: Sushi gone wild. Plenty of traditional nori, nigiri and sashimi for purists, but for those seeking new horizons you might find barbecue sauce, mayonnaise and tropical fruit in your nori roll. The menu also boasts generously portioned Japanese dumpling, tempura and teriyaki dishes. Check back soon for new specials to come with their forthcoming summer menu updates. FLAIR: This place has become an after-hours industry destination, especially on Mondays — when special industry night discounts are offered. Naturally, the drink of choice is a shot of sake suspended on chopsticks over beer, knocked into the pint by a pound on the table (“3, 2, 1, Sake Bomb!”) and swiftly gulped. 3672 Erie Ave., Hyde Park, 513-533-0555. Open 7 days. $5-$15.

Teak Thai
FLAVOR: Traditional Thai and unusual surprises, especially in the curry department, show up on this popular restaurant’s menu. Teak’s Pad Thai gets rave reviews, but some of our favorites are the Panaeng Curry (we love it with chunks of fried Tofu), Seafood Delight or Vegetable Thai Spicy. FLAIR: The sushi bar downstairs lends itself to more of an upbeat bar atmosphere, but the upper levels are chic-casual for special occasions and small gatherings. The outside patio is one of the hardest seats to get in nice weather. Parking can be difficult, especially on weekends but the walk will be worth it. Winner of “Best Asian” and “Best Sushi.” 1049 St. Gregory St., Mount Adams, 513-6659800. Open 7 days. $11-$30.

Oriental Wok
FLAVOR: Even if you’ve never gotten friendly with tofu, the Five-Spice version served over garlic spinach could become your new favorite food — or perhaps the crisp and wonderful Five-Spice Shrimp and Calamari. Red-meat eaters will love the Beef Ho Fun or Peppercorn Stir-Fry. Save room for sesame balls and mango pudding. Try the Volcano Chicken served in a sweet and spicy Thai chile garlic sauce with pineapple, red peppers and other vegetables. All the appetizers — from Crab Rangoon to Pot Stickers and more — are made in-house from scratch. Not all Chinese restaurants can say the same. FLAIR: The Wong family makes this place special. Mr. Wong is a showman, moving from table to table and making his guests feel welcome and special. His wife and daughters are as charming as they are beautiful. 317 Buttermilk Pike, Fort Mitchell, 859-3313000. Open 7 days. $10-$25.

Shanghai Mama’s
FLAVOR: Serves up a range of starters from Spring Rolls to Shrimp Tempura to the more unusual Shanghai Ravioli (spinach, tofu, ginger, siricha and hot mustard). For main dishes, choose among a wide selection of Shanghai Flatbread (scallion pancakes), noodle bowls and rice bowls. FLAIR: With a setting meant to suggest a 1920s Chinese noodle house, it’s dark and inviting. Friday and Saturday it’s open until 3 a.m., serving up food and drink to weary postclubbers and chefs and servers from Downtown restaurants looking for a bite to eat and a rest for tired feet. 216 E. Sixth St., Downtown, 513-241-7777. Open Monday-Saturday. $6-$10.

Thai Namtip
FLAVOR: Excellent dishes include Crispy Tofu with a perky peanut sauce, Chicken Coconut Soup with fresh lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and chunks of chicken, Shrimp Panang Curry served in a stone pot and Pad See Ewe with wide rice noodles. Try Thai Namtip Spicy Fish, especially when they have red snapper. FLAIR: Portraits of the Thai president and first lady on one wall and a large mural of Niagara Falls on the other. Not fancy, so come to this hidden West Side gem for the food. It’s excellent. 5461 North Bend Road, Monfort Heights, 513-481-3360. Open 7 days. $7-$14.

P Chang’s .F.
FLAVOR: This national chain offers an unusual selection of Chinese dishes including a variety of seafood, chicken, beef, vegetarian and noodle dishes such as Spicy Chicken in Lettuce Wraps, Kung Pao Scallops, Szechwan Chicken Chow Fun (fat rice noodles tossed with Szechwan-spiced water chestnuts, scallions, chicken and chili peppers). Or try the Mongolian Shrimp or the grilled lemongrass prawns. Steak eaters will appreciate the soyand-mild-chile-marinated N.Y. Strip served with bok choy. FLAIR: The hip, fashionable décor provides an excellent backdrop for a night out on the town. Unlike most of the other popular chains, they


Song Long
FLAVOR: This family-run restaurant has a legion of loyal patrons that flocks for its unique, distinctive and delicious Chinese and Vietnamese dishes. Cold Sesame Noodles win annual awards and the Goi Cuon (cold rolls in rice paper) is the best in the city.

Wild Ginger
FLAVOR: This sleek venture from Lemon Grass owner Dao Yee has a full range of Thai,

Pacific Moon Café

10 FLAVOR: Alex Chin’s menu offers fresh classic



and 7706 Voice of America Centre, West Chester, 513-755-0518. Open 7 days. $6-$19.


Goodie’s Barbeque
FLAVOR: Mr. Goodie sure knows his pork butt — pork pit-smoked slowly ’til the fat has completely dissolved and a crunchy caramelized crust has formed on the outside, resulting in a deep but delicate smoked flavor. For those not tempted by the sauce, there are more standard items like the fish sandwich or fried okra. And we’ll eat the chess pie until we’re as plump as a tick. FLAIR: Complete with neon signs, this downhome restaurant screams good eatin’ at reasonable prices. The waitstaff is always friendly, making each trip here feel like eating at home. Winner of “Best Soul Food.” 5841 Hamilton Ave., College Hill, 513-5424663. Open Monday-Saturday. $5-$18.

cinnamon apples, greens and macaroni and cheese. The Rosemary Garlic Tilapia and the Chipotle Pork were recently added to the fare. FLAIR: Ambiance is fun fusion kitsch — Native American-meets-Southwest-meets-Cincinnati. Food is served on picnic ware with paper towels for napkins. 8021 Hamilton Ave., Mount Healthy, 513-9319100. Open Monday-Saturday. $5-$18.

Walt’s Barbeque
FLAVOR: This place is meat-tastic, boasting a menu dominated by ribs, pulled pork and beef brisket all smoked and slow-cooked on-site. FLAIR: The all-you-can-eat ribs deal on Tuesdays is worth the fight to secure a seat, which now much easier given Walt’s new larger space. 6040 Colerain Ave., White Oak, 513-9239800. Open 7 days. $10-$19.

Jim Dandy’s Family BBQ

Walt’s Hitching Post
FLAVOR: Barbecue ribs and Southern skilletfried chicken are Walt’s two signature items, and the home-fried potatoes are the best anywhere on Earth. Another treat is the tomato garlic salad dressing — so unique and delicious you don’t even care that it’s over iceberg lettuce. And the rye bread is unlike anything you’ve ever tasted, drenched in salted butter. FLAIR: Walt’s feels like a nice restaurant your grandparents would have gone to celebrate a special occasion in 1964. From the white brick smokehouse that fills the parking lot with the smell of burning hickory to the wood-paneled interior, this place is filled with character. 3300 Madison Pike, Covington, 859-331-0494. Open 7 days. $10-$30.

LOCATION: 2710 Erie Ave., Hyde Park, 513-321-4721 CUISINE: Upscale, eclectic and slightly gourmet TABLE: A refurbished, working bank vault with four tables that’s a private room in this historic landmark restaurant. Seats parties of four to six, though you can also reserve the entire room for rehearsal dinners, bridal showers, etc. You should ask for reservations, even for two. NICKNAME: The Vault. As our server said, “We just all call it The Vault like you do, although I suppose I could start a rumor and rename it The Dungeon.” WHAT MAKES THIS TABLE UNIQUE: Vault tables have booths and plush and comfy chairs, perfect for a Sunday brunch spent relaxing and drinking mimosas. Some Sunday morning diners can be found engaging in intellectual conversation and reading from big leather books. Seriously. WHY I LOVE THIS TABLE: The sleek décor with brown leather booths and overstuffed chairs make me feel like a Harvard Business School student, smoking a cigar on invitation to the Faculty Club. Though not so patriarchal and ostentatious, the room does have hints of corduroy and Machiavelli without the Tufted Chesterfield chairs, cigars and fireplace. When I shared this with our waiter, he said, “I feel so refined now, but shouldn’t there be an animal head on the wall or something?” WHY THE STAFF LOVES/HATES THIS TABLE: When they work in The Vault, they have only four tables, max, so tip them well. (Heather Smith)

FLAVOR: Favorites include the baby backs and pulled pork, and according to the owner, “People love the brisket!” The homemade sides are pretty outstanding, too, with red beans and rice and a yummy broccoli cauliflower slaw that’s served cold. The homemade sausage is worth a try as well. Jim Dandy’s hosts a serious barbecue competition in September where everyone can enter as long as they use charcoal or wood. No propane — sorry, Hank. FLAIR: Counter service with Carhartts and cashmere, side by side. Stop by to “see our pits in action!” or pull up to the drive-in window. 2343 E. Sharon Road, Sharonville, 513-7714888. Open 7 days. $5-$20.

Ms. Helen’s Grill
FLAVOR: It’s worth the wait for some of Ms. Helen’s charcoal-grilled, slow-smoked barbecue slathered in her secret-recipe sauce, but you’ll even find the side dishes addictive — especially the crowd-pleasing mac and cheese and the cheesy garlic potatoes. FLAIR: Drag a couple of small tables together and park yourself in the middle of the Findlay Market action for a ringside seat at Ms. Helen’s, which is sandwiched between The Waffle Man and Luken’s Poultry and Seafood Market. 126 Market House, Findlay Market, Over-theRhine, 513-381-5678. Open WednesdaySunday. $3-$10.

FLAVOR: We love the Blackened Bleu, Boursin Cheese or Spicy Black Bean burgers, but Arthur’s also offers salads, sandwiches and entrées including Broiled Salmon, Asiago Cheese and Garlic Ravioli and Australian Sea Bass. FLAIR: This neighborhood joint attracts an eclectic crowd of suits and blue-collar sorts. It’s a great place to meet coworkers and friends after work. In season, the outdoor courtyard in the back is one of our favorite spots. Winner of “Best Outdoor Dining.” 3516 Edwards Road, Hyde Park, 513-8715543. Open 7 days. $7-$13.


Vietnamese and even some Chinese food, but sushi is the way to go here, with selections like the Spicy Tuna Roll or Spider Roll. A new favorite is the Heema Roll with shrimp tempura, asparagus and avocado, topped with yellowfin tuna and sprinkled with crabmeat and tempura flakes. Order sushi by the boatload — a Boat for One or a Boat for Two. Other menu selections include curries, Pad Thai and the Seafood Choo Chee with mussels, shrimp, calamari and scallops in a coconut milk curry sauce. Beer and wine are now available. FLAIR: Wild Ginger conjures up visions of pungent, spicy Asian cuisine, but the low-key atmosphere, soft colors and bamboo furnishings create an intimate way to enjoy the flavor party in your mouth. As of press time, an expansion is under construction. Look forward to a pair of hibachi grills and a full bar! 3655 Edwards Road, Hyde Park, 513-5339500. Open 7 days. $9-$15.

sities of a good neighborhood BBQ joint: lots of smoked meat slathered in a sweetish hot sauce with sides like creamy mac and cheese, green beans flavored with pork and cole slaw. FLAIR: BBQ should never be served on anything other than paper plates and eaten with plastic forks. Take your cafeteria-style tray to one of the banquet tables in the dining rooms and dig in to the sounds of local news and neighborhood chatter amongst the old Hudepohl, Schoenling and Wiedemann signs. 4725 Madison Road, Madisonville, 513-8713500. Open Tuesday-Sunday. $3-$17.

Montgomery Inn
FLAVOR: Area residents have enjoyed the signature barbequed ribs for more than 50 years, and we’ll probably be enjoying them for another 50. Round out your meal with an order of the Saratoga Chips for the quintessential Montgomery Inn experience. Other menu choices include barbequed chicken or a mixed shrimp and chicken combo as well as nonsaucy options such as chicken, steaks and pork chops. FLAIR: The nooks and crannies of the original Inn’s dining room are filled with sports memorabilia. The bustling servers dressed in black pants, vests and ties will make sure you get the extra napkins and bibs you’ll need. Winner of “Best Barbecue.” 9440 Montgomery Road, Montgomery, 513791-3482 and other locations. Open 7 days. $16-$30.

Bronte Bistro
FLAVOR: This casual restaurant is all about guilty pleasures. The smoothies are always tempting and the dessert case is chock full of chocolate temptations and fruity delights. The entrées are a little more involved — Anjou Pear and Bleu Cheese Salad as well as other light fare — but who needs food after a hefty slice of chocolate cake? FLAIR: Walking into Bronte from the attached Joseph-Beth bookstore, you might start thinking this is just another one of those pretentious cafés. But you’d be wrong. The café is doused in rich, aesthetically pleasing colors that elicit good vibes, complete with large, comfy booths that appeal to quiet conversationalists and book lovers alike. 2692 Madison Road, Norwood, 513-396-8970. Open 7 days. $8-$15.

City Barbecue
FLAVOR: This regional chain puts out some damn tasty barbeque, including mouth-watering beef brisket and a good and sloppy North Carolina Pulled Pork Sandwich. Don’t neglect your sides — the vinegary greens and crusty hush puppies are stellar. The new Pulled Chicken Sandwich is a yummy addition to the fare. FLAIR: Play with your food. City BBQ offers three sauces to mix and match — a vinegarand onion-based Carolina sauce, an original tomato-based sauce and mustard sauce. 3804 Paxton Ave., Hyde Park, 513-871-8890

Pit to Plate
FLAVOR: If any place could turn a vegetarian, Pit to Plate would be it. Its authentic Texas-style, hickory-smoked meat is slow-cooked and resonating with tenderness and flavor. Try the pulled pork or beef brisket — both eye-rolling, melt-in-your-mouth delicious. Plates come with a choice of two sides, including candied yams,

Café de Paris
FLAVOR: Offers Parisian café food at it’s finest, focusing on traditionally French lunch and breakfast selections like Salade Nicoise and Croissant Foure aux Epinards (toasted croissant with spinach and feta). FLAIR: Owner Khaled Atallah must be a favorite son of the City of Lights. His hearty “Bonsoir!”

BBQ Revue

FLAVOR: The smell of hickory wood hits your olfactory senses before you even make it in 12 the door. Once inside you’ll find all the neces-

Authentic Thai Cuisine
Home of Award-Winning Barbeque


Not valid with any other offers.

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6040 Colerain Ave 513-923-9800 Fax: 513-923-9510 www.waltsbarbeque.com


2666 Madison Road | Hyde Park





chocolate almond croissant and satisfy both urges. Winner of “Best Sunday Brunch.” 308 Greenup St., Covington, 859-261-3663. Open 7 days; dinner Tuesday-Saturday. $15$21.

Jean-Paul’s Paradiso
FLAVOR: Sure they offer great soups — try the creamy roasted portobella mushroom — pastas, panini, wraps and calzones. But many say they make the best pizzas in town. Find out for yourself: Try the Northern Woods, topped with wild mushrooms sautéed with rosemary and thyme, roasted red peppers and goat cheese. FLAIR: Jean-Paul Belmont, a master chef and baker from Switzerland, is building his own little culinary empire around the Clough Pike Market in Mount Washington. The environment might be casual but the attention to detail is impeccable. 6732 Clough Pike, Mount Washington, 513231-2780. Open Monday-Saturday. $5-$15.

sels are all great choices. Or go veggie with portabella mushrooms, grilled and topped with herbed cheese and crabmeat or ravioli stuffed with pumpkin and goat cheese. There’s even a miniature bison burger! The dining is light and suited more for active couples than families. FLAIR: A great place to enjoy street-side seating on a nice spring night or cozy loft seating on a more intimate occasion. Remember, there’s no better date food than tapas. 18 Main St., Milford, 513-831-9888; 7426 Beechmont Ave., 513-233-9888. Open Tuesday-Sunday. $6-$11.

FLAVOR: Otto’s continues to impress with a small, well-crafted menu that includes a certified black angus filet with blue cheese bacon cream sauce, seared sea scallops atop spinach parmesan risotto with smoked tomato aioli and Chicken Otto with roast fingerling potatoes. Have the tomato pie for lunch. FLAIR: Intimate, friendly and delicious. Otto’s servers are charming, and there couldn’t be a better, more welcoming neighborhood restaurant. There’s a small private patio out back or sidewalk dining out front to enjoy when the weather’s nice. Summer season brings back Sunday brunch. 521 Main St., Covington, 859-491-6678. Open 7 days. $20-$32

JeanRo Bistro
FLAVOR: This is “homestyle” French done in all its peasant glory from Cincinnati’s culinary king, Jean-Robert de Cavel, featuring steak frites, Coq Au Vin and Bouillabaisse Marseillaise, Steamed Mussels and Vichyssoise and velvety, bittersweet Pot de Crème (the French version of chocolate pudding). FLAIR: From the marigold walls with posters, photos and artifacts collected by Jean-Robert throughout his travels, there’s no place more French in the city, except perhaps his home kitchen. 413 Vine St., Downtown, 513-621-1465. Open 7 Days. $16-$31.

LOCATION: Elder and Race Streets, Over-the-Rhine, www.findlaymarket.org CUISINE: Very eclectic TABLE: Grab any table on a Saturday, and you can spend hours watching the crowd, listening to music and, most importantly, dining. There are more ready-to-eat options at Findlay Market now than ever before, including Belgian waffles, Bean Haus coffee, soul food from Miss Helen’s Grill, big breakfasts from Aunt Flora’s Cobblers, vegetarian empanadas from the cookie stand, hot grilled sausages at Eckerlin’s and now Bouchard’s. The pastry chef at the Reserve at Newport on the Levee has opened Bouchard’s and is serving up baked goods, custom-made pizzas for just $5 no matter what toppings you choose and a hot pasta bar. NICKNAME: None WHAT MAKES THIS TABLE UNIQUE: There are indoor and outdoor tables, but I like the sunny southern side of the Markethouse on Essen Strasse, near the “German Hysteria” historical marker. There’s usually some piping hot R&B drifting out of Mr. Pig, along with the barbecue smoke. You can sit solo, but it’s more fun to share the table and the goodies. WHY I LOVE THIS TABLE: This is Findlay Market. All of life is here. WHY THE STAFF LOVES/HATES THIS TABLE: Buy the groceries you came for before you sit down and pig out. Afterwards, you’re not as tempted by all those nutritious veggies. (Anne Mitchell)

Rock Bottom
FLAVOR: This microbrewery always has fresh ales to quench the beer thirst and a menu to cure any hungry appetite. Some of the most popular specialty dishes include Brown Ale Chicken with shiitake mushrooms, Mahi tacos served with a pineapple slaw and black beans and jambalaya with shrimp, sausage and chicken. Steaks, burgers and lighter salads are also offered. FLAIR: Great meeting place for before or after a Reds or Bengals game. Rock Bottom’s location also is a great place to take out-of-town guests or just for a night on the town. 10 Fountain Square, Downtown, 513-6211588. Open 7 days. $10-$16.

Kona Bistro
FLAVOR: Offers delicious appetizers and salads but the real gems here are entrées such as the Coconut Crusted Tilapia and the Asian Grilled Tofu stacked on top of fresh greens, with scallion sticky rice cakes. Kona is one of the few restaurants in Cincinnati that smartly honors vegetarians and vegans with as many interesting choices as the meat-eating patrons. FLAIR: The first Kona up in Oxford gave Miami students a taste of something different. The Cincinnati arm of the operation opened in 2004 in a clean, trendy niche of Oakley Square. The service aims to please and the casual atmosphere will relax you if their unique wine and beer selection doesn’t. 3012 Madison Road, Oakley, 513-842-5662; 31 W. High St., Oxford, 513-523-0686. Open 7 days. $14-$20.

FLAVOR: One of the original upscale/casual restaurants in Cincinnati, Trio features a California-style menu of pizza and pastas, salads, sandwiches and entrées that still turns out consistently good food. From a Niçoise Salad to Thai Chicken or Smoked Salmon Pizza and main courses such as Chilean Sea Bass, Trio’s kitchen is always dependable and delicious. FLAIR: Usually crowded with dating couples, family celebrations and business meetings or gal pals sipping wine at the bar from the extensive wine menu. Despite its country club vibe and definite swank appeal, Trio is never pretentious and one of our top choices when we need “something for everyone.” 7565 Kenwood Road, Kenwood, 513-9841905. Open 7 days. $20-$30.

rings throughout the cafe, creating a charming, tres chic dining experience. 17 Garfield Place, Downtown, 513-651-1919. Open Monday-Friday. $3-$8.50

Chez T Cuisine
FLAVOR: A brunch that would satisfy Julia Child herself. From ham and brie on a rustic baguette to fluffy omelettes to a flash-grilled Caesar salad, the food is humble while still being a real treat. Crêpes printemps with ricotta cheese, lemon curd and warm berry compote would cheer anyone up on a dreary day. Or try the “Chez Tray,” a fancy tasting platter of truffled egg salad, curried chicken salad and wheatberry salad with a petite soup du jour and greens. FLAIR: From the Jazz to the potted herbs to the fancy French hand soap in the bathroom, everything is “just right.” 1004 Delta Ave., Mount Lookout, 513-3212053. Open Monday-Saturday. $2-$12.

FLAIR: To accompany the fab food, you’ll fine loads of excellent choices on the Wine Spectator and Beer Advocate award-winning beverage list. Still, this is a low-key neighborhood eatery for Eastsiders that’s terrific for outdoor dining. Great wine shop and deli meats and cheeses. 6818 Wooster Pike, Mariemont, 513-5615233. Open Monday-Saturday. $10-$25.

La Cherie Bakery and Bistro
FLAVOR: La Cherie focuses on something its owners felt was missing on the south side of the Ohio River: simple, healthy, home-cooked food. They make all their food from scratch including their French bread and bakery goods like the Cranberry Almond scones. One of our favorite things about the bistro is that breakfast never ends — we can get quiche Lorraine, French toast with baked apple slices and a side of Glier’s goetta, and time we want. Try the new made-from-scratch Blueberry Belgian waffles. FLAIR: Service is as charming and personal as the space, which is simple in décor that includes and a larger table in the front window with a crotchet tablecloth, both heirlooms from co-owner Susan Burnett’s family. 522 Main St., Covington, 859-261-8889. Open Tuesday-Sunday. $4-$8.

Greenup Café
FLAVOR: Country cookin,’ French style. Breakfast, lunch, weekend brunch and dinner featuring seasonal, local ingredients and simple, friendly preparations. Fine tart of ratatouille served with two fried eggs or buttermilk pancakes with Jill’s maple butter. Good coffee and lovely assorted pastries all day long. FLAIR: The most bohemian of the Jean-Robert Group restaurant, the rehabbed Covington brownstone that was previously home to the Wildflour Bakery. Bright walls with art nouveau décor and a charming garden patio make this cozy little neighborhood place a destination for people from all over the city. The scent of fresh-baked goods drifts seductively throughout the two floors calling you to make a choice between the almond and the chocolate croissants. Or you can have your croissant and eat it too — just order the

White House Inn
FLAVOR: Serving what it calls “heartland cooking,” the White House Inn offers a range of salads, sandwiches and main entrées that include Filet Mignon, Fried Chicken, Grilled Porkopolis Chops and Calf’s Liver. Among the house specialties is a strip steak bathed in Jack Daniels sauce. FLAIR: A relic of the West Chester of yesteryear, the White House Inn sits on six acres of former farmland, wedged in among myriad housing developments and warehouses that have blossomed in the past few years. It’s big inside, with seven separate dining rooms. 4940 Mulhauser Road, West Chester, 513860-1110. Open 7 days. $18-$30.

Dilly Deli Café Wines and Gourmet

FLAVOR: A surprising array of eclectic choices for a “deli.” Does grilled shrimp and asparagus salad sound like a deli dish to you? The crab cakes, salmon filet and salad with grilled shrimp and asparagus are favorites among the 14 regulars.

FLAVOR: Tapas with a seafood emphasis in the heart of Milford. Ahi tuna spring rolls, crab cakes, Buffalo-style shrimp and sautéed mus-


Eclectic Wine List Including Organic Wine Worldly Beer Selection Locally-Grown Menu Tuesday-Thursday 5pm | Friday-Sunday 4pm


Delicious Thai Cuisine • Friendly Atmosphere

Lunch Specials $5.95 Monday - Friday
5461 North Bend Rd • Monfort Heights Shopping Center




York Street Café
FLAVOR: This local favorite offers a lunch and dinner menu specializing in entrees like fresh halibut, smoked salmon and burgers. Try the popular Mediterranean Board, a sampling of hummus, tabouleh, baba ghanouj, Greek salad, spanikopita and pita that’s perfect for sharing. Homemade desserts top off an always original and interesting meal at York Street. FLAIR: Built as a pharmacy in 1880, the café is decorated in an eclectic, comfortable style, with original shelving and woodwork lining the walls. Original art shares space with quirky kitsch such as collections of dentures and Pez containers. Winner of “Best First Date Restaurant.” 738 York St., Newport, 859-261-9675. Open Tuesday-Saturday. $8-$25.

First Watch
FLAVOR: This “daytime café” offers breakfast, brunch and lunch items that range from healthy to hearty. With multiple locations in the area, there is sure to be one close to you. The breakfast options include a Killer Cajun Omelette, stuffed with chicken breast, mushrooms, Monterey Jack cheese and onions. At lunchtime, try a burger, any of their specialty sandwiches or salads. FLAIR: Great place for morning breakfast meetings, as it’s a corporate reworking of a neighborhood diner. Coffee flows readily from large tureens to help jumpstart the brain. Great for family dining on the weekends. Winner of “Best Breakfast.” Multiple Locations. Open 7 days. $3-$7.

let-sized Dutch Baby Pancake (a bowl-shaped confection served with whipped butter, powdered sugar and lemon) and the Apple Pancake (an oven-baked specialty made with Granny Smith apples and a cinnamon glaze). FLAIR: This family-style breakfast house has a loyal customer base and is always hopping, so there might be a wait, especially on weekends. 9977 Montgomery Road, Montgomery, 513745-0555. Open 7 days. $4-$9.

side dining area with the beautiful view of the downtown skyline to take the bite out of our blarney. Newport on the Levee, Newport, 859-5818888; 5075 Deerfield Blvd., Deerfield Twp., 513-770-0999. Open 7 days. $9-$20.

Cock ’N Bull
FLAVOR: Serving “traditional” fish and chips — well, without the mushy peas anyway — a Reuben sandwich in a nod to Mainstrasse’s German theme and the Famous Jim Beam steak to embrace Kentucky’s famous bourbon tradition. FLAIR: Especially lovely outdoors with a ringside seat on the liveliest corner in Covington. 601 Main St., Covington, 859-581-4253. Open 7 days. $7-$18.

Paula’s Café
FLAVOR: Offering hot and cold sandwiches, oversized salads and filling homemade soups, Paula’s is more than a café — it’s an institution. The food here never fails to satisfy; just try the Cuban Sandwich: roast pork loin, ham and melted Swiss cheese pressed between slices of dense, fresh Shadeau Bakery bread to see just how good a sandwich can be. FLAIR: This year, a bustling new downtown storefront joined its older sibling, still located in the heart of Findlay Market. At either spot, grab something on the run or hunker down for a well-deserved break from work or shopping. 41 E. Fourth St., Downtown, 513-381-3354. Open Monday-Friday. $4-$8.

Zebo’s Bistro
FLAVOR: As a general rule we never sleep in restaurants or eat in hotels, but Zebo’s is a surprisingly tasty exception to humdrum rule of most hotel cafés. Their dinner selections are paired with wine suggestions, and there are fresh fish entrées like Seabass along with signature items such as duck breast stuffed with boursin cheese and marinated in a bourbon glaze. FLAIR: This Marriott overall is a cut above with an exceptionally amiable staff throughout. Zebo’s has a great river view of the downtown skyline and the servers are very accommodating. 10 W. RiverCenter Blvd., Covington, 859-3923750. Open 7 days. $15-$35.

Martha Jeanne’s Eatery
FLAVOR: Simple, homemade food without frills, flavored with affection. Traditional breakfast with biscuits and gravy, eggs and hash browns, pancakes and French toast. For lunch, soups, salads and sandwiches, as well as a blue-plate special. The desserts are homemade, too, and half-portions are available. Perfect — a sliver of pie is just what we wanted! FLAIR: Clean and cozy with bright vinyl tablecloths, unmatched chairs and the unbreakable Corel plates our grandma used to have. There are no strangers here. 511 Fairfield Drive, Bellevue, 859-491-9258. Open Tuesday-Saturday. $3-$8.

The Crooked Nail Pub
FLAVOR: The menu is a combination of affordable English pub fare and bar food with sandwiches, including the pub’s self-proclaimed Famous Fish Sandwich and an open-faced corned beef reuben. Try the unusual but delicious deep-fried pickles at least once just to say you’ve eaten a deep-fried pickle. FLAIR: Typical pub décor with wood paneling, Guinness beer advertisements and British flags provides a comfortable, familiar feel. 9303 Cincinnati-Columbus Road (Route 42), West Chester, 513-755-7800. Open MondaySaturday. $10-$20.

Sugar ’N Spice
FLAVOR: Mmm, real hash browns, plump omelettes, wispy thin blueberry pancakes with the tang of buttermilk, custard-y scrambled eggs and bottomless cups of coffee. Sugar ’N Spice is known for good breakfast comfort food served all day, but try some of their daily lunch specials like the Alotta Bull (1/2-pound roast beef sandwich) or the Red ’n Yeller (grilled cheese with tomato). FLAIR: Not much, and that’s why we like it. Weekend mornings are a guaranteed wait for breakfast, but otherwise it’s a no-nonsense, elbows-on-the-counter environment. 4381 Reading Road, Bond Hill, 513-242-3521. Open 7 Days. $3-$7.

FLAVOR: It just keeps getting better at this creative breakfast and lunch spot. Join them for Wrap It Up Fridays with $5 wraps. The breakfast item that’s on everyone’s lips is Mokka’s French toast battered with corn flakes and topped with crème brulee pastry cream and bananas. We bet you can’t eat the whole thing. FLAIR: Mokka is working on un-fine-dining its new space. It isn’t as quaint as the old one, but there’s plenty of room and great booths. And it enthusiastic staff and prices can’t be beat. Nothing on the menu is over $7 and everything shows effort. 518 E. Fifth St., Newport, 859-581-3700. Open 7 days. $2-$7.

Molly Malone’s Irish Pub
FLAVOR: Irish dishes, like the popular fish and chips, Shepherd’s Pie and variations on a boxty theme: traditional beef and some twists, including chicken tikka and Seamus Ramirez’s jalapeno version. There’s also a filet, Sugar and Spice Salmon, Salmon and Cod Salad, Bow Tie Chicken Pasta and meatloaf. Wash your meal down with one of the many English or Irish ales. FLAIR: The pub’s cozy interior is a great neighborhood gathering place. Live music in the bar on Friday and Saturday nights, quieter in any of the three dining rooms. 6111 Montgomery Road, Pleasant Ridge, 513531-0700. Open 7 days. $8-$16.

Blue Jay
FLAVOR: For some great-tasting, greasy-spoon, eggs-and-bacon type of breakfast, there’s no place better. Hearty portions of eggs, home fries and goetta are regularly fried on the grill, and meals like cheese coneys, cheeseburgers or ham and cheese sandwiches hit the spot when breakfast won’t. If you’re in the mood for a light snack, order a homemade pie to go. FLAIR: Danny and Kathryn Petropoulos opened this tiny Northside restaurant in 1967, and the couple still spends their days cooking and baking for customers. Regulars drift in and out throughout the day, and the waitresses love to chat with newcomers. 4154 Hamilton Ave., Northside, 513-5410847. Open Monday-Saturday. $3-$7.

Claddagh Irish Pub
FLAVOR: Enjoy traditional fish and chips beer battered with Bass Ale, Shepherd’s Pie, corned beef and cabbage and Irish Beef and Guinness Stew. FLAIR: We’re tempted to break out the chainmail outfit and call each other “wench” when hanging out in Claddagh’s castle-like bar and dining rooms, but there’s nothing like the out-

Original Pancake House
FLAVOR: A morning person’s dream, offering everything from strawberry waffles to vegetarian omelettes. Regulars are hooked on the skil-

FLAVOR: There’s nothing like a warm, comforting dish of Shepherd’s Pie served with a good malty ale next to a warm, cozy fire. Well, except for winning the freakin’ lottery, but what

at union centre

modern american cuisine
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Join us for lunch or dinner n s r h r Dine in or Carry-out e n r Visit us at www.meshrestaurant.com for current t s t m r menus,, promotions,, entertainment calendar and more! t r d


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are the odds? So we suggest heading downtown to Nicholson’s for a sure thing. The woodgrilled salmon is a best-seller, but the Osso Bucco is awfully good, too. Fresh seafood is market price. There are lunch and dinner specials daily. FLAIR: The great mahogany bar — which offers 90 single-malt scotches — is the centerpiece, but even the urinals were made in Scotland! Now that’s attention to detail. 625 Walnut St., Downtown, 513-564-9111. Open 7 days. $10-$33.

Dee Felice
FLAVOR: New Orleans-style right in Covington with a Portabella Etouffée for that rarest of dining species, a Cajun vegetarian. Blackened steaks and seafood, not too spicy despite the menu warning, and nightly specials. FLAIR: Jazz rules here, with excellent live music Wednesday through Sunday complementing the crisp linens and shiny brass rails. Mainstrasse’s most upscale eatery now allows smoking only at the bar, which, is one more spot than you can smoke on this side of the river. 529 Main St., Covington, 859-261-2365. Open daily (dinner); half-price wine and appetizers Mondays; Sunday Brunch. $15-$30 (more for market-priced entrées).

• Everyday Lunch Buffet • Mon-Fri 11:30am-2:30pm, 5-10pm Sat-Sun 11:30am-10pm

2006 • 2007 • 2008

City View Tavern
FLAVOR: Still the best view and some of the tastiest burgers in town, and the prices are from back in the day when Mount Adams was known as a “bohemian” neighborhood with just regular folks. Try City View’s Bloody Mary — it repeatedly wins awards as the city’s finest and hairiest. Stella Artois is among the beers newly added available at the bar. FLAIR: Laid back and genuine, City View has managed to rise above the hype and stay real for generations. Good jukebox, cold beer, friendly folks. One note of caution: Unattended children of any age will be dismissed from the premises. 403 Oregon St., Mount Adams, 513-241-8439. Open 7 days. $3-$7.

Knotty Pine on the Bayou
FLAVOR: Gulf Coast seafood, done Cajun style, or just the way you like it. Knotty Pine mixes its own seasonings, and it’s been a recipe for success. Farm-raised oysters all year around. You’ve got to try the Karma Cake, an opera cream cake baked from an old family recipe by the owner’s sister — whose name is Karma! FLAIR: Funky, comfortable, home cooking at the restaurant with the crooked floor. Crawfish boil every Thursday, and half-priced wine on Wednesdays by the bottle or by the glass. Live music during Mardi Gras. 1802 Licking Pike, Cold Spring, Ky., 859-7812200. Open Tuesday–Sunday. $13–$26.

amolindia.com • 354 ludlow ave • 961-3600


Ollie’s Trolley
FLAVOR: Mr. Ollie’s cooking is mighty good. Cole slaw aficionados swear he has the secret, and what they say about that deep-fried turkey is true — it’s not greasy, quite moist and a helluva lot easier to buy than make. FLAIR: Now in two locations for your Ollie Burger pleasure. Limited seating, so grab some and go. You didn’t want anyone to watch you munching that turkey drumstick anyway! 1607 Central Ave., West End, 513-381-6100. Open Monday-Saturday. $3-$45 (for whole turkeys).

FLAVOR: Best known for their Cajun menu items such as Blackened Gator, Jambalaya and Blackened New York Strip, but they also offer Tex-Mex Enchiladas, Burritos, Fajitas and Chimichangas as well as pasta dishes like the Lobster Ravioli Alfredo and Mardi Gras Pasta. FLAIR: Great neighborhood hangout. The restaurant has a casual and lively bar/café atmosphere, especially on Sunday nights when the band cranks up. Check out the specialty shop where you can find local music CDs and a kickass wine selection at reasonable prices. 3538 Columbia Pkwy., Columbia-Tusculum, 513-871-5779. Open 7 days. $6-$25.

Single Sandwich Platter & Large Drink

Quatman’s Café
FLAVOR: Known for its burgers, which are a 1/2-pound of grilled beef served with a fat slice of onion and pickle. Additional dinner or lunch options include its famous mock turtle soup, cheeseburgers, ham and cheese, roast beef, corned beef and turkey sandwiches and fish on Fridays. The chicken and ham salads are top notch. FLAIR: An authentic Norwood experience if you’re looking for one — and who isn’t? Filled with regulars and characters of all makes, Quatman’s is a burp from the ’50s with neon beer signs, checkered tablecloths and paper plates. 2434 Quatman Ave., Norwood, 513-731-4370. Open Monday-Saturday. $5-$10.

$ 50

Monday-Thursday. Dine in Only. Valid only at Walnut Street location.


Arnold’s Bar and Grill
FLAVOR: Arnold’s serves up a nice range of lunch and dinner options at bargain prices, including a lunch menu (weekly specials) with sandwiches, burgers, bratwurst, grilled polenta, dinner specials, salads, meats and pasta. FLAIR: The oldest continually operated bar in town — Cincinnatians have been polishing the bar with their elbows here since 1861. There are authentic signs and antiques everywhere that create a real sense of history. Live music on weekends, and a courtyard for outdoor dining. Winner of “Best Restaurant with Live Music.” 210 E. Eighth St., Downtown, 513-421-6234. Open Monday-Saturday. $8-$22.

344 Walnut Street • Downtown 513.721.1127

Zip’s Café
FLAVOR: Zip’s equals cheeseburgers. OK, now you get it. The meat is ground locally at Avril’s on Court Street. The buns are baked locally at Klosterman’s. Sure, there’s a black bean burger, a turkey burger and even a tuna sandwich on the menu, but would you go to the Sistine Chapel and look at the floor? Eat the cheeseburger. The Girth Burger, a beef patty with a mett on top is sure to burst the seams of your pants. FLAIR: There’s a toy train running along the tracks, and patrons packed in like sardines. There’s beer, and there are Zip Burgers. You’re in the right place. Go wild and have the onion rings. Winner of “Best Burgers.” 1036 Delta Ave., Mount Lookout, 513-8719876. Open 7 days. $4-$8.

Avari Bistro & Deli
FLAVOR: If you’ve ever lived in Manhattan, you owe it to yourself to come to Avari for a kosher meal that will bring back such memories as homemade matzoh ball soup, chicken shwarma, corned beef and brisket. If you’re not a fan of Jewish food, then try the Pasta Pomodoro and Buffalo Chicken Tenders. FLAIR: Move beyond the deli case and chalkboard that greet you at the entrance and you’ll find a clean, contemporary space where one family might be saying grace to start their meal while another is bensching after finishing



theirs. But everyone’s welcome! 4858 Hunt Road, Blue Ash, 513-984-9804. Open SundayThursday, Friday daytime. $8-$22.

Behle Street Café
FLAVOR: Homey and delicious shouldn’t be taken for granted. Meatloaf, mashed potatoes and green beans can be heavenly, especially when followed by Otis’s beautiful homemade bread pudding. Behle Street consistently delivers a straightforward menu. The crab cakes are quite good, too. FLAIR: When the weather is nice, the patio is open at Behle Street, and it’s the perfect vantage point from which to view Daniel Libeskind’s Ascent while you enjoy a sirloin burger or a Greek salad. 50 E. Rivercenter Blvd., Covington. 859-291-4100. Open 7 days. $14-$28.

Blue Ash Chili

Sunday, May 11

Mother’s Day Buffet Brunch
*No regular menu

FLAVOR: Cincinnati chili, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways: three, four and five. This fine independent chili parlor, established in 1969, offers coneys for the kiddies and hearty double-decker sandwiches for big appetites. Meatloaf and ribeye steaks are alternative menu options. FLAIR: Black-and-white checkered floors, single- and doubleseater booths and plenty of friendly regulars. 9565 Kenwood Road, Blue Ash, 513-984-6107. Open MondaySaturday. $3.25-$8.

Camp Washington Chili
FLAVOR: John Johnson, the patriarch of Camp Washington Chili, won’t divulge the ingredients in his secret spice mix, but he will say that the secret to his success is that he doesn’t use any imitation ingredients. Unlike many of the chili chains, Johnson never freezes the meat he uses, which he’s been buying from the local slaughterhouses since he started his business. He also uses fresh onions, fresh garlic and Wisconsin cheddar cheese. Enjoy a bowl of cream of broccoli or chicken noodle soup to complement your meal. FLAIR: The retro-style dining room is open 24 hours a day, and the customers are as varied as the different ways they order their chili. Winner of “Best Chili (Non-Chain).” Hopple and Colerain streets, Camp Washington, 513-541-0061. Open Monday-Saturday. $5-$8.


LOCATION: 520 Vine St., Downtown, 513-721-VITE CUISINE: Modern Italian TABLE: Two low tables on the second floor terrace, surrounded by comfortable couches, that look out at the Tyler-Davidson Fountain on Fountain Square. You can scope out the action on the square while enjoying Happy Hour, lunch or dinner. NICKNAME: The Fountain Lounge WHAT MAKES THIS TABLE UNIQUE: There’s no better view of the renovated Fountain Square than from this perch, which is about eye level with the Genius of Water atop the fountain. Since Via Vite opened in October, these past few weeks have been the first chance the restaurant owners have had to break out the patio furniture and test drive their terrace. Assistant Manager Marcus Thurmond says they’ve been pleasantly surprised at how popular these tables have become. Via Vite has begun late night Happy Hours (10 p.m.-1 a.m. MondayThursday and 11 p.m.-2 a.m. Friday-Saturday) that grab crowds after a show at the Aronoff Center or after other nearby restaurants close. WHY I LOVE THIS TABLE: Once you sink down into the couches and try a pizza and half-priced drink at Happy Hour, you really don’t want to move. Once they start offering DJ music in the evenings, as Thurmond says they’re planning to do, you’ll never leave. WHY THE STAFF LOVES/HATES THIS TABLE: Thurmond says a lot of the Via Vite staff love to hang out in this couch area when their shifts are done, and their late-night Happy Hour has attracted a restaurant industry crowd. So it’s like home away from home for much of the staff. The downside to a super-comfy couch area is people don’t want to leave and, well, the tables don’t get turned that often. (John Fox)

The Comet
FLAVOR: If it’s burritos you crave, look no further. The Comet is sure to have just what you need. Their extensive burrito menu includes favorites like the Black & Tan (pinto and black beans, Monterey jack cheese, rice and salsa) and the Marinated Jerked Tofu. Or try a basket of chips with a trio of their homemade salsas. FLAIR: Who else offers the eclectic combination of weekly live music, including the Comet Bluegrass Allstars, weekly karaoke, over 100 beer choices, pool tables and one of the best jukeboxes in town with lots of local picks? 4579 Hamilton Ave., Northside, 513-541-8900. Open 7 days. $4-$9.

Buffet Brunch
$30 per adult $8 per child
(10 & under)

Courtyard Café on Main
FLAVOR: Serves a step above ordinary bar food, offering stuffed mushrooms, burritos, double-decker sandwiches, soups and our favorite, the cole slaw. FLAIR: A lunch destination for area workers, it’s also a great place to hang out, eat some grub and drink some beers. As its name suggests, this place is all about the courtyard. At night, with the fire pit going in the two-level courtyard, this place can be a cozy hangout. It’s more low-key than the rest of its Main Street bar brethren. 1211 Main St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-723-1119. Open MondaySaturday. $6-$12.

Open at 4pm for Dinner
*Regular Dinner Menu & Specials

Reservations Recommended

513-381-1300 or Available online @ www.Palomino.com

FLAVOR: Formerly Boloco, Currito serves up “inspired burritos” that draw on culinary influences from around the world. Offerings range from to Cajun to Mediterranean to Bangkok as well as salads, chips and salsa and fruit smoothies. Snackers — their own twist on quesadillas — come with cheese and chicken, steak or even tofu. FLAIR: Tired of wrestling with burritos as big as your head? Currito is a smaller alternative with a sizeable selection. The restaurant also offers healthier choices like brown rice instead of white for burrito fillings as well as organic tofu. 222 Calhoun St., Clifton Heights, 513-281-1500. Open 7 days. $6-$10.

Downtown - 5th & Vine Above Tiffany & Co.


Essencha Tea House
FLAVOR: Light sandwiches, homemade soups and crepes are all here to complement the main attraction: precision-infused teas from around the world. Try an “ultra-premium grade” selection like Organic Jasmine Pearls, which slowly blossom in your glass teapot while releasing their floral essence. FLAIR: Essencha isn’t your Aunt Millie’s tea parlor, with doilies and Victorian floral wallpaper. Rather, the small, tranquil space in the heart of Oakley’s bustling town center tends toward minimalist, Zen-like décor. 3212 Madison Road, Oakley, 513-533-4832. Open 7 days. $3$13.

Maribelle Tavern
FLAVOR: Standards, like build-your-own burgers, but lots of surprises, too, like a “Grown-Up Grilled Cheese” with goat cheese and caramelized onions or Sweet Potato-Crusted Tilapia with a rum butter sauce. Sides include “Asian slaw” with bacon, mac ’n cheese, roasted sweet potatoes and spicy tavern fries. Everything on the all-day menu is made in-house, including desserts. FLAIR: Restoration Hardware decor and a friendly staff in the heart of the “new” East End. Patio dining is coming soon. And picky eaters are welcome: The kitchen will make any substitutions you request. 2062 Eastern Avenue, East End, 513-861-2484. Open TuesdaySunday. $4-$14.

Grandview Tavern & Grille
FLAVOR: You’ll have a hard time finding a better cheeseburger, and the sweet potato fries are definitely the best in town. Excellent salad topped with ahi tuna, medium rare. For dinner, try pan-seared salmon — it’s perfectly cooked. Offers a Sunday brunch buffet with eggs benedict, omelettes and a carving station. FLAIR: A welcome addition to the neighborhood dining scene in Fort Mitchell, Grandview has fast become a favorite. The outdoor tables are the first to fill at lunch on nice spring days, but inside by the fire is perfect on any winter evening. 2220 Grandview Drive, Fort Mitchell, 859-341-8439. Open 7 days. $9-$29.

Mount Adams Bar & Grill
FLAVOR: More grub than pub, this Bar & Grill offers a full menu of sandwiches, salads and entrées. Favorites include the grilled tuna steak and grilled salmon sandwiches as well as the fabulous burgers. FLAIR: Popular with everyone from daytime lunchers to prePlayhouse crowds, this is a beautiful old turn-of-the-century building with tile floors and a gorgeous bar. The long porch is a cozy spot in the summer for a breezy, late-night bite. 938 Hatch St., Mount Adams, 513-621-3666. Open 7 days. $4$15.

Greyhound Tavern
FLAVOR: The Greyhound’s onion rings are, to an onion lover, what donuts are to Homer Simpson. The fried cod sandwich is stupendous, and Kentuckians would go a long way to find a better Hot Brown. Traditional Sunday brunch — don’t miss the sausage and egg casserole or the homemade biscuits. FLAIR: The Fort Mitchell Greyhound will soon be joined by a second location at the site of the old Tousey House in Burlington, opening in June. The menu will be similar but there will be more outdoor seating available. 2500 Dixie Hwy., Fort Mitchell, 859-331-3767. Open 7 days. $15–$25.

Mount Adams Pavilion
FLAVOR: Simple, delicious entrées that are several steps above typical bar fare. Unique quesadillas and the Fried Chicken Salad are house favorites. The bar is open year-round, though the new menu comes out with the spring sun. FLAIR: You’ll feel beautiful here. The bright colors, oversize murals of abstract art, the decks with the city view and the music played by the house DJ are all larger than life and craft a never-ending party. 949 Pavilion St., Mount Adams, 513-744-9200. Open 7 days. $6-$12.

Join Us for Our Famous Mother's Day All You Can Eat Buffet!
A Traditional Feast with All the Trimmings 11am-7pm Including Breakfast Brunch 11am-2pm
Adults: $21.95 | Children 12 & Under: $12.95 Children 5 & Under FREE

Habits Café
FLAVOR: The large menu includes appetizers, sandwiches and entrées with everything from meatloaf to the popular Ostrich Burger. Still a favorite are the Potato Rags (deep-fried hash browns served with onion, bacon, cheese, tomato and ranch dressing) — they might not sound too healthy, but they’re sure tasty. FLAIR: Right in the heart of Oakley Square, this is a classic neighborhood hangout with a diverse clientele and some hoppin’ live music. The bar room is full of brewery advertising and inexpensive (but matching) furniture. There’s a separate room with upholstered booths for a less pub-ish dining experience. 3036 Madison Road, Oakley, 513-631-8367. Open 7 days. $7$17.

O’Bryon’s Irish Pub
FLAVOR: Along with the usual bar food staples, O’Bryon’s has more out-of-the-ordinary lunch specials such as Pulled Pork Barbecue and Meatloaf. Popular dinner items include the beerbattered cod sandwich, quesadillas and wings. FLAIR: Located in the heart of the O’Bryonville business district, the pub is a spacious joint with tables with comfy chairs, a bar for those going solo and additional seating at a bar upstairs. It also has a great rooftop patio. 1998 Madison Road, O’Bryonville, 513-321-5525. Open 7 days. $8-$12.

FLAVOR: Had a bad morning? Olives’ chicken potpie is the perfect comfort food at lunch. For dinner, try meatball Bolognese linguine, meatloaf and mashed potatoes, fresh seafood or salad. FLAIR: Olives “strives to serve good quality food at reasonable prices,” and they do a good job of that. A great place for dinner before a movie at The Esquire or a UC event. 342 Ludlow Ave., Clifton 513-221-4200. Open 7 days. $8–$21.

Great New Casual Menu & Nautical Atmosphere! Great Appetizers • Fresh Seafood Steaks • Prime Rib • Burgers • Sandwiches
Open at 5pm Tuesday-Sunday

The Hideaway
Food: Your meal here is likely to be casual, comfortable and a lot of fun. The kitchen serves up a broad range of tasty dishes — vegetarian tamale pie served with dirty rice and salsa; catfish or tilapia with sautéed hominy and cornbread; homemade meatloaf; a flank steak and sharp provolone sandwich; and the new “tarted up” grilled cheese with roasted garlic and basil on ciabatta. FLAIR: Located on a stretch of Northside’s Hamilton Avenue, The Hideaway serves its homey dine-in fare amongst hipster garagesale leftovers — framed string art, velvet Elvises, and lots of Virgin Mary candles. Its kitschy, retro vibe and funky, earnest soundtrack might make you feel like you’ve gone back in time when you hid out in your best friend’s basement playing Jim Morrison and Todd Rundgren. 4163 Hamilton Ave., Northside, 513-542-2444. Open TuesdaySaturday. $12.95-$21.95.

4609 Kellogg Ave • 513-871-1820
Located in the Four Seasons Marina Just 2 miles west of Riverbend, Coney Island & River Downs


FLAVOR: Owner Nick Longo, head guy at Nick’s Chops and Chasers, offers a menu created around his signature boneless pork chops and BBQ ribs. Pork chop options range from blackened to ranch and Normandy styles, but tried-and-true flavor combinations like pork and sauerkraut are the menu stars. FLAIR: The grill’s location in the former Rookwood Pottery building gives you a full swig of Cincinnati history complete with seating in the actual kiln, photos of beefy Germanic potters and a display case of the famous ware. 1077 Celestial St., Mount Adams, 513-721-5456. Open 7 days. $11-$30.

Enjoy the Country's Largest Tiki Hut!
Wed/Thu Tue/30-10:30p
Live Entert

Mammoth Café
FLAVOR: Same great coffee, but the menu features burritos and wraps like the Van Eatin’ Burrito filled with hummus, guacamole, tofu, salsa and all good veggie things. Vegetarian breakfasts are offered all day. Breakfast and lunch items are baked in-house daily. And desserts from The Bonbonerie! FLAIR: Great open space with a retro flair to the furnishings. Hip and friendly, there’s a good mix of patrons enjoying their cappuccinos and reading from the great selection of reading material, from British fashion mags to CityBeat. 515 Monmouth St., Newport, 859-291-8875. Open TuesdaySunday. $6-$7.

The Pub at Crestview Hills
FLAVOR: Once upon a time, the sun never set on the British empire — so the pub calls all the world’s food British, including cheeseburgers, chicken wings and ahi tuna satay. Whatever. Still, there are bangers and mash! And in spite of the dubious links to the peerage, it’s good, well prepared bar food. Happy hour is 3-7 p.m. and 9 p.m. until close weekdays. FLAIR: Fun, casual atmosphere in the popular Crestview Hills mall, the Pub gets a good young professional crowd. Great

Blue Bird Trio 6: Leadfoot ri & Sat F Johnny 7-11p merican Sundays A psies 4-6p Gy shorn ay Mond0:30s Go p Bros 6:30-1

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We Open at 11am 7 Days a Week!

Great Food, Drinks & Fun! 4609 Kellogg Ave • 513-871-1820
Located in the Four Seasons Marina Just 2 miles west of Riverbend, Coney Island & River Downs



selection of beers and ales imported from Scotland, England, Belgium and Ireland. 2853 Dixie Hwy., Crestview Hills, 859-426-7827. Open 7 days. $8-$26.

FLAVOR: Kaldi’s is crazy with $4 burger mania on Tuesday nights this summer, and old favorites like the hummus appetizer and a gingery curried chicken salad sandwich. Sunday brunch features a Mediterranean omelet with olives, feta, roasted red peppers and artichokes. FLAIR: A neighborhood anchor, Kaldi’s is the gathering place for artists, musicians, neighborhood folk and business people. The restaurant continues to offer a space for artists to show their works and musicians to play under the watchful eye of the illustrious goat head. Live music on Fridays. 1202 Main St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-241-3070. Open 7 days. $3-$8.

Schoolhouse Restaurant
FLAVOR: While it’s not the peanut butter sandwiches and Twinkies mom packed your Ninja Turtle lunchbox with, it is comfort food only a mother could make. Fried chicken, meatloaf, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn fritters, roast beef, cobblers, ice cream sundaes, cakes and pies — all written in perfect cursive on the chalkboard and served by clones of our elementary school lunch lady. FLAIR: A Civil War-era schoolhouse (and the first two-story school building in the Midwest), it fills with area families. 8031 Glendale-Milford Road, Camp Dennison, 513-831-5753. Open Thursday-Sunday. $11-$17.

FREE parking in the Clifton Business Lot (located on Howell)


700 OFF $150 2nd Dinner Entree

Buy 1 dinner entree at regular price and get 2nd dinner entree for $7.00 off - dine in and carry out Limit 2 coupons per party.

Purchase of Purchase of
Limit 2 coupons per party.


Rohs Street Café
FLAVOR: In the mood for a perfectly prepared espresso or cappuccino? Then head down to Rohs Street Café, which features fair-trade, organic coffee from a local micro-roaster, assuring a high quality brew every time. Home-baked muffins and scones are available along with a soup of the day. FLAIR: The large, open space serves as more than a café — it’s a bookstore, an art gallery, a venue for musical performances by great local acts and a place for neighborhood groups to get organized. So stop in, hang out and, if you want to, see how you can help make a difference! 245 W. McMillan Ave., Clifton Heights, 513-328-7647. Open Monday-Saturday. $1.50-$4.25.

One Buffet Two Buffets
Limit 2 coupons per party.

341 Ludlow Ave • Cincinnati • 513.861.6800

FLAVOR: A vast menu of pub grub, including some nods in the Celtic direction with fish and chips, Guinness-enhanced Shepherd’s pie and corned beef with boiled red potatoes, cabbage and mustard sauce, just like Mother McGee used to make. FLAIR: This large, upscale sports bar has become a home base for Reds and Bengals fans. With 18 big-screen TVs and themed events like toga and keg parties, Sully’s is party central. 700 Race St., Downtown, 513-381-4302. Open 7 days. $12$20.


Northern & Southern Indian Cuisine

Buffet All Day Long!

Universal Grille

Sidewinder Coffee and Tea
FLAVOR: The café offers a small collection of yummy items like vegan and non-vegan baked goods, soup, the turkey and Swiss breakfast burrito (get there earlier, they sell out fast) and mac and cheese, as well as locally roasted fair-trade and organic coffees, espresso drinks and a large selection of blended and loose-leaf teas not found anywhere else. If you’re hungry, try some of their tasty treats like vegan baked goods. FLAIR: When you’re ready to come over to the hip side, start in Sidewinder’s funky inside or courtyard. There’s acoustic music 13:30 p.m. Sundays; 7-9:30 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays and semi-regular open mics and poetry slams. Check out the latest art exhibit, hook up your WiFi and answer your e-mail, then, fortified on the elixir of life (espresso), go forth and explore Northside. 4181 Hamilton Ave., Northside, 513-542-8321. Open 7 days. $1.25-$5.

$1 OFF 1 Buffet or $2 OFF 2 Buffets





Lunch Dinner Buffet Buffet

FLAVOR: How do you like your burger? Rare, medium, absolutely fabulous? This gay- and straight-friendly burger joint has undergone recent menu changes, but the burgers are still incredible. Recently reintroduced a lunch menu after being dinner-only for a while. FLAIR: Clientele is truly a melting pot, with a daytime business crowd giving way to an animated party crowd. Thursday nights offers fun, flamboyant karaoke. 911 Vine St., Downtown, 513-381-6279. Open 7 days. $8-$25.

11580 Chester Rd • Sharonville • 513.771.3364

FLAVOR: Features an Italian-style espresso bar where employees hand-build all the drinks. A small daily menu includes soups, salads, sandwiches, quiches and baked goods as well as inventive smoothies all with fresh ingredients like the More Amore with strawberries, banana, organic dark chocolate and cream and the Red Riding Hood with strawberries, blueberries, organic vanilla yogurt and honey. FLAIR: Owned by a co-op, Brutopia serves up locally roasted fairtrade coffee, which helps ensure basic human rights protections and fair payment to small coffee farmers around the globe. They also feature fair-trade tea, sugar and chocolate. Along with doing your part in making the world a better place, you get the hottest cup of coffee on Earth. 276 Ludlow Ave., Clifton, 513-861-4278. Open 7 days. $5-$7.

FLAVOR: Enjoy a wide range of coffee and alcoholic drinks or try a bowl of homemade soup. Treat yourself to an enormous shake (worth every bit of $5) or stick to their award-winning salads. The New York Egg Sandwich is the single most popular item on the menu. Try one on a Sunday morning with the sun angling in through the windows, and you’ll know why. Delicious. FLAIR: You can nurse a bottomless cup of coffee all day for $3. Check the schedule: They regularly play host to a local Celtic music group, an enthusiastic puppet troupe and other entertainers. 324 Ludlow Ave., Clifton, 513-281-7487. Open 7 days. $10$25.

BuZZthru Espresso Bar
FLAVOR: An eclectic and cluttered coffeehouse in the heart of Loveland with a great selection of coffee, pastries and muffins, a diverse clientele, a few comfy chairs and an overstocked bookshelf. Perfect! FLAIR: If you’re in a hurry, use BuZZthru’s drive-thru window and you don’t even have to get out of your car. 807 Loveland-Madeira Road, Loveland. 513-677-2555. Open 7 days. Nothing over $5.

Iron Skillet
FLAVOR: Goulash is most definitely the flavor here, with five different types from which to choose on the lunch menu alone. Other favorites include stuffed cabbage, sauerbraten and chicken paprikash. As the self-proclaimed home of the “Best Schnitzels in Town,” it is your solemn duty to try one of the 10 different kinds available. The hot slaw is a delicious surprise, both sweet and pleasantly sour at the same time. For the less adventurous, there are plenty of steak and sandwich options. FLAIR: Lots to enjoy in this spacious and airy dining room. 6900 Valley Lane, Newtown, 513-561-6776. Open TuesdaySunday. $9-$22.

Coffee Emporium
FLAVOR: Spend your time creating the perfect drink — pick the type of bean, choose between caffeinated/decaffeinated, add a syrup addition or choose a flavor. The emphasis is on the coffee, but some food is offered, including soup from Myra’s. FLAIR: Walking into this roasting company, take a minute to breathe in the intense, hypnotic coffee scent. The modern downtown store is awash with coffee and tea smells. Scattered seats around the store are available for sitting and chatting, and a bar by the large windows offers refuge for the solo diners. The Hyde Park location is a diminutive Victorian with a quaint wisteria-covered arbor. 110 E. Central Pkwy., Downtown, 513-651-5483. Open MondaySaturday; 3316 Erie Ave., Hyde Park, 513-321-5943. Open 7 days. $2-$7.


FLAVOR: An ambitious and surprising menu with dishes from Russian and Eastern European to Mediterranean, Latin American and Caribbean. For appetizers, try the empanadas or the patacones, flattened and battered disc-shaped patties of seasoned plantain. The paella is delicious and flavorful, a heaped and generous order of slow-cooked rice filled with roasted red peppers, pork, chicken, spicy pieces of chorizo sausage, shrimp and clams served in their shells.


FLAIR: When you’ve had enough of the Subway and McDonald’s franchises that dominate Loveland, Roberto’s is a great spot for a paella and a glass of wine. 784 Loveland-Miami Road, Loveland, 513-683-9882. Open Tuesday-Saturday. $12-$29.

Munich Weizen, you’re not the first. Winner of “Best German.” Don’t miss the traditional German house band, playing every day after 1 p.m. Oompah! 200 E. Third St., Newport, 859-491-7200. Open 7 days. $10$25.

Jean Robert at Pigalls
FLAVOR: French, fresh and (whenever possible) local. In summer, “the menu changes every time a farmer shows up at the back door.” But when those humble ingredients arrive in the dining room, they’ve been transformed into four-star haute cuisine. FLAIR: This is the gem in the Queen City’s crown, but having said that, understand that perfect is not stuffy. Pigall’s is fine dining for today, and while polished service is the rule, jackets and ties are required only for the maitre d’, not the guests. The fourcourse celebration menu is surprisingly affordable at $40; wine pairings are $20 more. You owe it to yourself to go. Winner of “Best Overall Restauran” (tied with Boca). 127 W. Fourth St., Downtown, 513-721-1345. Open TuesdaySaturday. Three-course prix fixe: $74; five-course prix fixe: $97.

Mecklenburg Gardens
FLAVOR: Zinzinnati’s German heritage lives on at Mecklenburg’s — their schnitzel is second to none. With a good selection of traditional German classics and Chef Brett Crowe’s innovations like pan-seared lake perch or roasted lamb over creamy northern beans, alles gut! FLAIR: Mecklenburg Gardens is a Cincinnati landmark dating back to 1865 that owner Tom Harten rescued from abandonment in 1996. Now, as Tom says, they’re “alive and well after 141 years.” There’s live music most Friday and Saturday nights featuring bluesy sounds and traditional German tunes. 302 E. University Ave., Corryville, 513-221-5353. Open MondaySaturday. $18-$22.

"Best Indian"

Additional Parking Available in Clifton Business Lot (next to IGA)

350 Ludlow • 513-281-7000

Anchor Grill
FLAVOR: Get your goetta groove on here, as the traditional goetta and eggs breakfast is served 24/7; go wild and try a GLT. You only live once! The Anchor Burger is another big seller, as is the buttery grilled yellow cheese on Wonder Bread, the way God meant us to eat it. FLAIR: We’ve dived and gone to heaven at the Anchor Grill. The third shift rules here — a late-night paradise with “live” entertainment from the miniature electronic band featuring Barbie and Ken. Servers are “waddya-havin’-hon’” efficient, and the parade of nocturnal characters is better than any reality television show. 438 Pike St., Covington, 859-431-9498. Open 24/7. $4-$12.

FLAVOR: Chef Joanne Drilling describes the food as rustic, full-flavored French fare, and they use local ingredients as much as possible: the buffalo, rabbit and chicken are all farmed locally and the dessert menu includes Madisono’s gelato and sorbets. Enjoy appetizers such as the Charcuterie with cured meats, meat mousse, pate and homemade pickled vegetable, Snail Skewers with Provencal vegetables or the Tarte Flambé. FLAIR: How do you make dirty laundry hip and trendy? One way would be to sell it on eBay, but the Jean-Robert de Cavel family found a tastier approach with its latest venture — a new wine bar and restaurant. The restaurant is a unique blend of the good things from our past and future. Housed in what was most likely a neighborhood Laundromat, the space also embraces an environmentally sound future in its design which features bamboo floors and tables, a bar made of cork and table bases that are recycled from Grammer’s. 1211 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-621-1999. Open 7 days. $8$18

The Echo
FLAVOR: A favorite since 1945 with Eastsiders, The Echo is a nofrills diner serving Midwest classic homestyle favorites from meatloaf to grilled cheese and eggs, goetta and home fries to chef’s salads and fish sandwiches. The breaded cod and beef and cheese loaf are some new fare. FLAIR: None really, not even any wisecracking, surly waitresses. Just a straightforward, family-friendly, relaxed neighborhood gathering place — like eating in your great aunt’s kitchen without having to help her wash the dishes. 3510 Edwards Road, Hyde Park, 513-321-2816. Open 7 days. $7-$17.

• Open 7 Days a Week •

24 East 6th St • 513-723-1300

FLAVOR: Food is served from the Petite Bite Menu, where playful, fanciful food is as fun as it is sophisticated. Every dish is designed for sharing. The Twist French Castle is a bleu cheese stuffed meatball “slider.” The Smoked Salmon Two Way is a sliver of smoked salmon on toast, topped with a swirl of salmon mousse and garnished with a quarter of a hard-boiled quail’s egg. FLAIR: Twist is Fourth Street’s answer to big-city style with wine and nibbles in a setting worthy of Sex and the City. Beautiful room, beautiful people, beautiful food. Great jumping off point for dinner at Pigall’s or an evening of its own. 129 W. Fourth St., Downtown 513-721-1345 Open 7 days. $6$9.

FLAVOR: The old-fashioned flavors of the soda counter, including the best darn chocolate shakes in town, classic cheeseburgers or Hathaway’s specialty salad with a scoop of cottage cheese, yogurt, coconut, walnuts, raisins, fruit, and apricot dressing, served with a hot cinnamon muffin. Also serves up excellent breakfasts. FLAIR: Recently refurbished but still a classic diner. The décor and the lighting are bright, with vintage boomerang patterned Formica countertops, lots of chrome and tile in turquoise and black. There are great historical photos on the walls and vintage music circa Bobby Darin and Ella Fitzgerald. 441 Vine St. in the Carew Tower, Downtown, 513-621-1332. Open Monday–Saturday. $4-$9.

FLAVOR: Appetizers are more Buffalo Wild Wings than Budapest, but entrées are very traditional Hungarian-German, heavy on the meat and the paprika. Try the Hungarian Goulash, Chicken Paprikasch or Sauerbraten along with spaetzle (small but filling stringy-looking dumplings) or an enormous fried potato pancake. FLAIR: Still family-owned after three generations, Christy’s/Lenhardt’s is a piece of Cincinnati history. Housed in the once-regal surroundings of the former Moerlein mansion, it provides a glimpse into the area’s storied German past. Service is welcoming and friendly, and there’s bocce ball in the summer. 151 W. McMillan Ave., Clifton Heights, 513-281-3600. Open Tuesday-Saturday. $8-$12.

3120 Madison Rd • 513-321-1600

The Hitching Post
FLAVOR: “World’s Best Fried Chicken” is this diner’s claim to fame, but we’re there in a New York minute for mac ’n cheese or any, and we mean any, of Aunt Ruth’s pies, which have an almost cult following (you can order them whole to go as well, and we do). Made from scratch Fetuccini is available every Friday. FLAIR: Checkered tablecloths and the whole diner nine yards with kitschy-cute memorabilia and family photos adorning the walls. 2715 Madison Road, Hyde Park, 513-871-9201. Open TuesdaySunday. $4-$13.


FLAVOR: Take it from someone who grew up thinking sauerkraut was one of the four food groups — this is the real deal. Order the Schweinsbraten mit Kruste; after all, who doesn’t love roast pork loin? Sauerbraten is their most popular dish, and they have a wurst for every occasion. FLAIR: Genuine German beer hall mit der gusto. You can stand on your chair and yell “More beer!” over and over and not get thrown out. And if you start singing “Edelweiss” after your third

J&J’s Restaurant
FLAVOR: One of those comforting, back-in-the-day family restaurants that serves breakfast anytime and the best two-fisted double-deckers going. The home fries are a must — weighing in at a pound, one order could easily serve four. FLAIR: J&J’s has a staunch stable of regulars to fill its booths. You might not get much small talk out of the waitresses who fly

2303 Buttermilk Crossings • Crescent Springs, KY 859-341-5858


Breakfast • Lunch • Catering

41 East 4th Street • Downtown • 513.381.3354


LOCATION: 1077 Celestial St., Mount Adams, 513-721-5456 CUISINE: Famous for pork chops (not surprisingly) but also offers entrees such as Filet Mignon and upscale apps, pub sandwiches and pastas. TABLE: The Kiln Room of historic Rookwood Pottery, one of the first businesses run by a woman, started in 1879. Rookwood soon became famous for its pottery made from the clay of the Ohio River and is still a tourist destination. (Some people come from out of town just to eat in the Kiln Room.) NICKNAME: The Kiln WHAT MAKES THIS TABLE UNIQUE: The three Kiln rooms, where pottery was once fired, now provide a cozy, private dining experience far from the usual restaurant noise. WHY I LOVE THIS TABLE: The Kiln is the perfect place to have private conversations with significant others or friends because you’re completely sequestered from the rest of the restaurant. So next time you want to kvetch to your significant other about work troubles, or your friend discovers her SO is cheating and calls you for that glass of wine, think “kiln.” Also think kiln for atmosphere. The portals at the bottom of the kiln are great fun for little kids and inebriated adults to “squeeze and peek through” for fun. Dim lighting, colorful murals and a funky dome shape definitely make for an otherworldly dining experience. WHY THE STAFF LOVES/HATES THIS TABLE: Our server said she loves this table because of its history and says she loves working for owner and longtime acquaintance Nick Longo, who also owns Nick’s Chops and Chasers. (Heather Smith)



through the dining room like whirling dervishes, but you’ll get a smile and fast, efficient service. 6159 Glenway Ave., Westwood, 513-661-2260. Open Monday-Saturday. $6-$8.

Ron’s Roost
FLAVOR: There’s plenty of chicken here (baked, barbecued and fried) but the menu has other options like filet mignon, barbecued pork ribs and the popular Oktoberfest Sauerbraten. And don’t forget the hot bacon slaw, mock turtle soup and homemade cream pies. FLAIR: With the giant Fiberglass rooster on the roof, the restaurant has been a West Side institution for more than 45 years. Inside is filled with chicken décor (it is too a style!) and sports memorabilia. The mom-and-pop joint almost always has a wait, so come in early or stop by late to avoid the rush. 3853 Race Road, Bridgetown, 513-574-0222. Open 7 days. $10-$20.

Pepper Pod


HIBACHI COMING SOON Comfortable, Inviting Award Winning Atmosphere!
3655 Edwards Road • Cincinnati, OH 45208


FLAVOR: All the food is homemade here, and so is the staff, with several of founder Eddie Barton’s grandsons now working at the restaurant, located in Newport since 1970. The menu includes chili, mozzarella cheese sticks, meatloaf, potato soup with cheddar cheese and all-day breakfast. Better still, it’s open 24 hours a day, so it doesn’t matter if you want your breakfast at 3 p.m. or 3 a.m. The meatloaf goes quickly in the evening. FLAIR: The wall-to-wall fluorescent lights are really bright, the kitchen is a whirlwind and friendly waitresses do laps around the center island to get to their tables. Specials are magic-markered on paper and stuck to the wall. 703 Monmouth St., Newport, 859-431-7455. Open 24/7. $2-$8.

FLAVOR: Well known for its hearty, fresh food, with the best vegetarian omelet and deluxe hash browns this side of hash heaven. The owners buy most of their products at nearby Findlay Market. Try the Big Tucker, a doubledecker burger with cheese and special sauce. Other standbys include biscuits and gravy and


the fried cod sandwich. The milkshakes, sadly, are no more, but there’s always a big, hearty portions. FLAIR: A vibrant piece of history, Tucker’s has been a fixture on Vine Street since 1949. It’s definitely no-frills and very high on atmosphere, with lots of regulars and walls hung with memorabilia from the past half-century. 1637 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-721-7123. Open Monday-Saturday. $4-$7.

samosas are works of wonder. It’s delicious but no-frills, served in a Styrofoam carryout box. FLAIR: Basic, tight quarters are provided, as three small booths sit opposite the cooking and cashier line. Taken to go or eat in, it’s a fine thing to be overpowered by Krishna’s steamy, curried haze. 313 Calhoun St., Clifton Heights, 513-9612878. Open 7 days. $7-$10.

Patio Now Open Dragon Room Open
(Private Events 25-92 people)

FLAVOR: A wonderful, colorful, aromatic range of meat and vegetarian dishes, served up in the heart of Clifton’s leafy gaslight district. FLAIR: The chicken makhani is the most delicious, richest Indian dish we’ve ever tasted anywhere. Ever. Despite many serious attempts, it cannot be replicated at home. Winner of “Best Indian.” 350 Ludlow Ave., Clifton, 513-281-7000. Open 7 days. $10-$16.

Amma’s Kitchen
FLAVOR: Be prepared for flavor, as the one-of-akind dishes here stand out in the Indian crowd. Amma’s serves 100 percent vegetarian cuisine. Try the Malai Kofta (cashews, almonds and cheese in a tomato-based gravy) or the Chana Batura (puffy bread served with chickpea curry). For newbies, the weekday lunch buffet is a great way to nibble and taste. FLAIR: More interested in food than décor, Amma’s is simple yet comfortable. The service is straightforward rather than warm and fuzzy; these gentlemen are very serious about their food. 7633 Reading Road, Roselawn, 513-8212021. Open Wednesday-Monday. $5-$12.

Happy Hour Specials AOL City’s Best Sushi
Sushi & Japanese Cuisine
Mon - Sat: 5pm-2am • Sundays: 5pm - Midnight Sushi Bar Open Until Close Every Night

3672 Erie Avenue 513-533-0555
next to the Hyde Park Country Club | www.sakebombcincy.com

Wednesday • 9pm-1:30am

with the Jodians

FLAVOR: North Indian fare such as Saag Paneer (spinach, onions, ginger, Indian spices and Indian cheese with a hint of cream) and Chicken Korma (pieces of chicken cooked in a cream curry sauce with nuts and raisins). Complete the meal with an order of Naan — there are 10 varieties to choose from including garlic and paneer (cheese filled). FLAIR: The tantalizing smell of aromatic spices will have you salivating as you slide into one of the many booths in the large dining room. Enjoy the tinkling sounds of Eastern music as you point to your entrée selections for the server. 354 Ludlow Ave., Clifton, 513-961-3600. Open 7 days. $8-$14.

Thursday • 9pm-1:30am

FLAVOR: From their signature bread, Zeppole, to homemade desserts, Barresi’s food is nothing short of fabulous. This upscale Italian eatery food that can be described by three words: to die for. Favorites include the Osso Buco Milanese with risotto and the Salmon Cardinale with lobster cream sauce. Menu options also include other milk-fed veal dishes, traditional pastas, chicken, steaks and seafood. FLAIR: Stellar fine-dining service has helped Barresi’s keep its status as a dining gem since 1963. The current owner, Sarah Wagner, mixes things up a bit with wine-tastings, cooking classes and a monthly carryout special. 4111 Webster Ave., Deer Park, 513-793-2540. Open Tuesday-Saturday. $21-$40.

Open Mic night For musicians
with Drew LaPlante

Food & Spirits In Northside

Friday • 10pm-2:30am

Fri & Sat Nights Kitchen open til 4am

with Wade

1686 Blue Rock St. www.boswellalley.com 513.681.8100


Live Music
with bands & acoustic, bands & musicians vary weekly

Apna Indian Restaurant
FLAVOR: Along with traditional favorites like Saag Paneer, Bhartha and Nav Rattan Korma (an almost chocolaty mix of vegetables, cashews and cream), look for novel selections such as the Kadai Ginger Chicken and Goat Curry. FLAIR: The latest addition to Clifton’s bevy of Indian restaurants offers a tasty, affordable buffet at lunch and dinner. 341 Ludlow Ave., Clifton, 513-861-6800. Open 7 days. $9-$14.

Bella Luna
FLAVOR: Authentic Italian recipes from the Sicily and the Calabria regions of Italy, including marsala, tiramisu and chicken in Chianti with prosciutto. Better still, bottles of wine are half price on Wednesdays, and draft beers are 99 cents every day except Saturday. FLAIR: A fun and eclectic atmosphere, with owner Harry Stephens making the rounds. 4632 Eastern Ave., East End, 513-871-5862. Open Tuesday-Sunday. $13-$25.

A Taste of Spain in Cincinnati

FLAVOR: Chef/co-owner Yajan Upadhyaya makes magic in the kitchen bending Indian cuisine into tantalizing new creations that will make you feel like you’re in New York or Los Angeles. The best in Asian fusion. Try Murgh Dhaniwal with Tandoori chicken, cashew nut gravy, and caramelized onions, or Duck Sooley, a teasmoked tandoori duck breast with lemongrasscoconut risotto. Pair this with one of the most comprehensive wine lists in the city and live music every night, and you can’t go wrong on a date. FLAIR: The restaurant’s new space shows off clean lines that evoke a Japanese aesthetic complete with a Warli tribal art mural painted by Rekha Upadhyaya, Yajan’s mother. The bar area, co-owner Alex Mchaikhi’s baby, pulsates with primary colors and music. Try one of the signature cocktails like the Bollywood (a ginger infused pomegranate juice mixed with champagne) or a Coconut Mojito (Cuban rum, Indian spice and coconut milk). 3520 Erie Ave., Hyde Park, 513-871-8714. Open Tuesday-Saturday (lunch and dinner). $6$28.

Betta’s Italian Cuisine
FLAVOR: Betta serves good, old-fashioned Italian food like Eggplant Parmigiano, Summer Fettuccini and Chicken Cacciatore, but look for innovative dishes like the Filo Chicken and Prosciutto Melone appetizer as well. FLAIR: Quite simply, Betta herself. She makes you feel warm and welcome. Even if you’re in hurry you’ll want to sit a spell and enjoy Betta’s company and fine cuisine. 1026 Delta Ave., Mount Lookout. 513-8712233. Open Monday-Saturday. $10-$15.

"Tapas done right in East Walnut Hills"
– Cinn Weekly


– Cincinnati Enquirer

Voted "Best Tapas" "Chef To Watch" – Cincinnati Magazine Our extensive menu includes modern and traditional Spanish tapas and hosts the finest selection of Spanish wine in the Tri-State region

Betta’s Italian Oven
FLAVOR: Pizza’s the word here. Will DeLuca’s 630-degree wood-fired oven produces tasty, thin-crust pies like the Quattro Stagioni with kalamata olives, proscuitto, tomatoes and fresh mozzarella and breadsticks, including the spicy pepperoni sticks. If pizza’s not your thing, go for the Eggplant Parmesan; it’s meaty, creamy, smoky and all-around delicious. FLAIR: Serious food for people that work hard


1544 Madison Road | East Walnut Hills | 513.221.SENY www.senycincy.com

FLAVOR: Our mouth waters just thinking about their Indian cuisine. The saag paneer and the


Bravo Cucina Italiana


FLAVOR: Although they’re a chain, with over 30 restaurants, Bravo doesn’t lack uniqueness, serving up a varied menu of fresh, well-executed and flavorful Italian food. Try their pizzas and flatbreads or house specialties like the meaty Mama’s Lasagna Bolognese or the Pasta Bravo tossed with grilled chicken, mushrooms and a red pepper sauce. FLAIR: Stylish yet relaxed, with all cooking done in plain sight in an enormous open kitchen. Bravo is accommodating for groups: set it up ahead of time and they’ll print special menus with your name on it (even for parties as small as two). 12110 Montgomery Road, Symmes Twp., 513583-0583; 9436 Water Front Drive, West Chester, 513-759-9398. Open 7 days. $10$27.

ly-friendly. Pizzas can be picked up frozen and taken home to bake. Mama’s Pub next door serves the same menu, with an outdoor terrace, live music and wine-tastings. 6405 Branch-Hill Guinea Road, Loveland, 513697-9705. Open Monday-Saturday. $4-$20.

Nicola’s Restaurant
FLAVOR: Nicola’s serves cutting-edge Italianbased cuisine that can’t be found anywhere else in the city. If you can see the beauty in a little oxtail, try the exquisite Carnaroli Risotto with spring onions, red endive and vaccinara sauce (a flavorful, tomato-based sauce made with oxtail stew.) If seafood is more palatable, try the Alaskan halibut with hen of the woods mushrooms, crispy potatoes and cream of artichokes. You can also indulge in Chef Cristian Pietoso’s Grand Tasting menu Monday through Thursday. FLAIR: Quite simply art on a plate. Pietoso uses the plate like a canvas. Such a shame to ruin his masterpiece, but hey, once you start you won’t stop until you’ve licked the canvas clean. 1420 Sycamore St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-7216200. Open Monday-Saturday. $23-$35.

Brio Tuscan Grille
FLAVOR: Upscale Tuscan-inspired dining featuring Mama’s Lasagna Bolognese made from the founder’s original recipe. Give them a try for Saturday and Sunday Bellini Brunch, featuring Frittata al Forno, Tuscan French Toast with marscapone cheese and more. FLAIR: Great date place, as it’s not terribly loud and there are lots of things to split. The al fresco area is nice, but you sometimes feel forgotten out there if they’re not fully staffed. Newport on the Levee, Newport, 859-4310900. Open 7 days. $15-$22.


Pitrelli’s Italian Deli and Café
FLAVOR: This independently owned, familyfriendly eatery serves simple, delicious Italian food. Old favorites like spaghetti and homemade meatballs are light and flavorful, and specials are tasty and filling. Pitrelli’s also serves a good pizza with a light crust and toppings that include pancetta and spicy olives. FLAIR: Neither slick nor chic, Pitrelli’s offers instead a bona fide Mom and Pop experience. A reason is the family that runs it: Jim and Linda Pitrelli are wonderful people, retired grade school teachers who make you feel like you’re a guest in their home. The tortellini is always great and be sure to check out Couples Night on Thursdays—a meal for two including salad, wine, pasta and meatballs for $45. 312 Reading Road, Mason, 513-770-0122. Open Tuesday-Saturday. $14-$18.

LOCATION: 602 Vine St., Downtown, 513-381-3000 CUISINE: New American TABLE: The Kitchen Table is, well, in the kitchen, of course! The dark cherry wood is covered with a linen table cloth and service plates similar to those in the dining room so that even though you’re eating “downstairs” the service is definitely “upstairs.” NICKNAME: Chef Romuald Jung (aka Chef Romy) just calls it the Kitchen Table but he likes the idea of a nickname and is open to suggestions. Perhaps Table d’Aliments Excellents (the table of excellent food)? WHAT MAKES THIS TABLE UNIQUE: Restaurants draw a firm line between public and private lives, better known as the front and back of the house. We seldom get more than a fleeting glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes as a server hurries through a swinging stainless steel door. It takes a consummate professional and a magnanimous spirit to be willing to not only break this barrier but embrace the public into the private world of the fine dining kitchen. And what lies behind that swinging door? Chef says that if you’ve only seen Hell’s Kitchen you’re in for a surprise: “Most people are pretty much blown away by the cleanliness and the way we work. It’s like an orchestra: No one is talking, and everyone knows what they have to do. It’s a symphony. I love my guests, and having them in the kitchen here is like having them in the dining room at your house.” WHY I LOVE THIS TABLE: When I think of kitchen tables I think of a place we spend time with those closest to us — people who don’t care if we straightened the house or washed our hair that day. People that just want to share our company, some good food and a laugh. That’s how Chef Romy approaches his table. At his kitchen table he can combine his passion for food and enthusiasm for his guests. In the kitchen you can steal a few more minutes of his time to talk about food and life and have a good laugh. If you’re lucky, he might even let you come behind the line with him and help stir the risotto. WHY THE STAFF LOVES/HATES THIS TABLE: While Chef gets immediate gratification from his nightly dining room visits, he knows his staff doesn’t have the same pleasure. He says the Kitchen Table gives them the chance to watch people enjoy the food they so expertly prepare. (Lora Arduser)

Ferrari’s Little Italy and Bakery
FLAVOR: An impressive selection of dishes from Northern and Southern Italy, with daily seafood specials and an on-site bakery. Try the seafood cannelloni (cheese- and seafood-filled manicotti with a creamy lobster basil sauce) or the parmesan-crusted sole with lemon butter. If there’s an Italian dish that’s not on this menu, you won’t miss it. From antipasti to ziti, it’s here — and it’s authentic. FLAIR: An outdoor patio in a wooded setting with wisteria vines or indoor informality. Ferrari’s is family owned and operated, and they’re proud of what they do 7677 Goff Terrace, Madeira. 513-272-2220. Restaurant open 7 days, bakery closed Sundays. $12-$29.

FLAVOR: The tomato sauce that memories are made of and the sausage that would make Junior Soprano proud. Homemade pasta, veal parmigiana, meatballs, minestrone — whatsa matter f’you? Eat! FLAIR: Traditional Italian in the heart of Newport, and we do mean heart. This is old school — no shiny Levee chain stuff here. 600 Washington Ave., Newport, 859-5813065. Open 7 days. $8-$13.

FLAVOR: Chef Germano is certainly adept at serving up the more “Americanized” Italian fare such as gnocchi, veal tenders and familiar pastas, but his real talent is in creating delicious and exotic dishes that reveal the old country in every delicious bite. Be forewarned: If you order the Raspberry Pie, it’ll haunt your dreams until you have to go back to get another; before you know it, you’re ordering whole pies to go. FLAIR: The setting here is informal but not casual, intimate but not cramped. In fact, eating at Germano’s is like stumbling on an Italian family’s Sunday dinner — and being invited to join the party. 9415 Montgomery Road, Montgomery, 513794-1155. Open Tuesday-Saturday. $17-$40.

FLAVOR: Genuine flavors and tastes of Italy, from the roasted garlic cloves that come with your bread basket to the blissfully rich osso bucco Milanese, served with orzo pasta and a tiny fork to scoop out the rich bone marrow. Shrimp Antoinette is served atop warm croutons in a wonderful, garlicky sherry sauce. Gnocchi sautéed in butter with prosciutto and basil melts in your mouth, and the bread pudding is the best we’ve ever had. FLAIR: High atop Price Hill overlooking the new “Cincinnati” convention center sign. The décor is subdued and rich drapes soften the rooms. A stone accent wall, fresh crisp linens and (most of all) the view make it distinctive. Winner of “Best Restaurant With a View.” 810 Matson Place, Price Hill, 513-251-6467. Open 7 days. $16-$36.

and laugh loud. There are plenty of regulars filling the tables every night — always a sign of a consistently good meal. 3764 Montgomery Road, Norwood, 513-6316836. Open Monday-Saturday. $9-$14.

Biagio’s Bistro
FLAVOR: Homemade pasta dishes and desserts easily turn this simple little bistro into a weekly stop. Owner/chef Biagio makes the pasta dishes in full view including the Penne Boscaiola with tomatoes, meat sauce, mushrooms, cream and peas and his wonderful

Pasta Primavera with Pesto. And we just adore Biagio’s Balls! Get your mind out of the gutter — we’re talking about his scrumptious Bavarian Cream Puffs. FLAIR: The scent of garlic hits you like a velvet hammer as you walk in. The casual décor and cozy atmosphere make this a great stop before or after a movie at The Esquire. On busy nights Biagio himself jumps into server if the servers get behind. 308 Ludlow Ave., Clifton, 513-861-4777. Open Monday-Saturday. $7-$15.

Mama Vita’s
FLAVOR: Good homestyle Italian cooking with American flair. Features award-winning pizza that rivals Tavern on the Hill and manicotti that won “Best Carryout” from us in 2001. Mama Vita’s pizzas range from Pesto Pizza with homemade pesto, ultra-fresh mushrooms and onions and rich mozzarella and feta cheese to American favorites, such as the BBQ Chicken and Southwestern Pizzas. Mama’s also serves up good apps — try the Torino Bruschetta and Garlic Cheese Bread. FLAIR: Postmodern Olive Garden, down to the sleek tables and chairs. Small, cozy and fami-

FLAVOR: Serves authentic Italian food, with pasta and veal dishes as the specialty. Established in 1912, Scotti’s offers a large selection of pasta to accompany a large selec-


tion of sauces, many of which can be meatless. There is an extensive wine list to pair with any meal. For veal lovers, try the Veal Cutlet a la Parmigiana, breaded veal in a tomato sauce topped with Mozzarella cheese. FLAIR: Inside is a dark cave-like interior with red-checked tablecloths, stalactite-like wine bottles layered with years of candle drippings and multi-colored tiles psychedelically plastered everywhere. 919 Vine St., Downtown, 513-721-9484. Open Tuesday-Saturday. $19-$30.

spacious, open feel. Service is welcoming and friendly. 11525 Chester Road, Sharonville, 513-7710022. Open Monday-Saturday. $14-$23.

Vito’s Café
FLAVOR: Vito is always adding to the new delicacies to his incredible menu, and this spring brings Risotto di giorno, with fabulous flavors like red wine, pancetta, and gorgonzola or spinach and shitake. Pesce in Acqua Pazza — fish in crazy water — infuses the catch of the day with delectable flavors like spicy tomato broth. Ragu alla Bolognese is music to the meat lover’s mouth, with pork, veal and beef simmered to perfection. FLAIR: Speaking of music, you will love the experience of an evening at Vito’s. The most talented servers in town sing for your supper, while Piano Pete tinkles the ivories. 654 Highland Ave., Fort Thomas, 859-4429444. Open Wednesday-Sunday. $8-$30.

Spicy Pickle
FLAVOR: The Denver-based chain’s menu offers a selection of panini, salads, subs and woodfired pizzettis (an 11-inch thin crust pizza) such as the Aztec pizzetti with roasted chicken, red onions, green peers, mozzarella and chipotle pesto. Salads are a cut above the usual casual fare options, featuring interesting ingredients like roasted portobello, toasted hazelnut, grilled onion and sun dried tomato. FLAIR: This Clifton Heights storefront has screamed out for a good restaurant. An eager, knowledgeable young staff makes us certain the space has found its soul mate. 2504 W. Clifton Ave., Clifton Heights, 513-5690000. Open 7 days. $2.50-$7.45

Andy’s Mediterranean Grill
FLAVOR: Expect maximum Mediterranean flavor here. From its signature Shish Tawook (a marinated chicken kebab) and the best Dolmas (grape leaves) in town to the divine baklava and Turkish coffee, the fare is authentic, delicious and accessible. The recently added Farrouj — half a rotisserie chicken delicately seasoned and served with a side salad and French fries — is now a permanent menu item, and new to the menu is Mankoucheh, a Mediterranean pizza that comes in number of varieties. Don’t forget about the shrimp kabobs. FLAIR: Just the fact that a restaurant with exotic foods has a name as average as “Andy’s” appeals to us, but we think belly dancing, the late, great Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and hookah pipes say it all. 906 Nassau Ave., Eden Park, 513-281-9791. Open Monday-Saturday. $15-$23.

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Trattoria Roma
FLAVOR: Entrées feature seafood, veal, fresh pasta, chicken and aged Angus beef, including a mouth-watering lasagna made with homemade pasta and sauce, ground beef and a blend of five cheeses. Trattoria makes all their pasta, bread, sauces and desserts from scratch. FLAIR: A cozy, romantic venue tucked between the flashier theater district restaurants, this unassuming spot has a small front room decorated in Mediterranean tones and a larger room in back. Both are filled with tables topped with the standard red-and-white tablecloths and candle-filled Chianti bottles. Service can be personality-dependent, but it’s all a part of the charm. 609 Walnut St., Downtown, 513-723-0220. Open Monday-Saturday (usually closed on Sundays, but they open for dinner when the Aronoff Center has a big show running). $16$33.

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Baba Budan’s
FLAVOR: There aren’t many places in Cincinnati that offer both a full bar and a legit coffee shop. Baba Budan’s offers the best of both chemically dependent worlds, and the sandwich menu offers a little extra as well — hummus, tabouleh and more. FLAIR: Local art and live entertainment in the form of DJs, open mic nights and other downhome performances. 239 W. McMillan Ave., Clifton Heights, 513221-1911. Open 7 days. $5-$8.

Via Vite
FLAVOR: Little sister to its chic sibling Nicola’s Ristorante Italiano in the Over-the-Rhine, Via Vite serves more casual fare, but the creative juices are just the same — owner Nicola Pietoso and his son Cristian again pair up to give us another dining treasure. The menu includes appetizers, wood-fired pizzas (check of the one with pesto, artichokes and goat cheese), salads, pastas, entrées such as a grilled swordfish that features Grandma’s peperonata or an oven-braised lamb shank with dreamy creamy polenta. FLAIR: Via Vite fills an appalling gap in the Fountain Square renovation — a new high-end restaurant that’s locally owned. 520 Vine St., Downtown, 513-721-8483, Open 7 days. $18-$27.

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Café Istanbul
FLAVOR: The café offers the expanse of Mediterranean cuisine with everything from the enticing Doner Kebab, an Istanbul street eatery staple consisting of thinly sliced lamb slow-cooked on a vertical spit and served with rice pilaf and vegetables, to Vegetarian Lasagna and Grilled Apple Salmon. The signature dish is Iskender kabob, a lamb kabob over pita bread cut in strips and cooked in garlicky tomato sauce. New to the menu are spicy apricot chicken, shrimp kabobs and halibut. FLAIR: A distinctly Middle Eastern tone with tapestries on the walls and ornate pewter smoking pipes. A vague opium-den vibe and the sectioned dining room put harems in mind. Newport on the Levee, Newport, 859-5811777. Open 7 days. $12-$25.

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FLAVOR: Serving up Northern Italian food that it claims is the only “real” Italian food in Cincinnati, Vincenzo’s offers a range of the usual favorites — pasta, ravioli, veal, chicken and the daily seafood special. The food here is a labor of love for the Italian-born chef and owner Vincenzo Mazzocca, who trained as a chef in Italy. FLAIR: Recently moved to a larger location (its former digs were a small space in a converted service station), the new dining room is graced with a small fountain and a balcony and has a

Hours: Monday through Thursday 11: a.m. till 10:p.m. Friday & Saturday 11:a.m. till 2:30 a.m., Sunday 11:30 a.m. till 9:p.m.

FLAVOR: No matter how many places you’ve eaten tabouleh across the country, you’ll still

11317 Chester Road, Sharonville, Ohio 45246




say Floyd’s has the best — hand-chopped with just the right ration of parsley to bulgur wheat. While the Roasted chicken is the restaurant’s most popular dish (wait too long past 5 p.m. and you’re out of luck), the lima beans mashed with fresh parsley, garlic, olive oil and lemon will make you forget your childish fear of this much-maligned legume. FLAIR: The small, family-run restaurant lends itself to family-style dining. The intimate setting is perfect for relaxing, long meals. Sit by the front window to people watch or head out back to the secluded patio. Winner of “Best Mediterranean.” 127 Calhoun St., Clifton Heights, 513-2212434. Open Tuesday-Saturday. $7-$13.50.

Abuelo’s Mexican Food Embassy
FLAVOR: House specialties include Enchiladas de Cozumel and Salmon San Carlos, and the skewered steak, ubiquitous enchiladas and fajitas are as tasty as you expect. The flan is good, but for a guilty pleasure, try dessert nachos — a cinnamon “tortilla” cut into eighths, each piece topped with a mini-scoop of praline ice cream, whipped cream, caramel and chocolate sauces. FLAIR: With more than 40 locations, Abuelo’s is attractive and polished but somewhat sanitized for the cruise-ship crowd. 2833 Dixie Hwy., Crestview Hills, 859-3441344; 5010 Deerfield Blvd., Mason, 513-3367449. Open 7 days. $10-$18.

Mediterranean Deli
FLAVOR: The friendly fellows on Ludlow Ave. will sell you the freshest Arabic baklava and tell you the difference between it and other types of baklava. Lesser known items include Kataifi, Koulourajua and hummus galore. There’s also a wide range of Greek and Middle Eastern salads and pita sandwiches. Dolma, hummus, tabouli and baba ganouj are available by the pound as well as a small selection of Middle Eastern grocery items. FLAIR: The food is ideal for making a small picnic and hiking over to Burnet Woods, but there are also a few tables inside. 314 Ludlow Ave., Clifton, 513-961-6060. Open Monday-Saturday. $2-$5.

Cancun Mexican Restaurant
FLAVOR: Cancun is great for a large appetite and a small budget, offering inexpensive authentic Mexican dishes. Homemade guacamole, queso dip and Jalapeno Bean Soup provide all you need to warm up with one of the best margaritas in town. Lunch specials are ridiculously cheap, and dinners are well portioned. One of the most popular entrées is the Fajitas Mexicanas, with your choice of chicken or steak, served with grilled peppers, onions and tomatoes. FLAIR: The original location in Forest Park recently expanded, and the restaurant next to Western Bowl is spacious and comfy. 11930 Hamilton Ave., Forest Park, 513-8516310; 6383 Glenway Ave., Western Hills, 513574-1639. Open 7 days. $5-$14.

Mirage Mediterranean Food
FLAVOR: Owned by a family that hails from Armenia, a land-locked former Soviet republic wedged among Turkey, Iran, Azerbaijan and Georgia, Mirage offers a taste of the cuisines from throughout that region: Russian khinkali (a sort of beef-stuffed ravioli); Armenian kebobs (chicken, pork, beef or lamb); Middle Eastern falafel, hummus and baba ganoush; even gyros from Greece. FLAIR: Heavy drapes, tablecloths and dimmed lighting at night soften the hard edges of a fairly plain room in the middle of a strip mall. But the gracious, engaging staff is so enthusiastic about the terrific homemade food that you’ll feel like you’re family. 11379 Montgomery Road, Symmes Twp., 513469-0089. Open Monday-Saturday. $6-$15.

Cactus Pear
FLAVOR: The salsa is black because they roast the tomatoes. It’s really good, too. Both locations offer a great selection of Southwestern dishes, including a chicken chula vista sandwich and Shrimp Marguerite pasta. The pitchers of frozen margaritas, particularly the sangria margarita, cure all ills. Get yo’self a designated driver. The Red Pepper Noodles remains a favorite. FLAIR: More original than Don Pablo’s, but not much like Tijuana. 3215 Jefferson Ave., Clifton, 513-961-7400. Open Monday-Saturday; 9100 Kenwood Road, Blue Ash, 513-791-4424. Open 7 days. $8$22.


LOCATION: 3200 Madison Ave., Oakley, 513-542-2022 CUISINE: Elegant haute cuisine; new menu daily TABLE: A plush, rust-colored banquette along the side wall and right in the middle. Seated in the banquette, you face all the action (and other patrons) in the demure, sophisticated and highly regarded restaurant. It also intimately faces your partner, sitting in a chair facing you. NICKNAME: None WHAT MAKES THIS TABLE UNIQUE: There are actually several such tables here, but the restaurant doesn’t necessarily set or space them all for just two people. So it takes luck, the right night and usually a reservation to get one. WHY I LOVE THIS TABLE: It makes you an organic part of the restaurant. If you look to the right, you can look up and partially see the chefs in the open kitchen as they busily go about their work. You can also see the cookbooks — a lovely designer touch — at floor level just below the kitchen. To the left, you’re staring out the huge glass windows to the street scene outside, including the arriving patrons. And best of all, you can watch the staff approach you with such wonderful dishes as smoked Gerber Farm chicken with wild mushroom risotto, spring leeks and black truffle or loup de mer (sea bass) with baby arugula and shaved mushroom salad with lemon oil. WHY THE STAFF LOVES/HATES THIS TABLE: The attentive, confident staff, who love the food as much as you will and are eager to watch you love it, can see you salivating from afar as they approach. If you’re really appreciative, as we were, they might reward you with an amuse bouche of ricotta and parmigiano reggiano-filled ravioli with butter, spring ramps and pecorino toscano. Just to watch your anticipation! (Steven Rosen)

FLAVOR: Most famous gyros in town and a Greek menu like you can only find in New York, according to owner George Psihountakis and sons. Offers moussaka, souvlaki, pastitsio and vegetarian platters — all homemade. Specials and soups change daily. FLAIR: If you’re downtown and get a craving for a kebab, Mythos is close by. Four locations meet your every kebab craving. 650 Walnut St., Downtown, 513-621-9222; 410 Vine St., Downtown, 513-381-3601; 100 E. Fourth St., Downtown, 513-381-3042; Opening soon in the Chiquita Center, 250 E. Fifth St., Downtown. Open Monday–Saturday. $4-$12.

FLAVOR: In compliance with the company’s “Food With Integrity” campaign, Chipotle’s pork and chicken lived free-range, hormone and antibiotic-free existences before becoming food. We’re not sure what kind of enclosed spaces the beef grows up in (or what kind of hormones it is subjected to), but it tastes just as delicious. Burritos, fajita bowls and tacos made quickly, and a margarita that some call “delicious.” FLAIR: Fast, friendly service makes up for a kitschy design of fake art and purposely dankylooking floors. Metal garbage cans are cool. Winner of “Best Burritos/Wraps.” Multiple locations. Open 7 days. $5-$7.

FLAVOR: The longtime West Side lunch haunt is just as delicious as you remember it. An ethnic meat-lover’s heaven, the menu offers numerous Greek items and what many to consider the best gyro in Cincinnati. The gyro meat also shows up in the Greek Salad and the Dolmathakia dinner (grape leaves served with gyro meat). FLAIR: Family-run, friendly ambiance. Most orders are carryout, but there are a few tables and booths. Watch the gigantic cones of meat spin in front of heat lamps, keeping the meat ready to eat. 5209 Glenway Ave., Price Hill, 513-471-2100. Open Monday-Saturday. $3-$8.

El Coyote
FLAVOR: The area’s pioneer Tex-Mex establishment now numbers three local locations, dishing out fabulous steaks, fajitas, enchiladas, empanadas and quesadillas. The grilled pork chop served with mashed sweet potatoes is a classic, and the garlic-mashed potatoes have a huge fan club. FLAIR: Homey and friendly. Cozy and casual. Locally owned and operated, and proud of it. 7404 State Road, Anderson Twp., 513-232-



5757; 3041 Dixie Hwy., Edgewood, 859-3316767; 9183 Center Point Drive, West Chester, 513- 860-4745. Open 7 days. $9-$25.

FLAVOR: This homemade salsa haven has quickly established itself as a Ludlow Avenue staple. The burritos are excellent, everything is fresh, and few beers on tap make this place great for a hearty meal or a quick drink and snack before a night out. Signature items include the Mad Max (tilapia, pinto beans, rice, cheddar cheese and cabbage) and the Arroyo Hondo (hand-rubbed spiced flank steak, black beans, rice, caramelized onions and goat cheese). FLAIR: A bright dining room offers space for bigger groups or privacy-seeking booth dwellers. Food is made to order and the staff is friendly and accommodating. Getting ready to open a second location at Newport on the Levee. 358 Ludlow Ave., Clifton, 513-961-6800. Open 7 days. $6-$7.

variety of small bites, including a variety of tacos, as well as traditional-style stews and innovative entrées like a citrus-marinated roasted chicken served with frijoles charros, rice and braised kale. FLAIR: David Falk’s new endeavor has a very chic, serious interior, but it has an impish side as well. A quick look at the Mexican movie and comic pop art on the menu covers clues you in. And don’t miss the show in the bathrooms — for the ladies there are telenovelas (Mexican soap operas). Fellas — you get Mexican pro wrestlers. Winner of “Best New Restaurant.” 600 Walnut St., Downtown, 513-721-6232. Open Monday-Saturday. $7-$22.

Qdoba Mexican Grill
FLAVOR: Serves fast, fresh, quality Mexican fare. Try the Chicken Mole Burrito (marinated grilled chicken flavored with a rich, slightly spicy mole sauce) or the Poblano Pesto Burrito, made with marinated grilled chicken and covered with an excellent poblano pesto sauce made of roasted poblano peppers, cilantro, almonds and pine nuts. FLAIR: Décor is faux-minimalist modern, with desert colors and open space to carry your finely crafted burrito to a seat. Multiple locations. Open 7 days. $5-$6.

Jalapeño’s Restaurante Mexicano
FLAVOR: The downtown store is no longer open, but out in Madeira you can still find excellent quesadillas, enchiladas and burritos, as well as tasty Mexican beef, chicken, pork and seafood specialties that are among the area’s best. There are also some tasty vegetarian options.? FLAIR: Décor is brightly colored with lots of authentic Mexican wall hangings and decorations. The servers, many of whom are Spanish speaking, are professional and well acquainted with the menu. 7980 Hosbrook Road, Madeira, 513-7930999. Open 7 days. $7-$25.

Taqueria Mercado
FLAVOR: The Erlanger location closed back in November, so if you want Taqueria Mercado’s offerings such as Tripas (tripe) and Lengua (beef tongue) tacos, you gots ta wait in line in Fairfield. Try the Ceviche Tostadas (crispy tortillas topped with shredded fish marinated in lime juice and fresh cilantro) or the Carne Asada (lean grilled steak accompanied by avocado, lettuce, tomato and pico de gallo) served with a stack of warm corn tortillas. FLAIR: No more sneaking to Erlanger for a quick seat, the Fairfield location can be busy, but the burritos are worth the wait. 6507 Dixie Hwy., Fairfield, 513-942-4943. Open 7 days. $5-$11.

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Javier’s Mexican Restaurant
FLAVOR: Downtown’s favorite burrito stop is about to become oh so much more. A liquor license awaits Javier in Columbus, and the only thing stopping this already excellent Mexican restaurant from getting even cooler is the construction of a new bar. Soon Javier’s will be open for dinner and stay open until 2 a.m. when it’s full bar can really be enjoyed. These are prime additions to the famous Huevos Rancheros — a breakfast burrito stuffed with eggs and chorizo sausage, the Enchiladas Con Pollo with Mole Sauce and the “burrito of the day.” FLAIR: Escape from your dreary office to check out the new digs. The staff is excellent at serving fast lunches with Javier himself manning the cash register or circulating through the dining room to make sure everyone has what they need. 100 E. Eighth St., Downtown, 513-381-3287. Hours will soon be 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m. for lunch; 4-11 p.m. for dinner; and drinks until 2 a.m. Monday-Saturday. $1.50-$6.

FLAVOR: Executive Chef Ron Perez has created an appealing blend of offerings which includes touches of Southern and Asian influences and a heavy emphasis on seasonal and local ingredients. The Crispy Fried Free Range Breast of Chicken is a unique option: Two halves of crispy, pan-fried chicken served with a waffle drizzled in a sweet-tart pomegranate molasses. FLAIR: Once settled into one of the curved leather booth couches, which are soft shades of mustard yellow or sea green, you’ll found Allure's affordable wine selection just as attractive. The tables retain an intimate feel, protected by fabrics, and a translucent red curtain hangs on the ceiling. 8300 Market Place Lane, Montgomery, 513891-0120. Open 7 days. $17-$30.

La Mexicana
FLAVOR: Mmm, Tacos Carne Asada. If you’re in the mood for steak, you can’t go wrong with this dish, and the tender, marinated pork in the Carnitas Burrito just melts in your mouth. La Mexicana’s spicy guacamole and salsas are most delicious, as are most dishes at this fine Newport establishment. FLAIR: You might be fluent only in English, but the Spanish-speaking staff will be kind and patient with you nonetheless. Consider it a Berlitz class. There are tables for dining in, and carryout is easy. 642 Monmouth St., Newport, 859-261-6112. Open 7 days. $2-$7.

FLAVOR: Stefan Kraus’ seasonal menu is simple fusion. Nothing is overdone, but no detail escapes him. Kraus avoids the heavy sauces of many New American dishes, preferring reductions and fruit and vegetable purees for his flavor punches. Wednesday nights offer half-price sushi from 9-midnight, and with more than 30 different roles on the sushi menu, it’s worth the late bedtime. FLAIR: At last, New York has come to Cincinnati. Owners Han Lin and Jason Druso have created a minimalist world of sophisticated style that swirls you into a universe of hip-


FLAVOR: Nada takes diner on an authentic Mexican culinary trip with a menu that offers a



Chalk is a great place to enjoy a glass of wine and Jean-Robert de Cavel’s cuisine in a casual setting. 318 Greenup St., Covington, 859-643-1234. Open Monday–Saturday. $6–$28.

Grand Finale
FLAVOR: You know the Filet Mignon is wrapped in bacon, but did you know the Chicken and Spinish dish comes with prosciutto, parmesan and morel mushroom sauce? Yeah, we didn’t think so. Lobster Tail and Veal Oscar, Sunday brunch served the Cheesecake, Cheesecake and Cheesecake Platter make this place da bomb. FLAIR: Grand Finale has seen more prom nights and wedding proposals than the inside of a rented limousine. With a Victorian atmosphere as decadent as the desserts, the specialty here obviously is special occasions. 3 E. Sharon Road, Glendale, 513-771-5925. Open Tuesday-Sunday. $12-$25.

Chez Nora
FLAVOR: Sunday brunch is a hit at this gathering spot, featuring traditional biscuits and gravy, omelets and Eggs Benedict or breakfast with a twist like a sausage and egg quesadilla. At dinnertime, the signature dish is Steak Nora, a filet with crabmeat and béarnaise, but casual choices abound (try the unusual chicken and goetta spring roll appetizer). A latenight menu will tide you over until closer to closing time, available until 12:30 a.m. FLAIR: This is a hot ticket on summer nights with drinks to follow your dinner on the outdoor rooftop patio and some of the best live Jazz in Greater Cincinnati. 530 Main St., Covington, 859-491-8027. Open 7 days. $11-$31.

FLAVOR: Quality seasonal ingredients are showcased in dishes like a shrimp and scallop ravioli glazed with basil and citrus. The Honey fries are shoestring Yukon gold and sweet potatoes, crisp and delicious. You’ll also find excellent desserts like house-made sorbets and reasonable prices on a good selection of wines. FLAIR: This chef-owned restaurant is friendly, chic and utterly delectable. A lovely, relaxing space just inches away from free public parking. Open Sunday for brunch. 4034 Hamilton Ave., Northside, 513-5414300. Open Tuesday-Sunday. $15-$26.

Cricket Lounge

LOCATION: 738 York St., Newport, 859-261-9675 CUISINE: Eclectic TABLE: The Four Leaf Clover table is my favorite of the lucky patio tables at York Street. Owner Betsy Cunningham hand-painted these wood tables, each with a special symbol of good luck: a horseshoe, cherries, a wishbone and the elusive four-leaf clover. NICKNAME: The Four-Leaf Clover WHAT MAKES THIS TABLE UNIQUE: Well, do ya feel lucky, punk? I do. WHY I LOVE THIS TABLE: As the sun drifts across York Street’s cozy patio, a seat at the Clover table gives you an opportunity to enjoy Chef Curtis Paul’s soon-to-be announced new menu or share old faves like the Mediterranean board, dirty hummus or a toastie sampler. WHY THE STAFF LOVES/HATES THIS TABLE: The urban wildlife on the patio includes Daisy, the visiting tabby cat, as well as a mating pair of red-tailed hawks that nest in front of the flower shop. Just so the hawks don’t catch Daisy, peace reigns in the kingdom. (Anne Mitchell)

FLAVOR: The food in this quiet, laid-back bar in the central atrium of the Cincinnatian Hotel comes from the same kitchen as The Palace, one of Cincinnati’s premier fine dining spots. The menu offers a range of soups, salads, sandwiches and pasta as well as a tasty Black Angus burger and entrées that are way beyond ordinary bar food. The bartender claims they have the biggest and best martinis in town. Them’s fightin’ words. FLAIR: Mellow and low-key, this isn’t a bustling hot spot. Tables are spaced out, providing lots of privacy for conversation. 601 Vine St., Downtown, 513-381-3000. Open 7 days. $13-$24.

FLAVOR: Chef/owner Sean Daly concentrates on Low Country food, a regional cuisine of South Carolina that combines English, French, Spanish, African and Caribbean influences with a “metropolitan twist.” His menu includes traditional recipes such as a small plate of Burgoo with tomato, white beans and rabbit. Entrées include Daley’s signature Shrimp and Grits with white cheddar and a herb demi glace and the Hugonut Torte a free-formed torte served with apples and walnuts and homemade maple ice cream, which was named for the French Huguenots who brought it to the Charleston area in the late-17th century. FLAIR: Hugo, named for the hurricane that roared through Charleston, S.C, in 1989, roared into Oakley this past summer bringing a torrent of good food, excellent service and Southern charm. People seem to come out of the woodwork to greet you as you enter a dining room that whispers “old money.” The hip set can be found at the bar discussing and sharing their selections of small plates. 3235 Madison Road, Oakley, 513-321-HUGO. Open Tuesday-Saturday. $21-$29.

Daveed’s at 934
FLAVOR: Chef David Cook serves up delicious, sophisticated fare with artistic flair — foie gras presented as a breakfast plate, oysters as a visit to the beach, venison as a Bengals’ tailgate party — all served by a professional, friendly staff in a sleek, intimate setting. While the menu can be pricey, you can get a taste of the flavor and flair, and keep it reasonable by stopping in for the Cheese Plate — artisanal cheeses with a spicy apple chutney. They’re best served with Chimay, a soft and creamy Belgian beer brewed by Trappist monks, who must be enlightened. FLAIR: This trendy, upscale restaurant fits in well with its high-class Mount Adams neighbors. The tempting dishes and excellent wine selection complement one another and the room’s warm and wonderful collection of expressionist art. In the warmer months, outside dining is a heavenly alternative, but only if you like the Blind Lemon’s entertainment du jour next door. 934 Hatch St., Mount Adams, 513-721-2665. Open Tuesday-Saturday. $20-$36.

sters. Pull up a chair, but don’t get too comfortable — table-hopping is the event du jour. 1020 Delta Ave., Mount Lookout, 513-9192782. Open Monday-Saturday. $15-$35.

Brown Dog Café
FLAVOR: A different sort of animal, Brown Dog offers one of the few menus in town that includes lots of interesting game selections — look for duck, venison and wild boar. And save room for dessert — most are served with a scoop of homemade ice cream, and are served up in petite portions. The Chocolate Banana Bread with malt ice cream is decadently divine. FLAIR: The restaurant’s strip-mall location belies its warm and inviting feel. The service staff is knowledgeable and well versed in its kitchen lore and its compact wine list, which always manages to squeeze in lots of interesting choices. 5893 Pfeiffer Road, Blue Ash, 513-794-1610. Open Monday-Saturday. $14-$29.

FLAVOR: Chef David Falk offers a tiered approach to dining on his Italian-influenced cuisine. Patrons can indulge in a prix fixe menu on weekends or à la carte offerings during the week in the main dining room or in a small trattoria area or bar. Entrée selections include Filet Boca, a grilled black angus beef tenderloin with rosemary roasted potatoes, Alaskan king crab and béarnaise and Braised Jamison Farm Lamb Shoulder with sautéed rapini, Tuscan white bean stew and lamb jus. Don’t miss the Boca Slider — a ground beef tenderloin sandwich with steamed onions and cheese. FLAIR: You’ll want to wrap yourself in Boca’s culinary ballet and never leave. Multiple waiters swoop in with impeccable synchronized timing to make the service experience as excellent as the food experience. Winner of “Best Overall Restaurant” (tied with JeanRobert at Pigall’s). 3200 Madison Road, Oakley, 513-542-2022. Open Tuesday-Saturday. A la carte entrées in the high $20 range; three-course prix fixe menu $52; four-course prix fixe menu $65.

FLAVOR: Chef Nicola Zuefle offers some unusual menu items to customers such as Spanish Poppers and Mussels Nicola with P .E.I. mussels in aquavit cream and tarragon. FLAIR: InCahoots has broad audience appeal. They also offer a very affordable wine list with a few bottles costing as little at $11 a bottle. 9708 Kenwood Road, Blue Ash, 513-8912500. Open 7 days. $8-22.

Food: Embers offers rooms for upscale private parties up to 48 deep. With a big wine list and a menu that spans steak, seafood and sushi, Embers has become a dining destination for many fancy East Siders. Lighter appetizers like sushi, vegetarian wraps or crabs cakes are a nice lead in to more substantive steak and seafood entrées. FLAIR: Décor is muted and elegant, with dark woods and soft lighting that create an atmosphere of satisfied sophistication. A roomy bar adjoins the dining room for drinking cocktails and chatting. Live music on the weekends. 8170 Montgomery Road, Kenwood, 513-9848090. Open 7 days. $19-$37.

Chalk Food + Wine
FLAVOR: Lots of local ingredients used to make tasty and creative food and lovely presentations. Slightly quirky menu, but there are treasures here — especially in the “start” section of appetizers. Calamari comes two ways: grilled on a skewer and minced into a “calamari cake” with scallion and celery. Desserts are brilliant, thanks to talented pastry chef Summer Gemetti. FLAIR: An ideal upscale neighborhood restaurant, perfect for a stroll to or from the Licking Riverside historic district or the new Ascent.

FLAVOR: Paul and Pam Sturkey have created an outstanding menu at Mesh that shows their passion for sophisticated but absolutely delicious food. Seafood, pasta and meat dishes that will change with the seasons. Try the Weathervane Bay Scallops with balsamic brown butter or 19-hour braised pork belly. FLAIR: Very chic, with a seasonal patio, a few intimate booths and large and small private dining rooms. The wine cellar is front and center in a wide glass room, with over 2,000 bottles. Service is friendly but polished. Casually elegant dress suggested.



6200 Muhlhauser Road, West Chester, 513777-7177. Open Monday–Saturday. $23-$45.

FLAVOR: Specializes in fresh fish, pasta and rotisserie meats as well as delicious pizza and salads. The restaurant definitely takes fish seriously; their Cedar Wrapped Salmon and Sole Saltimbocca are divine. They also have a great wine list with daily happy hour specials and exciting appetizers like Grilled Prawns. FLAIR: The restaurant occupies one of the best spots downtown. From its second-story perch above Fountain Square, the city glitters, the fountain fizzes and you can forget yourself in the bright lights and clinking glasses. An open kitchen lets you see the buzz and energy that keep the food coming fast. Winner of “Best Appetizers.” 505 Vine St., Downtown, 513-381-1300. Open 7 days. $8-$35.

The National Exemplar
FLAVOR: An area standby since 1983, The National Exemplar serves an exceptional breakfast menu of standards, plus crepes, frittatas, Belgian waffles and hearty skillets. Both light and hearty salads and sandwiches at lunch and dinner, but the dinner menu also features Ohio-raised Amish chicken, Nieman Ranch free-range pork and excellent Angus beef. FLAIR: Imbued with lots of character and history, located in the historic Mariemont Inn, constructed in the mid-1920s as part of the unique Mariemont community (the area was envisioned by its founder, Mary Emery, as a “national exemplar” in practical town planning). Good service and a crowd of loyal regulars give this the feel of a well-loved club. 6880 Wooster Pike, Mariemont, 513-2712103. Open 7 days. $18-28.

Voted Best Thai - CityBeat '08 Staff Picks 2000 Voted Best Thai Restaurant - The Cincinnati Enquirer

M a d e i r a | 7 0 2 2 M i a m i Av e 513 272 6900 H y d e Pa r k | 3 5 1 4 E r i e Av e 513 321 5533

The Phoenix
FLAVOR: One of Cincinnati’s culinary jewels. Entrées are outstanding with high-quality ingredients inventively combined to create delicious, memorable meals. The menu changes seasonally, but you can always count on excellent steaks, seafood, pasta and lamb dishes. FLAIR: The Phoenix delivers a superb dining experience. It has great atmosphere: Located in a former gentleman’s club, this impressive 1890s building demonstrates a commitment to service and civility that harks back to another era. Four of the servers have worked there for 16 years — incredible in the restaurant world, where rapid churn is the norm. 812 Race St., Downtown, 513-721-8901. Open Wednesday-Saturday. $7-$33.

FLAVOR: Owner/chef Julie Francis features contemporary cuisine, using local and organic products whenever possible. The menu, which changes with the season and is prepared with a French Mediterranean flair, is creative and delicious. FLAIR: Dinner Club is one of the coolest things about Nectar. Get on the mailing list to learn about the monthly five-course dinners that focus on one ingredient: goat cheese or garlic or chocolate — always something special that’s delicious and interesting. Seating is limited and reservations are required. 1000 Delta Ave., Mount Lookout, 513-9290525. Open Tuesday-Saturday. $17-$26.

owner designer cuts color specialist

Polo Grille
FLAVOR: Featuring a focused, fairly priced wine list, Polo Grille also offers a broad menu of traditional favorites influenced by countries where polo is popular. Look for Pan Roasted Pork Tenderloin, Tandoori Chicken Pizza and Steak Churrasco, a marinated grilled skirt steak, served with garlic chimichurri sauce, tomato salsa and yucca fries. FLAIR: Service is friendly and efficient. The restaurant is spacious and airy, and decorated with polo memorabilia in tribute to the Cincinnati Polo Club, which occupied the site for over 20 years. 5035 Deerfield Blvd., Mason, 513-701-POLO. Open 7 days. $7-$30.

332 W 4th Street Downtown Cincinnati www.avanti-hairsalon.com

Orchids at Palm Court
FLAVOR: Chef Todd Kelly uses the finest ingredients — the tuna comes from Hawaii, the lobster from Maine and the micro cilantro travels from the Chef’s Garden in northern Ohio.T hr ey t Yellowtail Snapper with spring onions, green garlic, chayote squash and yellow tomato vinaigrette or the Organic Scottish Salmon with Nantucket Bay scallops, Belgian endive, gnocchi and a saffron emulsion. Not salivating yet? Let Chef Kelly prepare a tasting menu just for you. FLAIR: You don’t have to be an architectural geek to marvel at the craftsmanship of Orchids at Palm Court. The dining room’s Art Deco design features sweeping shapes that reach for murals on an ornate ceiling. Potted palms and mauve-colored booths fan out like seashells to provide a sense of privacy while you dine. 35 W. Fifth St., Hilton Netherland Plaza Hotel, Downtown, 513-421-9100. Open TuesdaySaturday. $32-$43.

Quarter Bistro
FLAVOR: The sangria is a smashing way to start your evening, perhaps with the popular Tuna and Smoked Scallop Martini appetizer. Although there are lots of elegant entrées, don’t overlook the menu’s sandwiches and pizzas section that includes the Serious Burger, crab cakes and the Torta Cubana, crispy ciabatta stuffed with roasted pork, ham, chorizo, chihuahua cheese, avocado, lettuce, tomato and spicy mayo. FLAIR: A see-and-be-seen scene with mirrors on the walls in case you miss anyone. And before you ask, the bathrooms are next door at the movie theater. 6904 Wooster Pike, Mariemont, 513-2715400. Open 7 days. $16-$35.

The Palace Restaurant
FLAVOR: For an oh-my-god culinary experience you can’t beat Chef Romy’s Oxtail Ravioli with foie gras sauce or the Lobster Pastilla, an African dish he picked up from his tenure on the Ivory coast that consists of a pound of lobster, flaky pasty, mushroom and spinach in a vanilla beurre blanc sauce. We’d trust him to pick and serve us an eight-course dinner any night of the week. Finish it off with a chocolate soufflé for two and a cup of French press coffee and you might just see God. FLAIR: Chef Romy and John McLean, the Palace’s longtime Maitre d’, will both check in to make sure your meal is everything you hoped. 602 Vine St., The Cincinnatian Hotel, Downtown, 513-381-3000. Open MondaySaturday for dinner; 7 days for breakfast. $15$55.

FLAVOR: It’s the Chez Panisse of the Midwest, big on flavor with the fresh, seasonal and often organic produce and meats. Food is consistently interesting and dependably good — no long descriptive or a kitchen sink of exotic ingredients, just simple and well prepared. Menu changes frequently, and the Sunday brunch/lunch is a must. FLAIR: Communal dining at its finest. The three rooms in this architecturally interesting space offer long, sturdy, wooden tables that seat as many as 10 to 12.



lemon beurre blanc. FLAIR: Wine and food pairings are what The Vineyard is all about. The candlelit dining room is often filled with couples sharing a bottle over dinner or tables of people conducting a private little tasting of their own. The service staff is wine savvy and polite. The Wine Room, two doors up, is one of those little secret gems you might miss if we didn’t tell you. 2653 Erie Ave., Hyde Park, 513-871-6167. Open 7 days. $16-$30.

Indigo Casual Gourmet Café
FLAVOR: This vegetarian-friendly spot offers pizza, pastas, salads and sandwiches, and adds a new item each month to spice things up. The Italian White Pizza on Whole Wheat Crust (garlic shallot oil, mushrooms, spinach, ricotta, feta and mozzarella) will melt in your mouth. The Down Home Chicken Calzone (with peas, carrots, onions, garlic mashed potatoes and gravy) is comfort food extraordinaire. FLAIR: A subtly hippie vibe gives this East Side cafe a cheerful feel, and the dining room allows patrons a glimpse into the kitchen as their entrées are prepared. There’s also a shaded patio area for those not-so-humid Cincinnati summer evenings. 2637 Erie Ave., Hyde Park, 513-321-9952; 2053 Dixie Hwy., Fort Mitchell, 859-331-4339. Open 7 days. $8-$15.

Vitor’s Bistro
FLAVOR: In Chef Vitor Abreu’s words, “Californiainspired cuisine with European and Oriental infusions.” The gourmet dinner is now offered Thursday-Sunday, instead of Wednesday night only and features specials like Black Forest Filet with black cherries, black peppercorn bacon and cherry brandy cognac. The lunch menu offers wraps with fresh vegetables and grilled meats, plus seasonal salads such as field greens with strawberries, blueberries and honeydew melon tossed in raspberry champagne vinaigrette. And don’t forget to wake up early for their award-winning French toast. FLAIR: An intimate little bistro with tablecloths and linens is plenty of flair for a place on the West Side. 3156 Harrison Ave., Westwood, 886-4551020. Open Wednesday-Sunday. $5-$20.

Lucy Blue
FLAVOR: This place is all about focus. It’s open limited hours (late at night and during lunch), and all it serves is pizza. The pizza is good, with chewy dough, full-flavored sauce and plenty of cheese. During lunch, there’s soup, salad, soda and as many slices as you can eat for only $6. FLAIR: There’s something vaguely illicit about buying food out of a little opening in the side of a building at 2:30 a.m. The help is cheery, friendly and seemingly amused by the everchanging nocturnal spectacle. 1128 Walnut St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-2418350; 3200 Linwood Ave., Mount Lookout, 513-321-2540; 611 Main St., Covington, 859581-3555. Open 7 Days. $12-$15.


LOCATION: 441 Vine St. in the Carew Tower Arcade, Downtown, 513-621-1332 CUISINE: All-American diner fare for breakfast and lunch TABLE: The best seat in the house is the end seat of the back counter, a spinnable stool at the Formica counter top — perfect for a party of one. NICKNAME: The Vantage Point WHAT MAKES THIS TABLE UNIQUE: It offers the best view in the house. You can see the diners, the cooks on the line, the great old photos of Cincinnati and the wonderful waitresses who’ve been here for years. WHY I LOVE THIS TABLE: Perched here, enjoying a goetta omelette, hash browns, an English muffin and maybe even a chocolate shake, you can get in a lively conversation with your fellow diners or just sit and listen to some mellow Nat King Cole. WHY THE STAFF LOVES/HATES THIS TABLE: The staff love it because their regulars sit there. (Anne Mitchell)

Waterfront/South Beach Grill
FLAVOR: At this Jeff Ruby restaurant, the steaks have to share the stage with live Maine lobsters, a sushi bar and seafood entrées such as the Coconut-Crusted Salmon and Roasted Sea Bass. Still, the Collingsworth Steak is one of the most popular choices: 12-ounce filet mignon topped with 2 ounces of Alaskan King Crab, a wild mushroom Bordelaise sauce, fresh steamed asparagus and Béarnaise sauce. FLAIR: Fashionable dining on the river, where you can stop by the bar that’s topped by a white piano reminiscent of a swanky Miami dinner club, a never-ending parade of leggy women and men with big cigars. 14 Pete Rose Pier, Covington, 859-581-1414. Open Monday-Saturday. $18-$42.

Pomodori’s Pizza
FLAVOR: Wood-fired pizzas take a little longer to bake, but dang are they worth it. Honey-tasting, flakey crust and scrumptious sandwiches along with pastas and salads make this more than a sit-down pizza joint. Perfect for dates and those who enjoy real garlic on their garlic bread. FLAIR: Comfortable and welcoming with a warm wood-burning fireplace and plenty of window seating to people watch if the date goes bad. 121 W. McMillan Ave., Clifton Heights, 513861-0080; 7880 Remington Road, Montgomery, 513-794-0080. Open 7 days. $9$13.

4046 Hamilton Ave., Northside, 513-6816500. Open Thursday-Sunday. Prix fixe menu $40; á la carte $18-$22.

Upscale neighborhood crowd, enjoying good wine, lovely food and quiet conversation. 3410 Telford Ave., Clifton, 513-961-6500. Open 7 days. $16-22.

Adriatico’s New York Style Pizza
FLAVOR: The Bearcat pizza comes in a box that will not fit in the front seat of your car. Adriatico’s makes their sauce and garlic-laden dough in-store daily, with an inherent spiciness and delicious original flavor. The menu also offers calzones, subs and salads, and this carry-out/delivery specialist is open late. FLAIR: Late-night hours (1:30 a.m. during the week, 2:30 a.m. weekends, 12:30 a.m. Sundays) make this place a savior for UC students suffering through late-night study sessions, or for those who are up late and not studying. Winner of “Best Pizza (Non-Chain).” 3205 Jefferson Ave., Clifton, 513-281-4344. Open 7 days. $6-$18.

Teller’s of Hyde Park
FLAVOR: Serves up an eclectic mix of contemporary American cuisine. Appetizers include the popular Buffalo Chicken Egg Rolls (stuffed with chicken, zucchini, pepperoni and mozzarella) to salads, pastas, pizzas and sandwiches as well as substantive fare like steaks and Eggplant Cannelloni. Fifty bottled and 30 draught beers, 23 wines by the glass and a colorful martini menu make this a great place to drink and eat. FLAIR: A perennial favorite with the Hyde Park set, Teller’s is a place to see and be seen. Located in a former bank building, décor is historic-contemporary with big columns, 35-foot ceilings and a skylight running the length of the building. 2710 Erie Ave., Hyde Park, 513-321-4721. Open 7 days. $10-$30.

20 Mile House
FLAVOR: Owner Gerry Geisen and manager Gene Feagans focus on the kind of simple, rib-sticking food that would probably taste pretty good after a long, dusty, bumpy stagecoach ride. FLAIR: The 20 Mile House has gone through a few transitions since its birth in 1822. In the old days it functioned as a stagecoach stop and tavern as well as a post office for Twenty Mile Stand, the post-town that was 20 miles north of Cincinnati. This incarnation beckons its history with tables, covered in burlap and glass that hold 1800s news clippings from what was then called the Cincinnati Weekly Enquirer, a player piano in the foyer, and a chandelier that comes straight out of a spaghetti western. 3159 Montgomery Road, Deerfield Twp., 513677-3900. Open Monday-Saturday. $7-$23.

Sorrento’s Pizza
FLAVOR: The real taste of Italian American fare is here. If you moved to Cincy from a place with good pizza and have been wondering how people survive here, then you haven’t been to Sorrento’s for a fabulous, classic Enrico. Homemade sausage, homemade dough, even the bread is baked in their oven every day. FLAIR: Sorrento’s Pizzeria has been a proud Norwood landmark since 1956, when the de Lucas first opened their doors. Through tragedies and triumphs, the family tradition continues. Private party room, karaoke and the Sports Hall of Fame add to the fun. 5143 Montgomery Road, Norwood, 513-5315070. Open 7 days. $4-$22.

Dewey’s Pizza
FLAVOR: Fancy gourmet pizzas and excellent service make Dewey’s a pleasure to eat pizza. Specialty pizzas, colorful salads and fine beers on tap also help. The unusual toppings are also cause for excitement from Amish Chicken to Black Bean Corn Salsa. FLAIR: A welcoming dining room with clean, colorful tables and geometrical wall designs that look like art. There’s also a glass window where you can spy on the folks tossing and creating your pizza. Winner of “Best Pizza (Chain)” and “Best Salads.” Multiple locations. Open 7 days. $7-$20.

Red Square Restaurant & Deli
FLAVOR: Authentic Russian fare. Salads like arabat, with cabbage, carrots, dill, and roasted nuts; gribnoy with mushrooms and garlic; borscht; cabbage rolls; exotic sausages like evreickaia, moskovskoe and teli salami; and stroganoff. The large perogis, which resemble a 12-inch, double-crust pizza, come stuffed with your choice of potatoes, cheese, ground beef or cabbage. FLAIR: Tsiala Yusupov cooks and serves the

FLAVOR: Bistro cuisine with creative twists like Crab Cakes perched atop a sesame noodle salad spiked with Thai chili sauce or fabulous Shrimp and Grits with boursin and white cheddar cheeses, accented by smoky, peppery Taso ham. Smoked Salmon Tartar is prettily presented in layers with potato and apple pancakes. Simple, but sophisticated. FLAIR: Airy space with broad windows and wooden floors gives Tink’s a gallery feel.

The Vineyard Café and Wine Room
FLAVOR: The Vineyard strives to bring its customers something familiar yet different. Take, for instance, the ordinary chicken breast: At The Vineyard it becomes Artichoke-Crusted Chicken, pounded out chicken breast with pureed artichokes, parmigiano-reggiano and panko bread crumbs, flash-fried and finished with roasted Yukon potatoes, shallots and


specialties of her Russian homeland in this nondescript deli just of Reading Road. In the dining room, Russian nesting dolls and model ships provide cultural touchstones, but it’s the enticing aromas emanating from the kitchen that herald a special meal to come. 9104 Cox Road, West Chester, 513-755-8942. Open 7 days. $6-$13.

FLAIR: A great man once defined Judaism as “3,000 years of beautiful tradition, from Moses to Sandy Koufax.” Somewhere in that pantheon falls Cincinnati’s own Izzy Kadetz, the man and the legend, and his family still owns and operates the deli that bears his name. 800 Elm St., Downtown, 513-721-4241 and other locations. Open Monday-Saturday. $6-$9.


FLAVOR: Michelle Lightfoot re-creates her delicious gourmet lunch fare in her own new restaurant. Poppies regulars will be glad to hear the Ring Dang Doo lives on, as do those addictive homemade chips. FLAIR: Starbucks ain’t got nothing on deliseven20. The friendly staff remembers your name and asks how the kids are before sending you on your way to munch on your lunch in the serene foyer in Sawyer Point Building. Check out the new spring catering menu — good, healthy food can be yours for just 24-hours notice and a little cash. Winner of “Best Deli,” “Best Business Lunch” and “Best Waitstaff/Service.” 720 E. Pete Rose Way, Downtown, 513-3813720. Open Monday-Friday. $4-$8.

FLAVOR: This diminutive deli is known for its scrumptious ham and turkey sandwiches with all the fixins as well as the more exotic spicy Vietnamese Pork sandwich. From lo mein to lasagna, you’re always sure to find something different depending on the day. FLAIR: Hiding inside the Main Public Library, this tiny shop does big business during the week. It mostly caters to library patrons and bookworms, but some of downtown’s working class has discovered the gem. It’s the perfect stop for a quick lunch on the go or a more leisurely lunch with a good book in the library’s courtyard. 800 Vine St., Downtown, 513-665-3339. Open Monday-Saturday. $1-$5.


LOCATION: 3908 Harrison Ave., Cheviot, 513-662-2683 CUISINE: Traditional steakhouse fare TABLE: The booths below the collection of bull figurines.

FLAVOR: Healthy and gourmet all at once? Be still my beating heart! Perk up those wholesome taste buds with a Yeehaw BBQ sandwich with seitan, red onion, smoked mozzarella, tomato, banana peppers and BBQ sauce or the Joan of Arc with roast beef, red peppers, garlic, blue cheese, caramelized onion and provolone. FLAIR: Melt is dedicated to good-for-you ingredients serving various seitan and tofu sandwiches and lots of vegan options. The restaurant is also committed to local businesses — they have coffee from their neighbor Sidewinder Coffee and Tea, desserts from their other neighbor Take the Cake and bread from Shadeau. Winner of “Best Sandwiches” and “Best Vegetarian.” 4165 Hamilton Ave., Northside, 513-6816358. Open 7 days. $4.50-$6.95.

NICKNAME: The Bull Booths WHAT MAKES THIS TABLE UNIQUE: What could be better (or more ironic) than eating a full slab of ribs or a big juicy steak under a collection of fierce, horned mammals? On the other hand, pretty much any of tables in this labyrinthine old-school West Side joint holds their own unique traits. WHY I LOVE THIS TABLE: The bulls; the red vinyl booths; the red plaid curtains that obscure but don’t mute those in the booth next to you (I could swear that was Steve Chabot’s voice interrupting my dinner); the shiny table top that’s played host to thousands of other Westsiders over the years; the low-slung drop ceiling that for some reason reminds me of place where Sinatra might have hung back in the day; and the little baskets with various packaged crackers and breads. WHY THE STAFF LOVES/HATES THIS TABLE: The staff loves this table because it can fit four people with big appetites, which theoretically means big tips. (Jason Gargano)

FLAVOR: The name says it all. Choices include custom salads, hot and cold sandwiches, giant, stuffed baked potatoes and interesting sides like homemade guacamole with organic blue chips. Sandwiches include the Turkey & Brie on Honey Oat with all natural turkey, brie, field greens, cucumbers and tomatoes and the Veggie & Hummus with cucumbers, red onions, tomatoes, green peppers and shredded carrots. FLAIR: This fast-food alternative works with local businesses and suppliers, and features the hardest-working staff in the city. They do their best to make your self-service lunch memorable, offering everything from someone opening the door when you arrive to delivering your meal to the table. 36 E. Fourth St., Downtown, 513-421-1020. Open Monday-Friday. $4-$8.

New York NY Fresh Deli
FLAVOR: Serves up premium quality cold cuts up to left coast standards. The restaurant, an upscale version of the Subway concept, offers a variety of gourmet salads and sandwiches, including panini, New York-style subs (6, 12 and 24 inches) and wraps including the Cuban Panini made with layers of roast pork, ham and pickles and served with provolone after being pressed and heated between slices of crusty white bread. FLAIR: In fine Gotham fashion, NY Fresh Deli names it subs for glamorous landmarks such as Soho (turkey salami and provolone cheese) and the Statue of Liberty (the Lady Liberty sub with chicken breast, bacon and havarti cheese). 255 E. Fifth St., Downtown, 513-721-3354. Open Monday-Friday. $3.35-$7.25.

FLAVOR: Ingredients offers casual grab-and-go fare including salads, sandwiches, panini and brick-oven pizzas like the Wild Mushroom Pizza or Roast Beef and Gorgonzola Sandwich with caramelized onions and roasted tomato. Salad fixings are innovative including beets, roasted eggplant and hearts of palm. You can make your own, going along with their catch phrase: “Some assembly required,” or choose from one of their signatures. Good choices are the Grilled Chicken Salad with proscuitto, Maytag blue cheese, spiced Bosc pears, yellow tomatoes and walnuts or the Roasted Vegetable salad. FLAIR: Ordering is not for the meek of heart — it’s a scene straight from Wall Street, but once you settle in to one of the cozy chairs or sidle up to the counter and plug in your laptop, you’ll be humming along. 21 E. Fifth St., The Westin Hotel, Downtown, 513-852-2740. Open 7 days. $6.50-$8.

Potbelly Sandwich Works
FLAVOR: Not your average brown-bagged sandwich. Potbelly sandwich choices range from turkey breast with Swiss cheese to what they call A Wreck: salami, roast beef, turkey and ham with Swiss cheese. To accompany the made-to-order sandwiches, they have shakes, malts and smoothies to help tame the postlunch sweet tooth. Soups and chili are also available as sides. For a group lunch, try a Box O’ Sandwiches and each hungry mouth gets a sandwich, chips and a chocolate chip cookie. FLAIR: This Chicago-based chain is starting down the path Friday’s blazed before that organization became obsessed with “flair.” The interiors are a burst of energy and imagination, from the pressed tin ceilings to the “music

Reservations Accepted (513) 771-0022 11525 Chester Road Sharonville OH 45246

FLAVOR: It’s all about the beef at Izzy’s — corned beef and Reubens, of course, but lots of new choices like the Izzy’s Mex with Jalepeno’s. Aye caramba? Oy vey! For those who know their beef, Izzy’s is lean and a little on the dry side, but the potato pancake makes up for it with moist, greasy goodness. And vegetarians, fear not, Izzy’s offers up a delicious Veggie Ruben.

Lunch - Monday - Friday 11:00 - 2:30 Dinner - Monday - Thursday 5:00 - 9:00 Friday and Saturday 5:00 - 10:00


porch” from which guitarists occasionally serenade customers. Multiple Locations. Open 7 days. $4-$5.

Bonefish Grill
Friday & Saturday 6pm-3am
FLAVOR: Hyde Park might be nowhere near the sea, but Bonefish Grill serves up the ahi tuna, crab cakes and grilled swordfish like an ocean-side café. To make up for the fresh ocean breeze, enjoy a slice of key lime pie. FLAIR: Somewhat hidden in a crowded strip mall, Bonefish swings between sit-down diner and hot spot. The bar and hightop tables are good for after-work drinks and the fancy lower tables in the dining room will impress a date. 2737 Madison Road, Hyde Park, 513-321-5222; 588 Buttermilk Pike, Crescent Springs, 859-426-8666. Open 7 days. $11-$35.

with Lobster Butter and the Creole Combo (Cajun grilled chicken with Southern fried oysters). FLAIR: The bar area offers a relaxed, old-school saloon atmosphere while the Canal Room provides a more fashionable experience with white linens and glass-topped tables. Court and Elm streets, Downtown, 513-421-0110. Open Monday-Saturday. $13-$20.

FLAVOR: Teranga doesn’t tone down its offering of traditional Senegalese and West African dishes to the Cincinnati palate. Order the grilled fish and you’ll see what we mean; out comes an entire tilapia (head, tail, skin, bones and all) swimming in a spicy sauce seasoned with hot and black pepper and Dijon mustard and thick with onions. FLAIR: Located in a strip mall, the ambiance is far from fancy. Lighting is fluorescent and there are just a few bits of art to provide a flavor of Africa. The clientele trends toward French-speaking West Africans who seem genuinely happy to have adventurous Cincinnatians dining in their midst. 8438 Vine St., Hartwell, 513-821-1300. Open 7 days. $6-$10.

ANYTIME COMBO Buy 2 Slices & 1 Drink for $5.00

Chart House
FLAVOR: This riverside restaurant serves steak and seafood spanning New England, Caribbean and Southern influences. Start with New England clam chowder, shrimp cocktail or seared ahi. Signature entrées include macadamia-encrusted mahi mahi, snapper “Hemingway” and slow-roasted prime rib. FLAIR: Massive windows offering a panoramic view of the bridges straddling the Ohio give this dining room an upscale feel. Even better is the view from the patio. 405 Riverboat Row, Newport, 859-261-0300. Open 7 days. $12$40.

with purchase of any large 2 top pie!
expires 7/30/08

FREE Breadsticks

A Taste of Julia’s
FLAVOR: Julia Pitts, owner of A Taste of Julia’s, loves cooking and loves people. You can taste her passion in her sultry collard greens, her crispy Southern fried chicken and, of course, while sipping her Julia’s Famous Tea Punch. Other popular dishes are fried tilapia with decadent sweet potato casserole and pork chops with creamy macaroni and cheese. Don’t forget the corn bread. FLAIR: This caterer-turned-restaurant owner has a passion for providing busy families and people on the go with home-cooked meals as an alternative to fast food. Ain’t nothing better than that. 6025 Dixie Hwy., Fairfield, 513-942-1800. Open WednesdaySunday. $8.50-$10.

Four Seasons Boatyard Grill & Pirates Grove
FLAVOR: A recent menu change offers a more affordable dinner with the same high-quality dishes. Four Seasons still offers fresh seafood with all types of fish, shrimp items and pastas, but it didn’t forget about its great salmon, prime rib, pork chops and chicken. Unique appetizers and an expanded sandwich menu. More casual, less expensive. FLAIR: The accommodations are snug and private, with portholes delivering modest vistas of the yachts docked outside. An openair dining area and live music from an array of local bands add another dimension. 4609 Kellogg Ave., Columbia-Tusculum, 513-871-1820. Open 7 days. $9-$20.

Argentine Bean
FLAVOR: The Bean’s new chef has cooked for celebrities like Demi and Bruce and Arnold and Maria — and now, you and me. The new menu for spring is lighter, including mozzarella caprese and curried chicken salad, and very creative. Try the shrimp with avocado salsa — it’s served on the fork — or the crab tower. Delicious pastries for dessert. FLAIR: Lunch is ladylike, but dinner gets lively with great wine selections, half price on Mondays and Wednesdays. Live music most nights, great salsa lessons and a gypsy Latin Jazz combo. Argentine Bean, the highlight of Crestview Town Center, is tucked away near the northeast corner of Dillards. 2875 Towne Center Blvd., Crestview Hills, 859-426-1042. Open 7 days. $7-$13.

McCormick & Schmick’s
FLAVOR: This national chain keeps it real across the street from Fountain Square. The oyster sampler offers a dozen fresh and flavorful oysters on the half-shell to slide down yo throat. FLAIR: The menus are printed on paper twice daily to ensure diners are offered the freshest seafood options available in Cincinnati. The dark wood interior makes business folks feel comfortable. 21 E. Fifth St., Downtown, 513-721-9339. Open 7 days. $10$20.

Mitchell’s Fish Market

Family Owned


Two Full Bars • Arcade • Entrees: $5-$19.95

1/2 Priced Appetizers • 1/2 priced drinks

4-7pm • Monday-Friday Open 7 Days a Week

Happy Hour

FLAVOR: You know you want the Sea Bass Shanghai Style with ginger and scallions. Mitchell’s keeps the fish fresh and your favorite presentation in mind. FLAIR: Perfect for a casual meal after a movie or date-style premovie eats. You can’t beat the view or the quiet ambiance. Winner of “Best Seafood.” Newport on the Levee, Newport, 859-291-7454; 9456 Waterfront Drive, West Chester, 513-779-5292. Open 7 days. $14-$29.

Sabor Peruano
FLAVOR: Peru has one of the world’s most diverse cuisines, with flavors from the high mountains of the Andes, all the way down to the coast. Try Bisteck a la Pobre, steak with rice, fries, fried banana and egg; green stew beef with cassava and rice; or seafood ceviche. FLAIR: Authentic, no-frills ethnic dining offering strange and unfamiliar dishes, with no pandering to the unadventurous. 7105 Dixie Hwy., Fairfield, 513-860-0349. Open 7 days. $4-$13.

Mount Adams Fish House
FLAVOR: When a restaurant has a secret menu item, you know it’s good. The lobster stuffed with rock shrimp, scallops and crab is devoured so quickly that it’s not even on the menu — they’ll let you know if it’s available. Fresh fish and the highest sushi grade offerings make this the place to be for Cincinnati’s seafood lovers. FLAIR: A quiet, intimate date spot. Casual with excellent service. 940 Pavilion St., Mount Adams, 513-421-3250. Open 7 days. $18-$38.

Seny Tapas Bar
FLAVOR: The Manhattan version of a Barcelona tapas bar in East Walnut Hills. Offering both tapas tradicional and tapas modernas (breaking from tradition), this Spanish Basque cuisine takes some risks. Loaded with fresh vegetables and seafood, all dishes are created with the philosophy that “every ingredient in a dish should be given equal gastronomic value.” It shows. With dishes full of hot Spanish passion — paprika, red pepper, thyme and saffron — you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu. FLAIR: The dimly lit, smoke-and-mirrors, red and black Spanishthemed décor creates the illusion of Barcelona nightlife. The enormous Paella plate for two — with light saffron and only the freshest ingredients, including jumbo shrimp — is fit for a Spanish family. Winner of “Best Tapas.” 1544 Madison Road, Walnut Hills, 513-221-SENY. Open MondaySaturday. $5-$45.

Mon-Thu 11am-10pm • Fri & Sat 11am-Midnight Sun 11am-9pm

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Washington Platform Saloon & Restaurant
FLAVOR: Perhaps best known for the recently concluded Oyster Festival that takes place every year, this place has more specialties coming: Next up is the May 16 Clam Bake. For $24.95 enjoy all-you-can-eat clams, crawfish, shrimp, mussels, corn on the cob and baby red potatoes. Regularly serves fish, steak, pasta and Cajun-style entrées such as Grilled Salmon topped


Anthony’s Cigar Bar & Grille
FLAVOR: With the smoking ban in place, Anthony’s has shifted focus to serving Southern Italian dishes — but fear not, guys, you can still enjoy cigars on the outdoor patio. This is a great place to dig into a hearty steak and wash it down with a bottle of red wine, maybe a bold Monte Antico Toscano from Italy. For the wives and girlfriends, Anthony’s also happens to offer an ambitious menu with ingredients like wild mushroom ragout, baby bok choy, cherry-cola barbecue sauce and a homemade marinara sauce from the owner’s grandparents’ recipe. FLAIR: With its clubby atmosphere and multiple TVs, this is a great place to kick back and argue about the game. If that’s not your bag, at least you can do some shopping in the nearby Target. 7641 Voice of America Center Drive, West Chester, 513-7793455. Open 7 days. $10-$30.

choices include the rack of lamb, wood-grilled salmon and Beer Can Chicken. With a brand-new chef on board, watch for a new menu in late May or early June. FLAIR: Yep, Jeff Ruby certainly gets his flair on. This is definitely a place to see and be seen. The upscale clientele seems to be dry-aging as well as or better than the beef. 700 Walnut St., Downtown, 513-784-1200. Open MondaySaturday. $20-$43.


Jimmy D’s
FLAVOR: A thoroughly respectable steakhouse through and through, it offers high-quality cuts of standbys like filet mignon and New York strip as well as other options like chicken and seafood. Jimmy D’s offers both quality and a relatively good value, as prices for both entrées and wines are reasonable. Desserts are big and rich. FLAIR: The atmosphere in the smallish dining room is simple yet upscale. Service is friendly and enthusiastic; a great place for a special occasion. 7791 Cooper Road, Montgomery, 513-984-2914. Open MondaySaturday. $20-$36.

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Carlo and Johnny
FLAVOR: The emphasis at this “1930s gangster steakhouse” is on big dry-aged steaks, but the menu also presents dry-aged lamb chops, wood-grilled Atlantic salmon and more. After say, a bone-in filet or a large steak for two, don’t forget dessert — they’re as decadent as everything else in the place and range from Jeff Ruby’s homemade signature cheesecake to the rich, dense Chocolate Tower. FLAIR: The three separate dining rooms — the Emerald, the Ivory and the Grill — are great places to see local celebs and Cincinnati movers and shakers. 9769 Montgomery Road, Montgomery, 513-936-8600. Open Monday-Saturday. $21-$47.

Maury’s Tiny Cove
FLAVOR: Maury’s is a casual steakhouse, offering traditional steakhouse fare, such as the filet or ribs. The seafood menu ranges from salmon, shrimp and lobster to wonderful fried fish entrées like the Icelandic cod. In case you can’t decide, try the surf and turf options. Maury’s Tiny Cove is packed full of flavorful dishes. FLAIR: A staple since 1949, this is a great place for eating out on the often fine-dining-deprived West Side. The low-slung ceilings and aged décor lend an old-school, clubby feel. The waitstaff is unpretentious and always helpful. 3908 Harrison Ave., Cheviot, 513-662-2683. Open MondaySaturday, Sundays seasonally. $18-$37.

The Celestial
FLAVOR: The recently re-vamped Celestial is a steak-lover’s dream, serving hand-cut slabs of beef like the Cowboy, an 18ounce bone-in ribeye and the 28-ounce hand-selected bone-in Porterhouse. Not in a steak mood? Try the seafood additions or the half or full Rack of Lamb. Many gourmet side accompaniments are also available from black truffle butter to rock shrimp scampi. FLAIR: The polished oak and brass dining room will throw you into a world where the women arrive in furs and the men drink Grey Goose martinis shaken hard with crystal on top in a Hollywood glass. This is the quintessential romantic spot, with everything from elegant service to a breathtaking view of the Cincinnati skyline. 1071 Celestial St., Mount Adams, 513-241-4455. Open 7 days. $19-$54.

Morton’s — The Steakhouse
FLAVOR: Known for its high-quality beef, elegant service and oversized martinis, Morton’s is steakhouse dining at its finest. Where else can you experience a drive-by cart laden with cuts of raw meat, seafood and vegetables so you can view your meal-tobe in the raw? There are also excellent salads, seafood and a nice selection of vegetable side dishes for two (or more). The happy-hour food specials in the new bar area are a coup for those on a budget. FLAIR: The new location’s atmosphere is still steakhouse deluxe, with lots of dark woods and tuxedo-clad waiters. In addition to your appetite, better bring your wallet. 441 Vine St., Downtown, 513-621-3111. Open 7 days. $23$45.


Fuji Steak House
FLAVOR: Hibachi grilling from sea and shore, including lobster, scallops, strip steak, filets and traditional Japanese selections. Try vegetable and seafood tempura, bento boxes with barbecued eel, teriyaki beef or chicken katsu, or have a big bowl of udon noodle soup to cure the winter’s chills. Lunches are served with soup and white rice, and dinner includes these along with a salad. FLAIR: Opened in 2006, Fuji Steak House is near the Staples across from Florence Mall. The hibachi grill is food and entertainment in one, with flamboyant chefs and lots of flames. 7687 Mall Road, Florence, 859-746-8180. Open 7 days. $8$50.

The Precinct
FLAVOR: You can always rely on a Jeff Ruby restaurant for a big, rare steak and platters of seafood. The Precinct, the first in a long line of Ruby steakhouses, has been doing it since 1981. Next time skip the Steak Collinsworth and Steak Munoz — try Hussey’s Table, “in homage to Jimmy Hussey, the king of tableside cooks,” which includes Cajun Shrimp, Shrimp and Crab Saute or Hussey’s Famous Fettuccine for Two. Or try the new Reds players’ menu items such as the Dusty Baker or the Bronson Arroyo. FLAIR: The Precinct is a great place to people watch. Play spot the local celebrity over drinks in the bar before dinner. Winner of “Best Steaks.” 311 Delta Ave., Columbia-Tusculum, 513-321-5454. Open 7 days. $26-$46.

Jag’s Steak and Seafood
FLAVOR: The 8-ounce Kobe filet, served with au gratin potatoes and sautéed spinach, is the culinary equivalent to velvet. Two filet favorites are the Black Truffle Filet and the 10-ounce Big Oscar topped with shrimp, lobster and king crab, finished with a lobster Hollandaise sauce. Jag’s also offers a raw bar and entrées such as Chilean Sea Bass and Alaskan King Crab Legs as well as several vegetarian choices. FLAIR: With six individualized dining rooms, you’re likely to find one that fits your mood du jour. Try the Library Room when you’re feeling all masculine and buff — you’ll fit right in with the floor-to-ceiling mahogany paneling, built-in bookcases and burgundy chairs. 5980 West Chester Blvd., West Chester, 513-860-5353. Open Monday-Saturday. $25-$68.

FLAVOR: Start your meal with mussels mariniere or exquisite beef carpaccio, garnished with the wonderful tempura onion petals, and then try a steak with a side of pesto mashed potatoes. They’re the best you’ve ever eaten. FLAIR: On the pricey side, this is a see-and-be-seen bistro in front, cozy date banquettes in back and eponymous Red touches throughout. Very friendly service, excellent steaks and seafood. 2724 Erie Ave., Hyde Park, 513-871-3200. Open 7 days. $8$65.


Reserve Restaurant and Piano Bar
FLAVOR: Great weeknight steak place. Portion sizes are healthy and entrées include something for the non-steak eater as well such as the Spicy Diablo pasta with penne pasta, onions, red and green peppers with a spicy tomato cream and vegetarian flatbread with fresh spinach, artichokes, olives, tomatoes and asiago cheese.

Jeff Ruby’s
FLAVOR: It’s all about the meat at this upscale downtown steakhouse, which proudly claims to be the only steakhouse in the Midwest that dry-ages its own beef on the premises. Other



FLAIR: It works for an adult evening — complete with cocktails and a jazz piano player — or a family outing with a kid’s menu that includes Fried Mac and Cheese, a Pasta Bowl or a Kid Pizza. Newport on the Levee, Newport, 859-4317373. Open 7 days. $9-$26.

Bouquet Restaurant and Wine Bar
FLAVOR: Share a cheese plate that includes New York cheddar, sage derby, smoked mozzarella and a Spanish drunken goat cheese, served with crackers, chutney and slices of Granny Smith apple. The complex flavors of the cheeses complement a sip of a big red wine. FLAIR: A small and intimate space, with just a handful of tables bordered on one side by an attractive curving bar — brick-walled, comfortable and pleasant. Bouquet is a world away from the nearby party bars of Mainstrasse. 519 Main St., Covington, 859-491-7777. Open Wednesday-Saturday. $10-$25.

FLAVOR: Try the “Tapa-tizer” menu, a mix of tapas-style appetizers, including duck confit tacos, manchego ravioli and lobster and toasted corn fritters. These new items, and some changes to entrées, are part of an effort to add South American and Mediterranean flavors to the outstanding steaks and standards at Tropicana. Try Lobster Risotto with butternut squash, pancetta and sage and a White Marble Pork Chop with pear fennel puree and crispy pork belly. Wine aficionados should come on Tuesdays when bottles go for half price. FLAIR: A celebrity-studded Jeff Ruby extravaganza, but as with the other Ruby restaurants, service is impeccable and no detail is overlooked. There’s a lot of dedication, skill and professionalism that go into making consistently high quality look easy. Newport on the Levee, Newport. 859-4918900. Open Monday-Saturday. $15-$46.

Dinner’s Ready
FLAVOR: Their menu changes monthly, but you might find Four Cheese Ravioli Bake with Italian Sausage, Honey-Almond Chicken with Mediterranean Vegetables or Prawns & Pesto Sauté with Jasmine Rice. Package them up, freeze them and reheat at home for gourmetstyle meals anytime without the fuss and bother of all that shopping and chopping. They have new serving sizes, which are no longer designed to be split in half, so keep that in mind. FLAIR: This national franchise outlet let’s you customize and assemble meals for your family in their clean, spacious kitchens from prepared ingredients. Or, if you just need a meal for tonight, use their convenient grab-and-go service! Go online to check out their current menu: www.dinnersready.com. 7201 Wooster Pike, Mariemont, 513-2726325. Open Monday–Saturday. $12-$20 for two servings.

Alabama Fish Bar
FLAVOR: The motto at this Over-the-Rhine institution is “Eat Fresh Fish Live Longer.” We wonder if this still holds true when the fish is gobbed with thick batter, deep-fried and laid over a bed of fries. Aw, who cares? FLAIR: Take-out only, and barely enough room for that. Service is brisk and efficient. You’ll be amazed at how quickly they swaddle your order with wax paper, wrap it in a bag and send you on your way. 1601 Race St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-241-2255. Open Monday-Saturday. $7-$8.

Fred and Gari’s
FLAVOR: With a loyal following among downtown workers who head there for great sandwiches made with fresh-baked meats, Fred and Gari’s roast their own turkey, ham, pork tenderloin and chicken breast daily and also make gourmet pizzas on sourdough or honey whole-wheat crust. For dessert, try the homemade pies. FLAIR: There’s not much ambiance; this place is all about the food. An open kitchen behind the counter gives you a look at the cooking action. Service is friendly and animated, and regulars liven up the scene. Open for lunch, carryout and delivery only. 629 Vine St., Downtown, 513-784-9000. Open Monday-Friday. $3-$10.

The Bonbonerie

LOCATION: 512 Madison Ave., Covington, 859-291-1484 CUISINE: Korean TABLE: Middle wooden floor table with a glass top about 18 inches above the ground that accommodates five sitting on the floor. Rather than chairs, guests sit cross-legged on pink and green embroidered silk cushions. Some of the tables, including this one, have mirrors beside them. All of the floor tables are on a raised wooden platform and separated from the rest of the dining room by Korean style wood and paper partitions. You must remove your shoes before sitting at a floor table. NICKNAME: None WHAT MAKES THIS TABLE UNIQUE: Guests eat while sitting on the floor. For those who might find this uncomfortable, there’s also more traditional “booth” seating. WHY I LOVE THIS TABLE: There’s something soothing about Asian décor. The simplicity appeals to me, and the partitions, while literally paper-thin, give a feeling of privacy. It’s also nice to dine barefoot and feels grounding to sit on the floor. Because of my Asian upbringing, it’s also somewhat comforting for me to eat at a low table as we used to do at my grandparents’ house. WHY THE STAFF LOVES/HATES THIS TABLE: My server Brianna, who’s been working there for about two years, says, “I don’t mind the floor tables. The only thing that’s different from a serving perspective is that I have to take my shoes off and have to serve at eye level. It’s a little bit challenging. You have to be coordinated.” (Liz Wu)

FLAVOR: The Bonbonerie is best known for its delicious pastries and cakes, but it also offers up lunch and tea for a relaxing afternoon. After wanting to “create a space where the quaint and archaic practice of tea taking could gain new life,” they created a Tearoom with lunches ranging from the childhood favorite Peanut Butter and Jelly to the Quiche du jour made fresh in house. There are many tea options to help you escape from the chaos of daily life, without having to put on your white gloves. FLAIR: Restaurant is divided into the tearoom, which serves the sit-down lunches and snacks, and a bakery that caters mostly to take-out orders. Tea is also available by the ounce. Winner of “Best Desserts” and “Best Wedding Cakes.” 2030 Madison Road, O’Bryonville, 513-3213399. Open Monday-Saturday. $4-$7.

KT’s Barbeque and Deli
FLAVOR: In the heart of Reading, where the only other dining choice is whether or not you want French fries with your burger, KT’s offers delicious, smoked-on-site barbeque and great sides. FLAIR: The owner of KT’s used to live in Los Angeles and was Roseanne Barr’s personal chef. CityBeat isn’t sure whether this is a positive or a negative.

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food is, it’s because he sincerely cares. 811 Main St., Downtown, 513-723-1055. Open Monday-Friday. $4-$6.

Maki Express
FLAVOR: This sushi bar and Asian kitchen is small but mighty. Besides being insanely delicious, it’s incredibly cheap. For lunch, spend only $8.50 and walk away with three rolls of vegetarian sushi and a miso soup. It’s authentic, carefully crafted, momand-pop-style sushi, and they seriously have the best avocado you’ll ever eat. The friendly owners offer a wide selection of things other than sushi like noodle and rice dishes, including homemade ramen. FLAIR: This local little diner feels like the sort of place you find in Chicago or New York, not in Cincinnati. Getting a spot at one of the coveted three or four tables in the tiny dining space is lucky. If you can’t sit, bring it home. 209 W. McMillan Ave., Clifton Heights. 513-721-6999. Open Monday-Saturday. $6-11.

Tattie’s Gourmet Deli
FLAVOR: Try the Rio — your choice of roast beef or turkey, a blue cheese spread with shallots and garlic, fresh basil leaves, tomato and red onion on a toasted baguette, or the Poppy — shaved lamb marinated in rosemary and garlic, dressed with garlic mayo and red onion, piled on a toasted baguette. A customer reports it’s like eating in color after you’ve been on a diet of black and white. FLAIR: Excellent creative cooking you can carry home with pride. Tattie’s summer theme is marinated meats like Spicy Asian Flank Steak, Pork Tenderloin with cranberries, limes, garlic, honey and Mediterranean Chicken Breasts in an Orange Balsamic to throw on your grill. Sides? Horseradish potato salad, gazpacho, roasted garlic veggies and more. 233 Main St., Milford, 513-479-9900. Open Tuesday-Sunday. $7-$13.

New Orleans To Go
FLAVOR: Look for some of your favorite New Orleans treats authentically served up by a New Orleans native: Po’boys, catfish, roast and gravy and barbecued shrimp are all on the menu. So are platters named after N’lawins locales like Bourbon Street and the Ninth Ward. And don’t forget the classic sides like red beans and rice or jambalya. FLAIR: At this small neighborhood fixture, most people take their orders “to go,” but grab one of the few tables — especially when there’s live Cajun music playing. 139 W. Kemper Road, Springdale, 513-671-2711. Open Tuesday-Saturday. $6-$22.

Thai Express
FLAVOR: A favorite stop for inexpensive, good Thai food and friendly service. Most dishes come with your choice of tofu, chicken, pork or shrimp. All-time favorites are Pad Thai and the Red Curry with chicken, spring rolls or the Waterfall beef salad. FLAIR: The tiny, no-frills kitchen puts out some very tasty Thai food. Everything is cooked in one of the two giant iron woks and nothing on the menu is outside a student’s budget. Winner of “Best Takeout.” 213 W. McMillan Ave., Clifton Heights, 513-651-9000. Open Monday-Saturday. $6-$9.

What’s Cooking at The Melting Pot!
Mondays | SIN Night
Enjoy 40% off dinner for people who work in the service industry.

FLAVOR: In addition to traditional pizzas and hoagies, Portofino’s offers Mediterranean and Middle Eastern items such as falafel sandwiches, gyros and spanikopita. Or combine flavors with a Greek pizza. FLAIR: A true neighborhood joint with friendly staff and bicycle delivery from Flying Food (513-591-FOOD). 1609 Chase Ave., Northside, 513-542-5858. Open 7 days. $3$17.

What’s for Dinner?
FLAVOR: Chicken potpie made from scratch, crab cakes, chicken enchiladas, Mexican black bean lasagna — is this getting to you? It’s killing us, and we haven’t even told you about the grilled eggplant sandwich with fresh spinach, sautéed peppers and onions, goat cheese and spicy mayo. Where are our car keys? FLAIR: If you decide to stay and savor your cranberry-oatmeal cookie here, well, it’s like eating in grandma’s kitchen. But the carryout is fantastic. Did you know that the biggest night of the week for dinner to go is Monday? It’s true. 3009 O’Bryon St., O’Bryonville, 513-321-4404. Open MondaySaturday. $6-$18.

Tuesdays | Kids’ Night
Receive a free kids’ entrée with the purchase of an adult entrée.

Salt of the Earth
FLAVOR: Chef Jim Jennings offers mouth-watering “homestyle” fare (well, homestyle cooked by a four-star chef). No one in our home has ever made Teriyaki Salmon quite as delicious, and the Veggie Sandwich stuffed with eggplant, roasted peppers, goat cheese and fresh baby spinach isn’t a style our mother ever knew. The menu also has a wide selection of vegetarian options, homemade soups and salads. You can also purchase deli items by the pound to take with you. FLAIR: It’s easy to drive right by this unassuming storefront in a strip mall, but once inside you’ll love the big, light airy room with several tables for a leisurely lunch and open kitchen and selection of unusual retail food items. There’s a patio for warm weather dining dressed up with big pots of fresh herbs that are put to use in the kitchen. 4760 Red Bank Road, Madisonville, 513-272-3650. Open Monday-Saturday. $7-$20.

Wednesdays Wine Down Wednesdays
Enjoy 50% off bottles of wine up to $80.

Myra’s Dionysus
FLAVOR: For years, Myra’s menu has been offering an interesting mix of homemade soups (over 20 in total), appetizers, salads, sandwiches, rice combinations and entrées. There’s a definite vegetarian slant with items such as the oat-based P Burger .C. and the FBLT made with faux bacon, but meat eaters will find a few options as well, including a Zorba Sandwich with spiced meat and tzatziki sauce on pita bread and a chicken entrée served with brown rice and vegetables. FLAIR: Amongst the glitz of the new Calhoun Street, Myra’s is the true gem. It’s been a haven for UC students, old hippies and anyone else with a craving for good, wholesome food for 30 years. 121 Calhoun St., Clifton Heights, 513-961-1578. Open 7 days. $3-$7.50.

Fridays | Date Night
Enjoy a four-course fondue dinner (Signature Selection) and two glasses of champagne for only $69.

FLAVOR: Offers great specialty sandwiches with entertaining names like the Louisiana Lightning (salsa turkey, pepper jack cheese, hot mustard, red onion, salsa and lettuce). Also serves hot panini sandwiches and wraps as well as soups and daily hot meals like home roasted pork loin, beef stroganoff and pulled pork barbecue. FLAIR: Silverglades looks and feels like the owners know what they’re doing. And they should — it’s been a family business for three generations, starting back when Al Silverglade Sr. opened a stand at Findlay Market in 1922. With its high ceilings, big windows and corner location in the renovated Renaissance Building, Silverglades has a hometown feel with a bit of big-city flair. 236 E. Eighth St., Downtown, 513-361-0600. Open MondaySaturday. $6-$8.

11023 Montgomery Road | 513.530.5501 Visit www.meltingpot.com for special events, promotions and directions!

The Veg Head
FLAVOR: She’s a vegetarian, he’s not. Veg Head has something for both, from chicken and roast beef to tempeh and tofu. Offering up nightly specials, our favorite is the orange sesame tofu dinner with steeped kale, squash and red cabbage. Black bean veggie burgers, made fresh daily, are thin and packed with flavor, served on whole wheat Kaiser rolls and loaded with toppings. Don’t pass up their new Za’s, ultra-thin crust pizzas with toppings like curry hummus! Wow. FLAIR: Owner Mark Metcalfe’s idea was to serve “fast food for the 21st century.” Veg Head offers a healthy, home-style alternative in the middle of Loveland’s strip-mall strip. Rustic wooden tables and antique country knick-knacks. He’s also started a full-cycle recycling program with a local farm. They pick up Veg Head’s compost, use it to grow herb tea and then Metcalfe buys it back to sell through the store. 920B Loveland-Madeira Road, Loveland, 513-697-7090. Monday-Saturday. $6-$10.


Sophia’s Deli
FLAVOR: Home cooking from the Greek “gigia” (grandmother) you never had. Features daily homestyle specials and sandwiches that are cheap and cheerful, plus homemade baklava for dessert and the best tzatziki sauce ever. FLAIR: This place is so friendly you’ll feel like a regular after just one visit. Clean Formica tables and green Fiestaware plates, and when the cook makes a special trip over to ask how your

fine aged cheeses | assorted wines | seafood and steaks | chocolate fondue

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