Best of wine me, dine me: Julie’s favorite eats (in Cincinnati)

“Best” is such a subjective word. I prefer “favorite.” “Best” is for more objective things, like “Best Runner in the World” (you can, at least, time that!). I’ll be different — other publications do “Best of”– so here is my list of Cincinnati favorites, in no particular order.

Favorite Burger: Terry’s Turf Club

Phone: (513) 533-4222

Neighborhood: Linwood, Ohio

Address: 4618 Eastern Avenue

Favorite Burger in High-End Surroundings: The Cricket Lounge (at the Palace)

Neighborhood: Downtown

Address: 601 Vine Street

Favorite Steak: Jeff Ruby’s Precinct

Phone: (513) 321-5454

Neighborhood: Columbia-Tusculum, Ohio

Address: 311 Delta Avenue

Favorite Place to See and Be Seen: Bootsy’s Produced by Jeff Ruby

Phone: (513) 241-0707

Neighborhood: Downtown

Address: 631 Walnut Street

Favorite Place to Shop for Food: Findlay Market

Phone: (513) 665-4839

Neighborhood: Over the Rhine

Address: 1801 Race Street

Favorite Saturday Lunch: Take the Cake

Phone: (513) 241-2772

Neighborhood: Northside

Address: 4035 Hamilton Avenue

Favorite Coffee Shop: Coffee Emporium

Phone: (513) 651-5483

Neighborhood: Over-the-Rhine

Address: 110 East Central Parkway

Phone: (513) 321-5943

Neighborhood: Hyde Park

Address: 3316 Erie Avenue

Coffee Shop Hall of Fame Inductee: Sitwell’s Coffee House

Phone: (513) 281-7487

Neighborhood: Clifton

Address: 324 Ludlow Avenue

Favorite Barbecue: Pit to Plate BBQ

Phone: (513) 931-9100

Neighborhood: Mt. Healthy

Address: 8021 Hamilton Avenue

Favorite Food Found Near a College Campus: King Wok

Phone: (513) 723-1999

Neighborhood: Clifton

Address: 203 West McMillan Street

Favorite Place to Eat with Your Mom (tie): Bonbonerie (tea), Vito’s Cafe


Phone: (513) 321-3399

Neighborhood: Oakley

Address: 2030 Madison Road

Vito’s Cafe

Phone: (859) 442-9444

Neighborhood: Ft. Thomas

Address: 654 Highland Avenue

Favorite Bread: Shadeau Breads

Phone: (513) 665-9270

Neighborhood: Over the Rhine

Address: 1336 Main Street

Favorite First Date Spot: York Street Cafe

Phone: (859) 261-9675

Neighborhood: Newport

Address: 738 York Street

Favorite Last Date Spot: Graeter’s in Hyde Park (I was broken up with there, once…)

Phone: (513) 321-6221

Neighborhood: Hyde Park

Address: 2704 Erie Avenue

Favorite Morning After Breakfast: Tucker’s Restaurant

Phone: (513) 241-3354

Neighborhood: Over the Rhine

Address: 1637 Vine

Favorite Pizza: Newport Pizza Company’s Barbecue Chicken or Zeus

Phone: (859) 261-4900

Neighborhood: Newport

Address: 601 Monmouth Street

Favorite Unsung Dining Experience: Honey

Phone: (513) 541-4300

Neighborhood: Northside

Address: 4034 Hamilton Avenue

Favorite Cincinnati Institution: The brewing industry’s resurgence: think Christian Moerlein, Little Kings and craft beers made in Cincinnati.

Favorite Bar: Mr. Pitiful’s

Phone: (513) 369-0202

Neighborhood: Over the Rhine

Address: 1323 Main Street

Favorite Place to Buy Wine: Liquor Direct

Phone: (859) 291-2550

Neighborhood: Covington

Address: 670 West Third Street

Favorite Place to Drink Wine: Bouquet

Phone: (859) 491-7777

Neighborhood: Covington

Address: 519 Main Street

Favorite Patio Dining: Quarter Bistro

Phone: (513) 271-5400

Neighborhood: Mariemont

Address: 6904 Wooster Pike

Favorite Place for a Cocktail: Morton’s the Steakhouse

Phone: (513) 621-3111

Neighborhood: Downtown

Address: 441 Vine Street

Favorite Chef That’s Going Places (but please, not far from here): Cristian Pietoso (of Via Vite)

Phone: (513) 721-8483

Neighborhood: Downtown

Address: 520 Vine Street

Favorite Chef That Disappeared: Travis Maier (former owner/chef of Seny)

Favorite Space I’d Like to See Occupied Next Year: The old diner that used to be Vinyl on Sycamore. Anyone? Bueller?

So what are your favorites?

(Note: This originally appeared in Cincy Chic and was written before my agreement with JRCE.  If it seems Ruby-heavy, it’s because I genuinely like his restaurants, not because I am gaining financially.)

41 thoughts on “Best of wine me, dine me: Julie’s favorite eats (in Cincinnati)”

  • Finally went to Honey on Saturday and was one of my favorite dining experiences in Cincy! Our service was great, the menu was eclectic & the ambiance was on point. I’m looking forward to going back to try a watermelon basil martini! Yes, I miss Seny, as well; would love to see Travis open a new restaurant. Loved the list; quite a few are my favs, too.

  • Good list – I would love to see someone put something in the space that was The Heritage (and something else later) in Mariemont. It’s a great old building with some history, and it’s well situated between areas with money and interest in fine dining.

    • Whoever buys the old Heritage will probably have to bulldoze it. I was there a couple of times right before they closed. It was full of mold. They had fans and dehumidifiers running constantly. I’m surprised that property has been on the market for so long.

  • I still haven’t had Terry’s Turf yet. I know, crazy considering I’ve lived here my whole life. I did have a burger over the weekend that would rival I think any in Cincinnati. Would Aurora, IN be too far for you to go and do a review? It’s called 3rd & Main Restaurant(same name as street location) and all their burgers are 1/2 lb and oh so good.

  • Wow, what a great list! I’ve lived in the ‘Nati my whole life and haven’t tried half of these places. You made my “date-night” with the hubs much easier, I’ll just start using this list. One of our current favs for Burgers is the Blue Goose in Sharonville, it is more of a bar/grille but it has a cool story about how it got its name.
    .-= Jesy ´s last blog ..New at Findlay Market – World Food Bar =-.

  • I think for cincinnati, you have to include your favorite chili, double decker, and your favorite church fish fry

  • The Precinct, so over rated. Jag’s has much better steak for the price. As does Eddie merlots.
    Favorite Food Found Near a College Campus -have you tried Floyd’s? Wow one of the best places to eat in Clifton period.
    Favorite Bar-The comet in northside, way better.

    Aside from that, I think you are dead on with Findlay Market,Shadeau Breads, Honey, tuckers, Coffee Emp, Bonbonerie
    As for the old dinner, I worked there ages ago. So sad to see the area now.

    • I couldn’t include Floyd’s because, in all of my college years, I never once went there and had it be open. And disagree about the Comet, but that’s why it’s my favorite list. 🙂

  • I agree with all of these, but you forgot the Echo a great little hole in the wall for breakfast, especially after a night of drinking. I also think the restaurant, The Summit is worth mentioning. They have awesome food! It’s also a fun way to support the college.

  • I agree with a lot of these favorites. Terry’s is a must! Best place close to college campus for me is Chicago Gyro!! Yum! As far as Cristian Pietoso goes….he is fantastic chef! I loved cocktails at the old Mortons better. And the Precinct is the only Ruby’s place I enjoy. Thanks for the list!!

  • If you love Coffee Emporium’s brew and Shadeau’s bread, you should go to Iris Bookcafe! They serve both there, have a GREAT patio and also sell Aglamesis ice cream as well as Essencha Teas. Its my favorite urban get away, and their hours are much better than the downtown Coffee Emporium’s location (Iris is open every night until 11pm).

    • Great recommendation. That one’s right across from my condo and one of the best kept secrets in Cinci these days. Great book selection, great prices, good people and atmosphere.

  • Maybe it’s nitpicking, but Little Kings, Christian Moerline and Burger are not made in Cincinnati by any stretch of the imagination. The brands are brewed in Pennsylvania under contract by The Lion Brewery and trucked about 500 miles from Wilkes Barre, PA to Cincinnati.

    Boston Beer’s Sam Adams brand is brewed here, as are the Barrel House beers. That’s about it. BTW, Boston Beer is responsible for about 500 jobs here in Cincinnati, and produces nearly a million barrels of beer annually. Just saying…..

  • as far as outdoor dining, NOTHING beats the tropical garden at Gajah Wong West in Northside on a summer night. Great food…and the setting is transformative. You’d never guess the Northside BP station was on the other side of that fence. Sad that they are moving to Indonesia at the end of the summer.

  • Great list Julie! I agree on Terry’s for Best Burger (Honorable Mention to Oakley Pub and Zips) and I too would like to see that old diner on Sycamore occupied again. York Street Cafe I’ve been to, but never eaten there; cool place. Many of the places you mentioned I still haven’t been to, and a few I hadn’t heard of, so thanks for the recommendations. Some other favorites of mine:

    Favorite place to drink wine: Tino Vino. Nice, knowledgeable people. Casual atmosphere. Good variety of styles. Also, if you ever thought about making your own wine, consider a visit.

    Favorite Bar: Mr. Pitiful’s is very cool, but I prefer to stay closer to home and go to Oakley Pub (best combo of good food and bar) or R.P. McMurphy’s (nice deck for summer, old-school bar inside early, live music on weekends). Hap’s Irish Pub gets an honorable mention (old-school Irish Pub).

    Favorite Restaurant: Grand Finale in Glendale (cool, old house; crepes are a specialty; also known for desserts and Sunday Brunch).

    Favorite Thai: Bangkok Bistro in Hyde Park East (particularly for noodle dishes; other places better for sushi).

  • The Echo is diner food in a diner atmosphere. Not sure where the pretension comes in, although I guess it is in the eye of the beholder.

  • Favorite Place to See and Be Seen: Bootsy’s Produced by Jeff Ruby – got to disagree here Jules, way too hip to be hip and tacky.

    Favorite Bread: Shadeau Breads – I take it you have not had Blue Oven’s wood baked bread, when you do you I am confident you will change this choice. FYI I post this knowing I am at the risk of never again being able to get up early enough to get a loaf, ya hear that Mark, bake more.

    Favorite Pizza: Newport Pizza Company’s Barbecue Chicken or Zeus – I have to try Newport Pizza, until then, again I assume you have never had Ramundos.

    Favorite Place to Buy Wine: Liquor Direct – I agree, Party Source has a huge selection but spotty help, big is not always best. Liquor Direct has surpassed Cork, whose assistance, overall knowledge and food pairing expertise has gone downhill. Alfonse IS our wine bitch.

    Favorite Chef That Disappeared: I disagree, that would be Jean-Robert de Cavel, I did run into him at Findlay on Sat so he has not completely disappeared, he seems to be enjoying his time off.

    As to Floyds, try it, killer chicken.

    As to added categories I would suggest Best cool wine and dine spot – to me that would be Cumin, this is very likely the best balance of killer food, great bar, and hip crowd in town. Always breaks my wallet but always a great experience, Alex and Yajan do a fantastic job.

    julie “I didn’t forget it; it’s just not my favorite. Far too pretentious and not my scene.” Can you clarify, I am confused, you think either the Echo or the Summit is too pretentious?

    joel “We need something at La Normandie ASAP–that place was fantastic!” I agree totally.

    • Re: Bootsy’s– I don’t find it tacky, I find it ostentatious. And I like it wayyy better than Nada. 🙂

      Jean-Robert didn’t disappear; he’s very visibly on staff at MCI, so he didn’t count (in my mind) as “disappearing).

      The other stuff, I’ll have to try.

      And as far as clarifying the “pretentious” part– it’s The Echo. I like the Summit a lot.

  • Fun list!
    How about goetta? My fave = Eckerlins
    Honey – I had another disappointing meal there. I find it just so heavy-handed, even the cocktails. 🙁
    My fave BBQ = BBQ Revue! NOM-NOM-NOM!
    My fave b-fast = not telling 😛
    Fave Gluten Free Treats = MINE – will push into local coffee shops (Sidewinders & Brutopia) in September after my return from a glorious month in Greece.
    .-= Erin Swing´s last blog ..Frittata Del Giorno =-.

Leave a Reply