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A selection of Downtown Cincinnati Restaurants

Suggestions by Pama Mitchell, Dining Critic for CityBeat and Niven Herro, PhD. 


Arnold's Bar and Grill  Lively haunt for American food (with vegan options) & live tunes in a historic, art-adorned space.


Bakersfield Tacos & a few other Mexican dishes are delivered in a chic, upbeat, margarita-fueled atmosphere.


Bauer European Farm Kitchen (German) featuring a variety of small plates, such as German-style charcuterie, aged meats, German and French cheese, classic salads, and schnitzel, as well as a selection of French and German desserts.  $$ 435 Elm Street

Coffee Emporium (Breakfast/Lunch) Excellent coffee and they roast all the beans in house. You’ll want to bring some home. Also a variety of pastries, sandwiches, and other hearty options, plus tea and European chocolates. Two locations: 301 E. Fourth St. (in Great American Tower, weekdays only) and 110 E. Central Parkway

Court Street Lobster Bar (Seafood) Authentic lobster rolls – both Connecticut and Maine style – along with other lobster treats such as lobster mac & cheese and lobster bisque in a casual atmosphere. $$ 28 W. Court Street

The Eagle Rustic-chic eatery & beer hall dishing up Southern classics such as fried chicken & spoonbread.


French Crust Café (French) From one of Cincinnati’s most renowned chefs, Jean-Robert de Cavel, this is where his personality shines. The décor is as Parisian as you can get away from an arrondissement, and the quiche and croissants are delicious.  Brunch, lunch and dinner, adjacent to Findlay Market. $$ 202 W. Elder Street

Horse & Barrel Bourbon House (Cocktail lounge) You’re practically in Kentucky, so you should visit a bourbon bar.  This is a good one. Try a flight of one- or two-ounce pours of Kentucky’s finest, bourbon cocktails, and savory snacks. $/$$

Maplewood Kitchen (American/California) Breakfast, lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch that ranges from decadent to healthy, or both on one plate if you want it.  Wine, cocktails and beer available, all ordered at a counter and brought to your table when ready.  Large room, good for groups, with enough variety to please everyone. $/$$ 525 Race Street 

Metropole (American/Eclectic) Not just the best hotel dining in Cincinnati but some of the best dining in town, period. They serve breakfast and lunch and have a wonderful bar, but try to spring for dinner, if you can. In the 21C Hotel, with rotating contemporary art exhibits in the lobby and adjacent small galleries. $$/$$$ 609 Walnut Street

Mita’s (Spanish/Latin) Named after Chef Jose Salazar’s grandmother, this is the spot for paella, tapas, spicy cocktails and wines from Spain and the Southern Hemisphere. $$$ 501 Race St.

Nada (Mexican) One of the most popular places downtown, convenient to all the hotels. Beloved for a variety of tacos, top-quality margaritas and both familiar and unusual Mexican fare. $$ 600 Walnut St.

Nicholson's Men in kilts serve a Scottish-American gastropub menu with beer & brown spirits plus live music.


​Queen City Radio Spacious bar in a buzzy, industrial indoor/outdoor space offering food-truck eats, DJs & live music.


Senate Trendy pub serving gourmet hot dogs with creative toppings, plus local brews & retro cocktails.


Sleepy Bee Café (Breakfast/Lunch) The newest location of Chef Frances Kroner’s mini-empire of whimsically decorated eateries serving traditional comfort foods, locally sourced and brightly flavored. Pancakes and omelets especially tasty. $ 8 E. Fourth St.

Sotto Basement dining spot with an austere brick-&-wood interior serving inventive rustic Italian cuisine.


Taft's Ale House​ Artisanal beers, steaks & salads served in a classic brewpub named after Cincinnati’s favorite son.


Taste of Belgium​ A chic spot offering Belgian-tinged dishes alongside a long beer list plus wine & cocktails.


Via Vite (Italian) An upscale but approachable traditional Italian restaurant with a convenient location on Fountain Square; includes outdoor dining on an upstairs patio. Weeknight happy hour and weekday lunch specials give you good bang for the buck. $$/$$$ 520 Vine St.


Downtown Attractions


Roebling’s Bridge


National Underground Railroad Freedom Center


Contemporary Arts Center


21st Century Museum Hotel


Taft Museum of Art


Washington Park


Cincinnati Music Hall

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