Transformation of Downtown, Mt. Adams and Over-the-Rhine have fueled culinary diversity making Cincinnati’s food scene one of the best in the Midwest. From James Beard award-winning and nominated restaurants, trendy foodie hotspots to local comfort foods, the Queen City’s culinary scene is a food-lover’s paradise. Continue reading this Cincinnati, Ohio food and drink guide to fuel your foodie inspiration in the Queen City.
Where to Eat:
Coffee addicts flock to Collective Espresso for coffee in its purest form with a relaxing neighborhood atmosphere. Made to order with no syrups, just pure robust, flavorful coffee. Get your caffeine fix at the Over-the-Rhine or Northside location or scout the mobile unit throughout town.
Cappuccino at Collective Espresso
This family ran donut business began in 1960 in the Greater Cincinnati area and has received numerous local and national accolades. Donut lovers arrive early to grab the made-from-scratch creative concoctions like Maple Bacon, Fruity Pebbles, German Chocolate and numerous other specialty donut flavors. All you need is one bite of a Holtman’s donut to fall in love!
Taste of Belgium
Waffles are king at the Taste of Belgium. The delectable waffles, created from traditional Belgian recipes, are some of the best I’ve ever eaten! Serving a unique mix of Belgian and American classics, try one of their most popular menu items, chicken and waffles.
Maplewood Kitchen and Bar
This California-inspired brunch spot features locally roasted coffee, cold pressed juices and fresh, organic ingredients. Serving healthy and flavorful dishes, in a white-washed woodwork West Coast-style space, foodies will savor every delicious bite at Maplewood.
Avocado Benedict at Maplewood Kitchen
City View Tavern
Opened in 1875 and suitably named for its sweeping views of Cincinnati’s skyline, City View Tavern can be found in the hills of Mt. Adams. This unpretentious bar is known for its Bloody Mary’s, delicious burgers, laid-back atmosphere and awesome patio views.
Bloody Mary and Burger at City View Tavern
Located in Over-the-Rhine, this industrial style gastropub serves up cold beer, craft cocktails and hot dogs with a twist. Imaginative hot dog concoctions with creative names, piled high ingredients smothering the all-beef hotdog makes it acceptable to use a fork and knife to savor every bite. You can’t go wrong with any of the hot dog creations at Senate…start your meal with the Poutine, you won’t be disappointed!
Trailer Park Hot Dog at Senate
As Ohio’s oldest continuously operated public market, Findlay Market has been providing locally sourced farm fresh produce and foods since 1852. More than 40 indoor merchants sell meat, fish, produce, flowers, artisanal, ethnic and specialty foods. Findlay Market is an easy way to sample the local flavors of Cincinnati.
Camp Washington Chili
Chili piled high upon spaghetti, hot dogs or French fries and topped with cheese, onions or beans makes the perfect lunch time meal. Eat with a fork and learn the Cincinnati-style chili terms to customize the hearty comfort food. Serving award winning chili since 1940, Camp Washington Chili is the best place to savor the local delicacy, Cincinnati-style chili.
Cincinnati-style chili at Camp Washington Chili
Located in an underground hideaway in Downtown Cincinnati, Sotto creates traditional Italian cuisine with modern twists and fresh seasonal ingredients. Rustic décor and a romantic atmosphere whisks you away to Italy while the delectable food is love at every single bite. Save room for the delightful handmade ricotta donuts served with three creamy sauces. Book reservations in advance as Sotto is one of the most sought-after meals in town.
Ricotta Donuts at Sotto
An ode to European cuisine with American flair, this contemporary fine-dining restaurant creates one-of-a-kind meals with the freshest ingredients of the season. Although the food may be the star of the show, the attentive staff can be awarded best supporting roles as attention to detail with artful simplicity is the motto at Boca.
Orchids at Palm Court
As Ohio’s only AAA Five Diamond Restaurant, Orchids at Palm Court is Cincinnati’s go to restaurant for luxurious fine-dining experience. Serving only the finest, freshest ingredients, each course is a culinary masterpiece. With its location in the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza Hotel in Downtown Cincinnati, the stunning 1930’s art-deco grandeur architecture accompanies the opulent meal nicely.
Where to Drink:
Arnold’s Bar and Grill
Established in 1861, Arnold’s Bar and Grill is Cincinnati’s oldest tavern. During prohibition, a kitchen was added and the bar was converted to a café. Local legend tells a tale that the upstairs bathtub was used to make illegal “bathtub gin.” The notorious bathtub still remains today. Grab a cold beer or craft cocktail at the bar and enjoy the eclectic atmosphere.
Cicada Lemonada & Old Fashion at Arnold’s
Sundry and Vice
In the heart of Over-the-Rhine district, Sundry and Vice is a turn-of-the-century apothecary style cocktail bar. Serving up classic cocktails with a twist, cocktails on tap and boozy milkshakes, craft cocktail lovers will enjoy their drink of choice in a friendly atmosphere with vintage decor.
Night Cure & Strawberry Aperol Spritz at Sundry and Vice
The Video Archive
This one-of-a-kind hidden bar is located behind the shelves of a video rental store. Pick the right movie and the secret door opens to this Quentin Tarantino-inspired speakeasy bar serving movie-themed cocktails.
Enjoying a Berry Darling at Video Archive
Other local watering-holes serving delicious craft cocktails and local brews include:
Looking for more on Cincinnati? Read 10 Things To Do in Cincinnati, Ohio.
A special thanks to Cincinnati USA for showing me how much there is to love in the Queen City! I was an invited guest of Cincinnati USA Convention & Visitors Bureau. As always on Ohio Girl Travels, all thoughts, opinions and travel guides are my own!