If you’re someone that judge’s cities by their food, you might want to consider coming to Cincinnati. You might want to consider it regardless, considering we were just named one of 52 Places To Go in 2018 by the New York Times. Even being a long time Cincinnati resident, I don’t think I appreciated quite the quality and variety that we had here until I moved to Over the Rhine/downtown area. My husband and I love taking walks after dinner (you know, to “walk off” our food) and explore the city. A few of these walks lead us to discover what I now consider some of my favorite restaurants and today, I’m sharing what my most recent top picks are.
All of the restaurants I will be talking about today are located either downtown or in Over the Rhine. For those unfamiliar with the area, Over the Rhine is a cute little part of town that is full of colorful buildings, beautiful architecture and has recently been booming with new restaurants and shops. It used to be an area that you avoided due to crime but has made huge improvements in that department and has become the place to be in Cincinnati. So, time to unveil the 5 winners…
Lalo – My husband and I passed this restaurant on one of our nightly walks and it looked cute on the inside, so I decided to look up the menu and I am so glad I did. How intriguing does Latin – Asian fusion sound? This place has one of those menus where you could literally blindfold me and tell me to point to an item on the menu and I would still be happy with my selection. Everything on the menu looks good. Located at 709 Main St, this place is a major hidden gem. Some menu items include Mexi Pad Thai, Mexi Bibimbap (my favorite), Chicken Chorizo dumplings and many more. For about $10/entrée you get about two servings worth of food and will leave feeling full but so happy.
Dope – From the people that brought you Lalo, comes a new lunch spot called Dope. Located on Court Street, this 90’s themed dumpling place will make your lunch break that much better with great food and great atmosphere. The waiters wear 90’s themed T-shirts (Hey, Arnold anyone?) and there’s 90’s movie posters all around the place. It’s a small little café with a small menu but everything I’ve tried from there has been phenomenal. Highly recommend making your way to Court Street and checking out this place. This is also apparently the only place I decided to take a picture of my food, a decision I’m happy about for this particular section of the post but that I’m highly regretting for the rest.
Che – So I’m cheating a little with adding this restaurant in because it’s not a true discovery for me as I’ve known and been a fan of this place for a while now but when talking about the best OTR restaurants, I can’t not mention Che. Featuring Argentinian cuisine, this restaurant/bar is seriously eclectic on the inside and has the best patio for sitting outside and sipping on your favorite drink in the summer while eating some delicious empanadas. That sentence alone should convince you that you need to check out Che. The food is great, the drink menu is fantastic and the atmosphere is so fun. Located on Walnut street away from all the popular restaurants in OTR, Che is probably my favorite restaurant in the area.
B & A Kitchen – If you’re more into the brunch scene, I recommend heading over to Race Street and 15th, to a cute little place that serves nitro coffee and tea and delicious breakfast burritos, among other things. B & A has a window that faces 15th where you can just order and pick up right there or you can sit inside in the black and white themed restaurant. This place describes itself as Tex-Mex and everything I’ve ever tried from there has been delicious. You also get to walk by the picturesque Music Hall when looking for this place which is another bonus.
Pho Lang Thang – Last but certainly not least, a fantastic pho placed located inside the amazing Findlay Market (which is easily one of my favorite places in Cincinnati). If you’re into pho, you’ll love this place. If you’ve never had pho, you need to head this way and try it. This Vietnamese restaurant draws quite a crowd on the weekend, but the wait is so worth it once you’ve got the delicious broth in front of you. They don’t just have pho here either, there’s quite a menu if you’re looking to try other Vietnamese cuisine.
My fellow Cincinnatians – what are your favorite restaurants around the city? Please let me know as I’m always looking for new suggestions. This post will not be the only one of its kind. I’ll continue sharing restaurant finds throughout the year. As always, thank you for reading and don’t forget to follow me on Instagram, Pinterest and like my Facebook page!