Local Chefs on the Best Restaurants, Best Bars, and What’s Missing

We sat down with 8 chefs from the best of Cincinnati’s dining scene to learn their favorite spots in the Queen City.

Alfio Gulisano
Chef/Owner, Butcher & Barrel, Che

What style of food is missing in the local dining scene? I don’t see a Spanish restaurant. It’s huge to me, because Spain is so big in food. And I have not seen…a lot of Latin American South American restaurants, except mine that’s Argentine. No Uruguay, Bolivia, Paraguay, etc. South America is a little lost in Cincinnati.

What’s your favorite place to take the family? Chandler’s Burger Bistro on the west side.


Megan Ketover
Pastry Chef, Orchids at Palm Court

What’s your favorite place to get a drink? Sundry and Vice. It’s fun to ask the bartenders to make a drink that’s not on the menu.

What style of food is missing in the local restaurant scene? Small plates, like State Bird Provisions in San Francisco, where you can pick exactly what you want to eat. Like dim sum but with all different kinds of foods.


Lisa Kagen
Founder of Melt, now with Maplewood Kitchen & Bar

What’s your favorite place to get a drink? Wine: The Listing Loon; Bourbon: OKBB; Cocktails: Japp’s; Beer: Taft’s Brewpourium.

What’s your favorite new place? Taft’s Brewpourium on Spring Grove with insanely great pizza.

 


José Salazar
Chef/Owner, Salazar and Mita’s

What’s your favorite place to take your family? We like Zip’s for a quick family dinner. Great food and ambiance.

What style of food is missing in the local dining scene? I would personally like to see some really good Japanese. I know my buddy Hideki Harada is going to be doing something in the near future and I’m sure he will bring it.


Bhumin Desai
General Manager/Chef, Maplewood Kitchen & Bar

What’s your favorite place to take your family? Maplewood or National Exemplar

What’s your favorite new place? Sartre

 


Mike Florea
Chef, Maribelle’s eat+drink

What’s your favorite place to take the family? Honestly, Dewey’s Pizza or Forno

What’s your favorite new place? I’m a hard-core Sotto guy. As far as date night, we always go to Sotto. As far as new places go… we love E+O.


Chrissy Antenucci
Chef/Owner, The Wheel

What’s your favorite place to get a drink? Right now, Deeper Roots Coffee.

What’s your favorite place to take the family? Jean-Robert’s Table

 


Elias Leisring
Owner, Eli’s BBQ, Saundra’s Kitchen, The Hi-Mark

What’s your favorite place to get a drink? Longfellow. It’s such a personal place: great drinks, impeccable music, lights are cozy, windows are steamed up. Service is attentive, disarming, and at arm’s length, which is classy. No hovering. Tight little munching menu, the beer selection is fresh and worldly. Longfellow is the Kirk Gibson of the 19th century-inspired watering hole!

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