While Brian Thomas, host of the 55KRC morning show, insists that he loves and supports restaurants all over the city, you’ll find him most often in low-key restaurants close to his Loveland home.
Tandoor India Restaurant Tandoor was my introduction to Indian cuisine, and I’ve been a fan ever since. It’s hard to imagine that my wife and I double dated here in college, because it hasn’t changed a bit. One of our top carryout spots, the order will invariably include Rob special, palak paneer, and a variety of their great bread. They do a nice job of kicking up the spices if you enjoy some extra heat. 8702 Market Place Lane, Montgomery, (513) 793-7484, tandoor.com
Sichuan Bistro Our new family favorite! Not your run-of-the-mill fried rice spot, this is hands down the best Chinese in town, and some of the best I’ve ever had. We are still happily working through the menu, and everyone agrees the food is first rate. Bonus: They will make it as spicy as you want. Trust me, these folks get it. 7888 South Mason Montgomery Rd., Mason, (513) 770-3123, sichuanbistro.com
Terry’s Turf Club It’s a slim margin between the first and last entries on my top 10 favorite burger list, but Terry’s is at the top. They serve great burgers in a low-key, peanuts-on-the-floor, neon-nostalgia environment that I just love. I always get the same thing: burger with halloumi cheese and simply amazing burgundy wine reduction with wild mushrooms and truffles. 618 Eastern Ave., Linwood, (513) 533-4222
Sukothai Thai Cuisine My wife and I love Thai food more than most any other cuisine, and we know of places that surpass Sukothai in one category or another (and you may very well find us at one of them). But Sukothai is the family default for convenient, consistently good Thai food. Fish cakes, pad Thai, and the red snapper (pla rad pik ) are our favorites, whether dining in or carrying out. 8102 Market Place Ln., Montgomery, (513) 794-0057, sukhothaicincy.com
Hot Doggin’ ItAnyone visiting or living in Chicago can’t help but fall in love with the Chicago-style dogs, Polish sausage, and Italian sausage and beef combos. If you live there (eight years in my case), you become addicted. Hot Doggin’ It transports me back. I usually order a charred Chicago-style polish sausage (made the right way with extra peppers), or an Italian sausage and beef combo with lots of hot giardineria if I’m feeling skinny. The fries are perfect if you eat them in house. [Note: Hot Doggin' It is temporarily closed while they move to a new location.] 12082-B Montgomery Rd., Loveland, (513) 831-3644, hotdogginit.com
Kyoto Japanese Cuisine Fantastic sushi. Pick a roll or two from the Gourmet or Chef’s specials list if you can’t decide, Another top carryout spot for my family. It’s all good. 12082 Montgomery Rd., Loveland, (513) 583-8897, kyotosushibar.com
Porky Capone BBQ Like burgers, the difference between first and second or tenth can be slim. But in the subjective world of “best” barbecue, Porky Capone’s gets my nod. The owners are a testament to America’s entrepreneurial spirit: Give the public something they want and they will stand in line to buy it. Get some of everything or try a combo plate, and don’t overlook the sides. 118 Main St., Lebanon, (513) 282-6500, porkycaponebbq.com
Sebastian’s I had to include my favorite gyro place. Admittedly, it’s a far trek from Loveland, but worth stopping by when visiting family on the west side. I have fond recollections of eating here when I was a kid, and the place hasn’t changed one iota. So you say your guy’s gyro is better, fine, but Sebastian’s has history, character, and a great gyro. 5209 Glenway Ave., Cheviot, (513) 471-2100, sebastiansgyros.com
Knotty Pine on the Bayou As I’m typing this in mid-November, I find out Knotty Pine is closing while they search for a more stable location to relocate to. If you’ve been there, you can understand how physics and gravity might have taken their toll on The Pine’s charming rustic building with its slanted dining room floor. Wherever they reopen, count on amazing Cajun / Creole / Bayou soul food. And pray that the floor in the new building has a four-degree slope. 6302 Licking Pike, Cold Spring, (859) 781-2200
Germano’s Ristorante Italiano If you have dined at Germano’s you know why it’s on my list and why it has been a popular Cincinnati restaurant for more than 20 years. Germano’s is always a contender for our date night. Close your eyes and randomly pick something on the menu. I guarantee you it will be outstanding. 9415 Montgomery Rd., Montgomery, (513) 794-1155, germanosrestaurant.com
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