Like most couples, Tamara Harkavy and Matt Kotlarczyk have slightly different tastes: Harkavay, the director of ArtWorks, follows a fish and vegetable diet; sculptor Kotlarczyk eats most anything. But they wholeheartedly agree the most difficult part of this list was limiting it to just 10 restaurants.
Riverside Korean Hae Mul Pa Jun (seafood pancake) is our favorite appetizer, and the dolsot bibimbap with an egg and all the gooey spicy stuff mixed in…Yum.512 Madison Ave., Covington, (859) 291-1484, riversidekoreanrestaurant.com
Nicola’s Nicola’s represents all the best of fine Italian with a gourmet touch. The wine room is a family favorite, reserved for special times that celebrate and mark family occasions. Where else can you go and get the most delicious Italian meal—gnocchi, lobster ravioli, tableside Caesar salad, or anything with truffles—in your own private wine room? Ours is a crowded table, but always a ruckus of a good time with delicious food.1420 Sycamore St., Over-the-Rhine, (513) 721-6200, nicolasrestaurant.com
La Mexicana We love the selection of crazy authentic recipes and fresh ingredients—the barbacoa, the squash blossoms, and the Mexican Cokes with the cane sugar for extra damage! It is always crowded, and the real deal, just like you are in Mexico!642 Monmouth St., Newport, (859) 261-6112
A Tavola So what if it’s a little loud? We have never had a bad bite of food at A Tavola. A great place to sit at the bar, run into friends, chat with the bartenders, and eat great food. We could eat there every night: the melt-in-your-mouth [eggplant] sliders, the roasted cauliflower (though they oversaturate it with dressing), and the pizzas—or anything with the fontina cheese on it.1220 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, (513) 246-0192, atavolapizza.com
Jean-Robert’s Table We love the bar, and having lunch there is like a mini escape from the real world of work. What’s better than the food on the inside and the [ArtWorks] mural on the outside! Favorites: The burger, and the omelette of the day.713 Vine St., downtown, (513) 621-4777, jrtable.com
Boca We fool ourselves into thinking that if we sit at the bar and order some wine, a salad, and a few appetizers to share (and try not to order the scallops with caramelized brussels sprouts), we will not spend a fortune. Even if we are duping ourselves, a meal at Boca is worth the treat. David Falk’s Bolognese is so creamy and rich and delicious! 3200 Madison Rd., Oakley (513) 542-2022, boca-restaurant.com
Enoteca Emilia We love that you can sit at the bar, have a drink, and sample so many great dishes like the shrimp and squid salad. And we’re always certain to have a great time running into friends!2038 Madison Rd., O'Bryonville, (513) 834-5773, enotecaemilia.com
Myra’s Dionysus Avgolemono. Need we say more?121 Calhoun St. #1, Clifton, (513) 961-1578, myrasrestaurant.com
Bouquet Restaurant and Wine Bar and Otto’s Neighboring restaurants both serving fresh, simple food made with local ingredients! And with the added bonus of dining outside (both are favorite places on a summer evening), sometimes you forget you are in Covington. 519 Main St., Covington, (859) 491-7777, bouquetrestaurant.com521 Main St., Covington (859) 491-6678, ottosonmain.com
Abigail Street A favorite place for us to eat with friends who like to share plates. The menu is unique and different from any other place in Cincinnati, and it is one of the most gorgeous dining rooms in the city!1214 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, (513) 421-4040
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