Lunch x Downtown x Seven

Now hear this: Get up from your desk. Get outside. Do not walk towards Skyline. Do not take the same turkey Caesar wrap from the company cafeteria back to your office. There are a lot of exciting options for the midday meal, and it’s a perfect excuse to get moving, to clear your head, and to connect to your city. Phone a friend, grab a colleague or some reading material (may I suggest Cincinnati Magazine?) and walk, share, and enjoy.

Lunch served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. unless otherwise noted.

MONDAY – Jean-Robert’s Table  (Pictured at right; photo by Ryan Kurtz) The best lunch deal in town. A four-course lunch tray from the renowned French Master Chef—soup, salad, main course, and dessert—for $14. The tray changes daily and there are no substitutions, so should you be in the mood for Croque Monsieur (and you should), order from the à la carte menu. | Vine St. between Seventh and Garfield Place, (513) 621-4777,

TUESDAY – Fountain Square  Every Tuesday through September 27, Fountain Square hosts the Strauss & Troy Market on the Square. A variety of vendors serve lunch items such as pulled pork sandwiches from Eli’s BBQ; grilled cheese sandwiches, soups, and salad from Tom + Chee; and fresh handmade baked goods from Nay-Nays. You’ll also find smoothies, fresh produce and flowers, as well as crafty items.  There’s often entertainment on the stage or on the square itself, where people watching is primo. | Vine and Fifth St. Main entrances on Vine and Walnut

WEDNESDAY – The Reading Garden at The Main Library  Accessible from the lobby (the garden borders the Eighth St. side of the building), this small oasis of lush greenery and babbling fountain is perfect for a (semi) quiet lunch—with a book of course. Brown-bag it, or grab carryout from a nearby eatery such as Café Martin (2 Garfield Place), Taqueria Mercado (Eighth and Walnut), Turophilia (a food truck specializing in inspired quesadillas; parked in the lot at Vine and Eighth), or the library’s own Le’s Café. | 800 Vine St., (513) 369-6900,

THURSDAY – Mayberry  Grab the window seat at this diminutive cafe and feast on the voluminous Cobb salad (I’m particularly fond of the poached egg over the traditional hard boiled egg), or the behemoth BLT. Chef Josh Campbell dresses the pepper bacon and smoked gouda with a roasted tomato compote to make the sandwich available even when garden ripe tomatoes are not. | 915 Vine St. (513) 381-5999

FRIDAY – Nada  Nada serves lunch right up until 5 p.m., so Friday is the perfect day for a late lunch of Nada’s tacos (the carnitas and mahi-mahi are my faves) with a side of guacamole and smoky salsa, and then kick it right into happy hour with the nadarita (the limey, honey-sweet housemade margarita). Nada has the best dining patio in town—large, comfortable, and casually well appointed. |  600 Walnut St., (513) 721-6232,

SATURDAY – Lindner Family Café at The Taft Museum of Art This historic federal style estate not only houses a prestigious art collection, but serves some darn good soup. Pair a cup with the open-faced smoked salmon sandwich on watercress and herbed cream cheese, one of the custardy quiches, or the wonderful lemon rosemary chicken. Weather permitting, make sure to snag a table in the gorgeous garden / courtyard. |  316 Pike St., (513) 241-0343,

SUNDAY – Via Vite Cap off the week with family or friends (or your date from the prior evening) at one of hottest brunches going. Two courses for $15 may mean the truffled scrambled eggs and a Caprese salad, a divine Cioppino and roast beef Fiorentina, a fresh fruit salad and foccacia sandwich with prosciutto and fontina, or one of the other great contemporary Italian dishes from the Pietoso family. | 520 Vine St. (Fountain Square), (513) 721-8483,


UPDATE: The original post listed Taste of Belgium at The Banks for Saturday’s lunch. Unfortunately, it has since closed and I’ve amended the list. Look for the new Taste of Belgium Cafe in the Gateway Quarter to open this summer, or visit them at Findlay Market.

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