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BestRestaurants


Every March, we compile a Best Restaurants list—or some variation—highlighting the hottest eateries in the Queen City. It's always a pulse-taking exercise, when we strive to present the best of what Cincinnati's dining scene offers at that moment in time. For this moment in time, when restaurants pause operations, switche to takeout, and struggle to hold on to staff and suppliers, it doesn’t make sense to attempt a ranking.

Instead, for our March 2022 issue, we take a look back, at classic restaurants that have stood the test of time. Of the 25 restaurants featured in our very first Best Restaurants issue in 2003, nine are still standing, and we're thankful that they are.

STAYING POWER 2022

Staying Power: These Cincinnati Restaurants Have Stood the Test of Time

What’s kept our longest-running best restaurants going for the last two decades? Impeccable service and even better food.

Best Restaurants 2022: Restaurateurs Share the Secrets to Their Lasting Success

We asked these four Best Restaurant owners how they've managed to keep delighting Cincinnati diners over the last two decades.

Cincinnati’s New Classic Restaurants

We think these new local restaurants might make the classics cut in the future.

Classic Cincinnati Restaurants Are Reborn

What’s old is new again for Cincinnati diners who have experienced the rebirth of several local restaurants with exciting new offerings.

RESTAURANT FAMILIES 2021

O Pie O Supports Its Employees Through the Pandemic

O Pie O owner Lou Ginocchio knows the importance of taking care of customers, employees, and the community.

Who’s Afraid of Ghost Kitchens?

Local restaurants have formed a love/hate relationship with delivery-only meal concepts, hoping to keep up with changing consumer demands.

How Three Local Restaurants Are Finding a Way Forward

We talk to three local restaurant owners about how they pivoted during challenging times and what moving forward looks like for their businesses.

The Wong Family Keeps Overcoming Obstacles Almost 50 Years After Settling in Cincinnati

Mike and Helen Wong opened Oriental Wok in Ft. Mitchell in 1977. Their family and business have since grown, with a second location in Hyde Park.

In a Socially Distanced World, Station Family + BBQ Soldiers On

While the future is uncertain for CWC, its sister restaurant Station Family + BBQ is still making good on its mission to bring a community together through “Cincinnati-style” barbecue.

The Mother-and-Daughter Duo Behind Homestyle Restaurant TiYah’s Table

ItiYah Yisrael and Jazlyn Mason call TiYah’s Table a “blessing” and a “dream” despite the stress of launching during the pandemic.

Local Restaurateurs Get Creative to Keep Their Doors Open

The pandemic crushed restaurant industry economics. Local restaurateurs got creative (and got lots of help) to keep their doors open.

Keeping Hope Alive at Kiki

Hideki and Yuko Harada gain new perspective on the importance of joy in the restaurant business at Kiki in College Hill.

Bridges Straddles the Pandemic and Possibilities

As the pandemic drags on, Ash Chipalu of Bridges is grateful for his family, neighborhood support, and the food scene niche they’ve found.

These Restaurant Families Didn’t Let COVID Cancel Their Expansion Plans

Despite pandemic-related challenges, these restaurateurs managed to build their businesses bigger and better than ever.

How Jeff Ruby’s Weathered the Storm of 2020

With in-person dining limitations and social distancing placing a buffer between staff and guests, the pandemic has put the quintessential “Jeff Ruby’s Experience” to the test.

How Three Local Restaurant Groups Managed to Stay Afloat During the Pandemic

For these restaurants with multiple locations, some across state lines, the pandemic presented a unique set of challenges.

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BEST RESTAURANTS 2020

Best Restaurants No. 10: Orchids at Palm Court Can Still Surprise You

A wonderful room, exquisite food, and fantastic wine—Orchids delivers on all its promises.

Best Restaurants No. 9: Bouquet Restaurant and Wine Bar Leans Into Seasonality

A dedication to using only the best ingredients to their fullest potential pervades the menu.

Best Restaurants No. 8: Phoenician Taverna Elevates Classic Mediterranean Dishes

New twists on old Mediterranean favorites and a passion for excellence turn meals into feasts at Phoenician Taverna.

Best Restaurants No. 7: Boca Shows Extraordinary Creativity

While staying mostly grounded in the fundamentals of Italian and French cuisine, Boca has an air of international sophistication that sets its food apart.

Best Restaurants No. 6: Abigail Street Knows What Works

Abigail Street is always watching for what works and is willing to abandon bits of impractical culinary flair for what will truly satisfy.

Best Restaurants No. 5: Nicola’s Is Back

Always an institution, Nicola's has entered a new era of exuberant creativity under the leadership of chef Jack Hemmer.

Best Restaurants No. 4: Restaurant L Serves Up Playful Yet Elegant Dishes

Restaurant L's menu reflects chef-owner Jean-Robert de Cavel’s sense of playfulness and his mastery of the fundamentals of la grande cuisine.

Best Restaurant No. 3: Mita’s Restaurant & Bar Delivers Global Flavors

Mita's offers sophistication, modestly concealed in homey, warm dishes from Jose Salazar.

Best Restaurant No. 2: Sotto Makes the Familiar Profoundly Satisfying

Eating at Sotto is a familiar experience but also one that's so profound and satisfying that there's no reason to ever stop.

Best Restaurant No. 1: Please Is Simply a Great Restaurant

Born as a pop-up, Ryan Santos’s “weird and wonderful” Please is a symbol of everything exciting that has been happening in the Cincinnati food scene.

How the Last Decade Has Shaped Cincinnati’s Dining Scene

The past 10 years have set the bar high for our dining scene. Future possibilities feel endless.

Cincinnati Chefs to Watch in 2020: Erik Bentz and Elaine Townsend

Erik Bentz and Elaine Townsend are the dynamic duo behind runaway success ramen, omerice, and Japanese pastry pop-up Mochiko.

Cincinnati Chefs to Watch in 2020: Nathan Friday

After more than a year slinging his signature steamed baos from an OTR walk-up window, Nathan Friday plans to open a brick-and-mortar for Boombox Buns.

Cincinnati Chefs to Watch in 2020: Anthony Sitek

Crown Republic Gastropub's chef-owner Anthony Sitek shares how he stays inspired in the kitchen and what’s next for his boutique steakhouse Losanti.

Cincinnati Chefs to Watch in 2020: Ethan Greene

Under chef-restaurateur Daniel Wright’s tutelage, Ethan Greene dishes up Middle Eastern street food as executive chef of Forty Thieves in Over-the-Rhine.

Cincinnati Chefs to Watch in 2020: Mallory Myers

Orchids at Palm Court’s Executive Sous Chef Mallory Myers sticks to classic cooking techniques while always searching for new ways to push the envelope.

BEST RESTAURANTS 2019

Best Restaurant No. 6: Please Balances Crowd-Pleasing and Experimental

If you want to try something you have absolutely never been served before, or even heard of, Please is the place to go. Each...

Cincinnati’s Female Chefs Sound Off on Gender Equality

These Cincinnati-based, industry-leading ladies discuss how they got into the business, battling sexism, working tirelessly, and creating a hopeful future for the next generation...

Three Local Bars with Food Worth Staying For

These watering holes flip the script as libation-centric destinations with surprisingly good grub.Longfellow This OTR hangout mixes quality cocktails without pretension, and its food is...

Best Restaurant No. 1: Sotto is the Gold Standard for Consistency

Most restaurants, from meal to meal and year to year, have ups and downs. Standards slip when someone is out of town, chefs get bored...

Best Restaurant No. 3: Restaurant L Does Luxury Like No One Else

Editor's Note: This restaurant closed on March 15,2020.There are nice restaurants, there are places you go for a special occasion, and then there is...

Best Restaurant No. 8: Phoenician Taverna Gracefully Fine Tunes Classics

Wassim Matar, Phoenician Taverna's owner, once told me something interesting: Be careful with recipes. Reason being, a recipe can make you think you know how...

Experience Unique Dining at These Local Pop-Up Dinner Events

Craving an intimate, one-of-a-kind dining experience? Try these exclusive pop-up dinner events while you still can.LIVING BREATHING KITCHENThis month, Chef Robert Castañeda’s traveling pop-up...

Best Restaurant No. 5: Abigail Street Impresses with Attentive Service

Much less than other restaurants of its caliber, Abigail Street is understated in its greatness. Service is so friendly and casual that you only gradually...

Three Restaurants Where You Can Watch the Kitchen Magic

Believe it or not, your food doesn't just magically appear on your table. While most restaurants may not show you every step in the...

Best Restaurant No. 10: Mita’s Restaurant & Bar Offers Diversity while Preserving Identity

Mita's had a transcendent first few years and is now settling into restaurant middle age with grace and dignity, producing lovely versions of its...

Best Restaurant No. 4: Boca Maintains Elegance in its Rustic Appeal

Like walking onto the set of an opera, there is something theatrical and almost over-the-top about Boca, with its enormous chandelier, floor-to-ceiling draperies, and...

Best Restaurant No. 7: Miyoshi Inspires Appreciation for Simplicity

Editor’s note: Miyoshi closed August 28, 2021.Entering Miyoshi is like entering another world. Floating in a busy sea of strip malls and traffic in...

Best Restaurant No. 2: Bauer Tries New Cuisine and Makes it Extraordinary

Bauer has been continuously improving since its doors opened a few years ago, and it’s now one of Cincinnati’s true gems. While maintaining its...

Best Restaurant No. 9: Eighth & English Pulls Off a Successful Pivot

Editor's note: This restaurant closed in September 2019.After a year in business, Eighth & English did something courageous and difficult. Owner Chase Blowers and...